Southern Winter Wonderland

We woke up to a very pretty view this morning. Down my way in the south we don’t see a lot of snow, so when it does snow we have to take advantage of it.

But as my hubby who is from Boston declared, This is just a dusting.

Compared to my Northern friends, yes it isn’t a lot, but I’ll take it.

Closing The Door To 2021

A Look Back

Can you believe the year is almost over? For some it went by so fast and to others, well I’m sure it could not have gone fast enough. I wanted to take a look back at some posts that you all seemed to love the most (according to the numbers of views and pins) and some of my favorite moments and posts as well.

So get cozy, grab a glass of wine

or maybe a mimosa if it’s a tad early where you are

or like me a nice cup of coffee.

Cooking With The Air Fryer

Who knew cooking with an air fryer could be such a hit. My post on Air Fryer Hot Dogs is still the highest viewed and shared to this day.

I can see why. If you have an air fryer and you haven’t cooked any of these in there yet….whatcha waiting for? These are amazing cooked this way. This has become mine and hubby’s go to way of cooking hot dogs.

Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Patties came in a close second.

Right behind was Air Fryer Corn on the Cob with Smoky Parmesan Cilantro Butter.

Nothing says summer like fresh corn. I know I did my share of freezing corn to make that bounty last and so did you guys because you all seemed to like my post on How To Freeze Corn On The Cob.

Eating Out Once Again

More restaurants began opening their dinning areas. In 2020 I shared one of my favorite local restaurants that temporarily closed due to the pandemic in my post Brick Street Cafe. In early 2021 they were finally able to reopen and I was one very happy girl.

I knew things were finally starting to get back to semi normal with another local favorite Midtown Deli reopening. It was so nice to be able to hear and be around others once again, not to mention I had truly missed their crab cake sandwich.

A Journey Through Food

I asked you all to come with me on this journey in discovering other countries and cultures through cooking some of their beloved dishes. So far we’ve tasted Pepian from Guatemala,

Beef Bulgogi from Korea,

Tibs from Ethiopia

and Yorkshire Pudding

and Pigs in a Blanket

from England pt1 and England Pt2. I hope you are enjoying this journey as much as I am. I’ve learned so many new things for sure.

Going Forward

Lastly and most importantly, I once again thank you. Thanks to all who have stopped by with your comments, conversations and support. This marks year 2 for this little blog and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. This year has brought joy, frustration, new discoveries, laughter and yes some tough times, but hopefully we are all starting to see some lighter days. I think it’s so important to find joy in even the small things. You all bring me joy. I hope you will continue this food blogging journey with me. I hope the new year brings you happiness, good times and may the love of good food continue to bring us all together.

Here’s to a new year!

Apple Cake

My mother in law made a beautiful apple cake for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was really hard not to sneak a slice after it was done baking.

*Mini Update*

I had to update this a little after I finally got to taste this. This cake was such a delicious delight and a perfect ending for our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. This cake is so moist with the hint of apples throughout. The cinnamon sugar adds the perfect touch and a little crunch on the bottom. It’s also amazing with fresh whip cream or vanilla bean ice cream… or why not add both, after all it’s a celebration.

Here is what she used:

*1 box yellow cake mix; use ingredients listed on the box but instead of water use milk

*1 cup sour cream

*3 red apples; thinly sliced

*1 cup sugar

*1 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray a Bundt cake pan with no stick flour baking spray; set aside.

Prepare yellow cake mix according to box directions but add milk instead of the water; mix in the sour cream.

Combine sugar and cinnamon.

Pour some of the cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Place some of the apple slices on top then sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar mix. Pour another layer of the cake batter on top of the apple mix. Place more apples around on top of the batter then sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.

Pour on the rest of the cake batter. Top with the rest of the apples and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon sugar mix.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Enjoy

One More Day Until Christmas Eve

Enjoying a relaxing morning on this unplanned time off of work with one of my favorite southern breakfast Cheesy Grits with Bacon and a Fried Egg.

These may still be challenging times, but there are also so many gratifying moments. I always try and find the joy in these days and little moments. I think it’s what helps us get thru those hard times that some are still going through. Whether it’s a simple breakfast, cooking good food for loved ones or just simply spending time with family and friends. May you find what brings you joy this season and all the years through.

On a side note, if you are interested in the Cheesy Grits with Bacon and a Fried Egg click away. I made this over a year ago during lockdown. As you can tell it’s still one of my favorite breakfast dishes.

Hot Dog Chili

When I was a kid, there were a lot of weekends we had either hamburgers or hot dogs for dinner. Looking back, it was probably because it’s a cheaper meal, easy to fix on a busy day and we loved them. I mean, who doesn’t love a good hot dog with chili. Down here in the South, most restaurants serve hot dogs topped with chili or as we call it, a chili dog. I thought that’s how everyone ate their hot dogs…..hey, I was a kid what can I say. My hubby, who is from up North, wasn’t quite sure what to make of a hot dog with chili not to mention that it doesn’t contain beans. He pretty much loves them now. My mom and dad always made their chili from scratch. My recipe is pretty much they way they made it….and my mom still does to this day, but of course I’ve tweaked it a bit. It’s great topped with ketchup, mustard and even a sliced pickle or two. This also makes a great chili cheese sandwich…..but that’s for a later post so stay tuned.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB or ground beef; I use a leaner beef for this

*3/4 cups ketchup or more to taste

*2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce or more to taste

*2 tsp. mustard or more to taste

*1 TBS chili powder or to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder or more to taste

*1/4 tsp salt or more to taste

Heat a large pan to medium high heat and add ground beef, break up into very small pieces as it cooks; drain if needed.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining ingredients.

