Looking Back on 2020

As 2020 is coming to a close (thank goodness) and hopefully 2021 will be a much better year, I wanted to take a weee look back and say thank you. Yes, you! Thank you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being a part of my food blogging journey that I began almost 1 year ago…..January 13 to be exact. My very first post was my Cheese Stuffed Burgers.

I remember I was excited to be starting a new journey and nervous that I was going to get it all wrong, but I learned along the way. I learned to just be myself and share what I enjoy most. Here is a look back at some of my favorite moments and some of yours as well it seems (in no certain order).

  1. Crash Course on What is Freezer Safe After Surviving The Hunger Games aka Food Shopping:

When things came to a screeching halt, like many of you, I only went out for essentials. Who knew something as simple as grocery shopping would turn into quite the adventure to say the least. Just to find meat, much less steak for a nice steak dinner was nearly impossible. The carnivore in me was ecstatic to be able to come across said steak, by accident really, but as in my post for a Ribeye Steak Dinner I got to share one of my food loves.

We also had to deal with the bare isles in the grocery stores. No toilette paper became the norm, no cooking oil…odd but ok, but what did you do when you scored 20 lbs. of butter? Ok, so maybe not that much, but I had some ask if milk, butter and other items could be frozen. So alas I shared my experience on what could be frozen in my post Surviving Thunderdome.

I recently came across this on Amazon.

These silicone stashers bags replace zip top bags. These are great for freezing and I use a lot of freezer zip top bags so I thought it would be good to try.

I got the 1/2 gallon size. I’ll be honest with you, they are expensive so I bought mine when they were on sale. I love it. I’m hoping to get another one when they go on sale again.

2. Anniversary Dinner and the I-Don’t-Know-Whatchamacall -It:

I got to share mine and hubby’s at home anniversary dinner in my post Anniversary Dinner and a Tasty Mystery Delight

I still have no clue what that delicious, crunchy delight was but I still dream of it *sigh*.

3. You Really Like Breakfast Sandwiches

Apparently most of you share my love of breakfast foods. When I looked back to do this post, I realized that the top two posts were the Cheesy Bacon Hash Brown Waffles Topped with a Fried Egg

And the Ham, Cheese and Hash Brown Breakfast Sandwich with an Over Easy Egg Those are some of my favorites as well.

4. The Baking Challenge and I Did Not Burn Down My Kitchen

I accepted a dessert challenge and baked a BChocolate Pudding Cake. Baking is not my thing as I shared with you in my The Christmas Cake Disaster Of ’93

I have to say, I was proud of myself that this cake turned out really well and no pot holders were harmed.

5. Last But Never Least

Lastly, I can not tell you all that have stopped by and continued to read my little food blog how grateful I am. This has helped me stay sane to say the least, through this year. I have made friends here and also from following some of you on your own blogs. I feel truly blessed. As the new year rolls in, I wish all of you happiness, good health, and that we continue to share the things that bring family, friends and acquaintances together…. the love of food. May our journey continue and here’s to a new year!

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs aren’t just for the Holidays, but if you need a last minute appetizer or a side these make a very tasty addition. These have the creaminess of mayonnaise, with a hint of mustard, celery and dill. Feel free to add any other tasty ingredients as well.

Here’s what you need:

*6 eggs

*1/4 C Mayo plus additional if needed.

*1 tsp. mustard of more to taste

*salt to taste

*1 tsp. dried dill weed or more to taste

*1/2 tsp celery seed or more to taste

*paprika for garnish

Place eggs in a small pot and fill with warm water.

Bring to a gentle boil, cover and remove from the heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Drain and fill with cold water, let sit for about 5 minutes or until eggs are cool enough to handle. Peel shells under running water. I find this helps remove the shells easier.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the yolk and place into a food processor. Set aside the whites to fill later.

You can mix this by hand, but I find it easier and you get a creamier consistency when blended in a food processor. If mixing by hand, with a fork, break up the yolks until it resembles the consistency of sand.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for the paprika.

