"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pimento Cheese Crisps

I found this recipe over the summer and made them for a party.  Then in December, my church used the same recipe for our big Christmas party, and I realized how great these would be for the holidays!  They are similar to the cheese straw recipe I posted 3 years ago, but spicier and easier to make (since you don't have to squeeze the dough through a cookie press).  I've made them several times now, and they always turn out great!

Picture from:  The Runaway Spoon

Pimento Cheese Crisps
(from The Runaway Spoon)
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos
8 ounces sharp cheddar
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
A generous pinch of salt
A few grinds black pepper
½ cup chopped pecans

Rinse and drain the pimentos and place them on paper towels. Pat them dry and then leave them for 10 – 15 minutes to air dry.

Grate the cheese and the cold butter together in a food processor. Switch from the grating blade to the metal blade, then add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne salt and pepper. Process until the dough just begins to come together and looks moist and grainy. Add the pecans and process until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and form a ball. Add the pimentos and pulse a few times until the dough is a ball.

Dump the dough onto a piece of waxed paper, scrapping out all the pimento pieces from the bowl. Knead the dough a few times just to incorporate and distribute the pimento pieces. Cut two more lengths of waxed paper, divide the dough into two portions and place each portion on one waxed paper length. Form each onto a log and roll tightly, pressing in to form a nice solid log. Twist the ends like a candy wrapper. Refrigerate the logs for at least an hour before baking, but you can refrigerate them for two days or freeze them for 3 months.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the rolls from the fridge and slice into medium-thick wafers, about 1/4 inch each. Place on the baking sheet with a little room to spread and bake until golden around the edges and firm on the top, about 10 – 12 minutes. Cool on the pans for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 3 dozen

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lime and Cilantro

Kent and I made this the other night.  The original recipe says that it makes 4 servings, but it was really closer to just 3 lunch servings or 2 dinner servings.  But, it was super good!!  It definitely has a Mexican feel (Kent added a little tequila, too).  This recipe comes from a link to no-heat lunches, so I think I'll definitely be making this again to take to school!

Picture from: Kalyn's Kitchen

Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lime and Cilantro
(Recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen)
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded into large pieces
2 medium avocados, diced
1 T + 1 T fresh squeezed lime juice
salt, to taste (I didn't use too much salt because you can always add more at the table.)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (or chop it more coarsely if you prefer)
2 T mayo or light mayo

Shred the chicken apart until you have 2 cups of chicken shredded into fairly large chunks. Dice the avocados into medium-sized pieces, mix with 1 T of the lime juice, and season avocado with salt to taste. Thinly slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro. Mix mayo and 1 T lime juice to make the dressing.

Put the chicken into a bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients. Add the sliced green onions and dressing and toss until all the chicken is coated with dressing. Add the avocado and any lime juice in the bottom of the bowl and gently combine with the chicken. Then add the chopped cilantro and gently mix into the salad, just until it is barely combined.

Serve right away or chill for a while before serving. This could be served inside pita bread or sandwich bread, but we just ate it as a salad. (I would imagine this would be fine in the fridge overnight but I didn't have any left over when I made it!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lazy Sushi Bowl

This is another great Asian dish!  It has a lot of ingredients and takes some time, but it's really good.  My friend, Lacey, and I made it for dinner one night, and then I took the rest for lunch the next day.  This is a great way to have a sushi-feel at home without having to actually roll the sushi.  You could definitely add seared tuna if you want fish.  Most of these ingredients can be found on the international aisle at the grocery store.
Picture from: Veggie Wedgie

Lazy Sushi Bowl
serves 3
-1 cup sweet brown rice
-1 cup shelled edamame beans
-1 cucumber
-1 small avocado
-2 spring onions
-1 tsp fresh ginger juice
-2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp wasabi paste
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-2 tbsp black sesame seeds
-2 nori sheets

Cook brown rice with water as instructed in the package. Blanch edamame. Chop avocado and cucumber very small. Mix ginger juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, oil and wasabi. Pour over cucumber and avocado and let it marinate while the rice is cooking. When the rice is done, mix everything together and toss well. Before serving sprinkle with black sesame seeds.  For the nori, you can either use scissors to cut it up in small pieces and garnish the plate.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic Parmesan Edamame

I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it along with the sushi bowl recipe that I'll also be posting.  So easy and so yummy!!  If you generally like edamame, you'll love this!

