Category Archives: Food

My recipe collection full of Southern food, some healthy and some truly comfort food.  I also have homeschool lunch ideas, weekly menu ideas to get you inspired.  Most of the recipes are mine, or my family’s recipes that have been passed down, or others that I just wanted to try.  Bon appetit!

Smoked NC Style Barbeque

Think smoking meat is just for men?  No way!  Just wait till you try my recipe for smoked NC style barbeque…A Super Easy Smoked BBQ Recipe

Most of my growing up, all the grilling and smoking were down by the men of the family.  But something happened when I got married, somehow, some time, I started taking over the grilling at home.  My husband was the one who did it and I was terrified of the grill.  Then one day, I don’t remember when, he taught me how to start the darn thing and I fell in love with it.  So much so, I’ll grill in the snow, but hey, it’s NC and we all do it.  Then, all the men of my family started getting smokers and we were at their mercy if we wanted anything smoked and boy did we really want a smoker.

As it turns out, not only do I grill, but now so do both of my girls.  I’m so proud!  We love it!  Even during our lunch break when I homeschooled, it was nothing for us to turn on the grill and grill chicken for salads, or wraps.  Turkey burgers for lunch anyone?  That was us!  Then my husband showed up one day with a surprise, a smoker.  Talk about being terrified!  You wouldn’t believe how much research I did before I would even crank it on.  My oldest daughter and I finally dove in and I’m so glad we did.  Each time, it gets easier and we’re more comfortable.

I know how busy being a wife, mom, teacher, working mom, etc. can be and believe it or not, a smoker can help you out.  How?  It’s like a crock pot, prep the food, put the food in and you can kinda forget about it for most of the day.  You do want to be home when you use a smoker and you do need to tend to it during the smoking time, but it’s super easy.  You could easily do this while homeschooling, or a day that you are going to be home.  Then you have a fabulous meal with lots of leftovers that you can freeze.  It’s not as scary as it seems and if you don’t have a smoker, there are ways you can use the grill you already own as a smoker.   Today, I’m sharing the recipe we used yesterday and it was scrumptious!A Super Easy Smoked BBQ Recipe

Ingredients:

Bone-In Pork Butt (I used a 7lb for 5 people and I had nice leftovers to freeze)

Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Seasoning

Brown Sugar

Kosher Salt

Hickory Chips

Cherry Chips

Apple Cider

Apple Juice or water for the smoker

Tin Pan

Aluminum Foil

Directions:

The night or several hours before, in a large bowl or pan big enough to hold the butt, place the butt.  I like to take a steak knife and for lack of a better expression, stab it a few times on each side.  Then pour some apple cider vinegar over it on each side.  It doesn’t take much.  Then cover with the seasoning and sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar and salt all over it.  It’s hard to use too much, the more the better.  Massage it in and make sure it’s coated.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge overnight, or at least 4 hours.

Before you start smoking, in a medium sized bowl add about 2 cups each of the wood chips, covered with water.  Let them soak at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better.  This keeps them from burning up too fast in the smoker.

Start your smoker according to its directions and let it heat up.  Just like using a grill or oven, it needs to preheat to 250 degrees.  In the water pan, add water, or apple juice depending on the type of flavor you want in your meat.  I used plain water this time.  You will need to check this every couple of hours to make sure you don’t run out.  This helps to keep the meat from drying out.

Add a handful of chips.  I just left mine in the water all day and checked every hour, or so to see if it needed more.  Then you can add your butt!  Put it on the center rack, if yours has multiple racks.  I did not wrap mine in aluminum foil until it was down cooking.  I also use a wireless thermometer to keep a check on my meat temp.  If you use one, you can insert it now, but you don’t have to have one.   Close the door.

Check your temperature, it should be around 250 degrees.  You want to keep it between 225 – 300 the entire time you cook.  Do not worry about overcooking it.  The longer this cooks the better.  Plan on at least 8 hours of cooking time.  If you are using a thermometer, cook to an internal temperature of 145 – 150, but if you wait it out and get to around 195, you will be rewarded.  You can take it off before it hits 195, but it needs to be at least 145 degrees for safety.  You don’t want to get sick.

