Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mary Morgan's Corn Dip

My good friend from work, Mary Morgan, has been raving about this corn dip for a while now and when Tracy brought it in the other day we all immediately understood what all the fuss was was incredible!  It seems like one of those recipes that you would see, think it looked ok, but probably wouldn't end up making it. Don't make that have got to try this one!!

World Famous Corn Dip

1 can of white corn (I used yellow corn the other night. It was fine, but I do prefer white corn.)
1/2 cup gr. onions, chopped (1 bunch is fine!)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese
3 T light mayo

Mix up gently.  Make a little while before you want to serve it, refrigerate covered.
Serve with wheat thins.

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Sausage Pinwheels

These are super easy but every time I make them it seems that someone asks for the recipe so I thought it was time to add them to the blog!  Sausage pinwheels always take me back to Christmas nights at my great aunt and uncle's house drinking Hawaiian punch watching A Christmas Story.  My great aunt Marie makes them perfectly!!!  Here is what we do...

Sausage Pinwheels
1 pound Hot Jimmy Dean Sausage
1 tube regular crescent rolls

Roll out the crescent roll and spread the sausage over top.  I prefer to use Hot Jimmy Dean sausage. Roll it up like a jellyroll and wrap in aluminum foil.  Place in the freezer for several hours (this will make it easier to cut later).  Remove from the freezer and slice.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until sausage is brown and done.  
Serve HOT!!!
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Black and Blue Beef Tenderloin

For Sunday dinner this week we decided to use a couple recipes from the Two Dudes One Pan Cookbook that I absolutely LOVE!!!

It is full of some great classics and some that are a fun twist to old favorites.  Sunday dinner is something I look forward to all week long.  It is the perfect way to end the weekend and begin the week.  Spending quality time with my family and friends, trying new recipes in the kitchen and having cocktails on the porch are some of my cherished moments.  This week Dad decided to try this filet recipe (sometimes called a Diane sauce) and it was incredible!!  Paired with an arugula salad (also from the cookbook) and homemade french fries it proved to be a fabulous meal!

Black and Blue Beef Tenderloin

For the steak:
4 (6 to 8 oz.) filet mignons or 1 (1.5 to 2 pound) tenderloin cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces white button or cremini mushroom caps thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 large shallot, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives (optional)

Heat a skillet over high heat for 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the steaks with salt, add the oil to the skillet, and sear until both sides are deeply browned and nearly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side for a very rare center.

(If you want your steaks less rare in the middle, reduce the heat to medium-high after turning them and continue cooking until the steaks are cooked to your preference.)  Transfer the steaks to a platter or individual plates, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm, and set aside.

Drain off any fat from the skillet.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and salt and cook until the mushrooms are soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the brandy and cook for one minute, then add the cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and thyme.

Cook until the sauce is thick, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the parsley, and chives (if using).

Once the butter is incorporated, taste for seasoning, and pour the sauce over the steaks.
Serve immediately.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Truffle Mac 'N Cheese

So after an entire day of moving my grandmother into her new apartment then coming home and trying to clean up the yard after the storms we have had recently my body was spent!  My roommate/cousin ("ish-figure") suggested making truffle mac 'n cheese and watching a movie
with some friends...I thought that was a great idea so that is how we spent an AWESOME Saturday night....

Truffle Mac 'N Cheese
3/4 pound elbow macaroni pasta
4 tbsp unsalted better
4 tbsp all purpose flour
3 c whole HOT milk {I use low fat, but it’s divine with whole milk}
1 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper {depending on your taste}
3/4 c. grated Gruyere cheese
3/4 c. grated Fontina cheese
3/4 c. grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated parm cheese
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1 tsp granulated garlic { optional}
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp white truffle oil & 1 tbsp for drizzling
3/4 tsp salt

