Saturday, April 1, 2017

Country Dinner with Macaroni & Cheese, & Strawberry Galette, Oh Lordy!


On Friday afternoon, I decided to make a real country dinner. So, I had fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, tiny green beans with butter, sliced tomatoes and cornbread. The mac and cheese was the best I've made in a long time, and the connoisseur of mac and cheese, McK, gave her approval by having a plate full of the golden goodness.
After dinner, we enjoyed Strawberry Galette with vanilla ice cream. What a treat for a Friday night dinner.
So here you go, for those who want to try the mac and cheese. The Strawberry Galette recipe is below. It was really good if I do say so myself.

 Macaroni & Cheese
First, a little tip about macaroni. If it's not salted enough in the cooking process, your mac and cheese will be as bland as your macaroni. After all, it is the main ingredient. So, near the end of the cooking process, check the taste by taking out a spoon of macaroni and tasting it! If it's not salty enough, add more salt and continue cooking. You might also do the same when you assemble the casserole, before you add the eggs, to make sure you have enough seasoning.
1 (16 ounce) box macaroni, cooked in boiling salted water and drained

1 (8-ounce) block of seriously sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 (8-ounce) block of Vermont extra sharp Cheddar, grated and divided
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an oven proof baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, add the macaroni, heavy cream, the seriously sharp Cheddar and half of the grated Vermont Cheddar. Add salt and pepper as needed. To this mixture, add the beaten eggs and mix well.
Place the mixture into the baking dish and top with the remaining Cheddar cheese. Spray the underside of a piece of aluminum foil, and place it over the baking dish. Baking time will depend on the size of the baking dish you use, but if it's a 13 x 9-inch dish, it will be about 40 minutes, or until it's bubbly around the edges and at least 170 degrees in the center.
 Strawberry Galette
Made from those fresh strawberries that I picked in the strawberry patch last month.
1 pie crust, ready made or home made, large enough for a 10-inch pie plate
4 cups cut roughly cut strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the pie crust in the plate. Mix the cut strawberries with the sugar and cornstarch, and place them in the crust. Pull the crust up around the strawberries. Bake until the berries are very tender and the crust in light brown. It will take about 35-45 minutes on convection. When done, warm the strawberry jam, and spread it on top of the berries. Serve warm or wait until room temperature and slice the Galette. 


Monday, March 13, 2017


I realize this photo might not be the prettiest French Dip sandwich, but it might be one of the best you will taste. 

This is made from a recipe that my cousin Sandra sent from mother's recipe file. I didn't have this one, and boy have I missed out. But, not anymore. I have it now and I'll make it again and again.
I served this with coleslaw and horseradish on the side. And, of course, a bowl of au jus.My mother recommended serving it with roasted potatoes and salad.
French Dip Sandwich 
4 pound rump roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (12 ounce) can or bottle of beer (optional-I do not use the beer, but you can if you like)
1 large onion cut into thick slices
6 French rolls
2 tablespoons butter 
Trim excess fat from the roast, and place in a slow cooker*. Add the beef broth, onion soup, onions and beer. Cook on low setting for 7 hours. Preheat the oven to 350°. Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls. Strain the dipping sauce, and serve. Excellent with  salad and oven roasted potatoes.
*If you want to serve it sooner than later, just pre-heat the oven to 350. Add the roast to a large Dutch oven, add beef broth, onion soup and onions, and cook for about 21/2 hours, turning often, until the meat is tender.

Saturday, February 4, 2017



Beef & Cabbage Soup, Oh Lawdy!
I was yearning for some good old hearty beef and cabbage soup today. So, I thought of one that my mother made, but I used a simpler method. It was good, and it was easy. No mess, no fuss, a few good ingredients and that was all I needed to make this delicious soup and a pan of cornbread. Pure country, pure Alabama. Believe me when I say that I enjoyed every bite.
My mother told me that my great-granny, Laura Ann Davis Reid Johnson, used to make this soup, but she used canned corned beef. When you think about it, in the early 1900's, that would have been fast food. There were few homes with electricity in the rural area that I came from, and no freezers, so there wouldn't have been that pound of ground beef in the freezer to thaw and use. The cabbage wouldn't have been from the store but from the winter garden. There may have been onions but maybe not, so people back in the country at that time used what they had.
It was pretty easy for me this morning as I drove over to Publix and bought a pound of ground sirloin, a head of cabbage, some beef broth, and some red beans. Yep, well, I thought I was buying kidney beans. I seem to do that a lot lately, but the red beans worked out just fine, and were actually a little softer and more flavorful. The rest of the ingredients, I had here already. So, let me recap and hope I don't forget anything, because this was not a real recipe written down, it just so happens that I remember what went into the soup pot.
By the way, this soup freezes really well. I took out 4 cups to serve for supper and put the rest into freezer bags and those will go in the freezer for later day suppers. You can do the same with your cornbread if you have any left over, just place in individual bags, and store in the freezer.
This was the perfect supper to end with a piece of apple pie, and whipped cream or ice cream.
Beef Cabbage Soup
1 pound ground sirloin
1 small head of cabbage- you will need 8 cups of one-inch cubes
6 cups beef stock
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15.5 ounce) can red beans, or red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup green pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups cubed and cooked potatoes
In a large Dutch oven, brown the beef. Add the beef stock, cabbage, tomatoes, beans, onion, pepper, thyme, chili powder. Cook covered on a strong simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. When the cabbage has cooked, put the potatoes in the soup, check your seasoning for salt and pepper and adjust at this time, and cook another 5-10 minutes until the flavors have had a chance to mix. Serve with your favorite cornbread. Makes 13 cups of soup.
Crispy Cornbread
I love a crispy cornbread. All you have to do is put about 1/3 cup oil for an 8-inch skillet. Let the oil get really hot. Put half of the oil into your favorite cornbread batter, and then dust the remaining oil in the skillet with raw cornmeal or mix. Let it start to get slightly golden and then pour your batter on top of the meal. Bake as usual for your recipe. When the bread is done, flip the cornbread out upside down on a plate, as the photo above. The bottom becomes the top.
See how I put the meal in the hot oil, and it starts to bubble and brown, and now you want to pour your cornmeal batter on top of this and bake it as you usually do.

