Recipe

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Delicious Avocado Ranch Dressing is a very versatile recipe.  Make a batch, eat it on your salad and then use it up on twists on classic recipes.

AVOCADO-RANCH DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 1 cup ranch dressing
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Cut avocados in half; scoop pulp into a food processor or blender.
  2.  Add 1 cup Ranch dressing and remaining ingredients to food processor. Process until avocado mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Use it up by making:

Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad Sandwich from Spend with Pennies

Another brilliant idea is Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

It would be cool and creamy on these Chili Nachos from Ragu

Recipe

Desserts to Die for

Lord have mercy, but I have a sweet tooth.  I’m not much of a baker, but when I do, I make sure it has chocolate somewhere in it.  These desserts are some of my best creations 🙂

I have tried a LOT of Fudge Pies.  Some are too gooey.  Some are too dry.  This one is like Baby Bear’s porridge: just right.  I topped it with Cherry Garcia.

I found the original recipe at Southern Living.  Printer friendly version: Fudge Pie

Fudge Pie

INGREDIENTS

    • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
    • 0.5 (12 ounce) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 (9 inch) frozen unbaked piecrust shell ice cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Microwave first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, whisking at 30-second intervals.
  2. Whisk sugar and flour into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.
  3. Bake at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream.

APPLESAUCE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups oil
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat together eggs, sugar and oil. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  2. Spray bundt pan very well with nonstick spray and flour.
  3. Bake at 300°F for one hour, one hour fifteen minutes for a bundt pan.

Buttermilk Pie

Source: Mommy’s Kitchen

  • 1 – 9 inch pie crust 
  •   1/2 – cups sugar
  • 3 – tablespoons flour
  • 1 – cup well shaken buttermilk
  • 1 – tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 – tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 – large eggs room temperature 
  • 1/2 – cup unsalted butter ; melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Place the pie crust in a deep dish pie pan and flute the edges.

If desired use store bought pie crust. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla., eggs and melted butter.

Bake the pie crust for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the pie crust from the oven and pour the filling into the warm crust. Return the pie to the oven and bake until warmed, about 10 minutes.

Then without opening the door , reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until set, about 40 minutes. If the crust begin to brown to quickly add foil around the crust edges.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

servings: 6-8

 

Recipe

Simply Good Sandwiches

Sandwiches represent a certain failing for me.  Whenever I can’t get a home cooked dinner on the table, I rely on this old staple to sustain my hungry people.  It’s a default if my kids won’t eat what I’ve made (yep, I’m one of those parents who don’t MAKE the kids eat what I fix.)  But I’ve learned that sometimes, when you make a sandwich, there is a certain comfort in being able to take your plate and eat in front of the TV while watching Seinfeld re-runs.  Here are some of my favorites:

Club Sandwich

Perfect for an easy summer dinner, especially with fresh homegrown tomatoes  Club Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 slices toasted bread
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 4 slices shaved ham
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced, divided
  • 4 leaves lettuce, divided
  • 4 slices crisp bacon, divided
  • 2 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • 4 slices shaved deli turkey

DIRECTIONS

  • Spread mayonnaise on one side of a piece of toast; add layer of American cheese, ham, two slices of tomato, two leaves of lettuce, and two pieces of bacon.
  • Spread mayonnaise on second piece of toast and place on top, mayo side down.
  • Spread mayonnaise on top of that second piece of toast.
  • Layer Monterey Jack cheese, the rest of the tomatoes, lettuce, turkey and bacon on top.
  • Spread mayonnaise on third piece of toast and place on the stack mayo side down.
  • Slice the sandwich in quarters diagonally.
  • Skewers or long toothpicks may be used to hold all the layers together.

 

Grilled Chick N Wrappers

Grilled Chick N Wrappers
Grilled Chick N Wrappers

A wrap is a kind of sandwich, right?  I made this one for the family last night and it was a spot hitter.  You know, it hit the spot?  OK, so it comes together easily, and even though the word “grilled” is in the title, you just cook up the chicken in a skillet.  I suppose actually grilling it could only improve its flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 8 ounces Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese blend
  • 6 slices hickory smoked bacon
  • 16 ounces shredded Lettuce
  • ranch salad dressing
  • 6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a skillet heat olive oil on medium.
  2. Cut the chicken thighs into strips and add to skillet.
  3. In a separate skillet, fry the bacon.
  4. While they are cooking, slice the onion, cucumber and set aside.

  5. When chicken is done and the bacon is done, remove from skillet and set aside.
  6. Assembly time. Heat the tortilla in microwave for 15 seconds.
  7. To the tortillas, add the ranch, lettuce, cucumbers, onion, bacon, cheese, and then chicken and squeeze a little lime juice over and wrap like a burrito.

Pressed Chicken Tortas

I got this recipe when I was using Blue Apron.  They have some really great recipes, probably the best service I’ve found.  This one seems long, but it’s just because they over-explain all steps 🙂  Give it a go.  Delicious sammy!

