ITALIAN STUFFED CHICKEN

Coating the chicken breast with homemade Italian dressing inside and out helps keep this chicken juicy and adds so much flavor as the dressing combined with the marinade from the sun dried tomatoes constantly bastes the chicken as it bakes.

ITALIAN STUFFED CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup sun dried tomato tapenade
2 slices Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 tablespoons Avocado or olive oil

DRESSING
1 tablespoon mayonnaise*
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Basil
1/4 teaspoon Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients until well blended (it will not be pourable, but that’s what you want).
  • Cut a slit in each breast to create a pocket, but not all the way through.
  • Stir together the ricotta cheese and sun-dried tomato tapenade.
  • Coat the inside of the pocket with the dressing.
  • Add ricotta sun-dried tomato mixture, spinach leaves and a slice of cheese.
  • Coat outside of chicken with dressing on both sides.
  • Seal with toothpicks.
  • Heat oil in cast iron pan over high heat.
  • Add chicken and sear both sides quickly until golden.
  • Transfer pan to oven and bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken is cooked through.
  • Rest for 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle with any juices that leaked out.

NOTE*: Most people would use a Dijon mustard, but I’m allergic to mustard so substitute mayonnaise and make up the flavor in herbs.

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CHILI DOG CASSEROLE

CHILI DOG CASSEROLE
1 Jiffy Corn muffin mix
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 package Ball Park ALL beef hot dogs
1 can chili with beans
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Prepare muffin mix batter per package instructions adding the garlic powder, chipotle chili powder and brown sugar to the batter.
  • Pour half the batter into the baking dish.
  • In a skillet over medium high heat, brown hot dogs on all sides.
  • Lay hot dogs on top of batter in a single layer.
  • Spread chili evenly over the hot dogs.
  • Sprinkle 3.4 of the onions over the chili.
  • Spread 3/4 cup of the cheese over the onions.
  • Spread remaining batter over cheese.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese and onions on top and serve.

MAGIC DUST SLAM DUNK HOT WINGS

MAGIC DUST SLAM DUNK HOT WINGS from Chris at NibbleMeThis He originally ran this recipe over at OUR Krazy Kitchen when I hosted that food blog.

36 chicken wing pieces (wingettes and drummettes)
CHRIS’ DRY RUB (I use my MAGIC DUST instead of Chris’ rub though – recipe below)
1 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Season Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano

TOSS SAUCE
1/2 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s Original)
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

DUNK SAUCE
3/4 cup ranch dressing
2 tablespoon diced roasted red pepper
2 tablespoon cilantro, finely minced

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Mix the “dunk sauce” together and refrigerate.
  • Wash and dry the wing pieces REALLY well* and season with the dry rub.
  • Cook the wings for 25 minutes and then flip the wings.  Cook another 25 minutes or until crisp and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the “toss sauce” over medium heat.
  • Toss the wings in the toss sauce and put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve with the Dunk Sauce and enjoy

NOTE* This helps get a crisp skin.

TAMY’S MAGIC DUST (my go to dry rub that I keep on hand)

1/2 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup finely ground sea salt
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup chipotle chili powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

  • Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Shake before each use.

MAGIC DUST NOTE: I can’t use it because of allergies, but a great addition to this recipe is 2 tablespoons of Colemna’s dry mustard.

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CHILI MAC CASSEROLE

CHILI MAC CASSEROLE
3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 pound ground pork
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes (DO NOT DRAIN)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheese of choice (I use cheddar or a jack and cheddar mix)
2 green onions, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Cook macaroni al dente per package directions. Drain.
  • While macaroni is cooking, brown beef and pork in large skillet along with shallots and garlic.
  • Drain off all fat in a colander.
  • Add tomatoes, chiles, black beans, tomato paste and seasonings to skillet and blend well.
  • Add meat back in, stirring to blend.
  • Add macaroni and gently stir to combine.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
  • Baked covered 30 minutes until bubbly.
  • Uncover and add cheese, baking another 5 minutes until cheese is completely melted.
  • Sprinkle with green onions for garnish.

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CARAMEL STUFFED AUTUMN SNICKERDOODLES

Another fun find on facebook that I altered to out taste. I mean who doesn’t like a snickerdoodle? and caramel? and cinnamon sugar? Put them all together and you have something really special for the fall season.

