Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits

If you are looking for something different to serve for that romantic Valentine dinner or maybe you are even looking ahead and planning your Easter menus (I've already started scouting around), then consider adding these delicate, delicious rosemary cheddar biscuits.  They are easy to make but very aromatic and taste especially good (in my humble opinion) with ham, but I would enjoy them with anything I'm sure!

Olivia made these at Thanksgiving and we froze some to enjoy when we had our Christmas dinner away from home in a cabin in Tennessee.  They held up really well being frozen.  Olivia added garlic to taste.  That was a super addition.  You can experiment with adding chopped garlic, garlic powder, or a small amount of garlic salt.  You will definitely enjoy these.

Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits

12 ServingsPrep/Total Time: 25 min.


  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1-1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cheese and rosemary. In another
  • bowl, combine milk and mayonnaise; stir into dry ingredients just
  • until moistened. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups.
  • Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and
  • toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes
  • before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sugared Pecans

It is really hard to believe we are heading quickly toward the end of January and looking at Valentine's Day on the horizon.  While I don't like wishing my life away, I have to say the months after Christmas until Easter don't hold much appeal for me.  Maybe it is because I try to get indoor projects done during the winter months that I have avoided otherwise during the year, but the winter months seem to drag on relentlessly.

Valentine's Day is a welcome respite from the dreariness of winter.  It doesn't have to be just about romantic love, but can also be a time for savoring deep friendships, appreciation for anyone you care deeply about, and just plain fun.

If you are looking for an alternative to flowers and candy or maybe you know someone who really isn't that fond of chocolate, these pecans may be a nice sweet treat to give as a gift.  Olivia saw this recipe on television when country music singer, Trisha Yearwood, whipped them up in a matter of minutes.  Olivia made them and she was sold!  They are fast, easy, and taste very similar to those delicious nuts you are tempted by when you smell them roasting at the shopping mall.  A batch of these placed in a pretty package or jar would make a lovely Valentine treat.  I think you will like them!

Jerry's Sugared Pecans

Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood
Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
30 min
4 cups


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups pecan halves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil. Pour the butter onto the lined sheet. In a large bowl, mix the egg whites, sugar and cinnamon. Add the pecan halves and toss until they are fully coated. Spread the pecans onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the pecans every 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sausage Egg Casserole

Olivia is good at rethinking tried and true recipes.  She has done it with a few of mine and I have to say they are improved by her innovation.  This egg casserole was always a standard at our house on Christmas morning.  When we would get up to unwrap our gifts, this casserole would go into the oven to bake.  As we enjoyed our unwrapping, the smell of the casserole would begin to tempt us.  We would usually take a break from unwrapping to have a serving of the casserole and a slice of Swedish tea ring before we would begin again with the unwrapping or if we were finished unwrapping, then with the inevitable clean up that comes with Christmas morning.  It certainly doesn't have to be just a holiday dish, but a great "breakfast for dinner" idea or a weekend treat.  Olivia changed our "old" standard recipe by toasting the bread before making into a casserole.  I suspect she likes the firmer texture this gives the casserole.  Whether you toast or don't toast-- enjoy this casserole for breakfast!
Sausage Egg Casserole

6 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
6 slices of bread, toasted and cubed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 lb. sausage cooked and drained

1)  Mix eggs, milk, bread, salt, dry mustard, cheese and meat.
2)  Grease 8x12 pan and pour in the mixture.
3)  Refrigerate overnight.
4)  When ready to bake, take the casserole out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
5)  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 45-55 minutes. Be sure the center is "set" before serving.

BONUS IDEA:    I tried a variation of an old appetizer recipe this weekend and it turned out to be a big hit.  Many of you have no doubt warmed pre-cooked and frozen meatballs with a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce.  Well, during the holidays I ran across the idea to use a can of jellied cranberry sauce instead of grape jelly and the bottle of chili sauce.  I combined everything in a slow cooker and cooked until everything was melded together and warm.  It had a more tart, sweet, spicy flavor that everyone seemed to enjoy!  Hope you like it!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inspired Pot Pie

This recipe has a fond memory behind it.  If your family is anything like ours, we make a huge turkey for Thanksgiving and then we eat turkey sandwiches, turkey manhattans, turkey and noodles, etc. etc etc.  When we've had enough turkey, the rest goes in the freezer for another day.  Well, Olivia took her's out of the freezer and made this stunning creation after eating at The Partridge and Pear Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The Patridge and Pear has been in Pigeon Forge for a number of years, but we had not yet tried it.  We were unable to eat there on Christmas Eve because they give that day off to their employees.  Christmas Day they were booked solid, but Olivia and her husband were able to eat there (so did I with my husband) the days after Christmas.  It was a holiday treat!  The entire restaurant is a series of rooms, each decorated in a different, elegant Christmas theme.  The room you see pictured here is the Fireside Room.  It features a beautiful lit fireplace with gorgeous mantle decorations, a huge beautiful wreath, beautifully done portraits of Santa, and a stenciled tray ceiling.  The restaurant is not entirely based upon the secular side of Christmas.  It also has an Angel Room with beautiful gold angels on the ceiling and one of perhaps the most beautiful representations of the Holy Family I have ever seen. 

