Saturday, October 31, 2009

Easy Shepherds Pie

This ones a favorite and can be made a variety of ways. Below is how I made the most recent one.

Ground Meat - cooked and seasoned with sea salt and pepper
Mashed potatoes - homemade, of course!
1 can cream of mushroom soup mixed with either milk or water per can instructions.
1 can of green beans
1 can of corn
Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large casserole dish put the cooked meat then layer with green beans and corn. Pour the soup mixture over it, top with mashed potatoes and then a layer of grated cheddar cheese. Place foil over the dish and back for 35 minutes until thoroughly heated. Remove the foil and back another 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peppers, Peppers and more Peppers

Sunday was the annual Piedmont Biofarm Pittsboro Pepper Festival adding to the feeling of fall with the crisp air, beautiful peppers and habanero beer. Yes! Habanero beer, it was quite nice.

There were 40 different varieties of peppers by farmer Doug Jones, local chefs (Sarig was there) cooking foods using peppers, jalapeno water ice, liberacion juice station (so yummy) and music by Howie Dewitt blues/funk band.

It was interesting to see and taste all the foods with peppers in them. We had a casserole, lasagna, stuff peppers, stuff jalapenos, pepper goat cheese, pepper jelly, jalapeno water ice, Habanero beer (beers a food, right?) frito pie and green chili stew. By the time the event was over I was definitely peppered out.

Pepper Tasting Table. Number #9 was one of the best!

Pepper plants!

These were heavenly. Jalapeno's stuffed with 2 different kinds of cheeses and spices, then egg battered and rolled in cornmeal. Elaine's is definitely one restaurant I would love to try.
Habanero beer!

The Green Liberation was AWESOME!

Some very spicy goat cheese!

While it was a small event it was fun none-the-less and one that we just may attend again next year.

Did I mention I LOVE the fall!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Taco Dip

Taco Dip

**this was a HUGE hit and so yummy! Perfect for football season, actually any season.

1 package softened cream cheese

1 med sized container of sour cream

1 package taco seasoning

1 bag shredded lettuce

2 small tomatoes chopped

1 bag shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 small can sliced black olives

Taco sauce – I like medium


Mix cream cheese, sour cream & taco seasoning. Spread evenly on bottom of dish. Then add lettuce, tomatoes, olives, taco sauce, cheese & jalapenos.

Serve with scoops J

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is definitely a personal favorite of mine that Melissa makes.

**cheesy image in picture, obviously:)**

2 cups cooked & shredded chicken breast

2 packages cream cheese

5 oz. FRANKS red hot sauce (you can use other hot sauces, but FRANKS is the best)

1 cup ranch dressing

¾ cups (about 4 stalks) finely chopped celery

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Sauté cooked chicken with cream cheese, celery and hot sauce in skillet over low heat until cream cheese is melted and celery is soft.

Remove from heat and add ranch dressing.

Pour into serving dish & top with cheddar cheese.

Bake @ 350° for about 20 minutes.

Mem's Lasagna

Mem’s lasagna

Side note: If you follow this to the tee it will not taste like it did at Supper Club – it will be SOOOOOO much better! Not sure what I did, but I screwed something up that night!

1 lb ground beef

1 clove garlic – minced

1 teaspoon fresh parsley (dried is okay, if need be)

1 teaspoon fresh basil (I would not use dry)

1 16oz canned tomatoes – undrained. I stew my own but have used canned and it turns out pretty good.

2 6oz can tomato paste

1 package lasagna noodles – if you are able, make your own noodles. I tend to take the easy road on this one!

2 large eggs - beaten

½ teaspoon pepper

2 12oz containers cottage cheese

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 ½ pound freshly sliced mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef – drain. Add garlic, parsley, basil, tomatoes & paste. Simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce is thick.

Cook lasagna noodles – drain.

Combine eggs, pepper, cottage cheese & parmesan – mix well.

Spread ½ cup meat sauce in greased 13x9 dish.

Layer ½ each of noodles, cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese & meat sauce. Repeat layers. I like to have a nice think layer of mozzarella cheese on top!

Cover and bake @ 350° for 45 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes or until cheese on top is brown & bubbling!

Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Lasagna Alfredo

Lasagna Alfredo

Courtesy of

Submitted by: Sybil Gregory


1 16oz package lasagna noodles

1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach

3 cooked, boneless chicken breast, diced

2 16oz jars Alfredo sauce (I made a double batch of Tim’s Alfredo recipe)

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 pints ricotta cheese


Preheat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken and one jar alfredo sauce, stir together. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and drained, cooked spinach & stir.

In a 9x13 baking dish, place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping. Pour chicken and alfredo sauce mixture over noodle layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Pour ½ of remaining jar of alfredo sauce over spinach mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella over sauce, lay on the final noodle layer and top with remaining 2 cups of mozzarella. Bake 5- 60 minutes until top is brown and bubbly.

*side note: if you use Tim’s alfredo recipe; you may want to use a bit less parm cheese; I found the final dish with all the other stuff to be a bit salty.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Butterscotch Brownies

1/4 cup Butter
1 cup light brown sugar packed
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350. melt butter over low heat, remove. Stir in sugar, cool. Add eggs, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix, then add vanilla. In a greased square pan 8x8 and bake for 25 minutes. Do not over bake. Cut into bars while still warm.