After you have hit your desired temp, take the butt off and wrap it in aluminum foil and place in one of those throw away tins and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, an hour is even better.  If you have cooler, you can even put it in there to rest and it will be heavenly.  After resting, remove the bone.  It should just pull out.  Then you can slice it, chop it or shred it like we do here in NC.

That’s it!  It’s not that hard.  Start cooking it in the morning and by evening you will have an incredible supper.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.Blog Signature

Grilled Chicken Noodle Bowl

My lunch today was a whole wheat noodle bowl with grilled chicken and veggies, with a ginger sesame dressing #yum…

I think I might have an addiction to noodle bowls.  If there’s a 12 step program please leave me out of it!  I see them on Instagram and Pinterest and I just drool.   I’ve been craving one like crazy this week and after searching and searching here’s another one I came up with today.

Be careful with the salt, or you’ll wind up with very salty chicken, yuck!  My measurements are not precise, but pretty darn close.  This made one very large bowl (I have leftovers), or two servings.  Feel free to change up the veggies!  I did grill the veggies and believe it or not the broccoli was frozen but grilled beautifully.  I grilled everything on my indoor, stovetop grill.

Ingredients:

2 cups of organic chicken broth

salt and pepper (just enough to lightly sprinkle on the chicken)

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

dried basil

ground ginger  about 1/2 tsp.

sesame seeds

4 baby carrots

handful of broccoli crowns

1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce

Naturally Fresh brand Ginger Dressing

whole wheat spaghetti noodles (I like Mueller’s)

Directions:

Sprinkle chicken breast very lightly with salt and pepper, basil and ground ginger on both sides and place on a hot grill.  Grill on medium heat till done.  While chicken is cooking, get chicken broth boiling in a pot.  When it’s boiling add noodles and a shake or two of ginger.  Cook till noodles are done and have absorbed most of the liquid.  If your noodles aren’t done yet and need more liquid add more broth or a little water.

Put broccoli and carrots on grill just to get a little bit of grill marks and then you can add them to the pot the noodles are cooking in after you slice the carrots.  I sliced mine diagonally so they looked prettier.

When chicken in done,  pour a little bit of soy sauce on each side and grill for 5 minutes longer and then remove to let it rest about 5 minutes, then slice thin.  Add noodles with veggies in a bowl.  Top with sesame seeds and toss with about 3 tsp. of dressing and toss.  Top with chicken. Blog Signature

Best Barbeque Meatballs

Absolutely the easiest and best barbeque meatballs in the world!  This is a favorite recipe of my kids.  They ask for it over and over! It’s quick, easy, and very tasty!  I’ve taken it to church and potlucks and it’s always a hit.  It even works great as an appetizer!

I’ve been making this barbeque meatball recipe for as long as I can remember.  I don’t even remember where I got the recipe from, but it’s definitely yummy.  I love serving it with a plate of steamy, white rice or creamy macaroni and cheese.

Meatballs:

2 pounds ground beef

1-2 eggs

2 tbsp. flour

2 tsp. mustard

1/2 tsp. onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 –1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)

BBQ Sauce:

1 cup ketchup

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix all of the meatball ingredients.  Make meatballs about 1 1/2″ diameter and put in baking dish.  Set aside.

In a small bowl mix all of the barbeque sauce ingredients.  Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Cook time is determined by the size of the meatballs or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Great served with rice or macaroni and cheese!

Crockpot Version:  Make just like above and put in crockpot.  Cook on slow for 4-6 hours.

Red Velvet Cheerwine Cupcakes For My Valentine

Red Velvet Cheerwine Cupcakes…For my Valentine…Perfection!

