Wonderful Holiday Memories

A few weeks back I purchased this one pound bag of pecan halves for $12, I believe. Just one pound. I have very fond memories of a huge box of pecan halves arriving at our home in Panama City every fall, just in time for holiday baking. I’d love when that brown UPS truck would pull up in the driveway, knowing our pecans were on board. It was a glorious sight!

Mom and I would portion our bounty into quart size freezer bags and pack the standup freezer in our utility room with bags and bags of pecans which would last throughout the year. I used them sparingly, even then, knowing that one delivery did have to last all year long.

I do the same now but the quantity I purchase is very much different than what my Mom purchased for us back in the day. For instance, a 24 pound box of shelled pecan halves today would set you back about $280. Five pounds? About $60. They are still a precious commodity. And with the recent rash of bad weather in south Georgia, they are even more precious this season as I think I recently read that nearly 30% of this year’s crop was destroyed by Hurricane.

Be that as it may, I will enjoy my one pound bag for as long as I can and every time I do, I will be reminded of my Mom and our fall ritual. Very fond memories, indeed.

If you are so inclined to purchase your pecan stash in bulk, visit this page for a listing of Georgia Pecan growers. Back then Mom would pre-order her supply through the mail before the crop was even picked! And once the pecans were ready, they would ship so they would be at their freshest. Now, most orchards have websites where you can place your order online and receive your pecans even quicker, when in season.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to begin this annual ritual for myself. Maybe . . .

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!

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Breakfast Brunch

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Beginnings
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 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

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 230
  • Sugar: 8.9g
  • Sodium: 385mg
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6.5g
  • Trans Fat: .6g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.6g
  • 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!

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Mac and Cheese Bites

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Small Bites
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound Elbow Macaroni Noodles
  • 3 tablespoons Butter; divided
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese; shredded
  • 2 ounces Cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon White pepper
  • 1 whole Egg; beaten
  • 1/2 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 1/2 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

  • Serving Size: 2 muffins
  • Calories: 298
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Sodium: 269mg
  • Fat: 16.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • 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!

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Chocolate Ice Cream

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Sweet Endings

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 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 1/3 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

  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 200
  • Sugar: 18.8g
  • Sodium: 34.2mg
  • Fat: 12.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: .8g
  • Trans Fat: 4.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • 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!

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Low Country Boil Packets

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Mains

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 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

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 540
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 1120mg
  • Fat: 26g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 40g
  • Cholesterol: 230mg

 

Key Lime Pie Martini

Doesn’t that look just scrumptious? Well, it is! And it’s cool and refreshing and yes, it’s dessert! A wonderful Key Lime Pie Martini. I’ve always wanted to make one and finally did. I love key lime ANYTHING! And when having a key lime pie isn’t feasible, this is the next best thing!

Try one this weekend.

Live it up and drink it down!

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Key Lime Pie Martini

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Libations

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Vanilla Vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Ke Ke Key Lime Pie Cream Liqueur (or Rose’s Lime Juice)
  • 2 tablespoons Cream of Coconut (I used Coco Real Cream of Coconut)
  • 1 ounce Pineapple Juice
  • 1 ounce Half and Half
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs

Instructions

  1. Rim a glass with lime juice, then with graham cracker crumbs.
  2. Fill a martini shaker with ice and put the remaining ingredients in it. Shake thoroughly. Strain into prepared martini glass. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and lime zest.

 

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!

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Crock Pot Chicken

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 mins
  • Category: Mains

Scale

Ingredients

  • 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 34 lbs)

Instructions

  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

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 202
  • Sugar: .6g
  • Sodium: 64.8mg
  • Fat: 13.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5.7g
  • Trans Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: .9g
  • 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!

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Crock Pot Steak Fajitas

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 mins
  • Total Time: 13 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 lbs Boneless Sirloin, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 12 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
  • 68 Flour Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Lettuce (optional)
  • Chopped Tomato (optional)
  • Chopped Onion (optional)

Instructions

  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 2 1/2 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

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 294
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 254.7mg
  • Fat: 11.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.9g
  • 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!

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Prickly Pear Margaritas

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Libations

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 large Prickly Pears
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 ounces Tequila Blanco
  • 1/2-ounce Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 ounces Prickly Pear Syrup
  • crystal sugar, for garnishing the glass
  • lime juice for garnishing the glass

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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!

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Apple Fritters

  • Author: Patti Peterson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Beginnings

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 quart Vegetable oil; for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Milk
  • 2 whole Eggs; beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 3 cups Apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Sugar

Instructions

  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

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 339
  • Sugar: 18.1g
  • Sodium: 167.2mg
  • Fat: 28.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17.9g
  • Trans Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.8g
  • Fiber: .7g
  • Protein: 2.3g
  • Cholesterol: 36.2mg

 

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