Friday, September 30, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

It's Friday and we are "working for the weekend" around here! What are your plans? If there are males in your household, I'm betting it will be to watch some football. This buffalo chicken dip is a great dish to feed your hungry guys.. Serve it with some Frito or Tostito brands scoops and watch your fans "huddle up" and give you a rousing cheer for being the best!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 lbs chicken, cooked and shredded ( I use chicken breasts)
12 oz. hot sauce (this is way too much for my taste. Start adding small amounts until you get the amount of heat you and your family like)
2 (8oz) cream cheese
16 oz bottle Ranch salad dressing
8 oz bag of shredded sharp cheese

Melt together cream cheese and ranch dressing in saucepan on stove. Remove from heat and stir in hot sauce to taste and shredded chicken. Transfer to 9 x13 casserole and evenly sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
*Nan's notes: this makes a large amount, therefore, the recipe can be easily halved for a smaller number of "eaters."

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Momaw's Chicken Noodle Casserole

Here's a recipe that was handed down to me by B's Momaw. I love Momaw so much and she's a wonderful cook. B and I love going to visit in Anderson, SC. Not only do we get to spend time making precious memories with his family but we have the opportunity to eat all of Momaw's delicious "goodies" she prepares for us. We usually begin with her pound cake for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and cheesecake cupcakes and rice krispie treats for dessert. And when B puts in his requests, she'll serve squash casserole, broccoli casserole, and sweet potato souffle` (He's just a little spoiled!). Everything is so wonderful that I eat all weekend and just run an extra lap or two the following week!

This is the recipe for Momaw's chicken noodle casserole. I can remember one of the first times I went to Thomaston to visit and Mrs. Kathy cooked this dish. I instantly fell in love (I had a double dose--I was falling for someone else, too!); it was so comforting and hearty. I got Momaw's permission to share her recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Chicken Noodle Casserole
Ann King, Anderson, SC

1 lb pkg wide egg noodles
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breasts (about 3-4 boneless, skinless breasts)
1 - 8oz container sour cream
1 - can cream of mushroom soup
1 - can cream of chicken soup
6-8 slices white bread, cubed
2/3 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook noodles according to package directions. (I like to reserve broth from chicken to cook noodles in--adds extra flavor.) Drain and set aside. In a large bowl, combine sour cream and soups. Add chicken and noodles and stir until well combined. Transfer to greased casserole dish ( I think I used a 2 1/2 qt. Corning Ware dish--could also use square casserole).

In a large skillet, melt butter. Turn heat up to medium-high and add bread cubes. Stir and cook until bread browns. Add to top of casserole. Bake for 25 minutes.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pizza Pasta Salad

Ahhhhhhh, the cooler days of autumn. What is it about the mild weather, bright blue skies, and turning leaves that would make a very UNsports NONfan like me think of football? Okay, I did my duty when the kids were in school and Marie was a cheerleader. I never missed a game. And I have never tailgated but it sounds like such fun!

Today I am sharing a pasta salad recipe that I think would be perfect for tailgating. That is, if I was of a mind to do it. The salad can be made in about 30 minutes. And because you make it ahead of time, it's ready to pack up and take along. Or you can serve it to your favorite football fans/couch potatoes.

This recipe was in one of the very first "Taste of Home" magazines to come out years ago. It makes a big bowl and I've rarely taken it anywhere that I didn't get requests for the recipe. I think it can be easily halved if you don't need that much salad.

This, friends, is "spiral" macaroni. Wonder how it got its name? Hey, wouldn't it be pretty to use tri-color spiral macaroni instead of the white? Go for it!

Now, isn't this pretty and colorful? Tasty, too.

Here it is all put together.Yummm! I'm going to divy up this salad into plastic containers and take it to the ladies at work. It will make their day!

Pizza Pasta Salad
1 pound spiral macaroni, cooked and drained
1 container grape tomatoes
16 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
3 or 4 green onions, sliced
3 ounces sliced pepperoni (I cut the slices in half because I don't like such large pieces of pepperoni, but, guess what? Hormel now has pepperoni in tiny slices! Cute and the perfect size!)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (the kind you find in the cheese section of the dairy. NOT the kind in the shaker can)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large bowl comine macaroni, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, green onions, and pepperoni. In a small bowl combine oil, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, and seasonings. Pour over macaroni mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Yield: 16 servings

Happy cooking,

Friday, September 9, 2011

Key Lime Cake

Maybe I am missing summer a little more than I thought. Here's a recipe you've got to try--Key Lime Cake. When I make this delicious cake, memories flood my mind of the vacation our family took to Key West the summer between my high school graduation and freshman year of college. It was a wonderful time spent with family but what I remember most was consuming lots of Key Lime Pie during our stay! Key Lime everything for that matter! I feel like every restaurant served it's own signature version of the famous concoction with their native fruit. However, I am pretty certain that a cake alternative was no where to be found on their menus. Let us know what you think.

