Good Eats

Chorizo and White Bean Soup

I recently posted the fact that I don’t cook many soups mainly because I don’t have that much experience with them. Growing up in Florida, we just didn’t have a lot of soup during the winter. Mom would make chili, beef stew, white bean navy soup and such which were all delicious. Our winters were short and not nearly as cold as winters I’ve experienced since moving to Georgia!  But I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that I do tend to incorporate homemade soup much more frequently here in Georgia than I ever thought of doing in Florida. I am learning!

This recipe I found on Epicurious. It is actually from Bon Appetit and I’ve adapted it a bit from that recipe. It’s great, hearty (there is that word again), delicious and quick.  And I love the smoky flavor from the Chorizo. Really appetizing. You’ll love it too! Add a chunk of homemade fresh bread and you’re all set!

Hint:  If you plan to not have leftovers make as is. If you plan on leftovers, I would add the spinach as you go.  It will be fresher!

Bon appétit!

Chorizo and White Bean Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo or Italian sausage links
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Slice chorizo and fold into soup. Divide soup among bowls. Enjoy
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 570 Fat: 33g Fiber: 11g

 

Spiced Almonds

During the holidays most every year, I can be found making these wonderful and fragrant Spiced Almonds. You can also use pecans if they are more readily available to you but the almonds very much remind me of the same treat you can find at Falcon’s games or at the Renaissance Festival or usually at many outdoor festivals. They charge an arm and a leg for them so why not make your own at home?

They’re so good and this recipe is so quick to make. And inexpensive if you use almonds.  It’s a great snack to have on hand!! Or perfect for a hostess gift!

Bon appétit!

Spiced Almonds
 
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Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups almonds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and water. Cook to soft ball stage. Add vanilla and almonds. Stir until almonds are surgery. Pour onto waxed paper and separate almonds. Cool. Store in a covered container.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ cup Calories: 166 Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 0g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 27g Sugar: 26g Sodium: 1mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

White Cranberry Martini

What’s a holiday without a special new cocktail? This one is tasty and festive. Perfect for this holiday season. Try one tonight.

Live it up and drink it down!

White Cranberry Martini
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 3 ounces white cranberry juice
  • Splash Triple Sec
  • Frozen Cranberries for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients, except for the cranberries, into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Vigorously shake the mixture for 35 seconds and then strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish the drink with the cranberries and then serve immediately.

 

Shepherd’s Pie

Aw, I can’t think of anything more comforting on a cold winter’s night than this wonderful dish, Shepherd’s Pie, for dinner. The flavor is robust and the meal is hot and hearty. Can’t beat that combination when its freezing outside. Add a fire in the fireplace and a few after dinner hot toddy’s and I call that evening a great success!

The recipe below was adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe. His called for lamb which you can definitely use. I prefer ground beef.

I also like the individual soufflé cups instead of one large dish but if you were serving a family, the large dish would be better. For me, the soufflé cups help a bit with portion control and Lord knows, we all could use a bit of help there! 🙂

Try making this tonight! It will satisfy your entire family and you, too!

Bon appétit!

Shepherd's Pie
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots; peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen English peas
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  4. Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture and spread evenly into 8 individual souffle cups. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 760 Fat: 59g Saturated fat: 23g Unsaturated fat: 23g Trans fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 9g Sugar: 8.6g Sodium: 491mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 45g Cholesterol: 238mg

 

Cornbread Dressing

Thanksgiving has always been a very favorite holiday of mine. I love to cook the entire meal from start to finish. Back in the day, I used to love to help my Mom, when she would let me. One of the dishes she made was the delectable Cornbread Dressing. I don’t remember her having a recipe nor have we found one. She died in 2001 and since that very year, I’ve tried to find a recipe that would stack up to hers.

I was chatting with a friend on the phone the other day and came to a startling realization – I will never, ever, be able to duplicate my Mom’s Cornbread Dressing. I can come close but it will never be the same as hers. And so, with that being said, I will cease my quest to do just that because I have finally found a recipe that I am happy with and going forward, will make every year. It can be my own new tradition. It is very close to Mama’s, for sure. I might add some poultry seasoning next time. She definitely used that in her recipe and this one doesn’t call for it at all. I didn’t miss it but we’ll experiment next time. And it’ll be my recipe going forward.

