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Southern cooking this morning!

2 Sep

It’s Labor Day Monday and the hubby and I are FINALLY enjoying some much needed ‘Texas Summer Showers’ as he calls them. With the thunder roaring and the rain coming down it really made me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and my hubby but sadly the gentle whispers from my hubby’s tummy were begging for some breakfast. Lol.

Now, what do you make a hungry Texan on a rainy morning???? That’s right… Biscuits and gravy! I remember my hubby’s Mamaw showing me how to make this glorious dish of creamy, make your waistline cry and heart sing goodness, so I figured why not give it a try. I was so nervous because the last time I tried to make another one of my hubby’s beloved dishes (back when we were engaged) I failed and instead of chicken and dumplings he ended up with chicken and biscuits lol and then I cried lol. I shook that out of my head and got to cooking.

First I whipped up a quick batch of buttermilk biscuits and tossed them into the oven. They don’t take very long, maybe 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. I usually bake for 10 then shut off the oven and let it continue to cook while the oven cools. Then I heated up a skillet (Mamaw swears by a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one don’t panic, any skillet will do πŸ™‚ ), cut up your sausage into patties and start cooking them. You’ll want to get them nice and brown because that will only add to the gravy flavor later on. When the sausage is cooked set it aside and you’re going to add a couple tablespoons of flour until you get a creamy mix that isn’t too dry (think gravy thick), let this mixture cook and brown a bit. When it’s got a nice, deeper color add the evaporated milk a little at a time, don’t worry when it clumps together, it will eventually smooth out. Keep whisking away you don’t want it to burn or dry up, add the milk as you whisk so that you get a nice smooth creamy gravy. Once you get the consistency you’re looking for you’ll want to add salt and lots of pepper because without it the gravy is simply lackluster. Be careful with the salt though because this gravy will go from just right to too salty in an instant. Take a biscuit, cut it in half, load up some sausage and top with gravy OR you can do like my hubby and cut it all up, op with gravy, mix together and enjoy :p Definitely had a happy hubby this morning πŸ™‚

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What do you think? Not too bad for this Canucks first try at a classic Southern dish πŸ™‚

Recipe:

Buttermilk biscuits:

1cup of buttermilk
2 cups self rising flour
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/3 cup of shortening or canola oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a dough forms that isn’t wet but isn’t stiff. Lol what an awful way to describe it but biscuits are a trial and error kind of thing. If you’re not much o a baker or just short on time don’t be ashamed to go to store and get the can of biscuits with that cuddly character on the wrapper πŸ™‚ they work just as well.

Gravy:

1 lb of sausage, save the grease!!!!!
2-3 tbsp of flour
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
Salt
Pepper

Slice the sausage into patties and cook in a skillet until cooked through and nicely browned. Set aside

Add flour into grease and whisk until smooth. Let this creamy mixture deepen in color.

Once it’s at a nice color (golden-brownish) add the evaporated milk about 1/4 cup at a time while whisking. It’s very important to continue whisking or you’ll end up with lumps. Don’t worry about it looking like it seizes when you first add the milk-totally normal, just add more milk and it will eventually smooth out. I usually add 2-3 tbsp of regular milk if its too thick.

Once you have it where you want it add the salt and pepper to your taste.

Assemble and enjoy!

Roasted Chicken and all the Fixins :)

13 Nov

Yum!

Made a delicious hubby stamp of approval dinner tonight and thought I would share it with you all πŸ™‚

I think we’re officially into ‘fall’ temperatures now… *sigh*. I know I’ll enjoy it before long, but right now the whole 41 degrees at night thing isn’t sitting too well with me …. All I can say is BRRR!! LoL. Seriously, I’m bundled up in my fuzzy slippers and my fuzzy blanket right now and I’m still cold!

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Hubbykins is always working outside, rain, shine, hot or cold it doesn’t matter and when he had to wear thermals to work today I felt so bad :(. I decided to make him a scrumptious, filling dinner tonight and since I always seem to have a whole chicken in the freezer, I decided to pull one out. Now… Into the fridge and pantry I went to find the rest of the meal. After a little investigation and a whole box of cracker packets dumping out on me I was I guess a little inspired: homemade stuffing! Of course you can’t have stuffing without mashed potatoes and veggies.