The best part about this place is not the beautiful decor (although I must say I think I could live there), but the food is out of this world.  It is not the cookie cutter menu you come to expect of tourist towns, it is fresh, well prepared, and very, very good. The prices were also very reasonable.
I would highly recommend going there for breakfast.  Dinner was also superb.  When Olivia dined there, she had a chicken pot pie made with puff pastry.  It inspired the recipe she created below using the turkey in her freezer. Feel free to experiment with it--Olivia's measurements are approximate--use your imagination. This time of year is a perfect time for warm, yummy comfort food.  Try this recipe and let us know what you think!

Dan and Olivia at The Partridge and Pear Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN.


  • 1 sheet of frozen puffed pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
  • 2 cups of chopped turkey breast
  • 1 medium purple onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (You may add a bit more if you'd like.  This is my "secret" ingredient that isn't typically found in a pot pie recipe.)
  • 2 medium potatoes, skinned and cubed
  • 1 bag frozen microwavable mixed vegetables (I used a carrot, corn, green bean, and pea blend.)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup turkey broth
  • 1 egg, beaten
1)  Cook the frozen mixed vegetables for about four minutes in the bag in the microwave.
2)  Place potatoes in a microwavable glass dish and cover with water.  Microwave potatoes on high for about seven minutes.
3)  Open the bag of mixed vegetables and drain in a colander.  Do the same with the potatoes.
4)  In a large sauce pan with high sides, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and garlic.  Cook on low to medium heat until onions are soft.  Make sure to stir often so the garlic doesn't burn.
5)  Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and celery seed to the onion mixture.
6)  Stir in the flour and mix well to create a rue.
7)  Add the turkey broth, whipping cream, and milk to the pan.  Stir well and heat over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken from the rue.
8)  Stir in the parmesan cheese, potatoes, vegetables, and turkey breast.
9)  Cook the mixture over low to medium heat until the potatoes begin to soften by being cooked in the sauce.
10)  Taste the sauce to see if it needs more seasoning.  Add more salt or pepper to taste if needed.
11)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a large baking dish and pour the mixture in.
12)  Spread out the puffed pastry on a slightly floured counter to make it roughly the size of your baking dish.  Cut the puffed pastry into strips.
13)  Carefully transfer the puff pastry to the top of the baking dish and lay in a cross hatch pattern.   This is a RUSTIC pot pie, so it isn't going to look perfect, and that is OK! :)  I didn't even take the time to weave the slices, but you certainly could!   Brush the pastry with the egg to help create a golden brown hue on the baked pie.
14)  Bake your Turkey Pot Pie for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the crust is beautifully brown.  If the edges of your pastry begin to brown too quickly, put foil around the outside of the baking dish, just like you would a pie crust.
15)  Cut into the crust and spoon into bowls to serve.  Be careful, steam might be trapped beneath the yummy puff pastry.  Enjoy!

The Chicken Pot Pie from The Partridge and Pear was so beautiful.  
The puffed pastry on the top of it was easily 3 1/2 inches tall!

Here is my version of Turkey Pot Pie before being baked.
It isn't beautiful, but the top went together very quickly!

Here is my version baked.  Yes, the inside filling bubbled up and
 on top of the crust, but who cares.  It tasted divine!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Faux Bang Bang Shrimp

Olivia had this appetizer at Bonefish Grill in Mishawaka, IN years ago.  She liked it so much she went in search of a recipe.  She found two different variations of it online.  In true Olivia style she combined the two recipes, added her own touch, and ended up with a really magnificent dish!

We have really enjoyed writing out blog in the last few months and appreciate the positive feedback we've received from our readers.  We plan to continue sharing our culinary finds and favorites in the new year.  Hope you enjoy them!  We also hope you and those you care about have a healthy, happy new year.

Faux Bang Bang Shrimp
As featured at the Bonefish Grill

·      1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed  (I used 31-40 count shrimp)

For the coatings:
·      1 cup milk
·      ½ cup corn starch
·      1 cup panko bread crumbs
·      dash of Kosher salt
·      dash of freshly cracked black pepper
·      1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

For the sauce:
·      ½ cup mayo
·      ¼ cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
·      8 drops Sriracha Hot Sauce (Add more to taste!)
·      1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

For the sauce: 
1.    Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce together in a medium sized bowl.  Let the sauce sit in the refrigerator overnight.

For the coatings: 
2.    Place the corn starch into a bowl. 
3.    Mix the panko bread crumbs with the Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in another bowl.

4.    Take the sauce out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.  If you prefer your sauce to be warm, you may warm it for a few minutes in the microwave.
5.    Soak the shrimp in the milk in a bowl.
6.    Working in small batches, take the shrimp from the milk, coat the shrimp in the corn starch.  Then take the shrimp from the corn starch, and dip back into the milk.  Finally, take the shrimp from the second dunking in milk and place in the seasoned panko bread crumbs.
7.    Place the coated shrimp on a plate until enough shrimp are coated to fry in a small batch.
8.    CAREFULLY heat oil in a fryer to 300 degrees. 
9.    Drop the shrimp in the fryer in small batches, being careful not to overcrowd the fryer. 
10.                  When the shrimp are golden brown, carefully remove from the oil with tongs.  Place shrimp on a plate lined with paper towels.
11.                  Transfer the shrimp to the bowl with the sauce.  Gently toss the shrimp in the sauce to coat evenly.
12.                  Serve the shrimp immediately and enjoy!

The shrimp took a bath in this milk before dipping in the corn starch, 
back in the milk, and then into the panko bread crumbs.

Here are the crispy little nuggets of gold.

Faux Bang Bang Shrimp are DELICIOUS!