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Smoky Mountain Chicken

Howdy friends and neighbors!  The birds are singing.  The sun is shining.  The flowers are blooming.  The ankle biters aren’t fighting.   But only because they’re not up yet!   Life is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

So I thought I’d share one of my most requested recipes with you.  I started making Smoky Mountain Chicken several years ago when a friend at Moms Online posted the original recipe.  Since then, I’ve made it so much, folks just think the recipe is “mine.”  But the original credit goes to Lisa in Maine for posting the recipe about a gazillion years ago.  When we had our little bakery/catering business, this was one of the most popular meals we offered. 

So without further ado, I’m going to share it with you all!  There’s no “Here’s what you’ll need” photo this time.  I was busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest when I made this and just forgot to make one.  My bad! 

So here’s what you’ll need:

*  Boneless skinless chicken breasts

*  deli honey-baked ham slices

*  monterey jack cheese slices

*  garlic powder

*  Italian seasoning

*  black pepper

*  BBQ sauce of choice

Easy peasy!  Here’s what you’ll need to do, get a large baking dish/cookie sheet and cover it with foil.  Give it a good spray with non-stick cooking spray.  There’s so much cheese coming later you’ll be glad you did this foil/spray step!  Trust me!  Now place the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the pan.

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Like this……………

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Now sprinkle some garlic powder on them.  Don’t be stingy!  Garlic is GOOD!  It keeps the vampires away!  :o)  But if you’re obsessed with Twilight, that might not be a plus for you………..

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Now sprinkle with some Italian seasoning.  Again, be generous!

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Now give it some fresh cracked black pepper or just some out of your black pepper shaker.  I won’t be so picky about it here!

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See?  It  needs a nice coating of all the spices!  They’re going to sink in and make the flavor EXPLODE!!!!

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Now stick them in a 350° oven and let them roast until done.  These were HUGE chicken breasts so it took 45 minutes to an hour before they were done. 

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When the chicken is done, smother it in your favorite BBQ sauce.  This BBQ sauce is homemade.  It’s a secret recipe…….given to me by the precious Mrs. Gigi before she went home to be with her Savior.  I hope she’s making her amazing BBQ sauce and fabulous potato soup and Spanish cornbread and homemade melba toast for Jesus!  RIP Mrs. Gigi!  But, if you aren’t privy to Mrs. Gigi’s spectacular sauce, KC Masterpiece or Kraft or Sticky Fingers BBQ sauce will do.  Just use your favorite BBQ sauce.  But really smother it!  Don’t be shy with the sauce! 

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Now give everybody their own pig blanket!  Layer a couple or three slices of honey ham on each chicken breast.

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Now top it with cheese and then stick it back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt and get all ooey gooey.  This is Tall Skinny Man’s favorite part……….when the chicken comes out of the oven, some of it will be melted into the warm BBQ sauce.  Once I’ve taken all the chicken out of the pan, he scoops up all that melty cheese and BBQ sauce.  It’s nirvana to him!  Eyes rolling back in the head and the whole 9 yards!

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And when you’re done, this is what you’ll have!  Be sure to park a knife beside the plate and a big ole napkin! 

This is such an easy dish to make and fool folks into thinking you REALLY worked hard!  Go ahead!  Invite the boss over for dinner!   You’ll be getting a raise!!!  Invite the preacher!  He’ll love it!  Might even nominate you for sainthood!  Or just serve it to your Tall Skinny Man (or non-skinny man—-this blog does not discriminate on the basis of weight!) and ankle biters.  They’ll clean the kitchen and mop the floor for you after they eat this.  Well, not really.  But it was worth a shot to hope for, huh? 

You can serve it with a little bit of anything!  Green Beans, Corn on the Cob, Baked Potatoes, a big salad, Fresh Asparagus, you name it!  I served it with the Super Honkin’ Kicked Up Loaded Baked Potatoes I shared with you recently and a big salad. 

Alrighty!  There ya go!  Dinner for tonight is decided!  :o)  Now what are you going to do with the rest of this gloriously sunny summer day???  Have a great one!

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Scalloped Cabbage a la Candy

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Hello friends!

