Grilled Garden Salad

I found this recipe for Grilled Garden Salad from Kraft quite awhile ago but completely forgot about it until the other day when I was going through my piles (and piles) of recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines! I figured I’d better hurry up and try it since summer is on it’s way out the door and fresh veggies won’t be so fresh pretty soon.
So I made it yesterday (Labor Day) to go with some ribs and it was good! And really pretty too! Here is my version…

Ingredients: 1 large squash, 1 large zucchini, 2 ears fresh corn or 1 can corn, 2 small tomatoes, 6 large basil leaves, 1/4 cup zesty Italian salad dressing, 1 clove garlic,  2 Tbsp. lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop zucchini and squash lengthwise into three sections.

Just as I was going to put these on the grill, the skies opened up! Dang!

Luckily I have this fabulous grill pan from Pampered Chef!! I heated about 1 Tbsp oil in the pan.

And grilled the zucchini until tender, turning once.

While the zucchini and squash are cooking, chop the tomatoes.

You can also chop the basil.

Remove the zucchini and squash from the grill and chop.

The original recipe calls for fresh corn which is also grilled. I felt like taking the easy route and using canned corn. I threw it in the grill pan after the squash to give it a little grilled flavor.

Place corn, squash and zucchini in a large serving bowl.

Add tomatoes and basil.

Mix dressing, garlic (Love this Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic! Makes my life easy!) and lemon juice.

Pour over vegetables.

Toss to combine all ingredients.

 Sprinkle with parmesan cheese!

Gently toss again. Now it’s ready to serve!

You can find the original recipe from Kraft here.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Quiche Recipe

Check this out. . .

I really don’t have much to say except that you MUST try this recipe! Even if you don’t like onions! I promise, it’s so rich and delicious and not “oniony!”
I found this recipe in Southern Living March 2012 and made it for dinner (with a few modifications from the original) a little over a week ago. Here is how I did it.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Quiche Recipe

Slice 2-3 large sweet Vidalia onions.

sliced vidalia sweet onion

Cook onions in 2 Tbsp hot olive oil for 15-20 minutes until they are a nice caramel color.

caramelizing onions

caramelizing onions

caramelized onions

While the onions are caramelizing, grate, cook and crumble 6 slices of bacon.

Add bacon and 1 tsp chopped parsley (1/4 cup chopped fresh) to the pan.

Stir to combine.

Lay prepared pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan.

pie crust

Add half of onion mixture to the pie crust.

Grate 8 oz of Gruyere cheese (enough to equal 2 cups).

grated gruyere cheese

Add half of the shredded cheese on top of the onions.

Repeat the layers with remaining onions and cheese.
In a bowl, mix 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper and 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg (I added a dash more).

Whisk until well combined.

Pour the egg mixture on over the onions and cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until set.

Let me warn you that this smells DIVINE while it cooks!

Ready to see the inside?

Oh my gosh y’all, this was SO good. I couldn’t stop eating it out of the pan after dinner! Even if you don’t think you like onions, be brave and try it, please?!

Caramelized onion quiche

I served it along side some grilled tilapia and green salad. This would also make a great luncheon dish with a salad and fruit!

Go get some Vidalias and try this! You won’t be disappointed!
Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

Sautéed Cheese & Corn Casserole Recipe

Back when I did my vlog post for Philadelphia Cooking Creme, I received a cookbook in the mail full of recipes using Philly cream cheese. The book is called Cooking with Pheeling and there are some incredible looking recipes in it!
I’ve only tried one recipe so far. I was looking for a vegetable side dish when this picture caught my eye.

The recipe was for Sautéed Cheese and Corn Casserole. I made it and it was delish!
So I wanted to share it with you. I couldn’t find a link to the recipe anywhere online. Below is the recipe from the cookbook with a few minor changes.

Sautéed Cheese & Corn Casserole

Start with 1/4 cup chopped onion & 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms.

chopped mushrooms and onions

Sautee onions and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp melted butter over medium-low heat

sautee mushrooms onions

until tender.

sautee mushrooms onions

Add 1/4 cup flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add 1 can creamed corn to the pan. Stir to combine and cook until heated through.

cream corn

In the meantime, grate 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese.

grated gruyere cheese

Add one can corn, drained, 1/2 cup chive & onion cream cheese, grated cheese and salt and pepper to the pan. Remove from heat and mix until combined.

corn mixture

Finely crush 1/2 cup buttery round crackers (Ritz) with a rolling pin. Mix with 3 Tbsp melted butter.

crush crackers crumbs

Pour the corn mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with cracker crumb mixture.

corn casserole

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

sauteed cheese corn casserole

So delicious!

sauteed cheese corn casserole

 

Roasted Butternut Squash & Tri-colored Taters

 If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby then you know that one of their best selling tactics is offering tastings of their products: coffee, wine and my favorite, the food samples. They always offer samples of dishes they’ve created using products from the store. And I almost always end up buying these products after tasting the samples! That is where this recipe came from.

