Monday, March 30

Simplicity at it's BEST #3...Pimento Cheese

My husband claims to be a pimento cheese snob. He truly, but that wasn't always the case.  What he doesn't remember s the first time I made him homemade pimento cheese he asked me what the little red things were. LOL...guess his only experience was the plastic tubes of you buy in the supermarket. Poor man. 

If you have never made your own, I pity you. You are still stuck in the cave man era of sandwich spreads. I promise you this, if you do, then try to sneak back to the prepackaged junk cheese stuff your taste buds will revolt. Then make you swallow your own tongue before it will let that revolting load of crud pass threw your lips again. Mean sneaky little boogers they are. 

Pimento Cheese

4 oz of cream cheese
1- 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese (for milder flavor try Colby Jack)
1/2 cups of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of pimentos
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Let cream cheese sit out until it reaches room temperature. 

The key to good pimento cheese is cheese and how well you cream the cream cheese. Make sure to take the extra 5 minutes to grate your own cheese. It really is simple and makes the pimento cheese so much more lighter and creamier. 

Mix all ingredients well until smooth and fluffy. 

*Great on sandwiches, crackers, use as a vegetable dip or try it on a burger at your next cookout! 

I want to thank my bloggy friend The Blonde Duck from A Duck In Her Pond for the awesome blog awards!! Thank you so much my little chickadee! If you all haven't visited her wonderful website you are missing out! Great food, recipes, humor and stories! 

I pass this award to 

Thursday, March 26

Goat Cheese Beer Biscuits and New Print Feature!

Okay, seriously who doesn't like biscuits? That's just as about as un-American as hating peanut butter or hot dogs. This was a recipe passed to me by a friend. Although I still think my regular butter biscuits still rock the house...these are very worth the time....great escape from your everyday bread. 

Goat Cheese Beer Biscuits

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup Goat Cheese 
1/4 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup beer 
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Do not over mix. Drop biscuits on sheet pan at least 2" apart or fill lined/greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 10-15 minutes, or tops are lightly golden. Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve.

Yields 8-10 biscuits

As requested, you see I've added a new Print Recipe button on my post. Thanks everyone who emailed me suggesting this. Great idea! Now, I'll also be working on printable 4x6 recipe cards. These will soon be added to all my recipes. As of now, all previous recipes do have a print recipes link. I've triple checked all links, but by chance if you see a mistake please let me know ASAP. 
Also, I tried my hardest to keep all printable recipes on one page for your convenience, but there were a few that it was just impossible without making the print so small a flea would need glasses to read you'll just have to suck it up and deal with those. LOL 

Sunday, March 22

Vintage Tips and Blog Awards

Someone passed these cooking tips to me. I'm not exactly sure where they came from. Either a vintage lady's magazine or book, but I have used a few of them and they do work! Thought I would pass them on to my foodie friends. 

