Pastitsio – Greek Lasagna

Pastitsio – Greek Lasagna is one of my childhood favorites made with comforting layers of long tubular pasta, a delicious homemade Mediterranean meat sauce spiced with ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves,  nutmeg, this classic Greek dish is topped with creamy béchamel and Kefalotyri cheese and guaranteed to be a family favorite for the dinner table.

Pastitsio – Greek Lasagna is one of those wonderful Mediterranean pasta recipes that take me back to my teen years in Ohio. It reminds me of two things, the holidays with my friends and one of my favorite festivals in Warren, Ohio that Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church hosts every year; The Greek Fest. This year will be their 50th Annual hosting of the Greek Festival, one of the largest Greek festivals in Ohio.

Pastitsio is one of the cherished classic Greek recipes I used to beg my friends to ask their mom’s for. In the beginning, no one was budging for my request of their cherished recipe for that delicious baked pasta, it actually took me years to earn the rights to the recipe. That request of mine required me to watch a few amazing women make their traditional family recipes several times to get this recipe on point. Moral of the story, if you want something special you need to be willing to put the labor and time in to make it properly. Continue reading

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What oil should I use for cooking …

Have you ever had to do the famous Google search “What oil should I use for cooking…?” If you just answered yes, don’t feel bad at one time or another we all have done the search for the best oils to use to cook our favorite foods. Sometimes with one eye twitching over the complete madness of it all. There are so many oils just in your local market alone you can get dizzy and completely frazzled trying to figure out the proper oils you need for sautéing, cooking, baking, roasting, and or frying your favorite chicken.

After having a detailed discussion the other night with a friend over oil uses, as well as the smoke points of various oils; I decided to make life a little easier for you by doing this handy little guide of  “What oils should I use for cooking…” from the most often used oils such as peanut oil, canola, vegetable oils and olive oil there are an extraordinary amount of oils out there to use for different  purposes– So let’s help you find the correct one for your next meal.

What oils should I use for…

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Funeral Potatoes Recipe

Whether you’re  hailing from Utah and refer to the recipe as Funeral Potatoes or a Southerner from Mississippi that calls it Hashbrown Casserole, this recipe is pretty darn delicious if you ask me or any of the folks I have made it for. It’s really the perfect casserole for the holidays, work potlucks, church functions, any gathering that requires a covered dish. Just simply combine shredded hashbrowns, extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded Colby-Jack cheese, cream of chicken soup, cream cheese, sautéed onion, and minced garlic.

The list of names for this casserole dish that uses those famous frozen hash browns is almost endless depending on where you live in the United States. I have heard them called, Church Lady Potatoes, Christmas Potatoes, Heartstopper Hashbrown Casserole, Ward Potatoes, Cheesy Potato Casserole,  Pittsburg Potatoes, as well as  Church Social Potatoes by some.
You might ask, “How did this casserole ever became known as Funeral Potatoes in Utah?” It seems about 15-16 years ago  Funeral Potatoes became a staple served at dinners given for bereaved friends and family after a Latter Day Saints funeral. I’m sure they were being served up in Utah long before they were fondly nicknamed, “Funeral Potatoes” Continue reading

SPICY PENNE PASTA WITH ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE

This Cajun flavored Spicy Penne Pasta with Andouille Sausage is made with pure Southern love combining penne pasta, grilled Andouille sausage, a deliciously creamy cheese sauce, diced tomatoes with chiles, Roasted Red Peppers, onions, fresh garden grown herbs, and Cajun spices.

I wish all dinners came with an easy button, this Cajun Flavored Spicy Penne Pasta with Andouille Sausage only took me about 30 minutes after the grill was fired up to cook. While I waited for my grill to heat, I used the time to do a bit of prep work for my recipe such chopping a medium onion, garlic, and fresh parsley from my herb garden.

