My Food Journey To England Pt2

Pigs In A Blanket

I simply could not turn down the chance to make these, it has bacon after all. How can it not be good.

I have made my share of the U.S. version, which is sausages wrapped in some sort of dough like biscuit dough or croissant dough. I’ve even had them with hot dogs instead of sausages, but never just the sausage wrapped in bacon and baked to a crispy perfection. These were sinfully good. It was very hard not to eat the whole tray.

Pigs in a blanket are traditionally served as a side with a Christmas turkey dinner. These are great also with a roasted chicken or even as an appetizer for New Year’s.

Here’s how you make them…..just in time for Christmas lunch or dinner:

*8 to 12 slices of bacon

*cocktail sausages

*preheat the oven to 400°

Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray or line with parchment paper; set aside.

Cut each slice of bacon in half.

Place one of the sausages on one end of the bacon slice.

Wrap the bacon around the sausage.

Place on the baking sheet seam side down.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is as crispy as you prefer.

*Note* These can be made ahead of time. Just place on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Remove the plastic wrap when ready to bake.

Enjoy!

The Journey Continues

The Journey Continues to

England

Part One

For this country I chose two little dishes, Yorkshire Pudding and Pigs in a Blanket.

The journey to this country is special to me. Ever since I was a little girl and discovered a little sci-fi British show called Doctor Who (ok not so little), I have been drawn to our friends across the pond. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I would actually make friends and meet with some wonderful people from there via online and in person. One in particular helped me immensely in trying to decide what delicious foods I should discover from here. Liz has been a friend for several years. We met online and later I had the pleasure of meeting her in person (wave Liz). If it were not for her and another in particular (yes, you too Ali my friend, I would never forget you.) I would not have met my hubby and had some memorable times that I will always cherish. Those were indeed some of the best times. But that is another story of a group of wonderful people, that although we may not chat everyday, I still consider them as my life long friends.

As I said before I have been drawn to this country, the history, the people, the magnificent shows, and yes, as a child I would even try the accent.

I really hope that I did these two dishes justice. I hope Liz and the UK FoodTribers at my home away from home, FoodTribe, think so at least. So let’s begin with the first one…the one that when I looked through the oven door and saw that those little golden delights had poofed up (not sure if that’s the correct term but hey, it was a proud moment) I did let out a joyous yell.

Yorkshire Pudding

I will confess, for the longest time I thought Yorkshire pudding was…well…a pudding. It wasn’t until I started watching British cooking shows that I found out it is pretty similar to popovers. Yorkshire puddings are commonly a side dish made from a batter of eggs, flour, milk or water and cooked in a bit of oil or beef fat. The first ever recipe for this was in a book titled The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737. It was listed as a dripping pudding. Wheat flour began to come into common use for making cakes and puddings. Cooks in the north of England had begun baking batter puddings while their meat roasted to make use of the fat that in the dripping pan. It was later published in 1747 in the book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse with the name Yorkshire Pudding. It was she who renamed the original version. Originally the Yorkshire pudding was served with gravy as a first course to help fill the appetites so diners would not eat so much of the more expensive meat.

Today Yorkshire pudding is still as popular as ever. It still mainly accompanies a Sunday roast dinner. It can be served as a whole in a cast iron type pan or baked in individual tins and is still served with gravy. There is also the ever popular Toad in the Hole which is roasted sausages enveloped in a giant, crispy Yorkshire pudding.

I opted to do individual ones baked in muffin tins. The key to making a successful pudding is letting the batter rest and, as Liz warned, getting the oil very hot before adding the batter. I will admit, I was really skeptical that mine would come out right the first time, but as I stated earlier, those babies did indeed rise. The outside was a nice crispy shell while the inside was tender and moist with an eggy texture. I can see why these are still popular to this day.

Here’s how you can make a Yorkshire Pudding:

*3/4 cups all-purpose flour

*1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

*3/4 cups milk

*pan drippings from a roast or canola oil; enough for 1 tsp in each muffin tin

In a bowl, sift together the flour and the salt.

In another bowl add in the eggs and the milk.

whisk until well combined.

Slowly add the flour to the egg and milk mixture.

Whisk until the batter is smooth.

Let the batter rest for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 450°

Pour in 1 tsp. of drippings from a roast or any other meat drippings you can save in each cup of the muffin tin. I used drippings from some bacon I had cooked earlier. If you do not have any meat drippings you can use oil such as canola, although the puddings will not be as flavorful, but they will still be mighty tasty.

Place the tin in the oven until the drippings are hot.

Take out of the oven and fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full with the batter.

You should see the batter start to bubble as soon as it hits the liquid.

Bake until the puddings have puffed up about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

You can store leftovers and reheat in a toaster oven. They also can be frozen in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Enjoy!