Picture from: Keeping up with the Joneses

Garlic Parmesan Edamame
1 (16 oz) pkg frozen edamame in shell
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Steam edamame in microwave until slightly warm and not frozen. The kind I buy at Sam's comes in microwave steaming bags, but 28 cooks says you can throw the edamame in a ziploc bag with about a tbsp of water, seal it, leaving a small opening for steam, and heat it on high for 2 minutes (*I acutally tried this, and it works!). Drain and set aside.

In a small food processor or blender, combine olive oil and garlic. Process until well-combined. Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add edamame and toss for a few seconds. Add garlic oil and saute for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and salt and toss until well coated. Serve immediately. Eat like regular edamame, eating the pods and leaving the shell.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spicy Sweet Glazed Chicken

This is a recipe from a great site that my sister-in-law sent me.  I've tried several recipes, and this is one of my favorite.  They are all made to be able to cook immediately or to easily freeze and thaw.  I'm always looking for easy chicken recipes, and this one's great!

Spicy Sweet Glazed Chicken
(from When the Dinner Bell Rings)
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
2/3 cup Apricot Preserves
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
1/3 cup Ketchup
1 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1 1/2 Pounds Chicken Pieces

For immediate cooking: Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Place all ingredients into a
large baking dish, turn chicken to coat. Bake until chicken juices run
clear (45-60 minutes for chicken pieces, or 20-30 minutes for chicken

For freezing: Place all ingredients into a 1 Gallon freezer bag. Lay flat
in freezer.

To thaw and cook: Take the bag out of the freezer the night before, make
sure the baggie is completely closed. Place the Bag on a shelf furthest
from the freezer (It works best if the bag is laying flat, although this
may not be the best option with a side-by-side fridge/freezer). Preheat the
oven to 350 F. Empty the contents of the bag into a large baking dish and
bake until the juices run clear (45-60 minutes for chicken pieces, or 20-30
minutes for chicken breasts).

Per serving: 277 Calories (kcal); 12g Total Fat; (37% calories from fat); 16g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 70mg Cholesterol; 1145mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Watermelon Margaritas

I have gotten behind on blogging again.  So, please scroll down to see a few of the recipes I've been making lately that I just back blogged.

This is a recipe that we made last week to take to a friend's house for the fourth of July.  These are super tasty and were a big hit!  I feel like we'll be making these again this summer!  We multiplied this recipe times three to make enough to take with us but didn't have enough limes, so we used some lemons and an orange to get enough citrus - it still tasted great.

Photo from:  wearenotmartha.com

Watermelon Margaritas (Serves 2):
From: wearenotmartha.com

1 1/2 C watermelon, chilled, seeded and cut into pieces
1/4 C lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 C silver (white) tequila
1/4 C Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
8 large ice cubes

1.  Chop the watermelon into pieces.  Seedless watermelon will be much easier to work with!
2.  Put the watermelon pieces into the blender with the lime juice.
3.  Add the tequila, triple sec, and ice cubes.  Blend until you get a smooth consistency.
4.  Garnish with a lime!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Obviously, I've been on an Asian food kick lately!  I've had a few recipes that I wanted to try, so last week I finally got around to it.  These potstickers are amazing!  But, they're also pretty time-consuming, so just be prepared.  I didn't use the bok choy, so I can't say for sure how that would turn out.  The wonton wrappers were pretty easy to use - you can find them in the produce section usually.  Mine were square, so I ended up with triangles instead of semi-circles like in the picture.  The first night we made them, we followed this recipe, but I will say that I was very worried about the frying and steaming in the same pan - so be VERY careful if you try to do this.  We went ahead and made all of the potstickers and kept half in the fridge overnight.  The next night we didn't fry them, we just steamed them in a large pot with a steamer tray.  This seemed much safer - but of course this makes them more like dumplings and less like potstickers, but they still have the same flavor.  I found the sauce recipe on a different website and definitely recommend making it to serve with the potstickers.

Photo from: blogs.babble.com
Potstickers from: blogs.babble.com
1 cup finely shredded bok choy or napa cabbage (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. lean ground pork
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or to taste)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 pkg. wonton or gyoza wrappers, thawed if frozen
canola oil
chicken or veggie stock, or water

If you’re using it, toss the cabbage with salt in a medium bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Pick it up in your hand and squeeze out the excess liquid, draining it as well as you can. Add the pork, green onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and sesame oil and mix it all up with your hands.

To fill wontons, place a small spoonful of filling in the middle of each wrapper; moisten the edges with water (just use your finger) and fold over, pressing the edge tightly to seal. Place seam side up on a cookie sheet, pressing lightly to flatten the bottom. Cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out. (Dumplings can be prepared up to this point, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen.)

