Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It hasn't been intentional but I've been hoarding a boat-load of recipes from you.  Most of them I didn't have a picture for and I decided not to post them.  Who wants a recipe without a picture?  Then I got to thinking that a lot of these were solid recipes and that I should at least mention them.  By now you've surely developed an opinion as to whether or not you trust my reviews.  I won't be disheartened either way because I know everyone's taste buds are different and not everyone enjoys the same taste and flavors that I do.  I'm fine with that.  Enough about my disclaimer, here is a list of some favorites we've had over the past month or so (most of the images have been hijacked from the respective sources).  I encourage you to try some of them and let me know what you think.  I'm always interested in the feedback.

Sweet Corn and Carrot Cornbread - I've made this several times and it is just delicious.  The carrots are a great way to sneak in another veggie for picky eaters.  They also add extra moisture, making this a super moist cornbread.

Balsamic Honey Chicken - I actually used maple syrup in place of the honey.  Maple syrup and mustard have quickly become my favorite flavor combination.  I use it in dressings, sauces, and marinades and it has never let me down. 

Cincinnati-Style Chili - For those of you that don't live in this region, Cincinnati-style chili has a very distinctive flavor.  I'd go so far as to say you either love it or hate it.  Luckily, Wes and I both love it.  This recipe tastes darn near close to the real thing.  Now if I can just figure out how to get that delicious cheese they use!

Sweet & Sour Meatballs - I think we liked the fried rice as much, if not more than, the meatballs.  The meatballs were good but not quite as saucy as her picture indicates.  Since the recipe doesn't indicate a quantity, I think we got 12-14, 1-2inch meatballs.

Savory Spinach, Feta, and Peppadew Muffins - It's been a long time since we've had these but I remember them being quite tasty.  I remember the spinach and peppadews taking a backseat to the feta.  I know I didn't use whole milk, as the recipe indicates but I can't recall any other changes.  The picture is actually of my finished product.

Lasagna Pizza Cups - We all really liked these, that is once Colin believed us that it was like pizza in a biscuit.  What kid wouldn't like that combination?!  So easy and quite delicious.  I paired it with a salad for a quick and easy week night dinner.

Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad - This is a great, nutritious side dish that goes with just about anything.  It's also very interchangeable with whatever you might have on hand.  Quinoa packs a lot of nutrients into a tiny grain and it cooks up very quickly.  I think the only modifications I made were to use the No-Chicken Stock (by Imagine) and I substituted maple syrup for the pomegranate molasses.  I may have doubled the amounts of the vinaigrette too.

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese - This is an all-in-one kind of meal.  I love those on busy nights.  I substituted spinach for the arugula but kept the rest of the recipe as written.  This would also make a good summer dish because it's light.

Maple Mustard Pork Chops - I am not a huge fan of pork chops but this sauce made me a believer.  Wes couldn't say enough about how tasty the sauce was and we both agreed it would be great on chicken as well.  I really think it would be great on just about any protein for that matter.

Sweet Potato Rolls - These were my contribution to our Christmas Eve dinner.  I love that I was able to sneak a vegetable into some of my non-vegetable eating family members!  The rolls turned out great (they rose twice!) and the flavor of the sweet potato was undetectable.  It did make for a pretty, golden roll though.

Source:  John Besh from Comfort Food Magazine, Winter 2010
Serves 6

2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 T. rendered bacon fat
1 lb dried red kidney beans
2 smoked ham hocks (I only used 1)
3 bay leaves
½ tsp cayenne pepper
3 green onions, chopped (I omitted)
3 cups cooked basic Louisiana white rice (I used brown rice)

Cook the onion, bell peppers, and celery in bacon fat in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat.  Once the onions become translucent, add the kidney beans, ham hocks, bay leaves, and cayenne, then add water to cover by 2 inches.
Increase the heat and bring the water to a boil.  Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and allow the beans to slowly simmer for 2 hours.  Periodically stir the beans to make sure that they don’t scorch on the bottom of the pot, adding water if necessary, always keeping the beans covered by an inch or more of water.  Continue cooking the beans until they are creamy and beginning to fall apart when they’re stirred.
Remove the ham hock meat from the bones, roughly chop it, and add it back to the pot of beans.  Stir in the green onions and season with salt, pepper, and Tabaso.  Serve with white rice.

*This is a stellar recipe.  I have made several other iterations of red beans and rice but none compare to this one.  I'm sure it was the ham hock that did it but whatever it was, we'll be doing it again and again.  Yum!

Green Beans and Tomatoes
Source:  Paula Deen Magazine Nov/Dec 2010
 ¼ cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2lb) package frozen cut green beans
2 cups chicken broth (I used No-Chicken Broth by Imagine brand - LOVE that stuff!!)
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes (I actually omitted)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (I omitted)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, and cook for 6-8 minutes; stirring frequently, or until onions are tender.  Add green beans, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until desired degree of doneness is reached.

*These were actually really good green beans.  I have a hard time making green beans that actually taste good without using 10 tons of salt or salted meat.  Surprisingly, these hit the spot.  I love that you can use frozen green beans and the finished product still tastes good.  I'd be interested to taste them with the tomatoes but Wes is somewhat averse to them, so I don't think I'll be making them that way anytime soon.  


  1. I love the sound of that cornbread. I love sweeter cornbread...numm :) Those lasagna pizza cups sound pretty tasty, too!

  2. I LOVE this post - it looks so professional!!! It's an end of the year gift to everyone!

  3. Yumm!!!! All of those recipes sound delicious!!! I just bought a box of quinoa for the first time but have yet to try it. I hear it's really good!!!

  4. When did you have time over the past month to cook all this yummy stuff? I like the idea of the cornbread. We actually cook pork chops pretty often, and we get tired of the same old thing. Might have to try this one out.

  5. that is a ton of delicious looking recipes! I agree with Cincy style chili--I love it, hubs hates it. The red beans and rice sound really good too.

  6. Ooooooh girly! LOVING this post!!! I will definitely be trying these out, thank you!