25 Vintage Cooking Tips

  1. A little oatmeal adds much flavor and richness when used as a thickener for soups. Try it.
  2. Believe it or not, a boiled egg should never be boiled. Simmering produces tastier, better results. The same is also true of “hard-boiled” eggs.
  3. Cheese souffle will stay up high, light, handsome, if you use quick-cooking tapioca instead of flour to thicken the milk base. Take 3 tablespoons tapioca to 1 cup milk for a 3-egg souffle.
  4. Add one-quarter teaspoon soda to cranberries while cooking them and they will not require much sugar.
  5. Don’t add sugar to sweeten peas. It’s much cheaper, and tastier, to cook peas with a few empty green pods.
  6. To prevent the smell of cooking greens, add a lump or so of loaf sugar to the water, or put a piece of dry toast in a clean muslin bag and boil it with the greens. Another method is to add a teaspoonful of vinegar to the water when it is boiling.
  7. Lemon juice or vinegar in the water cauliflower is cooked in makes it keep its snowy-white color.
  8. To preserve the color of green vegetables, put them on to cook in boiling water with a pinch of soda, or keep the cover off the kettle while boiling them.
  9. If a vegetable or cereal burns, plunge the vessel containing the burned mass into cold water and allow it to remain for a few minutes before pouring the contents into another pan. This will do away almost entirely with the burned taste which is so disagreeable.
  10. Salt beef is improved in flavor if a few small onions and a dessertspoonful of brown sugar are added while cooking.
  11. Vegetables that are to be cooked by steaming will preserve their color in the process if, after being washed in the usual way, they are given a final rinse in boiling water containing a little soda.
  12. To prevent the odor of boiling ham or cabbage permeating the house add a little vinegar to the water in which they are boiled.
  13. When frying fish, use clarified dripping or salad oil. Lard smells, and butter fries a bad color.
  14. A teaspoonful of vinegar added to the water in which eggs are poached keeps the whites from spreading and makes the whites cook over the yolk.
  15. To prevent milk or cream from curdling when used in combination with tomato, add a bit of bicarbonate of soda to each before they are mixed.
  16. Sausages will shrink less and not break at all if they’re boiled about 8 minutes before they’re fried, or rolled lightly in flour.
  17. Wash leafy vegetables, such as spinach, thoroughly just before cooking. Add no water–the water that clings to the leaves is enough to cook them in.
  18. To keep cauliflower snowy white, soak for half an hour in cold salt water before cooking it.
  19. Lessen the odor of cooking turnips by adding a teaspoonful of sugar to the water. They’ll be more flavorful, too.
  20. When slicing potatoes, hold the paring knife over a gas flame or in boiling water and the potatoes will slice easily.
  21. Root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, etc., should be freed from all dirt and grit; those of the green variety should be allowed to soak for a few minutes in cold water to which a generous pinch of salt has been added.
  22. You won’t waste flour if you dust it from a large saltshaker onto meats, fish, or patties, instead of dipping the food into the flour. It’s easier, too.
  23. Retain flavor and vitamins and save waste by boiling carrots in their skins. Instead of peeling, mash them with salt and pepper.
  24. Keep sweet potatoes from looking dried out by greasing the skins with any cooking fat or oil before baking them.
  25. Why waste celery tops? Cut them up and use to flavor meats, stews, soups, roasts, stuffings.

Secondly I want to thank one of my favorite foodies, Donna from My Tasty Treasures for passing some great awards to me! If you haven't visited her awesome blog yet...just what the heck are you waiting on? Seriously this girl will rock your socks with her obsession with Tyler Florence and kielbasa and most of all her recipes! She makes me wet my pants at least twice a week with her wit. Go check her out. 

The rules for the Friends Award are to pass them on to eight wonderful bloggers along with this message. 

 "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."It also says : "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award." 

And the Excellent Blog Award

This was hard, not only to find ladies who haven't yet receive these awards...all my foodies friends hit the mark with being both charming and full of true friendship. I love them all. I truly appreciate all the comments and support you all give my tiny little spot on the web. You all inspire me and teach me. If you have a second check out my foodies friends link list...they each bring something different and delicious to the table. 

So now to pass both of these awards to some new friends, some old friends, and some I stalk, ummm....follow.

And last but not least my friend Melissa at Have You Seen My Sanity, for two reasons, its her birthday...and because she has helped me find forgotten recipes! 

Friday, March 20

Maui Luau Salmon with a Macadamia Coconut Crust

 I am not really a "fish" person. I'll eat it but its not something I 'll order out, even at a seafood restaurant I'll stay with shrimp, oysters, scallops. That is...unless they serve salmon. Next to salad this particular dish is one I really could eat everyday and never grow tired of. 

It's a cross between two recipes off a seafood recipe site that I just couldn't decide between. So instead of confusing myself more, I infused the two my way. Results were INCREDIBLE! Even the kids approved which surprised me because of the hidden heat.  

If you love Salmon try it. If you love spicy, try it. If you aren't a fish person, try it..and you can thank me later. It has a great kick with the sweet chili peppers yet, not overwhelming then the sweetness of the pineapple and nut crust me...perfection! 

4 ( 6-8 oz) Salmon filet's, skinned
1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup Coconut flakes
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Cut salmon into desired sized pieces. If you can buy skinned, do. If not, good just kidding. Using a very sharp knife gently cut close to the skin careful not to tear the fish. Here is a great video on how. How to skin a salmon 

Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Lay salmon down side by side, do not overlap. Salt and pepper to taste. 

In a bowl, mix sweet chili sauce, pineapple and Cajun seasoning. 

Spoon sweet chili mixture on to each piece of salmon.

In a clean bowl, thoroughly combine nuts, coconut, sugar, panko crumbs and butter. 
Spread mixture on top if fish.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. 

