Oxtails and Butter Beans....

6:52 PM

Here is another oldie to tide over while I get some delicious fall inspired recipes done. I do not cook for my blog, I cook for my kids. So I wait until we have it for dinner before I make what you see here on the blog. That way, I don't waste food and these four beauties of mine can let me know if the meal is a winner or a loser! This fall I will be sharing some of my family's Southern fall favorites. 

I remember growing up, my mom cooked a full dinner 6 days a week. Her only off day was on Saturdays. On Saturdays, we took a trip to the local mall (if you can call it that, it was more like a shopping center with a food court that consisted of two choices). My dad would give us our weekly allowances and while my two younger sisters made their way to the toy store, I ventured off into the bookstore and used my money to buy fresh great smelling books and paperdolls. 


Fried Green Tomato and Deli PoBoy

5:29 PM

If you mention fried green tomatoes outside of the South, usually people will think you mean the movie but it is actually one of those truly southern foods that people just do not make often enough. It used to be that many families fried these bad boys up back in the day, growing their own tomatoes they were easy for those families to come by. Now, green tomatoes are pricey and served in the most fancy of restaurants. They are not available all year here where I live so when I see some, I snag them up quickly.


Man Gifts: The Mantry

10:48 PM

I must admit...this holiday shopping is going to be hard. Not because I do not know what the guys in my life like, but because it is getting harder and harder to choose gifts that not only that they will like or love but will show just how much they mean to me.

As for my two boys, ages 12 and soon to be 15, they are easy. Every gift for them will be something that makes them happy, have fun, educates them and inspires them.

I do have a few men in my life who are single and mean the world to me. They are  foodies like me and one loves to think that he is a gourmet chef. Although that is what he may think he is, he still needs a bit of assistance every now and then. That, on top of the fact that he works a hard nine to five, dinner as a single is more than shouting your order through the local drive through.

Imagine my excitement when I saw this.

Peep The Mantry.

So you mean to tell me, I can help out my single, handsome (totally single), foodie man friend with a gift of foodness?  Boxes include snacks and tons of stuffs your man friend may not buy for himself. Prices are amazing and yep, who doesn't love getting a gift of yums?

Encourage your man friend, brother, uncle, dad, friend, cousin to step up his culinary skills and tastebuds with treats that will definitely influence him and make him happy. Did I mention they also have recipes? Double win.  Did I also mention that Mantry partners with City Harvest to donate 1% of sales? Triple win.


Fall and Chicken and Dumplings

5:47 PM

Nothing says fall quite like hearty soups, stews, chili and of course, chicken and dumplings.

With the orange and golden leaves blanketing the ground, we are slowly welcoming cooler weather here in the South. I can't say that it has been cold, but we have been enjoying a slightly less sticky and warm day with a slightly cooler night.

When the weather starts changing, I live for soups and hearty meals that will warm the kids and fill them up.

Despite it not being as cool as I wanted it to be, last night we enjoyed a great dinner of Chicken and dumplings. Usually I always pair it with cornbread but we switched it up to a nice thick french loaf for dipping into the creamy soup.

You can find the recipe for how I make my chicken and dumplings here. The only thing I did differently was add half a stick of butter into the soup once it was done cooking for a little fatty goodness.  Super easy, super tasty and does not take long at all. The hardest up the flour you got everywhere.


Chocolate Pecan Pie

4:14 PM

Here in the South during the holidays there are certain desserts that you just know will be at almost every family dinner. One of them is the must have, pecan pie.

Pecan trees are a'plenty here and while some make their way through heavily leaved yards and gather them, most of us resort to the grocery store for a bag or two of super expensive pecans already de-shelled.


Easy Mexican Pizza....

9:19 AM

Back when I was in high school, our school was not far from our local Taco Bell. Seniors had the awesome privilege of being able to get off-campus lunch while the rest of us had to suck it up and deal with whatever the school cafeteria was serving (which of course, if it was Chicken Nugget day, we all did not mind not being able to leave campus for anything!). 