It’s been a while!  Life has gotten in the way of my cooking and my blogging.  There’s a little thing called work.  And 2 little things called Ankle Biters.  And 1 huge thing called “the tyranny of the everyday.”  Oh yeah, and then there’s also that little thing called “remodeling hell”…………cuz I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO there!  My kitchen is STILL not finished!  ACK!

But enough of all that whining.  We’ve got cooking to do together!  It’s been way too long since we’ve done that.  Speaking of cooking together, that brings me to the recipe I want to share with you today.  Ladies and Gentlemen, today I give you Scalloped Cabbage a la Candy!

Candy is a dear, precious friend that I made via Moms Online.  We’ve traded recipes and kitchen secrets for years now.  And I’ve had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Candy numerous times in person. 

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Here’s Candy, me and Candy’s mom a couple summers ago when they were traveling through TN on their way to visit family.  Candy is an absolute computer GENIUS!  She has the ability to correct my computer just by me having a thought to call her.  NO JOKE!  My new laptop was acting wonky and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t act right.  I picked up the phone, called Candy and left her a voicemail to call me back.  It cringed in fear of Candy and begin functioning correctly immediately.  This has happened a number of times!  No kidding!  Not that any of that has a thing to do with cooking…………..

But here’s the thing……..Candy and I never get to visit long enough to actually get to cook together.  That makes me sad because based on this recipe and some others Candy has shared with me over the years, I know she’s a PHENOMENAL cook!  And we would have an incredible time in the kitchen together!  Someday…….

Ages ago, Candy shared a recipe with me that I knew I would love before I ever made it!  She talked about making this Scalloped Cabbage dish and my mouth watered!  I LOVE cabbage……..pretty much anyway you can think of!  And the first time I made it, my family went WILD over it!  Now granted, I took a few personal liberties with Candy’s original because y’all know I can never leave well enough alone. 

So without further ado, let’s make some!  Here’s what you’ll need:

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A head of cabbage, an onion, some garlic, flour, margarine/butter, milk, pepper and a spicy processed cheese (like Mexican Velveeta, but I used the Kroger brand) and some chips.  Chips?  Huh?  Oh, just you wait!  It’s awesome!  Really!

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Start by cutting the cabbage head into roughly 1″ pieces.

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Put it in a large pot, cover with water and boil 10 minutes.

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While the cabbage is par-boiling, dice up an onion. 

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Melt butter or margarine in a pan.  Pick a pan that’s big enough to make your sauce.

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Add some minced garlic to the melted butter.  You don’t want the temperature to be too high or your garlic will burn. 

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Add the onions and stir.  We’re not cooking the onions here, just “sweating” them out a little.

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Now add a little fresh cracked pepper to the onions and keep stirring. 

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See the color on the onions here?  They’re perfect!  So go ahead and add the flour to the mix.

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Now give it a stir.  Most of the butter will soak up the flour.  That’s cool!  It’s supposed to do that!  We’re making a “roux.” 

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A who, you say?  A “roux.”  It’s French.  (HI SARAH!!!!)  When you mix the same amount of butter and flour together, you have a roux (pronounced “roo.”)  It’s the base for lots of traditional sauces.  Once the butter soaks up all the flour, you’ll add some milk to the mix and whisk.

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Whisk until the milk is completely incorporated into the roux making a thick sauce.  It should be smooth………well, as smooth as it can be with the pieces of onion.  The point is that the sauce itself shouldn’t be lumpy.  If the only “lumps” are the pieces of onion, you’re good!

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Now cut the cheese into chunks…….it just makes it easier for the cheese to melt if it’s not in huge pieces when you put it into your sauce.

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Now add the cheese to the sauce and cook on low heat until all the cheese is completely melted.

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Your sauce is ready!  So let’s get the cabbage ready.  Drain it well.  You don’t want any of the cooking liquid to water down that amazing sauce!  So make sure the cabbage drains as much as possible.

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Add the drained cabbage into the sauce and give it a good toss making sure all the cabbage is coated with the cheese sauce.

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See?  You want it completely immersed in all that glorious sauce!

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Pour cabbage and sauce into a WELL-sprayed casserole dish.  This sauce is so cheeeeeeeeeeesy that if you don’t spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray before you add the sauce, you will be sorry!  You’ll be like Lisa Douglas from Green Acres……tossing your pots and pans and dishes out the kitchen window! 

