Category: here’s the beef!

Orange Marmalade Steak & Chicken Kabobs

Fire up the grill and kabob it with these juicy citrus basted steak and chicken kabobs!

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…not your usual St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Okie Dokie… so my blog is getting a sloowwww start!  Life has a way of keeping us bizzzzy, which is one reason I even contemplated doing a blog for a couple of years (!) before heading into blog fog.  So don’t worry about my posts becoming invasive and ‘too much’ because I don’t think THAT is gonna be an issue… 

This week, St. Patty’s Day to be exact, is a special day for me.  Nope, I’m not Irish, but it is a day of celebration for me because…
March 17th is my Personal Day of Freedom Celebration! [singlepic id=125 w=320 h=240 float=none]This March 17th, I’m dance’n a jig as I look back on being a ‘former’ smoker… my QUIT DATE was March 17th, 2005!
WoW…6 y.e.a.r.s it’s been!

My precious little nephew Wyatt came into my world the previous September, and as much as I wanted to quit before he arrived, I just couldn’t (or more like “didn’t”).  But as he grew, I didn’t want his little senses to be subjected to something even I found disgusting!  I didn’t want him to SEE me smoking… I didn’t want him to SMELL the nasty stinch on my clothes… so I did it!  Just six months after God blessed our family with him, I QUIT!  And haven’t had or wanted so much as a puff since that day…  So St. Patty’s Day will always be ‘my day,’ the day I started smelling better… breathing better… living better… and tasting foods ‘more better!’

Speaking of tasting… I found this recipe, or some form of it, years ago visiting the home of a personal chef colleague in Dallas, TX.  While hanging out in Donna’s kitchen and browsing through her cookbooks, I came upon this soup in a book I made note of as “Sensibly Thin.”  So that’s the best I have to offer in terms of giving credit where credit is due… but the picture is my own.  It was taken before I started learning ‘more better’ food photography tips… so ‘scuse the poor quality!

This week, grocery stores have the usually expensive Corned Beef Roasts on sale, so it’s a great time to pick one (or a few) up and crock pot tomorrow while at work for a tradtional Corned Beef and Cabbage supper tomorrow night.

Then, in a few days, stir up a pot of this really DEE-lish soup with the leftovers! (And y’all know I’m a ‘throw cooker’ so throw leftever cabbage into this soup too…just yet one more layer of flavor.)  It’s incredibly easy and fast to make and probably not a soup you’ve made before…  Sooooo 

celebrate something… if nothing but simply being alive with a roof over your head that a big fat wave didn’t just swoosh over, taking away everything you treasure and need to live each day, including loved ones.

With the events this past week in Japan, this Irish Blessing seems to be the appropriate one… so let us all stop to count our blessings today, and every day!
Blessings to your and yours…

Bless This House

Bless this house, o Lord, we pray.
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimney tall,
Let thy peace lie over all.
Bless the doors that they may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless the windows shining bright,
Letting in God’s heavenly light.
Bless the hearth a-blazing there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within…
Keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all, that one day, we
May be fit, O lord, to dwell with Thee.

Speaking of GROCERY stores… gotta run now… our *new* Piggly Wiggly store opened in town today (wheeee doggies!)… headed there right now!  Stay tuned… may be a blog post over there somewhere…. hope y’all enjoy this soup, just perfect for chilly winter’s eve on the doorstep of SPRING!!

 

 

 

 

 

This is the original recipe I created, but like my makeover one even better… that is the one you’ll find on the “Print Recipe” page!  Enjoy one, the other or both… or one you create with a little of both!!

Reuben Soup

Cream of Reuben Soup (original recipe…see edited below)

Serving Size: 8

1      small        onion — chopped
2      cloves       garlic — minced
1      large         carrot — shredded
3      T.              cornstarch*
6      c.               chicken broth
1      c.               skim milk (I use 1/2 and 1/2)
10    oz.              corned beef brisket — chopped
…from some you cooked or deli sliced
(more is a ‘good thang’)
8      oz.              Bavarian sauerkraut — drained and rinsed
(I just ‘throw in’ an entire can)
1/2  t.               thyme (I throw in a bit more)
1/4  t.               white pepper
1/4  t.               tarragon
1         t.              Old Bay Seasoning
1/3  c.              water (only if needed for consistency)
8      oz.               shredded Swiss cheese
Rye or Pumpernickel Bread (for croutons) – omit or sub for gluten free
…broken into pieces and toasted**

Cook onion, garlic and carrot in microwave-safe bowl on HI for 2 mins.  Drain.
Blend in cornstarch.  Add broth and milk.  Cook on stove over med. heat until thickens.
Add remaining ingredients and cook until cheese melts.
Serve with rye bread or croutons.
* Use a pure gluten free cornstarch to keep GF.

