Archive for November, 2010

What is your Comfort Food?

Tonight was a cold, rainy November evening when all that was on my mind was comfort….comfortable clothes, comfortable blankets…and most importantly comfort foods.

My personal comfort foods hold a special place in my heart as it helps tell the story about how I got into cooking.  My love affair with food stems from way back when I was a child on days just like today.  The memories always go back to the woman who got me into cooking in the first place, my late Grandma Beverly Buckner.  She was one special lady and let me tell you this woman knew her way around a kitchen.  She knew her grandchildren well too – how else could you convince a child that cooking is fun?

Well she somehow did that.  On cold days/nights like this, I was sometimes lucky enough to get to go to Grandmas house and we would put on our most comfortable clothes, watch our favorite TV shows and movies and, of course, fix a huge meal that includes the items that are now my comfort foods.  Grandma and I would make Fried Chicken in an Iron Skillet, Chicken Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Green Beans, with Buttered Rolls w/ Jelly.  This is a memory that will live with me forever….Grandma and I cooking our favorite comfort foods together in her kitchen.  And to this day, on cold rainy days like today, I think of my Grandma Buckner and the great memories and times we shared in her kitchen.

Do you have some favorite Comfort Foods?  If so, share the story!


One Cooks Hidden Obsession – Unveiled…

Well, Johnny is the best cook I know.  I am a simple food person, I could happily subside on baked chicken and white rice for the rest of my life – but not because I don’t LIKE good food, I just don’t have a lot of (ok, I don’t have ANY) food creativity.

So each morning, when Johnny sends me the “What should we have for dinner?”  email – I always provide some variation on chicken and white rice (either that or I say “Um, I don’t know, ham sandwiches?”).

Well, as his blogging grows, I felt that I should share with the world his one true love – Hot Box Pizza.  Sure, he loves to take simple pantry ingredients and mix it up into a fabulous concoction – but his heart belongs with Hot Box Pizza.  I believe his current HBP “poison” is the thin crust option topped with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers and a whole lotta other random stuff (ME? I would order extra cheese and call it a day).

To prove my point, I would like to provide photographic evidence.  With each “Big 10” order, they send drinks.  I just was grabbing a regular glass from the cabinet, and counted 20 Hot Box Pizza cups (this does not count what is in the dishwasher, his car, his office…).

Orange, green, purple, blue - we have cups in every color...

My favorite part? When his latest order arrived, he said: “Oh yellow cups, they have a new color for us to collect…”

Sarah, happily married to ReadyToDine

Loaded Potato Soup

I have had a love for Potato Soup that goes way back.  When I was a kid, my family would go camping every year and one of the things the adults would always make would be huge pots of Potato Soup.  From those early years of eating Potato Soup, my love continued to grow, so I started experimenting with recipes and have come up with my favorite.  Recipe is as follows:


Chicken Broth


Sour Cream

Half & Half or Milk

Salt & Pepper

Lots of Potatoes

1/2 lb bacon

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Peel 6-8 large Potatoes and chop so pieces are at a small size that you can handle.  Fill your stock pot with 1 large can of Chicken Broth. Add your Potatoes to boiling Chicken Broth.  Boil them until very soft.  Then add a couple of cups of Half & Half or Milk, a half a cup of Sour Cream or Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, and Garlic to the mixture.  Then I use a hand blender to puree the entire mixture.  It will have a thicker “Soup Like” texture to it at this point.  In a side pot boil another 3-4 Potatoes in the size you like.  Once softened add, these Potatoes to the mixture as these Potatoes will be the chunky part of the soup.  Also cook a few strips of Bacon either in a skillet or in the microwave.  Add 2 Tablespoons of the Bacon Grease to the Soup (I can promise you that this adds a TON of flavor to the soup).  Let soup simmer for a few minutes and cook to your desired thickness and temperature.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste and Serve with Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Crumbles on Top.  This is the perfect Soup for a cold Fall or Winter Day.  Enjoy

Chobani Fruit Flavored Yogurts

As some of you may or may not know, I recently submitted a recipe for my Sweet & Spicy Chicken Salad to Chobani Greek Yogurt online.  Apparently, they enjoyed the recipe, so we started emailing back and forth.  After learning about my ReadyToDine blog, the wonderful people of Chobani decided to send me a complimentary sample pack of all the different varieties in their product offering.  I let them know that I was going to give my 100% honest opinion and they still agreed (if you can believe it).  I have tried all of the Fruit flavored Greek Yogurts and I must admit that I love this product.  One of the places I heard about this product was Mens Health magazine when they did an article about 40 Super Foods.  I am really into health and nutrition, so I was intrigued when I heard how healthy this product was for you.  I am usually not a huge fan of traditional Yogurt, so I was obviously skeptical about the taste of this product.   Well I can tell you that I was completely blown away with this wonderful product that Chobani has to offer.  This Yogurt has a different texture than traditional Yogurt and most importantly is delicious.  Over the past 2 weeks while sampling, I have eaten the Blueberry, Strawberry Banana, Rasberry, Peach, Pomegranate, and Pineapple.  I can honestly tell you that they are all great.  I also realized how superior this product is to others as I sampled a couple other varieties of Greek Yogurt for comparison and Chobani is HANDS DOWN the best!  I strongly suggest that if you want a delicious and healthy supplement to your diet, make the switch to Chobani Greek Yogurt.

Stay tuned as I post some other recipes using this great product!

What would your last meal be?

Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night with your mind racing?  I am guessing probably so.  Well, this happened to me last night and I know it is hard to believe, but my mind was thinking about food.  An odd thought popped into my head.  If I only had one meal to eat before the end of it all, What would that meal be?  I have narrowed the list down to the following items:

Loaded Pizza w/ lots of Dipping Sauces

Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies

Fresh Crab Legs/Lobster w/ Salad (I have a seafood allergy, but it might just be worth it if it is my last meal!)

BBQ Plate (Ribs, Brisket, Pulled Pork) w/ Fries and Slaw

Bacon Cheeseburgers w/ Hot Fries

Filet Mignon w/ Asparagus/Macaroni Cheese

Spaghetti w/ Garlic Bread

Lasagna w/ Salad and Garlic Bread

And the meal that kept popping up in my head was Lasagna w/ Salad and Garlic Bread.  My friend Sarah Smith makes the absolute best Lasagna and I am absolutely craving it.  Maybe that is the reason it keeps popping up in my head.  Hopefully this craving will pass soon!  I am almost to the point of trying to make it myself again!

If you only had one meal left, What would you choose?  Post your comment to ReadyToDine please.  I would love to hear what you would choose.