Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Morning Steak and Eggs

One of my favorite breakfast, as you know, is steak and eggs. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a nice leisurely weekend meal.

Here's the steak portion of our meal.  These Eye of Round Steaks weighed in at about 1 1/2 lbs. and were less than $5.

Yes, they're super thin and cook FAST!  In fact, they were ready in the same time it took me to scramble the eggs. I seasoned the steak with Canadian Steak Seasoning and the eggs were spiced up with the additional of pepper jack cheese.  This was definitely a "thumbs up" breakfast!

For the steak:
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. eye of round steak
1 - 2 T. Canadian Steak Seasoning
1 T. vegetable oil

Sprinkle steak with seasoning. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, carefully add steak. Lower heat slightly. Let steak cook 1 - 2 minutes, flip with tongs and cook 1 - 2 minutes more. Remove from heat while you cook eggs.

For the eggs:
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. butter
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 T. half-and-half

In a medium skillet, over medium-low heat, add butter. Add salt and pepper to beaten eggs. Pour eggs into the skillet and lower heat to low. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, slowly and gently stir eggs as they cook. When they are half-way cooked, add shredded cheese and continue gently stirring. When cheese is melted, add half-and-half and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Serve with hash browns and biscuits!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Canadian Steak Seasoned Burgers with grilled onions and pepper jack cheese

Tonight was burger night and I wanted something a little different. I went through the spice pantry and came across the container of Canadian Steak Seasoning. A blend of salt, garlic, pepper, onion, and red pepper sounded perfect.

1 1/2 lbs. ground round
1 T. Canadian Steak Seasoning
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
pepper jack cheese

In a medium bowl, combine ground round, seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into four patties.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add olive oil. Place patties into skillet and lower heat to medium high.

Let burgers cook 4 - 5 minutes, and then turn using a metal spatula. Add onions to skillet with a little additional olive oil.

Continue cooking until the burgers reach an internal temp of 165 degrees for well-done burgers. Top the burgers with sliced pepper jack cheese.

Top with the cooked onions and your favorite condiments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dining Out Southeast: Old Town Stock House, Guntersville, AL

Dining out on Valentine's Day? The pros and cons are rampant. I've had very unsuccessful dining experiences on Valentine's and then there are those wonderful dinners such as the one we enjoyed at Old Town Stock House. Of course, the restaurant was crowded and busy.  It was Valentine's after all! But on the positive side, there was fun energy in the hustle and bustle.  The building was built in 1901. One of the things I like most about this restaurant is they incorporate seasonal menu items. With each changing season, the menu changes as well. There's always new beverages to try to compliment the menu.

Last night our server was Destinie and she was very knowledgeable of the menu and offered suggestions as needed.

We started with a Long Island Iced Tea for Harold and an individual bottle of Lamarca Prosecco for me.

There was a special Valentine's menu and as we sipped, we discussed and debated several choices.

I was torn.  Look at the selection:

Baked Feta with roasted tomatoes, grapes, house pesto, pine nuts, served with flatbread; 

Duck Rillettes with pickled mustard seeds, orange zest, Spanish olives, served with toast points; 

She Crab Soup, crab broth, roe, lump crab, and sherry (this one almost drew me in!); 

Crab Cakes, lump crab, poached egg, chive hollandaise, caviar; and last but certainly not least, 

Lobster Salad, lettuces, lobster, asparagus, radishes, croutons, spicy lemon vinaigrette.  Oh my.  See the dilemma?

Harold chose the crab cakes and I snuck as many bites from his plate as possible. There was very little filling. The flavor was fresh and light and the poached egg with hollandaise added such a touch of elegance to the dish.

When I chose the Lobster Salad, I anticipated a small mixed green salad with a few scant pieces of lobster scattered here and there on the plate.  As you can see, this salad could easily have been a full course entree'! Huge pieces of lobster topped a bed of fresh greens. My love of lemon / vinegar was complete with the spicy vinaigrette. That dressing should be bottled for retail sale! 

Now on to the entrees. 

Here were the choices:

Pappardelle pasta, local mushrooms, shallot and red wine cream, arugula, parmesan;

Fresh catch (choice of sea scallops or Chilean Sea Bass) with whipped truffled potatoes, spinach, lobster cream, local micro greens;

Chinese marinated lamb chops, sauteed scallions, Mongolian sauce, brown rice, fried rice noodles;

8 oz. grass-fed, center-cut filet, potato gratin, asparagus, truffle and compound butter

So many delicious selections!  

