Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's been so long....

Well I'm back. It's been a terribly long break. As I was making our dinner tonight I decided it was time to start blogging my recipes again. :)

Dinner tonight was ham and broccoli quiche (recipe to come later) and broccoli slaw. Wow, lots of broccoli tonight. I've found though that this slaw is the best way to get my two rotten kids to eat it. This is super easy and quite tasty.

Broccoli Slaw

1 pkg broccoli slaw (I use marketfresh from WalMart)
1/4-1/2 c. Ranch dressing
1/3 c. Thinly sliced onion
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 Tsp. dill weed
1/2 Tsp. salt
3/4 Tsp. cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Serves 8, 1/2c servings.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Corn Chowder

Here is another of my mother in law's recipes, Corn Chowder. It's a hardy fill you up on a cold evening recipe. Take it that we have had a very mild winter in Arkansas, but still when it is yucky rainy outside, I like to have a hardy soup, stew, or chowder for dinner. This recipe calls for kielbasa sausage but you could really use any kind of chopped up meat that you like.

Corn Chowder
5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 (17 oz.) cans of creamed corn
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsps. butter
2 c. milk
16 oz. kielbasa sausage, chopped
Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and return to pot. Add the creamed corn and cream of mushroom soup.
In a separate pan, sauté the onion and bell pepper in the butter until tender. Add the potato mixture. Stir in the sausage and milk; cook until heated but do not boil. Serve.

Monday, February 20, 2012


This is going to be a super quick blog. I have a friend/ex-coworker that has asked me God only knows how many times to resend this recipe to her, Erin. Oh Erin, you now have it at your fingertips any and every time that you need it. Anyways, last week she asked me if I had blogged it yet and of course not.

This is actually my mother in law’s recipe that my husband loves.

1 lb. ground round
¾ c. leeks, chopped (see note below)
1 Tbsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
2 Tbsps. flour
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
¼ c. white wine (not white cooking wine)
cooked rotini pasta
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place on medium heat. Add leeks and sauté. Add meat, spices, and flour; cook until meat is browned. Add mushroom soup and wine; cook for 10 minutes. If too thick, add up to ½ cup of water. Immediately before serving add sour cream. Serve over cooked rotini pasta.

If you have never used leeks before, make sure that you use the light green root of the plant; not the dark green leaves. Always slice lengthwise, chop, and put in cold water to wash the dirt and grit out from the layers.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wild Duck Gumbo

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As I have stated before, you will find a lot of Creole/Cajun recipes here. Well, here is another one: Wild Duck Gumbo. I bought a book over the summer called “In a Cajun Kitchen” and was introduced to teal duck (no clue). I have a coworker that is an avid duck hunter so I asked him what it was. Next thing I know is that 3 months later he is telling me that he has some duck for me in the freezer. Crap, what am I going to do with duck when I’m not a fan?

So, I start digging in cookbooks and looking online and I found one, but to my dismay it didn’t have okra in it. What? Gumbo has to have okra or it’s not gumbo. The name of the dish came from the African word for okra; ki-ngombo. How can you have gumbo without okra? So, I added okra and now its gumbo. Yea!
People look at me strange and tell me to move there when I say that I love Louisiana. My response is that I would if I could. I figured out the other day why I love it and the food so much. It’s a true melting pot of cultures and there is an aura of mystery about the whole state. The culture is also a draw for me. I was watching a tv show the other day that was about the Creole/Cajun culture and noticed that it is a lot like the family that I grew up around. I noticed that the cookbook that I’ve previously mentioned talked a lot about family and knowing the family stories and traditions. I’m used to sitting at my family reunions and listening to the “elders” talk about the old ways and how things were done. Love it. My last post was about my Aunt Dotty and she was the greatest to get the old stories from. The best (and saddest) I remember is her talking about the raft that was carrying supplies to the camp during the Flood of 1927 and it flipping. Their ice, lemons, and sugar to make lemonade went floating away. Every time I heard it, it made me heartbroken.
Anyways, here is my take on Wild Duck Gumbo. I hope you like, my family and I did.