Photo credit: Blue Apron
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 4 Torta Rolls
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Romaine Heart
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 3 oz Queso Fresco
  • 3 Tbsps Pepitas
  • ½ cup Low-Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 tsps Chicken Torta Spice Blend (Ancho Chile Powder, Mexican Oregano, Smoked Sweet Paprika, Garlic Powder & Ground Cumin)

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the rolls. Core, halve and thinly slice the tomato. Crumble the queso fresco. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; roughly chop the leaves. Quarter the limes. Halve, pit, peel and thinly slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedges to prevent browning. Peel and halve the onion; small dice 1 half and thinly slice the remaining half. In a medium bowl, combine the diced onion and the juice of 4 lime wedges.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and (reserving a pinch) as much of the spice blend as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Wipe out the pan.

While the chicken cooks, add the sour cream and remaining spice blend to the diced onion-lime juice mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.

When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the cooked chicken. Place the bottoms of the rolls, cut sides up, on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the sliced chickenavocado, as much of the sliced onion as you’d like (you may have extra), the tomato, half the queso fresco and the cilantro between the roll bottoms; season with salt and pepper. Top with the juice of the remaining lime wedges and the roll tops.

In the pan used to cook the chicken, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Working in 2 batches, add the tortas. Place a heavy pot on top of the tortas to press them down. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and slightly flattened. Transfer to a cutting board or plate.

While the tortas toast, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pepitas,remaining queso fresco and as much of the dressing as you’d like (you may have extra dressing). Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut each toasted torta in half diagonally; divide between 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

Another favorite is LEMONY CUCUMBER CREAM CHEESE SANDWICHES.  I made these for a Broker luncheon at a home I had listed in Lincolnton during the summer and they were cool, refreshing and tasted of summer.  The original recipe is from Chew Out Loud.

DIAN’S CHICKEN SALAD

PREP TIME: 1 hr 15 mins TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 mins
YIELD: 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 chicken breast halves, bone in
    • 8 ounces green olives, chopped
    • 1 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

  1. Skin chicken, put in pan, cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 75 minutes. Cool, pull from bones and chop finely. Add mayo and chopped olives.
  2. *Depending on how big your chicken breasts are, you may want more mayo and olives. Make it to your favorite consistency.
Recipe

Souper Salads

Chop and dump.  Sometimes supper is really just that easy.  Here are a few of my favorite salads:

Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad

Perfect for Italian dinner.

Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad
Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 ounce pepperoni, diced
  • 1 ounce mortadella, diced
  • 1 ounce red onion, diced
  • 2 ounces roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 ounces cucumbers, diced
  • 1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 ounce pepperoncini pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 ounces Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • 3 pepperoncini peppers, whole
  • black olives
  • green olives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except 1/2 the tomatoes, the whole pepperoncini, olives and dressing and toss.
  2. Add the dressing and toss until fully incorporated.
  3. Mound the salad mixture on a chilled plate, getting as much height as possible.
  4. Place remaining tomates around the outside of the salad.
  5. Garnish with whole pepperoncini and olives and serve

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“The Wedge” with homemade Ranch Dressing

WedgeSalad_zpsa82a85dc

The Wedge is one of the simplest salads ever, but looks kind of fancy and is really one of my favorites.  I core one head of lettuce (bang core on counter, it comes right out) then cut your head of lettuce into 4 wedges.  Top with your favorite things:  Mine are bacon bits, shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes.  Drizzle with this amazing dressing:

Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (combination of parsley, chives, chervil, savory, dill or celery leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

directions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Abe & Louie’s Salad

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 head bibb lettuce
    • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
    • 1 apple, thinly sliced
    • 4 ounces blue cheese
    • dijon vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and chop lettuce. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Top with your favorite dressing.

Printable Recipe: Abe & Louie’s Salad

ALTON’S THE ORIGINAL NORTH COVE SALAD

PREP TIME: 10 mins TOTAL TIME: 20 mins
SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 head lettuce, chopped
    • 2 chicken breasts, roasted and sliced
    • 1 tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup crouton
    • 1 cup candied pecans
    • 1/2 cup craisins
    • 2/3 cup goat cheese, crumbles
    • olive (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toss all together.
  2. Serve with dressing of your choice. I used homemade Ranch.

Printable Recipe: Alton’s The Original North Cove Salad

Recipe

Recipe: Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce

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Birthdays are big deals in my house.  You get to choose a home-cooked meal of your choice or a restaurant dinner of your choosing.  My brother-in-law, David, is so awesome (pictured with my gorgeous sister above).  He put in so many man hours on my new home, all for free.  So, when his birthday rolls around and he says he wants a lasagna dinner, I make it my business to make a sauce for the lasagna that is simmered all day, and finally baked into a lasagna.

