CHOCOLATE FUDGE MARBLE CAKE ~ THE PERFECT CELEBRATION CAKE

For the life of me I cannot remember where I adapted this recipe from, but it is a serious home run! It’s actually more sugar than I can tolerate and hubby said it was good, but felt we could go without the fudge layer completely and that it would still be great. I had also added a thin layer of blackberry jam that I will omit next time.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE MARBLE CAKE ~ THE PERFECT CELEBRATION CAKE

This recipe uses 1 batter 2 ways (vanilla and chocolate) swirled with a fudge ripple to create a simply delicious layer cake topped with a fudgy buttercream frosting. This was a scratch recipe that I’ve adapted to use weights trying for a more exact baking science.

VANILLA CAKE BATTER
3 cups all-purpose flour or 390 grams by weight
3 cups granulated sugar or 600 grams by weight
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder or 10 grams by weight
1 teaspoon salt or 5 grams by weight
1 cup butter or 225 grams by weight unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons or 10 grams by weight PURE vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites or 245 grams by weight – about 6 LARGE egg whites
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or 360 grams by weight, at room temperature
1/8 cup vegetable oil or 30 grams by weight

  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  • Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.
  • Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  • Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour half of the batter (950 GRAMS) into a separate bowl and set aside.

CHOCOLATE CAKE BATTER
1/3 cup or 35 grams by weight unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/4 cup or 50 grams by weight granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon or 2 grams by weight baking powder
1/4 teaspoon or 1 gram by weight salt
1/4 cup egg whites or 60 grams by weight (about 2 egg whites)
1/4 cup or 45 grams by weight buttermilk

  • Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, 1/4 salt, and baking powder into the remaining batter.
  • Add the egg whites and buttermilk, mixing on a low speed until smooth.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE SWIRL
1 cup or 150 grams by weight MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup or 55 grams by weight unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup or 60 grams by weight heavy cream, room temperature

  • Combine the chocolate chips, butter, and heavy cream into a heatproof bowl.
  • Heat in microwave for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between.
  • Allow the mixture to cool 1 minute, then stir until smooth and set aside to cool.

CAKE PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line three 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper AND grease with non-stick baking spray.
  • Alternate spoonfuls of vanilla cake batter with the chocolate cake batter into the prepared cake pans, filling them roughly one inch high with batter.
  • Randomly add small dollops about one inch in diameter of fudge swirl on top of the vanilla and chocolate cake batter.
  • Drag an offset spatula or butter knife through the batter in horizontal and vertical lines to create a marbled pattern.
  • Bake for 33-35 minutes until tester comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  • Level the cakes with a serrated knife as necessary once they’re fully cooled.

FUDGE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING – if simply icing without fancy decoration halve this recipe.

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter or 325 grams by weight (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
5 1/2 cups or 685 grams powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon or 3 grams by weight salt
1/4 cup or 30 grams by weight heavy cream
1 tablespoon or 15 grams by weight PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup or 40 grams by weight unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup or 90 grams by weight semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

  • Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and salt on a low speed.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream.
  • Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add in more cream 1 tablespoon at a time or if frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.
  • Mix in baking cocoa powder and the melted chocolate chips.
  • Place half of the buttercream into a separate bowl.

CAKE ASSEMBLY

  • Stack the cake layers on a grease proof cake round or large serving plate.
  • Spread a thin dab of buttercream on the center of the board, to help your cake layer stay in place.
  • Next, center the first cake layer the cake board.
  • Spread an even layer of buttercream onto the cake layer with an offset spatula.
  • Repeat with remaining cake layers.
  • Place the top cake layer upside down.
  • Cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  • Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  • At this point you can get creative with your decorating or add a final layer of buttercream smoothing as you go.