Cornbread Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salads and Sides
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter; divided
  • 3 cups self rising white corn meal mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 large eggs; divided
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups white breadcrumbs; soft
  • 2 large sweet onion; diced
  • 4 celery stalks; diced
  • ¼ cup fresh sage; finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned pepper
  • 7 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Place ½ cup butter in a 13 x 9" pan. Heat in oven at 425 degrees for 4 minutes.
  2. Stir together cornmeal and flour; whisk in eggs and buttermilk. Pour hot butter into batter and stir until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs and set aside.
  3. Melt remaining ½ cup butter in a skillet over medium heat; add onions and celery, and saute 5 minutes. Stir in safe, parsley, and seasoned pepper. Saute 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir into cornbread mixture.
  4. Whisk together chicken broth and remaining 4 eggs, stir into cornbread mixture. Pour evenly into 1 lightly greased 13x9" pan and 1 lightly greased 8" square pan.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 322 Fat: 16.7g Saturated fat: 8.2g Unsaturated fat: 4.5g Trans fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 30.8g Sugar: 28.8g Sodium: 2387mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 13g Cholesterol: 193.2g

Cranberry Relish

It’s holiday time with Thanksgiving now behind us, Christmas on the horizon and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Let’s hope you have an opportunity to make this Cranberry Relish sometime during the coming weeks. If not, save the recipe and be sure to try it next Thanksgiving.

It truly is very good and will change your tune from always having the canned “jellied cranberry sauce” or the other canned “whole cranberry sauce”. I don’t know why anyone would do that when a relish like the one pictured above is so easy and yummy!

And if all is not consumed during the holiday meal, there are many uses for the leftovers. I love to warm it and spoon it over pound cake then top with whipped cream! You can make a Cranberry Crumble with it, too. Or make little Cranberry Hand Pies. Or make pancakes one Sunday morning and warm up a bit of Cranberry Relish to use as a topping! Or try it on waffles! Get creative! I’ve even been known to just eat it straight from the container. It is THAT good!

Bon appétit!

Cranberry Relish
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Starters
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 13 ounces orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup walnuts
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and cranberries in a lightly greased pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Mix in remainder of ingredients and serve hot or cold.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 Tablespoons Calories: 134 Fat: 5.3g Saturated fat: 0.3g Unsaturated fat: 1.3g Trans fat: 3.1g Carbohydrates: 22.1g Sugar: 19.9g Sodium: 7988.6mg Fiber: 2.2g Protein: 2.3g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

Breakfast Brunch

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and if you haven’t yet determined what you’ll be serving for breakfast, might I make a suggestion? This recipe for Breakfast Brunch is the best! It was shared with me from a dear friend many years ago and I’ve since made it a tradition to serve every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It’s quick to pull together and quick to cook. And it includes all your favorite breakfast items – eggs, sausage, cheese, and crescent rolls! Oh, and a little milk! You just can’t go wrong.

If you have left overs, yes, I said IF, you can portion and freeze. Take out from the freezer, as needed, and pop into the microwave for a couple of minutes. Wha la! Breakfast is served!

And if you don’t yet have any holiday breakfast traditions, well, it’s a fine time to start one! Now, get to the grocery store and get the needed supplies. In the morning, comment back and let me know how your family enjoyed your Breakfast Brunch.

Bon appétit!

Breakfast Brunch
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Pillsbury Crescent rolls
  • 16 ounces Jimmy Dean Pork sausage
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan with vegetable cooking spray. Press crescent rolls into bottom and up sides about one-quarter inch of pan. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over crescent rolls. Cook sausage. Drain. Crumble sausage over cheese. Mix milk and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cheese and sausage layer. Bake 12-15 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 230 Fat: 15g Saturated fat: 7g Unsaturated fat: 6.5g Trans fat: .6g Carbohydrates: 9.6g Sugar: 8.9g Sodium: 385mg Fiber: .7g Protein: 11.7g Cholesterol: 44mg

 

Mac and Cheese Bites

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness and yes, I could say it again. These little morsels are so yummy. I made them some time ago and took them to the Atlanta Steeplechase as one of my dishes to share with the group. Then they were served at “room temperature” and were perfect for the occasion. Finger foods are always great at the Steeplechase so you can “graze” throughout the day with out being burdened with a plate, fork and knife. After all, you do need at least one hand to be occupied with a wine glass!

Make a batch of these very good, kid-friendly, yummies at your next barbecue or family get together as an appetizer and see how fast they go! You’ll be amazed! Oh, I did add a dash of red pepper just to spice it up a bit. Yum yum! And, yes, they are very addictive!