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Remember those chips?  Put some in a ziplock bag and crush them up.  Don’t snarl up your nose!  Trust me here!  Have I ever caused you to go astray before?  Of course not!  Go ahead!  Crush ’em!  I’ll wait.

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That was therapeutic now, wasn’t it?!!?  Now sprinkle the crushed chips on top.

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Like this!  Now go stick it in a preheated 350° oven and leave it alone for half an hour or so.

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And when it’s done, you’ll have this ooey, gooey, fabulous chees-ified cabbage goodness.

Scalloped Cabbage a la Candy

*  1 head cabbage

*  1 onion, diced

*  1 Tbsp. minced garlic

*  freshly cracked pepper to taste

*  1/2 cup flour

*  1/2 cup butter or margarine

*  2 cups milk

*  1 pound peppery cheese product such as Mexican Velveeta

*  2 cups crushed chips

I’ve had folks ask me for “something different” so many times.  So here you go!  Here’s something different for you!  I served this with that pot roast I posted a couple weeks ago.  I’ve also made it to go along with chicken and pork chops.  And if you added a little cooked ground beef to it, you could have a complete meal, easy!  It’s just a new idea for a side dish to put beside your meatloaf or fried chicken instead of that tired, boring old slaw! 

Give it a try!  I think you’ll love it! 

And Candy, THANK YOU for a wonderful recipe and for being such a precious friend!  You’re a true gift from God and I could never tell you enough how much I appreciate Him sending you to me!  I love you!  Keep those recipes coming, friend!

Comfort Food: Pot Roast

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Having been so crazy busy at work lately and also having a kitchen semi-under construction, my cooking has been very sporadic as a result.  I haven’t been able to get in the kitchen and really cook meals for the most part.  It’s been as my Granny used to say, “Catch as catch can.”  We’ve eaten a lot of frozen pizza and we’ve also eaten out quite a lot.  

But last weekend, I couldn’t take it anymore!  I HAD to have some good ole grub!  Comfort food.  The kind of stuff that makes you remember why it’s good to be alive!  My friend Christie (The Lurker around here!) came home for a visit.  She lives WAY too far away and only gets in to visit a few times a year.  So since she was coming, I decided to make a big ole pot roast.  There are few other things that scream comfort food quite like a roast does. 

I generally prefer a sirloin tip roast.   And in all honesty, I should’ve stuck with what I prefer as opposed to getting a different cut that looked “alright” that was on sale.  I should’ve paid the other few pennies to get what we all really like.  But I didn’t.  And you can’t put the crap back in the horse.  So move on and dance with the one who brung ya, huh? 

I ended up with a beautiful chuck roast.  It just didn’t end up nearly as tender as my beloved sirloin tip roasts always do.  So lesson learned.  If you have a favorite cut of roast, get it even if it’s not on sale.  You’ll be glad you paid the extra $ for what you really like!  Lesson learned.  But I digress………..

Now here’s a little thing about me and roast.  I’m not a “Roast with Carrots and Potatoes” kind of gal.  I’m a “Roast with Carrots” kind of gal.  I think roast should have a big ole pile of mashed potatoes beside it and gravy to smother both of those in.  So I only put carrots in with my roasts.   If you like potatoes in with yours, by all means, add them.  I just don’t happen to prefer mashed potatoes with my roast.  And I also LOVE the carrots out of a roast.  So I always put an insane amount of carrots in with my roasts so I can have leftover carrots to eat one for a few days.  But roast would be good with any number of other vegetables in it.  So add whatever you and your family really like!

How’s about we make a little Pot Roast, shall we?  Here’s what you’ll need:

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A roast, some carrots (and any other veggies you choose,) a packet of dry Italian dressing mix, a packet of Beefy Onion Soup mix, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Take a close look at the Worcestershire sauce.  It’s a new “thick” version.  And I have to say that I’m in LOVE!  But then, I was in love with the regular stuff too.  This new thick sauce really adheres to the meat.  Either kind would work fine though.