For the stuffing you’ll need the following:

1 loaf of white bread, cubed.
1 medium sized onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
3/4 can of chicken stock
1 stick of butter or margarine (8 tbsp)
1/4 cup of sage (if you’re not a huge fan of sage then use less)
Poultry seasoning
Salt
Pepper

If you have cubed bread that’s already ‘dried’ out then that’s great, but if you’re using a fresh loaf then just cube the bread, lay out the bread onto a cookie sheet – make sure it’s not later upon layer otherwise it will take forever to dry out( I needed 2 for the loaf). Stick into an oven at 200 F for about 40 minutes or until fairly dried out. You can do this while the chicken thaws or ahead of time and store in an airtight container (but make sure to get all the moisture out- think croutons).

Melt your butter in a pot. Dice up the onions into a fairly small dice, same with the celery and the apple. When the butter is melted toss in the onions and celery and cook them so they sweat a bit but still firm. This is where you can get the little ones to help out. Take the bread cubes toss them into a container with a lid or a bag (I like the container better though), toss in the seasoning, crank up the music and let the little ones shake the bag or container until all the pieces are coated evenly. I’m telling you, they will love it!

Once the onion and butter mix is ready pour it onto the bread along with the diced apple, if you used the container, or pour the bag into the pot- whatever works better for you and toss. See why the container is much easier? πŸ˜‰

The chicken:

1 roasting chicken
2 carrots
1 celery stock or the celery leaves
Poultry seasoning
Sage
Salt
Pepper
6 tbsp of butter cut into chunks
1/2 cup white wine
The remaining chicken stock

Once you clean out the chicken then stuff it full of stuffing and put the rest in a dish and cover with foil.

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With the chicken chop up two carrots, 1 celery stalk or the celery leaves, cut half an onion into quarters, it doesnt have to be perfect because its just to add flavour to the drippings and for the chicken to rest on it. Flip it over so the breast side is down and season with pepper, salt, sage, and poultry seasoning, rest it ontop of the chopped veggies in your roasting pan with the seasoned side down. Now for the breast meat… I usually stuff a few tablespoons of butter under the skin by the breast meat and down by the legs- this will keep the meat moist and oh my goodness good! Season again with the same seasoning and tie up the legs together. I ran out of string today so I had to improvise and twisted up some tin foil and made my own ‘twist tie’ lol.

Here’s how it looked when it was seasoned:

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Place in the oven preheated to 450F, uncovered for 20 minutes to brown it nicely.

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Once browned, add half a cup of white wine, and the remaining 1/4 of the can of chicken stock you used for the stuffing. Cover with foil, stick back in the oven along with the pan of the leftover stuffing and lower the temperature to 400F. My 6 pound chicken took about an hour and a half and in the last half hour I uncovered the stuffing so that the top could crisp up just like hubbykins likes it πŸ™‚

Super crucial part: once the chicken is done, remove from the pan and let the chicken rest! I cover with the foil and a dishcloth to keep it warm. This will let those juices get in every part it can, and you won’t have a dry piece of meat.

See?

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I used the drippings from the pan to make the gravy, I just added a little pepper and some cornstarch to thicken it. It was perfect you could taste the chicken, a hint of wine and a hint of the sage… YUMMY!

I finished off the plate with some green beans, some roasted acorn squash, mashed potato, a scoop of that yummy stuffing and a little gravy πŸ™‚

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I hope you all have a blessed day!

Cravings and Crafts :)

6 Nov

I’m not really sure why, but today I peeled myself away from my craft table and beelined to the kitchen with a MEGA french fry craving. LOL. I looked at the keys sitting on the counter thinking maybe it would be just easier to go to a “fast food” place … and it would have been faster, but I highly doubt it would have tasted better. LOL. I peeled a big ol’ russet potato, poured some canola oil into a pot and then turned the heat up on high and waited… I always slice a tiny end of the potato off and throw it in to test the heat of the oil… If it’s bubbling around it in fry-happy goodness then it’s time to throw the rest of the potatoes in (I usually do it in batches so that they dont stick together).

