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The Steak House salad at The Fairpark Grill, Tupelo, MS

The Fairpark Grill, Tupelo, Mississippi

Had a delicious dinner tonight at the Fairpark Grill. It’s called the Steak House Salad. Romaine, blue cheese crumbles, egg, juicy red tomatoes, chopped red pepper, copious thin fried onion rings and two delicious marinated steak skewers served with blue cheese dressing. Perfection!

Do you remember the “Steak & Ale” restaurant chain? They had a steak called the “Kensington Club”, marinated in pineapple juice, soy sauce and sherry wine. This is very similar, as they also add in powdered ginger and garlic. What a treat!

Stuffed Peppers

A nice giant stuffed pepper, served with super thin Capellini and garlic bread with roasted red peppers.
Prepare your peppers by slicing the tops off; reach in and remove the membrane and any seeds. Save the top (not the stem) to add in the stuffing mix.
Chop up these bonus pieces.
Saute an onion in olive oil until soft. Add in some minced garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.
Add and saute the pepper pieces. Add a 15-16 oz can of drained diced tomatoes. Heat through. Remove everything to a bowl to next cook the meat.
Place 2lbs. ground beef into the pan and cook through.
Try to chop up into small pieces as it cooks. Drain the fat.
Add back the onion mixture and cook through. Now, at this point, you can add one cup of cooked white rice. Because a certain someone in my house refuses to even try rice, I cannot put rice in here. I know I should anyway and tell her to cook her own food, but I can’t. Even though I want to!!
Add a couple shakes or tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
Stand up your peppers in a high-sided casserole dish or disposable aluminum pan. Put a couple spoons of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of each pepper. If your pepper does not sit up straight, look at it’s bottom and maybe cut a little of the bump off so it sits upright.
Fill up with the meat mixture. Just make pretend that you see beautiful pieces of rice! Top with a spoonful of spaghetti sauce.
Coat the top of each pepper with slices of Mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered for about 35-40 minutes. Some fat and water may leach out while cooking. Remove to a nice serving platter if you need to have a nice presentation.
Serve with some more sauce on top with some spaghetti. If you were able to add rice, you can serve the pepper with vegetables as a side dish since rice is inside and counts as your starch. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am always on the hunt for a good chocolate chip cookie! The other day, in my daily email from the NY Times with the latest news stories, the daily recipe was for Jacques Torres’ (famous chocolatier) Chocolate Chip cookies. Well, inquiring minds and all……I clicked the link and hit a paywall. How can you do this NY Times? Why tease me like this? I tried a couple times and gave up. Then, I tried on my phone and it went through! I quickly printed the recipe before it changed it’s mind. I did notice a few other sites have printed the recipe in full and attributed it back to NY Times/Jacques Torres. So, I have slightly adapted their recipe to what I have on hand. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!

These are exquisite! There is much to be said about a fine little sprinkle of sea salt on these cookies! Next time, I am going to incorporate some walnuts or pecans.
Ingredients: Vanilla extract, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, butter, coarse salt, 2 eggs, brown sugar, chocolate chips/chunks. Also, sea salt for sprinkling on the cookies before baking.
Sift together the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder. My hand sifter gives quite the workout!!
Set aside until you need this later in the recipe.
In your stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and brown sugar. Beat for 5-7 minutes until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and only beat until it all incorporates.
Add the chocolate chips/chunks and stir in well.
Now, here comes the hardest part. Scoop the cookie dough out onto plastic wrap!
Wrap it up tight and refrigerate for 24 hours! Oh, the waiting will be hard. Actually some of the comments in the recipe post say they did not wait and they were still excellent. I will wait so I can give the recipe the most accurate rating.
Some of the comments talked about the science of waiting and refrigerating, the science of the two flours, blah, blah, blah. I will do as told as long as it works and tastes good! Very cold block of dough, 1″ cookie scoop and parchment lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 while you scoop the dough.
Sprinkle some sea salt on your cookies before they go in the oven. I was able to fit twelve on the sheet. They came out in various sizes however, I did not scoop evenly!
Salt!!
I baked these for 15 minutes, removed from the oven and allowed to cool on the tray for five minutes before removing onto a wire rack.
Enjoy warm!
So much better than your ordinary chocolate chip recipe!

