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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Southern-Style Bean Salad

This sweet yet Tangy Southern-Style Bean Salad is the perfect side dish for potlucks, Church gatherings, and family picnics. It’s a super easy recipe to make; combining fresh flash steamed green beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, white beans, black beans, chickpeas, red onion, cilantro, and a deliciously fresh tasting simple to make homemade dressing.

Southern-Style Bean Salad is my a spinoff of the 60’s generation of Three Bean Salad. The great salad revolution began in the early 1960’s like so many other cultural cuisines in America. In the decade of more natural and organic ingredients; many Americans were first introduced to bean salads in the sixties, not to mention rice, Bulgar, wheat, all of which were destined to become increasingly popular in the near future.  The original 3 Bean Salad of the 60’s consisted solely of the combination of marinated or pickled kidney beans, chickpeas, and green beans.I know it’s been a good deal of time since I have even thought of that bean salad, so I decided that a good old-fashioned Southern update was in order for this recipe. I decided that three measly types of beans were not going to cut it. I wanted to pay more of a Southern homage to my Bean Salad and decided white beans, black-eyed peas, and black beans would combine really well with the fresh flash steamed green beans and kidney beans. Continue reading

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

Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar

Cowboy Caviar {black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar is the delicious Southern cousin of Mexican Black Bean Salsa made with black-eyed peas, sweet corn, diced red plum tomatoes, chopped spicy jalapeño peppers, crisp celery, diced cucumber, red onions, finely sliced green onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and served with crunchy tortilla chips.

Southerners love their black-eyed peas, and the state of Texas is the birthplace of Cowboy Caviar {Black-eyed Pea Salsa} aka Texas Caviar. Cowboy Caviar aka Texas Caviar was created in the lovely state of Texas around 1940, by Ms. Helen Corbitt, the director of the food service for the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. Here’s the twist y’all, Ms. Helen Corbitt was actually a native of New York, not Texas.

I don’t know about y’all but I can surely forgive Ms. Corbitt for not being a native Southerner, since she created one of my favorite Southern iconic appetizers; bless her little heart, if it weren’t for her we might not have ever thought of this amazing concoction made from black-eyed peas on our own. So a big thank you is going out to that lovely fiery redheaded Northern gal.

Ms. Helen Corbitt was the notoriously famous for being the director of the food service at the Zodiac Room, in the Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. She first served her well-known Black-eyed Pea Salsa on New Year’s Eve at the Houston Country Club. Ms. Corbitt, would later also serve the Black-eyed Pea Salsa at the famous Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, where then dubbed by its nickname, “Texas caviar,” as a humorous poke at real caviar, an expensive hors d’oeuvre of salt-cured fish roe. 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

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic is so simple and delicious it’s almost ridiculous. The ingredient list is minimal Brussel sprouts, red onions, smoky bacon, olive oil, honey, and sweet balsamic. You can easily find every item at your local grocer or even your own home in most instances.

Just for fun, I decided to do a little research on Brussels Sprouts to see what I could dig up as far as information.Want to know what crazy and fun facts I managed to find out rummaging on the worldwide web? Some of them you might actually find slightly interesting.roasted-brussel-sprouts-with-bacon-and-balsamic

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Fresh Mixed Berry Vinaigrette Recipe

This Fresh Mixed Berry Vinaigrette Recipe is a wonderful leap in the right direction, combining the fresh delightful flavors of fresh raspberries, blackberries, quality balsamic vinegar, garlic, Vidalia onions, pure organic honey, tarragon, and fresh sweet basil.

Fresh mixed berries are some of the healthiest foods on planet Earth. New research is constantly being published and those juicy sweet ripe berries are being recognized and analyzed for their health giving properties.Fresh Berries are extremely high in antioxidants.

fresh-mixed-berry-vinaigrette-recipeThose delicious tasting fresh organic blackberries I included in my Fresh Mixed Berry Vinaigrette Recipe are so much more than just powerful antioxidants. Blackberries are also extremely high in some of the highest forms of chronic disease and cancer-fighting compounds: vitamins C, E, and ellagic acid. They also have high levels of the soluble fiber known as pectin, a substance that studies link to lowered levels of cholesterol.  Continue reading