** I love breads, but living alone, I never eat an entire loaf.  So when I buy a loaf of rye or pumpernickel, I put some in freezer to have on hand for a change of pace sandwich or for croutons for soups like this.  If wrapped well, bread will last a longggg time in your freezer.  These breads also can be used in recipes that call for bread crumbs… think outside the usual box and use a different kind of bread to give your recipe needing bread crumbs a new and different layer of flavor!

 

Cream of Reuben Soup (edited)

As a throw cooker, it’s rare that things are the same any 2 times… that is especially true when it comes to soup.  I just made this recipe again, but with the following changes… basically an entirely “same but different” soup!  Both recipes are DEElish… but I think I’m partial to this one.  Just make some, and if you don’t have any one or more of these ingredients, as long as it is similar, you’ll be sure to enjoy the experience!
NOTE:  This recipe is Gluten Free if croutons are deleted or subbed with gluten free bread or cracker!  Also, use a gluten free pure cornstarch to thicken if desired.

Creamy Reuben Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Creamy Reuben Soup

What to throw together...

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil (I used garlic oil but use your fav)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large turnip, small dice
  • 4 leeks, washed and sliced into thin rings
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, (not peeled) small dice
  • 3 tablespoons garlic puree (I use the puree in tubes from produce dept)
  • 1 14.4 oz can Bavarian Sauerkraut
  • 1 fresh corned beef (3-4 lbs.), cooked and chopped )I cook in crock pot overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 8-12 sliced rye or pumpernickel bread (I use rye/pump swirl bread), cut into cubes and toasted

How to throw together...

  1. Cook onion, turnip, leeks and apple in butter and a bit of oil until tender and starting to brown and caramelize in saute pan.
  2. Pour into heated crock pot.
  3. Stir in garlic puree, kraut, corned beef, thyme and white pepper.
  4. Fill kraut can with chicken broth x 2 and with half and half x 2.
  5. Stir to blend and cover.
  6. Heat in crock pot on HIGH until hot and dried thyme is tender.
  7. Scoop into serving bowls. Top with grated Swiss and toasted croutons. EAT!

Notes

If preferred, make a cornstarch slurry with a bit of the juice and stir back into the soup to thicken. To keep gluten free, use a pure/gluten free cornstarch or thickener.

Country Style Steak Meatballs… “yes, PLEASE!”

No matter how you serve them, you will get raves on this moist and tender Country-Style Steak Meatballs! Spoon over creamy grits or serve alongside mashed potatoes. Tuck inside slider buns or toasted sub rolls for the best sandwiches!

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Wendy’s Spaghetti Sauce… finally on “paper!”

“The BEST spaghetti sauce!” That’s what my family and friends call this… make several gallons at the time to eat anytime! Great to “gift” and especially appreciated “funeral food” when grieving folks have been giving away all the boxes of fried chicken dropped off! Maybe I should rename it to Funeral Spaghetti! Just make some…

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Steak Bites with Horseradish Whipped Cream

Steak Bites with Horseradish Whipped Cream

 

 

Who doesn’t love steak?  If you are looking for a “sure to please” appetizer for your holiday gatherings, you’ll surely want to add this one to your table.  They are quick and easy to make, yet really spiffs up the menu. The horseradish whipped cream on the side for dip’n is just right for these steak bites too.  

Keep an eye out and pick up your preferred cut when on sale. Go ahead and cut up the pieces, then freeze to have on hand for quick fix’n. Even better, go ahead and freeze in the marinade so that all those flavors can spend some time getting to know the steak making your bites even more better!

I do hope you will give these a try, and come to my facebook community and tell me what you think.  See the recipe where it first appeared in the December 2017 Carolina Country Magazine, or below where you can print.