Don’t worry, part two of my English food journey featuring pigs in a blanket will be posted soon. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Mashed Potato Muffins

Yes folks we are once again on the topic of one of my favorite comfort foods….mashed potatoes. I always seem to make way too many, but it’s better to have more than enough than not enough right? These little gems are great for using up any leftover mashed potatoes that you have. It turns something that is already delicious….like my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes into something swoon worthy. Seriously, I had to step away from these because I could not stop eating them. Not only does it have your awesome mashed potatoes, but it is mixed with some smoky bacon, cheddar and Colby Jack cheese and chives. These are great as a side or even as a meal all by it’s self.

Here’s what you need:

*cold mashed potatoes; I used my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes but you can use your own. I don’t really recommend using instant because it does not seem to hold up as well.

*1 beaten egg; if you have more than 2 cups of potatoes use 2 eggs.

*1 cup shredded cheese per 2 cups of mashed potatoes (if you have 3 cups mashed potatoes use 2 cup etc.) + more for the top; I used cheddar and Colby Jack but you can use any kind that you prefer

* 5 slices of bacon cooked and crumbles; if you have more than 2 cups of potatoes you may want to use more

*1 1/2 Tbsp. or more dried chives or 2 Tbsp. fresh chives

*salt and pepper to taste if needed

Preheat oven to 400°

Place cold mashed potatoes in a bowl and add in rest of the ingredients. Make sure you taste the potatoes before adding in the beaten egg to see if you will need to add any salt or pepper.

Mix all of the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Spray a muffin tin with no stick spray.

Fill the muffin tins to the top with the mashed potato mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden.

Sprinkle the tops with more of the cheese.

Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve with butter or sour cream.

Enjoy!

Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes are not skinny by any means. These are the indulgent mashed potatoes that I’m always asked to bring to family gatherings or put on the table when friends come over for a down home dinner. They are buttery….yes, there’s a whole pound of butter in there….a cross between creamy with just a few tiny pieces of potato to satisfy those who love a few lumps or two in their mash and seasoned to perfection. These are indeed mashed, but then they are whipped to result in that perfect texture.

Growing up my mom and my grandmother made mashed potatoes from scratch, but they not only mashed them a bit, they would pull out the hand mixer. They would mix together all of those wonderful, indulgent ingredients until everything was just right. For years I always thought that’s how everyone made “mashed” potatoes. It wasn’t until much later that I learned about instant potatoes. I’m not knocking instant potatoes in any way. I myself have made them and there are some pretty tasty ones out there. But there is something comforting about the process of making them from scratch, not to mention the taste. It always makes me think of my mom and my grandmother in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite side dishes, ok not just as a side. I could grab a spoon and a bowl full and I’d be happy with that as my main meal.

Because they are so indulgent, and yes a little more time consuming, I don’t make them as often and, well, maybe because my hubby is not a mashed potato lover. I still shake my head in wonderment as to how someone can not like mashed potatoes? That being said, with Thanksgiving behind us and the holidays nearing, he knows I have been and will be making and eating my share of these. I better get out my stretchy pants. So with spoon or fork in hand…which ever you prefer…. here is how you can make these utterly delicious mashed potatoes.

On a side note, I know when I mention pulling out the hand mixer for the potatoes, some will gasp and some might be a tad appalled. It is true, if you over mix them, they will turn rather glutenous, but I promise, if you take care these will be a winner for you as well.

*3 lb or more potatoes; I like to use russet; peeled and cut into cubes.

*1 Tbsp. salt for the cooking water + more to taste in the potatoes

*pepper to taste

*1/2 to 1 lb of good quality butter

*1 to 2 cups evaporated milk; warmed; I start out with a cup and add more if needed

*fresh or dried parsley

Place the potatoes in a large pot.

Fill with water until the potatoes are covered and add the 1 Tbsp. of salt.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.

Drain well.

I learned the hard way that if they are not drained of all the cooking water, you do not get a nice consistency in the end.

On a side note, no, there is nothing wrong with your eyes, the potatoes were still steaming when I dumped them into the colander and kept blurring up the picture.

Place the potatoes into a large, mixer proof bowl and add salt and pepper.

Add in some of the butter and with a potato masher, begin mashing the potatoes.

Slowly add in some of the milk about 1/4 of a cup and continue mashing until most of the larger chunks are broken down.

With a hand mixer set on one of the lower speeds, begin to incorporate the butter and the milk.