My husband is crazy for Cheerwine and don’t go thinking that it’s liquor! It’s not, it’s only the best soda in the entire world. There is no description for it because there is nothing like it. It’s closest cousin is a cherry soda, but that would be like a seventh cousin. It’s amazing and full of cherry flavor and all fizzy and yummy. Ok, back to the recipe!  I saw a picture online of a cupcake that was red velvet with Cheerwine, cream cheese frosting with dark chocolate drizzle and a maraschino cherry on top. Sounds divine, right? Well I spent the better part of yesterday looking for the recipe but I couldn’t find one. I found versions of red velvet with Cheerwine, but none exactly like what I wanted. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to surprise her valentine? Come up with it on her own! They are so good!  

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:

1 Duncan Hines Red Velvet Specialty cake mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups of Cheerwine

1 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the above together just like the cake mix calls for. Be careful opening the Cheerwine! If you are inexperienced with Cheerwine, then you don’t know about its exploding all over the kitchen capabilities and turning everything within a 10’ radius pink! So open it very slowly. Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Put them in the fridge to cool completely.

Icing Ingredients:

1/2 stick of butter room temperature

8 oz. package of cream cheese softened

1 large bag of powdered sugar (8 cup size)

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

1/2 cup Cheerwine

4 tsp. maraschino cherry juice

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla, maraschino cherry juice and Cheerwine and mix. Slowly add 5 cups of powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time until all creamed together. Add more sugar until desired thickness is reached. Sit in the fridge to set and thicken up for a little bit. Ice cupcakes. I put mine in an icing bag with no tip and swirled it around the cupcake. Put cupcakes back in the fridge to harden while youmake the drizzle.

Chocolate Drizzle:

1 square of semi sweet chocolate

1-2 Tbsp. butter

Put both in a bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stir and continue until chocolate is melted. Mix thoroughly. Take cupcakes out the fridge and using a spoon drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes. Top with a maraschino cherry.

My flub for the day: The first time I made the icing I used a whole stick of butter and I just couldn’t get the icing to thicken up and stick to the cupcake. So I wound up using a whole bag of powdered sugar and a good bit from another one. I realized I used way too much butter, the oil in the butter was keeping it from thickening and making it slippery and so was the corn syrup in the cherry juice. So in the recipe above I cut the butter down to 1/2 stick. That should work much better! Or you can leave it with a whole stick of butter and use a ton of sugar and then you’ll have some left over to use another day. The oops icing turned out wonderful anyway and the cupcakes were amazing!Red Velvet Cheerwine Cupcakes

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Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ok, ever since Panera started advertising their chicken noodle bowl, I’ve been dying to try one.  Problem is…

I never have time to get there, and today I had a teeny, tiny stomach bug.  I started craving a chicken noodle bowl and I’ve never had one!  How does that happen?  Really great advertising on their part I’d say!  So I started a little Pinterest research, looked into my pantry and made one using the leftovers I had on hand, like yesterday’s grilled chicken and it was delish!  I still don’t know what Panera’s noodle bowls taste like, and it doesn’t even matter because this was so good!

And the best part, I used what I had on hand and it took around 2o minutes or so.  I didn’t really time it, because it tasted so good, I forgot!  I didn’t measure the seasonings exactly so start small and adjust, being careful to go easy with the oyster and soy sauce. Doesn’t that make you hungry?

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ingredients:

1 pack of ramen noodles (discard flavor packet)

3 or more cups of chicken broth depending on how much broth you want

2 tbsp. finely diced onion

3 baby carrots sliced thin

a small handful of baby spinach with stems removed

1 small thinly sliced pre-cooked chicken breast (mine had been grilled and was sprinkled with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders)

10 very thin julienne

red pepper strips

4 dashes of garlic powder

1 heaping tbsp. oyster sauce

1 -2 tsp. soy sauce (low sodium if you want  control the salt)

a few dashes ground ginger

a dash of pepper  sriracha sauce

Directions:

Pour chicken broth in a pot on high and let boil.  Add onions and peppers and carrots.  Let boil for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Add ramen noodles and stir occasionally.  Add seasonings and stir.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  Everything should blend together.  You should taste the soy sauce/oyster sauce but they should not overpower.  If you really like heat add more sriracha sauce!  I allowed it to cook for about 15 minutes on medium to reduce the broth and let the flavors come together.  When everything has been added and the noodles are done, then add the spinach and let cook until spinach is just wilted.  It’s done!