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Start with a large roasting pan (or your crockpot.)  I like to cut the carrots on the bias (at an angle) and then if they’re large, I cut them in half.  I want the carrots to cook completely through.  The family likes carrots anyway they can get them, but I am no fan of crunchy carrots in a roast.  So I cut them into as evenly-sized pieces as possible so they all cook through and through.  If you have other vegetables you enjoy in a roast, add them to the bottom of the roasting pan.

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Next take the fresh-cracked peppercorns and pat them into the meat. 

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Once the meat is peppered all over, place it on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.

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Sprinkle the Beefy Onion Soup Mix on top of the meat.

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Now give it a nice massage.  Really pat it onto the meat so it coats it evenly.

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Sprinkle the dry Italian dressing mix on top.  You’re probably sitting there wondering how Italian dressing mix can work with a roast.  The first time I did it, I was going for an “Italian-tasting” roast.  What I got was an amazingly flavored roast, but it didn’t taste “Italian” at all.  So PLEASE don’t eliminate this step thinking you’ll have a strange-tasting roast.  The flavor this little packet imparts to the roast is unbelievable!

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Pour the Worcestershire sauce over the meat.

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Add water to the roasting pan to create a little steam.

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And here’s what you’ll have when it’s ready to go in the oven.  I used my Pampered Chef roaster so it has a lid that goes over it.  Whatever you use, make sure it either has a lid or you cover with foil to keep the meat moist.

Pot Roast

*  1 roast of choice

*  vegetables of choice:  carrots, potatoes, onions, parsnips, celery, turnips

*  1 packet dry Italian dressing mix

*  1 packet Beefy Onion Soup Mix

*  1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

*  fresh cracked pepper, to taste

*  1 cup water

Prepare roast by cutting off large pieces of fat if necessary.  Peel and prepare vegetables.  Cut vegetables in pieces that are comparable in size so they all cook evenly.  Add them to the roasting pan.  Sprinkle the roast with freshly cracked peppercorns.   Place roast on top of vegetables.  Add the packet of soup mix to the meat and ensure it’s entirely covered.  Sprinkle dry Italian dressing mix over meat.  Drizzle meat with Worcestershire sauce.   Pour warm water into the roasting pan.  Put lid on roasting pan or cover with foil.  Roast in a 350° oven approximately 4 hours, but will depend on the size of your roast. 

When roast is finished cooking, set on a cutting board for about 10 minutes prior to slicing.  While the meat is resting, make gravy with the wonderful juices created in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Slice meat and top with gravy.

And with all that said, let me just say that my pot roast will NEVER hold a candle to my Aunt Jane’s.  She made the most phenomenal roast I’ve ever put in my mouth!  THAT was truly comfort food!  Her daughter, my cousin Kimberly, can come MIGHTY close to her mom’s pot roast.  But I have never been able to.   This roast I’ve shared with you is good, no doubt about it.  But it’s not Aunt Jane’s!  I miss her and I miss her amazing roasts…..and cakes……and macaroni and cheese…….and pea salad……OK, I could go on and on.  I hate y’all never got to have her pot roast.  You missed one in a million! 

Despite this pot roast not being like my beloved Aunt Jane’s, I hope you enjoy it anyway!  We had Mashed Potatoes, English Peas, Fried Squash (details coming here soon!), Fried Corn, Macaroni and Cheese, Scalloped Cabbage (details coming here soon!) and Cornbread with this Pot Roast last weekend.  The whole point of comfort food it so keep eating until you’re not comfortable anymore!  LOL  So that’s just what we did! 

Now go hug your family and show ’em some love with some Pot Roast or whatever comfort food lets them know you love them! 

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Alfredo….My Way

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This was originally going to be titled “Fettucini” Alfredo.  But as you can see, I didn’t use fettucini.  I used fusilli pasta.  Cuz we just like it better.  And that’s just how it is.  So I couldn’t call it Fettucini Alfredo.  And somehow “Fusilli Alfredo” just didn’t sound all that good.  So let’s just go with Alfredo!  And you can just pick whatever kind of pasta you and your family like and then it can be Alfredo….YOUR Way!