NOTES

  • You can make the parts in advance and freeze them to make the process A LOT less tedious.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Be sure to stir it well to smooth the consistency.
  • You can add a marmalade or berry layer on top of each buttercream layer for a bit of an added oomph!
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious! If you cut into the cake and have any leftovers, you can use remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

ALTERNATE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM
8 ounces cream cheese – 1 brick, 226 grams by weight, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter – 1 stick, 113 grams by weight, softened to room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar – 455 grams by weight, sifted
3 tablespoons QUALITY cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract

  • Beat the cream cheese, butter until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and blend until creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt on low until combined.
  • Beat on high 3-4 minutes until smooth, light, and creamy.
  • Decorate as desired.

LOADED CHIP CRUSTED CHICKEN with BACON and CHEESE

I found this recipe on FACEBOOK awhile back, but can’t remember who from. I’ve adapted it slightly.  This crispy chip crusted chicken is loaded with a creamy, spicy and cheesy stuffing that’s juicy AND crunchy.

ACTIVE PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL START TO FINISH TIME: 45 minutes
SERVES: 4
WHY I’LL MAKE IT AGAIN: I’ll make this recipe time and again because it was FULL of flavor, crunchy and juicy.  Not to mention, everybody raved about it.
NOTES: Original recipe called for using Kettle cooked salt & pepper chips with a whole chopped seeded Jalapeno in the cheese mixture.  Hubby and I tried the salt and pepper chips and HATED them so I had to rethink the recipe.

LOADED CHIP CRUSTED CHICKEN with BACON and CHEESE serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 8 ounce bag Kettle Cooked Jalapeno flavored Potato Chips
3 eggs, lightly beaten

STUFFING
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup medium Jack or cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled bacon
1 tablespoon BBQ sweet rub (recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice each chicken breast almost all the way in half.
  • Open the slice and press each breast flat.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, bacon, and sweet rub.
  • Spread 1/4 of the mixture onto each of the butterflied chicken breasts.
  • Fold the breasts over and press to smear the cream cheese mixture so it is evenly distributed within the chicken.
  • Using food processor pulse chips until they are broken down into crumbs.
  • Pour the crumbs out onto a shallow plate.
  • Add eggs to a shallow dish.
  • Dip the stuffed chicken breasts into the eggs, then into the chip crumbs, coating each side.
  • Once all of the chicken breasts are coated with the eggs and Kettle Chips, place them on your grill or onto a baking sheet and into the oven.
  • Cook for about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

SWEET RUB
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
2 teaspoons FRESH ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl.
  • Stir well to combine, using a fork to break up any clumps.
  • Store BBQ sweet rub in an airtight container. It will last 3-4 weeks.

CHICKEN PARMESAN STUFFED GARLIC BREAD

CHICKEN PARMESAN STUFFED GARLIC BREAD adapted from Tasty

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup avocado oil, for frying
2 large baguettes**
Prepared marinara sauce**

  • Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs into 3 separate bowls.
  • Roll a chicken strip in the flour, dusting off excess.
  • Dip the strip into the egg, then place into the bread crumbs, coating it completely.
  • Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat to 350˚.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Fry the breaded chicken strips until both sides are golden brown.
  • Remove from heat and drain on a paper toweling.

GARLIC BUTTER
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 LARGE cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon FRESH parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • Whisk everything together and set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • Slice the baguettes into thirds or fourths, each piece should be about the same length of the chicken strips.
  • Hollow out the insides of the baguette pieces with a knife.
  • Overlap two slices of mozzarella lengthwise.
  • Place a chicken strip on the overlapping region, then fold the mozzarella tightly around the chicken.
  • Push the rolled chicken strips into a baguette piece.
  • Slice the stuffed baguette pieces into 1 inch slices, then place them tightly side-by-side on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  • Brush the garlic butter evenly over the baguette slices, making sure some drips in between the slices.
  • Wrap the foil up and over the re-assembled baguette and bake for 20–25 minutes, until cheese is melted and the top is starting to brown.
  • Remove the foil and serve with marinara!

NOTE:

  • I make a “PINK” marinara that is half traditional red marinara and half alfredo sauce with a garlic crema (recipe below) 😀  The garlic crema is also wonderful to add to any base for any pizza.
  • I also like to use a ‘par baked’ baguette from the bakery.

