Monday, June 29, 2009

Patriotic Dessert: Fresh Berry Napoleons

This is a beautiful and delicious dessert that would be perfect to serve for your Independence Day gathering, or any time you want to impress and enjoy without all the fuss.

*Are you starting to notice a theme in my posts? Always wanting to impress someone with my recipes, but NOT wanting to spend too much time in the kitchen! I should be ashamed, but sorry-I'm not. Not. One. Bit. Especially during the summer. Now come fall and winter, I'll hang around in the kitchen for hours on end!

I found this recipe at Better Homes and Gardens website and it is a winner! No wonder this place has been around for so long. They consistantly put out the best recipes, tips and ideas.

For this recipe,

You Will Need:

8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon butter (no substitutes)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
2 cups mixed fresh berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries, and/or sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping
Mint sprigs (optional)


Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface. (Cover remaining sheets to prevent them from drying out.) Lightly coat phyllo sheet with cooking spray. Top with another sheet of phyllo; coat with cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle with some of the coarse sugar. Repeat layering with remaining phyllo sheets, cooking spray, and coarse sugar, coating each sheet with cooking spray and sprinkling every other sheet with some of the coarse sugar. Cut the stack crosswise into six even strips. Cut each strip crosswise into three 2x3-inch rectangles (you should have 18 rectangles). Place all of the stacks on ungreased cookie sheets. (There will be 2 extra phyllo stacks to use in case any break.) Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove and cool on wire racks.

For blueberry curd, combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries, the orange juice, and orange peel in a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Transfer blueberry mixture to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and the butter.

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and 2 teaspoons cold water. Add to blueberry mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

To serve, stir together 1 tablespoon of the blueberry curd and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl; set aside. Divide remaining blueberry curd in half. Place 1 phyllo stack on each of 8 dessert plates. Spoon half of the blueberry curd evenly atop phyllo stacks. Spoon 1/4 cup fruit atop each stack. Spoon remaining half of blueberry curd evenly atop fruit. Top each stack with another phyllo stack. Top each dessert with some of the whipped topping. Drizzle with the reserved blueberry curd mixture. If desired, garnish with mint sprigs.

Makes 8 servings.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

27 year old wedding cake!

This wedding cake is 27 years old as June 26 is our 27th anniversary!

No actual recipe, just a shot of two young loves on their big Day.

I had just graduated high school! To read more about our "young love" story, you can click here.

Fried Eggs on the Sidewalk


1 egg
1 sidewalk


Heat sidewalk to above 100 degrees for best results. Place broken egg on sidewalk and let it sizzle for a few minutes. Remove from heat. (Translated: Go inside to the air conditioning and don't come out until the heat wave has passed.)

Sorry folks, this is all I can offer you today as I don't wanna' cook anything! The Heat and humidity is draining the life from me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

From my Cookbook Collection: "Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce"

Some of my very favorite cookbooks are those that  the church ladies publish.

 Come on, there's just no better cookin' than a bunch of ladies who love to be in the kitchen, and regularly "compete" for the title of Best Cook in their local fellowship.

My church, Whittington Church, has a cookbook that was given (for free) to all new members and of course I have nearly worn it out!

This particular recipe is one of my favorites and is very easy to prepare. It's  delicious and has a surprising unique flavor and I can't get enough of it!

It was submitted by Joyce Rath



2 lbs. ground round
2 T. Oil
14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, cut up.
6 oz. V8 juice
1 lb. can Prego spaghetti sauce
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup grape jelly

Brown meat. Add remaining ingredients, stirring often, 15- 20 minutes or until jelly melts.
Add to hot pasta. Serve with a salad and garlic bread.


There’s a whole lot of twirling going on – with pasta that is. According to a recent survey commissioned by Olive Garden and conducted by Harris Interactive®, 77 percent of U.S. adult pasta eaters, twirl, rather than cut, long noodle pasta, and 58 percent of Americans(1) use their plate, rather than a spoon, to twirl it.

The survey also found that more than 50 percent of respondents are eating pasta at least once a week and most frequently as a family meal (41 percent). From among a selection of 20 pastas, spaghetti is America’s favorite and tomato, or marinara, the preferred sauce(2). First and second runners up included lasagna and fettuccine for pasta preference and Alfredo and Bolognese, came in second and third respectively for favorite sauce.

And, with all this twirling going on, almost two-thirds of Americans (63 percent)(3) say they end up with a little sauce on themselves or their clothing, while enjoying their pasta.

Friday, June 19, 2009

CARMELIZED VIDALIA ONIONS and a special request...

Normally, I do my FAST AND FURIOUS recipes on Friday, but today I am posting a recipe sent to me by my dear friend. She sent it a couple of weeks ago, right after she thought she had a mini stroke. Upon further testing, they found that she had lung cancer that has spread to her brain.

I love this lady and her friendship has been of great help to me in my times of need, so I am asking a favor from anyone that will help me.



I will forward them on to her, and print them out and take them to her as well.

She would love this, and trust me, she would do it for you if the tables were turned.

