Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hibiscus and A Few Good Meals

Just like her mom, Bev cannot resist buying plants, even tropical ones, so when she saw this bright yellow Hibiscus, she had to bring it home.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Stuffed Manicotti

Cindy wanted to make stuffed manicotti and I’ve been wanting to make crepes to use as the noodles as I’ve done before and she was excited to learn how to do that so a plan came together.  Click on this link for the recipe for 14 crepes and pics like this one. 

Cindy wanted to use a filling recipe from Allrecipes to which we added garlic powder and increased the amounts to get the one below.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Deconstructed Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta

When I saw Pam’s recipe for this dish on her For The Love Of Cooking blog I knew I wanted to give it a try soon.  But when I ran it by Bev, she said she liked the ingredients but not as a lasagna as she’s not a big fan of baked pasta dishes and they are usually more work to make. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Bacon Ranch Baked Cheddar Chicken & Skillet-Toasted Gnocchi With Peas

For this week’s Thursday meal for our friends, we chose to make Bacon Ranch Baked Cheddar Chicken using the recipe from Kevin on his Closet Cooking blog.  I followed his recipe but used about 10 oz of cream cheese and 1½ lbs of chicken tenders (seven tenders).  Click on this link to check out Kevin’s site for more great pics like this one.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Mothers Day For My Honey

When I asked Bev if she wanted to do or eat anything special for Mother’s Day, I was expecting something like a “grilled filet mignon” or “that catfish dish I like” but what I got was “let me call Pat (our neighbor) and see if she’s interested in a hot dog roast and bonfire.  

Well, the neighbors had no plans, a fire by the lake is near the top of Pat’s favorite things list, so a plan was born.

But before the supper meal, I thought she also deserved a special breakfast and I offered one of her favorites of Southwest Breakfast Nachos from Kathy’s A Spoonful Of Thyme blog and we last had them in Jan, 2018.   I usually don’t like to make them as not much can be dome ahead of time so the cooking is all done in the morning, but hey, it is Mothers Day.  No need to re-post the recipe but here are a few shots beginning with Bav and Cindy watching me cook.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Huevos Rancheros Ala Larry

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a breakfast that I thought was pretty special but this one sure hit the spot.  I was sitting behind my computer in the early morning and began thinking about breakfast options and I thought I might just have a bowl of leftover Charro Beans but decided I put in the effort for something better and included eggs. 

I knew we had all of the ingredients for Huevos Rancheros utilizing the beans and since they were awesome, I knew they would make this dish special so the first thing I did was reheat a bowl full in the microwave.  While the beans were heating, cooked a couple of corn tortillas in a skillet and laid them on a plate.

Then I used a slotted spoon to remove the warm beans from the bowl, let them drain off the liquid, and added them atop the tortillas.

Next came shredded cheddar and back in the micro wave for 30 seconds to melt it.

While the cheese was melting, I cooked the eggs sunny side up with a lid on the pan and when done, I slid them out onto the tortillas – a little off center – added a little more cheese and chopped cilantro.

I cannot imagine I’ve ever had better huevos rancheros which was due in large part to the Charro Beans, which may be the best Mexican beans I’ve ever had – you may want to make them for your next pot of beans - I'm sure they would go well over some Mexican cornbread.  Just click on the link for the recipe and for this batch I used four cups of pintos that I had cooked rather than canned beans.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


5/9/20 event date

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Cottage Pie Ala Tricia

Happy Mothers Day

For last weeks meal for our friends and us, we decided on cottage pie using the recipe from Tricia on her Saving Room For Dessert blog.  In case you are wondering, cottage pie uses ground beef instead of the lamb used in shepherds pie but it’s otherwise the same.  Since I was making two casseroles, I doubled the recipe for the filling but cooked the potatoes in two batches – one for each casserole.  You can click on the link for the original recipe and more of Tricia’s great pics like this one.

