Category: gluten free

Furbaby Watermelon Colada Coolers

Furbaby Watermelon Colada Coolers

Furbaby Watermelon Colada Coolers

Published by Carolina Country Magazine March 2021

Are you a furbaby mom or dad?  I am… mama to June Bug, my sweet little blind Speagle.  She loves treats, especially this one. These Furbaby Watermelon Colada Coolers are a tasty treat on a warm spring or summer day.  Your kitties can have them too… and so can you!  Pet and people friendly.  

Grab yourself a watermelon and fix your critters some frozen treats.  And if you don’t have a mold like this, just make in muffin tins… they will love ya just the same.  You can also make in a Pyrex dish, freeze and then slice!

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Furbaby Watermelon Colada Coolers

These fruity treats can be enjoyed by both doggies and kitties (and you, too)!

Course: Snack
Cuisine: Pet Treats
Keyword: bogue sound watermelons, cat treats, dog ice cream, dog treats, furbaby, pet treats, watermelon
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • plain yogurt
  • pureed watermelon
  • grated coconut
Instructions
  1. Using a small brush or end of a spoon, “paint” the inside of silicone molds with yogurt.* Scatter with a little grated coconut.

  2. Spoon pureed watermelon over and freeze.

  3. Once frozen, store in zippered container for instant ice cold treats for your fur babies.

Recipe Notes

*If you don’t have molds, no worries! Just make in a Pyrex dish, freeze, slice and bag.

Smoky Okra Fries with Cinnamon Honey Drizzle

fresh okra roasted and dusted with smoked paprika, crunchy salt and drizzled with hot cinnamon honey

Fries and a burger, ho hum. Flip a switch on those boring fries by serving okra! Easy to make and best when hot, these smoky okra fries are still tasty at room temperature. Add the sweet and savory honey drizzle over these crispy fries—woo hoo!

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Everything Pork Smash Burgers with Toasty Hoop Cheese

Published in Carolina Country Magazine May 2015

Smashburgers!  or Smash Burgers?  No matter which you way you prefer, they’re everywhere these days… but do you know what that actually means?  

My definition is a good old ground meat burger,  smashed somehow or other, and cooked so that you get a nice, uneven edge from “smashing” that has little nooks and crannies with crunchy little bits and pieces and a crusty bite to them.
The kind we love from our favorite hole-in-the-wall grills and diners!

Most smashburgers are made with ground beef.  But y’all know I don’t do “most.” That’s why I made these with good old NC ground pork!  If you can’t source from a local farmer, you can find ground pork in any grocery store… it’s what I use in my egg rolls too!  

When I was growing up, this is how mama made hamburgers, because she near’bout burnt everything she cooked… and our burgers were no exception. They were crunchy alright!  But actually real good.  Even if they were shriveled up little things… the steamed buns daddy insisted on (and me too to this day) made them tolerable while lost inside the bun.  They just didn’t have a “name” way back then. But now I know, she was cooking smashburgers!

For me, there are 5 things that make up a really great smashburger. The first three… the key to getting that crunch is the right fat ratio (at least 80/20 fat), making them not very big (3-4 ounces) so you can smash big and thin, and a very hot cooking surface… like a preheated cast iron skillet or griddle. 

These days, lots of folks have Blackstone griddles… found at varying price points here and there (self included), and I love that thing!  It’s perfect for making smashburgers and with this recipe, making the “toasty cheese” alongside them! You can cook these in a hot skillet indoors, but because of the high heat and grease, I highly recommend cooking your smashers outside.  If you don’t have a griddle, a cast iron skillet works great!

Number four… as for the cheese, you can use any kind of melty cheese, but I’m a big fan of hoop cheese! (Read about hoop cheese here at North Carolina’s Ashe County Cheese.)

I grew up with it. And it’s often seen… little slices wrapped in “cellophane” with saltine crackers by the register at country stores. Just right to grab for breakfast on the way to work, or a mid-morn or afternoon snack when taking a break from work on the farm.  Enough to “tide you over” till lunch or suppertime.

Mama, not being a cook, would sometimes melt hoop cheese in her cast iron skillet and throw some canned biscuits in the oven. Supper would be biscuits and cheese… spoonsful of the ooey gooey melted cheese over top of those split biscuits.  I can see that good stuff now… with that little golden orange ring of grease around the edge that cooked out of that melted cheese.

Last but certainly worth special attention… really good rolls are the crowning glory for your burgs.  You’ll want something that’s going to hold that luscious burger without it falling to pieces while you savor every crunchy bite!  My favorite are potato rolls, that only get better with the brushed-on butter and light grilling inside out, so you get a little soft with a little crisp too. 

As for toppings, offer up anything that suits your fancy. I like to keep those simple on my smashburgers, so not one bit of the crunchy goodness is lost. 

Memorial day is almost here… and a perfect time to fix a bunch of smashburgers and have a grand ole time with those you love! A Smash Bash… to celebrate and remember those who have served our nation to protect the land of the free… home of the brave!  