Chocolate Brownies


2 cups white sugar

1 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup walnut halves


Melt the butter or margarine and mix all ingredients in the order given.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes in a 9 x 13 inch greased pan.

Tracy's Gumbo (Courtesy of Paula Deen)

I adapted this recipe from one I picked up from Paula Deen and provide you with the original ingredients and then how I modified it – mostly replacing with healthier fats and meats. I love to make this dish on a weekend when it first starts to cool and there’s great football to watch all day!

My best advice for this dish is to take your time. The roux is the most critical part of the whole thing and you don’t want to rush through it or the flavors won’t blend properly. You can play around with the amounts of veggies and meats to taste – but don’t mess with the roux – that’s what makes this dish.

Paula’s Original Recipe

Tracy’s Modifications

3 large chicken breasts

boneless and skinless

1 lb Smoked Sausage

Hillshire Farms Smoked Turkey Sausage

¼ c Vegetable Oil

Canola Oil

Salt and Pepper


½ c All Purpose Flour


5 tbsp Margarine

Crisco Butter Sticks and not the full amount – more like 4 tbsp.

1 chopped onion

1 bag Frozen chopped onion at the supermarket and I use the whole thing

8 Cloves Minced Garlic

I use the stuff in the jar and eyeball three to four spoonfuls

1 Green Bell Pepper seeded and chopped


3 stalks celery chopped

I usually use more about 5 or I get the celery hearts from the grocery and just chop the whole thing

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce


¼ bunch flat leaf parsley chopped

I use a ½ bunch – I chop of the leafy green tops and chop it in a mini prep

4 c hot water


5 beef bouillon cubes

Knorr’s Big Cubes in Veggie (not beef )

1 -14oz can stewed tomatoes in juice

Muirs Organic Petite Diced – drained

2 c. frozen sliced Okra

Use a 1 lb bag

4 green onions sliced – green and white parts

Whole bunch plus more to garnish

½ lb small shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked

At least 1 lb and more like 2 lbs per batch – the small ones though. See notes to prepare these fresh below


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. I put the chicken on a plate and cover with some tin foil – it still cooks that way and stays warm and juicy before it goes back in the pot. After the chicken is removed, add the sausage and brown that, then remove.

Sprinkle flour over the oil and add 2 tbsp of the margarine (Crisco) and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly, until brown about 10 minutes (my cooktop and Dutch oven are about 8 so you want this brown but not burnt keep an eye on it). Remove from heat and let the roux cool – I give it about 15 minutes and use this time to prep/chop remaining ingredients.


Boil the water in a separate bowl (I use a 1 qt measuring cup) and add the bouillon cubes, set aside.

After cooling, return the roux to the stove top over low to medium heat and melt the remaining margarine (Crisco). Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook until it’s all softened and then add the Worcestershire and parsley (the whole process is about 7 to 10 minutes).

Add in the hot water and stir constantly until everything is well incorporated (about 5 minutes). Chop up the chicken (I so this while the roux is cooling) and return to the pot. Add back the sausage, too. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.


At this point, you can transfer the gumbo to a crock pot (what I did for supper club). Or you can keep it on the stove top, your choice. Add in the tomatoes and OKRA and simmer for another hour on the stove top or 2 hours on high in the crock pot. Then turn the crock pot to the warm of low setting until you are ready to serve.

I like the crock pot if there I am doing this for supper and there is a later day game that I want to watch. I cook this up in the morning and then let it simmer in the crock pot until we are ready for dinner.

If you are on the stove top, add the shrimp about 15 minutes before you serve. If you are in the crock pot (which is on low now) add in about 45 minutes (or so) before serving.


I serve over rice with corn, French or garlic bread and sometimes a salad (but there are enough veggies this way that it’s easy to go without). Great on a plate or in a bowl if you are all hanging around a tv watching a game. This tastes even better the next day and it freezes beautifully! Enjoy!

Final Note: Steamed Shrimp

I always steam my own shrimp for this recipe so they are nice and tender (I hope!). I get uncooked, unpeeled (but deveined) shrimp from the grocery. I peel the shrimp and place in a steam basked. I will cover about 4 or 5 layers and if I have more I do it in two batches. Also, bring the water to a boil BEFORE you add the steamer basket. Steam about 8 to 10 minutes with the stove top on medium to low setting (I always test one or two to be sure they are done). If you are working with multiple batches, dump the steamed shrimp into a colander to drain and cool, return water to a boil (and add more if needed) and repeat the process. Let the shrimp cool in the colander and then transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. Enjoy!

Honey Cornbread


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the cream, oil, honey and eggs; stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Supper at Tracy's

Thank you Tracy for hosting this months supper club. Loving the fall food theme we had going and am hoping for more to come!

The menu consisted of:

Main Course - Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo over Rice, compliments of Tracy

Side - Honey Cornbread, compliments of Tim

Appetizer - Taco Dip, compliments of Melissa

Dessert - Butterscotch Brownies, Chocolate Walnut Brownies and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, compliments of Jolene

Thank you to those that brought beer.

Next month we will have a new addition joining us, looking forward to meeting him.

I will make sure lasts months Lasagna recipes are posted this week.

Looking forward to next months supper club at Marc's.