“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” ~ Billy Graham

I love Mexican food and I’m always looking for other options besides the regular recipes such as tacos, burritos, fajita’s etc.

So when I ran across this Tamale Pie, I knew I had to try it!

I hope one day to attempt authentic Tamales but I still need to work up the courage for that one……

Tamale Pie

  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup cream corn (from a can is fine)
  • 1/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (jar kind is fine)
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 cups mexican blend shredded cheese
  • cilantro
  • salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 400º.

In a large bowl mix together sour cream, creamed corn, jiffy mix and the egg. Spread evenly in a greased cast iron skillet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly. Leave oven on.

While cornbread is cooking, sauté onion  and ground beef in a large skillet until browned.  Drain excess fat. Add in garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add in taco seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

With a fork, poke holes evenly over the cornbread, then pour enchilada sauce over cornbread.

Layer meat mixture, followed by cheese onto cornbread layer. Cover with foil and return to oven to heat through and melt cheese, around 20 minutes. Remove foil and and turn on broil to brown cheese.

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with extra sour cream.

Lettuce and tomatoes are optional toppings as well.


 -abp 

 

 

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” ~ John Wooden

I get so excited when I find simple recipes that don’t taste simple!

There are times I do not mind spending 1 hour + in the kitchen on one meal but I must admit, those times are getting fewer and fewer. The problem is that I miss all the goodness of those hours slaving away in the kitchen. So when I run across recipes that give me both yummy and quick – I’m sold!

Garlic Cilantro Shrimp

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted (directions below)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tablespoon dry white wine
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoons chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 cups jasmine rice, cooked

In a large bowl, combine roasted garlic (squish it out of the head of garlic), lime juice, wine, 3 tablespoons olive oil and chili sauce. Whisk until smooth.

Stir in cilantro, mix well.

Pat shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes each or until cooked through.

Remove from pan and stir into cilantro mixture until well coated.

Serve over Jasmine rice with garlic bread.

Roasted Garlic

Preheat oven to 400º. Trim the top off a head of garlic (leaving it intact). Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap foil up around the garlic, place in baking dish and cook for 45 mins. Remove from oven and let cool. You then should be able to pick up garlic and squeeze it out the top of it’s shell.

-abp

“In Italy, they add on work and life to food and wine.” ~ Robin Leach

There is nothing better for the perfect summer snack than a Caprese salad. Home grown tomatoes with fresh sliced mozzarella and basil topped with a high quality olive oil and a nice balsamic vinegar drizzle. So yummy and refreshing!

I wanted to extend this appetizer into a meal so with the addition of a few basic ingredients – that’s what I did.

Turned out to be a great light summer dinner.

Caprese Chicken Pasta

  • 2 cups frozen (drained) or tightly packed fresh spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes (must be the Italian style!)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 10 oz short pasta of your choice (penne, bowtie, elbow etc.), cooked to al dente
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of basil, julienned
  • Mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Balsamic vinegar, optional

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat, add onion and cook for 5-7 mins or until onions are softened a bit. Add in garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in spinach and chicken and cook for an additional 5 mins.

In a small bowl, make a slurry (whisking together til smooth) with the heavy cream and cornstarch, add this along with the chicken stock and tomatoes to the pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and stir in pasta. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve in bowls, garnish with chopped tomatoes, basil, cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


-abp

 

 

 

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.” ~ John Wooden

Shrimp dishes can be unbelievably quick!

And sometimes (a lot of times) quick is what I really need. Especially in the summer. It stays light out for so long ( I LOVE that though), the night slips up on you! Next thing I know it’s 7:15 and I haven’t even to begin to start supper.

This is why I always have frozen peeled and deveined shrimp in my freezer. It thaws super quick and with a little seasoning and rice – you have a dinner.

There is a little more to the following recipe but it’s still a quick one!

Honey Garlic Shrimp and Noodles

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 8 oz, udon noodles, cooked

Whisk together honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger in a medium bowl.

In a large zip lock bag, place shrimp and 1/4 of the sauce in the bag. Coat well and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and/or up to 8 hours.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Remove shrimp from marinade (discard marinade) and cook shrimp for about a minute per side. Add in the remaining sauce and cook until heated through, add the cornstarch slurry (whisked water and cornstarch) bring to a simmer until thickened.

Serve shrimp and sauce over cooked udon noodles. Sprinkle with green onions.


-abp

“You may be a redneck if… your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.” ~ Jeff Foxworthy

The 4th of July may be over but it doesn’t mean you can’t still have firecrackers!

Below is a super simple recipe that would be great for any type of gathering. Whether it be July 4th, Labor Day, Memorial Day or for Tailgaiting.

It’s a spicy twist on the classic Baked Ranch Oysters crackers.

Every now and then we all need a little spice in our life!

Fire Crackers

  • 1 (13 oz) box of Cheez-Its
  • 1 (1 oz) package of dry ranch dressing
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1-4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes (all depends on desired heat, omit if you don’t want any spice)

Preheat oven to 250º.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients making sure to get crackers evenly coated.

Spread evenly on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 or until oil seems to have absorbed.

Remove, cool on sheet and enjoy. Store in a zip lock bag.