Start adding in more butter, salt and pepper. Slowly add in more milk until you get the texture that you want. Do not pour in all of the milk at once or you may end up with potato soup. Yes, I have done that as well. Keep tasting and adding more butter, salt and pepper until the taste is to your liking. Sprinkle in the parsley and mix just enough to blend it into the potatoes. Be careful not to over mix. Once I reach the desired texture, I bring out the wooden spoon to stir in more butter, salt or pepper if needed.

Serve warm and Enjoy!

Dad’s Cheese Potatoes

These little slices of cheesy potatoes bring back so many memories for me. My dad was always trying to invent new recipes by putting together what he knew best. They were usually something simple and didn’t take much time, but they would come out really tasty. These potatoes was something he came up with as a side dish when he grilled bbq chicken or sometimes even steaks. Whenever I make these, I can see my dad in the kitchen slicing potatoes and putting these together while running back and forth outside to man the grill.

I knew his recipe by heart because he’d make them so many times and I would help him slice the potatoes or shred the cheese. Recently I was going thru my old recipe box. It contains so many recipes that my mom, dad and me had kept over the years. Most were just written down on those little recipe index cards that you would find many moons ago. I came across the one that my dad jotted down for these potatoes.

You know that feeling you get when you see something written by someone that you have lost a while ago. It’s that warm sensation….like a hug from that person, but yet you still feel the tug of the heart strings because after all the years that pass, you still miss them like it was yesterday. But it still makes you smile because it brings back so many wonderful memories. We do share memories through food so I wanted to share this as well. Of course over the years I have tweaked it a bit. I know if dad were here, he would probably be tweaking them again with me.

These little round, slices of potatoes are covered in cheese and topped with bacon. They make a great side dish for BBQ chicken, steak, roasted chicken or just about anything else that you might crave something simple, but packs great flavor.

Here’s what you need:

*Potatoes cut into 1/2 inch rounds; these can be peeled or unpeeled, I leave the skin on; 1 large potato usually makes about 2 servings

*1 TBS butter melted

*1 TBS canola oil

*1 tsp. onion powder or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder or more to taste

*1 tsp. salt

*1/4 tsp. sweet paprika or more to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*bacon; I use 2 strips of bacon per potato

*shredded cheese; I used sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 400° (I know my dad’s original recipe card shows 375° but I have found that 400° works best)

In a cast iron pan, cook bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside. Wipe out the excess bacon fat but leave a small amount in the pan.

As you can see I did not take any pictures of the bacon, I think I was just so hungry and enthralled by the smell that I forgot. So just picture the bacon cooking here —–>

While the bacon is cooking, mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika and pepper; set aside.

Pour in the canola oil and brush the oil all over the bottom of the pan.

Place the sliced potatoes in the pan leaving a small space between each slice if possible. This will make getting the potatoes out of the pan easier.

Brush the tops of the potato slices with the melted butter.

Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the potatoes.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Check during cooking time to see if the potatoes appear to be drying out too much or the season mixture is getting too done, if so brush with a little more butter and continue cooking.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese generously over the potatoes and top with the crumbled bacon.

Continue cooking a few minutes more until cheese is melted.

Serve as a side or you can even do what I’ve been known to do a few times, start eating them right out of the pan. I know, I have no self control at times but it’s worth every cheesy bite.

Enjoy!

Air Fryer Corn on the Cob with Smoky Parmesan Cilantro Butter

One thing I love about summer is getting fresh corn. My step dad scored well with some right out of the garden….a friend’s garden at any rate… and passed some of that delicious bounty on to us. At first I was going to do the normal salt and butter and that’s always good too, but this corn already has such a great, sweet flavor that I wanted to add a little something to it to make it extra special. My second thought was I really wanted to grill the corn, but it’s been so hot here in the south that the thought of standing outside in the heat over a hot grill really didn’t thrill me. So what is a girl to do, but turn to the air fryer. I don’t know if you have ever cooked corn in an air fryer…. it was my first time…but if you can’t grill it, the air fryer is defiantly the next best thing.

This corn turned out really tasty. It had a few light charred bits that really gives it that grilled taste and adding the smoky parmesan cilantro butter….oh my! It really adds so much to an already great tasting corn. The butter takes on the subtle flavor of the paprika and cilantro, then you get the slight nutty taste of the parmesan and a little heat…not too much mind you unless you want more….from the chili. The hint of lime really adds so much to it as well. Don’t shy away from the mayonnaise, it adds a nice silky texture without tasting…well…like mayonnaise.

We had this paired with homemade cheese burgers. I think hubby and I ate more of this corn than we did the burgers.

If you don’t have an air fryer, don’t fret, this will still taste just as amazing even if cooked on the grill, boiled or even in cooked in the microwave. Just slather on that smoky parmesan butter at the end to make your taste buds sing.

I also have included below not only air fryer directions, but other methods as well.