Pulse until smooth scrapping down the sides if needed while mixing. Taste and add any more of the ingredients if needed.

Spoon the mixture into a ziplock bag and cut one of the corner tips.

This makes filling the eggs easier. Slowly fill the eggs with the yolk mixture.

Sprinkle with paprika to garnish.

Serve as an appetizer or a side.

Nina’s Baked Mac and Cheese

I wanted to share with you another side dish idea for Thanksgiving. This was my grandmother’s go to mac and cheese. She was always asked to bring her mac and cheese to our family gatherings. She would set it down right in front of everyone and declare ” I’m sure I missed something and it may not be any good.” Of course by the time she finished that sentence the dish would be half gone. I think deep down she knew she had us right when she came walking in with her casserole dish and the scent of cheese wafting through the air. She never wrote down her recipe for her mac and cheese, but I had watched her make it so many times that when she passed away, I had to remember what exactly she put into it. I will confess, it took several attempts before it tasted like hers. A little side fact about my grandmother, when I was little she wanted me to call her Nana, but nope, I always had to be different and instead called her Nina. So from then on she became my Nina. As I have mentioned before, she loved to cook and she was also one who inspired me to cook as well as my mom and dad. Whenever I make this mac and cheese for family or just for hubby and I, I always think of her.

This mac and cheese is more like a mac and cheese pie. You will see plenty versions of this southern side dish at family and church gatherings. It’s layered with noodles and lots of cheese then baked so all of that comes together in one glorious, cheesy goodness…. the ultimate comfort food.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb elbow macaroni

*2 cups evaporated milk

*1 egg

*1/2 tsp. dry mustard

*pinch of nutmeg

*1/2 tsp. salt, divided

*1/2 stick of butter, cut into small cubes

*3 cups shredded cheddar cheese; I recommend shredding your own cheese and do not buy the kind that is pre shredded in a bag. Those have anti- caking agents so the cheese will not melt as well.

Pre heat oven to 350°.

Boil noodles in salted water one minute less than package directions; drain and set aside.

Whisk together evaporated milk, egg, dry mustard and nutmeg; set aside.

Spray a large casserole dish with no stick spray.

Layer some of the noodles on the bottom of the casserole dish and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of the salt; add some of the cheese on top of the noodles. Place some of the butter cubes on top of the cheese. Add another layer of noodles and the rest of the salt, then top with the remaining cheese; scatter the remaining butter cubes on top.

Pour the milk and egg mixture evenly over the noodles and cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes then uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Let it sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Oven Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. I wanted to share my oven roasted boneless turkey breast that I made 2 years ago and I will be making again this year. I actually now prefer to cook a boneless turkey breast instead of the whole turkey because it takes less time and less fuss to cook, but is juicy and full of flavor. Let’s face it, we’ve all been thru enough this year and do not need the added stress, I mean really, raise hands if you have at one time almost dropped one of those huge, heavy turkeys while trying to get it into the roasting pan. Those suckers can be quiet slippery. I know this holiday will probably be different for a lot of us, myself included, so why not make it easier, but still a meal to remember.

Here’s what you need:

*boneless turkey breast; mine was 5 lbs.

*1 stick of softened butter; I used salted

*1Tbs olive oil

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 Tbs. lemon juice, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried rosemary, or more to taste

*1 1/2 tsp. dried sage, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried Thyme, or more to taste

*1/4 tsp. salt (optional)

*1/4 cup white wine

*3/4 cup chicken stock; I use Better than Bullion

Preheat oven to 325°

Spray a roasting rack with no stick spray.

Place the turkey, skin side up onto the roasting rack in a roasting pan.

In a bowl, mix butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice ,rosemary, sage, thyme and salt.

Rub the butter mixture all over the skin and under the skin.

Pour the wine and chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and has an internal temperature of 165. (about 20 minutes per pound) Check the turkey after 1 hour, if the skin is becoming too brown, cover loosely with foil.

Remove from the oven and cover the pan with foil and rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!