Monthly Archives: November 2012

Jill’s Aunt Carla’s Baked Mashed Potatoes

Baked Mashed Potatoes

Baked Mashed Potatoes

This Thanksgiving was a first for a couple of us. For me, it was the first Thanksgiving in a number of years that I wasn’t hosting and cooking. For Mark’s niece, it was her first Thanksgiving cooking and hosting. She did an awesome job. What I loved about her menu was that it was full of memories. Menu items handed down by family members she loves. Some still in her life and others that have passed. This recipe is her Aunt Carla’s. She even had her Aunt’s handwritten recipe card. Now Jill’s Aunt Carla also happens to be my Mark’s late wife. So this recipe not only filled stomachs on this Thanksgiving day but it filled a number of hearts as well. I was honored to have been a part of the day.


  • 7 pounds russet potatoes, halved
  • 8 oz sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 box Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • a little shredded Velveeta cheese
  • a little bacon bits
  • a handful or so of potato chips

In a large pot boil the potatoes until very soft. You should be able to pierce through them easily with a fork. Drain, but reserve maybe a cup of the potato water. Mash the potatoes, then with a hand mixer beat until fluffy. You might need to add a bit of the potato water while beating to loosen the potatoes up so they become fluffy. Fold in the sour cream, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, the melted butter, shredded Velveeta Cheese and bacon bits. Spoon into a casserole dish and sprinkle with more Velveeta Cheese and bacon bits on top. Refrigerate until ready to bake. Crumble Potato Chips on top and bake at 350 for 70 minutes. (I hope I wrote this recipe correctly. It had little directions as many of our own recipes do. I had to ask for Mark’s assistance as to how he thought his late wife would have made it. But I think I got in down.)

1 Comment

Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Casseroles, Holidays, Thanksgiving, Vegetables


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Crock Pot Citrus Herb Chicken

Shredded Citrus Herb Chicken Tacos

This is an easy way to cook chicken to use in your tacos, enchiladas, tamales and taquitos. Or try adding it to a casserole, rice or pasta. Another budget friendly recipe. Chicken $5, herbs from my garden zero, but if you had to buy them the amount you use about $2, lemon and lime 48 cents each, other ingredients, maybe a buck of so. So you end up with enough shredded seasoned chicken to feed 3 to 4 people at least 3 servings for under $9 dollars total. Shoot, that’s $3 a meal.


  • 1 whole chicken, approx 5 pounds
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tb fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tb Olive Oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper

Combine the parsley, thyme, rosemary, Parmesan Cheese, garlic and Olive Oil. This is your rub. Slip your fingers between the meat of the chicken and the skin. Loosen it all over the chicken. Take you rub, using your fingers, place it in the space between the chicken meat and skin. Place the whole chicken in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. I just put mine in the bowl of my crock pot and since it’s removable I refrigerate in that.

The next morning place the marinated chicken in your crock pot. Juice the lemon and lime over the chicken. Place the spent lemon and lime in the cavity of the chicken. Generously season the top of the chicken with Kosher Salt and ground black pepper. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Be careful when removing the finished chicken, it will fall completely off the bone.

Suggestions: I discard the skin and all bones, shred whatever hasn’t fallen apart and use it when making tacos, enchiladas, tamales and taquitos.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

I have to admit this recipe is not mine. But boy is it good. It belongs to Lisa, the head chef and night kitchen manager for the “Lady and Sons Restaurant” It’s simple and taste wonderful. You can find this recipe in Paula Deen’s Cookbook listed under “Lisa’s Southern Pecan Pie” It was the perfect ending to our Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.


  • 4 Tb salted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cane syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 9-inch pie crust

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cream the butter, sugar, flour and salt until smooth. Add the syrup, eggs and vanilla, then fold in the pecans. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until firm to the touch.


Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Desserts, Holidays, Thanksgiving


Tags: , , , , ,

Tricia’s Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Thanksgiving is full of traditions and firsts. A young newlywed I work with was asked to bring the desert for her first Thanksgiving as a married lady. So she did what many young women of her age do, she looked on Pinterest for ideas. Here is her version of a Banana Pudding Poke Cake. I bet it tasted wonderful. Wish I would have gotten some of it.


  • 1 (18.25.) box yellow cake mix ingredients needed to make cake (eggs & water)
  • 2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant Cheesecake pudding
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 20 Nilla Wafers, crushed
  • 4 Bananas

Prepare and bake the cake mix as stated on the box. After the cake is done cooling for a couple of minutes, poke holes in the cake with the end of a wooden spoon. You want the holes to be big enough for the pudding the go into. Poke all the way down to the bottom of the cake pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the two pouches of cheesecake pudding with 2 cups of milk. Whisk until all the lumps are gone, then let it sit for about 2 minutes. After it has sat for 2 minutes pour the pudding over the poked cake. Be sure the smooth the pudding into the holes with a spoon or spatula.

Put the pudding poke cake in the fridge to cool and set for an hour. Once it is cooled and set, slice up the 4 bananas and spread them along the cake. I covered my cake in them since I love bananas. Then once the bananas are all laid out, spread the cool whip over the top.

In a zip lock bag, crush the 20 Nilla Wafers. I just crushed them with my hands, but you could easily do it with a rolling-pin. Leave some bigger pieces for a crunch when you bite into it. Then spread the crushed Nilla Wafers onto the cake. (If you aren’t going to serve this for a couple of hours I would hold off on putting the crushed wafers on top till you plan to serve it.)

