Thursday, May 31, 2018

Grandmas Easy Chicken Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise

Ahh..Grandmas Easy Chicken Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise. I remember going to my grandmother’s house for lunch and she’d have her famous chicken salad on a bed of lettuce with a homemade blueberry muffin. I miss those days as I miss her very much.

This is an actual picture of my grandparents with my 2 year old father. The year is 1931 and my grandmother is 28 years old. Wow! I hadn’t seen this photo since yesterday when my cousin emailed it to me.

My cousin called and told me my aunt Sally (her mother) had passed away on the 14th of this month. Sally was my father’s sister. Some strange things have happened a few days before that call.

My cousin and I had not spoken since my father had passed in 2011. Out of nowhere I mentioned her in a conversation I had with my granddaughter. It was one of those “well in my day...” conversation which a 13 year old doesn’t care about. Secondly when my husband passed I gave some of his ashes to his niece so she could spread them around a tree she just planted. Again, out of the blue, I’d say 2 days before my cousin’s call she contacted me through Facebook. My cousin is saving some of Sally’s ashes to do the very same thing. Eerie...but that’s not the only thing.

Sally, who has had dementia these last couple years, had been getting up and going to the door for about a week before she passed. When asked why she is doing that she said “I’m waiting on my mother, she’s going to pick me up” and another time she said her brother was going to pick her up. Our only conclusion was her mother and brother who have both passed were her guardian angels that were preparing her and going to guide her through her transition to the other side or heaven. And if you ever watch Tyler Henry or Theresa Caputo this makes total sense. At least it made sense to us.

We reminisced about a lot of things, which brought back a lot of memories just like the lunches grandma and I would share. So tonight I’m going to make her chicken salad and I hope you try it too. Serves 4 Total Time:45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the mayonnaise
  1. 1 large egg yolk
  2. ¼ tsp salt
  3. ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  4. 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  6. ¾ cup avocado oil or light olive oil
  7. (If you don’t want to make mayonnaise, just use 1 cup of Hellmanns mayonnaise with olive oil)
The rest of ingredients
  1. 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. ½ lemon, sliced
  3. ¼ tsp whole black peppercorns
  4. 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  5. 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  6. 1 small red onion, finely diced
  7. 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  8. 1 garlic clove, minced
  9. salt, black pepper to taste

Directions:


  1. In a pot place the chicken, lemon slices, black peppercorns and season with salt.
  2. Add enough water to cover the chicken breasts, plus one additional inch.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and cook over medium heat 25-30 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise.
  6. In a bowl, place the egg yolk.
  7. Add the salt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and whisk until combine about 30 seconds.
  8. Add ¼ cup oil a drop at a time, whisking constantly, until mixture is emulsified and thick.
  9. Gradually add remaining oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick.
  10. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes and add to a bowl.
  11. Add the celery, onion, parsley, garlic, Dijon mustard and half of prepared mayonnaise.
  12. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and serve.
  13. Refrigerate the rest of mayonnaise for another use.
  14. Serve on bread or on some lettuce (with a blueberry muffin) Yum Yum!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How to Make Mint Juleps 5 Ways

It’s National Mint Julep Day. You would think since the drink is associated with the Kentucky Derby this day would be closer to the beginning of the month of May than the end. But do we really care when we’d rather just drink the damn thing!

Here’s what nat’lcalendarday says about the day:



National Mint Julep Day is observed annually on May 30.  Each year, people around the country gather for a glass of mint julep! This refreshing southern classic is a traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby.
A classic mint julep is made with a mint leaf, bourbon, sugar and water. In the Southern states, where mint julep is more associated with the cuisine, spearmint is the mint of choice. Preparation of the drink may vary from one bartender to another.
  • It is believed that the mint julep originated in the southern United States sometime during the 18th century.
  • The term “julep” is generally defined as a sweet drink, particularly one used as a vehicle for medicine.
  • During the 19th century, Americans also enjoyed a gin-based julep.
  • Each year almost 120,000 mint juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.
  • May 2008 – Churchill Downs unveiled the world’s largest mint julep glass (6-foot  tall).
According to sports illustrated or si.com there are 5 ways to enjoy this drink; traditional, watermelon, champagne, strawberry and sweet tea.