Glazed Steak Bites with Horseradish Whipped Cream
Enjoy this simple addition to your holiday appetizer menu. Your crowd will love these flavorful steak bites, as is, or with a dollop of snazzy whipped cream on top! 
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Grilling, Southern, Tailgating
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
STEAK
  • 4 lbs. lean beef (rib eye, filet or sirloin) cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
MARINADE
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
HORSERADISH WHIPPED CREAM
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (Duke's preferred)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • minced chives
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients. Put beef into zippered bag. Pour marinade over, seal and toss to coat. Marinate, refrigerated, 30 minutes to overnight.
  2. Heat half the oil and butter in cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add steak pieces, making sure not to crowd (cook in batches adding oil and butter as needed). Sear until “crust” forms. 
  3. For whipped cream: Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in remaining ingredients. Garnish with chives. Serve with steak bites.
Recipe Notes

Note: Be careful not to overcook as the meat will continue cooking after removing from heat.

 

 

 

 

My Irish is showing….

Well, I’m not Irish that I know of, but I do have reason to celebrate this day each year. It’s my “quit smoking” anniversary… 12 years ago today! My motivation was the birth of my sweet nephew Wyatt, and my desire to be around to see him grow up and live life. Here’s to those of you who have quit too, and for those that haven’t yet, DO!  For so many reasons… 

I quit cold turkey and really had no desire to smoke once I did, but I did throw the butts of my last ashtray into a little ziplock bag with a splash of water. A whiff of that stink about 2 times was all it took.  And here’s what I did to reward myself. I was smoking about a pack and a half a day… about $5 worth. So I put $5/day into an empty skinny neck tequila bottle… the skinny neck was to keep me from quickly “borrowing” it out of the bottle.  Do you know what $5/day turns into x 365 days?  $1,825!!  Now there’s a treat to celebrate your first year eh?

Another great thing about today is the FOOD!  I love corned beef, but really don’t cook it until this season each year. I need to change that.  I love this soup, and you will too if you like a Reuben sandwich…  it’s fast to throw together and crowd pleaser.

 

…a great way to use up leftover corned beef!

Cream of Reuben Soup with Rye Croutons

Perhaps you didn't eat up all your corned beef, so turn the leftover bits into this comforting creamy soup... it's like having a reuben sandwich in a bowl with Swiss cheese, rye and all! 

Course: Main Course, Soup
Servings: 6 folks
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil I used garlic oil but use your fave
  • 1 large onion peeled, chopped
  • 1 large turnip peeled, small dice
  • 4 leeks washed and sliced into thin rings
  • 2 Granny Smith apples not peeled, small dice
  • 3 tablespoons garlic puree I use the puree in tubes in produce dept
  • 1 14.4 oz can Bavarian Sauerkraut undrained
  • 2 15 ounce cans chicken broth
  • 1 pint half and half
  • about 4 cups shredded cooked corn beef
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 6-8 slices rye bread, cut into cubes and toasted
Instructions
  1. Saute onion, turnip, leeks and apple in butter and a bit of oil until tender and starting to brown and caramelize in saute pan.  Pour into heated crock pot.

  2. Stir in garlic puree, kraut, broth, half and half, cream, corned beef, thyme and white pepper.

  3. Stir to blend and cover.  Heat on high until hot and dried thyme is tender.  

  4. Ladle into bowls and scatter with Swiss cheese and croutons.  EAT!

Recipe Notes

If preferred, make a cornstarch slurry with a bit of the juice and stir back into the soup to thicken.

Another of my St. Patrick’s Day faves is my Southern Colcannon.  Read more about what colcannon actually is in this post from a few years ago. 

festuring white NC sweet potatoes and Wendy’s Almost Famous Cabbards (cabbage n’ collard concoction)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good old North Carolina sweet potatoes and my cabbards make this traditional white potato and greens dish more bettahhhhhh! It was most exciting to see my recipe shared in print while at Our State Magazine.

Here’s to wishing your and yours a blessed day, today and always!

 

Ribs… for the winter that won’t quit!

Mercy!  I’m about d.o.n.e. with this winter… snow, cold, icey mix… and power bills that may necessitate selling off body parts to pay for….
here in central North Carolina, here we go again.  I did the obligatory grocery store stomp earlier.  In some ways, I must secretly admit I kinda like all that frenzy in there.  I love grocery stores and grocery shopping anyway, and days like this make it a social event.  A couple of weeks ago, you may remember getting a post from me and the snow cocktails I had fun creating during our last “event.”  I have a couple of ideas for this week too… something Krispy Kremeish and something Cheesecakeish, so stay tuned for those.