Mix well to combine.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for abut 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve over hot dogs and add your favorite toppings.

*Note*

This can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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!

Cheesy Mexican Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

On Christmas morning we gather at my aunt’s house for a family breakfast. She always comes up with the best breakfast casseroles. This is a spin on a few of those. Hubby once again came up with the idea, but wanted something that could be eaten as a hearty breakfast or would make a great dinner. It has a layer of hash browns, beef that’s packed full of flavor, salsa, eggs and can’t forget all the wonderful cheese. This is even great to make the night before and pop in the oven the next morning.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb ground beef

*2 tsp. Onion powder

*1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

*2 tsp. Hungarian paprika

*1/2 tsp. salt

*1/2 tsp. Ancho chili powder, or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 tsp. Cumin

*1 tsp. Coriander

*3 cups shredded hash browns; I used the frozen kind.

*1 small jar of mild or medium salsa

*1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

*8 eggs

*cracked pepper

*1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a large pan to medium high heat, add ground beef.

Break up the ground beef while browning; drain if needed.

Add all of the herbs and spices to the beef

Stir to mix and cook for about 1 minute more. Take off of the heat and set aside.

Spray a 9X9-inch casserole dish with non stick spray. Add hash browns to the bottom of the dish.

Add the ground beef on top of the hash browns.

Spoon the salsa over the beef.

Then layer on the cheese.

In a large bowl, crack in the eggs; add salt and cracked pepper to taste.

then pour in the milk. Whisk together until combined.

Pour the egg mixture over the top of the cheese.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until eggs are set.

*Note:

If you are not going to bake this right away skip this step. Instead, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Take casserole out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Pour milk mixture over the top then bake.

Serve and enjoy!

Simple Chicken Salad

This is a great way to use up any leftover rotisserie chicken. It takes no time to prepare and it’s great on sandwiches or even by itself with some crackers on the side.

Here’s what you need:

2 1/2 Cups diced rotisserie chicken or any other cooked chicken. You can use more or less, this is what I had leftover from a whole rotisserie chicken.

1/2 Cup mayonnaise + 1 Tbs at a time until you get the desired amount in your mix.

1/2 tsp. Dill weed or more to taste

1/4 celery seed or more to taste

1/8 tsp salt or more to taste

cracked pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. Lemon juice or more to taste

In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients.

Mix well. Taste after mixing and add any more of the ingredients if needed.

Serve on bread or by itself with a side of crackers.

Enjoy!

Easy Salsa

My very first post on my blog was my Salsa recipe for some Super Bowl noshing. Now that football season is back….. much to my hubby’s uncontainable excitement…..I thought why not post my easier version, after all, watching all those games requires some all day football snacking.

Here’s what you need:

*2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes

*1 10 0z. can diced tomatoes with green chilies; if you like chilies in your salsa, just add another can of diced tomatoes.

*1 small onion, roughly chopped

*2 cloves of garlic

*1 tsp. garlic powder

* 1 TBS lime juice, or more to taste

* 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

* 1/4 tsp cumin

* 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped; or more or less to taste

In a food processor, add all ingredients except for cilantro. Pulse a few times to mix everything together.

Add cilantro

Pulse until you have desired consistency. Taste to see if you need to add any more spices.

Pour into a serving bowl, grab some chips and commence snacking.

To store, place in a container with a tight fitting lid and place in refrigerator. This can be kept for about 5 days.

Slow Cooker Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

Meatballs. I think everyone who likes these round, flavorful pieces of meat has their own recipe….. kind of like a good spaghetti sauce. It might be the quick and easy kind, or the kind like grandma used to make simmering away in a special sauce for hours. It took me a while to get mine just the way I wanted them. This is my basic recipe. I use these same meatballs with my spaghetti sauce, for meatball sliders and meatball subs. These I made for the slow cooker with a marinara sauce. These turn out tender and so flavorful. I like to put them under the broiler for a few minutes before adding them in the slow cooker. This seems to help them hold their shape better.

Here’s what you need.

*1 ib ground beef

*1/2 small onion, finely chopped

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*(optional)1 TBS Penzey’s Beef Roast Seasoning

This is my go to spice mix for meatballs, meat loafs, beef tips and so much more. You do not have to use this, instead 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. sweet paprika and 1/2 tsp. marjoram

*1 tsp. dried parsley

*1/2 tsp. dried sage

*1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste

*1.2 tsp cracked pepper, or more to taste

*1/4 C. Parmesan cheese; finely grated + more for garnish

*1/3 C. bread crumbs

*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*1 egg

*1 jar marinara sauce

Add all of the ingredients, except for marinara sauce, in a large bowl.

Lightly mix until combined.

But don’t over mix or the meatballs will become tough.

Form into balls.

You can make them any size you want, just keep them all them the same size so they will all cook evenly. If i’m making these for spaghetti, I tend to make them a little bigger than I would when I’m using these for subs or sliders.

Preheat the broiler.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with no stick spray. This makes clean up a little easier. Place the meat balls on to the baking sheet.

Broil for about 8 minutes, turn them over and broil for about another 8 minutes.

Place the meatballs into the slow cooker.

Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Sprinkle a little Parmesan over the top before serving.