Tuesday, March 17

Simplicity at its BEST #2... Blackberry Cobbler

Cobbler...can you get any simpler? Humble, delicious, cheap, and easy! Seriously good eats. 

Blackberry Cobbler

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups milk
1 egg
2 cups blackberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk milk and egg together and let sit until room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 350 degree. 

Poor melted butter into a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in milk and egg mixture, until the batter is smooth and creamy. Pour into baking dish. 

In separate bowl combine blackberries, remaining 1 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread over batter in baking dish but DO NOT STIR. Batter will come to the top. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until deliciously golden brown and bubbly. 

Sunday, March 15

Spring Fling Scuppernong Winner!

Thank you everyone who entered my first giveaway! An extra thank you to my new followers. This was fun and makes me want to do more giveaways. I used to generate a winner fairly. The winner of the Scuppernong wine jelly and W.I.N.O.S recipe book is........ (drum roll)

Natasha from 5 Star Foodie

Congratulations! I know you'll make something scrumptious!
 I'll contact you to get your information. 

Thursday, March 12

Rocotillo Pepper Pasta Salad with White Baslamic Dressing

Don't forget my Spring Fling Giveaway! You can still enter to win here. Winner will be announced on the 15th.

This week the weather has been just plain out CRAZY. We went from snow and ice to beautiful 80 degree weather. All that gorgeous sunshine has me wanting to spend the days outside and eating lighter summer foods. I'm so ready to plant my garden and reap the benefits of homegrown veggies. Can you believe the weather is changing yet again tonight? Goodbye beautiful, hello freezing rain and 30 degree temps. My sinuses are going to go bonkers. 

Rocotillo Pepper Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dressing

8 oz Ditalini pasta (cooked and drained)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons country-style grainy mustard
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 large tomato (chopped)
1 Rocotillo pepper (sliced)
1 Banana pepper (sliced)
3 small onion (sliced)
1 large can black olives
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl whisk, oil, vinegar, and mustard. Toss in pasta, tomato, peppers, onion, olives and mix together. Fold in Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10

Welcome Spring Fling: Scuppernong Giveaway!

Welcome SITS ladies! What a great kick off to the "Spring Fling" for The Secrets In the Sauce. A new giveaway each hour and hundreds of links to giveaways from our SITS girls! Go check it out.

I was totally oblivious to what to give away this week. Then the interest in my Spicy Scuppernong fudge and what exactly a scuppernong was hit the mark! I wanted to give away a beautiful bottle of scuppernong wine for you to make your own, but after reading the shipping details state to state even for a gift certificate had me rethinking my idea. 

How about a drool worthy Scuppernong Wine Jelly from one of my favorites North Carolina wine makers, Duplin Winery. The culinary ideas will be over flowing with my foodies friends I'm sure!

But that's not all! Since I love cooking with wine, how about this hysterical book by Bonnie Jesseph, W.I.N.O.S (Women In Need Of Sanity)...don't you just love the cover! Jam packed full of recipes for the wine enthusiast!

All you need to do is comment on this post to get your name in once...For an additional 5 entries become a follower! No linking or re posting...I'm a simple gal. 

Good Luck ladies and happy Spring Fling!

The winner will be announced March 15th.

Sunday, March 8

Those Old Familiars: Scuppernongs and fudge

North Carolina. There is no better place on earth in my opinion. The beautiful beaches, the Outerbanks, wild horses on the Ocracoke Islands, breathtaking mountains, and gentle rolling foothills. 

We have it all, including some of the best vineyards. When explorers first set foot upon these shores they discovered that North Carolina had more grapes than Italy, Europe, and all alike at that day and age.  Our grapes are the oldest cultivated grapes in the world. There is still an original vine called the Mothervine on Roanoke Island that continues to grow and has since the 1500's. And it only grows wild in North Carolina. Ahh, that lovely sweet scuppernong.

 As a child I remember eating hordes of them until we were all sick with its fruity sweetness. Now as an adult I love it even more. Scuppernog wines are my favorite. A sweet wine. It's crisp and slightly sweet. Like plucking a grape from the vine and revelling in all its flavor.  

I've stocked up on my favorite local vintage and have big plans for the up and coming week. 