When you’re ready to cook the potstickers, heat a drizzle of canola oil in a largeish skillet set over medium-high heat. Place half the dumplings at a time in the skillet and cook for a minute or two, until deep golden brown on the bottom, shaking the pan a few times to keep them from sticking. Don’t crowd the pan too much.

Pour about 1/4 cup stock or water into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes – this will allow them to steam, cooking them through.

Makes 2 – 3 dozen potstickers.

Each: 45 calories, 1 g total fat (0.2 g saturated fat, 0.4 g monounsaturated fat, 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 3 g protein, 5.9 g carbohydrate, 5.2 mg cholesterol, 0.4 g fiber. 20% calories from fat.

Potsticker Dipping Sauce
From: goodcheapeats.com

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger (I buy this is a tube so I always have some)
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients in glass dish.  Serve with potstickers.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang Bang Shrimp is the name of a great appetizer at Bonefish Grill.  I was a little leery when I saw this recipe because generally copy-cat recipes aren't nearly as good as the original.  But, I have to say that I can't tell a difference between these and the ones served at the restaurant!  They are so good!  I followed these directions exactly, and they turned out perfectly.  We generally keep a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer, and they worked great for this.  Warning: the sauce can be really hot, so use sparingly until you're sure you like it!

Photo from: fakeginger.com (and they really do turn out like this!)

Bang Bang Shrimp
from: fakeginger.com
Yield: 2 – 4 as appetizer
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4-5 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, such as Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

For the egg mixture:
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

For the breading mixture:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

For frying:
8 to 12 cups vegetable oil

1.Combine beaten egg with milk in shallow bowl; set aside.
2.Combine flour, panko, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and basil in another shallow bowl; set aside.
3.Bread the shrimp by first coating each with the breading mixture. Dip breaded shrimp into the egg and milk mixture, and then back into the breading. Arrange the coated shrimp on a plate and pop them into the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This step will help the breading to stick on the shrimp when they are frying.
4.While you're waiting on the shrimp, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl; cover and set aside.

5.Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Use amount of oil required by your fryer.
6.When oil is hot, fry shrimp 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on rack or paper towels.
7.When all shrimp has been fried, drop the shrimp into a large bowl. Spoon about 1/4 cup of sauce over shrimp and stir gently to coat.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crunchy Baked Okra - from Melissa

My sister-in-law prepared these for Father's day, and they were SO GOOD!!  They taste like fried okra, just less greasy.  You don't even need to thaw the okra before you cook them - warning:  your hands will get cold while you make this, but it's worth it!

Photo from:  thespottedfox.com
Crunchy Baked Okra
From: thespottedfox.com
bag of frozen cut okra
Italian style bread crumbs
2 egg whites
salt & pepper

In a bowl, toss together bread crumbs, a few healthy shakes of paprika, and salt & pepper.
In a separate bowl, toss a handful of your cut okra in the egg whites until they are nicely coated.
Take each piece of okra and cover with your bread crumb mixture. I usually push each side into the bread crumbs so they stick to the egg whites.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the okra on the baking sheet and make sure they aren’t touching one another.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, turning your okra halfway.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Orzo with Artichoke Pesto and Grilled Corn

I've finally had time to try a few new recipes!  I made this last week and really liked it - though I would say that this recipe makes WAY more pasta salad than one or two people might want to eat within a few days, so definitely cut the recipe in half unless you're having lots of guests.  The artichoke pesto was wonderful and a great way to add new flavor to pasta salads.

On a side note, this is one of many of Giada's recipes I have tried.  I was telling someone the other day that one of the things that really helped me to become a better cook was following Giada's recipes in one of her Food Network cookbooks that I got while in college.  The pastas, sauces, and dishes she makes are very versatile - so if you're just getting into cooking Giada's recipes can be a great place to start!

Orzo with Artichoke Pesto and Grilled Corn
by Giada de Laurentiis
Kosher salt
1 pound orzo pasta
2 ears corn, shucked and silks removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (about 3 cups) (*I couldn't find frozen ones, so I just got two jars of artichokes from the Italian section of the store.)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (see Cook's Note)
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, smashed
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (about 28)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Brush the corn with the oil, using a pastry brush. Grill, turning frequently, until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Allow the corn to cool slightly. Remove the kernels with a large knife and add to the serving bowl.

For the pesto: In a food processor, combine 2 cups artichokes, oil, walnuts, oregano, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed, until the mixture is thick and smooth.