But there is just something inside me that begs for MEAT… hearty MEAT, during inclement weather.  I guess the cavewoman in me comes out and puts me into survival mode, and chunks of marbled meat on big bones fills the bill.  I thought I had blogged these before, but when I came here today to share with folks, low and behold, I find I have been derelict in doing that.  So without further delay, because you do need to get to the store for your ribs and the 2 or 3 other things you’ll need, here ya go.  I  hope some of you will throw some of these in your oven this week while homebound, and be sure to leave that oven door open when done to take advantage of that free heat as the oven cools down.

 

Wendy's Winter Ribs!

Wendy’s Winter Ribs!

Wendy

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Wendy

What to throw together...

  • 1-2 rack(s) beef ribs
  • 1-2 large onions (I prefer sweet onions)
  • 1 jar of your fav North Carolina sweet thickish tomato-y BBQ sauce
  • *beef broth or can of onion soup, undliuted
  • 1 turkey size roasting bag

How to throw together...

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place roasting bag onto baking pan.
  3. Place ribs into the bag, cutting into chunks if need be to fit.
  4. *If you like extra saucy ribs, pour broth or soup over the ribs BEFORE pouring on the BBQ sauce.
  5. Throw some sliced onions on top of the ribs.
  6. Pour BBQ sauce over the onions and ribs. Squish around from outside of bag to distribute the sauce all over your ribs.
  7. Close bag per instructions.
  8. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. Reduce heat and continue cooking for about 1 hour. Ribs should be fork tender after about 1 1/2 - 2 hours tops.

my almost famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp and Eastern NC Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw

Happy July y’all….  the world’s slowwwwest blogger dropping by!  I’m gonna be ramping things up (yes, I know I’ve said THAT before!) since I’ve been doing so many shindigs lately and have lots of NEKKIDness to share… plus, I’ve been getting requests from clients and their guests for recipes.  I don’t keep many recipe secrets and am always happy to share (most), so feel free to ask for others anytime… happy to oblige.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a fun afternoon in the kitchen with a fun family celebrating a high school graduation.  Instead of going out to a noisy restaurant to celebrate this momentous event, they decided to have an intimate afternoon and supper at home.  They enjoyed playing board games, Wi and other fun stuff.  Dad, who hired me, had put together a really special video with snippets of all the important folks in his daughter’s life.  I didn’t even know these folks, but that was so heart-warming to see well wishes from around the globe… but I think perhaps most touching were the words of wisdom from her little-bit-older-but-VERY WISE sister.  She is one smart cookie!  They have an ”international” family of Germans and Japanese… (who says I can’t come up with a crowd pleasing menu?)….  and it warmed my heart to be there in the open kitchen putting together their dee-lish Nekkid Supper while seeing them enjoy each other’s company on this special day!

This is the menu created for their casual family-style meal…

“Pickled” Pickled Shrimp  (recipe below)

Toastettes topped with a dollop of Greensboro’s
My Three Sons Pimiento Cheese
garnished with fresh chive from my garden and topped with a dollop of cherry preserves

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw (recipe below)

The Bestest Cheesyest au gratin 'taters EVER!

As requested, REALLLY Cheesey Taters... so I made some…
“The Bestest Cheesyest au gratin ‘taters EVER!” …
with Gruyere, Jarlsberg, and Fontina topped with Asagio!
(AMAZING and I think the BEST I’ve ever made!!!)

 

Honey Carrot Butter

 

 

 

 

Crispy Toastettes with Honey Carrot Butter”

 

 

Beef Tenderloin Medallions with "Mushroom Menagerie Marsala Gravy"

 

 

 

 

Skillet Seared Beef Tenderloin Medallions with sides of
“Mushroom Menagerie Marsala Gravy” along with
Whipped Horseradish Cream
, and…

 

 

 

Herbed Chicken in Browned Butter Chicken

 

 

Fresh herbed chicken tenderloins
…sauteed in browned butter

 

 

 

Dessert was left warm in the oven… an ooey gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake!

I hope you’ll enjoy, and call me if you’d like to enjoy life’s celebrations at home instead of out in a busy…loud and noisy… impersonal restaurant!  We can even do an interactive party if you wanna roll up your sleeves and throw-cook with me!