Isn’t it pretty? This recipe is so easy and there is just a few ingredients.

Trader Joe’s sells small bags of these tri-colored potato medley. It’s a combination of baby reds, yukon gold and purple potatoes. I washed them and cut them into equal size pieces.

TJ’s also sells pre-cut butternut squash. You’ll find it in the refrigerated produce section. If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you’ll just have to peel and cut it yourself.

Place the vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Chop 2 small cloves of garlic. I had some fresh rosemary and still growing in my garden and I thought it would be a nice addition to this recipe. This ingredient is optional.

Add rosemary and garlic to the pan and toss well (use your hands, it works best).

Place in a 400 degree oven for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and gently stir. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly browned.

That’s it! Easy, healthy and delish!

Corn & Blueberry Salad (don’t be afraid)

Corn and Blueberry Salad? Really? Corn AND blueberries? I don’t know. I will admit, that when I came across this recipe while flipping through BHG magazine last summer, I was skeptical. But, it sounded interesting, so I tore it out and put it amongst the other pages of recipes that I had torn out. One year later, while organizing these recipes I came across it again. It was too interesting not to try. 
The verdict? It was amazing! It was so yummy, I’m sharing the recipe with you! Corn season is coming to an end, so don’t miss out! Fresh, sweet corn is what makes this salad a hit. Here is the recipe, adapted from BHG
Salad: 5 ears fresh corn {not cooked}, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1 small cucumber {I used half}, 1/4 cup red onion, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and 1 jalepeno. 
Remove the corn from the cob, chop the cucumber, onion, jalepeno and cilantro. 
{I only used a teeny tiny bit of the pepper and I chopped it into very tiny pieces}

Place fresh ingredients in a large bowl. 

Dressing: 2 Tbsp {or more} fresh lime juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin.
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour dressing over salad.

Mix well to combine and refrigerate. 
{The original recipe says overnight. I only had a few hours and it was fine.}

Serve along side your favorite grilled meal. Be sure to share this salad with friends. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure! 

Find the full recipe here.

Guest Post: Cowbow Caviar from Colleen

Hi there, I am Colleen and my blog is So Much to Say.

I’m thrilled to be here today guest posting for Jen.  I stumbled upon Jen’s blog a few months ago and I have been a huge fan of her blog ever since.  Jen’s home is full of inspiration (totally love her kitchen cabinet make-over), she has great recipes and her boys are pretty cute too! I am very envious of her mad painting skills when it comes to furniture she has found.
A little about me . . . . . I’m a thirty-something mom of two and wife to my husband of almost nine years. I spend my days working as a lawyer which keeps me very busy! When I am not at work, you can find me with my two beautiful kids beside me.  I’m a wanna-be Martha Stewart (I could do without the jail stint), a compulsive organizer, list maker, and Pottery Barn lover.  I love to read blogs although admittedly they fill my head with ideas and crafts that I keep track of on Pinterest.  (I’ve been known to re-organize my boards on there!)  I blog about many things like our life experiences, our home, projects, crafts, and sometimes just our ordinary days at home.
Today I am sharing a simple side dish.  We recently had a Mexican theme get-together at our house and served the following side dish.  It’s easy (which is key for me!) and very tasty.  We served this with fajitas, black rice and beans, taco mac & cheese and a salad.  It was a huge hit (as was our themed night – so much fun)!  Oh, and you cannot forget the margaritas and/or sangria!

Cowboy Caviar
2 15 oz oz cans black beans, rinsed
1 17 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large avocado, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Dressing:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Keep chilled until serving.

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I would love to have you pop on over to my blog and say hi.
Thanks so much for having me Jen!! 