Here’s what you need:

*1/4 cup softened butter
*1 TBS mayonnaise
*1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
*1 tsp. dried cilantro or 1 TBS fresh cilantro plus more for garnish; I used dried because it seemed to work better for this
*1 1/2 TBS grated parmesan cheese
*1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder
*1 tsp. lime juice
*olive oil or canola oil; you can omit this if you are not cooking the corn in the air fryer or on the grill.
*corn on the cob, husks and silk removed

In a small bowl mix together the butter, mayonnaise, paprika, cilantro, parmesan cheese, chili powder and lime juice; set aside.

If you are making this a head of time wait to add the lime juice right before using.

Air Fryer Directions

Preheat the air fryer to 400°

Brush the corn with canola or olive oil

place in to the air fryer basket.

Cook for 5 minutes and turn the corn over. Cook for another 4 minutes or until corn is cooked.

*Note* Cooking time will depend on the size and brand of the air fryer.

Carefully remove the corn and brush or spoon the butter mixture on to the corn.

How can you resist that delectable looking buttered corn.

Serve as a side or grab a few ears and make it a meal. I can assure you this will end up being the star of your plate.

Grilling Directions:

Brush the corn with oil

Place the corn on the grill at medium high heat.

Grill for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the corn is done, turning frequently.

Brush or spoon the butter mixture on to the corn.

Microwave Directions:

Place the corn in a deep microwave safe cooking dish. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the dish. Place plastic wrap over the top and microwave on high

For 1-2 ears 3 to 4 minutes or until corn is tender

4 ears 5 to 6 minutes or until corn is tender

*Note* cooking times may depend on the size and power of the microwave

Brush or spoon the butter mixture on to the corn.

Boiling Directions:

Fill a large pot with water, season with salt if desired. Bring the water to boil and add the corn. Be sure not to over fill the pot or the water will splash out when you add the corn.

Boil for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the corn is tender.

Carefully remove the corn

Brush or spoon the butter mixture on to the corn.

Air Fryer Parmesan Paprika Potatoes

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the South we’re seeing some pretty hot and humid days. The last thing I want to do is heat up the house with the oven, so I made one of my favorite side dishes in the air fryer. These take half the time to cook than they do in the oven. These also make a great side dish for some of those great delights on the grill such as BBQ chicken or a nice steak.

Potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes because they are so versatile. Now that I have my air fryer, I’ve been cooking them this way instead of the oven. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to use my oven, even for the tasty spuds, but when it’s in middle of summer and it’s 90 degrees outside, I really enjoy the beauty of the air fryer. These potatoes I did have to tweek a bit when I first tried them because I was so used to cooking them in the oven, but the result is very delicious and I might say, a little addictive. The potatoes are crispy on the outside from the parmesan cheese and pillowy soft on the inside. The paprika adds an extra little kick that make these way above your ordinary roasted potatoes.

Here’s what you need:

*2 potatoes ( this was just for hubby and me, so you can use more potatoes if you need more servings); peeled and cut into bite size pieces

*1/4 C Parmesan cheese, finely grated (the kind that comes in those shaker containers work the best for this)

*1 TBS smoked paprika; or more to taste

*1 TBS flour

*2 tsp. garlic powder; or more to taste

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*olive oil

*Note: if you are using more potatoes, you may want to increase the amount of the other ingredients.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°

In a zip top bag, combine the parmesan cheese, paprika, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes and 1 TBS of olive oil. Close the bag and shake to coat well.

Pour the potatoes into the basket of the air fryer. Drizzle a little more olive oil and toss the potatoes. Make sure the potatoes are in one layer at the bottom of the basket.

Cook for 8 minutes then toss the potatoes once again. Drizzle with a little more oil and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until the potatoes are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

*Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Serve with you favorite main dish.

Rosemary Mustard Roasted Potatoes

These Rosemary mustard potatoes are so simple to make and they are a great side dish to chicken, pork and even steak. The Dijon mustard really adds a nice tang to these delicious potatoes. They are roasted in the oven and turn out crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Here’s what you need:

*1 IB or more red, yellow or russet potatoes, cut into bite size pieces; I usually use red potatoes, but my store was out so I used russet.

*3 TBS Dijon mustard

*1/4 cup olive oil + more for the pan and to pour over the potatoes while cooking if needed

*2 tsp. dried Rosemary or 1TBS fresh rosemary chopped

*1/2 TBS smoked paprika

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*1 TBS white wine

Preheat oven to 425°

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the potatoes.

Add potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat.

Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a baking pan. Pour in the potatoes and spread in an even layer.

Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes are golden brown on the outside and soft in the inside.

If the potatoes appear to dry out during the cooking time, drizzle with more olive oil.

Place in a serving bowl and serve.

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.