Here is a sneak peak. What a better why to experiment with my favorite familiar than with another familiar...chocolate. Spicy chocolate scuppernong fudge. A chocolate lovers delight. A smooth, rich and creamy texture with the perfect tangy sweet taste of chocolate and the slight wow of spice. 

Spicy Chocolate Scuppernong Fudge

1/4 lb Oleo
12 oz package chocolate chips
1 lb powdered sugar
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup Scuppernong wine

Butter a rectangular 1 inch deep dish thoroughly. 

In a medium saucepan melt Oleo and chocolate chips together. Set aside. Mix powdered sugar, cayenne pepper and wine together until smooth. Combine both mixtures together. Spoon mixture into buttered dish. Refrigerate fudge for 1 hour. Cut into 1 inch squares using a non serrated  knife. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4

Easy and Economical: Stuffed Shells

This was my first time making stuffed shells. While growing up, my Godmother would slave away in the kitchen. She would say how hard stuff shells and manicotti was to make. We would all hear curses and ouches coming from the kitchen. Believing that, I really never ventured to the "stuffed" category. 

Since I make a very MEAN lasagna, my mother suggested stuffed shells. I put some thought into it and couldn't come up with why it would be as hard as I remember my Godmother saying it was. You know me, I started playing around basing it off my lasagna ingredients. The results were FANTASTIC. Not only was this cheaper than was such a very easy meal to put together. I've come to the conclusion either my Godmother was a airhead in the kitchen or a total drama queen. Probably both. 

I really love adding the cottage cheese to this. Gives it a great richness and compliments the ricotta perfectly. I did cheat and used shredded Italian cheese. I'm trying to save a little on our food budget and I love the taste of Fontina, Asiago, and Ramano with Italian tomato dishes. No simple Parmesan would do for this dish. I seriously believe I was a rat in my former life. 

Great dish for those families on a budget but don't want to scrimp on flavor! 

Sorry about the poor quality on the pics. I had no time to plate with the kids growling at my feet. 

Stuffed Shells the Homegrown Way

1 box Jumbo shell pasta
1 (80z) package Sargento Classic 6 Cheese Italian Blend
1 (16oz) container Ricotta cheese
1 (16oz) Cottage Cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Sauce of choice (basic meat sauce recipe below)*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add shells. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Pasta should be softened but still firm in the center. Drain and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup Italian cheese blend, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and parsley. Mix well. 

Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of casserole or baking dish to prevent pasta from sticking. 

Spoon cheese mixture into each shell and place on baking dish. Top the shells with desired amount of meat sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese and sauce is bubbly. Top with remaining shredded Italian cheese. Return to oven to melt. ENJOY!

Basic Meat Sauce

2 medium onions, diced
1 tablespoon oil
2 lbs ground beef
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 (28oz) can stewed tomatoes
2 (5 1/2oz) cans tomato paste
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine

In a large pot, saute onions in oil. Add ground beef and brown. Drain and return to pot. Add tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, pepper, salt, garlic cloves, Italian seasoning and wine. Cook on low for two hours. 

Tuesday, March 3

Screams From My Front Porch

That is my second home from here. I decided to transfer all family topics, rants, raves, and my general daily delusions to a new blog home. Screams From My Front Porch, seems a fitting name. 

I do it on a daily bases, either calling the super fab pooch, the kids to stay away from the road, or on days like we had this weekend. Dreaded snow turning into black ice. In North Carolina we rarely get snow...although we've been dumped on this winter. Snow I don't mind, its when we get 10 inches, then 5 of them melt and refreeze making a solid sheet of hard ice. It pulls large tree limbs, downs power and cable lines and makes it impossible to drive without slamming into non-moving objects. 

As you can see, it started out very pretty. 

Then of course the next day..... Tomorrow should be worse. The road look clear doesn't it? Nope, its a solid sheet of black ice. Anyone up for some skating?

Yes we lost powder. It flickered all weekend. One hour with, one without. Then went completely out on Monday afternoon. We just got it back up this morning. Thank gosh for kerosene heaters, oil lamps, and poker chips. So now you all know why we southerners go bonkers at the slightest call for flurries. It's not the snow we fear...its being trapped by ice. 

So needless to say, there has been no cooking at my house this weekend. I had planned on something special, but we got stuck with sandwiches and cold leftovers. I hope all my fabulous foodie friends kept warm and toasty, chowing down scrumptious goodies..I hope you ate enough for me!