Cook pasta according to package.  Grate cheese. Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add flour and stir constantly for 5 minutes creating the roux.  Add truffle oil, cayenne pepper, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir the white sauce for 8 minutes. 
Add cheese and cook for 2 more minutes until smooth (turn it to really low). 
Bake for 15-20 minutes until all is right in the world.  Or until lightly brown and bubbly. 
Let it stand for about 5 minutes…and drizzle an additional 1 tbsp of white truffle oil over the top. 
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Pork Tenderloin in Bourbon and Brown Sugar with a Marinated Mushroom Salad

I received this tenderloin recipe from my college roommate's mom, Mary Patton, in 2007.  Before then I was never a big fan of pork tenderloin because I didn't really see what all the fuss was about.  Pork tended to be boring, bland and sometimes quite dry.  When Mary made this my entire view of the other white meat changed completely!!  Since then I have found more recipes that are great but this one still stands out as my favorite.

Pork Tenderloin in Bourbon and Brown Sugar

1/2 cup bourbon (of course in my family that means Jack Daniel's, don't even think about bringing in Wild Turkey, Jim Beam or even Makers Mark - sorry Will and Moseley)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 (1 lb) pork tenderloins 

In a shallow glass casserole dish combine the Bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, cilantro, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, water and thyme, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.   
Add the pork, cover and marinade in the fridge turning occasionally for 8-12 hours.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet or roasting pan with aluminum foil making sure the entire pan is covered.  Place the tenderloins so they are NOT touching.  Roast for 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees, basting occasionally with the marinade.  Discard any unused marinade.  

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

I love this recipe!  I make it all the time and whenever I am asked to make a dish to take someone, I make this.  I took it to a co-worker when I lived in Atlanta after his wife broke her ankle just a few short weeks before Christmas and his young sons said they wanted more "chicken spaghetti".  Don't be thrown off...there is no marinara sauce in this but I thought that was too cute not to share!!

Chicken Tetrazzini
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (if you are pressed for time you can buy a roasted chicken and use that instead of cooking your own chicken)
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons diced pimentos
1 medium jar mushrooms
1 pound spaghetti noodles

Cook noodles according to directions on the package. 
Place chicken breasts in a Pyrex dish and season with salt and pepper.  To each breast add a pat of butter.  Pour a little chicken broth in the dish to keep the chicken from drying out.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until done. Once the chicken has cooled, dice it up and set it aside.   For the sauce, melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook until transparent.  
Add flour, mustard, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to make a roux.  
Slowly stir in milk and let cook until thickened.  
Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency add the pimentos, mushrooms (with liquid) and half of the cheese.  Stir and cook until well combined. 
Add diced chicken to the sauce and stir until the chicken is coated. 
In a large dish, layer noodles then sauce/chicken repeating until the final layer is sauce. 
Top with the remaining cheese. 
Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese on top is bubbly.  Enjoy!!
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Banana Pudding

A few years ago Southern Living came out with an edition of their "best" recipes.  I saw this recipe and had to try it.  Banana pudding is a classic dessert that not many people will pass up.  There are easier ways to make it with instant pudding but if you want a truly authentic and delicious version you absolutely MUST try this!

I usually try and find the bananas that are a little over-ripe since bananas that are still a little green don't always do as well.  While Dad and I were wandering through the Farmers Market I came across some perfect bananas that the the vendor was glad to get rid of since they would probably have to be throw out sooner rather than later.

Banana Pudding

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 (14 oz.) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 to 3 cups sliced ripe bananas
45-50 reduced fat vanilla wafers (depending on baking dish)
4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Combine flour and salt in a medium saucepan.  Gradually stir in 1% milk, sweetened condensed milk, and yolks, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Layer banana slices, pudding and vanilla wafers.   Ending with banana slices on top.  Beat egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until foamy.   Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating  until soft peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes) 
 Spread meringue over the pudding.
 Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.  Let cool at least 30 minutes.  
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Dad's Ribs

Dad has been working on perfecting how he cooks his ribs for years and in my opinion he has nailed it!  They are flavorful, tender and fall-off-the-bone good!  Like so many recipes there aren't many ingredients and once you get the hang of it the process isn't hard but mastering the process can be time consuming.  