Wendy’s Almost Famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp!
"Pickled" Pickled Shrimp

Wendy's almost famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: PT15-20ishM

What to throw together...

  • about 2 lbs. jumbo sweet North Carolina Shrimp, peeled/de-viened with tail on
  • 1 jar NC's Mt. Olive Sweet 'n Hot Pickled Peppers WITH juice
  • 1 pint jar Pierce Foods Watermelon Rind Pickles WITH juice
  • 1 pint jar Pierce Foods Okra Pickles, DRAINED

How to throw together...

  1. Cook Shrimp. I prefer to steam in microwave or stove top vs. boiling as steaming keeps the good flavor and nutrients IN the shrimp instead of boiling them out into the water!
  2. Place cooked shrimp into non-reactive container. Pour peppers with juice, watermelon rind pickles with juice and DRAINED okra pickles over shrimp. Toss well. Refrigerate and chill. I like to do this a minimum of 8 hours before serving for the juices to "pickle" the shrimp and get nice and cold.
  3. Pierce Foods is a shop I frequent at the Raleigh Farmers' Market. If you go by there, tell Mr. Pierce I sent you. If not in this area, you can sub any similar products, but try to buy LOCAL and from your area farmers' market too!

Notes

Don't be alarmed with the color change to a yellowish tint. That simply means the pickle juices are "pickling" the shrimp just as you want to happen!

The reason I drain the okra pickles is because that juice is twangy and I want my pickled shrimp to be sweet.

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slas

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

What to throw together...

  • Cabbage and/or other similar greens
  • turnips
  • carrots
  • jicama
  • any kinds of radishes
  • spring onions-red onion-sweet onions…any sorts of onions or combination
  • cilantro
  • and any other nekkid veggies you'd like!

How to throw together...

  1. A variety of cuts makes this slaw pretty and far from boring. I thinly slice cabbage into ribbons... cut turnips into matchsticks, make long wide shreds of carrots using a vegetable peeler, slice/dice radishes and throw in thinly sliced red onions and chopped green onions (white and green parts).
  2. Just at serving time, throw in a heap'n help'n of chopped cilantro. This not only gives the slaw a pretty and vibrant punch of green, but throws in one more level of flavor... and THAT is rarely not a good thang!

Notes

The fun thing about this slaw is it can be whatever you want it to be... and can throw in any old things you wanna. If you have some of these nekkid ingredients on hand but not others, fix it anyway. This is a great way to clean out that produce drawer with those tidbits of this and that... not enough on its own, but perfect with thrown together with sister veggies.


Wouldn’t you love to make memories around your supper table at home… instead of a noisy restaurant with strangers?
happy family!
It was my pleasure Robert… thanks to you and your happy family!!

Cooked any good Groundhog lately?

groundhog-pirate2

To celebrate the day, the lazy blogger is sharing this annual post originally from 2011!  However, that’s about to change and routine blogging is about to commence this week.  I’m ready  with all sorts of goodies for you and I hope you are too…

So, what exactly IS a groundhog?  As I researched to see exactly what they are, I learned that they are also ‘woodchucks’ (huh?) or ground beavers!  Oh great, that tells me a lot.  I’m not sure, but I don’t think we have this particular specie of hog in my vicinity here in central North Carolina.  We have hogs with snouts and hogs with tailpipes, but pretty sure no ‘ground’ hogs.  However, I’ve been known to be wrong so somebody correct if that be the case.  This is a really good pie.  I have made it, just was fresh out of ground hog, so I used ‘regular’ hog instead.  I hope you will give it a try… with good old NC Sweet Potatoes and some good local pork from wherever you are.

That whole shadow thing has always confused me…  as I already have brain overload and remembering this is not of vital importance so I never saw fit to ‘file’ this up there.  If he (or she?) sees a shadow, which is it?  More winter or less?  And best I remember, predictions of weeks of future weather offered up by a ground beaver is about as accurate as our local weather folks when they say those proverbial words… “we’re on the line and don’t think there will be significant accumulation,” only to wake up to a FOOT of snow!

