Southern Sweet Sun Tea

Sweet Tea is about as southern as you can get. Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world, up there with water, coffee, and beer (which are all things I love). You can go to every single restaurant south of St. Louis and find yourself a pitcher of sweet tea. As someone who isn’t from the south, I thought sweet tea was strange since every table also has a fair number of Sweet’n Low, Equal, and raw sugar packets. I always assumed everyone added sweetener to their liking. Southerners typically don’t like a touch of sweetness in their tea, we like it pretty darn sweet.

My mom often made sun tea growing up. Nothing is more memorable than mom making a big container of tea, sitting it on the porch, and letting it bask in the sun all afternoon. Mom would take the warm container after sitting in the sun for a few hours and toss it in the fridge. I can still have childhood memories of the summer sun shine on my face while drinking a refreshing glass of sweet sun tea. Nothing says summer like sweltering heat and an ice cold glass of sweet tea in a mason jar.

You need three things to make sweet sun tea: black tea, water, sugar, and a glass container.

sun-sweet-tea-body4-800

Continue reading “Southern Sweet Sun Tea”

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

I love bacon wrapped snacks and appetizers.  I have been making this bacon wrapped water chestnut for over 25 years.

Bacon wrapped water chestnuts are perfect for tailgating, game day parties, New Year’s parties, and just about any gathering of people.

I have been known to serve these at Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and even Christmas day while the holiday meal is cooking.

I am sure this came off of the back of a product, but it’s been a minute since I last saw it anywhere near a product package.  It could have been chestnuts, or soy sauce, or even Worcestershire sauce.

Continue reading “Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts”

Favorite Chili

Andy loves chili.  I love chicken noodle soup.  So, I make them at the same time because they both freeze and reheat well.  Keeps up both happy, he doesn’t have to eat “too chickeny” soup and I can avoid the heartburn from eating chili.andys-favorite-chili-body-800

I have used many different recipes in my life, but this is the one that gets requested the most and the one you are likely to find in my freezer all winter long.  This one is similar to the many Wendy’s copycat recipes readily available online.  I usually at least double this recipe.  Admittedly, I have even tripled it so I had enough for guests and freezing.

I make this in large batches since it provides me with a few quick painless dinners over the winter, and it is a favorite of impromptu visitors to our house.  We have a few neighbors that also love this chili.   This recipe can also be easily reduced, math isn’t my strong suit, so I leave those division problems for you to work out.

Continue reading “Favorite Chili”

Beef Vegetable Soup

I call this cheater beef vegetable soup since I use mostly canned vegetables and frozen for this recipe.  Feel free to replace with fresh vegetables if you like.  I use canned because the potatoes hold up way better during the slow simmer.

If you opt to use fresh vegetables for this recipe, I recommend par cooking your potatoes and carrots prior to peeling and dicing.  They will hold their shape a bit better like the canned vegetables would.  I have done this with decent results, but it is time consuming.  As long-time readers of the blog already know, I am lazy sometimes and prefer to skip steps that I don’t find necessary for producing great tasting food.

Canned vegetables are readily available these days with reduced sodium and even some with no salt or sugar added.  These are great shortcuts for this beef vegetable soup for those on controlled sodium and sugar diets.

Continue reading “Beef Vegetable Soup”

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding is my kind of bread pudding.  This bread pudding does not have large pieces of bread hanging out.  This is creamier than other bread puddings, but not too egg-y.

It can be made with any kind of leftover bread that you have laying around.  One day I would like to try this with stale cinnamon rolls. But, that would mean there were leftovers………..

I prefer making this with some dried out quick yeast rolls.  I’m able to crumble them pretty quickly and these rolls absorb the liquid pretty easily.  As you are mixing up this bread pudding, the consistency will look like really wet oatmeal.  No worries, this will bake up and set just fine.  If it needs a little extra baking time, that’s OK too.  It just means crispier edges, which in my opinion is the best part.