Harold was sold as soon as he saw Chilean Sea Bass on the menu. He was very pleased. The fish was perfectly cooked and the potatoes were served hot. One of his pet peeves is room temperature food. That was NOT a problem with this dish.

I was torn, as I normally am when presented with so many wonderful selections. How can you choose one over the other? It's like asking a parent which of their children is their favorite!

And my decision was.......the Chinese Marinated Lamb Chops. I chose wisely. The chops were cooked to a perfect Medium Rare. The sauce had the proper amount of heat without being overbearing and the presentation was just lovely.

I suppose you can understand why we didn't have dessert. Here were the selections in case you wondered.

Chocolate Creme Brulee with chocolate covered bananas
Assorted berries with champagne whipped cream and cocoa nibs
Cheesecake with raspberry coulis

I cannot urge you enough to give this restaurant a try. Beautiful atmosphere, attentive service, delicious drinks, and amazing food.  Trust me, you'll love it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joe

After you try this recipe for Sloppy Joes, you'll never be tempted to buy that canned stuff ever again. Seasoned with common ingredients you should have in your pantry and refrigerator and made with lean ground turkey, this one will become a family favorite.  If you're preparing for those who don't care for spicy food, simply use regular olive oil. I used Red Cayenne Chili Pepper Oil and it added the perfect amount of heat.

1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 T. granulated garlic
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
3/4 cup ketchup
1 T. yellow mustard
1 1/2 T. dill pickle relish
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. Worcestershire sauce

Heat chili oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and let saute' for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add granulated garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt. Stir to combine and let cook 2 - 3 more minutes.

Add turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and let cook until turkey is cooked through 5 - 6 minutes. Continue to stir so that turkey doesn't stick.

Add ketchup, mustard, relish, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Continue stirring and let mixture cook for 5 - 7 minutes until thickened.

Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.

Toast hamburger buns and spoon Sloppy Joe mixture over bottom half of bun. Top with top bun and enjoy!

Mini Crab Cakes

For our Valentine's meal, which featured seared scallops along with Filet Mignon, I wanted an appetizer which would compliment. I thought about crab cakes, but didn't want something that filling. I found this recipe on www.noblepig.com. This recipe came together very quickly and, as an added bonus, the filling can be made up to a day beforehand and refrigerated until you're ready to bake.

I changed a few things such as reducing the amount of chives and using Gruyere cheese instead of Parmesan. Feel free to use either cheese you'd like.

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 t. orange zest
1/2 t. lemon zest
2 T. chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
8 oz. lump crab meat, picked over for shells, patted dry, coarsely shredded
1 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 butter, melted
additional chives for garish

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Gruyere and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus zest, 1 T. of chives, salt, and cayenne pepper. Gently fold in crab meat.

Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray. Toss panko, 3/4 cup Gruyere and 1 T. chives in a bowl. Drizzle melted butter over panko/cheese mixture, tossing with a fork until evenly moistened.  Press 1 rounded tablespoon panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup. I used a cookie dough measuring scoop. Using your fingers, make a well in each cup to make the crust. Fill each cup with 1 generous tablespoon of the crab mixture. Sprinkle any remaining panko mixture you have over the filled cups.

Bake crab cakes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top and set, about 20 minutes. Cool the crab cakes in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently lift each crab cake out of the pan with a fork onto serving platter. Sprinkle the tops with additional chopped chives.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017 - Surf and Turf: Seared Scallops and Filet Mignon with Rosemary Wine Pan Sauce served with Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

For this year's Valentine's dinner at home, I decided a Surf and Turf meal would be perfect. Gulf Coast scallops were waiting in the freezer for the surf portion. Filet Mignon would be the selection for the turf portion. 

Please, please, please don't be intimated by cooking scallops at home. A hot skillet and 90 seconds on each side later, your scallops are PERFECTION.

The same thing goes for the steak. Don't be intimidated. A very hot cast iron skillet, two minutes of searing time on the stovetop and then 8 minutes in the oven and then some resting time. For the steak that is.

And don't think those are just ho-hum mashed potatoes. These are taken to a little higher level with the addition of grated Gruyere cheese.  Oh yes.

Let's get cooking!

For the Mashed Potatoes
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 T. butter
2 T. heavy cream
Salt to taste
1/3 grated Gruyere cheese

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and then mash potatoes with butter, heavy cream, salt, and grated Gruyere cheese. Set aside.

