Thursday, November 29, 2012

Southern Chicken & Dressing

This is the style of dressing I grew up on around the holidays. My grandma (Nanny) always made a HUGE batch of this for family gatherings, and she would always fill up a Tupperware dish and freeze it (because thats how awesome my Nanny is) just to send home with me... Along with her homemade giblet gravy, of course.

When I was a young airman and would still come home for the holidays, Nanny would even send me off with a Tupperware full of dressing. So, obviously, it is without a doubt my most favorite holiday dish. I could do without any other dish during the holidays, but there absolutely positively has to be Nanny's dressing.

Now, unbeknownst to me, there is a difference between Southern style dressing and the Northern stuff. I don't know. I've never actually stuffed a turkey or chicken with "stuffing" but I still thought dressing and stuffing were the same, North or South. Nope. Anyhoo, if you've never had Southern style dressing, it's pretty much the greatest stuff ever and you are all kinds of missing out on one of the finer things in life.

Now that I'm grown and living away from home without really coming around for the holidays, I call Nanny every year asking about this or that for the dressing.

I know this recipe by heart, but sometimes you just have to ask the expert now and then because, along with many many many other recipes that I use, there aren't any real measurements. This year I called Nanny while I was at the store, making sure I had everything I needed and she tells me: "well you need a good sized yellow onion and make sure you use enough sage, not too much, but enough so you can really taste the sage you know, and enough bread to mix with your cornbread, and however many eggs you like and pepper......" Ok, seriously. That happened. That's how we cook in my family. So forgive me in advance if I'm not 100% clear, but I'll do my best with this one.

Another important thing to note is that Nanny boils a whole chicken, debones it, shreds it, & makes gravy from the broth and giblets & uses the broth for the stuffing as well. That's where I draw the line. I have an extreme aversion to raw chicken, and I absolutely positively will not touch a whole raw chicken, much less mess with the skin and giblets and neck, oh my! So I am all about substitution. Instead of going through that whole painstaking disgusting process, I buy a regular rotisserie chicken from the store, remove the skin, and use all (dark & white) meat shredded into bite size pieces. One 3-4 pound rotisserie chicken yields about the same amount of shredded meat and is plenty for a large pan of stuffing. I also use store bought broth. Raw chicken problem solved.

So without further adieu, the best dressing ever, step by step:

4 stalks of celery
1 medium-large yellow onion
Sage (see pic)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp pepper
2 pkg Betty Crocker yellow cornbread mix (do not use a sweet cornbread mix)
Small loaf of bread (I use about 3/4 of a market fresh, thin sliced Italian loaf, but regular white/wheat whatever will work)
32oz chicken broth (low sodium)
5 eggs (large)
Shredded chicken (see note about chicken above)
1 tbsp butter

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 400, grease up cast iron skillet sides and bottom and place in oven for about 10 minutes.


In a medium size mixing bowl, prepare cornbread mix according to packages, with 2 eggs, (1 per package)but instead of regular milk, use buttermilk. Also add pinch of salt.

Take skillet out of oven (I probably don't need to say this, but better safe than sorry: your skillet is going to be hot!! Use potholders). Pour cornbread mix into skillet immediately and cook according to package. Cook time may be slightly longer than package because you use 2. I also use a larger cast iron skillet than the 8" inch skillet that it calls for, again to accommodate for using 2 packages of cornbread mix. Just keep an eye on it and make sure it is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center.

When cornbread is done, remove from oven and set aside to let cool.

Step 2:

Cut up bread slices. You can either remove the crust or leave on, personally, I like to leave the crust on. Place bread pieces on baking sheet and toast in oven to medium gold color. I use Italian bread because it makes a good dry, crusty toast that is perfect. Set aside and let cool.

Step 3:

Boil remaining 3 eggs.


Slice celery stalks & chop onion.

When eggs are done boiling (about 20 minutes, give or take) let cool.

Step 4:

Sauté onions and celery in butter until onions are translucent. You do not want to caramelize them.

Step 5:

In LARGE bowl, crumble bread (chunky crumble) and cornbread. I use 3/4 of the cornbread and give the remaining chunk out to munch on as it is friggin fantastic.

Step 6:

Peel and roughly chop eggs. Use whites and yolks. Add chicken, eggs, onions, & celery to large bowl with bread crumbs. Add in pepper & sage. For the sage, I measure with my hand, which I took a picture of. This is the same amount I always use; I know how much by looking at it. I have never actually measured it & I kick myself for not doing it this time, but I would say I use around 1/4 cup, loose. Mix ingredients by hand, trust me, it's much easier than trying to blend them together with a fork, spoon, or some other utensil.

Step 7:

Transfer mix to large Pyrex dish, packing lightly so that it all fits. Pour chicken broth directly over dressing (evenly distribute over top. I just pour from one end of the dish to the other until the broth is gone).

Step 8:

Brown in oven for 25 minutes at 400.

Serve plain or with cranberry sauce or gravy.

I serve with chicken gravy, which I make, but I completely eyeball everything I use for the gravy, so I couldn't even begin to try to post the recipe. I may attempt to measure next time because if you like gravy, this dressing is excellent with chicken gravy, even better with Nanny's homemade giblet gravy that I won't even attempt.