When I became a senior, I was over Chicken Nugget day and ready to express my upper-classman superiority by heading to Taco Bell every chance I got. It felt good walking back to school with a bag full of brown napkins, a million packets of fiery sauce and a good ol' Mexican Pizza. Yes, I was one of those people who got the exact same thing every time at a restaurant. I hated tomatoes but that Mexican Pizza was so good in all of it's processed mass produced glory.

I hardly ever go to Taco Bell anymore, but every now and again I think about those Mexican Pizzas...haven't had one since college, and I decided to make my own version. Super easy and using Ragu Double Cheddar sauce with a packet of taco seasoning, how can you go wrong with delicious, easy and quick!?

You will need:

Flour Tortillas (2 per pizza)
Refried Beans
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 pounds of ground beef
2 packets of taco seasoning
2 tomatoes
Shredded Cheese

I made both chicken and beef versions for my family, but you can use either or.  Cook the chicken or beef as you normally would in a pan. (Once ground beef is done, drain grease and then add taco seasoning, mix well and set aside in bowl. Once chicken is halfway done--juices run clear-- remove from heat and begin to 'shred' by using two to hold chicken in place, the other to shred. Place shredded chicken in bowl and season with taco seasoning packet. Mix well.)

Place your flour tortillas in the oven at 250 degrees until lightly toasted. Prepare refried beans on top of the stove per directions. Chop your lettuce and tomatoes. I place everything in its own bowl for easy assembly.

In separate bowl, empty your jar of Ragu Double Cheddar sauce and add in taco seasoning. I use 1/2  a packet of seasoning since I like a lighter queso flavor. Mix well.

Spread beans on tortilla evenly, top with meat then sprinkle with cheese. Add the top tortilla. Spread the cheese sauce and then top with lettuce and tomato.

And there you have it. That is it. This would make a perfect build your own Mexican Pizza night for the kids and family. Everyone can assemble their own and you can add bowls with corn, black beans, red peppers, etc so that each pizza can be customized. 


Family Movie Night & Wings

4:38 PM

I serve my wings this way, with fried new potato wedges, some veggies and toast. 

My family loves movies. We watch some of everything. I used to be really restrictive of what my children could watch, but as they get older, our spectrum continues to expand. While we love horror movies (especially badly acted ones that we can poke fun at), we love a good family movie with adventure.

Here are some of our favorite family adventure movies:

Spirited Away

We like this movie because not only does it have magic in it, it has a good story to it. One courageous girl, lots of weird looking and fun characters and of course a quest that she has to complete.

City Of Ember

From IMDB:  When mankind is about to come to an end, a group of scientists decide to create and populate a city deep underground. The city of Ember is to last for 200 years after which its inhabitants are to retrieve from a strong box instructions to return to the surface. Over time however, the message is lost and life in Ember is rapidly deteriorating. Their power supply is failing and food is being rationed. It's left to two young adults to unearth the secret of Ember and to lead the way out. Written by garykmcd

Crusade in Jeans

From IMDBAfter using his mother's newly built time machine, Dolf gets stuck in the year 1212. He ends up in a children's crusade where he confronts his new friends with modern techniques. However, the Crusade turns out to be even trickier than he first imagined. Written by lettor

The Thief Lord

From IMDB: A tale about two young boys, Prosper and Bo, who flee to Venice after being orphaned and dumped in the care of a cruel auntie. Hiding in the canals and alleyways of the city, the boys are befriended by a gang of young urchins and their enigmatic leader, the Thief Lord. From their home base of an old cinema theater, the children steal from the rich to support themselves and soon capture the interest of a bumbling detective. However, a greater threat to the children is something from a forgotten past-- a beautiful magical treasure with the power to spin time itself. Written by Kasey and Toby

While we do a lot of full meals around here, movie night is a chance for us to indulge. We like the food to be fun and usually something we can eat with our hands. So we grab the paper plates and go to town.

Here are a few wing recipes I have found that you might want to give a try on your next movie night.

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