Get it While it’s Fresh: Skillet Creamed Corn

Another fantastic summer garden produce? Corn! I love fresh, juicy corn on the cob. Just a little butter is all it needs to make it delish! But if you want to try something a little fancier, a little more comforting, you gotta try this recipe for Skillet Creamed Corn. I found the original recipe from MyRecipes.com, but of course I tweaked it a bit. 
Skillet Creamed Corn {my recipe below}
Start by cooking six slices of bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve 2 Tbsp. of drippings in pan. Crumble bacon once cooled.

Fresh ingredients: 1/2 sweet Vidalia onion, 1 clove garlic, 6 ears of corn, fresh basil.
Chop the onion and garlic. Shuck the corn and remove kernels from the cob using a knife. Chop 2 Tbsp. fresh basil and save for later.

Saute onion and garlic in hot drippings, over medium heat, until tender, about five minutes. Add corn and saute another seven minutes. Remove from heat.
In a separate pan, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups half and half, whisking until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Turn heat to low, add half the crumbled bacon to the sauce and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each) and sauce to corn mixture. Stir well to combine and cook for a few minutes to blend flavors.

Garnish with remaining bacon and fresh basil. 
I’m not ashamed to admit that I had two (and a half) helpings of this dish. It was that good! Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did! Definitely a keeper in my book!





Ingredients

  • bacon slices
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • garlic clove,  chopped
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  •  salt & pepper to taste
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh basil, separated

Preparation

  • Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet and set aside. Crumble when cooled.
  • Sauté onion and garlic in hot drippings 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in corn; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat.
  • Melt butter in a large clean skillet over medium heat. Add flour, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes or until golden. Gradually whisk in half-and-half until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Add half of crumbled bacon and cook on low heat for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 Tbsp basil, salt and pepper to taste and corn mixture. Stir well to combine and cook for a few minutes to blend flavors.  Garnish with remaining bacon and basil.

This week I’m linking up to these fabulous parties:

Todays Creative Blog
Visit thecsiproject.com

http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/
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Eggplant Parmesan

Got eggplant? 
Eggplants are in season!  

Eggplant might be plentiful in your garden or your CSA box right now! What do you do with all that eggplant? One of my favorite things to do it to marinate it with squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes and roast it in the oven at a high temperature. YUM! Last summer I came across this recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. Unlike traditional EP, this version does not require you to bread and fry the eggplant. 
{recipe below}

Start by trimming the ends of the eggplant. 

Cut eggplant into 1-inch slices.

Eggplant retains a lot of water which can cause your casserole to be soggy. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and place in a colander for thirty minutes to allow some of the liquid to sweat out. Place in a single on a paper towel, cover with another paper towel and gently press to remove additional liquid.
Cover a baking sheet with olive oil.
Place eggplant in a single layer on baking sheet and brush oil from the pan over the top. Sprinkle with pepper. 
Bake in a 400* oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden-brown.

In the meantime, mix ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Add egg and fresh basil.

Cover bottom of the pan with sauce. 

Lay a single layer of eggplant on top of sauce, dollop with cheese mixture, repeat layers and finish with sauce. 

Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Serve with extra sauce over the pasta of your choice. 
  • 2-3 eggplants, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/ 4 tsp pepper
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups pasta sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 400*. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Place slices in a colander to sweat out liquid of the eggplant. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Lay in a single layer on a paper towel and cover with another paper towel. Press gently to remove additional water.
  2. Drizzle baking sheet with olive oil. lay eggplant in a single layer on pan, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden-brown.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix in egg and basil.
  4. In a 9×13 inch baking dish, evenly spread 1 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Top the eggplant with 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering process until all the eggplant and cheese mixture is used. Pour remaining sauce on top of layers, and sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake 30 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is browned.

I adapted this recipe from one I found at Allrecipes.com. You can find the original here.

Lowcountry Boil – It’s a Tradition

I think I have the right to claim myself a “Southerner.” I was actually born in Wisconsin, but I’ve lived here, in SC, the majority of my life. But, to be honest, I don’t think I knew what it meant to be a Southerner until I experienced Lowcountry life while living in Charleston. If you haven’t been, put it on your list. It’s an amazing place that includes history, architecture, beaches and delicious cuisine. 
 I had the privilege of living in Charleston for eight years after I graduated high school. What lead me to Charleston? I didn’t even have to get out of the car that day {I was there on a “college day” with my dad visiting College of Charleston}. I knew it was the place for me. Can you blame me? That fall of 1997, my parents moved me into my dorm and drove away. I stayed in there, in Charleston, for eight years. I met the love of my life there, in the Lowcountry. What is the Lowcountry? I’ll let these photos tell it all.