Key Lime Cake
Recipe by Betty Miller

1 3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup orange juice
5 eggs
1 pkg. lemon flavored cake mix
1 (3 oz) pkg lime gelatin

1/4 cup lime juice
5 to 6 Tbsp powdered sugar

Combine oil, orange juice, eggs, gelatin, and cake mix, beating until smooth. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13" pan and bake at 325 degress for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven, prick top all over with a fork . Combine lime juice and powdered sugar stirring until smooth and drizzle over cake. Let cool completely before icing.

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 (1 lb) box powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla until creamy and then slowly beat in powdered sugar until creamy. Spread over cooled cake. Refrigerate to prevent souring.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Goodbye Summer...Hello My Favorite Time of Year, Fall!

While I won't miss the excruciating heat and humidity that accompanies summers in Georgia, I sure will miss the abundance of fresh fruit, veggies, herbs, and cool desserts. On Monday afternoon, Brandon and I returned home from a weekend at Lake Wedowee, Alabama where we spent with his family. We drove (well, Brandon drove and I happily rode along reading The Help) in heavy rain which was a side effect of Tropical Storm Lee that was moving inland. We left AL with muggy, wet weather but were surprised by the coolness in the air when we stepped out of the car in Augusta. It's been bliss ever since as the coolness has decided to stick around. Now, I realize the cooler temps and fall-feeling mornings and nights may not be an indicator of true autumn just yet but I have enjoyed  thinking and wishing that it was here to stay. I love fall, in fact, it is my favorite time of year. I can honestly say that I am a happier, more energetic being during the months leading up to Christmas. There's just something about hearty soups, pumpkins, apples, football, etc. that lifts my spirits. But before I let my mind drift to these happy thoughts, I decided to cook a meal on Labor Day that would sort of close out the summer for us. It's a meal that we enjoy to the last morsel of leftovers. Shrimp, tomatoes, zucchini, fresh basil, and bell pepper are some of the ingredients that highlight this meal and we are certain that you will enjoy it as much we have.

Sauteed Shrimp, Tomatoes, & Zucchini
Adapted from Weight Watchers

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup water

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini in a single layer; increase heat to high and cook until bottoms are golden, about 2 minutes. Flip zucchini and cook until golden on other side, about another 2 minutes. Remove zucchini & transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in same skillet. Add shrimp; saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper; saute until shrimp are almost cooked through, about 1 minute (shrimp will no longer be translucent and will turn pink in color). Stir in garlic and water; saute, stirring to loosen bits from bottom of pan, until shrimp are cooked through and tomatoes are softened, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Return zucchini to skillet; toss and serve. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top.

Can serve over steamed rice, cooked pasta, or it's delicious enough to stand by itself.

Potato Packets
Adapted from Weight Watchers

1 lb raw red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried Rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off four 12-in pieces of aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients unil mixed and coated.


Spread about 1 1/2 cups of veggie mixture in a fairly even layer near one end of each piece of foil.

Fold foil over to create form packets; fold edges in to form a tight seal.

Lay packets on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Weight Watchers suggests grilling them for 20 to 25 minutes, turning a few times throughout. It was raining so I used my noggin and improvised by baking. They were tasty and deliciously steamed.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chocolate Sheet Cake

How are you celebrating the holiday weekend? Some of our family members are at the lake. Others are visiting in Atlanta. Us? Our plans got changed and we are finding ourselves at home and busy tying up some loose ends that keep nagging at us.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, I know at some point you will be thinking about something to eat. I've got a great dessert for you that can go anywhere, anytime, and is a real crowd pleaser. I call it a "bake and take" cake because it can be baked, frosted, and ready to eat or leave the house with you in an hour. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and I can easily make it on my lunch hour. I've even mixed it up while preparing breakfast. While the cake bakes, I put on my "face", do my hair, and get dressed. I pour on the icing just before I leave for work. I am also including some variations you might want to try sometime.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

Bring butter, water, oil, and cocoa to a boil over medium heat.

