Thursday, August 28, 2008


Here's an old stand by.  A spaghetti dinner is great for a weeknight meal.  This is my favorite way to do it.


I double the spaghetti sauce and freeze it in batches.  It makes throwing this dinner together a cinch.  And of course you can always use pre-made, frozen garlic bread, but if you're feeling a little wild and crazy, make your own.  

As for the salad, you have to understand that my mom is the queen of fancy salads.  We start every Sunday dinner off with one.  And while we're all enjoying the delectable combination of sweet or savory flavors, my little brother (and by little I mean 6"4, 26 year old man) is grubbin' on his ice berg lettuce, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, croutons and ranch dressing.

So we make fun of him, but the truth is, I'm not scared to recommend a little Garrett's Salad to all of you.  It's pretty good.  And easy.

Except the ice berg lettuce.  Yuck.  Use romaine.  

Paula Dean's Spaghetti Sauce

I love me some Paula Dean's Spaghetti Sauce.  I'll admit I've only tried a couple other recipes, but this is definitely my favorite.  I like to double the recipe and freeze it in batches - so easy!


1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 large onion

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

Two 6-ounce cans tomato paste

One 8-ounce can tomato sauce

 14 ½ - ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 TB Italian seasoning

1 TB 
Worcestershire sauce 
2 TB sugar

1 t salt


Brown the beef and drain off the fat. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic, and sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, 1 cup water, and seasonings. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool. The sauce will keep for several days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Garrett's Salad

This salad is named after Garrett because he exclusively eats salads with the following ingredients.  More or less will not be tolerated. 

Romaine Lettuce
grated cheddar cheese
bacon bits
Ranch dressing    

Toss first four ingredients together.  Top with Ranch dressing.

Garlic Bread

Easy peasy.  Do it once and you're a pro.  If you want to get fancy, throw some parmesan cheese on top before you broil it.

1 loaf of french bread (or any artisan bread)
1/2 c butter, softened to room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced.  (or just use garlic powder if that's all you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice loaf of bread in half.  Set aside.  Mix butter and garlic together in a small bowl.  Spread butter mixture on bread.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Turn oven to broil and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Caramel Popcorn

All right, it was a landslide folks.    Shauri Quinn wins for You Got Served.  Thank you so much for all the extra suggestions.  Maybe some of y'all should steal some titles and jump on the recipe blog bandwagon so I can keep eating well. 

Here is Shauri's well deserved dedication:

Game night: strikes fear in the heart of some, ecstasy in the heart of others.  Game night ranges from the entire family and all of their friends ferociously competing then shamelessly singing and dancing the night away, to just some of the family intensely competing.  And I'm not scared to say that without Shauri, game night, in any of it's forms, would not be the magical experience it is today.  She invites the guests when we're too anti-social; she organizes the games when we're too lazy;  she makes us laugh when we want to fight; she lets us use her yellow prom dress when we can't come up with anything else; and most important of all: she makes the caramel popcorn.  Here's to you  Shauri Shar.   

1 large batch of popcorn (about 1 cup of corn kernels)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cube of butter
1 t baking soda

Add first six carmel ingredients to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Take off heat, stir in baking soda and stir.  Put the popcorn in a paper  grocery bag and slowly add the caramel, mixing with a spoon as you go.  Then lay the popcorn out on wax paper to cool.  (there is enough carmel for one large batch of popcorn)

As Southern as I Get

So you're going to find a lot of Sunday dinners here.  Here's another one.  Oh, I should mention that Famous Dave's Corn Muffins isn't an actual recipe, it's just a link to Famous Dave's because you should drive there and and pick some up.  They're really good.   


Fruit and Feta Green Salad

8 cups assorted greens
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans or almonds

4 T raspberry wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 t pepper
dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 t salt
4 T sugar

Combine salad ingredients in large salad bowl.  Mix together dressing ingredients.  Pour dressing over salad just before serving.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Green Beans Almond

This recipe may not seem like much, but it turns plain old green beans into a little piece of heaven.  Of course, with a 1/4 cup of butter, what wouldn't turn into a little piece of heaven?

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
1/2 t salt
2 t lemon juice
3 cups hot, cooked, drained french style green beans
Cook almonds in butter over low heat until golden; stir occasionally.  remove from heat; add salt and lemon juice.  Pour over green beans and serve. 

Maraschino Cherry Cookies

1 package of chocolate wafers
1 carton of Cool Whip
1 can maraschino cherries

Place a wafer on a cookie sheet.  Drop one dollop of Cool Whip on top of the wafer.  Layer two more times and then top with a maraschino cherry.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator over night.  Wafers should be soft.  Serve.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Delsa Classic

This is my mom's go-to Sunday dinner.  And therefore, my go-to Sunday dinner.  It is delicious and isn't time intensive, which equals the perfect meal.


Strawberry and Candied Pecan Salad

romaine lettuce
strawberries, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced
blue cheese

Combine ingredients and toss.  Serve with poppyseed dressing

*If you don't have time to make the candied pecans, try Honey Roasted Almond Accents

Candied Pecans

1 pkg pecans
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter

On medium heat, melt butter.  Add sugar and nuts.  Cook until the sugar melts.  Pour onto a glass dish and let it harden.  Break apart the nuts.  You can put what you need on the salad and store the rest in a zip lock bag. 

