Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year Meatballs: 3 Ingredients

Which food that I took to my brother and sister-in-law's house got completely inhaled at Christmas? It was these three ingredient meatballs-it's not the recipe with grape jelly either. I like this recipe because it's quick and idiot-proof. Happy 2011!!!

Three Ingredient Meatballs

1-28 ounce bag of meatballs (I recommend the Armour Beef Meatballs. Defrost them before you use them to reduce prep time.)
1-14 ounce can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1-12 ounce bottle of Chili Sauce

In a large sauce pan, combine the Jellied Cranberry Sauce and the Chili Sauce. Cook over medium heat until melted together. Add the defrosted meatballs. Simmer until the meatballs are heated thoroughly, about 10-12 minutes. Serve with toothpicks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tradition: Standing Rib Roast

We love Standing Rib Roast (Prime Rib) for our Christmas meal. Fortunately, it goes on super-sale at the major supermarkets in Atlanta for the holiday season. I combined a recipe from Tyler Florence with my own major tweaks and came up with this winner-winner-Christmas-dinner.

Standing Rib Roast

1-4 pound standing rib roast
4 tablespoons of Herbs de Provence OR 2 tablespoons dried rosemary & 2 tablespoons dried thyme mixed
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder, California-style preferred
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place all the spices and the olive oil in a small bowl and combine well. Smear the herb/oil mixture all over the roast. Roast for 23 minutes per pound for medium. Let rest 20 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Perfect Christmas Candy: PRALINES

This is the absolute best praline we've ever eaten. It's even better than the candy stores in Savannah, GA. Pecans aren't cheap, but you save a fortune if you make your own pralines. It's certainly worth pulling out the candy thermometer to make this treat! The original recipe came from Southern Living, except you really need to let this candy set-up overnight.

Christmas Pralines

3 cups firmly-packed, brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring mixture constantly.

 Cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes, or until a candy thermometer registers 236 degrees (soft ball stage).

 Remove mixture from heat, and add butter (do not stir).

 Let stand until candy thermometer reaches 150 degrees.

 Stir in pecans and vanilla, using a wooden spoon, and stir constantly until candy begins to thicken.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls, working rapidly, onto wax paper or parchment paper.

Let stand overnight until firm.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Steakhouse Marinade: Make inexpensive steak taste great

I got a really, good price on hanger steak this week. It needs a marinade, and this one fit the bill. I had everything in the cabinet. I recommend letting the steak marinate in the fridge for 24 hours or a minimum of 8 hours. I was hoping I'd have leftovers for a steak sandwich.....not with this recipe!

Steakhouse Marinade

2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons worcestershire
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Friday, December 3, 2010

LOL-Thanksgiving in a Meatball

I just entered this original recipe in a Taste of Home contest. It makes a VERY light meatball. I got a one pound tube of frozen turkey by Honeysuckle for $2, so this is affordable to make. It would make a good appetizer for a holiday party too. I think kids would like this meal.

Thanksgiving in a Meatball


  • Meatballs:
  • 2 lbs ground turkey defrosted
  • 1-6 ounce package cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 large onion diced and caramelized in 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or rubbed sage
Cranberry Dipping Sauce:
  • 1-14 ounce can of jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grape jelly


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cornbread stuffing mix, water, eggs and sage. Let soften in bowl for 3-5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and onion. Mix well. Make 1/3 cup meatballs. It makes 28 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a large sheet pan with sides. Bake for 22-27 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked and browned.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the jellied cranberry, grape jelly and balsamic vinegar. Heat gently until cranberry jelly melts and the sauce is smooth. You can use an immersion blender to combine the ingredients. Heat until warm. Serve in individual small bowls for dipping the turkey meatballs. Yield: serves 6


    When I told my friends and family about my latest, recipe creation, Thanksgiving in a Meatball, the reactions ranged from "Interesting." to "OK, Mom?". After eating the meatballs, the response changed to, "I like these better than regular meatballs. They're lighter!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Budget Boursin and Creamed Spinach

This recipe will save you a bunch of $$$. A small round of Boursin cheese costs $6 in Atlanta. You can make it for about $2 yourself just by mixing the ingredients together. Easy Peasy. The incredible Creamed Spinach is made in the microwave. I'm taking this side dish to my sister's house for Thanksgiving. Should I really be sharing how inexpensive and easy it is to make? lol  Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Budget Boursin

1-8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients until well-mixed. Refrigerate for up to a week.

Creamed Spinach

2 boxes frozen, chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
1 recipe of Budget Boursin cheese

Combine the ingredients in a in a covered, microwave-safe casserole dish. Cook for 4-6 minutes on high or until the Boursin is melted and the spinach is cooked. Stir before serving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Splurge: Sweet Potato Casserole

I threw out all the other Sweet Potato Casserole recipes after I made this one. Avoid using those canned sweet potatoes though. I use the fresh sweet potatoes. Rub the sweet potatoes with a little oil; place on a baking sheet and bake for an hour at 400 degrees for the best result. Indulge! It's the beginning of the holiday season!

