Saturday, August 21, 2010

Job Well Done

Last night I was driving home and I was already feeling lonely. Have you ever just had that lonesome feeling and don’t know why? My husband calls it the Hank Williams Sr. syndrome. I did not have any reason to be feeling lonely, I had a great first day back at work, it was wonderful seeing all my friends at work and the halls were buzzing with excitement for our returning students. I had spent a great evening with my folks and had some good home cooking – so I really didn’t have any reason at all for feeling blue. Then as I rounded a familiar curve I saw them…slow down funeral. Mr. Leon Cabe had passed away. His yard was full of cars and a soft yellow glow came from inside the house where I knew there was probably a mix of emotions going on. He had been sick for some time but that had not stopped him from being outside.

I never knew the man, I only knew of him. My husband’s family knew him and all spoke highly of him. I had heard and had pointed out to me over my few short years in Franklin, the fields that once were planted by Mr. Cabe. Acers and acres of them. Those fields now only grow hay for the cutting.

Like I said my only personal interaction with Mr. Cabe was the times I would pass him on the road in the cool of the morning or late into the evening. But I liked seeing him walking on the road and I would wave-sometimes he would wave back and sometimes not. I admired him if you will, because of his legacy of growing big crops. That says something about a man or woman. I think there is character in that.

I find it ironic that he waited until the end of the planting and harvest season to make his next journey. I couldn’t help but smile as I passed his house where I would no longer see him walking past, that God would welcome him home and say, “Good work my faithful son, come in and rest awhile”.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How many of you remember going to an elder’s house when you were young and seeing a big chocolate cake ready for the taking? It seems that there was always one at a church supper or a homecoming. Golden layers of delight all covered in a rich chocolate icing (nobody called it frosting then).

That was the inspiration for this cake and I combined several old traditions into one amazing cake all from scratch. The icing is the old fashioned kind that you may remember as boiled frosting- the golden layers are tradition but I made them smaller and more of them like the applesauce stack cake- Give it a try I bet you will love it.

Golden Layer Cake with Chocolate Icing

1 cup unsalted butter

5 eggs

1 cup whole milk

2 cups sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

Let butter, eggs, and milk stand at room temp.

Preheat oven 350

Grease and flour 8 or 9 inch cake pans (you will need 6 or 7 layers)

In large bowl beat butter on high for 30 seconds

Gradually add in sugar-beating well

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition

Beat in salt and vanilla

Combine flour and baking powder

Alternately add with milk to butter mixture

Spread batter into prepared pans (approximately 1 cup per pan)

Bake 15 min or until cake pulls away from sides of pan

Cool in pans for 5 minutes

Remove from pan and cool completely

Chocolate Icing

5 cups of sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp kosher salt

½ cup butter

1 12 oz can evaporated milk

½ cup whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and cook over med heat- bring to a boil

Boil gently for 4 minutes

Reduce heat and if you have a candy thermometer cook to 230 degrees about 15 – 20 minutes

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla

Allow to cool

Icing will be pourable

Assemble cake- pour icing between each layer letting excess drip over sides of each layer until completed.

This casserole was a taste sensation- my family loved it and I am going to put it on the Christmas brunch list- served with the peach salsa is perfect to drizzle on each bite.

Sausage, egg, cheese and grit casserole

1 cup quick cook grits

4 cups water

3 eggs

1 pound of sausage cooked and drained

1 red pepper

1 med onion

2 cups cheddar cheese

½ tsp salt

Cook sausage and drain- set aside

Cook grits in water about 5 minutes

Sauté pepper and onions until tender

Combine sausage, peppers, and onions then add to grit mixture

Beat eggs and add in stir to combine

Stir in 1 cup of cheese

Pour into greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheese- bake for 30 minutes 350 – 400 or until middle is set

Allow to set for 10 minutes

Peach Salsa

4 ripe peaches

1 clove garlic

½ fresh lime squeezed

Cilantro (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Cumin (1/2 tsp)

Combine and allow to chill

Serve with casserole

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to School Dinner ideas

It has been a while and I must admit I sure have missed doing this blog. I love sharing ideas and all the while creating a memory for my kids. So today I have two great recipes to share with you and photos of my other than cooking creative outlet.

The recipes are two that I have tested and they are delish. I am sharing them not only because they are so good and easy to make but also because they freeze well. With school beginning back, I always look for good tasting and good quality foods that I can fix for my family after a day at school for all of us. I do not have a photograph of these recipes but I highly recommend that you try them.

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

• 1/2 cup ketchup

• 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

• 3/4 cup milk

• 2 eggs

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

• 3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.

2. Combine all ingredients and place in loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

If you are freezing it – cool in pan and then remove and wrap in clear plastic wrap- then foil and freeze

When serving – allow to thaw – place back in loaf pan and heat through at 350 – combine ketchup and sweet baby rays raspberry chipotle barbeque sauce and top meatloaf – bake for additional 10 minutes- really good

I like to do this when I find ground beef on sale and double the recipe

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

1 lg onion chopped

1 lg green bell pepper chopped

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can diced tomato and green chilies

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

12 6-in corn tortillas

1 8 oz block cheddar cheese shredded

Sauté onion and pepper until tender

Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients-remove from heat

Tear tortillas into 1 inch pieces, layer one third of tortilla pieces in 13 x 9 pan coated with spray- top with one-third chicken mixture and one-third of cheese- repeat layers twice

If freezing – wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer

Allow to thaw- bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly

With the King Ranch Chicken Casserole I serve refried beans topped with salsa and cheese, I also serve yellow rice with cheese melted on top and sprinkled with fresh cucumber and tomatoes. I highly recommend a rice cooker- I bought mine for 13.00 (Black and Decker) Great for doing rice – put in all ingredients and let it cook for about 20 minutes

For the meatloaf – I bake small potatoes the night before and then slice them in half top with real bacon bits and cheese – pop them into the oven while the meatloaf is cooking – very delish. I also serve sugar snap peas that you can steam in the bag – open them up and sprinkle some real bacon bits on them.

Both of these meals taste great and feed a family – they do not cost lots of money – and can be fixed quickly after a long day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Amazing Fish you need to try it

Orange Roughy in Puff Pastry with Coconut Milk Crab Cream Sauce

4 Orange Rough Filets each about the size of a deck of cards

2 sheets of puff pastry



1- 2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Fresh dill

1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water (egg wash)


½ of a 14 oz. can of coconut milk

4 oz cream cheese

1 small can of white crab meat

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped

½ teaspoon of salt

Sear fish filets in butter and remove from pan

Cut each pastry sheet into 4 triangles

Drizzle lemon juice on filets

Place one filet on one triangle of pastry

Salt and pepper to taste

Top with fresh dill sprig

Place another triangle on top of filet and seal edges

Place in greased baking pan and brush with egg wash

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown


Melt butter in sauce pan

Add in coconut milk and cream cheese

Stir until combined

Add in crab meat that has been drained

Stir in lemon juice and salt

Pour sauce over puffed pastry and enjoy


Perogies (feta and spinach) with tomatoes, onions, garlic

Cook Perogies according to package directions

Melt butter (1/2 stick of butter) add 1 onion sliced – cook until tender

Chop fresh tomatoes and add to onion mixture

Crush a clove of garlic and add to mixture

Pour over perogies

Jasmine Rice

Cook rice and then stir in the remaining coconut milk

Top with fresh herbs of your choice