Poppyseed Dressing

This stuff is like magic.  Seriously.  Try it.  

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 t salt
2 T poppy seeds
2 cup salad oil
2 T mustard

Combine ingredients and shake

Flank Steak Marinade

The longer you let this bad boy marinate, the better.  When grilling, I always sear the outside of the steak real good, those crusty burnt parts are the best part.  

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T salad oil
2 T honey
1 T red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 t minced fresh ginger or 1/2 t ground ginger

Mix together.  Marinate 1 large flank steak for several hours with marinade.  Grill steak to your preference.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Slice on the diagonal. 

Asparagus with Blue Cheese

1 lb asparagus
2 t red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 T chives, minced
4 T Blue cheese, crumbled
freshly ground white pepper

Snap ends off asparagus spears.  Fill medium skillet with 1 inch water and bring to a boil.  Add asparagus in single layer and cook until tender.  Drain well and arrange on a serving plate.  Stir together vinegar and oil in a small bowl.  Add blue cheese and chives and mix well.  Pour over hot asparagus.  Season to taste with plenty of white pepper.  Set aside until tepid, then serve.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Frozen Raspberry Delight

2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
1/2 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate fudge sauce, slightly softened
1 quart vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 pint raspberry sherbert, slightly softened

1 (8 oz) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
12 ounces raspberries

In medium bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix well.  Reserve 1/4 cup for topping.  Press remaining crust in 13x9 inch pan.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  

Spread chocolate fudge sauce over crust.  Spoon vanilla ice cream over chocolate.  Place spoonfuls of sherbet randomly over ice cream; swirl gently into ice cream.  spread whipped topping over ice cream sherbet mixture; top with reserved crumbs.  

Cover; freeze 6 hours or overnight.  Let stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes.  Top with raspberries and serve. 

Panini Monday

My dear friend Marianne introduced me to the panini.  And changed my life forever more.  Marianne used to live right across the pond from me.  We had two important things in common: love of food and husbands who were never home for dinner.  This led to many shared meals.  We made dinner for each other at least once a week.  And even better, every week we would try a new sandwich for lunch on "Panini Monday."  Or Panini Tuesday, or Wednesday or Thursday really.  We ate a lot of Paninis.

Then I moved (tears).  But this week I found a new Panini friend:  Elizabeth.  Here is our first attempt - and tribute to Marianne.


Panini Caprese

I can eat these everyday of the week.  They're that good.  They're pretty basic, but if you want that extra something, I recommend fresh mozzarella, the ripest tomato you can find, and Zingerman's Bakehouse Sourdough bread.

any artisan bread 
olive oil
pesto sauce
mozzarella cheese

Preheat panini grill.  Lay out bread, spread bottom with pesto sauce, and layer with tomato and mozzarella.  Place second bread slice on top of sandwich.  Brush both sides of sandwich evenly and generously with olive oil, and grill until cheese is melted and bread is crispy and golden.

Dried Cranberry Salad

The old stand by.  I always have this stuff on hand.

Spinach leaves
dried cranberries
slivered almonds

Toss and serve with Marianne's vinaigrette.

Marianne's Balsamic Vinaigrette

Panini Monday was always best at Marianne's house if for no other reason than when we'd throw together a salad as an after thought, she always had her homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette on hand.  

So she claims he magic of this dressing is that it's different every time.  You have to tweak it the way you like it, but the basics are the following:

equal parts balsamic vinegar and oil, about 1/4 cup each (most people like more olive oil than vinegar, but I agree with Marianne, we like it strong - and it doesn't hurt that it makes it a tad less fattening). 
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Shake it all up and serve. 

Oven Roasted Potatoes

The best part of these potatoes are the crispy burned parts, so if you're going to double this recipe, I suggest using two separate pans so you get the full effect. 

2 lbs potatoes cut into large chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pkg Lipton Oinion Soup Mix

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine in a large zip lock bab.  Shake until potatoes are evenly coated.  Place potatoes in 9x13 inch pan and bake uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Basic Rolls

A word about rolls.  My mom makes excellent ones, and they accompany every Sunday dinner.  She makes them ahead of time and them freezes them before she bakes them so they are ready for her when she needs them.  Nothing can replace these babies.  But if you're just not going to make them, I recommend Sister Schubert's Rolls.  As far as ready to cook freezer rolls go, they are untouchable.  But if you want the real good stuff, here's the recipe:

4 T yeast (4 pkgs) in 1 cup warm water and 2 T sugar
2 c warm milk
2/3 c. shortening
4 t salt
2/3 c sugar 
4 eggs beaten
1 t vanilla
8 rounded cups flour or less (don't make the dough too stiff)

Mix and let stand 20 minutes.  Knead.  Let rise to double.  Roll out.  Cut into circles.  Fold circles in half and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes.   If you want to freeze the rolls after they are on the baking sheet, make sure to take them out of the freezer 3 hours before you want to put them in the oven.