It’s the beach, it’s the marsh, it’s the crabbing docks, the salty smell, the humidity and so much more!
Okay, before I tell you my whole life story {Don’t worry, I will. Bit by bit, as it is appropriate. That’s my style}, let me get on with the purpose of this post. So, I had the privilege of experiencing Lowcountry life and one of its most popular seafood dishes, Lowcountry Boil {some call it Frogmore Stew}. 
 YUM-YUM! This is Lowcountry Boil! It’s an easy, one-pot dish that is so delish on a hot summer day. Especially when you are on the Southeastern coast and can get your hands on fresh, local shrimp! I make it every summer at the beach.
{The recipe below will feed 6 adults but this recipe can be easily adjusted to feed a large group.}

 Start with 3 cloves of garlic, smashed; 1/2 an onion, cut in chunks; 1 large lemon, sliced; 1 pkg. crab boil seasoning bag or 4 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning; 1 tsp sea salt.
Heat a large pot of water on the stove {I fill my pot half full}.

Add garlic, onion, lemon, seasoning and salt to pot, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, bringing water to a boil towards the end of this time.

In the meantime, chop 2 packages kielbasa or smoked sausage, 1 pound new potatoes and 6-8 ears of corn.

Remove lid and add sausage and potatoes to pot. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add corn and cook for 10 more minutes.

Clean and devein 2 pounds of fresh shrimp. Do not peel.
Add shrimp to the pot and cook five minutes or until pink.

Do not overcook shrimp!

Drain water from pot and dump seafood mixture onto a countertop or tabletop protected with newspaper.

Disgard lemons and seasoning packet.
Serve with fresh lemon slices, cocktail sauce and butter.
This is such a great meal for large gatherings. It is simple and informal, yet a great feast for an outdoor summer party. Serve with some crusty bread, a simple salad, sweet tea, cold beer and some good music and your Southern party is bound to be a success! And if you don’t live in the South? Introduce your friends to something new! 
Glad to be back, but really missing vacation! I can’t wait to share with you our amazing experience on Fripp Island! Stay tuned. . .

Tomato Pie

One of my favorite things about summer is juicy, ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden. I can’t get enough of them. And that’s a good thing, because we seem to have an abundance every summer!
What do I do with all of these tomatoes? I could eat a tomato sandwich, smothered in mayo {the ONLY sandwich I will eat mayo on} and sprinkled with salt and pepper, every day! Simply fresh and delish! Another of my favorites? Tomato pie. If you’ve never had tomato pie, it’s a combination of tomatoes, basil and cheese baked in a pie crust. So yummy!

I have tried a couple different recipes for tomato pie and created my own from my two favorites {one from Real Simple Magazine and one from a friend of my mom}. Both are very delicious, but I’ve taken my favorite parts from each and combined them to make my own “Tomato Pie.” Here is my recipe.

Slice enough fresh tomatoes to make about four cups {approximately 5-8 tomatoes}. I use whatever tomatoes I have, usually a combination of Romas and Big Boy. Important: place tomatoes in a colander for several minutes to remove some of the liquid.

I’ve told you before, I do not make my crust nor my cakes from scratch! I love good food, but I love simplicity even more! Sandra Lee totally stole my philosophy when she created Semi-Homemade! Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts work great for me! Remove them from the package, unroll {carefully} and place in a pie dish. Easy!

Lay the tomatoes evenly around the bottom of the crust. You should have enough to start a second layer as well. Sprinkle 1 chopped green onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano,  and salt and pepper to taste {careful on the salt, the cheese and mayo will add quite a bit of saltiness}.

Mix 1-1/2 cups shredded SHARP cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mayonnaise in a bowl.

Dollop the mayonnaise mixture  on top of the tomatoes mixture.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and place in a 350* oven for 45-55 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 Slice and serve! I paired mine with a BLT. I told you, I can never get enough tomatoes! Happy summertime!

Tomato Pie
1 refrigerated pastry crust
5-8 ripe tomatoes, sliced {any variety}
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped {or 1/2 tsp dried}
salt and pepper 
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese, separated
  • Preheat oven to 350*. Place tomatoes in a colander and allow to drain for several minutes. 
  • In the meantime, line a pie pan with the refrigerated pie crust. Lay tomatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with green onions, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Dollop mayonnaise mixture evenly on top of tomato mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. 
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool for five minutes. 
  • Slice and serve!
Guess what? Today I’m also guest posting over at The V Spot! Be sure to drop by to take a look at my baby shower wreath tutorial!
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How to Roast Peppers

It’s pepper season! Do you have a garden with lots of peppers and aren’t sure what to do with them? Try roasting them. You know, like those ones you buy in the jar near the olives? Except when you do it yourself, they taste so much better! Never thought of doing it? You think it’s too difficult? Not at all, my friends! It’s so simple and it can be used to roast any pepper {red, chiles, pablanos, etc}. 

