Pimento cheese potatoes

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This came out perfect. The flavors in the pimento cheese are simple the perfect way to make au gratin potatoes. It also cuts down on the time needed to make a dish like this. Pimento cheese is easily found in the deli section of the grocery store. Of course, you could make your own also. I would definitely adjust the salt based ion the type of pimento cheese you buy.  You can also make it perfectly well without the jalapenos. This amount made enough for 2-3 generous side dishes.

 

2 russet baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 jalapeno peppers sliced

1.5 cups pimento cheese

1 cup half and half

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish. Begin by layering the 1/2 of the potatoes, all of the jalapeno, the 1/2 of the cheese.

 

Make another layer that is the same – the remaining potatoes and then the remaining cheese.

Pour the half and half over the whole thing. Cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

 

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Black eyed peas

Being from Missouri, we never…. NEVER ate black eyed peas. Now that I live in Texas they are a staple. It has taken me several years to get a spice variety I like. Now that I have it down, I could easily eat these every day. I based my recipe off the Paula Dean variation. It is warm, comforting, and just a little flavor with still allowing the peas to shine. We even grow the peas, jalapeno, onion, and okra right in our backyard. How easy is that?

This is a true “dump and go’ type recipe. It cooks for 2 hours, which can seem a bit long, but there is little that needs to be done to it once it is in the pot. It just needs a few stirs here and there.

This recipe does not work well using dried black eyed peas because of cooking time. They require much longer cooking, and I personally do not like the way they taste as much. It is a lot better to buy fresh peas or even the frozen type that can be found near frozen vegetables at the grocery store.

These black eyes peas are really a meal in itself. Serve them with cornbread and they are perfect. My husband and I like them with BBQ chicken and cornbread. For extra luck, add a side of cabbage.

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2-3 cups black eyes peas – fresh or frozen

6 slices of bacon

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 handful frozen okra slices or 2-3 pods fresh okra sliced

6-8 cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon guajillo chili powder

 

Cook the bacon in a dutch oven. Drain the grease and replace the bacon in the pan.

Add all of the ingredients. Cover. Simmer on medium or low for 2 hours.  Stir every 30-45 minutes. Add more water if needed.

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Rosemary roasted potatoes and chickpeas

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This is a wonderful fall side dish. It bakes in the oven for about an hour and feeds 4-6 servings. It has been a personal favorite of mine for years. Sometimes I also add roughly chopped or pearl onions. Sometimes I also add carrots. What I like most are the tiny crunchy chickpeas that add texture to the dish.

 

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, whole and peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

crushed red pepper – optional

 

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the potatoes, whole garlic, and chickpeas into a 9×13 baking dish. Mix the olive oil, sugar, and spices in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the potatoes and stir to mix. Bake for 45-60 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.


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Savory leek and shallot brown rice

Even if you do not like brown rice, you will likely enjoy this dish. We ate it with grilled chicken. It was easy, fast, and very tasty.

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1 shallot, sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

1 cup brown rice uncooked

1 leek (white part only), sliced

1 cup frozen peas

3 tablespoons butter

1 Knorr extra large chicken bouillon

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup water

Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.

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Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the leeks, celery, and shallots. Sauté for 5-6 minutes on medium heat. Add the peas. Cook 3-5 minutes. Add the brown rice. Add 1/2 cup water and black pepper. Cover and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until just warm. Stir often.

 

 

 

Cottage cheese dill dip

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1 large container cottage cheese

1 tablespoon dill

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes

 

Place all into a blender or food processor. Pulse until a smooth creamy consistency. Let sit at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before eating.

 

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This dip is very good on vegetables as well as crackers and tortilla chips. It is a great lower calorie alternative to the typical mayonnaise and sour cream dips.

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Homemade rice a roni

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This makes enough rice to feed a crowd. It is very good and tastes better than the boxed mix.
1/3 cup orzo pasta

1 cup long grain rice

2 tablespoons butter

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

2 3/4 cups water

 

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the rice and orzo. Stir constantly until browned.

Add in the seasonings and water. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until all moisture is absorbed.

 

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Broccoli and bacon pasta salad

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6 slices bacon – sliced small and cooked

2 cups broccoli – cleaned and trimmed small

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

4 green onions – cleaned and sliced thin

2 teaspoons dry yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup champagne vinaigrette or similar

8 ounces elbow macaroni

 

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta fully with cold water.

Slice the bacon into small pieces. Cook in skillet until crisp. Drain well.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and dry mustard.

In a large bowl, combine the green onions, cheese, raw broccoli, bacon, and cold pasta. Toss with dressing until fully coated. Allow salad to sit in refrigerator at least 1-3 hours before eating. Add additional dressing if salad becomes dry while waiting.

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Jalapeño hominy casserole

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This is NOT my recipe. It comes from an online source copycatting Perini ranch steakhouse in Buffalo gap, Texas. This hominy is simple to make and very good. In fact, I hated hominy until I ate this. It is quite unique. I changed the recipe I found just slightly. I think it said to use poblano peppers and I chose red bell peppers.

 

5-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

1 15 ounce can white hominy

1/4 cup hominy liquid from can

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, diced

2 tablespoons picked jalapeño juice

 

Cook bacon and remove from pan but reserve grease. In the same pan, add back 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the onion and red bell pepper and sauté until tender or about 10 minutes. When cooked, add in drained hominy, bacon, cheese, pickled jalapeño, reserved hominy juice and pickled jalapeño juice.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated if needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place all into a prepared 8×8 casserole pan. Add additional cheese if desired. Bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered.

 

 

 

Vinegar based coleslaw

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This is a very light and flavorful salad for summer. It is so easy to make and requires little to no effort.

 

1/2 small head of cabbage sliced

1 cup shredded carrot

3 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

 

Mix together the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, sugar, and celery salt. Pour this over a mixture of the cabbage, carrot and green onion. Mix well. Refrigerate for about 8-10 hours prior to eating.

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Roasted Brussel sprouts

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I realize there will be people who disagree with my trick for these. I am not trying to please everyone. Grandma had a trick to her cooking – bacon grease! While it is not always heart healthy, bacon and brussel sprouts sure go well together. You can also use oil or butter but the crispiness and browning are just not the same. I store my leftover bacon grease in a jar in the fridge for a week. I really only use it for brussel sprouts, green beans, and black eyed peas. For these 3 dishes, it makes a world of difference.

 

Brussel sprouts

1/2 cup small diced yellow onion

2 tablespoon bacon grease

salt and pepper

 

Clean and wash brussel sprouts. Cut them either in halves or quarters depending on the size. Place the sprouts and onion in an 8×12 baking dish in a single layer. Add bacon grease on top (it will melt later). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree for 15-25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.

 

Rather than plain black pepper, I really like Jane’s crazy mixed up pepper seasoning for these.