So, here's her recipe, and PLEASE pray for her and send her a little encouragement.

Would you?

Caramelized Onions

M A K E S A B O UT 4 C U P S

6 to 8 Vidalia onions, about 2 1/2 pounds,

thinly sliced

1 10-ounce can chicken or vegetable broth

Garlic cloves to taste, optional

Place all in slow cooker. Cover

and cook on low 12 to 24 hours

or until onions are golden

brown. Add to recipes calling

for onions.

[ T IME S A V E R ]

This recipe can be frozen

for use later.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


I had many inquiries about the drink in my photo yesterday, as it was on both of my blog sites. I even received emails!

It was a virgin Pina Colada that was delicious and really hit the spot while beach side.

Obviously many of you might prefer the drink with alcohol, but this one could be served to kids, or for breakfast or just enjoyed when a "kick" is not necessary!

Very simple to make:

7 oz pineapple juice
2 oz coconut cream
1 cup crushed ice

Add the pineapple juice, coconut cream and crushed ice to a blender; blend at high speed. Pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, a pineapple wedge, and serve.

You gotta' find these little umbrellas for the full beach affect.
Then go lay by the pool, or the hot tub, the lake, pond, fountain or bath tub ,if that's all you have. Play some soothing music and pretend you're on the beach.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chicken Etouffee

I'm BACK! I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Fort Walton Beach, Florida,and I figured I would share one of the Coastal dishes I tried while dining at the beach.

I realize that most people would order fresh seafood while seaside, however, try as I might, I am NOT a lover of seafood, so I tried to go with another dish that the beach combers love. I chose Chicken Etouffee ,a cajun dish. Etouffee is actually French soul food meaning Smothered Chicken.

The above photo is right before I dug in, and enjoyed a wonderful meal with great friends while enjoying this view...

Really, I could have eaten a baloney sandwich on soggy bread at this point and I still would have thought I was in heaven!

I found this recipe that seems VERY close to the dish I enjoyed, but I have not made this one.

Just thought I'd share it anyway.

Go ahead, give it a try and let me know what you think!



4 Cups chicken broth

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

⅓ Cup Butter, divided

½ Cup all-purpose flour

Cooking spray

1½ Cups chopped onion

⅔ Cup diced celery

½ Cup chopped red bell pepper

½ Cup chopped green bell pepper

¾ Cup water

¼ tomato paste

1 tsp salt-free Cajun seasoning

1½ tsp minced garlic

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp ground red pepper

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

½ Cup chopped green onions

½ Cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

A Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into strips

4 Cups hot cooked long-grain rice


Combine the first four ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a simmer, cover, and remove from heat. Meanwhile, melt ¼ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour to pan whisking to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth mixture to pan and whisk until smooth. Add remaining 3 cups broth mixture, whisking until smooth. Set aside

Melt remaining butter in a large dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and bell peppers to the pan. Cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in water, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Add tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Add reserved broth-flour mixture and Worcestershire sauce to pan, stirring well to combine, bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add green onions, ¼ cup parsley, and chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Discard the bay leaf. Serve over rice and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

I'll leave you with a couple of more of my photos to enjoy to put you in the seaside mood.

This was the view from right outside my hotel room.

The pier where we spent alot of time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


My "Aunt" Gayla Lindsey gave me this recipe years ago, and it is also featured in the COAL COUNTRY COOKIN' VOLUME II COOKBOOK that I am helping to sell for our Old King Coal Festival Fundraiser. Click here to order the cookbook filled with delicious home town cookin' recipes and you will also be helping to keep a small town festival and tradition alive.

This recipe is so tasty and usually I also add some orange wedges to the pitcher, and squeeze a bit of that juice in there too, and it tastes just like a Lemon Shake- Up at the fair.

I was out of oranges when I made it this time, but it was still delicious, and I love the cute little lemon glasses I found at THE DOLLAR TREE to serve my lemonade in. Feels so summery.

For this recipe you will need:

1 1/4 c. white sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
(from about 10 large lemons, seeds removed)

In small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Allow syrup mixture to cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

From My Cookbook Collection...THE GRACE OF PATTI'S -Crispy Baked Chicken

Each Monday I share a recipe from one of my cookbooks from my ever growing cookbook collection.
You'll love this one.

This cookbook was a Christmas Gift from my neighbor and good friend, Diana.

She knows I love to cook, and my favorite cookbooks are the tried and true recipes. This book highlights some wonderful family recipes from the owners of Patti's 1880s Settlement, in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Big AL and I have eaten in their wonderful restaurant and shopped in the gift shoppe after enjoying a relaxing game of goofy golf. I'm leaving a link for you here, so you can see this place for yourself. It's worth the trip if you're within driving distance.

Arielle's Crispy Baked Chicken


1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 1/2 lbs. chicken (or chicken strips)
1/3 cup butter
Bar-BQ sauce for dipping

Combine first 6 ingredients. Dip chicken in milk, then roll in dry mixture. Place in greased 13x9-inch pan. Drizzle with butter. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 55 minutes. If using strips, only 25- 30 minutes baking time.