Fix some of my Smoky Okra Fries to enjoy alongside and Hummingbird Ice Cream Parfaits for dessert. 

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Get your burg on y’all!

Everything Pork Smash Burgers with Toasty Hoop Cheese

When the burger craving comes upon us, nothing else will do. Smashburgers: those delectable little patties with a bit of crunch — the kind we seek out at our favorite hole-in-the-wall burger joints. I used NC ground pork for these, topped with hoop cheese.

Course: Fun Food!, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, Gluten Free, Grilling, Keto Friendly, Kid-Friendly, Southern, Summer Food, Tailgating
Keyword: blackstone griddle, burger, cast iron cooking, hoop cheese, smash burger, smashburger
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground pork (at least 80/20 fat)
  • 2 tablespoons ‘everything bagel’ seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt (optional-due to saltiness in cheese)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil in bowl
  • Buns (potato or brioche)
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 pound wedge hoop cheese
Instructions
  1. Place griddle or large cast iron skillet on grate. Preheat grill (or griddle) to highest heat.

  2. Combine pork and seasonings and mix as little as possible. (The more you handle, the tougher the meat will be.)

  3. Divide into 12 balls. Roll in bowl of oil and place onto hot griddle or skillet. Do not move for at least 1 minute. Flip, then using the bottom of a mason jar, “smash” the burger to make it thin. Cook about 2 minutes, turn and cook the other side about the same to get a good sear. Stack in pan to the side to keep warm.

  4. For the buns, brush the insides with melted butter. Grill the buttered sides while the burgers cook. Place burgers onto “ungrilled” outsides of buns (buttered side out).

  5. Put mounds of hoop cheese into hot skillet or on griddle. As it melts, scoop a portion with spatula onto each burger and eat as is or add toppings.

Bacon Cheeseburger Ice Brittle for pups

Bacon Cheeseburger Doggie Ice Brittle

These homemade dog treats are a cool treat on hot summer days for your fur baby pooches! Make this easy Bacon Cheeseburger Ice Brittle for yours to have on hand for a frosty treat from the freezer.

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Hot n’Honey Dill Pickled Mustard Seeds

Hot n'Honey Pickled Mustard Seeds

This one might sound a bit odd, but do give them a try. They add a fun little pickled crunch to deviled eggs, sandwiches, meats, salads and dips.

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Roasted Veggies & Shrimp Skewers

Buttermilk Citrus Green Goddess Dressing

High temperatures paired with abundant vegetables make for healthy nibbles or a light meal. Roasting brings out the natural sugars in your vegetables that caramelize for a sweet zing. Exact measurements are not needed — make as much as you need for your crew. Dollop with Buttermilk Green Goddess Dressing and you’ll never look at vegetables the same way again.

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Buttermilk Citrus Green Goddess Dressing (and roasted vegetables & shrimp skewers)

Buttermilk Citrus Green Goddess Dressing

Here’s an old dressing with a bright twist thanks to some citrus alternatives to the standard lemon. Super simple to throw together, it’s free of preservatives and packed with vibrant flavor. Use as a sandwich spread, veggie dip, topping for meat and fish or a pasta sauce  — the possibilities are endless!

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Apple Chicken Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Chicken Salad with Apples & Lemon Dressing

Chicken Salad with Apples & Lemon Dressing

On occasion, I have opportunity to create recipes for all sorts of food companies.  Recipe development is my favorite thing to do of all the many things I do!  I have been fortunate to do this for LM Companies… a large produce distributor.  A while ago, they asked me to create some apple recipes for them… this tasty chicken salad is one of those.

For those of you who love chicken salad like me, I encourage you to make this one!  I’m all about simplicity in the kitchen, and you could even use rotisserie chicken for the cooked chicken in this recipe.

Do you make an “outside-the-box” chicken salad?  If so, please drop me a note if you’re willing to share it. I love seeing ways others make theirs!

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Chicken Salad with Apples & Lemon Dressing

We know you are going to love this vibrant apple chicken salad! The hint of lemon from the fresh juice and zest really make the flavors pop. Honey Crisp apples are perfect to complement the chicken and savory celery, while pairing nicely with the plump little sweet bites of raisins. So versatile, we suggest you enjoy on a variety of breads, or tucked into lettuce for fun little wraps. 

Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Salad, Supper
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken salad, honey crisp apples, lemon poppy seed dressing
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
Salad
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 1 pound)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Honey Crisp apple, cored and diced
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
  • 1 8 ounce can diced water chestnuts, drained
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (light)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. Whisk together dressing ingredients.  Fold into the salad and stir until the salad is moist.

Recipe Notes

Salad can be served immediately, but is best if it sits several hours or overnight for flavors to marry.

Serve with assorted breads or as lettuce wraps.  We like this with raisin bread toasts.

