Thursday, April 30, 2015

Texas Pecan Pimento Cheese

We honestly love pimento cheese.

I've told you that before.

But we are persnickety pimento cheese eaters.

We are somewhat connoisseur and somewhat know-it-alls about this Southern delicacy.

We do not like store bought pimento cheese.

I know; that's what we have grown up on;

Spent hours smearing the spread on white bread, so we can cut it into triangles and stack on a serving tray.

Taken to church socials.

And shared with our friends.

I'm not against any of that . . .except the actual store-bought pimento cheese.

I make pimento cheese a lot at our house.

It's kind of our go-to sandwich.

Partially it's because I don't buy deli meat and pimento cheese is easy.

When we are low on peanut butter or out of grilled chicken, I usually have the stuff to whip up a batch of pimento cheese.

Because I make so much of this yummy concoction, I sometimes play around with my recipe.

Sometimes the Mr. and the Cherubs don't like that.

The cherubs are kind of old-school flavor pimento cheese lovers.

However, the one I made today, I think they're going to love.

But secretly, I hope they don't.

Because I do!

And if they don't, that means I only have to share with the Mr.

That is . . . if I tell him I've got a new flavor to try.

I may just keep it between you and me!

Texas Pecan Pimento Cheese 

8 oz grated cheddar cheese
8 oz grated Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup pecans, rough chopped
1 large roasted red pepper, drained and chopped (OR 1 small jar pimento, drained)*

1/2 cup mayonnaise
small shake of the salt
medium shake of the pepper

In a large bowl, place the grated cheese.  Obviously, if you only have one kind of cheese, just use that!  The important part is that you have 16 ounces of grated cheese.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans on the cheese.

Sprinkle the pimento over the pecans.

Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the pimento.

Then, glop the 1/2 cup of mayonnaise around the pile of ingredients.

As gently as you can, toss/stir the ingredients together.  Try to keep a light touch so that you don't end up with a smooshed pimento cheese.  However, if you like it smooshed together, then go right ahead!  It's your pimento cheese!

Place in a bowl that has a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.

*Pimentos are chopped roasted red pepper.  I prefer to buy jarred roasted red pepper and chop my own.  I don't know why I like to do it this way, but you do whatever you like and what's easiest for you!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cole Slaw

I honestly can't believe I haven't shared this recipe.

It's not because I make it a lot.

Matter of fact, I haven't made it in a very long time.

But it is a good stand-by for those Summer dinners.

I first got this recipe more than 10 years ago.

We were living in Oklahoma City and the Mr. and I packed up the two cherubs and we went on a weekend get-a-way to cook for a "mature" crowd who was having a retreat.

There were about 70 "mature" friends that spent the weekend at the lake.

The guys fished and golfed.

The girls shopped or golfed.

At night, everyone sat around laughing and playing games.

That's where I learned to play "Jokers!"

I've got the best Jokers board around, thanks to a very talented wood-worker friend!

As our friends golfed, fished, or shopped, the Mr. and I prepared the meals.

3 meals a day for the weekend.

One night we served cole slaw.

After we ate, one of the ladies said she had a great, and easy, recipe for cole slaw.

I've been making it this way ever since!

It's perfect because I prefer a vinegar base rather than mayonnaise.

The original recipe calls for the oil mixture to be doubled, but I think the 1/2 cup measurements makes for enough dressing.

Cole Slaw*

1 package cole slaw; 16 ounces
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, place the cole slaw.

Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and toss.

In a glass container, mix the oil, sugar, and vinegar together.  Heat in the microwave until the mixture is boiling.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Stir in the celery seed and pour over the cole slaw mixture.

Toss to coat.

Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving.

*In my opinion, this is best eaten the day it is made.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Apple, Cranberry, and Nut Salad

I love friends like this . . .

"Hey! What are you doing for dinner tonight?"

"I don't know . . .what are y'all doing?"

"I have no idea!  I've got chicken."

"O.K!  I've got bacon."

"I can bring some chips and ice cream."

"O.K!  I've got caramel sauce and tea!"


"Perfect!  Y'all come down about 6."

I looked in the cabinets to see what else I could bring to the table; literally!

I had a couple of apples.

I thought an apple slaw, or apple salad, or something with an apple sounded good.

I went pilfering and here's the result!

I just guessed at the measurements and went by sight on the cranberries and nuts.

You can make adjustments where you need and according to your taste and the number of people you are serving!

We did not have too much left over from our impromptu dinner with friends, but my girl cherub and I had the wee bit of left over apple salad the next day for dessert and it was still very tasty!

Apple, Cranberry, and Nut Salad

2 tart, crisp apples, chopped into bite-sized pieces
dried cranberries
walnuts or pecans, chopped. *
sour cream

In a large bowl, add the chopped apples.  I used jazz apples.  However, granny smith would be tasty also!