So, while loads of my recipes are quick, this one isn’t.  But if you have a day to hang around the house, while your sauce gently bubbles on the stovetop, make this.  So.worth.it.

deliciousvealandporkbolognese

Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

“This sauce must be cooked for 2 hours or even more is even better! the first hour covered then the last uncovered. If possible prepare this sauce one day in advance and refrigerated, it will increase the flavor. This is a very hearty sauce, you can also add in a can or plum tomatoes, chopped and drained if desired.”

INGREDIENTS

    • 3 -5 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
    • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 teaspoons dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes ( you can add in more to taste)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 lb ground veal
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
    • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth ( or beef consomme for an even richer flavor)
    • 1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
    • whipped cream (optional)
    • parmesan cheese
    • cooked pasta

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.

Add in the diced bacon and saute until beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).

Add in the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, basil, dryed pepper flakes and bay leaves; saute for about 5-6 minutes.

Add in tomato paste; cook stiring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Then add in the ground veal and pork; cook until cooked through and well browned (about 12 minutes, the meat should be BROWNED well!).

Add in the wine then simmer for about 8 minutes uncovered.

Add in the broth and crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often with a wooden spoon.

Uncover and season with salt and pepper; simmer for another hour or more (uncovered).

If you prefer a creamy sauce, add in about 1/4 cup whipping cream towards the end of cooking.

Serve over cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.

deliciousvealandporkbologneselasagna

Now use that sauce to make your favorite lasagna recipe.  Here’s one of mine:  Lasagna Suzanne

Recipe

Good ‘ole Comfort Food

Sometimes I like fancy, and sometimes I like comfort.  Last night I was in the mood for sandwiches, but my husband wanted meatloaf.  Ugh.  No one else in the house likes it, but he pulled the “I’ve been working all day” card, so I acquiesced.  Turns out this meatloaf was pretty darn good, even though I made it under duress.

Here’s the Comfort Food Night Menu:

  • Glazed Meatloaf
  • Darn Good Mashed Potatoes
  • The Lady’s Macaroni and Cheese
  • Marie Callender’s Cornbread

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The Very Best Glazed Meatloaf

The Very Best Glazed Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb chuck (ground beef)
  • 1/2 lb veal (optional. Use half pork and beef if you can’t find ground veal or don’t buy veal)
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet over moderate heat, add the oil. Heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, and hot sauce together. Add marjoram, thyme, salt, and pepper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, egg-milk mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, and the cooked onion mixture.
  4. In a small bowl stir together ketchup, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
  5. Form 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture into a small patty, add it to a small oiled skillet, and cook until no longer pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  6. Transfer meat mixture to an oiled loaf pan.*.
  7. *NOTE: The best way to make the meatloaf is to use a baking sheet, lined with foil. Place a cooling rack on top. Cut a piece of foil to be larger than a the loaf– and shape the meat into a loaf. Using a metal skewer, poke holes along the foil — usually every other hole.
  8. Place the shaped loaf on top of the foil. I prefer this method, as the loaf is less likely to “steam” in a loaf pan. You can also glaze all around the meatloaf, which is even better!
  9. Brush meat with ketchup glaze.Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until glaze has set.
  10. Brush meat loaf with remaining glaze and bake for 15 minutes more; glaze again.
  11. My oven takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the desired doneness. Times do vary, so allow for that!
  12. Internal temperature of loaf should be 160 degrees F.

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Darn Good Mashed Potatoes

dgmp

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream

directions

  • Place the potatoes in a large Dutch oven, cover with water and add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, (15-20 minutes). Drain well.

  • Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl, add butter and whip the potatoes with an electric mixer until there are no lumps. Pour in the cream and continue whipping until the potatoes are fluffy.

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The Lady’s Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add the cheddar.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture.

Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

Top with additional cheese if desired, and bake a few minutes more until cheese is melted.

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Marie Callender’s Cornbread

Marie Callendar's Cornbread
Marie Callendar’s Cornbread

  • 2 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup real butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8×8″ pan on bottom and sides; set to the side.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until well blended.
  4. Add sugar, milk, melted butter and whisk thoroughly.
  5. Add Bisquick and cornmeal to egg mixture, and mix just enough to completely moisten dry ingredients and leave no lumps.
  6. Do not overmix.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry and top is firm to touch.
  8. Doubles easily into 9×13″ pan; adjust baking time accordingly.
Recipe

Pioneer Woman Recipes

I love love love Ree Drummond!  That sweet disposition, that beautiful smile, that fiery red hair.  She’s just a delight.  And it doesn’t hurt that she’s a heck of a cook.  Anyway, she is my hero, honey.

reeMain

This post is going to be all of the recipes of hers that I try.  You’ll love it.

First up: Simple Sesame Noodles.  You’ll love them.  We ate ours with teriyaki chicken.

To Try  PW Simple Sesame Noodles

You can find P Dub’s Recipe here:  Simple Sesame Noodles