Let’s talk about this dish a minute……..It’s so simple, it’s completely ridiculous!  So simple, in fact, that you’ll never have to buy that stuff in a jar again!  I started making this several years ago when I was doing “Once a Month Cooking.”  I would spend all weekend cooking about once every month or so and fill up the freezer with meals.  Then each night, all I had to do was pull out an entree and make some sides to go with it while the entree warmed up.  This sauce was perfect for the freezer.  So I would make it in huge batches then freeze it in vacuum-seal bags.  While the pasta was boiling, I’d just drop the vacuum-sealed bag down in the boiling water and it would be warm by the time the pasta was cooked.  Dinner could literally be done in the time it took to boil a pot of water and 8 minutes worth of noodle-boiling!

For some reason, I hadn’t made it in years.  When I finally pulled this one back out of my hat, you would’ve thought I brought out GOLD!  These skinny people around my house went wild over it!  And my SIL thinks I’ve invented the best thing since sliced bread. 

Last weekend was the baby ankle biter’s birthday.  And he asked for this particular dish as his birthday dinner.  That was a change because for the last 4 years or so, he’s asked for Broccoli Soup!  Unfortunately, what he got was a trip to Mickey Dee’s with his Unk and Aunt Dee because I was in the recliner coughing up my lungs.  😦 

But I managed to finally get off my death bed a few days later and made him his meal….what he calls, “you know Moma, that stuff with the noodles and chicken.”  Uh huh.  Which brings me to the chicken part.  I always grill chicken to put on top of this.  It’s certainly tasty by itself.  But with the grilled chicken on top……well, that just puts it over the top!

So let’s make some!  And you can top yours with whatever cranks your tractor!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Dry Italian Salad Dressing Mix, Cream of Chicken Soup, Garlic and LOTS of it, Cream Cheese, Pasta of choice, Half-and-Half or Heavy Whipping Cream and Fresh Cracked Pepper.

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Start with the cream cheese in a cold pan. 

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Add the soup.

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If you’re ever shy with the garlic, this is NOT the time to be!  Embrace the garlic!  Dump in a BUNCH! 

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Now add the packet of dry Italian salad dressing mix.  I like the “zesty” kind.  Not sure if there’s a bit of difference between it and the regular packet that doesn’t say “zesty,” but somehow “zesty” makes me feel like it will have more flavor.  So that’s what I use.

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Pour in the half-and-half or cream, whichever you prefer. 

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Finally, add the fresh cracked pepper and you’re ready to roll!  Just turn the stove on low.  Let it sit a couple of minutes and then whisk until smooth.

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Like this! 

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Boil some water for your pasta of choice.  I like to always salt my water and add a little oil so the pasta doesn’t stick to itself.  And since this was for Alfredo, I went ahead and dumped in a healthy spoonful of minced garlic to the water too. 

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Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and boil about 7-8 minutes. 

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Drain the pasta well.  You don’t want any residual cooking liquid to water down your thick, hearty Alfredo sauce!

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Pour the drained pasta in a serving dish.

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And now……if you’re feeling especially decadent and you happen to have some on hand and I did……grate some fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese on top.  Or heck, if you just have that Kraft Parmesan dust in a can, add a little of that to your noodles before topping with the sauce. 

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Go ahead and pour that thick sauce all over the pasta.  It’s just waiting to be smothered in something fabulous!

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Nothing left to do but eat! 

Alfredo Sauce

*  1-8 oz. bar cream cheese

*  1 cup half-and-half or heavy whipping cream

*  1 can cream of chicken soup

*  1 packet dry Italian dressing mix

*  minced garlic, to taste

*  fresh cracked pepper, to taste

*  pasta of choice, cooked to al dente and drained well

*  topping of choice:  grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, grilled salmon

Mix cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, half-and-half, dressing mix, garlic and black pepper in a cold pan on the stove.  Turn stove on low.  After about 5 minutes on low, begin to whisk sauce until smooth.  Serve hot over pasta.

And that is Alfredo MY way!  I told you it was simple!  Serve this with a nice salad and some garlic bread and you’re set! 

I hope you and your family enjoy this “stuff with the noodles and chicken” as much as my ankle biting people do!  And since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a very happy Valentine’s day to you all!

Beef Tips & Gravy

First of all, let me just say that I’m a popsicle this morning.  It’s a wonder that my poor little fingers can even type in this evil, wicked, mean and nasty cold!  It’s a whopping 6 whole degrees in my neck of the woods this morning!  6!  DEGREES!  That’s just insane!  This ain’t Minnesota!   OK, enough whining!  Let’s cook cuz we need to do that just to warm up the house, huh?