Traditional:

Ingredients
1-1/2 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
Fresh mint
2 tablespoons simple syrup* muddled with mint
Splash of distilled water
Powdered sugar
Mint sprig for garnish
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup distilled water
Instructions
*For simple syrup, add 1 cup granulated sugar to 1 cup water in a saucepan. Heat to dissolve sugar, stirring constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.
Mix together simple syrup muddled with mint, Maker’s Mark® Bourbon and distilled water.
Watermelon:
Ingredients:
3-5 cubes of fresh watermelon
2 parts Makers Mark® Bourbon
1 part lime juice
4 basil leaves
Mint spring
Coarse sea salt
Instructions:
Muddle mint and basil with watermelon cubes.
Stir in Makers Mark® Bourbon and lime juice.
Pour over crushed ice and sprinkle with sea salt.
Champagne:
Ingredients:
2 parts Makers Mark® Bourbon
2 parts sparkling white wine or champagne
1/2 parts elderflower liqueur
Lemon twist and mint for garnish
Instructions:
Mix together Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, sparkling white wine, elderflower liqueur.
Muddle with mint.
Pour over crushed ice and garnish with lemon twist.
Strawberry 
Ingredients:
2 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
2 fresh strawberries
1 part simple syrup
6 mint leaves
1 part fresh lemon juice
Instructions:
Muddle strawberries, mint leaves and simple syrup in mixing glass.
Add Maker’s Mark® Bourbon and lemon juice and fill with ice.
Shake well and double strain into a martini glass.
Sweet Tea:
Ingredients:
4 parts freshly brewed and chilled black tea
2 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
1 part simple syrup
1/4 parts fresh lemon juice
Mint and lemon wedge garnish
Instructions:
Muddle mint with simple syrup.
In a highball glass, pour Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, chilled black tea, muddle simple syrup and lemon juice over ice.
Stir and garnish with a fresh mint sprig and lemon wedge.
Yum Yum!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Coq Au Vin

It’s National Coq Au Vin Day!
Have you ever heard of it? Me neither. I mean why are we devoting a day to a French dish? 

According to the nationaldaycalendar.com:  Celebrated annually on May 29 is National Coq Au Vin Day.   Coq au vin is a French braised chicken cooked in wine with bacon lardons, mushrooms and garlic. 



A French staple, Coq au vin translates to “rooster with wine.” It’s a rustic, peasant-style dish that is easy to serve when entertaining because a lot of the work can be done in advance.

Different legends tell of Coq au vin back in the days of Gaul and Julius Caesar. However, the first documented recipe was in the early 20th century.  There was a somewhat similar recipe, poulet au vin blanc, that appeared in an 1864 cookbook. Serves 4 (remember if your servings more than 4 a good rule of thumb is one chicken breast per person) 

Ingredients:


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 white onion, chopped 
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of button mushrooms, chopped 
3 carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
2 cups red wine 
2 cups chicken broth 
2 bay leaves 
4 sprigs of fresh thyme 
1/2 cup fresh parsley 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions:



Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Warm up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and carrots. Then toss in the chicken and brown on all sides.

Slowly pour in the wine and broth. Then add the bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir a few times to combine.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes. The sauce should have thickened and reduced. Yum Yum!


Sunday Brunch Casserole

I don’t know about you but Sunday Brunch to me means going out to a restaurant after church and enjoying a prepared buffet and not worrying about cooking or cleaning up.

So if I’m going to make something at home it better be simple to make as well as  easy to clean up. That’s why I like meal-in-one casseroles like this Sunday Brunch Casserole.  Serves 6-8 Total Time about an hour.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb bacon, sliced into lardons
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 16 oz package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven 350F.