CARAMEL STUFFED AUTUMN SNICKERDOODLES yields 12 cookies adapted from DELISH
3/4 cup spiced apple cider
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
Cinnamon sugar, for rolling
12 unwrapped caramel candies, cut into 4 pieces each

  • Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple cider to a simmer, cooking until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Let cool.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar.
  • Add egg, vanilla, molasses and apple cider mixing until well blended.
  • Add flour and mix JUST until combined.
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball then flatten it slightly with your hand.
  • Press 4 caramel pieces into the center of the dough, covering and sealing the caramel entirely with dough.
  • Reshape it into a ball and roll in cinnamon-sugar.
  • Place on cookie sheet and repeat with remaining dough and caramels.
  • Freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and set in the middle, 10-14 minutes.
  • Let cool for on pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 43 of 2017

WOW is this year moving fast! We had a nice weekend that ended way too fast.  Saturday was an uncle’s 75th birthday party and we went and picked up my aunt’s caretaker from year’s past that can no longer drive and lives 45 minutes away to bring her to the party and take her home after the party so Saturday was pretty full.  I was able to see 3 cousins that I don’t normally get to see often as we all live in 4 different cities in 2 different states. We had a great visit full of love and laughter accompanied by 2 of my cousin’s munchkins stealing the show as they had fun.

We woke up Sunday to a storm whose wind was rivaling hurricane Harvey and heavy rain so the day quickly turned into a do nothing day where we made brunch, watched football and racing while really doing nothing at all.

The long awaited day is finally here.  WRONG – 12:05 UPDATE -doctor’s office just called and rescheduled for Thursday saying he was in an emergency surgery that was taking longer than expected. I know this ALL happens for a reason and I don’t want to be unreasonable, but this ALL began LAST November 2016!!!! I’m READY for it to be over!!!

All of my testing is done and my follow up appointment with the doctor for all the test results and to set a surgery schedule is later today Thursday so I’m a bit apprehensive until I know more. We do know I will be a liquid diet for quite a few weeks and will more than likely be missing both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners so I will be doing a combo holiday meal for hubby, myself and the good uncle just before surgery and then freezing meals for hubby.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

We’re supposed to be down in the 80’s all week and sunny.  As long as the humidity stays low, that’s okay by me. I’d prefer a proper fall, but I’ll settle for a mild Indian summer since we haven’t had a proper frost here.

The term Indian summer usually means warm and dry with above normal temperatures after the first cold spell or frost of the season, but just for trivia’s sake it does not have a positive origin.  It refers to a period of time after the settlers had experienced the first frost of the season and were preparing for a long winter.  The settlers had let their guard down and the Indians had taken advantage of the settlers being unprepared according to farmer’s almanac.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Fruit smoothie and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
  • LIVING AREAS… plan on doing a deep clean today and tomorrow
  • KITCHEN… pretty clean
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… nothing much after the weekend storms, just too wet to do anything
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

I’m reading the Bridge to a Better Life by Ava Miles.

The Holiday Baking Championship(11/9) and Guy’s BIG Project(11/5) both start in the next couple weeks.

  • BIG BANG THEORY and the new YOUNG SHELDON when it returns in November
  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0
  • MACGYVER, SCORPION, BLINDSPOT
  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, DC LEGENDS
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE,
  • THIS IS US, ONCE UPON A TIME
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

I’m beginning to work on Christmas cards.  I’d like to have them finished and ready to mail just after Thanksgiving.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

 
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
KITCHEN SINK FRITTATA
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
SLAM DUNK WINGS & SALAD
PANZANELLA SALAD
CHILI CHEESE DOG CASSEROLE
GRILLED STEAKS AND SALAD
STUFFED CHICKEN MARSALA
DESSERT
 BANANAS FOSTER BREAD

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

As always I’m praying for world peace, SERIOUSLY! I hate waking up to so much tragedy through the world more and more frequently.

I’m also praying that the doctor has great answers today in my follow up appointment.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

I’m still moving right along on getting ALL but the essentials packed.  We still don’t know when we will be moving, but at least we’ll be ready! I love bubble wrap.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday, Terri at Darling Downs Diaries and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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KITCHEN SINK FRITTATA

Frittatas are one of the best vehicles for leftovers in my opinion.  So many people make frittatas out to be their arch nemesis, but for me frittatas are the best way to clean out the refrigerator before grocery day. They really are fairly simple, it’s just about the right proportions, seasoning and NOT over baking.

There are 3 main things to remember when making a frittata and then a few more things to remember.

  • The first is you need plenty of flavor, so if your leftovers are bland be sure to add extra seasoning that compliments your ingredients.
  • The second is to make sure your ingredients don’t fight each other. For example, you don’t want to combine liver and onions with hot wing chicken.
  • The third is to make sure your egg mixture is sufficient enough to cover your proteins and that your cheese choice compliments your proteins. I ABSOLUTELY recommend using a cast iron pan for ALL frittatas for an even bake.
  • The most important thing to remember for a fluffy frittata is to use FULL fat dairy and cheese whether it’s milk or sour cream. The full fat makes for a richer custardy texture. I personally like a rich buttermilk. Adding anything less than full fat is like just adding water.
  • If you’re not using leftovers, be sure to use FULLY cooked proteins and/or any vegetables (things like ham, tomatoes and mushrooms) that could release excess moisture while baking. tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Bake just until set, DO NOT OVER BAKE!

KITCHEN SINK FRITTATA serves 4-6

2 cups chopped proteins
1/2 cup chopped vegetables
6 LARGE eggs
1/4 cup of WHOLE milk
appropriate seasonings, to taste
3/4 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons butter

  • Preheat oven to 350° .
  • Melt butter in cast iron pan.
  • Whisk together the eggs, milk and seasonings.
  • Mix together the proteins and vegetables.
  • Stir in the majority of the cheese, reserving some for topping just before serving.
  • Pour egg mixture over top making sure to cover everything.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until JUST set.
  • Top with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

INSIDE OUT CHICKEN POT PIES

Most of you know that I ONLY cook from scratch.  I have to admit though that one of my favorite comfort meals from being a kid was SWANSON’S Chicken Pot Pie.  I have tried for years to duplicate that exact recipe from scratch.  Alas, I concede – scratch will have to wait! Here is the recipe I have come closest with. This particular sauce actually turns out more like a gravy and is perfect for this combo! Now I am trying a beef version tonight that will be scatch!

INSIDE OUT CHICKEN POT PIES
serves 4
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
3 tablespoons butter
4-6 ounces cream cheese, softened
salt and pepper to taste
1 box Pepperidge Farm Puffed Pastry defrosted per package directions
1 package KNORR Hollandaise Sauce prepared per package
1 egg white + 1 tablespoon melted butter

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet.
  • Add celery and onion, sauteeing until almost carmelized.
  • Add remaining butter to melt.
  • Add chicken pieces, salt and pepper to taste, sauteeing until chicken is cooked through.
  • Add cream cheese and blend well.
  • Add peas and carrots, stirring to coat.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut pastry sheets in half.
  • Lay one half of each pastry sheet on cookie sheet.
  • Spoon a generous portion of the chicken mixture into the half of each sheet.
  • Fold the other half up and over, sealing the edges well.
  • Whisk together the egg white and melted butter and then brushing each pie with the mixture.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden and pastry is puffed.
  • Top each pie with a ladle full of sauce.
  • Enjoy.

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BANANAS FOSTER BREAD adapted from DAMARIS PHILLIPS

BANANAS FOSTER BREAD adapted from DAMARIS PHILLIPS

BREAD
Cooking spray, for greasing
1 2/3 cups bananas, mashed (about 4 medium RIPE)
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/3 cup golden raisins (soaked in orange juice and rum and then drained WELL)

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Spray a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine the bananas, eggs, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt, rum and vanilla extracts in a bowl.
  • In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir JUST until the flour is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  • Fold in the coconut, raisins and walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the glaze.

GLAZE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup spiced rum
1 teaspoon orange zest
Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the brown sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir, cooking until the sugar dissolves, and then continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes over low heat until the mixture bubbles around the edges.
  • Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the rum and the orange zest.
  • Slowly pour half of the glaze over the banana bread, allowing it to seep into all the surfaces.
  • Wait until the glaze has been absorbed, about 30 minutes, and then turn the loaf out of the pan.
  • Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream, if using, and the remaining glaze.

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SHEPHERD’S PIE QUESADILLA with RED JALAPENO SOUR CREAM

I originally found this recipe in a tailgating magazine, but unlike most recipe immediately changed it into what I wanted it to be.  Hubby loved it and requested it again for next week.

SHEPHERD’S PIE QUESADILLA with RED JALAPENO SOUR CREAM serves 4
8 small (6 inch) tortillas
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 pound ground beef
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 large carrots, minced (I use the mini food processor)
1 beef bouillon cube
3/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound snap peas, trimmed and chopped
6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 + 2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet.
  • Dissolve beef bouillon cube in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Add beef, onions and carrots, stirring frequently to saute’, breaking beef down into the smallest of crumble pieces.
  • While beef is cooking prepare potatoes in salted water until mashable.
  • Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Add broth mixture and cook until meat is cooked through and liquid has been completely absorbed.
  • Add peas and cook a few minutes more. Set aside.
  • When potatoes are done drain off water and add 2 tablespoons butter, cream, salt and pepper, mixing well.
  • Assemble quesadillas with a layer of mashed potatoes, meat mixture and cheese.
  • Heat additional 2 tablespoons of butter and cook quesadilla until browned on each side and cheese is melted.
  • Cut with a pizza cutter and serve immediately with Jalapeño sour cream.

NOTE: A quesadilla maker works REALLY well.

RED JALAPENO SOUR CREAM
1 tablespoon Litehouse freeze dried Red Jalapeños
2 tablespoons beef broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Soak red jalapeños in beef broth for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Drain well.
  • Fold jalapeños into sour cream and season to taste.

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BRUSSELS BISQUE ~ MY WAY

This is a combination of several recipes.  I was never happy with any one of them on a stand alone basis, but loved how combining bits and pieces of each one made the perfect bisque.  So, just in time for cool fall evenings I give you my version of Brussels Bisque.

BRUSSELS BISQUE MY WAY Makes 8 servings.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1-1/4 pounds (about 3 cups) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved**
1 large onion, chopped
1 bulb garlic, roasted, mashed and rough chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Splash (to taste) Frank’s original hot sauce
6 slices bacon, dice and browned
Parmesan Cheese

  • In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, melt butter.
  • Add onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and half of your garlic; saute 3 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, wine and Worcestershire.
  • Add nutmeg, parsley and hot sauce.
  • Bring to boiling; simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Pour soup through colander placed over large bowl or pan.
  • Set aside about 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts mixture.
  • Place remaining Brussels sprouts mixture in food processor or immersion blender; puree. ***
  • Return puree and broth mixture to Dutch oven.
  • Place flour in small bowl; gradually add half-and-half, stirring until smooth.
  • Add half-and-half mixture into broth mixture gradually, stirring until well blended.
  • Add mushroom mixture, reserved Brussels sprouts mixture and remaining garlic.
  • Bring to boil, stirring frequently; simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour into bowls top with a dab of butter and lots of fresh grated pepper.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, Parmesan and crisp bacon pieces.

NOTE:** Spinach or Broccoli can be substituted.
NOTE:*** Remember that hot foods will splatter easily, blend with caution!

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CHILI BOURBON/WHISKEY BALLS and a WHISKEY-BOURBON tutorial

CHILI BOURBON WHISKEY BALLS
2 pounds fully cooked boneless ham (I use ham steaks)
1/2 pound boneless pork chop
1/2 pound bacon
1 cup Panko crumbs
1 cup whole milk
2 LARGE eggs, beaten

  • Cut ham, pork chop and bacon into bite size pieces less than 1 inch.
  • Transfer to a jelly roll pan and freeze for 30-60 minutes.**
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Coarsely grind meat from freezer into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the milk and eggs.
  • Add bread crumbs to milk mixture until well blended and absorbed.
  • Lightly combine pork and bread crumb mixture until consistent.
  • Shape into golf ball sized balls.

**NOTE Freezing before grinding does two things 1) the meat retains its moisture and 2) the machine won’t clog up during the grinding process.

SAUCE
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup Bourbon (I have also been known to use SEAGRAMS which what we usually have on hand)
2 tablespoons chili sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Pour off 1 cup of sauce for reserve and keep warm or reheat just before serving.
  • Add ham balls to remaining sauce and gently stir to coat for a couple minutes.
  • Remove ham balls from sauce pan to baking rack inside jelly roll pan.
  • Bake 30 minutes, brushing occasionally with sauce from sauce pan.
  • Serve with reserved sauce.

NOTE: This recipe is ALSO good with beef meatballs.

BOURBON VS. WHISKEY – What is the difference?  This is something I always wondered about and my dad used to use them fairly interchangeable, but I never knew for sure so decided it was time to look it up.  It’s pretty interesting so I thought I’d share what I found with you.