Just a hint if you don’t live in an area where you can pick up andouille sausage at your local market you can take one of two routes; either go with a spicy country sausage or you can use a smoked sausage you enjoy. I have actually had to do so myself. The flavor changes slightly but it’s still totally delicious and easy to make for dinner. Continue reading

New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp Recipe

New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp is one of the fabulous historical dishes of New Orléans. Of course, New Orléans Style bbq Shrimp isn’t about dumping a bunch of BBQ sauce on chargrilled shrimp. It’s actually a  very delicately prepared shrimp dish cooked in a rich butter sauce spiked with a healthy dose of Worcestershire sauce and white wine and eaten with a freshly baked crusty French bread to sop up the rich flavored broth. You can find various versions at the restaurants and in homes across the city of New Orléans, but the original recipe comes from the Uptown restaurant, Pascal’s.

In the mid-1950s, the New Orléans-based Italian restaurant Pascal’s Manale opened it’s doors in 1913 on Napoleon Ave,  New Orléans, LA  and invented the BBQ shrimp recipe. The story is told as one of the restaurant’s frequent customers,  a Mr. Vincent Sutro, had just returned to the New Orléans area from a trip to Chicago, and he began discussing a fabulous dish he had in Chicago with chef Jake Radosta.  He then asked the chef if he could reproduce a similar recipe for him that evening for his meal.

new-orleans-style-bbq-shrimp-2The Pascal’s Manale Restaurant’s Chef Jake  Radosta tried to no avail to recreate the original Chicago dish based on the customer’s description. What he served to Vincent Sutro ended up not coming out the same as the shrimp dish did in Chicago during his trip, however, he insisted that the shrimp recipe was even better. The Pascal’s Manale restaurant decided to put the dish on the menu, where it’s been ever since. Continue reading

Holiday Fudge Brownies with Pomegranate Recipe and DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza

I’m not even going to lie the Holidays completely exhaust me, between figuring out what to eat on busy days, Holiday parties, what to take to the Holiday parties, Secret Santa gifts for the office, and etc. I just want something to eat and I really am thinking DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza. However, you have to be kidding yourself if you think I am going back out into the Memphis area traffic for the 3rd time today. Nope, not happening again. I’m heading down to the Dollar General Store which is about 4 minutes away from the house.

The Holidays are stressful enough without adding frustration to them by going insane in the kitchen or spending unnecessary cash on the same ingredients you can find right at your local Dollar General Store. I can go right on my cell phone at home or in the Dollar General parking lot and download the current coupons and be shopping for all my favorites and saving money in as little as 1-2-3.

The Holidays are stressful enough without adding frustration to them by going insane in the kitchen or spending unnecessary cash on the same ingredients you can find right at your local Dollar General Store. I can go right on my cell phone at home or in the Dollar General parking lot and download the current coupons and be shopping for all my favorites and saving money in as little as 1-2-3.I don’t know about you but I am starving and trying to patiently wait while my mom slices this delicious looking DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza. I decided to go with my favorite the Supreme DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza today. You can’t go wrong with tons of toppings on your pizza, can you? Continue reading

Southern Chocolate Gravy with Bacon

Southern Chocolate Gravy with Bacon is a decadent delicious gravy made from simple budget friendly ingredients such as bacon drippings or butter, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, milk,  a pinch of salt, and smoky crumbled bacon to drive your taste buds over the edge.

I can not begin to tell you how delightful Southern Chocolate Gravy with Bacon really is without thinking back to the look that would come across my beautiful mama’s face when she would talk about how when she first had Chocolate gravy over her mama’s house in Tennessee, she felt like heaven and earth moved that day.

Southern Chocolate Gravy with Bacon is a decadent delicious gravy made from simple budget friendly ingredients such as bacon drippings or butter, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, milk,  a pinch of salt, and smoky crumbled bacon to drive your taste buds over the edge.

I know some of y’all are asking, “What exactly is Chocolate Gravy?”,  it’s pure chocolate heaven that we Southerners serve over our homemade buttermilk biscuits made of simple staple ingredients you probably already have sitting right in your cupboard and refrigerator now. It’s not a fudge sauce nor a chocolate sauce, it’s somewhere between, yet has a smoky flavor and is made from a special  cocoa and flour-based roux cooked to perfection in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Continue reading