Give your peppers a good cleaning.

Cut them in half and remove the pulp and seeds.
 you are using hot peppers, watch out! Those insides can get on your fingers and then in your eyes. Yikes!

Move the oven rack to the highest position and turn the broiler on high.

 Place the peppers {cut side down} on a baking sheet and brush with oil. I like to use extra virgin olive oil.

Place the peppers under the broiler, close the door and keep a close watch. “Why?” you ask. 

Because after just a few minutes, the skin will start to bubble and turn black. Let them roast about 10 minutes.

Immediately remove the peppers from the baking sheet and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
Let them sit for about fifteen minutes. The steam trapped in the bag will help loosen the skin on the peppers.

After about fifteen minutes, take the peppers out of the bag and the skins should be able to be pulled right off using tongs. 

Discard the skins and use the peppers for whatever you like. I used these for a chicken poblano chili recipe.

If you have red and yellow peppers in your garden, roast one of each, let them cool and chop them. Layer mixed greens, roasted peppers, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese in a large bowl. Toss with Asian dressing {I like Kraft’s Asian Toasted Sesame}. I know this sounds kinda funky, but it is one of my favorite salads! 

Kale Chips

We are members of a CSA {Community Supported Agriculture}, some of you may call it a co-op. We get a box of fresh, local veggies delivered each week, spring through fall.
 I do enjoy the variety of veggies I get, however I have {several times} gotten veggies that I have never eaten or cooked with before.

One of those veggies – kale. So I Googled it and found several recipes for kale chips. Interesting. Well, I had a big bunch of kale that I needed to use, so what the heck?! This recipe is a combo of several I found.

Rinse and chop your kale into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
Place in a large bowl, drizzle with 3 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Toss to ensure all pieces are covered with oil and seasoning.

Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning and 1/4 tsp chili powder. Bake in a 350* oven for about 25 minutes.
The verdict. . . they were ok. I forgot to take a photo of the cooked kale chips, but basically they looked like the picture above but a little darker green. They were crispy and nicely seasoned. They kind of tasted like a lighter version of broccoli. Not bad, just nothing out of this world. Anyway, just wanted to share.

Fancy Beans

I want to share with you one of the most delicious bean recipes I’ve ever eaten. These are called “Fancy Beans” and it’s a recipe I got from a friend of my mom’s. Now don’t let the word fancy scare you away from making these. Believe me, there is nothing fancy about the preparation. If you know how to use a can opener, you can make these beans. 
Sweet and tangy, these are perfect for a potluck, bbq or cookout. And trust me, your friends will be asking you for this recipe!

Here’s what you need:

1/2 lb. bacon, cut into pieces  
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dry yellow mustard (prepared mustard works fine too)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 can kidney beans
1 can butterbeans
1 can green beans
1 can pork-n-beans
Here’s what you do:

Cook bacon pieces until wilted.
Add garlic and onions and saute until iridescent.

Add brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. Stir to combine.
Cook bacon-vinegar mixture over low heat for 20 minutes. The mixture will darken during cooking and eventually reach a nice caramel color. 
While your bacon, onion, vinegar mixture is cooking, grab your can opener and open the beans. Drain and rinse all beans except the pork-n-beans.
When the bacon-vinegar mixture is a deep caramel color, add all beans to the pot.
Stir well, cover and simmer over low heat for 60-70 minutes, stirring occasionally.
By now your whole house will be smelling magnificent and you will be dying to taste these beans. Trust me, the wait will be well worth it!
On this particular night I served fancy beans with with pulled pork sandwiches and potato casserole.
Hungry yet?

Fancy Beans
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dry yellow mustard (prepared mustard works fine too)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 can kidney beans
1 can butterbeans
1 can green beans
1 can pork-n-beans

Cook bacon until limp. Add onion and garlic. Cook until clear. Add mustard, vinegar and sugar. Cook 20 minutes. In the meantime, drain and rinse kidney beans, green beans, and butterbeans. Add beans to the pot, cover and simmer 60-70 minutes.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Tomato-Avocado Toss

No photos photos of the process, just the product for this one my friends. It’s so easy you don’t need ‘em!