So I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’d recently had a craving for Beef Tips but I ended up making something else entirely.  I invented something else entirely actually.  So I never got my Beef Tips that I was craving.  So what some of you skinny people out there who simply eat to live instead of living to eat may not know is this…….once a fat woman gets a craving, it’s ON!  She ain’t gonna be happy until that craving has been satisfied.  So I HAD to make Beef Tips! 

And I thought today would be a good day to share these with you since it’s so wicked cold here.  This is a bone-warming meal.  And today is a mighty fine day for that!  So let’s cook, shall we?

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Here’s most of what you’ll need:  Beef (sirloin steak or beef tips, but we’ll talk about that in a minute) Beef Gravy, Flour, Worcestershire Sauce, Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix, Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Pepper Blend, and Garlic.  You’ll also need a really large bell pepper and a really large or two small-t0-medium onions.  Now let me just say that you’re welcome to cut up your own beef.  And I recommend doing that if you can find good sirloin because that’s truly what works best for this recipe due to sirloin being so tender.   But you see, I am lazy!  And I just flat out didn’t want to cut up all that meat.  So I bought “stew beef” and called it a day.  Worked like a charm!

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Next, slice up those peppers and onions that I forgot to take a picture of when they were still whole.  But I’m fairly sure y’all have seen a whole onion and a whole bell pepper before so you know what they look like.  So I think we’re safe! 

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Open the package(s) of meat into a mixing bowl.  Add flour and seasonings to the meat.  For this, I chose Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Pepper blend.  But it’s not rocket science.  If you have a favorite spice blend, by all means, use that instead!  And share with ME what you did because I always like new ideas for new flavors!

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Next you’ll want to heat some oil in a Dutch oven.  Use whatever oil you like:  canola, vegetable, olive, whatever.  Get it screaming hot and then add the floured meat to the pot.  Continue stirring it around until it’s browned completely.

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Once the meat is browned, add Worcestershire sauce to the meat.  I have a sick, twisted love affair with Worcestershire sauce!  I LOVE the stuff!  So naturally, I was pretty heavy-handed with it!

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Now add the garlic and those peppers and onions.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore smelling peppers and onions cooking.  Smells like LOVE, man!  YUM!!!!!

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Now sprinkle in the packet of Beefy Onion Soup Mix.

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Then pour the gravy over it all. 

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Stir it all up.  Let it simmer.  While it’s simmering, make your favorite rice blend.  Personally, I really like a long-grain and wild rice blend to go with this.  But white rice, brown rice, basmati rice or whatever you like would be fine.  It would also be good served over mashed potatoes or a big pile of egg noodles.

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I also failed to include fresh parsley in the “what you need” photo at the beginning.  But right before you plan to serve it, add a healthy handful of chopped fresh parsley.  I can’t tell you how much bright flavor fresh parsley adds to a dish!  You’ve got to try it for yourself!

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Please excuse the lack of flash in this photo.  Not sure what happened, but I didn’t load the pictures on the computer until after this meal was LONG gone, so I couldn’t go back and take another picture to better capture how delicious this really looked.  SORRY! 

As you can see, I served it with some broccoli and cheese because Ankle Biter #2 could eat broccoli and cheese EVERY single meal of his life.  And I also served some roasted carrots, which is one of my all-time EVER favorite side dishes.  But this would be good with so many things!  Mashed Potatoes and English Peas.  Green Beans with Corn-on-the-Cob.  A Mixed Vegetable Casserole and a big salad………the possibilities are endless!!!! 

Beef Tips & Gravy

*  2 pounds stew beef or sirloin steak (cut into bite-sized pieces)

*  1 cup flour

*  1 Tbsp. Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Pepper

*  1 large onion, sliced

*  1 large bell pepper, sliced

*  2 cans beef gravy

*  3 Tsbp. Worcestershire sauce

*  3 cloves fresh garlic, minced or 1 Tbsp.  minced garlic

*  1 packet Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix

*  fresh parsley

Slice pepper and onion into small slivers.  If using sirloin steak, cut into bite-sized pieces.  Once meat is in bite-sized pieces, place in a mixing bowl and add flour and Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Pepper.  Make sure all pieces of meat are well-coated with flour.  Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet.  Saute meat in oil until browned on all sides.  Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic, peppers and onions, and packet of soup mix.  Stir into meat.  Add gravy and simmer on low 1 hour.  Immediately before serving, add fresh parsley.  Serve over rice of choice.