Note: as stated – this is not my recipe. I did write my substitutions in the recipe.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt   (I used kosher)
  • 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used salted)
  • 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract  (I used four teaspoons)
  • 1/3 pounds bittersweet chocolate discs (I used a 11.5 oz bag of semi-sweet and a half bag of milk chocolate chips)
  • flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, and coarse salt. Set aside.
  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  1. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture and beat well. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  1. Add the flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
  1. Fold in the chocolate using a spatula.
  1. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or up to 72 hours.
  1. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° F.
  1. Scoop large spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (I used a large cookie scooper). Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown and the middle still looks soft.
  1. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders

These are delicious. I sometimes make these for lunch. You can also make them for a crowd by doubling or tripling the recipe.
Ingredients: sliced deli ham, your choice of cheese – I prefer Swiss, but the family insists on American. I will admit – I have sometimes made it with Swiss and they never knew the difference! Butter, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, minced onion, honey, poppy seeds and the star of the show – King’s Hawaiian rolls. Not shown: brown sugar.
Melt one stick of butter
To the melted butter, add 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, a shake of pepper, 2 teaspoons minced onion, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, one squirt of honey. Mix well.
Split the rolls all in one lengthwise cut – keeping them intact.
Lightly (or not so lightly, lol) coat both cut sides with mayo.
Cover both sides with cheese, overlapping as needed.
To be extra “fat” throw in another layer of cheese. You absolutely do not have to overdo it. Haha
Shut the lid!! I put these in a deep sided disposable aluminum pan with a parchment sheet.
Get your butter mixture ready!
Pour the entire bowl of goodness on top of the bread. YAY!! Cover with foil, bake in a 350 degree oven for @25 minutes.
Remove to a cutting board and slice through, separating into 12 little sliders.
These are delicious. I love poppy seeds, but if you are not a fan, either cut down the amount or leave them out. You can also add a little more brown sugar for a nice sweet pop. Enjoy!

Pineapple Fluff (aka Frog Eye Salad)

This is like nothing you’ve ever had before. Well, maybe, lol. Think about Ambrosia or Millionaire Salad. This is very similar, yet different.
Ingredients: Pineapple, Mandarin oranges, sugar, flour, eggs, coconut, mini marshmallows and the surprise ingredient – Acini di Pepe pasta!!
Drain both the pineapples and the oranges. Reserve the pineapple juice, discard the orange juice or use for another purpose.
Save the pineapple juice to make a custard.
Place the pineapples and oranges into a large bowl – make sure they are well drained.
In a large pan, add the pineapple juice (1 3/4 cups) and 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Stir until dissolved. In a small bowl, beat the three eggs. Add to the pot of pineapple juice. Turn the heat on the stove to low. Add 3-4 tablespoons of flour. Mix until well blended. Heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on a candy thermometer. Whisk constantly. This can take up to 20 minutes. Custard should thicken and get creamy.
Keep whisking! Make sure the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pot – just the liquid.
Meanwhile, cook the Acini di Pepe according to the box instructions. When it has cooked, drain and set aside while you make the custard.
The Acini di Pepe is cooling. Acini di Pepe in Italian means “seeds of pepper” which is about the size of the pasta – a pepper ball.
Mix the pasta with the oranges and pineapples.
Add in the cooled custard.
Add mini marshmallows and coconut, if desired. At this point, scoop into a bowl and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
Before serving, add in the cool whip. Stir well and serve. Enjoy!!

Pineapple Fluff/Tropical Delight Salad (aka Frog Eye Salad) 

Ingredients  

12 oz. box Acini de Pepe pasta 

1 can pineapple tidbits, 1 can crushed @20 oz. each 

2 cans Mandarin Oranges, @10.5 oz each or 1 20 oz. can 

1 ¼ cup sugar 

3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

3 eggs, lightly beaten 

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut 

2 cups mini marshmallows 

2 – 8oz. containers Cool Whip, thawed 

Preparation  

  • Prepare acini de pepe per package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool. 
  •  Drain mandarin oranges thoroughly; discard juice and place oranges in a large mixing bowl. Drain pineapple tidbits thoroughly and save the juice; add the tidbits to the bowl with the mandarin oranges and set the bowl aside.  
  •  Add crushed pineapple (drained and reserve juice) to the bowl with the mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits and set aside. 
  • In a medium saucepan, add 1 3/4 cup pineapple juice and granulated sugar, then whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add beaten eggs and flour to saucepan and then slowly begin to heat mixture up to 170 degrees F, whisking constantly.  
  • For best results, use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature is reached. Custard should be creamy (but not too thick) once ready. Depending on your cooktop, this process should take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.  
  •  Remove pineapple custard from heat and let cool completely.  
  • TIP: To cool faster, transfer pineapple custard to a new bowl and set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. 
  •  Once all of the above steps are created and cooled, pour the acini de pepe and pineapple custard into the bowl with the fruit and gently mix together. 
  • Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or ideally overnight). 
  • When ready to serve, add cool whip to bowl with pasta and fruit and stir until combined. 
  • Stir in shredded coconut and mini marshmallows (optional). 
  •  Serve immediately. 