Chop the remaining 1 cup artichoke hearts into 3/4-inch pieces and add to the serving bowl. Add the pesto, tomatoes and Parmesan. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Cook's Note: To toast the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Birmingham Literacy Council Garden Party

In May, my aunt invited me to a wonderful afternoon garden party hosted by the Literacy Council at a beautiful home on Red Mountain that overlooked the city.  Author Susan Haltom was there to talk about her book, One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place.  She discussed the research and writing process as everyone helped themselves to delicious and beautiful hors d'oeuvres on the garden patio.  The book has pictures and stories of Welty's family and family garden in Jackson, Mississippi from the 1920s through Welty's death in 2001 but also goes on to detail the restoration of the garden that has occurred in the two decades.

The Welty House today (EudoraWelty.org)

Eudora Welty and her mother in their garden (gardenandgun.com)

We had a wonderful time at the garden party!  Garden parties are such a wonderful way to entertain outdoors, and since this one was a fundraiser for such a good cause it was the perfect setting for this book talk.  Of course, I forgot my camera at home, but I took a few good shots with my phone.  Thanks so much to my aunt for this wonderful opportunity!

The lovely food table

The guest house

A view of the gardens

Gardens and guest house

The host uses this lawn that overlooks the city to host large outdoor dinners - I'm sure they're gorgeous!

My mother and aunts in front of the pergola

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Vay-cay!

You may have noticed that I've been absent from my blog for a while!  With the end of school, travels, and the start of summer classes I've been very busy - in fact, I haven't had time to try many new recipes.  But, I have eaten lots of wonderful food, so in the next few weeks I'll be posting about some great restaurants and events.  Have you tried any great  new summer recipes??

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blackberry Cobbler - from Sally

Sally sent me this recipe last week from Ree Drummond (see her recipes on foodnetwork.com or at her blog, The Pioneer Woman) and said it was great!  She used half blackberries and half raspberries.  I love cobblers in the summer and can't wait to try this one!

Blackberry Cobbler
1/2 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup whole milk
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries
Whipped cream and/or ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in the melted butter.

Rinse the blackberries and pat them dry. Pour the batter into the baking dish. Sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the blackberries. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. When 10 minutes of the cooking time remains, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Top with whipped cream or ice cream . . . or both!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beat the Chefs!

I'm just passing on a recent flyer that was emailed to me... could it be your time to win??

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Glazed Pork Roast with Carrots, Parsnips & Pears

Photo from finecooking.com
Kent found this recipe on finecooking.com after we had bought a large bag of pears and were looking for a way to use them.  This was a really interesting recipe with a lot of different flavors.  My only complaint was that the parsnips were a little tougher than I would have liked.  I would advise cutting them much smaller than the carrots so that they can cook a little more.

Glazed Pork Roast with Carrots, Parsnips & Pears
One 2-lb. center-cut boneless pork loin roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 Tbs. Dijon or grainy mustard
1-1/2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh sage
1/2 lb. carrots (3 or 4), peeled
1/2 lb. parsnips (3 or 4), peeled
2 firm but ripe Bosc pears, quartered, cored, and stemmed
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil; more for the pan

Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil the bottom of a medium roasting pan or 15x10-inch Pyrex dish and set the pork in the center. Season the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, and half of the sage; spread on the top and sides of the pork. If the carrots and parsnips are thick (about 1 inch or larger around), cut them in half or quarters lengthwise so that they’re all roughly the same thickness (about 1/2 inch thick at their thickest part). Toss the vegetables and pear wedges with the1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil and the remaining sage, season with salt and several grinds of pepper, and arrange around the pork.

Pour 1/2 cup water into the pan and roast in the center of the oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast registers 145°F, 30 to 45 minutes. (The cooking time will vary widely depending on the thickness of the roast; start checking early, and check frequently once the temperature reaches 130°F.) Transfer the pork to a carving board. (If the vegetables and pears aren't fully tender by the time the pork is done, return them to the oven until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.) Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly. Serve with vegetables, pears, and pan juices.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cooking Light Tips

I just found this amazing site through the Cooking Light website!  It shows 43 of the most common cooking mistakes and how to avoid them in the future.  These are great tips, so definitely check them out!

On a separate note, I saw this ecard below and knew it was made for me.  Kent will definitely appreciate it - I turn into a crazy lady when I get really hungry... it's not pretty!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clothes from a Newlywed's Closet

I've updated my other blog to help me clean out my closet! Visit Clothes from a Newlywed's Closet to see if any of these items should have a new home with you!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

Photo from CC of Superman
This is yet another recipe that I found on pinterest (posted from The Caffeinated Chronicles of Superman blog).   It's super easy and makes a great fresh snack for summer.