Add in the dried cranberries.  I went by color ratio of the white apple flesh to red cranberries.  I wanted it to look pretty!  Maybe 1/2 a cup or more.

Add the chopped pecans.  Again, I went by preference.  I wanted to be able to have a fair representation of ingredients on the spoon!

In a small bowl, mix 2 heaping** tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 heaping*( tablespoons of sour cream, and 1-2 heaping tablespoons of sugar.  Mix well.  Taste and make any adjustments as necessary.  You do not want to be able to taste the mayonnaise or the sour cream.  You are going for a homogeneous flavor here!

Pour the dressing over the fruit and nuts and toss well until everything is well coated.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  A good hour or so is perfect so that the flavors can meld just a bit!

*I sugared the pecans I used for this salad, but you don't have to do that.  You can use plain nuts, make your own sugared nuts, or use the package candied nuts you find on the baking aisle.

** By heaping, I mean h.e.a.p.i.n.g!  Don't skimp!  You don't want an excess of sauce, but you need enough to coat and flavor the salad.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Potatoes with Onion and Green Peppers

I was really wanting french fries.

Deep down in my heart, I love french fries.

I know . . . kind of childish, huh?

French fries and ketch-up.

But on this night, I couldn't really justify going to get french fries.

I mean, I "could have;"

After all, I was making a very kid-friendly meal.

This meal, my cherubs really like . . . and it is really not one of my favorites.

Sloppy Joes!

My internal compromise was to add french fries!

French fries would go perfect with the sandwich.

Instead of giving in, I made a very grown-up decision.

I decided to make a french fry alternative:  a pan fried potato.

Only I would make it better than a french fry!

I'd add some grown-up flavor!

But not too grown-up, because I still wanted to use ketchup.

Confession:  this conversation was really going on in my head!

Potatoes with Onion and Green Peppers

1 small onion, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
2-3 TBSP oil (or bacon grease, if you have it . . . and I had it!)
1/2 package of frozen hash-browns
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil.

Add the chopped onion and green pepper.  Saute the veggies until browned.

Add the frozen hash-browns.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Stir to mix the veggies and potatoes together.

Cook until the potatoes are browned thoroughly, with at least one crispy edge on each little hash-brown!  Seriously!  That's what makes this tasty!

That . . .and some ketchup!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rotel Chicken

When the Mr. and I lived in Nashville, we were "adopted" by a great family.

John was my boss, both at my full-time job and at the church where he and I served on staff part time.

Ms. Kaye, his wife, was the church cook and was fantastic at everything!

We became fast friends with the two of them!

Ms. Kaye and I shared the love of good bargains, fun shopping, and cooking together!

It's been a lot of years since we have lived in Nashville, but we still keep up with our friends,

and on the occasions when we get to see John and Kaye, we always pick right up where we left off!

This recipe is one of the many I have from Ms. Kaye.

I like this for many reasons:

  1. It's easy.
  2. It's great for a crowd . . .or a family with guaranteed left-overs.
  3. It makes a lot.
  4. It's adaptable. 
That's enough reasons to make it!

Today, I had left-over turkey I had baked over the weekend that I wanted to use.  Because the poultry was already cooked, this delicious casserole threw together in a flash!  

Rotel Chicken

1 chicken, cooked, deboned and chopped (or use cooked turkey or left over baked chicken, etc)
8-12 oz of spaghetti pasta (I use gluten free)
1 onion, chopped*
1 green pepper, chopped*
8-10 mushrooms, chopped*
1/4 cup butter
1-2 pounds Velveeta cheese (to "lighten" add only 1 pound.  If you LOVE cheese, use 2 pounds!)**
1 can rotel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the chicken if you are not using left-over poultry.

Cook the noodles until done, reserve the cooking liquid.

In a large pan, add the butter to melt. Add the chopped veggies and cook until tender.

Add the chopped chicken (or turkey) to the veggies and stir.

Add the cooked noodles, Velveeta, cubed, and the rotel to the veggie/meat mixture.  Stir/toss to melt the cheese and incorporate all the ingredients together. 

Add a bit of the pasta water to thin, if desired.  I always add some additional pasta water when I am mixing this together because I like it a bit "loose" before I heat it in the oven.  Also, I don't want the casserole to be too thick from the Velveeta.

Pour into a casserole pan, a 9x13 baking dish, or two 9x9 pans. 

Heat in the oven until thoroughly heated.

Serve with a green salad.

* add more of these veggies if you desire, or omit if you don't desire!
**Honestly, 1 pound of Velveeta is ample, but 2 pounds is very tasty!