Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Whistle Dogs

Whistle Dogs

If you've ever eaten at a A&W, then you will for sure know about their Whistle Dogs.  Although they've been discontinued from many of the A&W restaurants, you can still enjoy them at home.

They are so easy to make, but definitely take a normal hotdog to another level.  Bacon......melted cheese......sweet relish......all of these combined bring you a hotdog that is amazingly delicious.

Whistle Dogs

Whistle Dogs

Hotdog Buns
Bacon Slices
American Cheese
Sweet Relish

Begin by cooking your bacon in a skillet, until it is crispy.  Remove and set aside.

Slice the hotdogs in half lengthwise, making sure not to go all the way through.  In essence, you are butterflying the hotdogs.  Cook them in the skillet for a few minutes, then remove them and set them aside.

In the same skillet, toast the buns for a minute or so, until warm.  Remove the buns and return the hotdogs to the pan.  Now take a slice of cheese and top the hotdogs.  Cover with a lid until the cheese gets all melted and gooey.  Place the crispy bacon on top of the cheesy goodness, then using a spatula transfer the hotdogs to the warm buns.

Top with some sweet relish and serve.

Quick, simple, AMAZING!!!

Whistle Dogs

Bacon, Corn and Shallot Spaghetti

This one came about purely out of what I had on hand.  I usually don't mix corn in with my spaghetti, but I wanted a pop of color and it did the job.

Bacon, Corn and Shallot Spaghetti

There is nothing to this spaghetti, no special sauce, or baking or anything involved.  Just a skillet, a couple of ingredients and a delicious pasta dish that everyone will enjoy.

Bacon, Corn and Shallot Spaghetti

Bacon, Corn and Shallot Spaghetti

12 oz Spaghetti noodles
6 slices of bacon
1 shallot, finely diced
1 can of whole kernel corn
Garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp or just tender, however your family prefers.  We all like crispy, except for my son, so I just cooked it until it was done so he would enjoy it as well.

Add in the garlic, the shallot and the corn and mix everything together.  Give it a stir and cook for a minute or two until the shallot is transparent.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, cook the spaghetti noodles until al dente, then drain and add to the skillet.  Toss everything together, check the spices, then drizzle on a little olive oil, giving everything a final toss.

Serve with a sprinkle of parsley (if you wish) and some shredded parmesan cheese.

Bacon, Corn and Shallot Spaghetti

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Sometimes you crave something sweet, but you don't want to go to a lot of trouble. You just want something quick and easy to throw together.

This is it. Not a lot of fuss, not a lot of ingredients, just delicious goodness that comes together pretty quick. I think it would be perfect for those days when company arrives without notice.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

1 cup oil
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl. combine oil, eggs, vanilla and milk together.  Add in the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. 

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pour half the batter into a 9x13 pan.   Sprinkle half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, then top with the remaining batter.  Sprinkle the leftover streusel mixture on top.

Drizzle with the melted butter.  (I know it seems like a lot, but it really does make the cake)

Bake, uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

When I was growing up, one of our favorite meals used to be Spaghetti Bolognese.  Homemade Bolognese with wine and garlic and bay leaves and all that goodness.

I remember when my stepmother would call us for dinner, I knew immediately what we were having because that delicious aroma would waft in from the kitchen and into the whole house.  Homework was set aside, TV was turned off, and we gathered around the table, eager to sink our teeth into that yumminess.

My children have been blessed to have a mother who loves cooking.  You don't know how many times I've counted myself blessed to have been born into a house where the women were some of the best cooks around.

Down home filling, comforting good food.  I learned from a very early age that some ingredients went well together, and some didn't.  To this day my children, husband and family and friends will always say that they're amazed that I can come up with a delicious meal out of nothing, and always seem to know what goes with what.

Practice, and love.  Those two together can create amazing things.

Now as much as I love cooking and being in the kitchen, I'm not above using appliances that will make my meals come together faster, especially on really busy days.

Saturday was a busy one for us, we were outside working on the property.  We live on a 3 acre home out in the country and there is always something to be done.

This is where my trusty and much loved pressure cooker comes in.  This meal comes together in about 20 minutes and is absolutely delicious.  I sometimes throw in a veggie or two just because it's healthy and it's a way for the kids to eat it without complaining....well too much at least ;)

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
garlic finely diced (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
wine (we use whatever we have on hand, sometimes white, this time I used merlot red)
tomato sauce
frozen veggies (whatever you have on hand, I used a handful of peas this time)

Plug in your pressure cooker and set it to Saute.  I don't pop the lid on mine otherwise it will seal it and end up steaming instead of actually sauteing.

Either spray the pressure cooker bowl, or add a tiny little bit of olive oil.  Add your ground beef and saute until brown.  Add in the onion, tomato, garlic, seasonings to taste, tomato sauce and wine.   I just eyeball everything.  I added about half a cup of tomato sauce and about 1/4 cup of wine.  Stir everything well and check the taste.  Adjust accordingly.

Cancel the saute function.  Pop on your lid and lock it, then make sure the pressure release is set to airtight.

Select manual and click the + button until you get to 10 minutes.  That's it.

After it's done, I just use the quick release method.  To do that make sure you are not standing right in front of the valve as the steam WILL burn.  I usually just grab a big wooden and push the valve over to Exhaust.

Once it's done releasing the pressure, open and give it a stir.  If it's too watery, you can switch it back to saute and cook it for a few minutes more until it thickens up.  Mine is usually perfect for the 10 minutes.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Gnocchi Bolognese

So a couple years ago I was watching a vlog and this yummy looking meal showed up.  I am a total sucker for those Weekly Meal vlogs, I just enjoy watching what people are eating and it gives me tons of ideas when I'm menu planning.

I've been menu planning for over 20 years but here's the thing, you kind of go through phases where you draw a total blank and have no clue what to make......that's when I need all the help I can get.

I do have a few criteria I go by and if you've been reading my blog long enough you know what they are.  No gourmet, nothing that I can't make myself or find in my pantry, nothing that I need to go to a specialty store for and it must be pretty inexpensive, easy, quick to make and filling.

Those may seem like a lot of things to check off the list, but I learned how to cook with my greatgrandmother and she was all about feeding a big family, without breaking the bank and filling tummies with delicious food.

Thank you Bio Ema :)

Anyway, this recipe came up and I saved it and never got around to making it until tonight, and the only reason that even happened is because I was reorganizing and cleaning out my computer and the bookmarks and found it just sitting there, waiting patiently since 2013.  Poor thing.

I made it tonight and it was amazing, the family went crazy over it and it's been requested to be put on my MUST MAKES list. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  By the way, you can make your own gnocchi or use your favorite brand.  If you want to make your own, I do have a recipe for you :)

Gnocchi Bolognese

Gnocchi (the amount depends on you, but I find that one package is enough, or if making fresh, then about 3 cups)
1 pound ground beef
Spaghetti sauce (again, homemade or your favorite brand)
Fresh Mozzarella

In a skillet, brown the ground beef, then drain.  Pour in the spaghetti sauce, simmer for a few minutes, then add in a bunch of spinach, I just use a handful.  Cook for a minute or two more until it wilts down.  Take off heat.

Cook Gnocchi according to package directions, or if you are making it homemade, place in a pot of boiling water and cook until it floats to the top.  Don't overcook or it will fall apart.

Mix the gnocchi and the meat mixture, spoon into a casserole dish and add pieces of fresh mozzarella on top.  Bake in a 425 degree oven until cheese is melted.

I served mine with a salad and garlic bread.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Star Spangled Lemon Slab Pie

For the Fourth of July this year, I made two desserts.  One of them being the Red, White and Blueberry Pie, and the other was this Slab Pie which I had bookmarked for a while and ready to try.

It didn't take long to put together, especially since you make use of store bought pie crusts, but you can certainly make your own, which is what I did.

If you like cheesecake, and lemon pie, this is pretty much a combination of those two in one delicious and beautiful dessert.

Adapted from: Pillsbury.com

Star Spangled Lemon Slab Pie

3 refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (from 2 boxes)

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened (I used Neufch√Ętel)

1 (10 oz) jar lemon curd

6 cups assorted berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)

Sugar for dusting
star cookie cutters

Heat oven to 450°F. Remove 2 of the pie crusts from pouches. Unroll and stack on lightly floured surface. Roll to 17x12-inch rectangle. Fit crust into ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan, pressing into corners. Fold crust even with edges of pan. Prick crust several times with fork.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove another pie crust from pouch. On lightly floured surface, unroll crust. Roll to 12-inch circle. Cut stars using cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on large ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with water; sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and lemon curd with electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly into crust-lined pan. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chilled.

Add berries evenly on top of cream cheese-topped pie crust. Place pie crust stars on top of berry mixture.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Oven Baked Basmati Rice

The perfect way to cook rice, especially if you're already using the oven for the rest of the meal.

The rice cooks up perfectly every time, it crisps on the edges and is just phenomenal.  It's also very versatile, you can add veggies, or different flavored bouillon cubes to compliment your main dish.

Oven Baked Basmati Rice

Olive oil
Basmati Rice
2 tablespoons Knorr Chicken Powder

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

In a baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom.  The amount of rice and water is according to how much rice you want to make.  This is a great way to feed a crowd as you can use a bigger baking pan and a lot of rice.

For my family of four, the oven rice turns out very similar to my Portuguese Chicken and Rice, so I make 2 cups because my husband and kids love this rice and will often have second helpings and leftovers the next day.

So into the baking dish, add in your rice, sprinkle on the Knorr Chicken Powder, then pour in the water.  Remember the ratio is usually double the water to the rice, so in my case, 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water.

Using a fork, stir well and then place the baking dish in the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.  Remove from the oven, stir, then pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is all absorbed.  Fluff with a fork, and that's it.

Island Teriyaki Chicken

So tonight's dinner came about purely by accident.   When I got groceries two weeks ago, it was right before Memorial Day and they had a few sales going on, one of which was a huge bag of Chicken Leg Quarters for only $4.  It was a 10 lb bag, so even though it wasn't on my list, I grabbed it.

For dinner tonight, I knew I wanted to make the chicken but I wasn't wanting the usual roast chicken that I make, I wanted something different.

I've also been dealing with some major sinus issues and feeling a bit light headed and achy etc, so I wanted something simple that I could throw together using what I already had on hand.

Something else I had purchased on my last grocery trip, was Teriyaki sauce but from a different brand that I had never tried before.  It is now my absolute favorite and I don't think I'll buy any other kind.  It's the Soy Vay Island Teriyaki.  Truly delicious.

The chicken was extremely easy to prepared, the trick though is to bake it for a long time, about an hour and a half to 2 hours.

But enough talking, let me show you.

Island Teriyaki Chicken

Chicken Leg Quarters (but you can use whatever chicken you have on hand)
Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce

Clean the chicken and place in a roasting pan.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pour some of the teriyaki marinade on each piece of chicken and using a basting brush, slather all over making sure to cover well.

Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for about an hour.  My chicken leg quarters were huge so they took a while to bake, but if you're cooking smaller pieces just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

About an hour into the baking time, remove the foil, flip the chicken over and using the basting brush, baste the chicken with the juices in the bottom of the pan.

Continue cooking, basting every 20 minutes or so until the juices run clear. 

Turn the heat up to 450, and finish off by allowing the skin to crisp and brown.  When done, you can baste with a little more of the juices, move to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

{ Cast Iron Buttermilk Biscuits }

I woke up this morning craving biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

I have to tell you a funny story first.  I'm sure most of you know that before moving to the United States, I lived in South Africa.  We spoke English but with a British/Afrikaans kind of accent, but for the most part everything derived from England's English, so we used terms like Flat (apartment), biscuits (cookies), jelly (jelly-o), Jam (jelly), boot (trunk), chips (fries) and so on.

When I met my husband, who is American, I found some of the words a bit strange and had a hard time understanding what he was referring to.

The first time he mentioned a Sausage Biscuit for breakfast, I almost puked, because in my mind I picture a sausage flavored cookie LOL  And let's not even mention Biscuits and Gravy, that was even worst.

It took me moving to the States to finally realize that what was referred to as biscuits here, was what we referred to as scones in South Africa.

Long story short, I finally tried the biscuits and gravy and sausage biscuits and fell in love.

Fast forward to today, this morning actually, and I wanted some biscuits and gravy but I wanted a new recipe to try, more specifically one that I could use my cast iron skillet with.  I've been trying to use it more and get it nice and seasoned.

I happened upon this recipe on the Lodge Cast Iron website, gave it a try and it was delicious.  Hope you enjoy it as well :)

Brigg's Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour, plus extra for dusting counter
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, plus an additional 2 tablespoons melted butter
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted shortening

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a 10.25-inch cast iron skillet into the oven to preheat.
Measure the self-rising flour into a large mixing bowl.

Using the coarse side of a hand grater, quickly grate 1 stick (½ cup) cold hard butter into the self-rising flour. Working quickly, use fingers to gently distribute the shredded butter into the self-rising flour.

Add the buttermilk, then stir until just combined.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and, using floured fingers, quickly pat to approximately the size of an 8.5x11" sheet of paper, which will be about ½" to ¾" thick. Very lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour from your fingertips, then fold the sheet of dough into thirds, as when folding a business letter. Repeat the patting, dusting, and folding steps seven times, or fewer if you feel the dough begin to tighten–overworked dough makes for a tough biscuit! The final time, pat the dough to a rectangle slightly larger than the size of your skillet. Using a round biscuit cutter or a drinking glass, cut into about 7 round biscuits. Gather up the scraps to form the 8th biscuit by hand.

With a handle mitt, carefully remove the preheated skillet from the oven. Drop melted shortening into the preheated skillet, then return to oven for a couple of minutes, until it is melted. Place each biscuit into the skillet and, using a fork, immediately turn to coat both sides with shortening.

Place the hot skillet into the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 425°F. Bake until tops of biscuits are golden brown, about 12-18 minutes.

Remove from oven. Brush tops with additional melted butter. Serve while hot!

Friday, May 05, 2017

{ Deep Dish Sausage Pizza }

Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

Here's a great pizza recipe, easy to throw together and the results are magnificent.

I have a family of pizza eaters, teenagers and a husband who would probably be very happy with pizza every day.  I do enjoy it myself but I get a bit tired and bored of the same old pizza delivery or even the same homemade pizza.

Sometimes we need to kick it up a notch.

What I've done in this recipe is combine my own pizza dough with a Taste of Home recipe.  I don't like to brag, but I will say that this was one of the tastiest pizzas we've ever had, thick, soft crust and a delicious flavorful topping.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

Deep Dish Sausage Pizza
Adapted from:  Taste of Home

Homemade Pizza dough

4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 medium green peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil and marjoram
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound Jones Dairy Farm All Natural Pork Sausage Roll, cooked and drained
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained
2 ounces sliced pepperoni

Transfer to a well-greased 12-in. heavy ovenproof skillet or round baking pan, letting dough drape over edges. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella.
4. In a skillet, saute the green peppers, onion and seasonings in oil until tender; drain. Layer half of the mixture over crust. Layer with half of the Parmesan, sausage and tomatoes. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella. Repeat layers. Fold crust over to form an edge.
5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with pepperoni and remaining mozzarella. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until crust is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Yield: 8 slices.

Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

{ Dad's Cajun Dinner }

When I was meal planning for these two weeks, I grabbed one of my Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks.  I've been collecting them for quite a few years, but haven't used them in a while and I really wanted to not only make use of my books but also try new recipes that I knew the whole family would enjoy.

This was one of the recipes that caught my eye.  Dad's Cajun Dinner.

Smoked kielbasa sausage, cajun seasoning, yep, definitely something I would enjoy.

It was a hit, and therefore will be posted to the blog.  I know that some of you wonder if I ever make dishes that don't turn out, or are not liked by the family, and the answer is, oh yes, absolutely.

I don't share them on here because I use this space as my online recipe binder, and I am only interested in keeping recipes that are tried and true and got big thumbs up.  No use in keeping something I know I will never try again.

Right, let's get going, this is a super easy recipe, perfect for a week night.

May 4, 2017

Dad's Cajun Dinner
Source:  Gooseberry Patch One Pot Meals

1 onion, diced
1 t. garlic, minced
2 T. butter
2 green peppers, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
3 T. Cajun seasoning
14-oz.pkg. Kielbasa, sliced
15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
12-oz. can tomato juice
hot pepper sauce to taste
3 c. prepared rice

Saute onion and garlic in butter until onion is crisp-tender.  Add peppers, celery and seasoning;  continue to saute until vegetables are tender.  Add Kielbasa;  saute and additional 3 to 4 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes and tomato juice;  cook until heated through.  Sprinkle with hot sauce to taste.  Serve over prepared rice.  Makes 6 servings.


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