So since groundhogs aren’t worth much when it comes to weather forecasting, I wondered if they may, perhaps, be edible.  Always one to explore new culinary adventures, a-googling I went!  Turns out, this hog is dark meat, similar to squirrel or rabbit.  Now I haven’t cooked either one of those lately either… so I dig deeper.  If you get yourself a hog that’s been hibernating, you are gonna need to remove the layer of fat that has piled up under the skin… and while in there, you’ll need to yank out their ‘stinky’ glands.  If your hog is a senior citizen, parboiling is going to be necessary before cook’n.  (Apparently inspecting the hog’s teeth will give clues as to age, but unless you’re a wildlife dentist, I’m not sure how to know this!).

So, since PIE is on top of all the 2011 trend Lists as ‘hot stuff’ this year, I salute thee, Pie… Groundhog Pie!  If you have a favorite Groundhog recipe, do tell… and share it!  And MY prediction… Sunny Skies ahead for all… whether you’re east, west, north or south of me… especially to my friends in the midst of Snowpocolypse this week… better y’all than me!

(still learning all the bells and whistles to the new recipe print feature… a few kinks to get worked out…stay tuned!)

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

TOPPING:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt

FILLING:

  • About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
    (if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
  • 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
  • 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
  • fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°.

TOPPING:

Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon  and salt.  Mix well; set aside.

PIE FILLING:

In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside.  Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn.  Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano.  Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce.  Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture.  Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture.  Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges.  Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese.  Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

Servings: 4-6 depending on your eaters

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

What to throw together...

  • TOPPING:
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
  • FILLING:
  • About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
  • _ (if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)_
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
  • 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
  • 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
  • fresh cilantro
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • TOPPING:
  • Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon and salt. Mix well; set aside.
  • PIE FILLING:
  • In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce. Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture. Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture. Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro! Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro!  Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.

* Put corn juice into your freezer soup pot…more on that to come!

Counting blessings ~ what we take for granted…

bless·ing  [bles-ing]
the invoking of God’s favor upon a person

I should rename this “The Molasses Blog” since that’s about the speed I do blog posts!  So many things get ‘in the way’… work, new projects and clients, having fun with my incredibly fun-funny-wondermous nephew Wyatt and just life in general…
What a blessing to have Wyatt in my life!

Determined to throw out one more post before flip’n my calendar to 2012 (!), I squint as I write this as my left retina decided to just randomly detach itself from my eyeball days before Christmas… I ended up having emergency eye surgery on Christmas Eve eve, then having more (laser) surgery at my recheck the next morn on Christmas Eve… I was ordered to stay flat on my left side until today, and still must spend as much time as I can stand sideways a few more days for proper healing.  (For the record, should you ever find yourself sideways for long periods of time, you can do Control/Alt/Left or Right Arrow and your screen will magically turn that way for horizontal computing!)

I did get a great report at my follow up yesterday and am (knock-on-wood) healing nicely!  Before I get back to the topic at hand, I would like to sing the praises of all the docs that took care of me… from Eye Care Associates in Zebulon to Retina Associates in Raleigh and right on over to those at the Kittner Eye Center in Chapel Hill… what a grand bunch of well-trained folks… INCLUDING caring ‘bedside manor.’ I’m so grateful to all these folks and happy my sight is still intact in my eye… all the docs told me that had I waited even a day longer, it was probable I would have lost sight in my left eye… gosh how we take so many things for granted, like being able to SEE what’s around us!!
What a blessing it is to have sight!

And a quick hug to my sis too… for being my chauffeur and ‘patient advocate’ staying right by my side thru all of this and letting me recoup at her house too!
What a blessing to have a SISTER!

Do things in your freezer appear to be from outer space?

As we rush off into the new year, if you are like me, you feel the need to tidy things up a bit… organize and reorganize and have a fresh start.  Now, more than ever, so many of us continue to slide the old budget belt a bit tighter and I’d like to help you with that, starting, of course, in your kitchen.  When was the last time you took inventory of what’s in your freezer?  Have you EVER taken inventory of what’s in your freezer? I take for granted the fact that my freezer (make that freezerS) are full and hunger or the lack of money to feed myself  (or children if I had any) isn’t a worry as it is for growing numbers of those around us.  I admit I hoard food… another topic for another post… but ,
What a blessing it is to have a pantry, fridge and freezer(s) full of all sorts of foods at arm’s reach!