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Eggs Florentine

Eggs Florentine won’t seem so intimidating anymore!

Today was my first time in the whole world eating these eggs.  I’ve never, ever had Eggs Florentine and man, have I been missing out!  Also, this is  my first time having a Hollandaise sauce.  Before you freak out on me, remember, I’m a Southern girl and down here, we don’t fancy up our eggs too often.  Typically I just scramble, or fry them up,  but I wanted something different.

My twist was based on Bobby Deen’s recipe from his cookbook “From Mama’s Table to Mine”.  Awesome cookbook!  I’m in love!  For his recipe, buy his cookbook!  You won’t regret it!

 

Since I’m a newbie to this and usually the thought of soft, or runny eggs makes me want to run for the hills, I cooked my eggs a little longer than most of you probably do.  I also put mine on a multi-grain bread instead of an English muffin. But it turned out beautiful and it’s super healthy!  I think I’ll have them again!  Blog Signature

Toasted Bbq Ham and Turkey Sandwiches

These toasted bbq ham and turkey sandwiches are so quick and easy and I need to remember to snap a picture of one!

They makes a quick lunch or supper and you can put them together in a matter of minutes. Since you can mix and match the meats and cheese, you can make everyone happy.  My girls will even take a knife and trace a heart or their initials on the top of the sandwich in the butter so they know which one is theirs.  They’re based off a recipe from Kraft.

Ingredients:

Bread ~ Soft white bread, you need just enough for your family

Meats ~ ham, turkey, roast beef

Sliced cheese ~ Provolone or Swiss

Mayonnaise

Your favorite barbeque sauce

butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare your sandwich with mayo, and layer your favorite meat and cheese.  Then add the barbeque sauce and top with the other slice of bread.  Spread a thin amount of butter on the outside of the bread; you must do both slices. Trust me!  Then put sandwiches on a baking sheet and place in the oven.  Cook for about 5 minutes per side.  Be sure to flip them over when the top is golden brown.  Watch carefully so they don’t overcook.  They are done when the cheese is melted and they’re golden brown.

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Simple Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe has taken me almost my whole married life to perfect.  Really.  This is supposed to be so easy that any Southerner should be able to do it in their sleep, but not me.

Give me something hard and it’s no prob but this has kept me up at night and to make it worse, it’s one of my hubby’s favorites.  His great-aunt was amazing at it. But I think I’ve got it!  It’s probably still not perfect, but it’s darn close.  I kept it as simple as I could.  It is warm, comforting and delicious.  Again I started really easy with the seasonings, because I like to adjust as things cook.  This way it becomes your recipe. You can use a whole chicken and the broth from it which would be amazing. But tonight I just had boneless, skinless chicken and it worked just fine.

People also argue over whether to do rolled dumplings or drop dumplings.  I do drop most of the time.  Mainly because it saves a lot of time and I don’t have to get flour everywhere.  There’s no need to argue and debate the type of dumplings, both are amazing!  So no more arguing people!

Broth:

2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 bouillon cube

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 tbsp. butter and 3-4 tablespoons of flour

Dumplings:

2 cups of flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

/4 cup of shortening

1 tsp. butter

3/4 – 1 cup of milk

Directions:

Boil chicken in a large pot covered with water.  Add the seasonings and bouillon cube.  Cook chicken till done.  Then remove chicken and save the broth in the pot.  Shred chicken and add back to the pot with the broth.

a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the dumplings together.  Add the shortening and butter and cut in with a pastry cutter. Work together until it’s evenly mixed, but don’t overwork.  Add in 3/4 cup of the milk and stir gently until you have a nice dough. If it’s too dry add in the rest of the milk.  Too wet add a little bit of flour.  Set to the side and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes.

In a small pan melt butter and add the 1/4 cup of flour.  Allow the flour and butter to cook for a few minutes to get rid of the flour taste.  Mix together adding broth with a whisk until nice and smooth.  Add to broth pot and mix.  I added it about a tablespoon at a time till I got the desired thickness of broth.  I wound up using about 1/2.  Bring pot to a boil.  This is the time to add the soup and adjust seasonings.  I added about 1 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. more pepper and 1/4 tsp. of onion powder.  Adjust till you get the taste you want.

Take dumpling dough and either roll out on a floured surface and cut into thin squares or drop by tiny spoonfuls into the broth.  Every once in a while stir the dumplings very gently while adding them in.  After all dumplings have been added, reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not take lid off!  When dumplings are fluffy in the middle they are done.

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Creamy Southern White Slaw

Creamy Southern White Slaw is one of those things us Southerners can be very territorial about.  It’s not really hard to make, matter of fact, it’s really easy.  But down here every family has their own version.  This one is mine.

It’s so creamy and it goes great on hotdogs, hamburgers, salmon patty burgers and even as a side all by itself.  The one super important thing that you have to know about making slaw is that every time you make it, it will be a little different.  That’s because each head of cabbage has its own unique personality.  Sometimes it sweet, sometimes it’s a little bitter.  So start small with the ingredients and taste it as you go and then make adjustments.  It may take you some time, but you’ll get the hang of it!  This makes enough for about 4 people.

Ingredients

1 head of cabbage (depending on the size you may not need the whole head)

3 heaping tbsp. mayonnaise (I use JFG another thing we Southerners fight about:)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. sugar

Directions

I had a rather large head and only used 1/3 of the cabbage, you may need more or less depending on the size of the cabbage.  Cut off a good chunk and slice the cabbage really thin and then go back and chop/dice it, or use a food processor to shred and chop it for you.  Just be careful not to over do it and turn it into water.  You can slice it or dice it by hand if you like which is what I did, but if I’m doing it for a large crowd, then I’m pulling out the food processor.

Put cabbage in a medium size bowl and add seasonings and then mayonnaise.  Stir well making sure to coat everything and making sure that the mayonnaise is well incorporated.  Taste.  At this point I would be careful.  You can always add more of everything but it’s really hard to take it away.  If it seems dry add a little more mayo. The more you stir, or the more salt you add or the more you allow it to sit, the more moisture that will be drawn out of the cabbage.  So don’t overdo it with the mayo.  If it’s bitter add a little more sugar.

When you think you’ve got it close to how you want it to taste, allow it to sit for a few minutes in the fridge.  You’ll notice that it is a little creamier due to the salt drawing out the moisture.  Stir well again and re-taste.  Adjust the seasonings to your liking.  If you wind up with more cream than you’d like add a little more cabbage. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

It’s just that easy.  Cabbage, sugar, salt, pepper and mayo for a  perfect slaw!

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Southern Style Baked Beans

Nothing says a summer meal like a big batch of Southern style baked beans.  I couldn’t resist making them tonight to go with our Simply Southern Meal in honor of spring and firing up the grill!

Ingredients

4 to 5 slices of bacon cooked, chopped and be sure to reserve about 2 tbsp. of the bacon grease

2 -16oz. cans of pork and beans (I love Van Camps)

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. mustard

1 tbsp. ketchup

1 tbsp. of your favorite barbeque sauce

3 – 4 tbsp. brown sugar

Directions

Cook bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels.  Reserve about 2 tbsp. of the bacon grease.  Chop bacon.  Spray a small bacon dish with Pam and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Pour beans into the dish.  Remove any fat that may be in the beans.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  Depending on the brand of beans you may want it sweeter (add more brown sugar).  If you like it a little more mellow, add a little more onion powder.  Play with it until it’s just the way you want it.  Put in oven for 3ominutes or until bubbling and hot.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating so you don’t burn your tongue!

There you are! A perfect side for the perfect southern meal!  Enjoy!

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