Serve it with a whole vanilla wafer on each portion or just as is. It is truly a great desert to have for days. I made mine on Thursday for Thanksgiving and I’m still eating off of it on Sunday. Keep refrigerated.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Desserts


Tags: , , , , ,

Rustic Crock Pot Beef Chuck Roast

Pot Roast in a Crock Pot

Cooking in your crock pot doesn’t have to be bland just because it’s easy. I have shared this recipe especially with my niece in mind. She is about to enter the world of living on her own for the first time. She’s young and learning how to and what she likes to cook. Here you go Ashley, this will fill your stomach while warming your soul.

Ingredients:   Serves 4 people dinner, or 2 dinners for a couple

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound Beef Chuck Roast
  • about 1 cup red wine
  • about 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 small russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 raw carrots, cut in half or thirds
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 4 wedges
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly minced

Place the chuck roast in a gallon zip lock bag, add the red wine and Worcestershire sauce. Let marinade in the refrigerator over night. (I usually put this together the night before)

The next morning, place the potatoes, carrots and onion in the bottom of the crock pot. Top with the chuck roast and don’t forget to pour all the marinade that is left in the bag into your crock pot. Season both sides of the roast with a generous amount of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss in the roughly minced garlic, cover and cook all day long on the low setting. For me that’s 9 to 10 hours. At the end of the day the meat may look like it’s cooked hard as a rock, but you’ll be amazed how tender and flavorful it actually is.

This meal is very budget friendly. The meat was only $8.00. So just under $11 dollars for a meal for four or 2 meals for Mark and I. Add a loaf of my Beer Bread and for us the meal is complete.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Traditional Turkey Pot Pie – Double Crusted (Leftover Delight)

Turkey Pot Pie

I love pot pies, especially the cheap Banquet ones. Please don’t tell anyone, it’s a vice of mine. But at this time of the year I break down and make a homemade Turkey Pot Pie from our leftover turkey. It doesn’t take much to make and I usually have all the ingredients leftover from making our holiday meal. I use the meat from the drumsticks and wings that in our house are always leftover. I have to be honest, this is the only time of the year I make this recipe, because of that it’s very special in our home.

Ingredients:  yields a 10″-inch pot pie

  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 4 Tb unsalted butter
  • 4 carrots, divided use – (1) minced, (3) diced
  • 3 celery stalks, divided use – (1) minced, (2) diced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 to 4 cups leftover turkey, cubed
  • double pie crust for a 10″-inch pie, made from scratch or store-bought
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tb water

Preheat your oven to 375

In a large pot, like a dutch oven or stockpot heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the minced carrot, minced celery, onion and bell pepper. Cook these until the onions soften. Sift the flour over the sautéed vegetables. Whisk the flour into the sautéed vegetables and continue to cook until a roux is made and becomes lightly brown in color. About 10 minutes.

Stir in the remaining diced carrots and celery, the garlic, thyme, sage and black pepper. Whisk in the chicken broth until blended well. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Continually whisking cook until the mixture has thicken. Depending upon your pots and stove this could take between 5 and 10 minutes. Once thickened check the flavor of the sauce and season with salt and pepper if needed. For us, I usually don’t have to season at all, but everyone’s tastes are different.

Remove from heat and stir in the frozen peas and turkey cubes. Line your pie pan with one of the pie crust. Pour the filling mixture into the pie pan then cover with the second pie crust. Tuck the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust to ensure they are sealed together. Using a sharp knife make slits in the upper crust to allow steam to escape while baking. Using a fork gently combine the egg and water together then brush over the top crust. Bake 45 to 60 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Suggestions: You can always substitute cubed roasted chicken for the turkey. If you are wanting to make this ahead of baking, then once the filling is thickened you can refrigerate for a couple of days before pouring into the pie crust and baking. Would you like a twist on the basic pot pie? Try adding a bit of cayenne pepper and sharp cheddar cheese into the filling after it has thickened.


Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Casseroles, Left-Over Delights, Thanksgiving


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Batman, silly squirrel is doing well here in the country.

Batman, the squirrel

Batman, the squirrel, came to us via a family who had rescued him when he fell out of his nest. His eyes weren’t even open when they found him. They nursed him, loved him all the while he became a part of their family. But the time came when Batman needed to go back to where he belonged, outside. 

Mark and I live in the country and Batman’s family lives in the city. With us, being released back into his natural habitat the threat to this beautiful animal is low. Thankfully his family entrusted us to release him back into the country, full of trees, leaves and acorns. He absolutely loves it.

Welcome Batman

He is enjoying his new-found friends, a plentiful supply of food and the freedom to roam wherever his heart desires. He’s has had a few mishaps but has mustered through them. He had to learn to sleep at night and not all day long. He learned how to climb down a big tree, that was fun to watch. Smelling each and every leaf along his way was tiresome to watch. He probably made himself sick by eating acorns non-stop off of the deck. No other squirrel out here eats them. Then he seemed to have a mishap with a raccoon in the middle of the night. The coon got a big piece of his tail, but batman survived…. And yesterday Batman finally found his bark. A cat made his way into our backyard, doesn’t usually happen but when it does all the squirrels bark and chatter until they leave. Batman not only joined in, but he was the first to sound the alert. Way to go Batman. Please enjoy our photos of Batman’s life out here in our very own wonderland. Pretty soon we won’t be able to tell him apart from the others. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

He smells the
scent of his humans

He found his blanket

and he’s going in

At last, he’s
safe and sound

Lots of space
for Batman

He’s fascinated with
the trees & leaves

Finally he’s coming
up for peanuts


Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

%d bloggers like this: