SPAM & TATERS

This is not the prettiest of pictures, but I guarantee you that your hubby won’t care what it looks like!  Super flavorful and rib sticking casserole dish for race or football day.

SPAM & TATERS
1 pound YUKON potatoes, washed and cubed
1 can spam, cubed
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
3/4 cup milk
FRESH ground black pepper.
1 cup shredded EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
2 thin slices cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish.
  • Add spam to hot skillet and cook until browned and crisp.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender.
  • Drain potatoes and cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss spam and potatoes.
  • Melt butter in saucepan.
  • Whisk in flour and cook until golden.
  • Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until thickens to a creamy texture.
  • Blend in cheese until melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over and gently toss to coat.
  • Spread into prepared baking dish and top with cheese slices.
  • Bake 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.
  • Serve and enjoy!

CHICKEN CAESAR MAC & CHEESE

CHICKEN CAESAR MAC & CHEESE
3 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions and drained
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1 1/4 + 1/4 cups shredded SHARP cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 cup Ken’s Caesar salad dressing
1 1/2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken pieces
10 pieces bacon, diced, cooked and crumbled

  • Add cooked macaroni, chicken and 3/4 of the bacon pieces to a large baking dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until smooth and golden.
  • Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a SLOW boil, stirring constantly until thickened.
  • Stir in the cheeses (except the 1/4 cup SHARP) until well blended.
  • Stir in dressing.
  • Pour mixture over macaroni and chicken and fold together until well coated.

TOPPING
1/3 cup Panko
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced FRESH parsley

  • Toss Panko crumbs and melted butter until well blended.
  • Sprinkle over the macaroni mixture.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Top with remaining bacon pieces.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

CHEESY CORNBREAD PUDDING

This recipe is great all by itself, but I like to make it along with the BROWN GRAVY MEATBALLS for two reasons. The first reason being that I use the bacon grease to brown the meatballs in and the second being that the brown gravy is absolutely delicious over the corn bread pudding. These two recipes compliment each other PERFECTLY 😀
CHEESY CORNBREAD PUDDING – serves 6
4 LARGE eggs
1 cup buttermilk (NOT low-fat)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1 batch CORNBREAD (see below), cubed
1 pound bacon diced and cooked crisp
1 cup shredded Gruyere or baby Swiss cheese
1 green onion, diced for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 6-8 ounce ramekins with non-stick spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, cream and pepper.
  • Gently fold in cornbread cubes, bacon and 3/4 cup of cheese.
  • Spoon into prepared ramekins.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set in the center.
  • Garnish with green onions.

CORNBREAD
1 cup PLAIN yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (NOT low-fat)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 LARGE egg

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Spray an 8 inch round baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt ending with a well in the center.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together buttermilk, butter and egg. Pour into the dry ingredient well, mixing until JUST combined.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake 25 minutes until golden and toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool COMPLETELY!

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SLOW COOKER CRUSTLESS SHEPHERDS PIE

Somehow between picture 1 and picture 2 my camera broke a spring in my lens and now we’re on the hunt for a new camera. We found an upgraded model that has the new necessary lens as well as a different long lens so hubby and I will both have camera bodies, but it is going on a Thanksgiving special for A LOT off so we’re waiting to buy it!  So these pictures aren’t the best quality for today.

SLOW COOKER CRUSTLESS SHEPHERD’S PIE

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup flour
FRESH ground salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 can Green Giant white shoe peg corn
2 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, diced
1 can cream of mushrooms soup or 1 1/3 cup soup substitute + 1tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons snipped chives

  • Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick spray.
  • Brown the ground beef and onion together until there is no more pink.
  • Drain off grease.
  • Add to crock pot in an even layer.
  • Top with celery and carrot pieces.
  • Combine water and milk in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk in cream of tartar until smooth.
  • Add potato slices to milk mixture, coating well. This will prevent browning while slow cooking.
  • Drain potato slices REALLY WELL.
  • Evenly arrange potato slices over the carrots and celery.
  • Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper and half the cheddar cheese.
  • Sprinkle the flour cheese mixture over the potato slices evenly.
  • Dot with the diced butter.
  • Whisk together the soup and 1 tablespoon milk.
  • Spread soup mixture evenly over top of everything.
  • Cover.
  • Cook on low 5 hours or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Top with remaining cheddar cheese and cook another 20 minutes until melted and gooey.
  • Garnish with chives.
  • Cut and serve.

NOTES: Canned green beans or frozen peas make a great substitution and/or addition for the corn.

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BACON GRUYERE SMASHED POTATOES

BACON GRUYERE SMASHED POTATOES serves 4-6
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/4 pounds red or white rose potatoes, washed and halved
2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon FRESH minced thyme
1/3 cup milk
4 slices bacon, chopped and cooked crisp
1/3 cup grated Gruyere or baby Swiss cheese

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in a large skillet
  • Add onions and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes until onions are soft. Reduce heat to medium low and cook an additional 45 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in thyme during the last 5 minutes.
  • While onions are caramelizing cook potatoes in salted, boiling water for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain and add potato pieces to mixing bowl.
  • Add milk, remaining butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Coarsely mash potatoes to desired consistency.
  • Stir in bacon and onions.
  • Top with cheese and let stand covered until cheese melts.
  • Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

MELTING POTATOES

MELTING POTATOES serves 4
1 1/2 pounds Yukon potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon FRESH minced thyme
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley

  • Preheat oven to 500°.
  • Cut of potato ends so they are flat.
  • Slice each potato 1 inch slices.
  • Whisk together the butter, salt, pepper and thyme.
  • Toss potatoes in butter mixture.
  • Arrange potatoes in a single layer in a 13×9 inch baking dish.
  • Roast potatoes for 15 minutes.
  • Use a metal spatula to loosen and flip potatoes.
  • Return to oven and roast another 15 minutes.
  • Whisk together the chicken broth and garlic.
  • Flip potatoes again.
  • Add chicken broth and garlic to pan.
  • Return to oven and roast another 25 minutes until potatoes are cooked through and sauce has reduced.
  • Spoon a small amount of sauce over each potato as you serve it.
  • Top with minced parsley.

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN & RICE with SAUTEED MUSHROOMS

This dish has progressed over the years for me with flavor changes and updates. Grams used to call it “CONTINENTAL” chicken for a reason I will never know. LOL 🙂 But, it’s just a sturdy chicken and rice that serves a family well.

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN & RICE with SAUTEED MUSHROOMS

CHICKEN
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper, to taste
6 skinless bone in chicken thighs **

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, parsley, paprika, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Add the chicken pieces and coat each piece evenly with the seasoning. Set aside, allowing the flavors to absorb into the meat.
  • Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray and set aside.

RICE
1 large VIDALIA onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups long grain white rice

  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the broth, water, salt, oil, garlic.
  • Add the onion, garlic, oil, Stir well to combine.
  • Mix in the onions and rice.
  • Add to baking dish.
  • Arrange chicken in a single even layer over the rice, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked right through to the bone.
  • Change oven setting to broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the chicken and crisp rice.
  • When chicken and rice is finished cooking, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes.

MUSHROOMS
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound button mushrooms quartered or I prefer Beech Mushrooms
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
2/3 cup white wine
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, to garnish

  • Heat butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Sauté green onions and garlic until fragrant (30 seconds) and add mushrooms; cook until softened.
  • Add wine and cook until absorbed.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of chives and season with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY

  • Transfer chicken onto a plate; fluff rice with forks, then mix the mushrooms through the rice.
  • Arrange chicken back onto the rice in the dish, garnish with remaining chives and chopped parsley.

NOTE: If you prefer using chicken breasts or boneless thigh fillets, add them in after 20 minutes dish has been in the oven. The bone-in pieces tend to stay juicier and more flavorful.

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CROISSANT BERRY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

This is a rich indulgent brunch recipe that is also super easy to prepare in advance for those special holiday mornings.

CROISSANT BERRY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

15 mini BUTTER croissants
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup SUPERFINE sugar
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup small WILD blueberries
6 LARGE eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • Slice each croissant length-wise, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  • Cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
  • Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture onto the inside of each croissant.
  • Divide strawberry slices evenly between the croissants laying them onto the cream cheese and close the croissants.
  • Sprinkle with currants.
  • Layer the croissants into the dish, packing them tightly.
  • Sprinkle the blueberries throughout the dish.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
  • Pour egg mixture SLOWLY over the croissants, making sure to get some into every nook and cranny.
  • Cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours or bake right away.
  • When ready to bake, COVER and bake for 30-35 minutes or until set.
  • Serve with more maple syrup and fresh fruit.
  • Enjoy!

SWEET SOY PORK CHOPS, CURRANT SCALLION RICE & BACON SHALLOT SNAP PEAS

SWEET SOY PORK CHOPS, CURRANT SCALLION RICE and BACON SHALLOT SUGAR SNAP PEAS

MARINADE
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
4 boneless center cut pork loin chops

  • Whisk together the liquid aminos, vinegar and sriracha.
  • Place pork chops in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Pour marinade into bag.
  • Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly.
  • Turn chops to coat well with marinade.
  • Marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning bag half way through.

 

  • Heat grill to medium heat.
  • Prepare glaze while grill is heating.
  • Remove chops from bag and discard marinade.
  • Generously season pork chops with salt and pepper.
  • Brush each side with glaze.
  • Grill about 6 minutes per side.
  • Brush with additional glaze and serve immediately.

GLAZE
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

RICE
1 cup long grain rice
1 cup water
1 cup chicken consomme
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/3 cup currants

  • Combine water and consommé in sauce pan.
  • Add rice, stirring to coat.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or so until tender and moisture is completely absorbed.
  • Fold in currants and green onions.

SNAP PEAS
4 slices thick bacon, diced and cooked crisp
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/4 cup chicken consomme
FRESH ground salt and pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon bacon grease

  • Heat bacon grease over medium high heat.
  • Add shallots and cook 3-5 minutes until browned.
  • Add snap peas, consommé and season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute’ covered 2-4 minutes until crisp tender.
  • Uncover and continue sautéing until all liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and bacon pieces.

CHILI SKILLET

This is a perfect fall dish and yes I’m planning ahead for the cooler temperatures up north where we will be in just a couple months. It is also a recipe that makes WONDERFUL leftovers as the flavors meld the longer it sits.

CHILI SKILLET – serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper (optional)*
1 LARGE clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato juice**
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 can Green Giant White shopped corn, drained
1/2 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced olives, optional

  • In a large skillet cook ground beef, onions, peppers (if using) and garlic over medium heat, breaking apart the meat until well crumbled and no longer pink.
  • Drain off ALL fat.
  • Add the tomato juice, water, chicken broth, red pepper flakes (if using), chili powder, oregano, rice, salt and pepper.
  • Simmer 20-25 minutes on low covered until rice is tender.
  • Fold in corn and olives (if using).
  • Sprinkle with cheese and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Top with green onions.
  • ENJOY.

NOTES: *I substitute 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
**I often use a small 6 ounce can of V8 juice and add 2 ounces water or chicken broth

CORNBREAD TAMALE PIE

We LOVE Mexican food, so this recipe works well into a Mexican themed week. By making Taco Salad, Chili Skillet, Tacos and this Cornbread Tamale pie all back to back I only have to make the meats and parts once and then assemble as needed.


CORNBREAD TAMALE PIE
Avocado oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained WELL
1-2 large bunches green onions, thinly sliced (save some for garnish)
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 + cup cheddar cheese (use the +portion as garnish)
1 LARGE egg yolk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • In a heavy duty cast iron skillet drizzle avocado oil over hot pan.
  • Add beef and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and completely crumbled. Drain off fat.
  • In a prep bowl add drained beef to drained tomatoes and set aside.
  • Wipe out pan.
  • Add another drizzle of avocado oil when pan is hot again.
  • Add onions and sauce until soft.
  • Add cumin and chile powder and stir to blend.
  • Add beef mixture to pan and stir to coat well. Cook a few minutes until sauce thickens.
  • Add beans and remaining cheese in last and remove from heat.

 

  • While meat is cooking prepare batter.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, milk and egg yolk until well blended.
  • Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder blending well.
  • Fold in half of the cheese.

ASSEMBLY

  • Spread meat mixture evenly in cast iron pan.
  • Gently spread the cornbread mixture over the meat mixture.
  • Put pan in oven and bake 12-14 minutes until cornbread is golden and set.
  • Cool 5 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with cheese and green onions.
  • ENJOY!

APPLE CIDER PAN GRAVY PORK CHOPS

This recipe is good year round, but tastes especially GREAT during the fall when apples are at their prime.

APPLE CIDER PAN GRAVY PORK CHOPS
2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 3/4 inch pork chops
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3-4 sprigs FRESH thyme
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
thin sliced apples,  for garnish SEE NOTE

  • Generously sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.
  • Heat avocado oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Sear pork chops on both sides.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the honey and apple pie spice.
  • Add in garlic and apple cider until well blended.
  • Pour over pork chops.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Remove pork chops to a plate, tent and let stand 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch and water.
  • Add to pan gravy and whisk until well blended.
  • Add heavy cream and whisk to blend.
  • Increase heat and bring to a SLOW boil until desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve pork chops with apple stuffing, your favorite vegetable and top with pan gravy.

NOTE:

  • You can serve with thin sliced apple slices or you can use a little butter and apple pie spice to saute the apple slices for a sweet treat.
  • Many times I prefer to sear the pork chops for 3 minutes on each side over high heat and then place them into a 400° oven for 6-8 minutes to finish cooking while I prepare the veggies. I find that the pork chops stay moist and juicy this way.

APPLE STUFFING
2 honey crisp apples, peeled,, cored and chopped
3 Kaiser rolls, chopped small
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small bunch green onions, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 + 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup apple cider
2 packets pork flavored top ramen seasoning packets

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in skillet on medium high heat.
  • Add carrots and saute 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Add green onions and garlic sauteing until fragrant.
  • Add apples, sauteing until beginning to soften.
  • Whisk together the pork seasoning packets into the apple cider.
  • Add the remaining butter and apple cider mixture to pan.
  • Fold in bread pieces, stirring to coat.
  • Cook until liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Fold into a casserole and bake 15 minutes or so to heat completely through.

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