Take-Along Sugar Berries with Fresh Mint

Breakfast during the work week is often compromised by too little time. The truth is, I often fall prey to the drive thru at my local coffee shop, ordering a blueberry scone and a $7 latte, then I’m off to the Office. Continue reading “Take-Along Sugar Berries with Fresh Mint”

Advertisements

What to Cook This Week: Italian Chicken in Red Wine

One of the skills I’m learning in culinary school is how to fabricate meats. What once was a very intimidating process, is now a proficient experience. I can honestly say I’m comfortable with butchering a whole chicken! Continue reading “What to Cook This Week: Italian Chicken in Red Wine”

5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now

Rebekah-1
Poor Robin Gardens from Screven, County is one of my favorite vendors to purchase produce from at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market. Meet Ricardo, the farmer!

The return of the Farmers’ Market for me each season is just about as exciting as Christmas Day. With fresh herbs and local produce on my mind, I love getting up on Saturday morning, throwing on my yoga pants, a tank top, a pair of favorite flip flops and my over-sized sunglasses and heading out the door. Sometimes, I even pack up my 11-pound Shih Tzu, Ewok, and we ride with the radio up and the windows down on the way.  Continue reading “5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now”

Wake Up Dinner with Chili-Lime Jalapeno Corn

0112161918.jpg
When certain fresh vegetables are not in season, frozen ones are the next best thing – and March just so happens to be National Frozen Food Month. Today, I’m taking this opportunity to share my favorite side dish: Chili-Lime Jalapeno Corn. Continue reading “Wake Up Dinner with Chili-Lime Jalapeno Corn”

The Waffle Iron Movement

Cinnamon Roll Waffles make a quick & surprising breakfast.
Cinnamon Roll “Waffles” make a quick & surprisingly good breakfast.

I’ve never been one to show a lot of interest in food trends or new kitchen gadgets, but there’s one craze on food TV lately that’s got my attention. For all intents and purposes, we’re going to call it The Waffle Iron Movement. Have you seen the chatter? Evidently, the waffle iron, that little machine we plug into the wall to make fluffy buttermilk waffles, is capable of so much more. I’d like to preface this post by saying today’s “recipe” requires zero cooking ability.

Enter canned cinnamon rolls.

Who knew this was possible?
Who knew this was possible?

The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson taught me this trick while I was watching The Kitchen earlier this week. As they say on the show, “I tried it, and I liked it!” Essentially, the waffle iron can cook cinnamon rolls in less than half the time it takes to cook them in the oven. And yes, the waffle iron cooks them all the way through.

Pop the cinnamon rolls on a greased waffle iron, and shut it. Simple.
Pop the cinnamon rolls on a greased waffle iron, and shut it. Simple.

When cooked, the cinnamon rolls take on a crunchy exterior and remain tender on the inside. It’s amazing how this works!

Crispy, cinnamon roll "waffle" goodness.
In less than two minutes, you have crispy, cinnamon roll “waffle” goodness.

How’s that for breakfast on-the-go? Golden brown with great texture, you don’t even have to worry about the dough oozing out from the sides of the waffle iron. Clean up is easy!

Allow the icing to serve as your syrup.
Allow the icing to serve as your syrup.

They look and taste like real waffles. Ideal for college students in a dorm room, or apartment dwellers with galley kitchens, this trick is super fun. Plus, using an appliance to create something it wasn’t designed for makes me feel like a true rebel. I’m living on the edge these days.

Some Kinda Good approved!
Some Kinda Good approved!

Now, I’m not saying this idea trumps the good ol’ cinnamon roll every time. There’s not too much that can replace the soft, ooey-gooey pleasure that a properly cooked cinnamon roll elicits. But, if you’re in a hurry (and who isn’t in the mornings?), this trick is worth the minimal effort. Are you likely to try it?


While that waffle iron is hot, you may want to try Bobby Flay’s Peanut Butter French Toast “Waffles” with Mixed Berry Sauce, or The Pioneer Woman’s Waffle Maker Quesadilla.