Pour the hot mixture over the flour and sugar and mix well. Make sure you use a heat proof mixing bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Pour it all into a greased (or Pam'd) 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

I wanted to show you my little nut chopper. I know you probably have a fancy, schmancy chopper, all electric and everything and I've got one too. But this one belonged to my Nannie and guess what?
When the glass cup is almost full I know I have a cup of chopped nuts. So, there. Laugh at it if you want to.

Okay, this is what the icing looks like and I wish you could smell the delicious aroma of chocolate in my kitchen right now! Pour onto the hot cake and then lick the pan.

There she is and she tastes as good as she looks. I have never taken this cake anywhere that I didn't get compliments and requests for the recipe.

Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa powder
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teapoon vanilla
Mix flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. I whisk the two together to break up lumps in flour. In  a medium saucepan, mix water, 2 sticks butter, oil, and cocoa. Bring to a boil over medium heat whisking occasionally until smooth. Pour hot mixture over sugar and flour mixture and whisk until blended. Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, mixing well. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch pan (I use cooking spray to grease pan). Bake at 350F about 45 minutes or until cake tests done in center. While the cake is baking, make the icing.

Icing for chocolate sheet cake:
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa powder
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 box (1lb) confectioners sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon vanilla
Wipe out or rinse the saucepan you used for the cake and use it to make icing. Bring butter, buttermilk, and cocoa to a boil over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioners sugar until smooth. Add pecans. Pour over hot cake in pan.

Variations on a theme:
To make a chocolate peanut butter cake, make the cake as directed. Mix together a 12 oz jar of creamy peanut butter and 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Spread over hot cake and let cool. Make icing as directed above leaving out chopped pecans. I've never tried it but I bet it would be good to add chopped peanuts to the icing. Pour icing over cooled cake.

To make a rocky road cake, prepare cake as directed and let cool a little bit.While cake is still warm pour a bag of miniature marshmallows on top. Prepare icing as directed above and pour over marshmallows and cake.

Happy cooking!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Memories of Mama

My mother's birthday was this week. If she was living, Dorothy Andrews Cauthen Milner, would be 82 years old. There are so many things I would like to tell you about this woman better known as "Dot." And those things will be forthcoming as I continue writing and sharing through this blog. That is because my love for cooking came from Dot. Sharing recipes and trying new dishes was something we had in common, as well, as our love for a good grocery store. Few things excited us more than to visit one of the large chain grocery stores and ooh and ahh over the sights and smells of the bounty therein.
Everyone has memories of dishes their mothers and grandmothers prepared. That is the stuff comfort food is made of. In my very first post in this blog I told you I would sometimes share food from my childhood that you might not really want to try. Well, today's entry may be one of those. But because my thoughts have been of Mama this week and because this dish is so closely associated with her, I made it this morning for breakfast. As a tribute to her, here it is.

Dot's Creamed Beef
Make a basic white sauce with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 cup milk. I always double this for my family so I will have some left over for breakfast the next day. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk it with the flour until smooth. Gradually add in milk continuing to whisk. Stir constantly over medium to medium high heat until mixture thickens to the consistency of a sauce. Stir in about a fourth of a 15 oz jar of Kraft Cheez Whiz ( 1/2 if doubling recipe). Cheez Whiz was always in our house. It was stirred into cooked macaroni, melted over broccoli, and spread on toast, and much more. Now you should taste this concoction and see if it is cheesy enough for you. It usually isn't for me so I like to add some shredded cheddar cheese. Next, you will add a 2 oz package of thin, sliced smoked beef ( 2 pkg if doubling recipe). There is a brand put out by Carl Buddig Co. and usually stores have their own brand of this sliced beef you will find in the luncheon meat section. Slice the beef into "cubes" before adding to the sauce. Voila! You have creamed beef! Serve it on unbuttered bread toasted on both sides. I like to sprinkle a little black pepper on my slice.

You will either love this or hate it. I don't think there is any in between. My children and my brother love it. Hubby does not. My sister's boys love it. Their wives, not so much. The dish is reminicent of one served by the Army which has an unflattering name that I will not repeat. My Mama's creamed beef does not taste like that. When I take my first bite, I close my eyes and I am back at that well used and battered wooden table with the morning sun streaming in through the window. The only other thing I need is a steaming cup of Maxwell House instant coffee.

Mornin' Mama, I'm having breakfast in your kitchen today.

Happy cooking,