Apologies for not having a picture of the dressing after it was browned in the oven, but as soon as it was done, Thanksgiving feast began & pictures were not the first thing on my mind :).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

(Incredible) Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Well folks, this is easily the best soup I have ever eaten. Ever. One taste and I was pretty sure I done died and went to heaven. It is even, dare I say it, BETTER than Chili's... Okay, I can't officially claim that, but it is in my opinion, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

While making this, I asked Josh if I should put habaneros in it... Let's just say his answer was a definite yes & I doubt anyone wants to know what he actually said, but yes, I added habaneros. 3 in fact. I love them, Josh loves them... But not everyone loves them or the heat, so I will leave that out of the ingredients, but for those that want to know: 3 whole habaneros, minced in food processor, then added to other soup ingredients.


2 cups maseca, or similar brand, instant corn masa flour (see pic below)
2 quart prepared chicken stock (made with 2oz,or two packets, concentrated stock; see pic below)

*you can also use 4 bullion cubes, or 2tbsp chicken base*

1tbsp chili powder
1.5 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
16oz enchilada sauce (you can use up to 20oz. The store I went to was out of the biggest cans)
8oz tomato sauce
4.5oz green chiles
2 medium yellow onions
16oz Mexican velveeta
About 2lbs shredded chicken

*I buy a whole rotisserie chicken take the skin off, and shred it. It's much easier (and cheaper) than buying raw chicken, boiling it & shredding it, but do as you wish*

In a 5qt crockpot:

Dump your two cups of masa flour in the crockpot. Add chicken stock one cup at a time while stirring into corn flour with a fork. This is very important because you don't want your corn flour to be lumpy. If you see lumps, not a big deal... Scoop them put with a fork and mush them on the side to get rid of them.

Add in your spices, then stir in enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Finely chop onions and add to soup, along with green chiles. Cut velveeta in small cubes and add to soup. Cook on high for about 3 hours (stirring occasionally), add your shredded chicken and cook for another hour... 4 total, stirring (occasionally).

You can serve without toppings, or add a dollop of sour cream, avocado, pico, cheese, olives, jalapeños.... Anything really.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

White Chicken Chili

When I think of chili, I think of the good ol' red meat chili with enough peppers to burn your face off. I love chili, and I'm sure it's a staple for most of us in the cold months.

On a whim, I decided to change it up, and it has quickly become a favorite in our house.

I know chicken chili isn't a new concept, but it was new to me the first time I made it, and I just went through the store picking up things that I figured would be good in it. Now the recipe is tweaked to our liking, and I thought it might be worth sharing.

In this recipe, I use canned green chiles, but I really prefer using a freshly chopped poblano pepper instead; however, they're not in season here, so I made do with green chiles. It was still wonderful.

You will need:

Jalapeños, sliced very thin

* I used 7 because that's what I had in my fridge. I probably would have used more because the hotter the better!!! This is definitely a "to taste" item, though. It had that fantastic slow burn and was enough to heat me up, but wasn't as hot as I usually make it*

Habaneros, ground in food processor

* Another "to taste" item. I used 2 small peppers*

2 bell peppers, chopped

*I used my favorite, yellow & orange*

1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 large can cream of chicken soup
4-6 cups chicken broth

*I used a combination of boxed broth and broth from boiled chicken*

2 cans white beans (drained)
8oz diced (or chopped) green chiles

*or one fresh chopped poblano*

2lbs shredded chicken
1pkg white chicken chili seasoning

* I boiled chicken breasts with rib meat for 20 minutes in seasoned water (cumin, red pepper, onion powder) then let it cool & shred with fork*

Mix ingredients, except for the chicken broth, in the crockpot. This mix will be thick, but it is important to incorporate all of the more solid ingredients (including cream of chicken soup) before adding the chicken broth. The cup difference (4-6) in the chicken broth will depend on how thick you like your chili and how big your crockpot is. I think I ended up using about 5 cups, stirred into other ingredients slowly, 1 cup at a time, until it was the desire consistency. Cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 8.

I made this on a football day, and once it was done, I left it on "keep warm" for the rest of the day for anyone that wanted to go grab a bowl.

I also love serving this with a dollop of sour cream, avocado, or sprinkle of cheese... Or all of the above.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crockpot Bacon Wrapped Chicken & Stuffing

Crockpot bacon wrapped chicken and stuffing... That's a mouthful. This is another "Pinspiration," and again, I don't have the original pin. I randomly came across it and thought... Hmmmm, this would be good if... So inspired by another recipe, but not the same recipe.

I will be honest, the chicken itself wasn't that spectacular. It was good, but nothing worth getting excited over... But the stuffing, holy crapola!! The stuffing was amazing. Now, I make killer homemade stuffing that is my grandma's recipe && I'm serious when I say that it is to die for, but this recipe turned a box of stuffing into some of the most amazing stuff ever. I've even contemplated modifying the recipe for thanksgiving. It's that good.

So why is it so good? Bacon. It's all about the bacon. The recipe I got the inspiration from didn't use bacon. I can't imagine this dish without bacon because let's be honest, bacon makes everything better. I say this constantly. It's true.

You will need:
1 package of chicken. I think I used a little over a pound and a half; 3 or 4 chicken breasts will work just fine for this recipe
1 can cream of chicken soup
6oz Greek yogurt
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tbsp rubbed sage
1/2 package bacon (give or take a few slices)
1 box chicken stove top stuffing (this kills me; I detest boxed stuffing, but I am now a believer!)

Trim fat from chicken breasts (optional... Chicken fat grosses me out). Pound slightly to make more tender and a bit thinner. Wrap in bacon. I used 2-3 slices per breast, just enough to completely wrap around it. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot. Top with dry stuffing mix and sprinkle sage on top. In a bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, Greek yogurt, and chicken broth. Pour on top of chicken and stuffing. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Easy as it gets & bacon magic happens in the crockpot and all that flavor gets soaked up by the stuffing. It's soooooo good.

Skinny Water

Ok so, a friend posted a concoction of sorts on Facebook and said it was detox water. She's a total inspiration when it comes to fitness and such, so usually if she says something is worth trying, I believe it. But, me being me, I have to have just the right amount of motivation. I lead a busy life, so that's hard to come by. (Obviously, my blog always gets neglected). Anyhoodle, I saw something SIMILAR on Pinterest, of course. Well y'all know me, I have to put my own spin on everything and I have become so obsessed with this "skinny water" that I felt the need to share.

If you want the original recipe, there's a ton on Pinterest. Just search detox water. I would link it for you, but I'm posting from my phone again... Sooo maybe when I get around to adding the pile of recipes I have and editing my last post I will get around to adding a link here. Maybe.

Let me be clear about this: I absolutely do not know the specifics of why this is referred to as "detox water." I call it skinny water because that's what I posted on Facebook and it has a nice ring to it. I mean, I'd much rather drink skinny water than regular old water water. I can tell you that I drink a lot of water on a daily basis... Usually around 2 gallons. I hardly ever drink anything other than tea or water. Not that you care about my bathroom habits, but since I've been drinking skinny water, I pee like a racehorse... Maybe that is part of the whole detox idea. Don't know, don't care. All I'm saying is that this skinny water is worth trying and a much much much better alternative to soda, sugary drinks, crystal light, and mio.

So I have a new favorite water jug (in the pic) that is 64oz, and I want another one so I can rotate it, but the ingredients are per 64oz (1/2 a gallon) for those that want to adjust quantity.

1 small-ish lemon
1/4 large cucumber
4 fresh mint sprigs
8oz green tea

How to:

Slice cucumber & lemon thinly, rinse mint, brew green tea, and put it all in your jug. Fill with water. Refrigerate over night. It's refreshing and full of flavor the next day.

So this is why I need another, or possibly a couple more jugs. Aside from the fact that it is awesome and keeps my skinny water cold until I drink it all, but I refill it during the day... Around 4 or 5 times actually, and use the same lemons, cucumber, and mint for one day. Each time I refill it, I brew another bag of tea and fill with water and put it in the fridge for an hour or so then re-freeze the cold tube. I think it would be a great idea to make two or more batches and rotate throughout the day.

Again this is not the original "detox water" recipe. I changed it to my liking, and as far as I can tell, the results are the same. If you look up Julian Michael's detox water, she uses marigold tea bags. I have seen green tea used as a replacement. Also, green tea supposedly helps speed up your metabolism. Lemons are a good sources of vitamins and minerals, are good for your skin & are a natural diuretic. As far as cucumber and mint? I don't know, but the flavor sure is nice.

Try skinny water and let me know what y'all think or if you find another recipe that's good to try.

:) <3

Monday, October 22, 2012

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Glaze

Well, I'm sitting in a tree stand, waiting on a deer, so I figured I could be productive. I'm doing this from my phone, too, so I will probably have to edit later.

Josh has been home a little over a week now and I am enjoying my time with him immensely. It's like he never left, we just fell back in stride and picked up where we left off. If anyone that is bored enough to be reading this has a military man, then you know how important that is.

So our life is back to normal and e missed my cooking, so I have spent a good deal of time in the kitchen these past few days. I came across a recipe on Pinterest for a 2 ingredient pumpkin cake, and I had jut ordered some organic Pumpkin from Vitacost... So I figured "tis the season."

The recipe called for a yellow cake mix, but I decided to go with a spice cake instead. 2 ingredients & it is absolutely incredible.


You will need a spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Mix ingredients with hand mixer or fork until well blended. Pour mixture into 9x11 Pyrex or cake pan. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, or until you stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

Take out of oven and let cool for 5 minutes or so.

For the glaze:

You can make this while you are waiting on the cake to bake.

1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup powdered sugar

Stir together until there are no lumps of powdered sugar.

Poke holes in slightly warm cake as pour glaze over top.

Let cool for a few more minutes and serve. This cake is absolutely divine!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Green Chile Cheese Corn Muffins

I'm having one of those "blah" days! I'm so anxious and ready for Josh to be home that I can't even get anything done... including school/work stuff, which is bad, but whatever. Down to days here... DAYS, and they are the longest days ever. So, in efforts to put myself in a good mood and in an attempt to be slightly productive, I figured I'd whip something up.

I have a ton of different takes on corn muffins or cornbread, and I thought I'd try something somewhat new. The results were fantastic, of course. It's really hard to mess up a corn muffin. I've put Spam in a corn muffin before, and it still turned out delicious. Not saying anything bad about Spam, I'm just not so fond of the stuff.

Anyhoo... I just used some ingredients I had at the house & I'm pretty sure these will go on a regular rotation.


1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 can sweet yellow corn (or 1 cup frozen corn...thawed)
1 small can green chiles
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella, but I think any shredded cheese would be good, maybe mexi blend, pepper jack, etc.)
1 tsp jalapeno powder
1/8 cup fresh cilantro...(about 6 sprigs; grind in food processor before adding to mix)

Preheat oven to 400; spray muffin tin with Pam. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl for about a minute. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir again. Scoop mix into muffin tin about halfway full. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool.

I ate one of these warm right out of the pan and it was sooo good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cauliflower Rice

I cannot lay any sort of claim to the original recipe for cauliflower rice because I can honestly say I never would have thought of it. My friend & neighbor found this on Pinterest and made it... and made me try it. I loved it to the point that I was craving it this week. So below is pretty much the original recipe that she found, but I changed it a tiny bit, adding garlic, pepper, sea salt, and more cauliflower. I think it is worth posting because the possibilities here are endless. The "rice" itself taste similar to egg roll filling, YUM, but I think it would be great in lettuce wraps with a little lean beef, chicken, or turkey with a ginger sauce. I also think it would be awesome with quinoa... in wonton cups... as mexi rice... I mean I really could go on forever. I made it plain this time (with some sriracha, of course), though I'm sure this will become a base for many recipes to come.

1 head cauliflower
5-6 celery stalks
1 medium white onion
1 clove garlic (or 1/2tbsp minced garlic)
*I used one clove of elephant garlic and it was wonderful, but we all know I love garlic*
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil (I used raw organic coconut oil... it's my favorite in anything)
sea salt & pepper to taste
sriracha to taste

You will need a food processor and LARGE saucepan or pot. I used a soup pot... to each their own.

Roughly chop cauliflower, then grind in food processor until rice consistency. Finely chop onions, celery, and garlic & saute in oil for about 5-7 minutes (before adding cauliflower). Add in cauliflower, keeping heat on medium-high, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook longer for a softer texture, but I really liked the fact that the cauli-rice had a very similar texture to real rice. Remove from heat and stir in desired amount of salt and pepper. Top with sriracha.

I literally ate a bowl for dinner last night, a bowl for lunch today... and I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish off what little is left tonight with some baked fish. Yes. It is that good. If you like veggies. If you don't, then I can't promise you're going to be a fan.

EXTRA PLUS: for my friends on diets or the hcg diet... or the 3 day diet... I think this recipe could be modified to fit into your plan quite easily!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Party Dip

Habaneros are back in stores and I couldn't be more excited. There's a few things that I want all year long, habanero peppers fall in that list. I keep saying I'll grow my own one day, but let's face it, my green thumb is non-existent. So naturally, I buy a whole bunch of them and proceed to make anything and everything I can think of with my most favorite of peppers. That brings me to the party dip. Why is it party dip? Well for one it makes enough dip to feed an army, but two, it's like a party in your mouth! The kick of habaneros just does something. With that being said, I like things spicy. SPICY. The hotter the better. I din't make this dip too spicy, but I definitely felt that burn that tends to build up. I used 3 habaneros & probably would have been fine adding another one or two, but if you can't handle the heat stick to two, one... or even none.

1 can fiesta corn
1 can black bean fiesta grillin beans
1 package taco seasoning
1lb ground beef
habaneros (1,2,3,4... whatever tickles your fancy)
1 block velveeta white queso

Grind habaneros in food processor, or mince. In a pan, slightly brown beef, drain. Add in taco seasoning and habaneros, continue cooking until beef is completely cooked. Cube velveeta. Add all ingredients to crockpot on medium for an hour, stirring occasionally. Put crockpot on warm setting to keep dip warm and melty during the day/party/game, etc...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Melt in Your Mouth Meatballs

I think I've mentioned before that I developed my love of cooking because of my Gran. He was an excellent cook and taught me a lot. This recipe started in my Gran's kitchen, and I have modified  and perfected it over time. That's right, perfected. I've never had a meatball that even compares to the melt in your mouth explosion of awesome that is my meatball. True story.

1.5 lb ground beef
half packet italian dressing seasoning
1/2 cup italian style bread crumbs
1 egg
1.5 heaping tbsp margarine
1 small can (1oz) El Patio hot tomato sauce
1/2 cup shiraz
** I eyeball the wine every time. I know what it is supposed to look like in the pan. You want the sauce to come up to about half the meatball, so the wine is roughly 1/2 - 3/4 cup. Also, it really does not matter what brand wine you use. I buy the cheapest wine they have, which usually turns out to be Turning Leaf or something. I have also used expensive wine, and there really is no difference.**

In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, italian dressing seasoning, bread crumbs, egg, and margarine. Mix well...I use my hands. It's faster. Section out and roll into at least 1" balls. Obviously mine aren't exactly uniform.

Place meatballs in large skillet. Pour tomato sauce and wine in skillet & bring sauce to boil. Continue cooking on high heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently.  Drain excess fat from sauce. Serve with garlic bread or pasta!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chicken & Veggie Pasta

This happens to be one of the recipes I've been tumbling around. I still think it needs... something, I don't know, but it was tasty.

2 (healthy sized) chicken breasts, cubed
1 squash, sliced (I used 1/2 a cup frozen...thawed completely)
1 large zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms (I'm quite fond of portabella, but whatever tickles your fancy)
12oz. veggie spiral pasta (wacky mac, not just for pasta salads!)
1/2 white onion, chopped
pinch of basil & oregano

1 package Italian dressing seasoning (I keep this stuff on hand at all times, along with buttermilk ranch dressing packets. They always come in handy!)
1 clove garlic, minced
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup


Multitasking on the burners here...

In a medium saucepan, on low to medium heat, add ingredients of sauce. Stir occasionally. You'll want to make sure cream cheese is melted and blended in completely. 

In a 5 qt saucepan, boil cubed chicken for 10 minutes. You'll want to cook your chicken for slightly longer than pasta and vegetables so that the chicken gets cooked and the pasta doesn't get over cooked. Drain. I stopped measuring here, but add pasta (and water accordingly) & veggies with basil and oregano. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 13-15 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until pasta is at desired texture. I like mine soft... borderline overcooked... al dente is not my fave, so it stayed cooking for 15 minutes. Drain excess water.

Combine sauce with pasta in your 5qt saucepan. Mix thoroughly.

Serve with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella & make sure you have plenty of mouths to feed or you're going to be stuck with a bunch of leftovers (oh darn).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate and Biscuits

Hi y'all (anyone still out there?) I am hoping this hiatus is coming to an end... Josh is coming home (IN TWO MONTHS YAY!!!!) and I have been tossing around a few recipe ideas that I want to have perfected. I may just have to find a substitute guinea pig, though.

Anyway, this recipe is not one of the ones I've been tossing around, but my momma sent me this recipe the other day and I thought I should share. It was passed down from my great grandma, and I remember my mom making this for me when I was growing up. I'm pretty sure my great grandma was a genius because these chocolate gravy covered biscuits are absolutely heavenly! I mean, chocolate for breakfast? Yes please.

For the biscuits, go with what you like. If you are so inclined to make them from scratch, then by all means, knock yourself out. Me? I'll just pop some Pillsbury Grands in the oven and save myself some trouble & time.

When it comes to measurements, it seems that my great grandma was like me... measurements smeasurements. I know how much of something I need when it tastes right. It makes complete sense, but alas, that just will not do for sharing! SO with some tweeking from my mom, I think we've got this correct:

Chocolate Gravy:

 1.5 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of cocoa
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of butter


In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and cocoa. Melt butter in a cast iron skillet (on medium heat) then add your chocolate mix. Stir thoroughly until mixed with butter, then add in milk, stir. You may need to add a bit more milk if it is too thick. While still on medium heat, bring to boil, stirring often. Take off heat & serve over halved biscuits.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Texas Hashbrown Casserole

Texas hashbrown casserole... or loaded hashbrowns, depending on how you look at it, were a specific request from my boyfriend. I had made them once, and apparently he was wanting more. I can't blame him really, they're so much better than plain ol hashbrowns. Plus, I figured they'd be a perfect combination for the biscuit and gravy cups as well as a GREAT hangover cure for a rowdy St. Patrick's Day. All those Irish car bombs definitely called for a major dose of unhealthy breakfast. We've all been there.


1 medium onion
1 pkg thick cut hickory smoked bacon
1 pkg frozen shredded hashbrowns
1 can salsa (or Rotel)
diced jalapenos
shredded cheese


Brown hashbrowns in oven according to package. Cut up bacon into chunks, fry. Remove from pan (without draining) and place on plate with paper towels to soak up grease. Chop onion and fry in bacon grease until soft, drain and place on plate with paper towels to soak up excess grease. In a casserole dish, mix hashbrowns, bacon, 2 tablespoons diced jalapenos, onions, and salsa. Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Best served with tobasco or habanero hot sauce.

Biscuit and Gravy Cups

I'm pretty much obsessed with this idea of making things into "cups," so when I discovered the boyfriend had never had good ol' sausage gravy with biscuits, I absolutely had to do something about this! I mean, how can you spend 28 years of your life with no biscuits and gravy?! Seriously, I almost cried for him. His excuse: "I'm a Yankee." It's ok dear, I don't fault you for it; I just let you in on what you've been missing.

Now instead of making it normal biscuits and sausage gravy, I went a step further and made biscuit and gravy cups... and to go the extra mile, I used a combination of smoked hog sausage and regular pork sausage. I know, I know, I'm pretty much amazing, but just in case you don't happen to have any hog around (I'm in a house full of hunters, what can I say?), pork sausage alone is perfectly wonderful.


I realize I could have made homemade gravy, but seriously, why bother when Pioneer Brand gravy tastes amazing? No point. It's yum and easy... which works for me!

1 package Pioneer Brand peppered gravy
8oz cream cheese
1-2 cans regular biscuits (No grands or flaky biscuits! Buttermilk biscuits taste great with this too)
16oz pork sausage (I also used about 4oz hog sausage, which I didn't bother including in the picture)

I only used one can of biscuits, which obviously makes 8 cups, and there was left over gravy. This isn't a bad thing because it's awesome on toast, eggs, or whatever, but if you don't want leftover gravy, I suggest using 2 cans of biscuits


Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin tin with Pam.

Prepare gravy according to package. When done, add cream cheese and stir on medium heat until completely blended. Remove from heat.

Brown Sausage in bacon drippings, if possible. Lucky for me, I had to cook some bacon earlier for Texas Hashbrown Casserole, so I had plenty of bacon grease on hand. It won't make or break the dish, but it most definitely adds flavor, because as we all know, bacon makes EVERYTHING better.

Scoop sausage into gravy... making absolutely sure to get some grease in there (I think about 2 or so tablespoons ended up in mine), mix thoroughly. I know there's some people out there freaking out on me right now for suggesting that I add in some of the grease. Well I'm sorry y'all; some of the most amazing things in life aren't exactly good for you, and I promise I'm not trying to clog everyone's arteries... just adding some Southern flavor!

You'll want to take a biscuit out and somewhat flatten it in your hand, then press in bottom and up the sides of muffin tin cup, leaving a good open spot in the middle. Repeat with each biscuit. Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons into each cup, slightly over the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

You see that hog sausage? MMMMMM...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

I'm sure everyone has a recipe for Shepherd's Pie... who doesn't love comfort food?! Easy comfort food is even better :)


16oz lean ground beef
small can of corn
can of sweet peas
1tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz cheese
2 packages Idahoan mashed potatoes (prepared according to bag)
pinch of sage
2tbsp Worcestershire
1tbsp butter


Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, combine peas, corn, soup, cheese, and worcestershire. In a large skillet, saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic until onions are clear. Add to bowl. In the same skillet, brown ground beef with pinch of sage. Drain and add to bowl, mix thoroughly & pour into casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes.

Bake for 25 minutes, then switch to broil (high) for 10 minutes to brown mashed potatoes.

I must say that the most priceless thing happened while making this. Josh saw the size of the dish it was going in, and he says: "will it all fit?" Of course honey, it will all fit, to which he replies: "that's it?" with the saddest (but super adorable) puppy face ever! Awww. Okay, I know it is  a very sad day in our house when we don't have a massive amount of leftovers, but I'm on a diet and so it's not like I can eat anything I cook, so I figured it would be good & he would have something to take to work...nope. Didn't make it through the day. It's that good apparently.

What's even worse, I had made coconut fudge earlier in the morning & tinted it green for St. Patty's... leprechan treats and all... so that he could take it to work and share. SO I used the wrong type of butter & it didn't set right... oops. Baking fail number... who knows, I lost count. BUT I will remake it sometime this week. Sorry babe, no fudge or shepherd's pie leftovers :(

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baked Broccoli

Broccoli... you can eat it raw, you can steam it... you can BAKE IT! Honestly, I don't really like broccoli raw or steamed; I prefer cauliflower. However, I really do enjoy baked broccoli, and since I discovered it, it has been game changing for me. Now, nothing will ever replace my beloved zucchini, but since it's not in the grocery store right now (so lame), I have to turn to other veggies.

The method behind this is extremely simple. I used about half a cup of broc, maybe a little less... frozen, but fresh works even better. Preheat oven to 350, sprayed with I Can't Believe it's Not Butter... Spray, then sprinkled with 1.5 tsp italian dressing seasoning. Baked for about 15-20 minutes. It's DEEEEELISH!

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Love & Tornadoes

Saturday 3-3-12 proved to be a trying day for me. I work full time as property manager of two communities in Valdosta, Ga. Tuesday - Saturday. Putting out fires is my main job description, and let's just say the fire nearly consumed me that day. I was frazzled and at my breaking point by noon. After talking to my boyfriend (and numerous other people in my contacts list) I was feeling pretty calm. My amazing boss, on the phone with me pretty much every step of this truly testing day, even told me to go home an hour early. Awesome right? NO.

What I failed to mention is that it was a torrential downpour pretty much all day, and though I work in Valdosta, I live in Lakeland, Ga. If you watch the news, this may sound familiar about now. Here's a news blip

It took me 4 HOURS to get home... about 15-20mi from where I work. The tornado touched down at the end of our road, ripped up trees, power lines, houses, pecan orchards, etc. I'm feeling very lucky to have a home at this point, so when the main road to my house is close, I think no big deal, I'll just go the other way. UMMMM yeah... I'm not very familiar with this state yet, I've only lived here about 7 months, and it's not like I'm driving when we go tour back roads.

My car will not make it down any dirt roads, so I have to stick to the main roads. I got diverted to Ray City, another half hour out of the way, only to get there and have that road shut down, in which I got diverted to another several highways (South Georgia "highways" are one step above a two lane gravel road, ok)... an hour or so later I end up in the town of Lakeland to take the back way to my house... nope, shut down. SO I drive all the way back to Valdosta because I heard the main road was now open, only to find out that yes, the main road was open, BUT MY ROAD IS CLOSED with no estimate of when it will open.

I won't even lie about this because at this point I am 3 hours into this trip home after a particularly bad day and I am bawling my ever loving eyes out. AND the cell service out at my house wasn't working apparently, so I couldn't get ahold of my boyfriend, who I count on like I count on air to breath.

I call my mom, my friends, everyone CRYING and pissed and tired and just wanting to be home with my man and dogs.

BUT Josh finally calls me... and in my heaving cries I tell him I just need him to come save me and find me a way home. He drops everything to come to my rescue... my night in shining camo, and finds a way to get home that won't beat up my beautiful car (it's still raining, I can hardly go down a dirt road when they're dry) & we make it home safe and sound...

Except we have no power. Not surprising, but my dear wonderful man has beer in the cooler (Eff my diet for the day, ok, I deserved it) and the grill in the garage, music on the fully charged iPad, and we had each other, beer, wine, and deer meat pasta.

So now I'm saying bring on the zombie apocalypse because not only is my man my rescuer, my night in shining camo and big truck, but he's a survivor, and not only will we survive, but we'll make a party out of it.

Yeah, I'm a lucky girl.

Josh cooking while I sit on the 4 wheeler & drink beer. Did I mention I'm a lucky girl? And yes, his deer meat pasta was gooder-n-fuck.

The recipe? I was feeling the beer and wine by then, but it had penne pasta, deer cube steak, zucchini, garlic, onion powder, sriracha.... and I don't know what else, but it was basically amazing & I'm not just saying that because I've been on a diet, was having a bad day, and was slightly tipsy. Nope, not at all.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Baked Apple Slices (hCG)

CRAVING something sweet. I am very much so in the mood to bake, so that means there will probably be some newly posted non-diet goodies this weekend, because if I can't eat them and be fat and happy, I will make sure everyone else is. I'm thinking nutter butter and/or peanut butter truffles. Thoughts?

Anyhoo, here's something I can eat: apples. This is not my normal baked apple. It would usually be in the form of a crisp with massive amounts of butter, brown, sugar, cinnamon... ok I'm drooling... BUT this is a really good substitute for those flavors that am really missing right now. You know, all calorie loaded sweet ones?

If you're watching your waistline, (bikini season is right around the corner), try baked apple slices!


1 apple (macintosh apples are my fave)
I can't believe it's not butter... spray (in my best Fabio voice)
1 stevia packet


Preheat oven to 400. Slice apple, spray with butter spray, sprinkle with stevia and cinnamon, bake on foil (or a in a baking dish if you are so inclined to have a dirty dish to wash. Foil works fine as you can see above) for 15 minutes.

I'm not going to lie, it's pretty yummy.

The calorie count is somewhere around 80-95 depending on what size apple you use.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jalapeno Ranch Fish & Zucchini (hCG friendly)

Ok, whether I am on a diet or not, this is absotoodalootly one of my favorite meals, hands down. It's super quick, easy, & tasty... nothing wrong with that! The beauty in this meal is that I bake it in one dish. ONE DIRTY DISH well, besides plates, but still... amazing. Josh is also a fan... as long as I don't use mushy fish.

The last time I made this for him I used flounder that I had in the freezer for maybe a little bit too long. It's not like it went bad or anything, but when you cook it, it gets a gawdawful smushy gritty texture from being in the freezer too long that just kills it. Sorry babe! Note to self: buy more flounder.

BUT I wouldn't do that to y'all, no way! I'll post it with fresh swai... well, freshly frozen non-smushy swai. But really, I've used tilapia, cod, flounder, halibut, salmon (not hCG friendly!), and now swai.

Swai reminds me of flounder. It is an amazing flaky white-fish, but it's heartier than tilapia. I really only bought it because the big frozen bags were on sale at Walmart, and I am all about a good deal! The result? YUM-O! Thank you Walmart for having a sale (oops, "roll-back") on this fantastic fish.

I firmly believe that zucchini is one of the best vegetables on the face of the planet, and it is so versatile. When it's not in season, I get mad. Really. I've gone off on tangents about "stupid" stores not having zucchini when I want it.

With that being said, you will need:

White fish filet (usually 3.5-4oz per serving)
I Can't Believe it's Not Butter Spray
Buttermilk ranch dressing powder
Hoot N Holler jalapeno powder (the link for which can be found in my HCG Diet Log)


Preheat oven to 350.

Slice zucchini and place in baking dish with fish (I don't even bother to defrost my fish. WHAT?!? That's what the oven is for. Don't judge me). Spray fish and zucchini with butter spray, sprinkle with jalapeno powder and ranch powder. Sprinkle fish only with cumin.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

See... easy peasy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

hCG Friendly Basic Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry

This stir-fry can be made in many different ways, and I will post each way (as I make it), but this is the most basic. This has quickly become one of my favorite hCG recipes. Just because you're on the hCG diet doesn't mean you have to cut out delicious flavors, and this recipe really packs a punch!

Check my HCG DIET LOG for more information about the hCG diet.

Basic shirataki stir-fry:


3/4 cup stir-fry mix
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
1/2 tbsp beef base (better to use organic, low sodium beef broth 1/4cup)
3/4 cup water
7oz shirataki noodles


Drain noodles.

**Try not to smell them! It's not too bad, but it is rather unappealing**

In a large skillet, bring 3/4 cup water to boil, add noodles, reduce heat to medium. Drain water after 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup broth (or beef base and 1/4 cup water), chili garlic sauce, and vegetables to pan. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. You'll need to stir frequently to break up the noodles and get them mixed in with the vegetables. Drain excess liquid. Top with sriracha sauce.

I make this dish at night and bring it to work for lunch the next day. It heats up in the microwave nicely & gives a chance for the flavors to mingle.

Calorie Count:

Shirataki noodles: 0
Chili garlic sauce: 0
Sriracha: 5
Beef base: 5
Vegetables: 30
Total: 40

hCG Diet

Well, It's that time of year again... How many of you made a New Year's Resolution to lose weight? Food for thought: don't obsess with your weight! That number displayed on the scale does not define you. Work on being healthy, not being skinny.

