Simple Turkey Dressing

For me, homemade stuffing/dressing is required at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  The stuff from the box just doesn’t get it for me.  Although, that is what I was raised on, my mother used it. Yuck.  I had an aunt once declare that this dressing tastes just like her mom’s, but I don’t recall anything besides the boxed stuff at her house either.  In her defense, holiday meals normally meant cooking for 25 to 35 people.  We never had real mashed potatoes either.

I have been known to use a bag pre-seasoned hard cubes, and those can be prepared in a way that it is almost as good as homemade.  And 2 bags of those cubes can be used as a substitute for the loaf of rustic crusty bread used in this recipe.  It will require much more liquid than the crusty bread allowed to dry out will.

People put all kinds of stuff in their stuffing, maybe that’s why it’s called stuffing, it’s stuffed with stuff.  I have never stuffed a bird with dressing, I think it might end up being too greasy and not hot enough to kill whatever bacteria might be hiding inside that turkey.

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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”

Beer Boiled Shrimp

Beer boiled shrimp is something I make for others. Shrimp is kind of the bane of my existence, most seafood really. I can eat salmon only if it’s hidden in a salmon patty. Crab can be covered up in a stuffed mushroom. Crab cakes and fried fish must be covered in lemon juice and tartar sauce.

This recipe is quick, simple and perfect for serving at gatherings. It can be served hot or cold so you can make it while company waits or make it earlier in the day and avoid kitchen detail when guests arrive.

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Beer Boiled Shrimp Ingredient Lineup. PearTreeKitchen.com

This recipe uses just a few simple ingredients, all easily found at your local grocery store.  Celery, lemons, onions, beer, and Old Bay are ingredients I tend to have on hand. Shrimp, not so much.  Continue reading “Beer Boiled Shrimp”

Basic Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is my go-to for using up any leftover chicken I have.  Sometimes when I am making chicken soup or chicken and dumpling, I go ahead and thrown in some extra chicken breasts just for chicken salad.  Rotisserie chicken meat is also really good in this recipe.

When I make this style of chicken salad, I prefer it pretty plain.  Celery is the only addition you will find here.  Feel free to add any number of ingredients you like in your chicken salad.  I prefer to eat mine on toast with some onions slices, stuffed inside of a tomato, or with crackers so fruit and nut addition just aren’t my thing.  I know a lot of people who it is their thing, so if that’s you, just add what you like, even feel free to leave out the celery.  I won’t hurt my feelings.  What will hurt my feelings is if you are a beginner cook and you don’t get into the kitchen and at least try. Continue reading “Basic Chicken Salad”

Chicken Chow Mein/Chop Suey

This recipe for chow mein is simple enough to make during the week. Some folks call this chop suey.  I make this dish at least once a month. I love it with jasmine rice, but white rice works too. I like everything about jasmine rice. The smell while it is cooking reminds me of popcorn. The taste is a little nuttier to me than white rice.

I generally have both kinds of rice in the pantry, but to me jasmine just pairs better with Asian cuisine. Unless of course, it’s Cheater Fried Rice, then it’s whatever kind of rice the manufacturer sticks in the bag.

Chow Mein is fairly versatile too. You can substitute or add just about any vegetable or protein. This is just a base recipe and I would encourage you to add your own spin to this. Any recipe of mine is usually just a good starting point. They tend to be a representation of how I like whatever recipe I have featured. Like a famous chef once said, “There are no food police.” It’s your kitchen, it’s your choice.

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Minestrone

I cook soups frequently. They are easy to make, easy to tweak, and hard to mess up.

Cooking Hint: I did NOT say soup is impossible to mess up.  I have proven it is, in fact, possible.  I have scorched chicken on the bottom of a pot before I even got started doing anything besides boiling a whole chicken. Words of wisdom, don’t be like me and try to salvage it. Throw it away! Or better yet, prevent a disaster before it happens and do not start anything on scorching high heat and walk away. See that tiniest bit of black stuff on the bottom of the meat? Do not even try to pick it off and rinse it off. That not-so-flavorful taste will permeate the entire dish.

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