For the Steaks:
2 - 8 oz. Filet Mignon steaks, 1 1/2" - 2" inch thick
Olive oil
Candian Steak seasoning
1 T. butter

Before starting to cook, remove steaks from refrigerator about 20 minutes beforehand. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle tops of steaks with olive oil and generously sprinkle with the steak seasoning and rub into steaks. Repeat on the other side.

Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add 1 T. butter. Once melted, add steaks, then sear for 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn steaks over and place skillet into preheated oven and roast for 10 minutes for a medium rare steaks. Adjust roasting time according to thickness of steaks and how you wish yours to be cooked. Remove steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside to rest.

For the Rosemary Wine Pan Sauce:
1 T. minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 T. butter 

Place skillet that steaks were cooking in back onto stove top over medium high heat.  Add shallots and saute for 30 seconds. Add garlic, rosemary, and wine and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Then add beef broth and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced, 5 - 6 minutes. Add butter, taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Set sauce aside.

For the Scallops:
6 - 8 large scallops
salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter

While the pan sauce is reducing, melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry between layers of paper towel, season with salt and pepper, and then place seasoned sized down in hot skillet and sear for 90 seconds. Season top with salt and pepper and then, using tongs, turn over and sear for another 90 seconds.

To Serve:
Spoon mashed potatoes onto plate. Place steak on top of potatoes and drizzle with the pan sauce. Add scallops to plate and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Adapted from iowagirleats.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Citrus Grouper with blood orange and lemon sauce

Grouper is one of my favorite fish to cook AND to eat. I used seasoned corn flour to lightly coat the fish before pan frying the fillets with a mixture of butter and blood orange olive oil. The freshness from the citrus components is a perfect compliment to the fish.

1 lb. grouper, cut into equal sized pieces
1/2 cup corn flour
granulated garlic
3 T. butter
3 T. Blood Orange Olive Oil

For the sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. Blood Orange Olive Oil
2 T. Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

Rinse grouper and pat dry. Lightly salt and pepper both sides.

In a shallow dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic with a fork to combine. Coat fish with seasoned flour.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add butter and blood orange olive oil. Gently place coated fish into skillet.

Let fish cook, turning as the fish browns.

Continue to cook for 10 - 12 minutes total, depending on the thickness of the fish fillets. When fish is cooked through, remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

In a small skillet, add sauce ingredients over high heat. Whisk ingredients together and let boil for 2 - 3 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Serve fish over rice that's been drizzled with additional blood orange olive oil. Spoon sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New England Clam Chowder

When the New England Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl, I knew this chowder had to be on the menu. I've posted this recipe a few years ago, but it definitely needs to be reposted! This recipe comes to us courtesy of the Union Oyster House Cookbook. The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in the United States. It opened in 1826 in Boston.

This time I took a shortcut and used frozen diced potatoes. That step saved time when I had a lot of other dishes to prepare for the game day meal.

1/4 cup diced salt pork
2 T. butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 T. flour
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 cups canned clam juice
2 cups minced fresh or frozen clams (not canned)
1 cup half-and-half
salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, to taste

In a large pot over medium low heat, render the salt pork until it is crispy, about 5 minutes.

Add the butter and melt. Add onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to form a paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.

Add the thyme, potatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Add clams and bring quickly to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Add the half-and-half and bring quickly to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Serve immediately.

Varsity Chili Dogs

The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia has been an institution since 1928. It's the World Largest Drive-In restaurant. What makes the Varsity an institution you ask? How about these stats? Two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 5000 fried pies and 300 gallons of chili are made from scratch daily. Daily!

One of their classics is the chili dog. Here's my copycat version of their Chili Dog.

1 T. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (divided)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground chuck (80/20 blend)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground cayenne
1 can beef broth

hot dogs

shredded cheddar cheese
reserved onions

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the chopped onions. (Reserve the remaining onions for topping the hot dogs.)

Let onions begin to soften, 4 - 5 minutes.

Add garlic and ground chuck. Break the meat up with a wooden spoon until no large pieces remain. You want a very smooth sauce. Continue cooking, and stirring, until meat is cooked. Drain any fat that has accumulated.

Add salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, and beef broth. Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Grill hot dogs on a gas or charcoal grill or indoors on a grill pan. Remove from heat and place buns on grill for a few minutes over indirect heat.

