Month: July 2017

Crock Pot Chicken

I’ve made this recipe before and honestly couldn’t figure out how to display the finished product to give my readers a reality of the finished product. So, I just came up with this shot. It’s not the prettiest thing but it does show the end result.

This “go to” recipe is perfect for whole chickens, as the recipe dictates. When cooking time is complete, you simply pull the meat off the bone and you have all this wonderful white and dark chicken meat to do whatever you want with!

I use it for tacos, quesadillas, chicken salad, barbecue chicken sandwiches, or any kind of chicken pasta dish you might want to try. It’s perfect for any of those dishes.

Or simply serve over salad greens or as a main course with steamed vegetables! The possibilities are endless!

It’s funny, I’ve had my Crock Pot for many, many years now and I love using it and do so almost weekly. Its typically a weekend when I’ll load it up with my favorite ingredients and then I’ll head out to do some photography. Love coming home to a house filled with the aromas of that night’s dinner which is perfect because I’m usually too tired to stand in the kitchen to cook!

Try this recipe one work day or weekend and see how you like it.

Bon appétit!

Crock Pot Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Mains
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Red Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 whole Chicken (about 3-4 lbs)
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 202 Fat: 13.9g Saturated fat: 4g Unsaturated fat: 5.7g Trans fat: 3g Carbohydrates: .9g Sugar: .6g Sodium: 64.8mg Fiber: .3g Protein: 17.3g Cholesterol: 69mg

Crock Pot Steak Fajitas

Growing up in Panama City my family would go to a Mexican restaurant to eat dinner every Thursday night way out in Callaway. Well, at the time it was way out. The restaurant’s name? Sombrero Mexican Food Restaurant! And it’s still there on Tyndall Parkway. My, how I loved going there. Oddly, I didn’t have a love for Mexican food at the time. Again, I was a child, a tween, at best. I remember ordering the kid’s fried chicken or the kid’s spaghetti. Yes, indeed, I did. I think I finally progressed to a taco. Imagine that! I never looked back!

We’d love having dinner and then we’d visit the many goats living on property behind the restaurant. Funny goats of all shapes and sizes that would climb up on makeshift log bridges and knock each other off. Quite comical! It, too, is still there. If you’re in the area, you should stop by.

If you happen to visit, rest assured I have no idea how the food is today. I just read some terrible reviews on Google from a few years back. It is a family owned restaurant that has been there for 50+ years. More recent reviews are favorable.

You would never know my love for Mexican food started out like that as I absolutely LOVE it today. Did I say I love Mexican food? I do and I love cooking it at home. It is usually inexpensive, fast, and very filling. And I usually have leftovers for days on end. Which I also adore. And in today’s economy, stretching our grocery dollars is what it’s all about plus you save time in the kitchen. I also like the idea of not slaving in the kitchen every night, even though cooking is one of my passions.

This recipe is definitely a win-win for everyone!

Bon appétit!

Crock Pot Steak Fajitas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs Boneless Sirloin, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 -2 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoning Salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 green Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 -8 Flour Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Lettuce (optional)
  • Chopped Tomato (optional)
  • Chopped Onion (optional)
  1. Brown the steak in oil.
  2. Place the steak and drippings into the crock pot.
  3. Add lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and chili powder.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2½ to 3 hours, or until meat is tender.
  6. Add green pepper and onion; cover and cook for 1 hour more.
  7. Warm the tortillas.
  8. Spoon beef and veggies down the center of the tortillas.
  9. Top each with cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes if desired.
  10. Fold in the sides of the tortillas and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 294 Fat: 11.9g Saturated fat: 2.8g Carbohydrates: 18.9g Sugar: 2g Sodium: 254.7mg Fiber: 1.7g Protein: 26.o9g Cholesterol: 71.4mg

Prickly Pear Margarita

My first introduction to this tasty cocktail was at a local Mexican restaurant. Myself and a few friends gathered to put a conclusion to a 5-month+ effort looking for a lost Greyhound. Who, unfortunately, we never found. It surely wasn’t for the lack of trying.

We were out there every weekend pounding the pavement, talking to locals in area businesses, going door to door talking to people in neighborhoods, passing out flyers, tromping through the woods looking, oh, and we can’t forget the poison ivy we got, the time one resident called the law on us (yes and luckily they sent a K-9 officer who was so totally “with” us and what we were doing), the time another homeowner threatened to shoot us, the time another homeowner came to her door with a machete in her hand (and it was in the air ready to strike, I might add), and there were countless other incidences I’m sure I have processed and put into the back nether-regions of my brain hoping to never recall again.

But we learned a lot about tracking a Greyhound and we learned a lot about ourselves. Plus we made some good friends and fortified friendships with existing friends. And, I learned of this wonderful cocktail. So, in the end, all our efforts weren’t totally in vain, wouldn’t you agree?

Try this one today, it’s really, really good!! And pray you never have to search for a lost Greyhound – ever!

Live it up and drink it down!

Prickly Pear Margaritas
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 1
  • 2 large Prickly Pears
  • 1½ cups Water
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 ounces Tequila Blanco
  • ½-ounce Triple Sec
  • 1½ ounces fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 ounces Prickly Pear Syrup
  • crystal sugar, for garnishing the glass
  • lime juice for garnishing the glass
  1. To make the prickly pear syrup, first slice through the prickly pear skin and remove the fruit. Roughly chop.
  2. Place the fruit in a small saucepan with water and sugar over medium heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is softened and broken down. This is why I used more water than a regular simple syrup recipe. I didn’t want it to get too thick while simmering to soften the fruit.
  3. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the prickly pear mixture into the sieve. Use the back of a spoon to push the softened fruit through the sieve, leaving behind the large seeds. This recipe yields about 2 cups of prickly pear syrup.
  4. Now, to make the margarita! Combine the tequila, triple sec, lime juice and pear syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to incorporate.
  5. Dip rim of glass in lime juice and then into the sugar crystals to coat the rim. Fill glass halfway with ice. Then pour margarita into glass. Garnish with lime wheel and serve.
If you are unable to find prickly pears at your local farmers market or grocery, check the liquor store for a really good prickly pear syrup that is already made for you! Obviously homemade and fresh is better but sometimes that isn't an option!


Apple Fritters

Don’t those look just awesome?!! Let me tell you a secret – they were!! It’s funny, I’ve baked, I’ve cooked, and I’ve made made many dishes, desserts, sides, etc. You name it, I’ve done it! Except for the ever elusive Apple Fritter. At least until a few months back when I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go.

Oh my, I don’t know what took me so long! They were just wonderful – light and airy, flavorful with just the right amount of apples and then to top it off, that wonderful sugar/cinnamon coating. The only thing I might do differently next time is add a bit of cinnamon to the dough and then use a confectioners’ sugar glaze on top instead of the sugar/cinnamon coating.

One thing to remember, these are best devoured the morning you make them. They tend to get a bit soggy after they sit around overnight. You could crisp them back up in the oven, I suppose, but more than likely you won’t have any left over at your house.

Bon appétit!

Apple Fritters
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 24
  • 1 quart Vegetable oil; for frying
  • 1½ cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup Milk
  • 2 whole Eggs; beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 3 cups Apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in the milk, eggs and oil and stir until well blended. Mix in apples until they are evenly distributed.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Fry in smaller batches so they are not crowded. Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon sugar while still warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 339 Fat: 28.9g Saturated fat: 2.5g Unsaturated fat: 17.9g Trans fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 18.8g Sugar: 18.1g Sodium: 167.2mg Fiber: .7g Protein: 2.3g Cholesterol: 36.2mg


Frozen Chocolate Peanut Squares

This scrumptious concoction truly needs no introduction. I mean, honestly, what isn’t appealing about chocolate, peanuts and vanilla ice cream? It’s definitely a win-win dessert and a crowd pleaser. And it’s kid friendly to boot! And it’s frozen! During the hot summer months, who doesn’t want something frozen to cool the taste buds?

The only thing I might do differently next time? I might decrease the amount of vanilla ice cream to half of a half gallon, freeze that layer, and then add a similar size layer of strawberry ice cream! Now, wouldn’t that be the bomb! A Neapolitan peanut square!

And I have just the Strawberry Ice Cream recipe forthcoming! It would be perfect but even store bought would do. It’s funny, I’ve made this recipe a few times (and it is always the best, as is) and I just thought of adding a Strawberry Ice Cream layer the other day. Wonders never cease, huh?

Bon appétit!

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Squares
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups peanuts, dry-roasted
  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream; slightly softened
  1. Melt ¼ cup of the butter. Mix into wafer crumbs and press evenly over the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Chill crust.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the remaining butter (1/2 cup) with powdered sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then beat in melted chocolate until well blended. Fold in 1 cup chopped peanuts. Spread evenly over chilled crust. Freeze until chocolate mixture is firm (at least 30 minutes).
  3. Spread softened ice cream evenly over top. Sprinkle with remaining chopped peanuts. Cover and freeze and 12 hours.
  4. Let stand at room temperature about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting to serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 405 Fat: 21.3g Saturated fat: 8.3g Unsaturated fat: 7.8g Trans fat: 2.5g Carbohydrates: 51g Sugar: 49.6g Sodium: 228mg Fiber: 1.4g Protein: 5.3g Cholesterol: 65.5mg



Barbecue Pork Sandwiches

These days I am cooking less, simply due to economics. Peanut butter and jelly are my friend! But when I do cook, it’s usually something that I can use for meals for days on end. When you’re single, you get used to this sort of eating, trust me. And to stretch things even further, I freeze ALOT!

So for the weekend, I decided to make Barbecue Pork Sandwiches! And as a side, the ever popular and delicious Champagne Cole Slaw. A perfect compliment to the spicy barbecue pork sandwiches. Your mouth will appreciate the coolness of the slaw flavors!

To start, I used my Crock Pot Beer Chicken recipe using two pork tenderloins instead of the chicken. I love both but for some reason I wanted shredded pork for my sandwiches. And the beauty of this recipe is you start it in the morning and you can have dinner ready in minutes that evening.

When I was a kid, my family would take our boat on the weekends to Shell Island (in Panama City, Florida) and often times if Mama and Daddy didn’t want to grill, we’d swing by a wonderful barbecue restaurant (at the time) called Old South Barbecue, located on Highway 98 in St. Andrews. It’s no longer there, of course, but back in the day it was a mainstay. Funny, I don’t remember ever going there to eat “inside” and quite frankly I don’t even know if they had a dining room. I do remember we’d pick up chopped pork and barbecue sauce “to go” that we’d use to make sandwiches later at the island. Mom would have the buns and we’d have chips or slaw or something else for a side. The pork sandwiches were the star of the lunch though so everything else is a very vague memory! But, oh those sandwiches. The best in all the land!

I guess I was feeling a bit melancholy when I decided to make my version. I did shred my pork instead of chopping it but the end result is the same – most delicious and if I say so myself, the best in all the land! And I have leftovers for days so no need to worry about dinner for some time now! Oh, I can’t forget the Barbecue sauce! This recipe is so good I could probably take a straw and drink it straight from the pan! The combination of the pork, flavored perfectly and the barbecue sauce which kicks everything up a notch is just perfect!

I can’t wait to have it all again this evening!

Bon appétit!

Need a Quickie?

Get your mind out of the gutter!! I’m talking about a quick dinner! If so, this recipe is for you. Perfect for a quick, healthy weeknight dinner. It’s light, no creamy sauce, just chicken broth and some Parmesan cheese and garlic. But it’s tasty and did I say quick?

You can add other ingredients to suite your tastes ie cooked mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes or even canned artichoke hearts. Or whatever floats your boat.

Regardless if you use the recipe as written or add other ingredients, I’m sure you’ll love how tasty and quick (have I said that before) this recipe is. Just perfection!

Bon appétit!

Need a Quickie?
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 cups
  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried penne pasta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.
  3. Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.
  4. Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 191 Fat: 18.7g Saturated fat: 3.4g Unsaturated fat: 12.8g Trans fat: 1.9g Carbohydrates: 3.5g Sugar: 3.1g Sodium: 170.9mg Fiber: .4g Protein: 3.1g Cholesterol: 5.5mg


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