Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stuffed Zucchini

My whole family loves this quick and easy entree.

1 zucchini per person
spanish rice
cheese - your choice, I like velveeta
1/2 pound loose fried and drained hamburger
ketchup or tomato paste

Slice the zucchini length wise and scoop out inside to make a shell.  Boil in lightly salted water till tender and drain.  Take the fried hamburger and mix with Spanish Rice.  As to the Spanish rice it's up to you which type you like - there are canned brands, quick cook brands, and more.  Just use whatever fits your taste buds and life style.  If the mixture is too dry add a little ketchup or tomato paste. Fill the zucchini shells with meat mixture and put in a casserole dish.  Put cheese over the top and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. 

Another variation is to use large crescent roll canned dough and roll the stuffed zucchini up inside the crescent dough before baking.  This makes a great self contained entree!  You could also use prepared puff pastry. 

Simple Delicious Fall Vegetable Soup You won't believe how easy it is

Okay my Mother would fall out if she ever read this recipe.  Her soup took hours to prepare and was great but these days time is limited and I needed a way to get that great hearty soup flavor with a lot less mess and fuss. 
It doesn't sound like it will work but I am telling you this is good stuff.  It's even better after it sits in the refrigerator for a day and gives all the flavors time to meld together.  It makes a lot of soup - you can freeze some in baggies,  send some to work / school for lunch time treat. 

Can opener - it will be very busy use an electric if you have it
Large soup pot
1 - 1/2 pounds hamburger
4 tablespoons minced garlic
2 onions but up in moderate size chunks
1 green bell pepper
1 jalepeno pepper
1 red pepper

Take the hamburger, garlic, onions and peppers.  Fry them all together until hamburger is done.  Drain and set aside. 

Open and put the following canned vegetables in the pot.  You can use more or less of anything you like or don't like.  You can add things or take away things.  Whatever vegetables you like. Drain the juice out of each can before adding.  (My husband swears you should leave the juice, that it adds to the different flavors)

2 16 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 cans of whole potatoes - cut up in medium size chunks
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can lima beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 ca light kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can black beans
1 can carrots
1 can peas
1 can green beans

Add enough water to make it "soup" begin heating over medium high heat.  Add in the hamburger mixture. 

Now start adding whatever spices you like.  I use
celery salt
dash or two of hot sauce

As soon as everything is hot it's done and ready to eat.  Enjoy! We always do.

Hushpuppies mmmm mmmmmm good

Okay the big secret to hushpuppies is simple - House of Autry Hushpuppy Mix with Onions.  That's it, that all you need.  Follow the directions on the package and you will make super yummy hot hushpuppies every time. 

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Low Down on Cooking Country Cured Ham

Country salt cured ham.  Nothing says fall better than a great ham but they are getting more difficult to find.  The first issue is to find a reliable supplier.  In the South most local grocery stores and butcher shops have salt cured ham.  I find the Maryland north the supply begins to wane.  Smithfield country hams are consistent in quality and taste and can be ordered online. 
Overcooking the ham is the biggest mistake I see people make.  Country ham slices should be fried no more than 3 minutes on each side.  Anymore and it becomes shoe leather.  Be prepared for the extra salty taste.  I utilize country ham for breakfast and dinner meals.  Served up with grits, red eye gravy, eggs and toast and there is no better way to start your day.  For a quick dinner meal serve with rice, red eye gravy, lima beans and biscuits.  Always have plenty of sweet tea around. 
Making red eye gravy.  It's so easy it almost makes itself.  After you fry your ham add about 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon instant coffee to the hot pan.  Voila red eye gravy.  This is what we call a "grease" gravy - it's thin but packed with flavor. 

Hot Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits

My Grandfather used to make this for me when I was a child.  This is sweet - very, very sweet.  It's separate the men from the boys sweet.  It is not nutritious but it is delicious.  Good anytime you have that chocolate craving and ready in a flash.

1 can flaky buttermilk biscuits  ( I like Hungry Jack)
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of powdered chocolate
Milk - 2 to 3 teaspoons
1 teaspoon butter

Cook the biscuits first - the gravy will be done in less than 5 minutes.  
In a heavy saucepan.  Mix the sugar and chocolate together well.  Begin adding milk one teaspoon at a time until chocolate just does get wet enough to stir.  Put it over low heat and stirring constantly heat it until it just does begin to boil - (it will get thinner as it heats up).  As soon as it boils pour it in a bowl mix in one teaspoon butter.  Get your biscuits and start dipping.  If you're hard core open up the biscuit and pour that sweet hot chocolate gravy all over. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

All Fried Pork Chops Are Not Created Equally - Quick and Simple Version

I find one of the best ways to buy pork chops is to buy a whole boneless pork loin and have the butcher but it into 1 1/2" chops.  I find good one's at Sams Club at very reasonable prices.

This recipe is for simple fried chops.  Quick easy and delicious.  Has a hint of heat - but only a hint. No oil is needed.  They come out moist and juicy on the inside with a nice brown sear on the outside. 

4 thick cut boneless pork chops
Pepper Blend  -  I use the kind you buy at the grocery store in the grinder.  Make sure it's a blend of peppers
                         and not just one kind of pepper corns. 
Garlic Salt

Coat one side of the chops in a light even coating of ground pepper,  then cover lightly with garlic salt.

Get your cast iron or non stick skillet HOT - then put the chops seasoning down in the pan and turn heat down to medium high.  Let is sear until clear liquid runs from top (about 7 - 8 minutes, depends on thickness or chops and how hot the pan is) then season the tops and flip them over.  Cook till juice runs clear again and remove from the heat.