GARLIC CREMA
1 cup heavy cream
6 cloves to the entire bulb or garlic depending on preference, minced
Combine the heavy cream and garlic in a small saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, 10-15 minutes until thickened and fragrant.

ANTIQUE RECIPE FIND of the CENTURY and CHICKEN TETRAZZINI CASSEROLE

As you know I LOVE antique recipes! I am ALWAYS on the prowl for antique recipe boxes IF they are FULL of actual recipes, well, and occasionally if they aren’t 😀 

On our anniversary amid the pandemic we HAD to get out for a bit and went for lunch and decided antiquing was a safe excursion.  We had a GREAT time at the few places that were actually open.  But, it was in the last store that hubby surprised me with the greatest gift, an antique notebook from 1914 ish.  The recipes themselves aren’t dated, but ARE written in pen and ink that was blotted. There was an article in the back of the notebook from Essex, England April 21, 1915 on “An American Woman”.  Upon further inspection, she saved it for the “When Tomatoes Are Plentiful” recipes on the back side.

Each recipe has its own unique qualities, but one of the best things is that they are attributed to their original author, whether its “Mother” or “Marys Cook” or Bess Maxwell…

There are about 40 or so recipes in the notebook and I want to try ALL of them except 2 or 3 – I’m just NOT a fan of curry or aspic 🙂

The first thing I did was CAREFULLY open the notebook and photocopy each page.  I then put it back together with carefully placed rubber bands to help keep it square. Since these are over 100 years old, I wanted to handle them as little as possible. Fortunately, pen and ink photos quite well and I now have really good working copies to operate from.

I did a little research on the notebook itself, “The National Notebook for use in the National Notebook System adapted for ALL Written Schoolwork”. The patent dates back to 1898, a time when people were transitioning from slates to paper which had become inexpensive and allowed students to retain their notes.

I’m still trying to make out some of the formal cursive writing and a few of the titles, but the ingredients sound really good and are seriously FROM SCRATCH.

The first recipe I tried in its ORIGINAL form is from Ernest Arbogast, the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, but made famous by Chef Louis Paquet is Chicken Tetrazzini.  It is said that he named the recipe after Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini.  It is widely believed to have been invented around 1908–1910. So, I’m sure the recipe was making the rounds through all the housewives 😀

The version I was taught when I was younger was seriously altered and shortcutted with processed foods so this is a really FANTASTIC find!

CHICKEN TETRAZZINI CASSEROLE
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons WONDRA flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Cream of Sherry
1/2 pound prepared spaghetti
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, reserve tops for later
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 cups small diced cooked chicken
1 can petite green peas, drained
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sliced almonds

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 8×10 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet.
  • Add onions and mushrooms, sauteing until caramelized. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • In another bowl add chicken pieces. Set aside.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet.
  • Whisk in flour until golden.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk in broth and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and whisk in the white pepper, nutmeg and paprika.
  • Whisk in cream sherry and heavy cream, simmering 5 minutes.
  • Pour half of sauce into mushrooms and the other half into the chicken pieces.
  • Arrange spaghetti around the edges of the baking dish, leaving the center empty.
  • Spread chicken into the center of the baking dish.
  • Top with mushroom mixture and peas. Spread even.
  • Sprinkle cheese and then almonds evenly over top.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes.
  • Top with green onion tops.

CHEESE STEAK STUFFED PEPPERS

CHEESE STEAK STUFFED PEPPERS serves 4 PHILLY CHEESE STEAKS with a TWIST!
4 bell peppers, halved and seeded, your color of choice
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
16 ounces sliced mushrooms
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pound flank steak, grilled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
8-16 slices provolone
FRESH chopped parsley, for garnish

  • Generously season flank steak with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Grill steak 2-3 minutes over a greased medium grill.
  • Remove from grill and rest on cutting board covered with foil.
  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Place peppers in a large baking dish and bake until tender, 30 minutes.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil.
  • Add onions and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, cooking until soft, 6 minutes.
  • Add steak, tossing to coat well and blend.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
  • Stir in Italian seasoning.
  • Add provolone to bottom of baked peppers and top with steak mixture.
  • Top with another piece of provolone and broil until golden, 3 minutes.

