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Best of Restaurants: Country Cooking

Photo Credit: Brain Pickings

I love fancy food, fancy restaurants, little plates, and tapas…but sometimes you just want good old country cooking. When you do, here are the best dishes I’ve found and where to get them:

Meatloaf from Fresh Chef in Denver, NC

Recipe

Herbed Shrimp and Pasta

Growing my own herbs gives me a wonderful pioneer woman feeling. I kind of suck at it for the most part, but the ones that do survive my tending I love to use in delicious recipes. This one was perfect for a lazy Sunday. Comes together surprisingly quick too!

Herbed Shrimp and Pasta

  • 8 oz dried angel hair pasta; uncooked
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 lb peeled medium-size shrimp
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon dill weed (or 3/4 teaspoon dried dill)

INSTRUCTIONS

COOK pasta according to package directions. Drain set aside and keep warm

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over med-hi heat add shrimp, garlic. Cook stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes or until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp, set aside, reserving garlic and butter in skillet.

ADD Half-and-half to skillet, bring to a boil, stirring gently. Reduce heat and simmer 15 min. or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp, parsley, salt, pepper, and if desired fresh chopped dill weed stir until blended. Serve over pasta.

Recipe

Chicken Bake

I made Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Rolls the other night and we had 2 left over. The breasts were huge! I used them in this recipe and it turned out so delicious!

I’m giving you the recipe exactly as it came to me in my cookbook, but I’d make two adjustments next time I make it:

  1. I don’t think it needs the sliced almonds.
  2. Saute the onion and celery in a tablespoon of olive oil before adding to the mixture. I don’t want any chance of crunchy veggies in this dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chicken; cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 cup celery; thinly diced
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 4 oz. can mushrooms; drained
  • 1/2 cup onion; chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3 tbsp butter; divided
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cornflakes; crushed

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the onion and celery in 1 tbsp. butter until soft. Mix all ingredients except 2 tbsp butter, almonds, and cornflakes. Place mixture in a 2-quart casserole dish. Melt margarine in a small pan and add almonds and cornflakes, stirring for one to two minutes. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 35 minutes on 350

Recipe

Spiced Irish Oatmeal with Cream and Crunchy Sugar

  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted butter ; plus more for greasing pan
  • 2 cups Steel-Cut Oats
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 6 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream ; plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Demerara Sugar ; plus more for serving
  • flaky sea salt ; for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart shallow gratin or baking dish.

Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small cubes, and put them in the refrigerator until needed.

In a large skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the oats and saute until they smell nutty and toasted, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cardamom and cinnamon and saute for another minute, until fragrant. Scrape oats into a buttered pan and stir in boiling water, cream and salt.

Bake oats for 40 minutes, then give them a stir. Sprinkle sugar all over the oats, and scatter reserved cubed butter on top. Continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, until the top is glazed and bubbling.

Sprinkle oatmeal with flaky sea salt, if you like. Serve oats with more cream and sugar on the side.

Recipe

Lemony Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches

These Lemony Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches are the perfect finger food for baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, and any gatherings.  Super refreshing and kind of healthy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz whole cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • Zest and Juice of half a large lemon
  • Salted butter, softened for spreading on bread slices
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices high quality white or whole-grain bread
  • 1/2 large cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced, thoroughly dried with paper towels

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, fresh dill, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add enough kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Butter each slice of bread (prevents sogginess.) Lay slices with butter side up on a work surface. Evenly distribute the cream cheese mixture onto each slice. Arrange towel-dried cucumber slices on top of the first 3 slices of bread. Top with remaining bread. Slice off the crusts. If not serving immediately, wrap tightly in cling wrap and chill for up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, slice into 4 triangles per sandwich.

Inspired by Chew Out Loud

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Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Got a new favorite recipe that I’m excited to share! Pad Krapow Gai! Sounds exotic right? Well, it is, sort of. But exotic doesn’t mean difficult. This is going in my once a week dinner round-up. Comes together easily and is relatively healthy. And this is the first dish I’ve made in as long as I can remember that the entire house loved and there were NO leftovers. KEEPER ALERT!

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Original recipe found at All Recipes: Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced Thai chilies, Serrano, or other hot pepper
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Whisk chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a bowl until well blended.
  • Step 2Heat large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in oil. Add chicken and stir fry until it loses its raw color, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shallots, garlic, and sliced chilies. Continue cooking on high heat until some of the juices start to caramelize in the bottom of the pan, about 2 or 3 more minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the sauce mixture to the skillet; cook and stir until sauce begins to caramelize, about 1 minute.
  • Step 3Pour in the rest of the sauce. Cook and stir until sauce has deglazed the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until sauce glazes onto the meat, 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Step 4Stir in basil. Cook and stir until basil is wilted, about 20 seconds. Serve with rice.

Chef’s Note:

Makes 2 large or 4 small portions.

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The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuit’s Coconut Pie

My sister gave me this book for Christmas and I am fascinated at the intricate education with descriptive prose provided within its cover. It is actually perfect for beginners and for seasoned cooks as well. I wish I lived closer to the Deans to take advantage of some in-person training.

My family has been in quarantine for about 2 weeks, so it has forced me to slow down. I haven’t been out to eat since New Year’s Day, which is some kind of record for me I’m sure. So, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen and this one jumped out at me while I was reading one night. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Coconut Pie

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons bourbon
  • one 9-inch pie shell, partially baked

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl thoroughly whisk together all ingredients except the pie shell. Pour into the partially baked pie shell and bake 30 minutes. Let the pie cool at least 20 minutes before serving. Yummy warm or at room temp!

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Hot Chicken Salad

I love a casserole. I love a CHICKEN casserole. It’s my favorite meal. I make one and keep it in the fridge and eat on it all week long. This one is creamy and delicious. Dice your veggies super small unless you like them crunchy (shudder).

  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1 cup crumbled cracker crumbs; save 1/4 cup for top
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup onion; chopped fine
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 Hard-boiled eggs; chopped
  • salt

Mix all. Put in buttered dish and sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Hickory · Huntersville · Lincolnton

Best of Restaurants-Frozen Treats!

Is there anything better than a cool treat on a hot day?  Only issue is you gotta eat it fast so you don’t wear it!  Here are a list of my favorite frozen goodies:

Half Watermelon Half Wedding Cake Snoball from Pelican’s Snoballs in Lincolnton

Cow Pie Sundae at Udderly Delicious in Hickory

Lemon Vanilla cookie sandwich with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream at Cookies with an Accent in Huntersville

 

Basil and Strawberry Sorbet from the McNinch House in Charlotte, NC