The chicken has a very subltle flavor that is enhanced, but not at all overwhelmed by the chili powder. It is great dipped in BBQ sauce, but honey mustard would be good too. Or skip the dipping altogether. It is very good alone.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vidalia Onion Pie

You've probably noticed that I use LOTS of vidalia onions in my recipes.

I love them. Oddly, I'm not an onion lover, just a lover of the sweeter vidalia variey.

My friend Tonya gave me this recipe to try and I loved it!

Even if you're not a big onion fan, you still need to try this. It tastes like one of those breakfast casseroles, but I served it as a side dish to Salmon patties and mashed potatoes for supper.


1 cup Ritz crackers, crumbled fine
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 cups Vidalia onions, diced (or thinly sliced. ) I diced mine.
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or Mozzarella)
1 T. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. milk
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cracker crumbs with 1/2 stick butter and press into bottom of pie plate. Saute onions in 1 T. butter till translucent, not brown.
Spoon into pie plate. Beat eggs and milk with salt; pour over onions. SPrinkle with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean (it took 40 minutes for me. I covered top with foil for those last ten minutes.)

Then end result is amazing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

FAST AND FURIOUS FRIDAY "Southwest Chicken Salad Panini"

Tomorrow is my Yard Sale, so tonight's meal will be light as we will be working all evening setting up for the sale.

I found this recipe from Served with a bag of gourmet chips and some sweet tea, it will be perfect.


2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breasts
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. MIRACLE WHIP Light Dressing
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Light Ranch Dressing
8 slices Italian bread
1 large tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
4 KRAFT cheese slices

HEAT panini grill to medium-high heat. Mix chicken, chili powder and dressings.

FILL bread slices with chicken mixture, tomatoes and cheese.

GRILL 3 to 5 min. or until cheese slices are melted and sandwiches are golden brown on both sides.

*You Don't Have a Panini Grill?
Heat grill pan or large skillet on medium heat. Cook sandwiches 3 to 5 min. on each side or until cheese is melted and sandwiches are golden brown on both sides, gently pressing down tops of sandwiches with spatula to flatten slightly as they cook.

Make Ahead Chicken salad can be prepared in advance. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days. Use to assemble sandwiches just before cooking as directed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Three Ingredient Thursday- Peanut Butter Cookies

Cheap, easy and quick!
I whipped these up and they were devoured! I asked my guys to save a few for the photo, and just 3 were left! And you'll notice that one has a bite out of it!


1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix altogether and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet by rounded tablespoonfuls. Press down with a fork and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Grab yourself a glass of milk and hide from the guys.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bourbon Wieners

This is one of the fastest going appetizers I have ever brought to a party, and I've been making it for many years.

It was actually introduced to me at a church supper, and Pam, who gave me the recipe, had to do so in secret because of the Bourbon!

It is delicious, and I have also used it with meatballs with the same plate-licking results!

1 1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8-1/4 cup Bourbon

Mix altogether.

*Now, you can leave out the Bourbon if your conscience won't allow you to enjoy it, but I've tried it both ways, and although still good without it, it is GREAT with it!

A couple of packages of Little Smokies, browned in a skillet.

Place wieners (and fat from skillet ) into a crock pot and pour sauce over and mix well. Heat through and keep warm.

* You may also add your favorite meatball recipe and serve the same way. Or mix them together (meatballs and wieners- I've served it that way and it was a big hit as well.


Awhile back, one of my commenters ,Lynn from Queen of the Castle Recipes said she would love for me to regularly post recipes from my (MASSIVE!) cookbook collection. (This collection has grown tremendously since this photo taken years ago)

I thought it was a great idea to highlight a different cookbook each week and show one of the great recipes I enjoy making from that book and to tell a bit about how it made its way into my collection.

Today then, is week one!


The wonderful  thing about this cookbook is, it is FILLED with tried and true recipes from small town America (where the best home-cookin' originated).

The book is also packed with interesting photos of coal miner's on the job here, and also has an exclusive photo of a very famous Beatle from Liverpool with his sister who lives in our area.

There is a great story to read about this Beatle's visit to So. Illinois when the Fab 4 was just arriving on the scene in America. You need to buy the book just to read the account.

Here is a fun SUMMER recipe that is perfect for outdoor gatherings, especially for a Fourth of July backyard party, or would also lend itself nicely to a circus or Fair themed children's party, or Bible School celebration.


2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Oil (for deep frying)
Confectioner's sugar
*Can cherry pie filling (optional)

In lg. bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, water and vanilla: mix well. Combine flour, sugar and baking powder and salt; beat into egg mixture till smooth. In deep fat fryer (or electric skillet) heat oil to 375 degrees. Cover bottom of funnel spout with your finger; ladle 1/2 c. batter into funnel. Hold funnel several inches from oil, remove your finger from the spout and move funnel in spiral motion until all batter is released. (Scrape with spatula id needed). Fry 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel and dust with confectioner's sugar.

Add a few tablespoons cherry pie filling to make it extra special!

This really is one of those too good to be true recipes! Children of all ages will love these!