Recipe (courtesy of Southern Living Magazine):

Out of the oven comes a pan of ooey-gooey, bubbly deliciousness
To go along side the enchiladas (hubby makes fun of me because I ALWAYS have to have a side dish to accompany the main course) is a really yummy tomato-avocado toss. The combination of the lime juice and cilantro gives the salad a great tangy-fresh flavor.

Pile this on top of salad greens and be sure to drizzle extra dressing over the top!
Recipe:
Tomato-Avocado Toss
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
one half of a red onion
2 ripe avocados
salad greens of your choice
Cut tomatoes in half. Thinly slice onion. Peel and cut avocado into small chunks. (If you’ve never done it before, you might be wondering how to cut an avocado. Click here for tutorial). Whisk together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add tomatoes, red onion and avocados, gently stirring to coat. Serve over salad greens.

Dinner is served. . .

 A dollop of sour cream and some fresh cilantro finish off the enchiladas. The tangy freshness of the salad is a great accompaniment to the smokiness of the enchiladas. Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken-Artichoke Calzones [AND there’s a "next day recipe" too]

One word for these guys-  YUMMO!
Chicken, artichokes, spinach and cheese baked in a delicious pizza crust pouch. Mmmmmmm.

I found the original recipe for these years ago in Cooking Light Magazine.  Honestly the “light” version tasted good, but I began adding a few additional ingredients (mainly more cheese) which, unfortunately, made them not-so-light anymore. But it made them even better and more like the calzones I was accustomed to eating. 
Ingredients + 2 chicken breasts.
First, brush your chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper roast in a 375* oven for about 20-30 minutes depending on the size. I use bone-in breasts with skin because I think the chicken turns out juicier and more flavorful (something I learned from Food Network’s Ina Garten). But boneless breasts work too. Once the chicken has cooled, cut it into bite-size pieces.

Drain and pat dry a can of artichokes. If you choose to use marinated artichokes, drain, rinse and pat dry. Mince a large clove of garlic and chop the artichokes into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl mix chicken, garlic and artichokes. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Add 1/2 bag spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella-provolone cheese blend (Sargento makes this blend), 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and 1 tsp Italian seasoning to chicken mixture and stir to combine. 

Brush a rectangular baking sheet with olive oil, sprinkle with cornmeal and stretch refrigerated pizza dough to fit the pan. Cut the dough into two rectangular pieces and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. 
Spoon a generous amount of chicken mixture on half of each dough rectangle.
**You will probably have some filling leftover. Don’t throw it away! I’ve got a “next day recipe” for you below.**

Add a little more shredded mozzarella-provolone blend on top.
Fold dough across filling and secure by pinching dough together and rolling corners. Be sure to cut 2 slits in the top of dough to allow the steam escape. Bake in a 400* oven for 15-20 minutes or until dough is golden-brown.
Cut squares diagonally and serve with your favorite pizza or marinara sauce.
Next Day Recipe


Once I started adding some extra ingredients I started ending up with extra filling. So rather than tossing it out I stuck it in the fridge and made this the next day. It was so good I still do it to this day.
Use your leftover chicken-artichoke mixture and the pasta of your choice. I really like to use bow tie pasta but didn’t have any in the pantry this day.
Cook pasta according to package, return to pan and add 1 Tbsp of butter.
Add chicken-artichoke mixture and stir to combine.
How easy was that?!

Roasted Chicken Artichoke Calzones
  • 1  (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1  large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  (1/2 bag) fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2  cups  (5 ounces) shredded mozzarella- provolone cheese blend, divided
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 2  teaspoons  cornmeal
  • 1  (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
reheat oven to 425°.
Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast chicken in a 375* oven for 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces.
Pat artichokes dry with paper towels. Combine artichokes, garlic and chicken in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, spinach, 1 cup shredded cheese, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses,  toss gently to combine.
Brush oil over a baking sheet; sprinkle with cornmeal. Unroll dough onto prepared baking sheet and press to fit. Cut dough into 2 equal rectangles. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Spoon a generous amount of chicken-artichoke mixture onto one side of teach rectangle. Fold each dough portion over spinach mixture to form a square. Press edges together with fingers to seal.and twist the corners. Bake at 400* for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown. 
Serve with pizza or marinara sauce.