©2022 Sweet and Spicy Obsessions

Fruit Dip

You will thank me later. It does not get any easier than this! If you truly want to impress at your next Potluck – this is it. Cut up some watermelon cubes and cantaloupe cubes, make this dip and people will beg you for the recipe. True story!
Two simple ingredients – an 8oz brick of cream cheese and a 7oz container of Marshmallow Creme (Fluff). You can double this for a large gathering.

Whip the cream cheese smooth with your hand mixer and scoop out the creme using a rubber scraper. Whip until combined and smooth. Place in a nice dipping bowl for your gathering. Keep cold and covered until serving time. Serve with chunks of watermelon, cherries, grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, etc.
This was made for home consumption, so no fancy serving platters or bowls. People will beg you for the recipe. Enjoy!!

Fiesta Corn

Fiesta Corn is easy to make and tastes delicious!

Growing up, we really didn’t ever have anything spicy. Even my Mom’s Chili was not spicy. The closest we came to spicy was Green Giant’s Mexi-corn. It was canned corn with tiny pieces of green and red peppers. Not spicy, but just the word “Mexi” implied it!

Simple ingredients – fresh corn, red pepper and jalapeno. Aha – no green pepper here, but you can certainly use it in lieu of the jalapeno. I like the kick of the jalapeno and for those with a more delicate palate that live with me – no complaints so far!! I do use a whole stick of butter and salt and pepper. Stand the corn up in a bowl and run the knife down, removing the kernels. It is almost impossible to remove all of the silk, but try! Cut the ribs out of the red pepper and remove the seeds. Cut the top off of the jalapeno and split in half. Using a spoon, scrape the membrane and seeds from the jalapeno. Finely dice both the red pepper and the jalapeno.
Start with half the stick of butter and saute the jalapeno and red pepper until they start to soften.
Softened
Add the corn, salt and pepper. Add the other half of butter. Cook about 15 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Pick out any stray pieces of silk that you see.
Ready to eat! Enjoy!

Twice Baked Potatoes

This is a yummy way to use up leftover baked potatoes, or freshly baked ones!

Twice baked potatoes are an awesome invention. They raise up a lowly, plain baked potato into a gourmet, flavored filled side dish.

Wash several Russet potatoes, scrubbing off any dirt. Poke with a sharp knife all over the potato. Bake for an hour at 400 degrees. When softened, remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
When slightly cooled, cut in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop the potato into a bowl, leaving the skin with just a little potato remaining.
Using a parchment sheet lined pan, lay down the potato skins. Notice there is a slight coating of potato left in the skins.
Now, you are basically making mashed potatoes, but richer! Get out your hand mixer to blend everything smooth.
I had five potatoes, so I added half a stick of butter (4 tablespoons), half an 8oz brick of creamed cheese, salt, pepper and heavy cream. I did not measure the cream; I just added it as I mixed.
When smooth, add in an 8oz bag of cheddar cheese.
Finally, add in some bacon crumbles. While the potatoes baked, I cooked the bacon slowly to crisp.
These two were scooped before I added the bacon since some weirdo that lives here does not like bacon.
Distribute the bacon and cheese filling into the remaining skins. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes.
Serving suggestion: Grilled Chicken Breast, Twice-baked potato and Fiesta Corn. Enjoy!

Tuna Macaroni Salad

This is a nice change from your everyday Macaroni Salad.

This is a great change to your everyday, ordinary Macaroni Salad. I think my macaroni salad is good, but I sometimes want it to taste a little livelier. This is a salad that my mother-in-law Dianne made. She was not a fancy cook, but she made really good, down to earth food.

Ingredients: white vinegar, mayo, parsley, salt, pepper, celery seed, a 6oz can of tuna (drained), finely diced celery and finely diced red onion.