Frozen Yogurt Blueberries
1 carton of blueberries, washed and dried
Any Greek yogurt brand - I used the honey flavor

Use a toothpick to pick up the blueberry.  Then swirl it in the yogurt to coat the berry.  Drop it on a sheet pan (or plate) that has been covered with wax paper.  Once the sheet is full, put it in the freezer for an hour.  After an hour, you can put them in a ziplock bag, but they'll need to stay in the freezer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Iced Sugar Cookies

Kent and I decided to have a big Spring Break party this year.  So we invited lots of friends over and got busy making a plan.  We had been looking for an excuse to have a crawfish party like ones we used to go to in Oxford, and we thought this would be the perfect time.  So, Kent built a double crawfish table that worked wonderfully for the party, and we stocked up with beer, raw oysters, Gretchen's crab dip, and Texas caviar to give everyone a few more options for food.  I wanted to make something sweet and remembered that Sally had given me a crawfish cookie cutter last summer.  And, when I went to look for it, I found a dolphin cookie cutter from my Tri Delt days (I bought it because Jen and I always joked about collecting dolphin memorabilia) that I thought would go well with our funny airbrushed Spring Break Party invites.  I had planned on making a very super secret cookie recipe (it's so secret that I can't even reveal who gave it to me!), but I was missing part of an ingredient.  So, on a whim, I ended up making the cookie recipe that had come with the cookie cutter that Sally had given me published by Ann Clark.  They turned out wonderfully, even though some of the claws fell off of my crawfish! 

Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour.

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat the egg in a separate dish then add it to the butter/sugar mixture.  Add in the vanilla, salt, and flour.  Mix until all ingredients are well blended.  Chill dough 3 - 4 hours before rolling.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and cut.  Bake about 8 - 10 minutes or until barely colored.  Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. 

3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 Tb. butter
1 Tb. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. lemon juice

Melt butter.  Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.  Add food coloring.

*For the icing, I always add way more powdered sugar than the directions indicate so it's not as runny and sticks a little thicker to the cookies.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Couscous and Broccolini Salad

Photo from Stone Soup
I found this recipe on pintrest and decided to make it over Spring Break. I've tried several different variations, and they always turn out well.  Below is the original recipe from Stone Soup.  Under that you'll find my variations.  It has a wonderful Asian feel and is so fresh and light.  I've had it for lunch, but it would make a great side for a larger dinner.  If you've never tried broccolini before, it's kind of a mixture between broccoli and asparagus and spinach.  You'll be able to fit in much more broccolini than you think, so even if you think the pot is full put a little more in!

Couscous and Broccolini Salad
1 bunch broccolini, chopped
1/2 cup couscous
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
small handful flaked almonds

1. Bring a cup of water to boil in a medium saucepan.
2. Add broccolini and cook for 4 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat. Add couscous, soy, vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Stir to combine and season.
4. Stand, covered for another 4 minutes.
5. Fluff couscous with a fork. Taste and season.

Substitutions I've tried...
Broccolini - Spinach!  (you could also use broccoli or asparagus)
Cup of water for couscous - white wine... it adds a lot of flavor
Flaked almonds - sesame seeds (it helps to keep the Asian food feel if you don't like almonds)
Sherry vinegar - rice vinegar or red wine vinegar (the broccolini is kind of bitter already, so don't overdo the vinegar)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Lunch - Lamb Chops with Cucumber Mint Orzo Salad

For Easter lunch today, we invited some of our favorite friends to join us after church.  We wanted to find something that we could make ahead (orzo salad) and something that wouldn't take long to prepare once everyone got here (grilled lamb).  Both dishes are very fresh tasting and are perfect for spring and summer weather.  We also served creamed spinach to add a little more green to the plate.  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday - He has risen!

pictures and recipes from www.fromaway.com

Grilled Lamb Chops with Cucumber-Mint Orzo Salad
Adapted from a recipe in Real Simple; Serves 4
6 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice from one lemon, divided
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
8 small lamb rib chops, about two pounds total
1 cup orzo
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 pitted black olives, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1.On a shallow plate, combine garlic, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1/2 a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the lamb chops, and turn to coat evenly. Refrigerate, covered, for an hour.

2.While lamb chops marinate, cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain, cool under running water, and shake well to remove excess moisture. In a medium bowl, toss orzo with the cucumber, scallions, olives, mint, lemon juice, the remaining olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper.

3.To serve, remove the lamb chops from the marinade and cook, covered, on a hot grill, two minutes per side. Serve with the orzo salad.

And the winner is....

Lacey!  I used random.org too generate a number that corresponded to the order in which people entered the giveaway.  The winning number was #1!  Congrats, Lacey!  Thanks to everyone who entered and to The Wine Loft for their generousity!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

200th Post!!! The Wine Loft Giveaway!!

I can't believe this is my 200th blog post!  To celebrate and thank my followers and contributors, The Wine Loft in Birmingham, AL has donated a $20 gift card.  If you live near Birmingham and have never been to The Wine Loft, you should definitely go!  It's a wonderfully large venue located on 2nd Avenue North along with some of my other favorite restaurants and bars.  It's a great place to meet for drinks or dinner after work, and it's used for many events hosted by Birmingham-area organizations.  Last time we went, Kent and I met some of my co-workers when The Wine Loft was kind enough to serve as a host for Dine Out for Diabetes, a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  We ordered the Wild Mushroom & Manchego Cheese Bruschetta and the Filet Mignon Pistolettes among other things - everything we ordered was amazing!  We loved sitting at one of the beautiful high top tables while we enjoyed our drinks and talked with the manager, Amy who is a sommelier, about which wines to try with our dinners.  For more information and menus, please visit The Wine Loft's website.

There are two ways to enter the giveaway... 1) If you are not a follower of my blog already, click to follow my blog on the right side of the page, then leave me a comment to let me know that you are a new follower (if you're already a follower, just leave me comment saying that you'd like to be entered into the giveaway).  2) You can also enter by becoming a follower of The Wine Loft Bham on Twitter.  Then leave a comment on this post letting me know that you are following them.  So, each person is allowed two entries in the giveaway.  I will use random.org on Saturday, April 7th to select a winner, so please enter by noon on Saturday.

I know that not all of my followers live in Birmingham, so I'm sorry to those of you who do not live in the area!  Thanks to The Wine Loft for their generous gift!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Strawberry Pretzel Salad - from Lacey J.

A friend from work, Lacey, made this recipe for a party we had a few weeks ago, and it was a big hit!  So, I asked her for the recipe and made it for our clothing swap.  It's a recipe that's been around for years, but it's one that nearly everyone loves!  For those of you who like recipes that involve minimal cooking, this one is great.  Make sure to save enough time to let everything rest before moving onto the next step.  I was worried that my jello mixture was too watery to pour over the top, so I put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to give it time to congeal first.  I used unsalted pretzels because I'm not a huge fan of salty/sweet mixes, but you could definitely use either.  Lacey and I also both used one package of regular cream cheese and one package of fat free or reduced fat cream cheese (just to make ourselves feel a little better!).

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted1 cup white sugar
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the pretzels, 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely.
2.In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
3.In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries, and stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture in pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sun-dried Tomato Spread

Last night I got together with some of my favorite friends for a clothing swap!  Several times a year we all go through our closets and gather clothes that we don't wear very much - then we get together and swap them around.  It's a great way to clean our closets and add new things at the same time!  My friend, BLC, from The Company She Keeps is always one of the hostesses with me.  Check out her blog The Clothes She Kept to see more pieces from her closet. 

Since I'm on Spring Break, I decided to try making a few new dishes.  This is one that I found on Pinterest from the Taste of Home website.  There's a lot of mayonnaise in the recipe; since I'm not a big mayo fan, I only used half as much as was called for in the recipe.  It was a big hit - and it makes TONS, so it's great for a big party!

Sun-dried Tomato Spread
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened (I used one regular and one fat free)
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (7 ounces) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2/3 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Assorted crackers

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion and garlic until blended. Stir in tomatoes and red peppers. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, Italian cheese blend and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until edges are bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with crackers. Yield: 28 servings (1/4 cup each).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots

I know I know... I've gotten behind on blogging again.  With Spring Break coming up next week, I'm hoping to catch back up! 

My family never really ate brussels spouts growing up; I assumed they were terrible based on the way I heard people talking about them.  But recently, several of my friends started roasting them as a side dish for big dinners, and I have to say they're amazing!  I'll have to find a good recipe for simple roasted brussels sprouts to post soon.  Kent found the recipe below on Epicurious, but it was originally published in Bon Apetite.  We cooked this last week as a side for Stuffed Eggplant, and OH MY GOODNESS it was so amazing!  I promise that if you like brussels spouts even a little bit, you'll love this recipe.  It's pretty buttery, so we talked about cutting some of the butter out and substituting olive oil.  This is a great side dish for any meal!

Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water

PreparationMelt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.

Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Some of our best friends in Birmingham, Susan and Will, left us this week for San Fransisco!  We're so sad to see them go (and Jack's in mourning because one of his bffs, their dog Ruffles, is leaving town, too)!  Last weekend we had a going away party for them at BLC's house and cooked only Southern dishes - we're hoping that they will miss Southern food and want to come back to B'ham!  Kent and I made this baked macaroni and cheese recipe that we found from Alton Brown on Food Network.  We'll definitely be making it again!

the girls at the going away party!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Waldorf Salad

This salad gets its name from its origination at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NYC and was first published in 1896.  Waldorf Salad is such an easy appetizer to make and take.  My parents make it nearly every year as a side dish for our family's Thanksgiving gathering, but it's perfect for any time of year!

Waldorf Salad
4 Red Delicious Apples, cubed
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Lemon juice

Cube the apples. Toss them in lemon juice to keep them fresh. Mix all of the ingredients together without mayo. Then add mayo to your taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Easy Lasagna - from Caroline W.

Riding a horse with Caroline at
Thanksgiving in the late '80s
My cousin, Caroline, sent me this amazing lasagna recipe last year as I was putting together our family cookbook.  Kent loves lasagna, so I'd been looking for a good homemade lasagna recipe (this one's great because you don't have to precook the noodles).  This recipe has so much flavor and makes enough to feed us for a week! 

Easy Lasagna - from Caroline
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
1 lg egg
1 (12 oz) container cottage cheese
1 1/2 tsp pepper
8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown beef and sausage, drain.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and water.  Combine egg, cottage cheese, and pepper. Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce in bottom of a 13x9 dish. Top with half each of uncooked noodles, cottage cheese mixture, spinach, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers.  Cook at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Smoked Salmon and Veggie Cream Cheese Bagels - from Sally

Sally sent me this recipe from Food Network (Ina Garten) because it reminded her of one of our favorite dishes at Bottletree Bakery in Oxford.  She suggests adding slices of tomatoes, cucumbers, or red onions for some extra flavor and crunch.  At Bottletree, their bagels are also served with capers for extra saltiness.  I will definitely be eating one of these bagels very soon!

Smoked Salmon and Vegetable Cream Cheese Bagels
2 sesame bagels (toast if desired)
Vegetable Cream Cheese, recipe follows
4 slices smoked salmon

Slice the bagels in half horizontally and spread 1 tablespoon of the vegetable cream cheese over the bottom half of each bagel. Arrange 2 slices of smoked salmon over the cream cheese and place the remaining bagel halves on top. Cut the bagels in half crosswise and serve.

Vegetable Cream Cheese:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons minced scallions, white and green parts
2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped radish (2 radishes)
2 to 3 pinches kosher salt
1 pinch finely ground black pepper

Place the cream cheese, scallions, carrot, celery, radish, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until blended.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shrimp and Avocado Salad on Endive Leaves

This is another recipe from my church's Christmas Countdown event.  This was my favorite dish from the event, and I'm excited about trying it soon.  I think this recipe would be perfect for Spring and Summer gatherings.  It has such good flavor - the sesame seeds and scallions give it an Asian feel, so it would be perfect with sushi! 

Shrimp and Avocado Salad on Endive Leaves
(from Martha Stewart Living)  makes 24
20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 3 limes)
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (plus more for garnish)
1 jalapeno chile, stem, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 firm, ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled
2 to 3 small Belgian endives
Black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add shrimp, and cook until opaque, about 1 minute. Let cool, cut
into 1/4 inch pieces.

Transfer shrimp to a medium bowl. Add lime juice, chopped scallions, jalapeno, and salt. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Just before serving, cut avocado into 1/4 inch cubes, and fold into shrimp mixture. Separate endive leaves, and arrange 24 on a platter. Spoon about 1 teaspoon shrimp salad on each leaf. Garnish with sliced scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chocolate Eclair Cake

This dessert is one of Kent's favorite recipes that his grandmother made while he was growing up.  His sister made it around Christmas and added peanut butter.  We found a copy of the recipe recently while looking through one of her cookbooks, and Kent thought we definitely needed to share it!

Chocolate Eclair Cake
1 box plain graham crackers
2 boxes vanilla instant pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (12 oz) container of cool whip

Glaze ingredients:
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners sugar

Butter at 13x9 inch pyrex dish.  Mix the pudding with the milk as if you were making the pudding, then add the cool whip.  Let stand for just a minute to get firm.  Line the bottom of the dish with a layer of graham crackers.Then add 1/2 of the pudding mixture on top of this.  Put another layer of graham crackers, then the rest of the pudding.  End with a layer of graham crackers.