Place hot dogs in buns, top with mustard, chili, shredded cheese, and the reserved onions.

Serve immediately.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Georgia Peach Martini

I looked for the perfect cocktail to serve at the Super Bowl party. How better to represent one of the teams than to use Georgia peaches in a martini? This will be on the regular rotation during the hot summer months!

In a cocktail shaker, combine the following:

2 parts Peach Vodka
1 part Peach Schnapps
1 part Orange Juice
1 part simple syrup (made by simmering equal parts of water / sugar until sugar dissolves, then cool) 
3 - 4 ice cubes

Shake until ingredients are well blended. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh diced peaches.

Boston Baked Bean Dip

And here is the opposing team's contribution to the Super Bowl game day food table! Boston Baked Beans in dip form!

5 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can (16 oz.) navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Boston lager beer, such as Sam Adams
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 package McCormick Tex-Mex Chili Seasoning Mix

Cook bacon and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat until bacon is crisp.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with crackers. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, if desired.

Sweet Georgia Peach and Pecan Dip

For the Super Bowl game this year, as always, I try to split the food and beverage choices evenly between the two teams. 

For the Atlanta appetizer portion, I found the perfect dip recipe from www.mccormick.com.

It's a perfect blend of bacon, peaches, Vidalia onions, and McCormick's Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade mix.  This one will definitely be made again for summertime cookouts!

1 T. butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 package McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon marinade
1 cup cola-flavored beverage
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh peaches (about 3 or 4)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon; cook and stir 6 - 8 minutes until bacon is crisp.

Stir marinade mix, cola, and brown sugar into skillet. Bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in peaches and pecans; simmer until heated through.

Spread cream cheese evenly in bottom of 9-inch pie plate. Top with the warm peach mixture. Serve with crackers or sliced French bread.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Slow Cooker Rosemary Turkey Breast

I've roasted turkey breasts in the oven, I've smoked turkey breasts in the smoker, I've grilled turkey breasts on the grill.  I had never cooked one in a slow cooker until today. It won't be the last one!

Granted there are many people who say they don't like the texture of slow-cooked turkey or chicken.   But there are some days when work comes first and roasting a turkey or turkey breast comes second.  On those days, this is a great alternative.

I didn't add any liquid to this slow cooker version and ended up with almost 3 cups of turkey dripping to make gravy!

I knew I was going to season with garlic, thyme, and onions.  Now which olive oil to use? The choices are numerous at King's Olive Oil Company. I selected Rosemary Olive Oil. Trust me, it was the perfect choice! 

Turkey is naturally a very lean protein. The coating of the turkey with the rosemary olive oil will allow the herbs and seasonings to adhere to the exterior and help to keep the turkey moist during the cooking process.

1 (5 - 5 1/2 lb.) turkey breast with bone
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 - 3 T. Rosemary Olive oil
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. onion powder
1 t. granulated garlic
1 t. paprika
2 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray.

Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels.  Place sliced onion rings in bottom of slow cooker.

Rub rosemary olive oil over the entire turkey breast. Sprinkle thyme, onion powder, granulated garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper over and inside the turkey.

Place the turkey breast on top of the sliced onions. Cover and cook 3 - 4 hours on high or 6 - 7 hours on low.

Once the turkey is done, carefully remove it from slow cooker and place on a large plate or platter. remove skin and slice turkey.

Strain broth and discard solids.  Follow this link for the Easy Turkey Gravy.

Easy Turkey Gravy

Today's new recipe idea was to cook a turkey breast in the slow cooker. That experiment turned out wonderfully. Here's the link to the Slow Cooker Rosemary Turkey Breast.

Now let's make the gravy!

3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 cups turkey drippings
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

In a medium skillet, over high heat, melt butter. When the butter bubbles, add flour. Stirring constantly, let flour cook into the butter for 1 - 2 minutes. Slowly add turkey broth, stirring constantly. 

Reduce heat to medium-low, continue stirring until gravy thickens.

Serve over sliced turkey.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Baked Sweet Potato with Maple Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Orange Olive Oil Reduction with toasted pecans

Now you must admit, that is a gorgeous sweet potato. You can almost feel the beta carotene goodness jumping out at you! Instead of choosing to top with butter and brown sugar, I used these two wonderful products: Maple Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Orange Olive Oil . These are two wonderfully complimentary flavors. The toasted chopped pecans were the icing on the cake so to speak.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 t. Maple Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Blood Orange Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet and make several small slits with a knife to allow steam to escape while baking.