Boil pasta according to the package directions. When softened, drain and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Shake well in the strainer since water may pool in the noodles.
Meanwhile, dice the celery and red onion finely.
Drain the tuna. I use the back of a spoon to press down and remove any remaining water.
Spices: salt, pepper, celery seed and parsley – add it to your tastes.
Toss in the tuna.
Start with a cup of mayo. Mix well. After adding the noodles, you may need a little more mayo.
Add the noodles, stirring well. If you can, make this the day before to let the flavors marry. Try this the next time you want something a little different for a pot luck. Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup

Vegetable soup is so versatile! Use what you have – fresh, canned, frozen or a combination of all.

I enjoy making vegetable soup. It can really be a great way to use up leftovers or fresh vegetables from the market. As the only soup eater in my house, it is very hard to make a large pot of soup knowing it may go to waste.

As a base, I always start with simmering onions, celery and garlic. From there, add what you have. Today, I have a combination of fresh, canned and frozen. This is truly a vegetarian vegetable soup, as there is no meat at all. I even used vegetable broth. You don’t have to; I usually use chicken broth as a base, but since I had two containers of vegetable broth, I decided to use them today.

Today’s vegies include celery (and leaves although you can leave them out), onions, fresh peeled zucchini, fresh spinach, fresh corn off the cob. canned diced tomatoes, canned diced carrots, and not shown, garlic cloves, frozen peas and frozen green beans.
Saute diced onions, celery and zucchini in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once they are softened, add a couple cloves of minced garlic.
Add the fresh corn and diced carrots.
I decided to add a can of great northern beans, drained.
Add the beans.
I added the whole bag of frozen green beans and half the bag of peas.
Add one 32oz container of broth – your choice of vegetable or chicken. Today I used vegetable. Now, the spices: pepper, seasoned salt, parsley, chili powder, thyme. Start with a teaspoon of each and adjust to your taste later.
I using chicken broth, I’d add a chicken bouillon cube. Since I’m using veggie broth, I’m using one tomato bouillon cube.
Give everything a good stir.
Now for the fresh spinach. I am very (VERY) particular about fresh spinach. I have to go through the entire bag and dispose of the wet ones, the blackened ones, the ugly ones and remove the stems. Yes, I am weirdo. After this sorting, I rinse well. You can skip all of this, but just make sure to rinse it.
Add the spinach. Stir in well. It will wilt down pretty quickly. At this point, I added another 32 oz. container of vegetable broth. Put on a lid and simmer for an hour or so.
After an hour, take a taste. Adjust your seasonings. I had to add a little more salt and some more chili powder. Since no one else will be eating this, I can make it a little spicy.
Very tasty! Use what you have on hand and make it spicy or non-spicy. Enjoy!

Crockpot Beef & Broccoli

Well, my pictures are horrible, but boy was this delicious!!

I really like Chinese food. This is really Americanized Chinese food. Please don’t tell my mother in law this is Chinese. Just the word and she won’t eat it. She did try a minute serving tonight. Like the size a Barbie doll would eat. Small victory.

This could not be easier. Place everything in the crockpot, turn it to low, wait four-five hours, make rice and eat. What could be easier?

Not a lot of ingredients, but a really big taste!! Sirloin steak, rice, garlic, soy sauce, beef broth, brown sugar, broccoli and sesame oil. Not shown: cornstarch.





Thinly slice the beef against the grain. Trim any big clumps of fat. My pack of meat was so big, I just used half and I trimmed up the other half to wrap and freeze.
Throw everything in the crockpot and set for four hours on low. To make clean-up easier, I use Reynold’s Crockpot liners. Note: sesame oil has a very distinct Chinese-food taste. If you do not have it in your pantry, skip it. I cut down the amount from the original because I thought it would over power the dish.
Cut up one head of broccoli, using just the florets.
At the four hour mark, add the broccoli. Also, mix the cornstarch and water, add to the crockpot. Stir. Cover and cook about 30-45 minutes on low.
While the broccoli is cooking, make some rice!!
The broccoli got mushy, but that’s ok, we like it that way. This was really good.
This is going in to our once a month rotation – Enjoy!!

Crockpot Beef & Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. sirloin steak, sliced thin, against the grain (trimmed of fat)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • White rice, cooked, for serving

Preparation

  • In the crockpot, whisk together beef broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, and brown sugar.
  • Place slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat.
  • Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  • After 4 hours, whisk together cornstarch and water in small bowl. Pour into crock pot, add the broccoli and gently stir to combine.
  • Cover with lid and cook 30-45 minutes to cook broccoli and thicken sauce.
  • Serve with warm white rice.
  • Enjoy!

Adapted from https://tasty.co/recipe/slow-cooker-beef-and-broccoli

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