Dilled Reuben Deviled Eggs

Reuben Deviled Eggs

Reuben Deviled Eggs

I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever meeting a deviled egg I didn’t like.  I’m not particularly fond of the white part… and either eat just the part of that holding the deviled part… or just the deviled itself!  It’s a texture thing for me… egg whites remind me of jello, which I cannot and do not eat!  Although I do love a good farm fresh boiled egg with shakers of salt and pepper. Go figure.

This is a “throw cook’n” recipe.  One where I cannot give you exact measurements because I simply throw stuff in to make it taste good.

Being that it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and I did cook a corned beef this weekend in my crock pot, I enjoy it in a lot of ways… and have had this one in my head for a while.  I will also point you to a recipe I threw together long ago, with horrible pics before I had a clue about food styling or photography.  This is a really tasty Cream of Reuben Soup... another way to use that corned beef.

Another St. Patrick’s Day dish is my version of colcannon… “Southern Colcannon.”  It was actually published in Our State Magazine years ago when I was house chef there… it’s a realllll good side dish for not only corned beef, but just about anything!  What’s not to love about greens (my cabbards or cabbage) and good ole North Carolina Sweet Potatoes?

St. Patrick’s Day is also a pretty momentous day for me too… as it is my Quit Smoking Anniversary!  I think this marks year 15 for me… my motivation?  My new little nephew when he was born, who is now SIXTEEN!  He was born in September, and I didn’t want him growing up smelling me and my house… nor seeing me smoking so he would think that was OK!
If you have tried to quit or want to… if I can quit after 26 years… You Can TOO!
It’s not easy. It’s HARD. But find your motivator and do it… read my story above… and just do it!

Till next time… (recipe below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reuben Deviled Eggs

Sliced boiled eggs in half and put yolks in bowl.
Add a bit of thousand island dressing (or mayo) and minced dill pickles.
Add some Bavarian Sauerkraut (seasoned and has caraway seeds!)
Stir in a little bit of coarse ground mustard… salt and pepper.
Mix together and fill egg whites.
Scatter with some fresh chopped dill.

EAT!

Salted Butterscotch Crème Brûlée

Salted Butterscotch Crème Brûlée

Turning sugar, butter and cream into this browned, decadent custard is only made better by devouring it fireside in the dead of winter. Can be made up to four days ahead. Salted Butterscotch Crème Brûlée all around please!

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Creamy Rosemary Parmesan Grits

Creamy Rosemary Parmesan Grits

Many long-lived mills here in North Carolina still stone grind the best grits. Slow cooked creamy grits pair well with so many dishes (and stand alone quite nicely, too). Seasoned with fresh rosemary and salty parmesan, enjoy them alongside my Savory Oxtail Stew.

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No fair? No fair! … so cook yourself some turkey legs at home!

Smokey Spiced Grilled Turkey Legs

Smokey Spiced Grilled Turkey Legs

Published in Carolina Country Magazine November 2017

Well 2020 just keeps giving us disappointment on top of disappointment.  Some of us look real forward to our NC State Fair each year, each for our own reasons.  I will miss going there several mornings to judge the daily cooking contests… one of my favorite fall culinary adventures.  Some go for their favorite foods scattered about the fairgrounds.
Grease! Salt! Sugar! Finger lick’n…
What’s not to love?

You can’t miss folks walking around gnawing on big ole turkey legs!  This recipe was part of a few I created several years ago for Carolina Country Magazine for a little twist on Thanksgiving… and when I was thinking about fair foods to share, realized I never put this here on my blog.  

We never know what sort of weather we will have here around fair time… or Thanksgiving… it might be brrrrr! cold… or we may be out in shorts and flip flops firing up our grill.  Either way, these turkey legs are tasty… and something fun to cook this year during fair week to pretend you’re there!  Or to give your Thanksgiving a twist too.

So grab yourself some legs and crank up the grill!  Enjoy some of my tasty turkey legs… and come on over to my facebook playground and share your pics and what you think about ’em!

Smokey Spiced Grilled Turkey Legs

No fair this year... no problem! Grill your own turkey legs at home... or fix some for Thanksgiving this year.

Course: Fun Food!, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Carb Free, Gluten Free, Grilling, Southern, Tailgating
Keyword: fair food, thanksgiving, turkey legs
Servings: 1 1 leg per person
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 5-6 medium size turkey legs
Marinade:
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons salt
Baste:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
Instructions
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients. Place turkey legs into large container with lid. Pour marinade over legs, cover and shake to coat. Refrigerate (up to 2 days), shaking periodically to coat.

  2. To grill: Preheat grill to high heat. Oil grates and place legs onto grill. Sear on all sides several minutes, turning to get good grill marks. Reduce heat to low or move coals to sides (for indirect heat) and continue cooking, covered, for about 50–60 minutes. Turn every few minutes to prevent burning. 

  3. Melt butter in honey. Baste legs, turning often, the last few minutes of cooking. Remove legs when temperature reaches 165 degrees by thermometer.

  4. Place legs onto serving tray and pour remaining baste over legs.