Bon appétit!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mac and Cheese Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Small Bites
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • ½ pound Elbow Macaroni Noodles
  • 3 tablespoons Butter; divided
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 1½ cups Milk
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese; shredded
  • 2 ounces Cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon White pepper
  • 1 whole Egg; beaten
  • ½ cup Bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spray mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.
  3. Cook pasta according to packaged directions and set aside
  4. In a medium size pan combine 2 Tablespoons butter and flour over medium heat. Whisk until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Slowly add milk and bring to a simmer. Add 1½ cups of the cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, carefully stir pasta, cheese sauce, and egg until evenly mixed and pasta is evenly coated.
  6. Melt remaining 1 Tablespoon butter and mix with ½ bread crumbs.
  7. Spoon mac and cheese into mini muffin tins and top each with a small pinch of remaining cheese and pinch of buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool 5 minutes before gently removing the bites.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 muffins Calories: 298 Fat: 16.4g Saturated fat: 9.8g Unsaturated fat: 4.4g Trans fat: 0.8g Carbohydrates: 25g Sugar: 24g Sodium: 269mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 12.4g Cholesterol: 67.9g

 

Chocolate Ice Cream

Okay, so who doesn’t love ice cream? And I mean any time of the year? Well, I do know one person who doesn’t but most everybody does. I LOVE ice cream! And it’s no coincidence that my very first job was at Dairy Queen!

Of course that was a dream job short of having to deal with the tourists. This particular Dairy Queen was located in St. Andrews on the way to the beach in Panama City. Every July 4th holiday they would have a banana split special. I forget what the price was but apparently it was really good because every person driving down Highway 98 had to stop and get one. To this day, I have yet to have a banana split. I just haven’t ever really wanted to try it – not after making and serving a gazillion of them when I was 16 years old!

Working at the ole DQ did have it’s perks though. My Mom would call me about once or twice a week to ask me to bring a quart of vanilla and/or a quart of chocolate ice cream home. My family loves ice cream too and my Dad especially, would have a dish most every night. The soft serve is the best and only DQ can do it better than everyone else!

I still have an affinity to their ice cream and marvel if the server doesn’t quite get the swirl on the cone quite right. That is their trademark, that beautiful little swirl. They train and train their employees to “pull” that ice cream out of the machine so that the swirl is there and it must be perfect! If not, it goes into the sink and you do it again (no kidding).

This chocolate ice cream recipe is definitely not comparable to DQ’s soft serve but it is really, really, good and is fairly easy. Definitely a recipe to keep as a favorite as I have. Try it and you’ll see!

Bon appétit!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Ice Cream
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Cocoa
  • 3 cups Half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 8 Egg yolks
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • pinch Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
  2. In mixing bowl beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually beat in the sugar, occasionally scraping down the beaters and sides of mixing bowl. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about ⅓ of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Add in the pinch of salt and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer and into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Cover container and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  4. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer''s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ cup Calories: 200 Fat: 12.8g Saturated fat: 7.1g Unsaturated fat: .8g Trans fat: 4.1g Carbohydrates: 3g Sugar: 18.8g Sodium: 34.2mg Fiber: .4g Cholesterol: 174.5mg

 

Low Country Boil Packets

I named this blog post and recipe, Low Country Boil Packets but in reality it should be Low  Country Foil Packets because, well, these are cooked in foil packets on the grill. Yes, on the grill. No need to pull out the outdoor cooker and make a ton of food if you don’t need to although that’s always fun to do if you are having quite a few guests for dinner. But if not, this is definitely a great alternative.

And what a perfect thing for single people or those cooking for two! It’s just perfect. Just use the amount of ingredients you need for the foil packets and save the remaining ingredients for another day. Or invite a couple of friends over to enjoy dinner with you!

I put the shrimp in frozen but everything else is fresh and thinly sliced, as you can see in the photo. It all cooks and the flavors meld so nicely in the foil packet! You can add more spice if you want or less if that suits you better. It’s very easy to individualize each packet for the person.

Just a perfect meal anytime of year but especially during the summer months. It’s quick and easy and fool proof. Try it and let me know what you think!

Bon appétit!

Low Country Boil Packets
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb. large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Smoked Andouille Sausages, thinly sliced
  • 2 ears Corn, each cut crosswise into 4 pieces
  • 1 lb. Red Potatoes, chopped into 1-in pieces
  • 2 tbsp. EV Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 Lemon, sliced into thin wedges
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley Leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill over high heat.
  2. Cut 4 sheets of foil about 12 inches long. Divide shrimp, garlic, sausage, corn, and potatoes evenly over the foil sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the Old Bay seasoning and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Top each mixture with parsley, lemon and a tablespoon of butter each.
  3. Fold the foil packets crosswise over the shrimp boil mixture to completely cover the food. Roll the top and bottom edges to seal them closed.
  4. Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 540 Fat: 26g Saturated fat: 8g Unsaturated fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 35g Sugar: 4g Sodium: 1120mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 40g Cholesterol: 230mg

 

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