I let them cook for about 10 minutes then remove them and toss in the next batch and then throw the first batch back in the oil for about 10 minutes or until they turn a nice golden brown color. I’m not really sure why, but my grandmother always fried them twice- but it always works for crispy fries with a gorgeous inside πŸ™‚ Remove and place on paper towel before lightly seasoning with salt and pepper.

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Et Voila! The final product! Yes, that is sour cream lol… Don’t judge me :p I’m not really sure why but I’ve always LOVED it with fries lol.

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Now it’s back to my crafting! I’m working on some wall art for the dinning room because the plain white walls are driving me nuts. LOL. Hubbykins is off at work so I’m sure he’ll be surprised when he comes home but he’s never disliked any of the projects I’ve done so far so fingers crossed lol.

Remember that cereal box?

I decided to turn that into a big ‘ol star for the dinning room. Right now while the glue dries it’s clamped together with clothespins lol. but it will lay flat when dried. Once it’s dry I can do the paint touchups, some blending and up onto the wall it goes!

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I’ll be sure to post a picture of the finished product! No one will ever be able to tell that it was once a rice krispies box πŸ™‚

Off I go!

I hope you all have a blessed day πŸ™‚

Oh what a day!

1 Nov

Today was a mega cleaning day, I bleached the floors, vacuumed, folded laundry, cleaned the kitchen, tidied up the fridge and cleaned up my stepdaughters room. Nothing better than the smell of a clean house! After all that hard work, I decided to get started on my latest project. I hope to have it done by the weekend *fingers crossed*. My inspiration came from an unusual place:

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Stay tuned for a post about that project here soon!

The other mega thing that has been going on in our house: My poor hubbykins has been in so much pain lately with a HORRIBLE toothache 😦 He’s definitely not the kind of man that pain bothers him much. He’s a strong manly man oilfield worker and most of the time if he gets cut or hurt he just shakes it off, so for him to say its painful I can only imagine HOW painful it really is. He even went to bed last night at 630 because it was so bad. We finally got him an appointment for the dentist tomorrow morning :). I’m sure he’s counting down the minutes like I am.

Until then I’m hoping to make him a meal tonight that will be easy for him to swallow- literally. Since it’s also starting to cool off in the evenings I wanted to whip up some potato soup and some soft biscuits. Hubby loves it and it will hopefully not cause more pain.

My potato soup is simple and quick to throw together. My hubby loves it because its different- it’s not like the creamy soup you usually find. All you need are some russet potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, chicken stock, butter and salt and pepper- all things you usually have in your fridge and pantry and I promise you you’ll be surprised with the flavor you get from this soup. πŸ™‚

Start by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot, I suppose you could use margarine or canola oil but I like the flavor of butter – everything tastes better with butter! πŸ˜‰ Toss in the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and salt and pepper cook until the onions start to go a little translucent. Toss in the diced potatoes mixing up the veggies and let cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, if the soup needs more seasoning then have at it πŸ™‚ bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium and let cook until the potatoes are soft, tender and almost fall apart. If you like a chunkier soup then just use a potato masher and mash a few times until it thicken to how you like it. I myself like it smoother, so I just toss it in the blender and purΓ©e it (be VERY careful, hot soup in the blender like to expand, I recommend only filling it up halfway). You can put it in your favorite serving dish or return it to the pot and keep it warm on the stove. The house will smell so yummy!

If you want to add some toppings, so great ones are bacon, shredded cheese, green onions or MY favorite: a dollop of sour cream Yum, Yum, YUM!

My hubby being a true Texan I think it’s safe to say that he knows biscuits and I’ve always been sort of intimidated by the thought of even trying to make them. So I did what anyone else would do: I called my grandmother lol. I love her recipes, simple, no fuss and deliscious- these biscuits are no exception. All you need is 3 ingredients. Yes, seriously, 3. Lol

2 1/4 cups of self rising flour
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup of buttermilk (don’t panic if you don’t have any handy, simply take whole milk or even 2 % (but whole is better) and mix in a tbsp of vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Yes it will get thicker and lumpy but don’t be afraid.