Cottage PieAdapted from Saving Room For Dessert

For the mashed potatoes:
6 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, divided
2 teaspoon salt, divided
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, divided
2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 1/3 cup milk, divided
For filling:
4 pounds lean ground beef (not less than 90%)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onion, chopped
6 medium carrots, diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
29 ounce low-sodium beef broth (2 cans)
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoon water
3 cups frozen green peas, thawed

Note: I prepared the potatoes in two batches so they would not get cold during the hour between making the two casseroles – I just rewarmed the filling in the pan prior to assembly of the second one.

To prepare each batch of the potatoes:
1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover completely with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 10-12 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes completely until very dry. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash until no lumps remain. 
3. Add the butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir until the butter is melted. 
4. Whisk together the milk and egg yolk. Add to the potatoes and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.  Cover and set aside.

To prepare the filling:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2.. In a large skillet or saute pan, cook the beef until brown and crumbly.  Drain in a colander mix in salt and pepper
3. In a large skillet add the butter and olive oil, heat on medium until butter is melted and add the onions, carrots, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots start to soften. 
4. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir constantly until the mixture darkens and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, scraping up the browned fond on the bottom of the skillet.
6. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire and thyme. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the beef back to the pan and mix with the vegetables
8. Whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the beef. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. 
9. Stir in the peas and remove from the heat. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
10. Add half the filling to a prepared 9”x12” casserole dish.
11. Place the mashed potatoes in a large zipper or pipping bag. Cut a 1-inch opening in one corner of the bag and pipe the potatoes over the beef mixture. Smooth the potatoes to cover the beef. Drag the tines of a fork across the top to make decorative ridges in the potatoes.
12. Bake until the filling is bubbling, about 15 - 20 minutes. Turn the broiler on HIGH, prop the oven door open slightly and broil the casserole until the potatoes are golden brown and crusty, about 5 minutes. (Watch carefully so they don't burn!)

13. Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

We all loved it as did the friends we took the first casserole to and this will be the go-to for cottage pie going forward.  Thanks Tricia for a delicious supper.

The azaleas are pretty well spent now but the Knock Out Roses are now providing lots of color.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/30/20 event date

Friday, May 8, 2020

Crispy Pork Cutlets with a Creamy Dill Sauce Ala Pam

Knowing our love for pork schnitzel, when I saw the recipe for this dish on Pam’s For The Love Of Cooking blog, I knew we had to try it.  We’ve had schnitzel with a variety of sauces but never had heard of using a dill sauce but since we like dill sauce, we were game to give it a try. 

Other than the meat description and S&P, I followed the original recipe ingredients list but changed the cooking method as our deep fry pot was sitting on the stove with oil in it and I wanted to use it.  Just click on the above link for Pam’s original recipe and more pics like this one of her plated dish.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Salmon And Mango Salsa

I’d seen recipes for this dish in several places and wanted to give it a try since my girls like mangos – it’s not my favorite but I can eat it.  I looked at several recipes for cooking the salmon and making the salsa and opted for an adapted version of a salsa recipefrom  but I opted not to use their salmon recipe which included a marinade and Cajun spice mix. 

I changed the salsa by omitting the jalapeno and the pineapple but provided slices of grilled pineapple instead.  You can click on the above link to get the original recipe. I wanted to grill the pineapple because I really like it and I wanted mine to have this look.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

The day after our trip to the Mennonite market and purchase of some beautiful broccoli, Tricia posted the recipe for Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and RiceCasserole on her Saving Room For Dessert blog and we decided it would be perfect for the weekly meal for our friends.  The original recipe makes eight servings but I wanted 12 servings split between two casseroles so I increased everything by 50% to get the recipe below.  I cooked everything together then split it between the two dishes.  For the original recipe and more great pics like the one below, please click on the above link to visit Tricia's blog.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Some Random Meals While Hunkered Down

Since we've been in lock down mode here at Almost Heaven South, my blog has been pretty much devoted to the meals we've been cooking and as you can tell we've eaten pretty well and all gained a little weight.  While most of the meals had an entire post devoted to then, we've had several that didn't get that treatment and following are several of them, beginning with my showing Cindy how to cook blackened catfish.  We used a heavy cost of Emeril’s Essence on two filets and Sint Maarten Blackening Seasoning on the other three.