Bourbon’s origin is not well documented with many conflicting claims and legends, not all credible. While bourbon is credited back to the French originally, American Bourbon has many rules that distinguish it from all others. Despite the 95 years of no bourbon production in Bourbon county originally due to first prohibition until a small refinery opened in 2014, it is still the best known area for bourbon production.

Bourbon is a corn base whiskey. By U.S. standards it must contain a minimum of 51% of corn, be produced entirely in the U.S., be aged in NEW charred oak barrels, and be distilled at specific volumes, aged at specific volumes and bottled at specific volumes.

In 1964 the United States Congress adopted a concurrent resolution that declared bourbon be a “distinctive product of the United States”. They asked that the United States agencies to take action to prohibit the importation into the U.S. of any whiskey designated as bourbon whiskey.

Legal Definitions of Bourbon vary from country to country, but many trade agreements require the name bourbon to be reserved for only those products made in the U.S.. The U.S. labeling and advertising regulations only apply for the products made for the U.S. and do not apply to those made for export.

There is no specific duration for the aging of Bourbon with the exception of STRAIGHT bourbon. Straight bourbon has a minimum aging of two years and if aged for less than four years must include a statement of age on the label when called STRAIGHT bourbon. STRAIGHT bourbon can also have NO added coloring, flavoring or other spirits. Using added colorings, flavorings or other spirits is BLENDED. Blended bourbon must contain at least 51% STRAIGHT bourbon.

Since the barrels can only be used once in order to call it bourbon, they are sold off to foreign distilleries to be used to produce other products. Often they are sold to Canada, the Caribbean, Scotland, Ireland and Mexico for manufacturing other barrel-aged products such as barbecue sauce,, wine, beer, hot sauces and other spirits. These barrels are saturated with 2-3 (sometimes up to 10) gallons of bourbon still which can influence the flavorings.

Whiskey, also spelled whisky has a debatable history. Despite all the debate it seems to boil down to regional language issues. The spelling whiskey is common in Ireland and the United states while the spelling whisky is used in most other countries.

Whiskey is generally aged in charred white oak wooden casks and is made of fermented grain mash (generally a combination of barley, corn, rye and wheat) which can also be malted after first being distilled in a copper vat. The copper removes the sulfur based compounds that give it an unpleasant flavor. While there are a variety of different still types today, they still have copper innards to remove the unpleasant sulfur based toxins.

After distillation whiskies are aged in wooden casks of primarily American and French oaks. Whiskies undergo a six point process that contributes to its final flavor. The six processes are extraction, evaporation, oxidation, concentration, filtration and colouration.

In order to use the term scotch whiskey, it must be distilled in Scotland.

Whiskey, like bourbon is strictly regulated throughout the world with typical unifying characteristics regarding the classes and types of fermentation of the grains, distillation and aging in wooden barrels.

Chemical distilling itself dates bake for certain to the Greeks. Much of early distillation was not for alcohol, but for medicines. In the 15th century distillation processes spread to Ireland and Scotland where the practice of medicinal distillation spread into alcohol distillation by monasteries. When King Henry the VIII dissolved the monasteries (1536-1541) Whisky production moved from a monastic setting to residential and farm settings as the monks, newly independent people now needed a way to earn money.

Early whisky was not allowed to age and was a brutal tasting spirit as it was very potent and not diluted. Over time whisky has become a much smoother spirit as it is now aged and diluted.

As with all things, whisky became considerably more taxed when England and Scotland were merged in 1707 by the Acts of Union. By 1725 most of Scotland’s distillation was shut down or forced underground because of the high taxation. They were known to hide scotch whisky in coffins, under altars and any available hidden space to avoid the revenuers. It was at this point that whisky became known as moonshine as distillers took to preparing and operating their stills at night when the smoke could be hidden in the darkness.

During the American Revolutionary war whisky was used as currency. George Washington himself operated a large distillery at Mt. Vernon.

There is still much taxation worldwide on both the distillation and purchase of whiskies.

During the American Prohibition 1920-1933 all alcohol was banned with the exception of whisky that was prescribed by a doctor and sold through a licensed pharmacy. I’m sure Walgreens is VERY thankful for this as their chain grew from 20 stores to over 400 stores.

So as you can see, it is all as clear as mud! So ALL bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbon.

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