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes, baked
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla and milk.  Pour into a casserole dish. Mix the topping ingredients  and sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ain't Your Mama's Collards

We always have these collards during the holidays, but they're GREAT anytime. The original recipe came from John Kessler, a food writer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. You can use a pressure cooker or a  large slow cooker to make these. Raw collards take up a lot of room, but cooked collard shrink down to a little "lump". To save time, I use a pizza cutter to cut out the stem and cut the collards into strips. Enjoy!

Ain't Your Mama's Collards

1 bunch fresh collards, cleaned and chopped
1-14 ounce can chicken broth
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Put all ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes after it locks. Or for a slow cooker, put all ingredients in the pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Already....Turkey Time

Since it's November, I'm already thinking about turkey. I like using that Cajun  Injector product, but it is SO expensive. It costs around $5 a jar in Atlanta. You'll never overpay again, if you use this recipe for your own Injector Sauce. My version is based on a recipe from Steve Raichlen. I cut costs even more by using soup base to make my own chicken broth. The most available soup base in Atlanta is the Better than Bouillon brand.

Cajun Injector Sauce

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons white wine
4 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine everything over medium heat in medium saucepan until butter melts. Cool the mixture to room temperature. It makes enough for a turkey or two chickens.

Butter Injector Sauce

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine everything over medium heat in medium saucepan until butter melts. Cool the mixture to room temperature. It makes enough for a turkey or two chickens.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baked Ranch-Parmesan Chicken

Ranch and Parmesan.....what's not to like?  I make my own budget, panko breadcrumbs for this recipe. Just throw some Rice Crispies in a food processor, or put them in a large, storage bag and smash away. I like my chicken to stay crispy on both sides, so I put a cake, cooling rack on the baking pan to keep it elevated during cooking. Also, I use "parmesan regularo". Yep-the affordable kind in the shaker. This chicken is succulent and delicious every time.

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 and 1/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set the oven rack to the lowest position. Spray a cooking sheet with edges and place the grid/cooling rack on top. In a shallow bowl, mix the panko, parmesan and spices. Pour the dressing in a shallow bowl, and dip the chicken in the ranch dressing on both sides. Coat the chicken in the panko mixture. Place the coated chicken on the grid/cooling rack. Lightly drizzle the melted butter over each chicken breast. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Swai? -New Low $$$ Fish

I've noticed that Kroger and WalMart are selling a new, lower cost fish. It's called Swai (rhymes with "why") that is imported from Vietnam. I usually see it selling for $2.00 to $2.99 per pound. Of course, I had to try it. It is unbelievably good! It's thicker than talapia, but it's a nice mild fish. It's a little flakier than talapia, but it still grilled well on a piece of foil with slits. Here's the incredibly, easy recipe that I came up with.

Tasty Swai

1 pound of Swai Fish
1 McCormick Lemon & Pepper Seasoning Grinder (WAY better than powder)
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat your grill or grill pan. Rub the fish with the oil on both sides. Season liberally with the seasoning. Cook about 5 minutes per side. That's it! Time to eat!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Killer Recipe for Game Time

I've had this recipe for more than 20 years.  There was a fancy restaurant called, Trio, in Atlanta. They had the best spinach dip in the city. It's a really nice change from the spinach and artichoke dip that so many people make now. Also, you spare yourself the expense of those $$ artichokes with this recipe. Serve this with pita chips for a perfect pairing.


1-10 ounce package frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
2 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese
1-8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 small onions, diced
2 tablespoons chopped, pickled jalapenos
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 cups canned, diced tomatoes-drained (fire-roasted tomatoes very tasty)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly blend the spinach, cheese, cream cheese, onions, jalapenos and half-and-half. Fold in the tomatoes. Place the mixture in a 9x13 inch casserole dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Party Favorite: Buffalo Chicken Dip

I just hosted Bunco last night. This recipe is always popular at a party. You can cut costs by buying bone-in chicken breasts and grilling them.  I did splurge and buy "real" Scoops to serve the dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened (I use the 1/3 less fat)
3 shredded chicken breasts, cooked
1 cup ranch dressing (can use half fat)
3/4 cup hot sauce (like Texas Pete)
shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese, ranch and hot sauce together. Fold in the shredded chicken. Put in a 2 quart oven-safe dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven and top with the cheese. Bake another 10-15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips-Scoops preferable.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Delicious Bananas Foster Muffins (from a mix)

I just entered this recipe in the Martha White Muffin Contest. It turned out REALLY well, so I wanted to share it with you. It makes 10 fancy muffins for less than 3 bucks of ingredients.....not bad.

Marthalicious Bananas Foster Muffinettas

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1-7.6 ounce package Martha White Banana Nut Muffin Mix

Bananas Foster Sauce:
2 medium bananas, sliced into thin circles
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon imitation rum flavoring

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 10 of the 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Mix all the ingredients for the batter. It makes a stiff batter. Divide the batter equally among the 10 muffin cups, about a tablespoon each. Set the muffin tin aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Over a medium heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture is combined, gently fold in the bananas and rum flavoring. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Top the muffin batter  with a 1/10th of the Bananas Foster Sauce.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.