Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice is one of those cheap, easy to make comfort foods that almost always go well on cold or rainy day - and with Hurricane Sandy hitting us this week we needed all the "comfort" we could get. This is my crock pot take on this old Southern favorite.

Red Beans & Rice


1 pound bag (16 ounces) kidney beans - make sure you soak them in water for 8 hours/overnight first
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
4 strips of bacon, chopped into little pieces
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup 
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leafs
1 1/2 cups of chopped Chorizo sausage... or any type of linked, precooked sausage would be.
Prepared white rice.
Salt & Pepper

* for an added "kick" you can add Cajun seasoning 


1. In a nonstick skillet, on medium-high heat, cook the pieces of bacon. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic, onions, celery, bell pepper, sausage and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Saute for a few minutes until the onions become transparent.

2. Add kidney beans to crock pot. Pour contents of skillet on top of the beans. Stir. Add enough water or chicken stock to crock pot to just cover the beans.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and bay leafs to the crock pot. Stir.

4. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Add water or stock if need be.

5. Salt & pepper to taste and serve over a bed of white rice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Gravy

It's great to be back in my own kitchen after 2 months on the road.

This simple paprika chicken recipe is a perfect weekday meal for the family. I found it in a the Campbell's Cooking Companion Cookbook and it's never failed me. I've added sauteed yellow onions and green bell peppers for variety... but the basic recipe is definitely a winner. I recommend serving it with a brown rice and peas & carrots.

Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Gravy


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons each garlic powder, ground black pepper and ground red pepper
4 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons butter
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (regular or 98% fat Free)
2 medium green onions, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream


1. Mix the flour, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and red pepper on a plate. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

2. Heat the butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Stir the soup and green onions into the skillet. Heat to a boil. Stir in sour cream. Lower heat and add chicken back to skillet.

4. Cover and cook for 7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve warm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blueberry Pudding Cake

I've been on the road the last week or so and been away from a kitchen... hence the reason my blog has been relatively quiet of late. :-(


Prior to my travels, I had a dinner party in Norfolk, Virginia with friends and colleagues. I was asked to provide the dessert for the evening festivities. I wanted to try something new... but also something I knew I couldn't screw up...

... actually, unless your guests are good friends, I usually suggest NEVER making anything "new." Stick with what you know and don't let your guests be your guinea pigs... unless they're willing to volunteer!

Anywho... I found this delightful, award winning dessert in The Best of Country Cooking, 2000 cookbook. The recipe by Jan Bamford. Thanks, Jan! She writes, "My family loves blueberries, so I'm always looking for new ways to use them. This recipe is popular!"

Now, this isn't the prettiest dessert... but decorate it with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream, maybe a few mint leafs to garnish, and you won't care what it looks like... this is will be every sweet-toothed, blueberry loving, comfort food craving, persons dream come true!

Blueberry Pudding Cake

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4  cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water


1. Toss the blueberries with cinnamon and lemon juice; place in a greased 8-in. square baking dish.

2. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder; stir in milk and butter.

3. Spoon over the berries.

4. Make the topping - Combine sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle over the batter.

5. Slowly pour boiling water over all.

6. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Potato Salad with Sausage & Grainy Mustard Dressing

There are numerous dishes you can make with potatoes and this latest recipe is one that will please your family members, friends and dinner guest. What's so wonderful about this particular recipe... aside from being extremely easy to make... is that it tickles your taste buds. You get sweet from the sugar, salty from the bacon or sausage, sour from the vinegar and it's all soaked up by each small potato and bursting with flavor. I decided to use bacon pieces instead of sausage, but you can use any type of meat you like or exclude it all together. Also, for the grainy mustard, look for Grey Poupon... I find their grainy mustard is far better than most.

This recipe was found on Better Homes & Gardens website - click here!

Potato Salad with Sausage & Mustard Dressing

1 pound small red new potatoes, halved
1 pound small yellow new potatoes, halved
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup coarse-grain mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup dry cured sausage - such as soppresata, pepproni, or salami, cut in 1/4 inch pieces or bacon.
1/2 cup torn fresh curly-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
salt & pepper


1. In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan combine potatoes, 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt. Add water (about 4 cups) to cover potatoes. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, just until potatoes are tender when gently pierced with a fork. Drain well. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before adding dressing.

2.  For Grainy Mustard Dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, 3 Tbsp. vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. In a steady stream, whisk in peanut oil until well blended.

3.  Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add Grainy Mustard Dressing all at once. Mix gently to avoid breaking potatoes. Gently mix in sausage. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add parsley and green onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.