Archive for the ‘My Specialties’ Category

Vegetable Cheese Rice Casserole

Does your family love casseroles?  We are huge casserole people!  We have been big fans of any form of casserole for as long as I can remember.  Both of my grandmothers, mom, aunts, and mother in-law all are great casserole makers which made me start thinking about a good casserole that I could put my own food stamp on. So I began building my own and here is what I came up with……..

Ingredients
White Rice
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Parmesan Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Salt/ Pepper
Chicken Broth
Bread crumbs
Garlic

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Next add a lot of chopped broccoli and cauliflower until they start to become tender.  Add appropriate amount of white rice until mixture thickens. Next add a can of cream of chicken soup, and a bunch of your favorite cheeses (I use parmesan and cheddar).  Lastly add garlic and salt/pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into baking dish and cover with more cheese and lastly bread crumbs. Bake an additional 25 mins at 375. After baking, let casserole sit for 10 to let set up.

Hopefully my take on this tasty side dish can make it on your table. I can tell you that my wife highly recommends it! Enjoy!

Bacon wrapped Meatloaf

When you think of comfort food, what do you think of?  To me, I think of down home southern style cooking.  And when I think of down home southern style cooking, I think of thick cut heartly meatloaf.  That was my most recent creation that I tried.  Below is what I came up with. 

Ingredients

2-3 lbs Ground Beef/Chuck/Sirloin

 1 Onion

1 Fresh Japaneo

1 Green Pepper

1-2 Tomatos

Garlic

Salt Pepper

1 Box of Chicken in a Biscuit Crackers

2-3 Eggs

Ketchup

Bacon

Salt/Pepper

In a mixing bowl combine meat, eggs, diced onion/green pepper/jalapeno/large clove garlic/tomato/salt/pepper and mix together with your hands.  Then add 1/2 to 3/4 of a box of smashed chicken in a biscuit crackers.  I have used all different kinds of crackers in meatloaf, and these seem to pack the most flavor in them so I like to use them.  Next add 1 cup or so of ketchup and mix all ingredients together with you hands.  Once everything is evenly distributed, I like to make 2 even meatloafs.  Once made, I set the loafs on a bed of either fruit or vegetables so the fat can render off the meat and drain into the pan.  You do not want your meatloaf sitting in its own fat drippings.  This step also gives some added flavor to the meatloaf.  The last and most important step, I put strips of bacon over the top of the meatloafs for the last added layer of flavor.  

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.   Once heated up, put loafs in and bake for 45 minutes – 1- hr.  After this, I drizzle ketchup all over the of the meatloaf and put back in the oven for another 30 mins to finish off cooking.   Let sit for 15 minutes to let juices redistribute.  Cut and serve.   Enjoy

Spicy Breakfast Potatoes w/ Chorizo and Egg

While laying in bed last night I was thinking that a huge breakfast sounded incredible.  I went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up on a lot of my favorites, so my options were open.  Well this morning when I woke up, I woke up with Mexican themed breakfast on my mind.  When I think of Mexican themed breakfast, I turn for the chorizo.  So this recipe is called Spicy Breakfast Potatoes w/ Chorizo and Egg

Ingredients

Chorizo

Eggs

New Potatoes/Yukon Gold Potatoes

Garlic

Onion

Fresh Jalapeno

Salt Pepper

Avacado

Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt

Bring water to a boil and boil your favorite potato until it is about 3/4 done cooking.  This will vary depending on the size of the potato.  A good trick is to pre-boil some potatoes and put them in the fridge, so you will have some available at all times.  Whether you pre-boil them or boil them that day, cube the potatoes to a size of your liking.

In a skillet (cast iron if you have it), brown your favorite style of chorizo sausage.  I like spicy foods, so I go with hot chorizo.  When sausage is done cooking, strain to a bowl and set to the side.  Leave the sausage drippings in the pan, as we will be using this instead of oil to cook with.  In this skillet, add diced onion, fresh jalapeno, and garlic.  Let this simmer on medium heat until the onion starts to carmelize.  Add potatoes to the mixture and lightly toss in with the onion/garlic/jalapeno.  (These potatoes are tender, and you dont want to lose integrity of potatoes).  Once they are coated, let them cook for a while.  We want that nice crust on these potatoes.  After a good 10 minutes, check to make sure they are carmelizing, and fold over to get that crust on the other side.  Add Salt and Pepper to you liking.

In a side skillet, cook some eggs to sunny side up.  Once finished set to the side and now it is time to start assembling breakfast

Start with a bed of the potatoes, top with 2-3 sunny side up eggs, then sprinkle with the cooked chorizo, then your favorite cheese.  I have found that queso fresco or goat cheese are really good on a dish like this.  I also like to top this with a few slices of avacado, and a small dab of sour cream or greek yogurt.  I can promise you this dish packs a huge punch of flavor that will start any weekend day off great.  Enjoy

Tasty Tip – Spicy Condiments

For a tasty spin on normal sour cream/greek yogurt/mayo, add some of your favorite hot sauce to it and mix in well to give the sour cream/yogurt/mayo that extra tasty zing you want!

Ultimate Nachos

Well the NFL playoffs are here again and for us that means lots of fun get togethers with friends and family.  Tonight we are going to my brothers place for an Ultimate Nacho feast.  There is nothing fancy about Ultimate Nachos, but it always seems to satisfy all party-goers.  I make some slight changes to the normal Nacho Bar to amp up the flavor and make it more fun!

Ingredients

2-3 lbs Lean Ground Beef

Assorted Bell Peppers

Onion

Fresh Jalapenos

Rotel Tomatoes

Jar of Pepperoncinis

Shredded Cheese

Sour Cream

Avacado

Lime Juice/Limes

Garlic

Salsa

Tortilla Chips/Tortillas

First brown ground beef w/ diced onion in the meat.  I usually am not crazy about onions in general, but when they are cooked with ground beef, they give the beef some nice flavor.  Salt and pepper ground beef/onion mixture to taste.  After meat is done cooking, drain and put into the crock pot.  Add to this a whole jar of pepperoncinis including the juice as well as diced bell peppers, jalapenos, one packet of dry Italian dressing and one packet taco seasoning.  For the liquid, you can use beer, broth or water.  It does not really matter as the spices and peppers are going to do the seasoning.  Mix all ingredients together and turn crock pot on low.  Let this mixture come together for 4 hrs or so and it will be packed with flavor.

In a seperate bowl take the meat out of the avacados, add the juice of 1/2 of a lime, garlic, and large scoop of your favorite salsa.  You can cilantro to this, but I am personally not a big fan of cilantro, so I leave this out.  Blend this mixture well with a fork.  This makes for the perfect stirring tool because it allows chunks of avacado to remain in the guacamole.  When guacamole is to your desired consistency, put in fridge to chill.

Serve meat mixture with chips or tortillas with shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tomotoes, and hot sauce.

Enjoy

With the playoffs on this weekend.  What are you making?

Ultimate VELVEETA Nachos recipe

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!

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:

Ingredients:

Chicken Broth

Garlic

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