Continue reading “New Orleans Style Bread Pudding”

Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jelly is not anything I ever gave much thought too.  If you needed or wanted grape jelly you just went to the store and bought some right?  Well, after making this, my mind has been forever changed about that.  I don’t know that I can ever eat grape jelly from the store again.  I tried to eat some that I had in the refrigerator to see if I could actually tell a difference.  Let me tell you, they difference is undeniable.

One of my neighbors, and occasional reader of the blog – Hi Rick! – has been growing Concord grapes in his backyard for a few years.  This is the first year there were enough grapes for the birds and for jelly.

Having never seen or eaten a Concord grape, I was a little taken aback by the texture.  It tasted just like grape jelly, but the skins are tough and you need to pop the insides into your mouth.  The texture is kind of rubbery, but slippery.  I have never eaten a raw oyster, but this is what I suspect a small raw oyster might feel like in your mouth if you tried to chew it instead of swallow it.

Continue reading “Grape Jelly”

Quick Yeast Rolls

Quick Yeast Rolls have a husband approved stamp in the recipe folder.  It does not happen often, but when he likes a recipe he will mark a rating on it with a date.  This one carries large letters that read VERY GOOD!  This particular one is from quite a few years ago.  Since then I have seen it pop up on Pinterest and several other recipe sites.

Since I am kind of lax at following rules and dislike kneading yeast dough, I usually turn to my quick rustic bread recipe or use the bread machine.  Using the bread machine requires me to disassemble the bowl to clean before and after use.  More kitchen cleanup is not on my list of favorite things.

But quick yeast rolls require no hand kneading, no bread machine, and does not require a whole lot of pre-thought.  Another one of my many faults, failure to plan early enough in a day to do things.  These can be on the table in less than an hour.  Perfect for me today, since I got preoccupied getting my chicken into a pot for chicken and dumplings.

Continue reading “Quick Yeast Rolls”

Frog Eye Soup

Frog eye soup was invented in my kitchen because of an ingredient shortage.  We had plenty of groceries in the house.  I am certain I was cooking for some holiday meal in the coming days.

My brother was making an unexpected visit that evening and I offered to make some homemade chicken noodle soup and sandwiches for dinner.  I usually have chicken noodle soup ingredients on hand and I knew this would not require another trip to the store, because everyone knows I love chicken soup!!

I happily went about my business in the kitchen and started simmering some chicken breasts in chicken broth.   I don’t always make a super-rich broth, especially when I am short on time.

I tossed in some onions, celery, and carrots.  About 20 minutes before my brother was schedule to arrive I discovered I had no soup noodles!! What? At my house?

Continue reading “Frog Eye Soup”

Grilled PB&J

Sometimes, what we eat doesn’t really need a recipe, but grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches seem to go against every cooking gain I have so it needs a recipe.

One of the first times I served tomato soup to Andy he asked me to make him a grilled peanut butter.

Me: “Huh? A what?”

Him: “A grilled peanut butter.”

Me: “Never heard of it.”

Him: “Really?!?!  It’s like a grilled cheese but with peanut butter instead of cheese.  My mom used to make them all the time. Didn’t yours?”

Me: “Um, no…….”  Continue reading “Grilled PB&J”

Red Beans and Rice

I will not be able to concentrate on writing this post or recipe if I do not clear this out of my head – but a famous Sir Mix-A-Lot song keeps running through my head when I read red beans and rice in my head, the part about red beans and rice didn’t miss her………..  So there, I said it and I bet a few of you have that song running through your head now too don’t you?  Sorry about that.

I am not from the New Orleans area and have only visited there.  If it weren’t so stinking hot and humid there in the summer I might want to live there.  I love New Orleans in the fall months.  I am telling you all of this so that you will understand that I am not claiming that this is an authentic southern style red beans and rice recipe made in my grandmomma’s house in the deep south or even taught to me be anyone who lives even near the Mississippi Delta.

This a recipe that recreates for me what my mind remembers as one of the best rice and beans dishes I had ever eaten.  I ate it in New Orleans but don’t ask me to tell you when or where.  I used to travel with my job in my younger years, and New Orleans was frequently on my agenda. Continue reading “Red Beans and Rice”