Have you used your waffle iron or another kitchen appliance for something inventive lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes For Your Family Table

With the biggest food holiday of the year just days away, I’ve got three side dishes to enliven your family feast. Each recipe offers something unique: 1) a family tradition, 2) a restaurant-inspired side dish and 3) an original. From sweet to savory, I’ve got you covered! Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving at home or traveling, cook up one of these Southern sides, and you’ll have everyone chowing down with gratitude. Continue reading “Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes For Your Family Table”

Holiday Cheese Ball with Sweet Heat

imageThe cheese ball. What a great concept…a ball of cheese. Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

It’s one of those appetizers that’s always present at family gatherings in the South, especially around the holidays. I’ve seen savory cheese balls and sweet cheese balls. There’s a variety of different recipes out there, but this one comes from Mama with a few of my own touches. I contributed this cheese ball to my office Christmas party and it was a hit! It has pops of red and green color for the holidays, and it’s versatile. You can add or take away whatever flavors you like. Spreadable and creamy, this cheese ball has crunch and sweet heat. It’s cold and satisfying.

The cheese ball comes together quickly and is edible right away, but has a more firm texture when chilled. I recommend making it a day ahead and letting it set up in the fridge overnight. If you’re short on time, 30 minutes to an hour will do.

Ingredients

  • 1 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • A few jarred jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • A tablespoon of jarred jalapeno pepper juice
  • A handful of maraschino cherries, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion (I used purple for the color, but a sweet Vidalia onion would be great too)
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Braswell’s Green Pepper Jelly
  • 1/4 cup of pepitas (Pumpkin seeds)
  • Seasoned salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Georgia pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions
Dry roast pecans in a saute pan over medium heat, flipping occasionally until fragrant and golden (5-10 minutes). Set aside. Using a hand mixer, blend the cheeses together until incorporated. Add in remaining ingredients, reserving the pecans for the outside, and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Blend on low-speed until everything is incorporated. Turn the mixture out onto plastic wrap and form it into a ball. Remove the plastic wrap and roll the ball in the chopped pecans until covered. Let chill. Serve with buttery crackers, like Ritz, toasted bread or even Scoops tortilla chips.

Note: If you’re using a food processor to chop your onion and bell pepper, be sure to drain any natural water from the vegetables before adding them to the mixture. Additional water will make your cheese ball runny, and you wouldn’t want that.  

Presentation
Serve the cheese ball on a round dish if you have one! It enhances the natural shape of the appetizer and is fun to surround with crackers. Presentation is everything! I served the cheese ball with snowflake-shaped crackers for a little Christmas cheer, but this recipe is wonderful year around with whatever kind of crackers you like. Enjoy!

wpid-20131220_083227.jpg

Wild Georgia Shrimp & Summer Corn Chowder

wpid-img_20140817_172702.jpg

Wild Georgia Shrimp & Summer Corn Chowder

All summer I’ve been wanting to make Shrimp and Corn Chowder, and today, I did it. Aside from peeling the potatoes and shucking the corn, the recipe requires little to no effort other than stirring and simmering. Pour yourself a glass of Chardonnay, turn on some good music and settle into your kitchen. For me, eating a meal like this with vegetables that are in season and locally sourced, is ultimately satisfying. Some recipes suggest frozen potatoes and corn, but I find I appreciate the meal so much more when I’ve worked a little to make it happen. The crunch of summer’s sweet corn with salty bacon and starchy potatoes come together in complete harmony with wild Georgia plump shrimp. Creamy and pleasing to the eye with great texture, this dish epitomizes Some Kinda Good!

wpid-0817141615.jpg
Potatoes simmer on the stove top with sweet corn, celery, Vidalia onions, green onions and herbs.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of hardwood smoked bacon
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches of green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 large baked potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 ears of fresh, summer corn, sliced off the cob
  • 3 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart 2% milk
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Old Bay, for seasoning shrimp

Directions

In a large skillet with a high rim, cook bacon on medium-high heat. Remove the bacon, but leave the grease. Stir in the celery, green onions and Vidalia onions, potatoes and corn. Add the thyme, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in the flour until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, then cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

Season the shrimp with Old Bay. Stir in the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with green onion and chopped bacon. Serve with Italian bread.

Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh: A Food and Style Event You Don’t Want to Miss!

With the dog days of summer comes trips to the beach, picnics, grilling out with friends and family, baby showers, weddings, you name it! Summertime is entertaining time and I couldn’t be more excited to announce “Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!” a food and style event I’m hosting with my longtime friend Chad Steed, in his sweet home of Alabama.

SocialMedia
Tailored for entertaining, the event boasts Southern recipes and innovative style ideas for hosting the perfect summer soirée . I’ll share dishes you can prepare with minimal effort that are big on flavor and presentation! Guests will sample bites of my bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sliders with spicy pimento cheese among other refreshing grilled desserts, appetizers and warm-weather-friendly beverages. In addition to my live cooking demonstrations, Chad of “The Stylish Steed” lifestyle blog, focused on living well for less, will bring his creative taste to the table teaching guests how to personalize parties with custom cloth table linens, unique lighting elements, painting techniques and easy floral arranging.

You may remember Chad from our brief appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. We met on the mission field in the summer of 2002 during college and have been the best of pals ever since. We always have a good time together and this event will be no exception. I’d like to personally invite you to join us as we sing, laugh and demonstrate how to entertain with ease on Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena. Admission is $5 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at the Gadsden State Cherokee Campus.

This special event is sponsored by the Continuing Education Department at Gadsden State Community College.
 

Roasted Root Vegetables Reinvented

wpid-0416141949a.jpgIt may be springtime, but let’s face it: the weather can be crazy and unpredictable. For those not-so-springlike nights this season, I’ve got a recipe for Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Homemade Thyme Croutons that’ll give you an excuse to transform leftovers and get the most out of your farmers’ market finds.

wpid-0415141945.jpgThis recipe is a classic example of technique. Once you master it, you can substitute whatever ingredients you choose. Roma tomatoes and onions would be absolutely fantastic with a grilled cheese sandwich. I made Roasted Root Vegetable Soup using leftover carrots and turnips that I’d made for Easter dinner with my Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney. I seasoned the vegetables with salt and pepper, then tossed them in a good quality olive oil and roasted them at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. I love reinventing leftovers. It’s ultimately fun to create something totally new with the same ingredients from another dish.

wpid-0416141858.jpgIn a food processor or a blender, puree the vegetables until fluid, adding a little chicken broth or water to help the vegetables liquefy. You can also use an immersion blender, but that’s a fancy tool I’ve yet to acquire. If you’d like your soup to have a little texture, don’t puree them totally. Just pulse your blender a few times, leaving some of the vegetables chunky. I enjoy bites of carrot here and there, rather than pure creaminess, but it’s personal preference.

wpid-0416141944.jpgTransfer the pureed vegetables to a stock pot. Then add 3 – 4 cups of chicken broth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Let simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes.

wpid-0416141944a.jpgI just so happened to have a french baguette on my counter top that was more than a few days old. What better way to give stale bread new life than to chop it into cubes and make crunchy croutons? I did just that. With the Holy Trinity of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil, I added dried thyme, and roasted them in the oven, also at 425 degrees, for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.

wpid-0416141949b.jpgIf you look closely, you can see chunks of carrot adding texture to the soup. With a pop of green color from my carrot tops for garnish and the addition of my Homemade Thyme Croutons, soup never tasted better on a cool, springtime night.

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need:

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup featuring Carrots and Turnips

  • 1 Bunch Carrots, peeled 
  • 3 Large Turnips, chopped 
  • 3-4 cups Chicken Broth
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Parsley or Green Carrot Tops for Garnish

Homemade Thyme Croutons

  • Day old bread or Stale Bread, such as a French or Italian baguette
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Dried Thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil or enough to coat bread well