In a skillet drizzle some olive oil then cook the bacon lardons until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel. Add the onions and green peppers to the same skillet and cook until tender, remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.  In a large bowl beat the eggs with the milk, stir in the thawed hash brown potatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, dill, onions, green peppers and bacon. Transfer to a greased 13”x9”x2” baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife is inserted in the center comes out clean. Yum Yum!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Orange Balsamic Asparagus Salad

I’m lovin’ it and you will too. What’s better on a hot summers evening than a cool crisp salad. And one that’s good for you.

Growing up I do not remember many salads, even dinner salads at the table. We were a family of four that basically had meat and potatoes and a canned vegetable like corn, green beans or peas and carrots 🤢.

Once in awhile there was a casserole, but my favorite was a trip to McDonald’s so I could eat my fries on the way home or going to A&W for a root beer float and having car service....those were the days.

Nope, not very many salads in my youth. Surprised I stayed as skinny as I did. But I was out until dark practically every night running around the neighborhood or riding my bike. Not like the kids today who would rather stay in with their electronics...now they need salads..lots of them. And this is one they’ll probably love, that’s if they like asparagus.  Serves 4. Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

8 oz package of leafy greens or 1 head of Boston Bibb lettuce, rinsed
3 strips of bacon, cut into lardons and cooked crispy
4 oranges or clementines, peeled
1 bunch of asparagus, cleaned, end trimmed and cut into 2-3” pieces.
1 tablespoon butter
Parmesan cheese for topping
Slivered almonds for topping

Dressing:

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup balsamic

Directions:

Cut the bacon into lardons. In a skillet swirl a tablespoon of olive oil and when it’s hot add the bacon. Cook until crispy then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. In the same skillet add the butter when melted add the asparagus and cook until tender. Remove onto a paper towel. In a saucepan add the dressing ingredients bring to boil then on simmer until it thickens, remove from heat.

On your plate place your greens or Bibb lettuce, top with the cooked asparagus, crispy lardons and peeled oranges or clementines. Drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle on the cheese and almonds. Yum Yum!

Loaded Red Potato Salad

What food comes to mind when you think of summer? Summer nights grilling out on your deck with your favorite sides; corn on the cob, baked beans and Loaded Red Potato Salad!

This recipe is a combination of an American Classic Potato Salad and an Australian Classic Potato Salad. In the Amercan version they use mustard combined with the mayonnaise, but I’m going to use the red cider vinegar in the Aussie recipe.

The Aussie’s use Nicola Potatoes which (I think) is like our golden potatoes, but I’m using red potatoes instead. Are you confused yet? Well here is the recipe. Serves 4. Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, peeled or not, your choice
3 hard boiled eggs
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped ( I’m going to use a leek)
1/2 cup whole egg mayonnaise (like Hellman’ s Mayonnaise with Olive Oil)









1 tablespoon red cider vinegar
2 dill pickles, chopped
3 green onions, chopped or 1/4 cup chopped chives
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Clean and cut your potatoes into 1/2” pieces. Peel them if you prefer, my granddaughters like their potatoes peeled. Place the potatoes with 1 heaping tablespoon of salt into a pot of cold water. Bring pot to boil then cook them until fork tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile in another saucepan bring some water to boil and cook you eggs to hard boiled. I used to cook them this way for 20 minutes, but now I’m using my Instant pot and it only takes 5 minutes once it’s up to pressure. Drain, run under cold water to cool and set aside.

In a saucepan fry your bacon lardons until they are crispy. Cut your bacon this way to make lardons.
Remove bacon to a paper towel to soak up any grease. In the same skillet add in the onions or leek stir until tender and remove to a paper towel with a slotted spoon. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and vinegar. In a larger bowl add in the potatoes, celery, onions or leek, bacon lardons and mayo mixture, stir to mix well. Quarter your eggs and gently fold them into the potatoes, don’t mash. Top with the chopped dill pickle and green onions or chives. Salt and pepper, to taste. Yum Yum!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Macerated Strawberries on Angel Food

How do you macerate strawberries? Strawberries  are often just sprinkled with sugar and then left to sit and release their own juices. 

Before you sprinkle them with sugar cut off the tops and cut them into 1/8-1/4 size pieces. 2 tablespoons sugar per 1 cup of berries, mix well and let sit at least 30 minutes. 


There really isn’t much of a recipe once your strawberries are ready, just cut up some Angel food cake, top with strawberries then add some whipped cream. Or visa versa top with whipped cream then add the strawberries, whichever you prefer. Yum Yum!



Friday, May 25, 2018

Guacamole Dip

At my recent visit to Sam’s Club I purchased some avocados. Now I need to find some way to use them. I love a good guacamole dip especially for summer cookouts. 

I’ve never made a guacamole dip myself, so I’m relying on a 17 year old recipe I found in the cookbook The Best of Country Cooking. I think this cookbook is part of Taste if Home Books. 

I’ve changed a few things, because my granddaughters prefer mayonnaise over yogurt. Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

2 large ripe avocados
1/4 cup plain yogurt or mayonnaise
2 tablespoons picante sauce with 1 tablespoon finely chopped onions or
3 tablespoons pica de gallo
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice from 1 lime
2-3 drops hot sauce, optional
Serve with Tortilla chips

Directions:

In a medium size bowl mash the avocados then whisk in the yogurt or mayonnaise until mixed well. Add in the rest of the ingredients, combine and serve with the tortilla chips. Yum Yum!



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad

What’s in your lunch box? Or tote or bag or whatever you bring your lunch to work in.  All I know is that I’d want this sandwich for lunch! I’d also like it piled high on some Boston lettuce or grilled between some wheat bread and melted Swiss cheese.

Ingredients:


  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 avocados diced
  • 7 strips of Jimmy Dean® Hickory Smoked Bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mayo (you can use more or less depending how creamy your avocados are)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
Directions:

  1. Combine chicken, avocado, optional cilantro and almost all of the crumbled bacon (reserve a tablespoon or two for garnish.)
  2. Add mayo and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I was inspired to make this because I saw the Mix & Match Chicken Salad article in the new Food Network Magazine. 



It cleverly shows how you could take a combination of ingredients, mix it with your own homemade dressing and add some fresh herbs and seasonings to make your unique chicken salad.




Monday, May 21, 2018

Food Network Grilled Chicken Pizzas

I received my Food Network Magazine today and the first photo that looks yummy was the Grilled Chicken Pizzas. The tomato, basil, tomato sauce and cheese is cooked on top of a flattened chicken breast...no pizza crust. I would say it’s one healthy pizza. Add a dinner salad or fruit salad with your favorite beverage and you could probably skip that workout you’d been dreading to do anyway.

This recipe serves 4. If you need more servings a rule of thumb is one breast per person. Total Time to prepare and cook is 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2+ tablespoons olive oil
1+ tablespoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pizza sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Small basil leaves, topping
Red pepper flakes, if you like it a little spicy

Directions:

Preheat your grill to medium high.

In a bowl toss the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then between two pieces of plastic wrap pound each breast flat with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until they are 1/4” to 1/2” thick. Brush with the remaining oil, sprinkle with the dried oregano and salt and pepper, to taste.

Brush the grill grate with oil, then grill the chicken until it’s cooked around the edges, about 3 minutes. Turn over and spread on the tomato sauce, top with the cheese and the tomato. Cover and cook the chicken through (internal temperature 160) and the cheese is just melted, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove, sprinkle with basil leaves, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Yum Yum!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sirloin Tip Steak and Asparagus

Doesn’t This Sirloin Tip Steak and Asparagus look good? It is a meal because it also has new potatoes, but the main reason I decided to do this post wasn’t because of the steak....it’s all about the asparagus!

Asparagus is about to harvested in June and July whether it’s white or green. How do they get white asparagus? These plants never see the light of day and are grown under ground so the chlorophyll never develops to turn the asparagus green.

Have you ever noticed that asparagus shape is a bit phallic? We all know that asparagus is healthy for you, but did you know it’s one of the sexiest vegetables you can eat?

It also contains a powerful nutrient that actually offers a boost to your sex life. You might even call it an aphrodisiac. As early as the 17th century an herbalist wrote that asparagus stirs up lust in men and women. In 19th century France brides and grooms had 3 helpings of asparagus during their wedding day meal to stimulate....we’ll you know. And by the way, the French word for asparagus is asperge, which is a slang word for penis.

Asparagus is rich in vitamin B6, folate and vitamin E which help stimulate men and women sex hormones. This vegetable helps bring optimal levels of histamine that are important for a healthy sex drive. Not only is it good for your sex life, it is good for your heart, digestive system, bones and even your cells. It’s an antioxidant that helps fight heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Especially, skin cancer and colon cancer. Sounds like we need more recipes like this one, thanks to blue apron.com, that gives us the opportunity to eat more asparagus. So let’s prepare this meal for two, turn on some music, have some wine...and enjoy the rest of the evening. 😉😉

Ingredients:

2 sirloin tip steaks
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch of asparagus
3 oz radishes
1 red onion
1 lemon
6 oz new potatoes
1 large bunch of parsley
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

Directions:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus stems; cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel and large dice the onion. Quarter the potatoes. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems. Roughly chop the capers and almonds. Trim off and discard the stem ends of the radishes. Cut the radishes into wedges.

Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned steaks and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium, or until cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a cutting board, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan. Loosely cover the steaks with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes.


While the steaks rest, heat the pan of reserved fond on medium-high until hot. (If the pan seems dry, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.) Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the radishes and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the radishes and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.


While the potatoes and radishes cook, in a medium bowl, combine the parsley, capers, almonds and Parmesan cheese. Slowly stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil to create a paste; season with salt and pepper to taste.


Add the asparagus, onion and garlic to the pan of potatoes and radishes; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and the onion is softened. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Find the lines of muscle (or grain) of the rested steaks; thinly slice against the grain. Divide the finished hash and sliced steakbetween 2 dishes. Top with the salsa verde. Garnish with the remaining lemon wedges. Yum Yum!



Friday, May 18, 2018

National Pizza Party Day


Each year on the third Friday in May, millions of pizza lovers across the nation join in extolling the qualities of pizza on National Pizza Party Day.  Celebrate by inviting friends and family to share a night of fun at your favorite pizzeria.  Another way to celebrate is with a homemade pizza with fresh toppings or by having one delivered.
  • In ancient Greece, Greeks enjoyed bread covered with oils, herbs, and cheese.
  • In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled “πίτα”, pita, meaning pie. 
  • A sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey, then flavored with bay leaves was developed by the Romans.
  • The modern pizza had its beginning in Italy as the Neapolitan flatbread.
  • The original pizza used only mozzarella cheese, mainly the highest quality buffalo mozzarella variant which was produced in the surroundings of Naples.
  • It was estimated that the annual production of pizza cheese in the United States in 1997 was 2 billion pounds.
  • The first United States pizza establishment opened in 1905 was in New York’s Little Italy.
  • Pizza has become one of America’s favorite meals.
Making a pizza from scratch is a low-budget family favorite that tastes so good. You can make a pizza with hardly any fuss and it allows everyone to pitch in to mix and match toppings that suit each family member’s tastes. Serves 8. Makes 2 pizzas

Ingredients: 

1 pkg (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon sugar 
2 3/4-3 1/4 cups flour 

Sauce:

1 15 oz can tomato sauce 
1/2 cup onion, chopped 
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 

My Toppings:

1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained 
1 4 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained 
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 

Directions:

Preheat the oven 375F.

In a mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in water, then add the oil, salt, sugar and 2 cups of water. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour to form a soft dough ball. Transfer to a floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease the top. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients, set aside. Divide the dough in half and on a floured surface roll each portion into a 13” circle. Transfer to greased 12” pizza pans; build up edges slightly. Bake for 15 minutes or lightly browned. Spread sauce over hot crusts, sprinkle with sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Yum Yum!