This weekend is a perfect time to take stock of your food blessings, starting in your freezer.  It really doesn’t take very long… here are just a few tips to get you going as you look to SEE what’s in yours! Be sure you have plenty of time to do this right and are not rushed so halfway through you abort the mission and have to go do something else.

The things in BOLD will give you a quick glace to see what you will need to gather and have ready in advance… now GO “git ‘er done” then come back and add your comments about your freezer adventure and let me know this post inspired youBearShareV10!

  • Put on some fun peppy music that will get you in the mood… stuff you like to sing in the shower or car…  or just plug in your iPod and let ‘er rip!
  • Sit out supplies:
    • name brand zippered bags, assorted sizes (based on my experience, store brands SUCK in this category)
    • dry erase board with markers
    • notepad/pen
    • some way to make labels (label maker, freezer tape and perm marker, your own paper labels with tape, etc.
  • Clear countertop and/or table so as you take everything out you can organize the ‘stuff’ into categories and like-items into piles for repacking.
  • Remove everything from your freezer.   If a small freezer, you can work fast enough so foods won’t thaw.  I do not recommend doing this on a hot day.  If you have a big freezer(s), do this on a cold winter’s day when you can simply sit the foods outside in shaded cold area.
  • Give it a quick cleaning by washing out with warm soapy water.  “Rinse” with a mixture of water and baking soda.  This will remove soap residue, remove odors and give a fresh start.  To keep it smelling fresh, I prefer a few lumps of charcoal.  I find they absorb odors better than other options.  Just put them in a cup somewhere in the freezer and I think you will notice the same.
  • As you get ready to restock foods into the nice clean freezer, toss out any with freezer burn (ice crystals…that stuff you can no longer recognize) or is so old you wouldn’t feed it to stray dogs or throw in a pond for fish!  And always remember…
    Never risk the plight of food poisoning over a little pack of old food… a regret you should never have!
  • Using the ziplock bags and other supplies, repackage anything that needs it.  Mash things flat for easier stacking or for sliding into small spaces in your freezer.  Freeze in a pile, then you can leave that way, or stack like this upright, depending on what works for best use of space for you.
  • As you repackage/replace your food, write each thing on the dry erase board.  As you menu plan for the week and make your grocery shopping list,  you can quickly glance at the list and see what you have to use.  As you use, simply wipe off the board, and as you buy and add new things or add leftover tidbits, write on this board (while also dating and labeling the package).  This system will greatly reduce your freezer waste (but only if you use it).
  • I have a couple of outdoor refrigerators with small top freezers and a chest freezer… i keep ‘inventory’ on those by writing on the freezer door with a dry erase marker (just like a dry erase board)… and at a glance I can see what’s in there… wipe off with my finger when something comes out and keep a pen on top of the freezer to add what goes in.

For tips on freezing foods, I’ll point you to a recent online article where I was consulted and provided helpful information on this topic.  You can read that at DinnerTool…

“How To Prevent Freezer Burn”
by Amber Greviskes

Now that you have your nice inventory list… here are a few sites where you can visit to plug in ingredient(s) to find recipes to create with them, or… simply “Throw Cook” something yourself.  If you need help or suggestions, post for me over on my “Throw Cooking” facebook page and I’ll throw you some ideas.

Now… sit back, relax and enjoy ringing in the New Year with your freshly cleaned freezer and ‘whatever’ you pulled out to cook up!  And “just in case” our superstitions hold true,  I hope you’ll ‘throw’ some Southern Traditions on the table…

Black-Eyed Peas for prosperity and good luck… greens (cabbards for this gal-see recipe) for money and fortune… and of course, cornbread, which represents gold!  I’m having thoughts of a Bloody Mary BE Peas and Greens Soup… kept warm in the crock pot for anybody who wants to drop by… throw in your fav bloody mary mix, drain/rinsed canned or frozen, greens (cabbards, collards, cabbage, etc.), some chopped onions and celery if you have… and whatever seasonings strike your fancy!  Serve with Cornbread Cookies or your own cornbread recipe… iced tea or a real cold beer!  Now wipe that drool away, get ready to clean out your freezer for a fresh start… and have a safe and fun weekend with your friends and family… see y’all NEXT year.


What a blessing it is to be here today, writing this blog post, with ‘saved’ eyesight looking towards a new year!

Happy New Year Y’all…
Wendy… aka “Dee Dee”