CHILI STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS

CHILI STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS serves 6
6 medium zucchini or 3 LARGE, depending on type
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 3/4 pounds QUALITY ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped small
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons QUALITY tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for garnish
Green onions, chopped for garnish
Chopped Cilantro, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cover baking sheet with foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Wash zucchini and cut off ends.
  • Cut zucchini in half and remove seeds to hollow out centers.
  • Spread oil on zucchini and sprinkle with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Place zucchini on baking sheet. Set aside while you prepare chili.

 

  • Heat oil in large cast iron skillet.
  • Add ground beef to brown. Drain off excess grease.
  • Add onions, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 4-5 minutes until onions soften.
  • Whisk together tomato paste, chicken stock and tomato sauce.
  • Add tomato mixture to meat, stirring to combine and cooking 8-10 minutes until VERY thick.
  • Stir in cilantro.
  • Fill zucchini boats with chili and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more until cheese is golden.
  • Top with sour cream, green onions and cilantro.

GRILLED CHICKEN with PEACHES & GREEN TOMATOES

GRILLED CHICKEN with PEACHES & GREEN TOMATOES
1/2 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced FRESH ginger
4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2-3 green tomatoes, cut into wedges
2-3 FRESH peaches, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped flat leaf parsley
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Combine liquid aminos, brown sugar, ginger and garlic in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Add chicken, seal bag and turn to coat chicken.
  • Refrigerate AT LEAST 2 hours. All day or overnight is best. Turn bag frequently.

 

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • In a LARGE cast iron skillet heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add tomatoes and peaches to cook, turning once, until lightly browned.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, honey and 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • Fold in parsley.
  • Pour over tomatoes and peaches, gently turning to coat.
  • Add last 1/2 tablespoon of oil to skillet over medium heat.
  • Drain chicken of marinade.
  • Add to skillet skin side down, cooking 2-3 minutes until browned.
  • Turn chicken and transfer to oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
  • Plate chicken and top with peach tomato mixture.

NOTE:  Grilling the chicken works well too.

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES aka CAJUN EMPANADAS

I found a recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pies, a savory dish that sounded really interesting.  I did a little research and found that Natchitoches Meat Pies are an official state food and that Natchitoches is a city in northern Louisiana.  I didn’t like that it was fried though and converted it to a baked version.  For lack of a better definition this is a Cajun empanada 😀

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES

FILLING
4 slices bacon, diced
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 LARGE onion, FINELY chopped
1 LARGE bunch green onions, FINELY diced
1 cup red, yellow and orange mini peppers, FINELY chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped FRESH flat leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chicken broth

  • Brown ground beef and pork until cooked through. Drain.
  • In the same pan brown bacon over medium heat until crisp.
  • Remove bacon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Whisk in flour to bacon grease making a roux.
  • Whisk in chicken broth, seasonings, garlic, onions, parsley and peppers.
  • Add beef and pork in. Simmer 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.
  • Refrigerate the meat mixture for an hour while you are making the dough and before assembling pies.

PASTRY
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons crisco
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chicken broth

  • Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder together in food processor.
  • Add shortening and pulse to a cornmeal texture.
  • Add eggs and broth JUST until dough comes together.
  • Transfer dough to a floured counter and knead 30 seconds until creates a smooth ball.
  • Divide dough into equal pieces, about 8-16 depending on how large you want your pies.
  • Roll out each piece to a thin circle.
  • Fill each about half full.
  • Fold over and crimp edges with fork tines to seal.
  • Place on a silicone lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 425° for 30-45 minutes, turning baking dish as needed to avoid burning the edges.
    Serve with Salsa, sour cream, chopped olives and chopped green onions.

NOTE:

  • I sometimes make them “Mexican” by adding a Taco Bell original spice packet to the mix.
  • I also like to add a sprinkly of shredded cheese to the inside and garnish.

IMOGENE’S CHICKEN

This is one of those recipes that I made EXACTLY as written the FIRST time, but had to change. It was good the first time, but we knew it could be better!

IMOGENE’S CHICKEN
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons FRESH grated ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in cast iron casserole pan.
  • Arrange chicken thighs top side down in a single layer.
  • Whisk together the white wine, liquid aminos, vinegar, chicken broth, ginger, sugar and oregano and pour around chicken pieces.
  • Cover and bake 30 minutes.
  • Turn chicken and cook 15 minutes more.
  • Serve over rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.

CRUNCHY SNAP PEA POPCORN SALAD ala the MIDWEST & MOLLY YEH

On Molly Yeh’s show last week she had the most unusual salad that we just had to try. Now because of the quarantine and so many ingredients being unavailable I did have to make a substitution for the snap peas where I used FRESH green beans, but look forward to next time using snap peas. I also had some shredded rotisserie chicken pieces for some protein.  It was really yummy!

CRUNCHY SNAP PEA POPCORN SALAD
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
Vegetable oil, as needed for popping
White Cheddar popcorn seasoning, for the popcorn
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sugar snap peas, strings removed, cut crosswise into thirds
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped celery plus 1/2 cup tender inner celery leaves
1 bunch watercress, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces

  • Pop the popcorn in a popcorn popper according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You should have 12 cups.
  • While popcorn is still hot, sprinkle with the white Cheddar popcorn seasoning to taste and let cool completely.
  • Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, sugar, and Dijon together in a large serving bowl. Stir in the shallot.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, but remember the popcorn is already salty.
  • Add the snap peas, carrot and chopped celery and toss to coat.
  • Add the popcorn and toss to coat the kernels in the dressing.
  • Pile the watercress on top and sprinkle with the celery leaves.
  • Serve immediately.

NOLAN RYAN MEATLOAF aka BASEBALL PITCHER RANCHER MEATLOAF

If you like baseball you’ve heard the name, but ANYONE from south Texas REALLY knows the name Nolan Ryan.  What you may NOT know is that his first passion was raising QUALITY beef and he has some of the best beef around!

NOLAN RYAN MEATLOAF with LAVA MUSTARD BBQ SAUCE

MEATLOAF
2 pounds ground sirloin, NOLAN RYAN beef where possible
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup FINE bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 SMALL red pepper, FINELY diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cups shredded Jack cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Frank’s original hot sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a large bowl use your hands to combine all the ingredients until well mixed.
  • Place mixture in a greased loaf pan.
  • Bake 45 minutes.
  • Increase oven to 425° and cook 10 minutes more.
  • Top with sauce and bake 5 minutes more.
  • Serve immediately.

LAVA MUSTARD BBQ SAUCE
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
¼ cup Kentucky bourbon
1 cup barbecue sauce of your choice (I  use Sweet Baby Rays)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon COLEMAN’S dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, but don’t allow the onion to turn brown.
  • Add the bourbon and cook off the alcohol, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, mustard and cayenne. 
  • Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring at regular intervals.

NOTE:  I have to leave out the mustard due to allergies and find the sauce is still awesome!

JEZEBEL SAUCE

I found this recipe in an old cookbook and it sounded ODD and I have NO idea where the name came from, but just awesome enough to try.  It made just a couple changes, but it really makes an awesome appetizer.  The recipe apparently has a convoluted history of unknown origin… Billie’s friend Nancy too the recipe to a garden club Christmas Party.  She had gotten the recipe from her brother-in-law’s niece…

JEZEBEL SAUCE
18 ounce jar SMUCKER’S pineapple preserves
18 ounce jar SMUCKER’S apple butter or jelly
3.75 ounce jar Inglehoffer (German) horseradish
1 tablespoon Coleman’s dry mustard
1 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 box wheat thins

  • In a medium size bowl stir together the pineapple preserves, apple butter or jelly, mustard, horseradish and pepper.
  • Chill at least 2 hours.
  • Place cream cheese on a platter and pour sauce over top.
  • Serve with crackers.