Bake potatoes for 30 minutes, turn over, and return to oven for another 30 minutes or so until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add vinegar and olive oil and whisk to combine. Let simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes until it begins to thicken.  Add a dash of salt.

While vinegar and olive oil are reducing, place pecans in a shallow skillet over low heat. Let the pecans gently warm, stirring frequently.  When you smell the pecans, they're toasted!

Cut potatoes open, loosen pulp with a fork, and gently spoon half the reduction over one of the potatoes, topping with half of the pecans. Repeat with the other potato.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Baked Dover Sole with Sicilian Lemon, Caper, and Garlic Sauce

Tonight's dinner featured Publix's "this fish that's on sale this week," Dover Sole.  Dover Sole is prized for its mild, buttery, sweet flavor and versatility, and for its ease of filleting. These were very thinly sliced fillets and were extremely delicate in handling. A little thicker fillet would have made preparation easier.

1 1/2 lb. Dover Sole fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. finely chopped shallot
1 cup dry white wine

For the sauce:
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 T. capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
3 T. olive oil
2 - 4 T. finely chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add enough olive oil to a baking dish large enough to accommodate all the fillets in one layer. Lay the fish in the baking dish(es) and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet and add the shallots. Cook, stirring, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine to the pan, bring to a boil, and pour the wine and shallots over the fish. Return the skillet to the stove (make sure the heat is off) for later use. 

Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake 8 - 10 minutes, or 5 minutes for each 1/2 inch of thickness, until the fish is opaque and pulls apart easily with a fork.

While the fish is in the oven, whisk together the garlic, capers, lemon balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

When the fish is done, remove it from the oven and carefully transfer it to a platter or plates. Cover and keep warm. Pour the liquid that's in the baking dish into the skillet and turn the heat on high. Reduce, stirring often, to about 1/4 cup. The mixture will be thick. Stir in the garlic and caper mixture and the parsley. Whisk together, taste and adjust seasoning, pour over the fish and serve.

Adapted from a recipe from Martha Rose Shulman

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fried Rice

The recipe comes straight from the package of Sun Bird Fried Rice seasoning mix. Cook the rice the day prior to making the fried rice is possible and refrigerate so it is cold when you are ready to prepare this dish.

2 T. oil
3 cups cooked, cold rice (white, brown, or instant)
3 green onions, sliced
1 package Sun Bird Fried Rice seasoning
2 t. soy sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup frozen green peas (thawed)

In a large skillet, heat oil. Stir fry rice and green onions.

Add seasoning packet and soy sauce, stir-fry 1 minute.

Push rice to side, add eggs, scramble, stir into rice.

Add peas and 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp if desired.

Serve immediately.

Chinese Stir Fry Cabbage

I've never stir-fried cabbage, but this was a perfect side dish for our Chinese New Year meal. The red pepper flakes add a certain amount of heat and you can add more or less to suit your taste. Only use a knife to quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Tear the cabbage by hand into bite sized pieces. It adds a rustic touch and it seems to cook better as well!

3 T. peanut oil
1 - 2 dried red pepper flakes
8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups hand torn cabbage
1 t. salt
1 T. soy sauce

In a large skillet, heat peanut oil over high heat. Add red pepper flakes and garlic.  Cook for 15 seconds.

Add cabbage and soy sauce and stir for 5 minutes.

Add salt just before serving.


Adapted from www.chinboo.com

Sticky Garlic Sesame Chicken

Happy Chinese New Year (The Year of the Rooster)! These bites of chicken breast are lightly breaded and quickly cooked in the wok then glazed with a mixture of honey, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce. The chopped green onions and sesame seeds finish this dish perfectly.  

1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 t. onion powder
1 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground red pepper
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 T. peanut oil
1/4 cup plus 2 T. honey
2 t. rice wine vinegar
3 T. low sodium soy sauce
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 t. sesame seeds
4 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large Ziploc bag, combine flour, onion powder, granulated garlic, black pepper, salt, and ground red pepper.  Add chicken bites to the bag and toss to coat completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Set aside while you cook the chicken.

Add peanut oil to a wok over high heat.  When oil shimmers, cook chicken bites in batches until well browned. When all the chicken has been cooked, place ALL chicken back into the wok.

Slowly pour sauce over chicken and toss to coat. Reduce heat to low. Allow a glaze to form on the chicken for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over white rice or with fried rice. Top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions.