Glaze directions:
Melt chocolate squares and butter.  Stir in confectioners sugar until smooth, then add milk.  Pour this on top of graham crackers  This is best if done two days before it is to be served.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Sauce

My in-laws made this wonderful Southern Living dish for Christmas dinner.  It was a big hit with the whole family!  This would make a great meal anytime you're entertaining for a large crowd - it serves 16!

Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Sauce
1 pound shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (8-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed (see note)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups beef broth
1 cup dry Marsala wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Garnish: fresh thyme

Toss shallots and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl; stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside. 

Stir together 1 tablespoon salt and next 4 ingredients.  Rub tenderloin with 1/4 cup olive oil; sprinkle seasonings over top and sides of tenderloin, pressing gently with fingers.  Place tenderloin in a large lightly greased roasting pan; arrange shallots around tenderloin. 

Bake, uncovered, at 500 degrees for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of tenderloin registers 145 degrees (medium-rare) or 160 degrees (medium). 

Meanwhile, stir together beef broth and Marsala in a large skillet.  Bring to a boil; boil 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 cups. 

Remove tenderloin to a serving platter, and cover with aluminum foil; reserve shallots and drippings in pan.  Add broth reduction to pan, and place over medium heat on cook top, stirring to loosen particle from bottom of pan. 

Whisk together flour and water until smooth; stir into sauce in roasting pan.  Cook over medium heat 3 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring constantly.  Add butter, stirring just until melted.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Thinly slice tenderloin and serve with sauce.  Garnish if desired.

Note:  Find beef tenderloin sealed in plastic in the meat section of your super market.  Once you trim the tenderloin, you should yield about 6 pounds of meat.  To save time, ask your butcher to trim it for you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wine Wednesday - E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone

I first became interested in Cotes du Rhone (a type of wine produced in France) when I was studying in Provence.  We spent a day at a vineyard near Arles, which is just on the tip of the area that is allowed to make Cotes du Rhone, studying production of the wine.  I bought several bottles that I packed very carefully to bring home!  Cotes do Rhone can be red, rose, or white - though most I've found for sale in the US have been red.

A few days ago, Kent and I tried the 2007 E. Guigal red Cotes du Rhone that we'd had in our cabinet for a while.  In doing research on this wine, I found that it was given 90 points by Robert Parker on his 100 point scale (for more information on the Parker wine rating system, click here).  I really liked this wine because it wasn't too overpowering.  The websites I looked through describe it as having smells "of jammy black raspberry, cherry, cassis, pepper and floral notes".  It is said to be the best wine ever produced by this maker.  It can be purchased on-line and at some Whole Foods locations for $12-15.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Croque Monsieurs

In December, I blogged about making French onion soup.  I was worried that soup might not be enough for dinner, so I made croque monsieurs to go along with the soup.  Croque monsieurs are French sandwiches that can be found at nearly every French cafe (they are served in Birmingham at Chez Fonfon).  They are similar to Monte Cristos that I've posted about before.  I remember having my first croque monsieur in my high school French class.  There are many variations of the croque monsieur, most notably the croque madame (a croque monsieur with a fried or poached egg on top).  They can be really simple but can also be "done up" a little fancier, like this recipe topped with a mornay sauce that comes from Ina Garten. 

Croque Monsieur

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sally sent me this recipe several weeks ago, but I've been waiting to publish it.  I feel like after so much filling food in December, January is always a great time for soups.  This one looks really yummy!  I can't wait to try it!

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
2 t. chili powder
1 t. oregano
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 (10.5-oz.) can chicken broth
1 & 1/4 C. water
1 C. cooked corn kernels (or canned)
1 C. white hominy (same section as canned corn)
1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chilis
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
2 chicken breasts, cooked & cut into small pieces (or use a rotisserie
chicken, would use 1/2 of the chicken for this serving size, give or
take depending on how much chicken you want)

Garnish: tortilla chips, avocado, Monterrey jack cheese, sour cream, green onions, whatever sounds good!

Sauté onions in olive oil with garlic on low heat for awhile to cook down (I like to cook out onion flavor). Transfer to large pot & stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth & water. Bring to a boil &simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in corn, hominy, chilis, beans, cilantro & chicken. Simmer another 10 minutes. Serve and top with garnish.
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