Here is what Dad has found works the best...

The special ingredients are a large container of Wickers and Rendezvous seasoning.

He marinades the ribs in the Wickers overnight. 

Preheat the grill to about 350 degrees. 

Just before putting the ribs on the grill rub the Rendezvous seasoning on the meat side of the ribs.  

Before putting the ribs on the grill turn the temperature to low.  Place the ribs on the grill bone side down.
Baste the ribs with the marinade being careful not to wash off the seasoning. 

Cook for 20 minutes then flip to meat side down, baste and cook for another 20 minutes.  Flip one final time back to bone side down, baste, and cook for another 20 minutes. 

The ribs should cook for a total of one hour.

Once the ribs have been removed from the grill let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

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Macaroni Salad

I cannot think of Macaroni Salad without thinking about my brother, Allen.  I have seen him eat it straight from the mixing bowl.  It is simple and easy to make and tends to be better if you make it the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Macaroni Salad

8 oz. cooked macaroni
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pickle relish

Mix together and chill before serving.
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Copper Pennies

Any time I think of this recipe my mind immediately goes to when we would visit Gramma and Pa in Louisville, KY.  These trips were always filled with trips to the museum at Churchill Downs, the Louisville Zoo, pancakes in the morning, salami sandwiches for lunch and some sort of incredible spread for dinner which often times included copper pennies.  They were one of my favorites and Gramma never failed in making them for me when we visited. 

Copper Pennies

5 cups carrots, sliced and cooked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 can tomato soup
Mix and heat:
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Parboil the carrots in the microwave with a little bit of water for 2 minutes.  You want them cooked but still crunchy.  Add soup to heated mixture.  Mix thoroughly and pour over vegetables.  Let cool in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before serving.

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Appetizer Pie

Most of the delicious appetizer recipes that we have in my family came from Aunt Nellie (my great-great aunt; Mom Gordon's sister).  They seemed to be her specialty.  This is one of those recipes and certainly a family favorite for us and a perfect addition to Sunday Dinner!

Appetizer Pie (Aunt Nellie's recipe, given to Mom in 1981)

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 package corned beef, shredded fine
2 tablespoons minced green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Blend cheese and milk.  Stir in corned beef, onion, green pepper, and ground pepper.  Mix well.  Stir in sour cream.  Spoon into and 8-inch pie plate or 2 small, shallow baking dishes.  Sprinkle walnuts over top.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve with spreader over crackers (usually rye toast).  If using food processor, don't chop things too finely.
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There is a mighty arsenal of recipes in my family that have been collected over the years.  When I moved into my grandmother's house in September of 2009 I came across an old box of recipes that dated back to the 1920s.  It was then that I realized the extraordinary treasure before me that I wanted to share with my family and friends. 

Many of the men and women in my family are extraordinary cooks, but my aunt Katie always stands out in my mind as one who was adventurous in her taste testing, knowledgeable in ingredients and truly talented in the kitchen. We lost Katie to cancer in January of 2008. She was an exceptional cook who could simply taste a dish, a sauce or dressing and tell you the exact spice and ingredients which had been used.  I have vivid memories of Katie standing in front of the stove on Thanksgiving slowly stirring the gravy to ensure the flour didn't get lumpy and the gravy came to the perfect consistency. She would constantly try new recipes, find new things to bring to family gatherings and perfect old family favorites.  When she died we came across an accordion file of recipes she had gathered from a multitude of sources over the years.  It was an incredible collection and I knew I just had to share this with my entire family.   Before she died I asked Katie for her cornbread recipe.  I have kept this in my Bible since she passed as a cherished memory of my aunt we lost too soon.

After I compiled all of Katie's recipes into one cookbook I thought what a treasure it would be to not only have all of Katie's recipes but also the family recipes that Gramma had meticulously organized and protected over the years in one cookbook from which everyone could benefit.
On the cover of Katie's cookbook is a picture of a dogwood tree that was planted at Centennial Park in her memory by the Nashville Parks Department for whom she worked for nearly 35 years.  Every spring we go see the beautiful blossoms on her tree which remind me of Katie's beauty that will never die.

On the cover of Gramma's cookbook is a picture of Gramma and Pa on their wedding day, August 1, 1946.  To me this is the starting point of her collection that continues to this day, though many of the recipes date back before they were ever married.

As you have probably already figured out a huge part of growing up for me centered around food.  My mom says that there is something special that happens when people break bread together.  This is something I have certainly witnessed and is why I love getting together with friends and family at meal time.  When I moved home from Atlanta in 2007 some friends of mine and I decided to start having Girls Dinner every Tuesday night.  It was a great time to sit down with a glass of wine, or two, and catch up with one another. We would rotate where we did dinner and people would make dishes they grew up eating, new recipes they wanted to try or something they knew would be a crowd pleaser.  After about a years worth of these weekly meals together I compiled all the recipes that everyone had made, asked my gifted artistic friend, Amanda, to draw something for the cover and enlisted the help of my friend, Sarah, who is a graphic designer, to help me with the layout.  Here is what we created:

Collecting recipes has certainly grown into a hobby of mine. In my family we certainly have old favorites and solid stand-bys that we enjoy....I like finding out what those are for other families.  One can learn so much about families and their histories simply by taking a close look at the types of food they prepare. For example, I never realized it until I was in my twenties that there was a strong German undertone to much of the food my Gramma cooked which came from her mother-in-law who was full blooded German.  I always assumed that I was simply Scotch-Irish, never knowing I also had quite a bit of German blood running through my veins. 

It is a gift in my life to have these recipes but what I truly treasure are the stories and people behind each and every one of them.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fajitas, Family and Friends

Last night I went out to my cousin's house is Fairview to have dinner with some friends and family.  The menu was potluck with Jess and Keith doing the main course.  For appetizers we had pizza puffs, sausage dip (thank you Maggie!) and guacamole (a Michael Jones specialty) and for dessert we had homemade Popsicles courtesy of Jennifer and Braden Fleischer (adults received avocado Popsicles -YUM - and the kiddos got fruity Popsicles which they loved). 

There is nothing better than family who are dear friends and friends who are as dear as family. 

Richard and Elijah brought Emory all the stuffed animals from their rooms.  As sweet as the gesture is, Jess has to keep the hoards of toys from engulfing little Emory!

Amber and Jennifer get to spend some quality time with Emory.

All the fixin's

Michael starts working on his world famous guacamole.
The secret is in the squeeze! 
Michael adds the lime juice with gusto!
  While the food is being prepared everyone gets to visit with each other.
Richard loves himself some Allen 
As much as we all love to hold the baby, his favorite spot is in his momma's arms!
 Everyone is a sucker for Elijah and story time.

Then we ATE!!!  Jess made some amazing fajitas.  She marinaded the chicken and beef in green onions, cilantro, oil, water, soy sauce, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garlic, pepper sauce, jalapenos and lime.  She put all of this in a blender then poured it over the meat and allowed it to marinade.  She marinaded the shrimp in a store-bought southwest lime marinade to which she added lemon juice and pepper.

 Keith works on the vegetables and tortillas on the grill.

The meat is ready!
The toppings are on the table....

Supper Time!!!

There is no better way to spend a Saturday night than with great friends and family...especially with the newest generation there to entertain!
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Coffee Cake

I have never been a big breakfast person but this is one I must share!  When I was growing up this was one of my favorites that Dad would make on Sunday mornings.  It is a great dish to take to a brunch or just a treat on a weekend morning!

Blueberry Muffin Coffee Cake
1 package Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffin Mix
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine 1 tablespoon muffin mix, brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork.  Set aside.  

Coffee Cake:
Empty blueberries into strainer.  Wash under cold running water.  Set aside and drain.  Add the egg, oil and water to the blueberry muffin mix.  Mix with a fork until blended (about 1-2 minutes).  Sprinkle drained berried onto the batter and fold in gently with fork.  Cover dish with wax paper. 

Cook in microwave for 4 minutes covered.  The cake is done when only slightly moist on top -- DO NOT OVERBAKE.  Remove wax paper and sprinkle with topping evenly over hot cake. 

Cook one minute uncovered on high.  Let stand for 10 minutes on flat surface.  
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Pizza Puffs

I received this recipe from a friend on a trip to Point Clear, AL over July 4th.  Seeing as it is combining two of my favorites, pizza and appetizers, I knew I had to know how the delicious treats were made!!  The original recipe came from a blog called  The first time I made these back in Nashville was for the Allen family reunion at my house.  My cousin, Keith, joked with me that we could never change up the menu for family gatherings without ruffling some feathers....that opinion was quickly changed after everyone tried these!

Pizza Puffs

3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 oz. pepperoni, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pizza sauce (homemade or store-bought)
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely diced.

Preheat oven to 375o.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and oregano; whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.  Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.  Warm the pizza sauce, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil.  Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.  Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.  
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Cross Stitching

Cross Stitching....

 Cross stitching has been a favorite hobby of mine for years.  I find peace and comfort in creating my own little works of art.  I sometimes get a little insecure sharing my cross stitching with others since it is something I do love so much, I fear some will see it as simple and belittle it, but I guess that is why my family receives so much of it (they have to love because they are family, right??).  I thought it was time to put my vulnerability out there and share some of the things I have done over the years....
Allen asked me to make him something from this quote since we have given him grief over his fear of The Wizard of Oz all his life.  It now hangs on the door to his office.
"Orders are nobody can see the Great Oz.  Not nobody, not nohow!"
When my friends get married I make them a monogram of their new last name generally in the color of their bridesmaid dresses

When I transferred from Auburn to Georgia my great friends, Randa and Courtney Wow, gave me a great gift which included four different pictures of us while I had been at Auburn and a quote I have loved and carried with me ever since
"I always knew looking back on the tears would make me laugh, but I never knew looking back on the laughter would make me cry"

This is a bit unfinished as I have not gotten it framed yet, but this is the Serenity Prayer I did for my brother.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

The Book of Ruth has long since been a favorite story of mine.  I read it whenever I cannot find my way and feel like I need some guidance.

I just thought this was funny!

An Irish Blessing

I have long loved the fluidity and charm of Irish blessings and this is one of my favorites....
May the road rise up to meet you.  May the wind be always at your back....
May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rains fall soft upon your fields....
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I made this for Maggie since she tends to sneeze multiple times when she gets on a roll.  We decided one day that I needed a sign to hold up which said "Bless You" instead of saying it over and over again
In my family pineapples have been collected over the years by my grandmother, my mother and myself as a sign of hospitality.  I made this one for my mother changing up a pattern my grandmother had used nearly 30 years earlier...
Gramma made this one in '81

Baby Pillows

Here are the ones that started it all!  The wife of my mother's boss made the one for Allen when he was born.  Mom decided it was something she wanted me to have too when I was born and made me one when I was born.
I made this one for my best friend when she and her husband got a new puppy ( I made ones for Polar Gene "Poly" Doramus and Queen Celtic Hannaway before they went to doggie heaven to watch over Murphy.)

A pillow for my dear friend from UGA, Blake Segars second daughter

For my darling Richard who was born on my 24th birthday present I have EVER received!!!
Our precious Elijah was born three years later!

A pillow for my nephew, Emory....

 Christmas Decorations

I made this one for my parents one year for Christmas changing the last word to "All" instead of "Man" as my mom prefers it.

When Maggie and Allen got married I thought it only fitting for Maggie to have her own stocking for Christmas as Gramma had made Allen and me stockings when we were little and Maggie needed one to match!

Here are some unfinished projects for Christmas..........
A Bell Pull

The Three Wise Men

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