Adapted from www.swankyrecipes.com

Baklouti Green Chili Pepper Red Beans & Rice

Every now and then I get a literal craving for red beans and rice. The majority of recipes allow the heat level to come from the spiciness of the Cajun or Creole Seasoning that's added. And then there's always the bottle of your favorite hot sauce on the table when the meal's served. 

For the recipe, I used Baklouti Green Chili Oil to saute the vegetables at the beginning of the cooking process.  The onions, peppers, and celery definitely absorbed this oil while sauteing and carried the heat through the simmering of the red beans. This is my new favorite Red Beans and Rice recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

1 lb. dried red beans
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
6 cups chicken stock
1 T. Creole seasoning
1 bay leaf
3 T. butter
1 lb. Conecuh Sausage, browned
cooked white rice
sliced green onions

Rinse and sort the red beans. Place them in a medium-sized bowl and cover with water. Let soak 3 -4 hours. Drain.

In a 4 quart Dutch oven, add chili pepper oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 - 7 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Add chicken stock and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. Add beans, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. Cover and reduce heat so that the liquid is at a gentle simmer. 

Let beans cook several hours, stirring occasionally, so they don't stick. Add more chicken stock or water if liquid reduces too much.

When beans are soft and completely cooked, remove bay leaf. Remove about 2 cups of the beans to a bowl. Using a potato masher, gently mash beans to help the mixture thicken. Put the mashed beans and butter into the reserved beans and stir to combine.  Remove from heat. 

Serve over white rice, with Conecuh sausage on the side. Top with sliced green onions.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Duke's Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary Recipe Contest

Last year, I entered Duke's Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary Recipe Contest. Regular readers of the blog know how much I love my Duke's mayonnaise.

I was selected as the winner! The recipe will be on specially printed labels of Duke's jars soon. In the meantime, here's the recipe!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Garlic Butter Mussels with Herb Noodles

Doesn't that look like a lovely dinner? Does it look like it may have taken some time to prepare? This has been one of those days in one of those weeks. You know the type. Those days when there's not enough hours or energy to go around. Those are the evenings where you need some secret weapons in your arsenal. 

By using these easy shortcuts, you will have dinner on the table in 15 minutes! 

Cook the noodles according to package directions.  (7 minutes cook time + 2 minutes rest time!)

The mussels are microwaved for 5 - 7 minutes.  (I cooked these for 6!)

While these are cooking, slice and toast some bread and slice some lemons for squeezing over the mussels.

When the noodles are cooked, pour into a large bowl. Top with the cooked mussels.**

Serve with the toasted bread and lemon wedges!

** Discard any mussels which don't open.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Rosemary Olive Oil

I love roasted vegetables. Roasted brings out the vegetables' natural sweetness. One of my favorite combinations for roasted vegetables is broccoli and cauliflower. While the Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin roasted in the oven on one rack, it was easy to roast these vegetables on another sheet pan at the same time. The cooking time was equal so the side dish was ready at the same time as the main dish.  That's always a plus!

The star of this recipe is the Rosemary Olive Oil from King's Olive Oil Company.

8 oz. broccoli florets
8 oz. cauliflower florets
freshly ground black pepper
1 - 2 T. Rosemary Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread broccoli and cauliflower onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. 

Roast vegetables for 20 - 22 minutes. Sprinkle with a little lemon zest before serving if desired.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin

Regular readers of the blog know how fond (read: crazy) I am about lemon flavors. By using the Mediterranean flavor profile which includes lemon, garlic, and rosemary in the marinade, these delicious boneless pork chops baked in about 25 minutes.  

I had purchased a large whole tenderloin recently at Publix. The butcher was extremely helpful and gladly sliced the tenderloin into 1 inch thick slices. Pay attention to your local grocery sale ads and take advantage of buys such as this. For this recipe, I used about 1 1/2 lbs. of pork. You could also use a 1 lb. pork tenderloin and grill whole and slice before serving.

1/2 cup Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T. whole grain Dijon Mustard
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. granulated garlic

In a medium bowl, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together until well blended. Place 1 1/2  - 2 lbs. sliced pork tenderloin in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Pour marinade into bag and make sure bag is sealed completely.

Place in refrigerator for 1 - 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Using tongs, place pork tenderloin slices onto the baking sheet. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes or until instant read thermometer shows an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

If desired, place under broiler for a few minutes to brown.

Garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately.