Monday, October 5, 2015

Cheddar Bacon Dip

* 16 ounces sour cream
* 1 packet Ranch dressing mix
* 3 ounces precooked bacon pieces (real bacon)
* 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all together and refrigerate for 24 hours

Serve with your favorite chips or crackers

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz can tomato sauce (use half of the sauce in the mix and half to top the peppers)
mozzarella cheese
1 cup cooked rice

Brown the beef , add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Drain well on paper towels. Add the beef back to the skillet and add the rice and half can of sauce.
Fill each pepper with the beef and rice mixture, leaving enough room to pour the tomato sauce on top. cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and add grated cheese; return to the oven for 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Notes: Sometimes I use spaghetti sauce or add Italian seasoning to kick the flavor up a bit. My family doesn't like for our peppers to be crispy, so I pre-cook them for a few minutes in the microwave with about an inch of water in the bottom of the dish.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breakfast Bacon Gravy

Bacon Gravy

One of my favorite gravies is served with biscuits for breakfast. A lot of people prefer sausage gravy, and that's very good, but my family always preferred bacon gravy. I think this is also called "Milk Gravy" by some. 

I will never forget the morning I learned to make Bacon Gravy. I was fourteen years old when I begged my Mama to teach me how to make homemade biscuits and gravy.

I'm just kidding. I'll never forget that morning because Mama nearly tore my butt up for being a lazy teenager who talked back to her. “How come Randy doesn't have to get off his butt and help, too?” I asked. “Because Randy is my favorite”, said Mama.

I'm just kidding again, but that's what I thought at the time, and nothing she said could have convinced me otherwise. 
She gave me a brief explanation about how women cooked, cleaned and cared for the children, and men earned the income. So that little story explains to y'all why I feel I should have been a 1950's housewife.

Without further digression, here's how you make basic gravy, of which I prefer to use bacon grease in stead of sausage, but you can use either.


2 T Bacon Grease
2 T Flour
1 Cup Milk


Heat your bacon grease on medium heat.
Whisk in your flour a little at a time, whisking after each addition.
Cook the grease and flour for about a minute and then slowly add your milk a little at a time, whisk until smooth.
I also add salt and pepper. Let the gravy bubble just a little, add more milk if necessary.

This makes just enough for the three of us, we like a lot of gravy over our biscuits.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Make Tonight A Manwich Night!

Wait!!! Where are you going? Don't leave! Let me explain! 

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary! With a romantic dinner for four. The husband, our son, my father and myself. To throw a blanket on the spark of romance even more, yeah, I served up Sloppy Joes.

I know what you're thinking: She's cheap! ... or, They're poor, bless their hearts! Yes, and yes. But give Mama Mia a little break will you? Even so, I was planning on a better menu than Sloppy Joes! I asked my dear husband what he wanted me to cook for our anniversary dinner and I kid you not, he picked up the can of Manwich and said, "Sloppy Joes!" I laughed out loud because I though it was another one of his jokes but he assured me he wasn't kidding. So being the good wife that I am, I slaved over a hot stove for a few minutes making our special dinner. Our 20th wedding anniversary romantic dinner for four.

Of course I had to add my own little spin to the mix. I finely minced garlic and Vidalia onion and added it to the ground beef, which did add a nice touch. Also, and this is very important, it makes me feel better. I served a healthy salad on the side with homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette. It's as easy as falling off a log, and here is the recipe. Which by the way is my husband's favorite, even above all 4 star restaurant's salad dressings.

You'll need:
* A nice fancy mason jar. Yeah, you read that correct. Remember, I'm cheap. And poor.
*Balsamic vinegar -1/4 cup
*A nice big juicy garlic clove, smashed and minced.
*Olive oil - 3/4 cup (I prefer light olive oil myself)
*Dark brown sugar - 2  tablespoons full. NOTE:The amount you use depends on the quality of your Balsamic. If you're rich, or a big spender, and can afford the best, you won't need a lot of sugar. But remember, I'm cheap. And poor. I use around 3 or more spoons.
*Salt and pepper to taste

Add all of the above ingredients in your mason jar, secure the lid and give it a very good shake! Don't thank me, I got the recipe from Emeril's food show, and store-bought vinaigrette will not do. It doesn't even come close! I mean, we could drink this stuff!  

Another Note:  I have one more point I'd like to make. No, two. FYI, this food snob loves a good Manwich sloppy Joe! And, the husband and I are going out Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary. Just the two of us! Thanks to an awesome respite care ministry in our area. If you have a special needs child and you're in the Birmingham area also  looking for a parent's night out program designed for your special needs child and their siblings, please check them out HERE! You will be beyond amazed!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving and my Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie

(In the photo, you’ll see my most precious possessions, which incidentally were my mom’s as well ~ the cookbook daddy gave her as a gift when they first married in 1954 and the wedding band she wore without taking it off for almost fifty-six years.)

So here I am, the second Thanksgiving without mama. They say the first holiday is the hardest. Well, let me say from my own experience, the second time around without her is no easier. Even so, at least I can function better, and I can bring myself to cook Thanksgiving dinner. I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year in my mama’s kitchen, standing in the same exact spot she did, using her cookware, making her recipe for dressing and gravy, my recipe for steamed whole green beans, potatoes, salad, rolls and my Mama’s famous Sweet Potato Pie.

I’m actually making her pie in my kitchen and taking it to my dad’s house this afternoon. I am spending the night at dad’s so I can get up bright and early tomorrow morning and get to work. I will be spending my first night away from Paul and Stephen since the summer of 2003 when I took a short road trip with my parents. ... I wonder if they’ll have a stag party in my absence? Everyone reading this, please cook spaghetti for them till they’re sick of it. (That statement makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to you unless you’re a big Andy Griffith Show fan.)

So I digress, we all know that’s what I do best.

Sweet Potato Pie

3 medium sweet potatoes, baked
¼ cup butter, melted
2 eggs, separated
½ cup honey
¼ t salt
¼ t nutmeg
1 t baking powder
½ cup milk
1 t grated orange rind
1 t brandy (mom used vanilla)
Unbaked pie shell. (I use store bought)

Wash and bake baked potatoes until they are soft. Remove skins, and mash them with a fork (unless you have a ricer, which I don’t) to remove all the lumps. Cool slightly. Add melted butter, egg yolks, honey, salt, nutmeg and baking powder, and beat until smooth and creamy; then stir in milk, orange rind and vanilla. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake in a hot oven (450°) for 15 minutes or until edge of crust is lightly browned. Then reduce heat to 300° (slow) and bake 25-30 minutes longer. Remove pie from oven and spread with meringue made by beating the 2 egg whites until stiff, then beating in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Return to oven for 20 minutes to brown meringue. Cool on cake rack before cutting. 5 to 6 servings.

NOTE: I can't remember mama using honey in her recipe. Like me, she probably played with the ingredients. I'm going to use dark brown sugar in stead. I'll update later to let you know how that goes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cherry Pocket Pies

This one comes from our friends at Publix -- My personal favorite grocery store! I tried this recipe last year and loved it because it's something that Stephen can enjoy helping me make in the kitchen. And we all know that boy loves to help ... and eat! Right now is a good time to buy fresh cherries. I bought some recently from Publix and will make these little babies again! ... Enjoy!

Cherry Pocket Pies


12 slices Bakery thin white sandwich bread
1 cup fresh cherries
2 tablespoons cherry jam
1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Remove crusts from bread.
  • Remove cherry stems and pits; chop coarsely.

  1. Combine cherries, jam, and cheese for filling.
  2. Brush six bread slices with egg, then top each bread slice with 2 tablespoons of the cherry mixture. Add second bread slice; crimp edges using a fork.
  3. Preheat large nonstick sauté pan on medium 2–3 minutes. Brush pies with egg. Place butter in pan, then add pies; cook 1–2 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve. (Makes 6 servings.)

CALORIES (per 1/6 recipe) 180kcal; FAT 10g; CHOL 25mg; SODIUM 170mg; CARB 18g; FIBER 1g; PROTEIN 5g; VIT A 8%; VIT C 2%; CALC 6%; IRON 6%

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I love chips and salsa, but I’ve never been able to find a store bought salsa that I like. I’ve tried nearly every brand out there, and none of them taste authentic. Finally I just gave up and treated myself to salsa and chips when I went to a Mexican restaurant. By the way, I care very little for authentic Mexican food, but I do love chips with salsa and cheese dip. I usually make that my meal on the rare occasion I go to a Mexican restaurant. So I hit the internet on a quest to find a salsa recipe that I like. I finally found one that I LOVE, although it needed some tweaking for my taste. You have to do that with recipes like salsa. Some like it hot, some like it mild. I like it medium myself, so this is how I make it.

First and foremost, I should tell you that you are going to need a good food processor. I love my nice, big KitchenAid that my bff gave me for my birthday.


* 1 - 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
* 2 - 10 ounce cans Rotel (diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies)
* ¼ cup chopped onion
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 whole Jalapeno (a half if you‘re like me), quartered and thinly sliced
* ¼ teaspoon sugar
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* ¼ teaspoon ground Cumin (I omit this, cause I don’t care for Cumin)
* ½ cup Cilantro (or more, depending on your taste)
* ½ of a Lime (this is also one of those things that depends on your taste)


Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like — I do about 8 pulses. Taste and adjust to your preference. It’s a good idea to make this several hours ahead of time, or even a day before you’re going to serve it. Trust me, it’s even better.

Note: be sure you get WHOLE tomatoes or you’ll have soup after you put them through the processor. I learned this the hard way. Also, you’ll want to use the “large” bowl. I learned that the hard way, too.

Oh, one more very important thing! Use disposable food gloves when you are slicing the Jalapeno peppers! (Yes, that’s another thing I learned the hard way) I scoop out the seeds as well, because I’m kinda wimpy and have stomach ulcers, so I can’t take the heat.
I have another Jalapeno Pepper hint for you: If you didn’t read all of my instructions before you sliced and deseeded the pepper, your hands are probably on fire! Don’t touch your face!!! If you’re a man, don’t pee! (lol, I just thought of that!) The only thing that stopped my hands from burning like H-E-double-hockey-sticks was Dawn dish washing liquid. The original (blue) kind. You’ll have to lather, rinse, repeat until the burning stops. Dawn cuts the grease! The pepper seeds and membranes are apparently oily. =/

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this stuff, it’s the best salsa I’ve ever made.