Since I love food so much, I have to spend a good amount of time in the gym just to stay the same weight/size. I've recently decided I want to be smaller and more toned (and I need to shed a few pounds), so I'm revisiting the hCG diet. Stay tuned for hCG diet friendly recipes (for those that work out and those that don't), and don't forget to check out my hCG Diet Log Page for tips... please feel free to comment or contact me if you have any questions or need some support!

**All hCG recipes will be under the HCG DIET label.**

No worries, I still cook for my fabulous honey bunches, so I'll still be adding wonderful non-diet recipes :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Curry

This is one of my all time favorites; I love love love the intense flavor provided by the spices.


1/8 cup curry powder (I use a mix of hot madras curry and regular curry)
1tbs tumeric
1tsp cumin
1tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ginger
dash of white pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bell pepper (I use all red, orange, yellow), chopped
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
fingerling potatoes (about have the bag, or 2-3 golden potatoes), sliced
1 can coconut milk
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken
8oz sour cream (optional)
1 bay leaf
1.5lbs chicken (roughly)


Add all ingredients (except bay leaf, sour cream, rice and chicken) to crockpot, stir until thoroughly mixed.

Boil chicken for 15 minutes, let cool, shred.

Add chicken to crockpot, top with bay leaf, cook on high 4 hours. At 4 hour mark, stir sour cream into curry. Cook rice.

Serve over bed of rice.... YUM!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops

Are there even words? Fall off the bone fried pork chops smothered in gravy and onions served with toast or rice to mop up the sauce... It's just Southern home cooking at its best.


2-2.5lbs center cut thick pork chops
1 small-medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1tbs beef base
1 package onion gravy
1 package brown gravy
1tbs worcestershire sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper
pepper sauce
vegetable oil
eggs/egg beaters


Mix together flour, garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper & pour 1 1/2 cups flour mix on plate, and set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture. In a large skillet, pour in enough oil to cover bottom about 1/4 inch. Double dredge pork chops in egg (or egg beaters like us lazy folk) and flour. fry pork chops until golden brown, flip and fry until golden brown on the other side (I did them one at a time, it was easier). They do not need to bee cooked entirely as you are going to put them in a crock pot.

Place pork chops in a 5qt crock pot. Pour remaining grease out of skillet, leaving the fried bits and pieces in, if any.

Slice onion and garlic and place on top of pork chops.

If you have bacon drippins, pour about a tablespoon into the same skillet you fried the chops. Unfortunately, I didn't have any bacon drippins, but since I started this in the morning, I fried up some bacon and used that grease.

In your skillet (on low heat), pour in gravy packets, water according to packets, 1/4 cup flour mixture, 1tbs beef base, 1tbs worcestershire sauce, and mushroom soups. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour sauce on top of pork chops, add 1-2tsp pepper sauce. I even put a few peppers in there because we like our food spicy, and I love those little tobasco peppers. Cook on low heat for about 4 hours.

You'll definitely want some bread or rice to soak up all that WONDERFUL gravy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Potato Patties

Oh... I just love the smell of fried food in the morning. These are great to make early, then throw in the fridge and serve cold with ketchup. Everyone has their own version, but my Grandpa used to make these for me... since he was a Saint and the best cook I've ever known, I haven't really changed the recipe.


2oz. Original Idahoan mashed potatoes
4oz. Garlic Idahoan mashed potatoes
8oz. cream cheese, softened in microwave
2 eggs
3 cups water
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
vegetable oil


In a medium pot, bring water to boil, add in mashed potatoes, cream cheese, and eggs. Reduce heat, stir constantly for a few minutes. Allow mashed potatoes to cool completely. Pour breadcrumbs onto small plate; when potatoes are cool, scoop tablespoon sized portions into you palm and form a rough ball shape. Roll ball in breadcrumbs until lightly coated; form into 1/2 inch (approximately) patty. Fry in vegetable oil until golden brown, flip to other side, fry until golden brown. Lay patties on paper towel lined plate to soak up excess grease.

Some people like these hot, but I think they are SO much better cold... and ketchup is a must.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Broccoli Casserole

This is just the epitome if Southern comfort food. Cheese + French fried onions = yum!

1.5lbs chicken breasts
16oz shredded cheese (I love Kraft with Philadelphia cream cheese)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cheese soup
1 small onion (finely chopped)
12oz broccoli (chopped, fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
French fried onions
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil chicken for 15 minutes, shred. Preheat oven to 350. In a casserole dish, combine chicken, cheese, soups, onion, broccoli and garlic powder, mix. Top with French fried onions & bake for 25 minutes. Serve over rice with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I love chips and salsa & that's all I have to say about that.


1 14.5oz Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
2oz red habanero hot sauce
1 medium onion
1 large bell pepper (I had leftover halves of a bell pepper trinity so I used those), chopped
8 tomatillos
10 jalapenos
1 medium onion
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice


In a medium pot, combine stewed tomatoes, tomatillos (whole, outer skin removed), bell pepper, garlic, spices, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until tomatillos turn slightly golden. Pour in blender and set on grate, low speed. Blend until there are no large chunks of tomatillo or stewed tomato. 

Mince jalapenos (stems removed) and cilantro (roughly 1/2 the bunch) in a food processor, finely chop onion, and add all remaining ingredients to tomato mixture. Best if refrigerated for a few hours.