And if that doesn’t warm your bones, they can’t be warmed!  A perfect meal for a cold winter day when you need something warm and comforting!  Enjoy!

Bourbon Chicken

Alright, now, all you good Christian teetotalers don’t come unglued on me!  I’m not going to corrupt you with that evil  “sauce!”  Bourbon Chicken is so named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans, not for the liquor.  You’ll probably find some recipes out there that DO use actual liquor in the sauce.  But mine doesn’t.  So y’all don’t be condemning and hatin’ on me now!

Those of you who have been around here with me for a while know about a little place I used to hang out online called “Moms Online.”  Unfortunately, Moms Online has been defunct for several years now.  ***a moment of silence please***  It was a wonderful place for moms (and some dads and some non-moms/parents altogether) to gather and chat about a little bit of everything from baby names to crockpot cooking to spilling their true confessions.  It was a lot like a family, really. 

Out of that family was born lots of magnificent recipes that got passed around between us all.  I truly credit Moms Online and the fabulous family of friends I made there for making me a “try me” cook.  Before I found Moms Online, I was a decent cook.  But I was just a plain ole Southern cook until then.  I cooked what I’d grown up eating.  And that’s pretty much it.  But at Moms Online, folks gathered from across the WORLD!  We had ladies from Australia, England, New Zealand…….and some REALLY exotic foreign lands like New York City and Seattle and Salt Lake City and Washington, DC  and Denver and well, you get the picture!  I was a little ole Southern girl without much culinary experience outside the South.

But Moms Online changed all that for me!  It brought me recipes I’d never heard of, seen or thought of!  One of those was this Bourbon Chicken.  Unfortunately, I can’t recall who orginally shared this recipe, so if you’re out there, step up and take credit!  I’d LOVE to give you credit for such a marvelous dish!

Let’s make some!  Here’s what you’ll need:

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I had already cut up the chicken before it dawned on me to make the “Here’s what you’ll need picture!”  So obviously, if you’re going to be making Bourbon CHICKEN, it would probably be helpful to have some chicken!  However, I HAVE made this with cubed pork loin and it’s every bit as good!  Just make sure you have some meat or this recipe won’t be anything but a mighty tasty sauce. 

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Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

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Cook the chicken in a little oil before adding the sauce ingredients. 

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Now add all other ingredients except the cornstarch and water.  Simmer 20 minutes.

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Mix the cornstarch and water together and stir until smooth.  Add to the sauce to thicken.  And here’s what you end up with.  I guarantee you the delightful aroma will just about knock you down! 

Bourbon Chicken

*  2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces

*  3 Tbsp. olive or canola oil

*  3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

*  1-2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated on a fine microplane

*  1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

*  1/2 cup apple juice

*  1/2 cup brown sugar

*  1/4 cup ketchup

*  2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

*  1/2 cup soy sauce

*  1 Tbsp. cornstarch

*  1/2 cup water

Cube chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Heat oil in a Dutch oven or skillet deep enough to cook chicken and then make sauce.  Once chicken is cooked through, add all ingredients except water and cornstarch.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Mix cornstarch with cold water.  Bring sauce to a boil and then add cornstarch and water.  Cook until sauce is thickened.

I like to serve this over plain white rice.  But it would also be good with fried rice or most any rice blend.  The Tall Skinny Man is quite averse to rice, so I usually make him noodles of some kind.  Add some stir-fried vegetables and you’ve got a complete meal! 

I can’t truly tell you just how flavorful and delicious this is!  You simply have to try it!  The sauce is amazing!  I hope you’ll give it a try!  If you’re like I was back then…….in a cooking rut because you always fix the same old things over and over again, this would make a nice addition to your meal plans! 

Enjoy!  Have a fabulous day!