Wild Duck Gumbo

6 wild teal duck breast
½ c. cooking oil
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
2 c. chopped onion
1 ½ c. chopped green pepper
1 ½ c. sliced celery
2 Tbsps. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 ½ c. frozen cut okra
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tsps. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsps. Cajun seasoning
2 quarts water
Hot cooked rice

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown duck in batches in oil. Remove and set aside. Discard all but 2/3 cup drippings. Add flour to drippings; cook and stir over medium heat until brown, 12-14 minutes. Add sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, parsley and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add next nine ingredients; mix well. Cut duck breast into cubes and add; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 60-75 minutes or until duck is tender. Simmer 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Remove bay leaves. Serve with rice.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chicken n' Dumplins and Aunt Dotty

Chicken n’ Dumplins and my Aunt Dotty; I cannot think of one without thinking of the other. My Aunt Dot made the best Chicken n’ Dumplins, ever.  The dumplins were the perfect size with just the right fluff and bite to them. I recall being in her kitchen in England, AR and seeing dumplins rolled out over every inch of countertop that she had and flour scattered.
Aunt Dot could not cook in small portions. Everything that she made was enough to feed a small army. I remember my Mom telling her not to cook so much and her reply was that she didn’t know how. I found this strange, but later found out that she used to be a cook on a Mississippi river boat so she had to cook in huge portions. I guess when you do that for so long it kind of sticks with you. Also, she was the oldest of nine children on a farm so she grew up cooking in large portions with her mother.
I have asked my cousins how she made her dumplins and no one seems to really know. Below is my recipe with two versions of dumplins, both of which are really similar to Aunt Dotty’s. Yum!

Chicken n’ Dumplins
1 3 lbs. whole chicken
4 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, cut in quartered
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 c. milk
In a large pot or Dutch oven place the whole chicken and add water, chicken broth, carrot, onion, celery, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 1 hour or until veggies are tender and chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Remove the carrot, onion, and celery pieces from the broth and discard. Save the broth. Pull apart the cooled chicken into bite size pieces discarding the skin and bones.

Dumplins I
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 Tsps. shortening
1 c. buttermilk
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; cut in the shortening until the mixture is like coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 4 or 5 minutes. Roll dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squared dumplins with a knife or a pizza cutter.

Dumplins II
1 c. milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
2 c. all-purpose flour
Combine milk, oil, baking powder, and salt. Start adding the flour; may need more or less of it. Dough should come together but still be sticky. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. Roll the dough out until it is 1/8-inch thickness. This is very sticky dough so make sure there is plenty of flour so that it won’t stick to the surface or rolling pin. Let rest for 1 hour. Cut into dumplins with a knife or a pizza cutter about 2-inches square, no larger.
Bring broth to a low rolling boil and drop in the dumplings, one or two at a time. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally so dumplins don’t stick together. Add the chicken, pepper, and 1 c. milk, cook for 3 minutes. Serve.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa

Salsa..... I love it.
I remember watching my uncle and cousin make a similar salsa when I was a kid. I had seen my cousin throw a Nilla wafer in the blender and my jaw dropped. What? A Nilla wafer doesn't belong in salsa. The next time I saw it made, I had to ask what happened to the wafer and sure enough it was done again. I later realized that it was just something to trip me up, but that was typical of them. :) My salsa does not include a wafer.
Also, my love of salsa grew while I was pregnant with my daughter and then again with my son. My biggest craving was a good restaurant style salsa and I was at the point of drinking it, but my husband would give me the look of "don't you dare, especially while we are out eating." I still have those cravings at times, but not near as bad.
This salsa recipe has been modified to my taste based off of a recipe that I found somewhere online. Obviously this is a very versatile recipe for changing based on your own tastes. Experiment and enjoy.
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1 small can whole stewed tomatoes
3 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
½ medium red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno with seeds, chopped
2 jalapenos without seeds, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 ½ Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
3 Tbsps. fresh parsley, chopped
Add all ingredients to a large pot but the lemon juice and parsley. Cook for 30 minutes. Use and immersion blender to blend to the consistency desired. Add lemon juice and parsley and chill.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Key Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes! Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? Be honest, we all do. I tend to look for the strange ones and they have all been pretty darn good. Ask my coworkers; I use them as my guinea pigs for new sweets. Here is one of them…. Key Lime Cupcakes. If you love key lime pie, you will love these. Tangy and sweet, refreshing, and unexpected.
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Key Lime Cupcakes

1 ¾ c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cool unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 ¼ c. sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
2 ½ Tbsps. key lime juice
1 Tbsps. key lime zest
1 drop green food coloring paste
¾ cup buttermilk (room temperature)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt three times, set aside.

Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Add the sugar and increase the speed to medium. Beat until fluffy, about four minutes. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lime juice, zest, and food coloring and beat until mixed. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix on low until just combined. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese icing.

1 stick cool unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature), cut into 8 pieces
2 ¼ c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp key lime zest

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Increase speed to medium and add the cream cheese one piece at a time. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar until combined. Beat in zest.