For more recipes, please see my other blog,

Thursday, January 26, 2017


My son, Rob took this photograph of tomato pie on a Sunday afternoon at Page's Okra Grill, after the restaurant had closed. I didn't work for Page's, but I loved cooking with Tony Page and he would call me and tell me when he wanted to try a new recipe. We cooked my tomato pie recipe on this day, and made buttercream and Grillades and Grits. It was a great cooking day. My son had gone with the to photograph the food, and I love the way that he photographed the pies.

Savory Tomato Pie

I've been making this pie for many years now. It's been through a few changes from the original pie. For example, I use one layer of tomatoes. If you've got really good tomatoes and you put them in a pie, then you'll have a really good pie, but if you don't, then all you will taste are tomatoes that are not really good. One layer of tomatoes forgives that in this pie. My other son loves tomato pie and he was the inspiration for the recipe below.

Try it and see if you like it. I promise this pie will be good. The recipe below is reposted from my e-book, Seasoned in the Kitchen ($2.99), available at

Savory Tomato Pie

1 pre-baked 9 inch pie crust*

1-1/2 to 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled

1 teaspoon dried basil or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 small to medium sweet onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste


*Blind bake the pie crust according to package directions. Cool.

Peel the tomatoes by making an “x” on the smooth end of the tomatoes and dipping them into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from water, and the peel should come right off.

Slice tomatoes into ½ -3/4 inch slices and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Place the tomato slices in the pie shell in ONE layer (this is the secret).

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, mix the chopped onion, basil, cheese and mayonnaise. Spread this mixture evenly over the tomatoes to the edge of the pie crust.

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly in the center. Remove from the oven and wait 15 minutes before serving. 

*Note: Make small tomato pies using the same method as above. These are great for tea parties. You can also make tomato pies by putting pimiento cheese into phyllo shells, topping with a slice of Roma tomato and baking until the cheese has melted.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Fabulous Fiesta Chili Soup. You'll love it.
I Love soup all year round, and I don't care what the weather is like, but it sure felt good on this cold, rainy January night to have this hot bowl of soup at suppertime.
The first recipe that I made of this soup was an accident. I didn't have the right ingredients for a recipe that I wanted to try, so I substituted almost everything, but I wrote down the ingredients and used it for the second batch and it was just as good. I've now made it with beef and chicken. Both recipes are below.
Fabulous Chicken Fiesta Chili Soup
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup finely diced green pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, oregano
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel
1 1/4 cups beef broth
 (or if you don't have beef broth use 1-1/4 cups water and 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can Seasoned Black Beans, undrained (I use Bush's)
2 cups cooked cubed chicken breast or chicken tenderloin meat
1 cup white corn
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven, or heavy pan. Add the onion and green pepper and sauté until tender. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and serve with sour cream and cheese nachos. Makes about 5 cups soup.

With Sour Cream and Cheese Nachos
Here is the beef version. One of the ingredients will surprise you! This was the result of adding hot chili powder  by mistake and looking for something in my pantry to cool this soup down. It was great in the soup! I also cook and freeze portions of ground sirloin, so I had a 1/2 pound package of frozen cooked beef and all I had to do was thaw it a little in the microwave and add it to the soup.
Fabulous Fiesta Beef Chili Soup
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup finely diced green pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, oregano
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel
1 (10-ounce) can French Onion Soup
 (if you don't want to use the onion soup, use the same amount of beef broth or use 1-1/4 cups water and 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can Seasoned Black Beans, undrained (I use Bush's)
1/2 pound cooked, crumbled ground sirloin
1 cup white corn
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven, or heavy pan. Add the onion and green pepper and sauté until tender. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and serve with sour cream and cheese nachos. Makes about 5 cups soup.
Hope you enjoy this as much as we have. Thank you for reading my blog and looking at my posts.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Beef cooked in onions and beef broth, sauce added after shredding. Cole slaw and squash puppies are happy on this plate.
See below for photo of bbq sandwich, with beef cooked in bbq sauce. 
My friend, Ellen Thompson lives in Greenville and we are always sharing recipes. I gave her one for a pot roast cooked with sauce that I received when attending a party up in the mountains of North Carolina. She was cooking it one night and thought there must be a better way than the long list of ingredients needed to make this roast taste good. There was a better way and she thought of it, cooked the roast, loved it, and sent me the recipe in 2014. I've been making her version ever since. I love it too, and it's so easy.
Yeah man!

This is my "go to" recipe when I want to make a quick beef barbecue.
4 lb chuck roast
2 onions, chopped
1 (10-ounce) can beef bullion or broth

Set oven at 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, put onions down first, put roast over the onions, and then add ½ can Campbell’s, beef bouillon or broth if needed. Cover it and cook an hour and a half, then add the rest of broth. Pour in a middle size bottle of Sweet Baby’s Rays original barbecue or Sweet Baby Ray's Vidalia Onion Barbecue sauce. Use all of it. Cover and cook for another hour. *Cook a half hour longer with the lid off. *If you decide not to add the sauce until you've shredded the beef, keep it covered the last half hour. (That's how I prepared the cover photo above).
It cooks for 3 hours total. Let it cook and put in fridge overnight and take fat off. Reheat, shred and serve on buns or over rice.

 BBQ sauce cooked with the meat.


Squash Puppies

Squash Puppy with Garlic Mayonnaise

My friend, Johnathon Scott Barrett, is the author of a wonderful book on being a "Southern son" called, Rise and Shine, published by Mercer. It's full of stories and the other things we southerners love, like really good family recipes! Hallelujah, because I can hardly pick up a book anymore that doesn't have recipes and southern stories. Reading how other southerners lived and what they ate are my adult bedtime stories.

Johnathon's book is very popular and he has had one of the busiest schedules ever, with book signings and speaking engagements. But, finally we were able to mesh our schedules and meet in Yemassee, South Carolina. Yemassee is halfway between our two cities of Charleston and Savannah.

Lucky for us that we had planned on meeting at a place that didn't serve lunch on Saturday. And, the place we ended up was where we were really supposed to be. It was a quaint tea room by the name of Fletcher's Finds and Finest. What a wonderful surprise it was too.

After we had some great conversation with the owner and her assistants, we settled in by seating ourselves at a huge dining room table in a room off to the side of the main dining room. The tables behind ours were covered in stacks of rugs, and the walls were covered in portraits and other art. The shelves were full of glassware, and cabinets were full of knick-knacks. We couldn't stop looking, nor could we stop talking. After all, we had a lot to catch up on and one of those was, of course, southern food. 

But first, we had to eat. On the menu in the list of appetizers was one called, "squash puppies"which the owner told us that we had to try. So, we placed the order, and soon, the big basket of squash puppies was on the table. We couldn't stop eating them. So good.

We had a fun lunch, and didn't want to leave because we still had so much to talk about, but alas, life calls and we both had to leave the table with "stuff" on it and go to our homes. But, we'll meet again one day and this time we will be talking about Johnathon's latest book! I will let you know about the book as soon as it's out, and where we ate as well as what we ate. I know it will be something good.

A week or so before our meeting, I had made hush puppies and published the recipe on this blog, so I decided that I would try to use that recipe and make squash puppies. If you want the original recipe from Fletcher's, please contact them in Yemassee, for a cookbook that includes the recipe. The cookbook is very reasonable and I am sure they'd love to ship you one. If you want to try my recipe, you will find it below. I hope you enjoy them. See photo directions below the recipe.

Squash Puppies
Inspiration from Fletcher's Finds and Finest
Yemassee, SC
1 cup self-rising corn meal mix (I use Martha White Hot Rize, white cornmeal)
1 tablespoon self-rising flour
pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 cup finely diced yellow squash (zucchini would work too)*See instructions in photos below for cutting squash
3 green onions, including the stems, thinly sliced, optional (you could also use chopped jalapenos)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk*
Mix the dry ingredients together with the squash (and green onions if using them in the recipe). Add the buttermilk starting with 1/3 cup and then per tablespoon until you have a very thick batter, making sure you have no dry cornmeal in your batter.
Prepare a small, deep, heavy saucepan for frying the hushpuppies by adding about 2-3 inches of oil, and place over medium to medium high heat. When the oil starts to move, scoop out hushpuppy batter a tablespoon at a time and add to the hot oil. A one tablespoon ice cream scoop works great for this. Your saucepan should be deep, but large enough to hold 3-4 hushpuppies at a time. Brown hushpuppies on each side, and remove to paper towels to drain. Serve hot. Makes 13-16 hushpuppies. *Repeat-you want a thick batter, so add the extra two tablespoons sparingly. It would be better to add one at a time as needed.
Serve with red pepper jelly or aioli on the side. Aioli is garlic mayonnaise. I mixed finely chopped garlic with mayonnaise, and served it with the squash puppies.
Cut the squash by quartering from stem to stem. Slip your knife under the seeds and slice them out.

Cut the squash into strips and then into small dice. 

Batter should be thick.

I use a Le Creuset Saucepan.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the batter.

Drain on paper towels.