Ford Hill Chicken And Rice

I was recently craving some beef tips and rice……..um, and as you can see from the title of this entry, BEEF is not what I ended up with.  While I was in the friendly neighborhood Kroger, I noticed they had chicken on sale and being the cheapskate I am, I decided chicken and rice would work nicely thankyouverymuch.  So no beef tips this time.  I’ll save that one for another day!

While I was standing there at the meat case, I began pondering what I was going to do with this chicken once I had it home to make it satisfy my craving.  And I began to formulate a recipe in my head.

I came up with what I’m calling Ford Hill Chicken and Rice………so named for this little hill I call home.  It mostly just kind of morphed from various other recipes I had floating around in my head.  I always have various recipes floating around and formulating in my head. 

And it turned into a pretty doggone good meal, if I do say so myself!  Now let me give a little disclaimer here.  I have photos of the process.  The problem is, they were taken with my new camera before I had a good operational understanding of it.  Flash not functioning and such……….yeah, I’m not much for reading instructions manuals.  I’m more a trial and error kind of gal.  And unfortunately for you all, these photos are more error than anything.  But they ARE photos!  So just bear with me!

Y’all forgive me for not making a “This is what you’ll need” photo!  I was in such a tizzy over having a new camera that I just didn’t think to do it before I started using everything up.  I remembered part of the way through and made some partial “this is what you’ll need” photos.

So let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Start by cutting up 1 1/2-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts:

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Cut it into bite-sized pieces. 

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Once you get the chicken cut up, you’ll need a bowl, some flour, Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt and the “chicken seasoning” of your choice.  I really like this grinder blend I found at Sam’s.  It’s fairly inexpensive and packed with HUGE flavor!

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Put the cubed chicken into the bowl with the flour and seasonings.  Toss the chicken around in the flour to evenly coat it.

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Heat oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven.

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Stir-fry the chicken in the oil.

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While the chicken is cooking, assemble these other ingredients you’ll need.

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Then slice up some bell peppers and onions too.  Make sure to use a different cutting board and knife than you used to cut up the chicken!   You don’t want to make anybody sick!

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Add the onions, bell peppers and some minced garlic to the chicken.  Stir into the chicken until well-combined.

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Add the jar of pimientos and the packet of  Golden Onion soup mix.

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Now add the gravy. 

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Stir in sour cream.

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Add some fresh cracked pepper.

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Just before serving, add chopped fresh parsley.

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Please excuse my poor photography…….But I served this with some of Aunt Dee’s fabulous Napa Cabbage Salad on the side.  Unfortunately, due to my not-so-great photography, this doesn’t look all that appealing!  But I promise, this meal got some of the biggest raves I’ve had in a long time!  Unk went absolutely WILD over this chicken! 

Ford Hill Chicken & Rice

*  1 1/1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed into bite-sized pieces

*  1 large onion, sliced into slivers

*  1 large green bell pepper, sliced into slivers

*  2 cans chicken gravy

*  1 packet Golden Onion soup mix

*  1 small jar pimientos

*  1 cup sour cream

*  1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

*  1 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

*  1 cup flour

*  1 Tbsp. Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt

*  1 Tbsp. chicken seasoning

*  1 Tbsp. minced garlic

*  1 cup canola oil

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Place in bowl with flour, mixed up salt and chicken seasoning.  Toss well to coat chicken.  Heat oil over medium-high heat in a deep skillet or Dutch oven.  Add chicken to pan and stir-fry until done.  While chicken is cooking, cut up pepper and onion.  Once chicken is cooked through (approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of the chunks) add pepper and onion along with garlic to the pan.  Stir well.  Add pimientos and onion soup mix.  Stir in gravy.  Add sour cream and stir until well-combined.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Add fresh parsley just before serving.  Serve over rice of your choice.

This is truly one of the best meals we’ve had in a while because it wasn’t the “same old-same old!”  It was a little different than our “normal” fare around here.  Even Ankle Biter #2 who is my “picky” eater enjoyed it!  Mind you, he’s picky compared to his older brother and the rest of us, but not picky compared to your typical kid.  At any rate, this ended up being a wonderful meal!

Some suggestions for good side dishes to this would be oven-roasted carrots, good old Southern-style green beans or sauteed green beans, or most any kind of salad.  However you decide to serve it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Happy New Year to you and yours!