Toss it all in a bowl and gently mix until just combined. Drop heaping spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown or till they just barely start to brown on the tips of the dough. Voila! Fluffy, soft and deliscious!!!

Hopefully hubbykins will feel better, tomorrow morning isn’t soon enough for him to feel some pain relief.

A picture of the soup and drop biscuits :

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I hope you all have a blessed day πŸ™‚

My Spicy Stuffed Burgers!

25 Oct

It was a burger night tonight at our house, mostly because I was craving a nice baked potato lol. I had only ever made burgers twice before tonight, the first time was horrible, they fell apart, had too much onion and just plain sucked lol, I’m surprised my hubby managed to stomach it, but he did -with a smile on his face I might add πŸ™‚

The second time I decided to try a stuffed burger with jalapeΓ±os, bacon, mushrooms, onions and pepper jack. When hubby came home and found out we were having burgers, I got a kind of skeptical look, fair enough lol the first time was awful but let’s give it a try :). As always he did with a smile on his face and grabbed the burger and took a bite while I waited on pins and needles for that look in his eyes that says ‘well done wifey’ haha. Time moved slowly as it always does when he takes the first bite of a meal I’ve cooked for him… Waited and FINALLY! There it was, that look that said ‘damn that’s great!’. Woohoo! I win! Lol

A picture of the filling :

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Update :
I thought I would update with a bit of a recipe:

Filling:

3 strips of bacon, cooked then diced
2-3 button mushrooms
1 jalapeΓ±o
1/4 of a white onion finely diced
2-3 slices of pepper jack

Burger:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs ( or more if the consistency is too ‘loose’ )
Worchestire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
1 egg

1. Cook up bacon until crisp , move to the side to cool and drain most of the fat.
2. Add the rest of filling ingredients (except the cheese- that will melt as the burger cooks πŸ™‚ )
3. Dice the bacon, add to the veggies and set to the side to cool (or stick it on the freezer for a couple minutes )
4. Throw all the burger ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
5. When the filling is cooled add the diced pepper jack and put a big spoonful of the filling in the middle of a patty made from the ground beef, top with another patty and seal the edges of the burger so that the cheese doesn’t leak out.
6. I let them sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before frying.

Top with your toppings, cheese whatever you want! The filling is fun to play around with ingredients πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy!

Breakfast Braid

18 Oct

I’ve been trying to get a little creative when it comes to hubby’s breakfasts for work- I think he was getting burnt out on the typical bacon and egg toasted samiches lol. I hunted around for some inspiration and found a braid with apples and that started the wheels turning…. A breakfast braid it is!

I used a recipe for pizza dough that called for you to mix the yeast right into the dough without doing the whole water thing first to let it proof. I thought this was strange as I’ve always proofed the yeast before adding it to my flour for pizza dough :). I tried it anyways, it rose but it was definitely nowhere near as nice as when you do it the traditional way. If making dough isn’t your thing, you can definitely do this with a tube of pillsbury pizza dough or crescents even.

My husband loves spicy foods so I used jalapeΓ±o sausage from a local butcher (YUM). If spice isn’t your thing then use a mild breakfast sausage or even turkey sausage would be super yummy! Cook it up and set it off to the side.

Next, dice up some potatoes, onions, and red bell peppers. Now if you’re like me and you tend to keep bacon grease to use to fry stuff up lol use about a tbsp of it otherwise use about 2tbsp of butter or canola oil. Fry it all up together, add your meat to it to warm. In a separate pan, scramble some eggs until they set but don’t cook them till they’re dry (you’ll be baking it for about 15 minutes once you put it all together).

Grab your dough and roll it out to about a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Place your egg mixture down the middle and top with the vegetables and meat mixture. Use a pizza cutter to cut strips to within about a 1/2 inch of the filling. Alternate strips so that you get that braid effect. Place some cornmeal down on your baking sheet and place the roll ontop and toss in the oven until you get some golden brown coloring πŸ™‚ and enjoy!
(You can make these personal sized , fruit filled or one big one for the family to enjoy on Sunday morning breakfast). My actual recipe for dough and filling follows after the picture.