-abp

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” ~ Stephen King

Ah Lawd. I’ve created a monster.

My getting back in the kitchen has made my husband come to expect some new dish nightly.

Well. I hate it for him. Lol.

But it’s not too bad when you can whip up something fairly simple – this recipe included.

BTW – we are going out to eat tonight.

Chicken Parmesan

  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 jar ( oz) marinara sauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon water, whisked together
  • 10 oz spaghetti noodles, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • dried basil for garnish
  • salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour (both sides), shake off excess. Then dredge in egg mixture (both sides), shake off excess. Finally, dredge in breadcrumbs (both sides) and press into chicken.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken on both sides (3-4 minutes a side or until cooked through). Remove to paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil.

Place cooked noodles in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with marinara, reserving 1 cup to top chicken. Arrange chicken breasts on top of noodles, followed by remaining sauce across the chicken. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top of chicken.

Baked uncovered for around 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Sprinkle with basil before serving.

 

-abp

 

“All we have of freedom, all we use or know —This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.”~Rudyard Kipling

We had a great 4th of July weekend!

Although we had out of town company, we really had no major plans but when you throw in fun sunglasses, fake USA themed tattoos, cold beer and a slip n slide – it’s a perfect weekend!

We had the usual cook out fare – grilled burgers, chips, baked beans and cucumber/tomato/onion salad but we had to finish it off with something sweet and since I had fresh Chilton County peaches and a quart of blueberries in hand, I decided to go with a classic cobbler. 

Peach and Bluberry Cobbler

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 ½ cup sugar (divided)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together butter, flour and 1 cup sugar. In another bowl toss fruit with 1/2 cup remaining sugar and lemon juice. Layer the fruit mixture in a 2 quart glass baking dish and pour the flour/milk mixture on top. 

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until brown and bubbly. 

Serve with vanilla icecream. 

-abp

“Nothing awakens reminiscence like an aroma.” ~ Victor Hugo

There are several reasons I love a crockpot.

First of all, the ease of making dinner and second how it fills your house with a fabulous aroma. Makes me look forward to dinner all day long. Another reason is pretty easy clean up – especially if you use those handy little crockpot liners.

This meal was no exception.

Crockpot Chicken Marsala

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (if they are particularly large, I cut them in half)
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 teaspoons jarred minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • salt/pepper
  • Prepared Rice (I prefer Jasmine Rice)

Season chicken with salt and pepper then place in crockpot.

Add in mushrooms and garlic. Top with Marsala wine.

Cook on low for 5 hours.

In a bowl, make a slurry with the water and cornstarch by mixing together until dissloved. Remove chicken from crockpot and pour in slurry, stirring to combine. Place chicken back in crockpot and turn up to high and cook for an addition 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve over rice.


-abp

 

“Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?” ~ Jean Kerr

I’m still enjoying the new kitchen so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in there.

This has made the men in my life happy.

The following is a very simple recipe I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting to be anything special but it got rave reviews from the family.  Unfortunately, I have had a nasty cold and I couldn’t really taste it so I’m taking their word for it! These colds our little princess brings home from school really knock mommy on her butt.

I have caught every. single. one. Totally over it.

Shrimp and Spinach Pasta

  • 1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • 5 medium, vine ripened tomatoes
  • 3 cups, lightly packed spinach
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  A pinch of crushed red pepper, more if you light more heat.
  • 8-10 oz of cooked fettuccine
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Season shrimp with pepper, paprika and garlic salt.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat.  Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until no longer translucent.

Once cooked add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Next, add tomatoes, lemon juice, red pepper, Italian seasoning and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Finally, add in fresh spinach, cover for a few minutes  to wilt then stir to combine.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over cooked fettuccine and top with Parmesan cheese.

-abp

“I always had a fantasy of being a chef, because I like kitchen life.” ~ Geoffrey Rush

Have new kitchen, will cook.

There is nothing like a new kitchen to get you out of the cooking rut. I’ve always loved to cook but for the past year, I’ve had to drag myself to the kitchen. I don’t know what the problem was but I believe I found a solution!

A new kitchen!

We just moved and I love, love the new space. The best part about it is that there are tons of cabinets! This makes it so easy to get to the things you need to cook. No digging or unstacking required. Makes putting up clean dishes a breeze as well.

So, hopefully now I can get back to the business of cooking and blogging about it.

Recipe #2 cooked in new kitchen is as follows:

Fajita Pasta

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used red and yellow because my husband doesn’t like green)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild for less heat)
  • 8 oz of bowtie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sour cream
  • cilantro (optional, didn’t have any but wish I had)

Season chicken with half of the taco seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken until cooked through (approx 8-9 mins). Remove from pan.

While chicken cooks, season chopped veggies with the remaining half of taco seasoning. After removing chicken, add the other tablespoon of oil to skillet, followed by the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are slightly charred then add in the minced garlic and stir for around 30 seconds. Once done, remove and add to chicken.

In the same skillet add the broth, cream, rotel, salt and pasta, scraping the browned bits off bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil, cover and reduced to medium. Cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Finally, add chicken and veggies back to skillet and warm through.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with chopped cilantro.


-abp