Corn Cakes

Corn is one thing my family can agree on liking. I know I know it doesn’t provide much nutritional value, yada yada, but it’s A-maize-ing. haha. You know, corn is Maize. Please tell me I’m semi funny? *crickets* Ok fine….

I stumbled across this recipe so many years ago that I’m not even sure when, where, or how. Like I mentioned above, my husband really likes corn and one night I came across this recipe and we decided to give it a whirl. OMG, I think we wound up having it 4 or 5 times in the next 2 weeks or something like that. Yeah, it’s crazy they were that good. Then we didn’t have any for I don’t know… years.

One night a couple weeks ago, however that changed. We were trying to come up with a side dish for dinner that was different that what we’ve been eating a lot of lately and that’s when I remembered about these Corn Cakes.

That night we invited our friend Jared over and asked if he’d ever had corn cakes. He kind of thought I was crazy I think until he actually tried them. Then he seemed to be sold. Now one thing I learned that night is these are a lot better when they are warm and fresh than when they cool off and sit there. So keep that in mind and maybe come up with a way to help keep them warn; then share your advice with me! Enjoy!

Corn Cakes

(adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups corn, cooked and drained
    • What we like to do is place the corn in a skillet with a few tbsp of butter and some season salt. Just as the butter melts and gets a “sizzle” sound to it add the corn and sauté it up a bit. Adds another level of flavor!!
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
    • Don’t have? Don’t worry! Just add a splash of vinegar to milk (preferably low fat or skim but doesn’t have to be…)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted

Method:

  1. In a medium size bowl combine dry ingredients with grated cheese and set aside.
  2. In another bowl whisk together corn, buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
  3. Pour corn mixture over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened, like you would for a muffin batter.
  4. Scoop batter for each cake on a hot grill (350º) which has been lightly greased.
  5. They will spread a bit so no need to flatten them.
  6. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes on one side, until brown at the edges, flip and cook another 4 minutes.
  7. Yield: 7 cakes
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Sweet Buttered Carrots

I think I’ve liked carrots since I was a little kid. My grandpa used to always say, “Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?” Sometimes I would respond no and other times I would respond yes. The yes would catch him off guard. Then I’d tell him Buggs Bunny wears glasses sometimes. He’d laugh at me. But he always said that to convince me to eat carrots. By the way, I’ve worn glasses since I was 7 years old and I’ve eaten carrots for as long as I can remember.

I must say, raw carrots happen to be my favorite. I’m just not a huge fan of cooked carrots. While I was in graduate school though, my grandma would make us dinner on Monday nights. One particular Monday she made cooked carrots and Mark and I just absolutely LOVED them. By far the best cooked carrots I’ve ever eaten! So I asked her how to make them one day. I’ll share the secret now. You’re welcome!

Read more

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Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Weight Watchers approved!!)

I really planned on posting these earlier in the week… I mean how can you keep something oh so good a secret? Except this thing called the Plague, or technically a flu or cold bug took my house over and bam, we were all sick. I didn’t even get out of bed on Tuesday. It was that bad.

Years ago my grandma gave me a recipe out of a magazine for Red Lobster Garlic Biscuits. She said that the magazine claimed they were the real thing and by golly, they’re pretty darn good whether they are the real thing or not. And that in my book is a good thing!

So here a couple weeks ago I was perusing the interwebs and found a recipe for Weight Watchers Approved Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Wait, what? Weight Watchers approved? That means they are better for you, right? That’s absolutely what that has to mean 😚.

You bet your bottom dollar I made sure I had everything to make them… and then I made them. Oh wow! I think my life is complete… like seriously! Complete! That’s all. Now that I’ve shared this bit of information with you, run to the store, get the ingredients, make them, claim they are bad, and eat them all for yourself. I didn’t run the points checker, but I found where one website with the exact same recipe claimed 1 point a piece. If that’s the case, just make room for 12 points in your daily point count and you’re set. You can thank me later. (although I’d definitely run the point checker first! Just saying).

Weight Watchers Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
  • 2 cups reduced fat Bisquick
  • 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons diet margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

1. Combine the baking mix, milk, and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl.

2. Mix with your hands until completely combined.

3. Form into balls about three tablespoons in size. There is enough for 12 biscuits.

4. Place them a few inches apart on parchment paper or a lightly sprayed baking sheet.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown.

6. While they are in the oven, melt the margarine and mix with garlic powder.

7. Right when the biscuits come out of the oven brush them with melted margarine mixture and then sprinkle the crushed parsley on top. Serve hot.

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Mashed Potatoes (Confession time)

I’m really not sure I should comment that when it comes to the easy stuff, I don’t always know how to make it. I know I’ve confessed this before… but that’s just how it is. If someone was making when I was younger, they didn’t teach me how. It happens sometimes. So what is my newest easy food to make addition? Mashed Potatoes. Sad but true.

Up until last year, I never really made mashed potatoes. I’ve been married 6 1/2 years roughly. Really prior to last year we never really made mashed potatoes and when we did… I didn’t make them. I might cut them up and put them in the water to boil, but that was the extent of my helping with mashed potatoes. Sad but true.

Then one day last year I was with friends and took it upon myself to learn how to make mashed potatoes. Are they hard? Heck no. But I still didn’t know how to make them. I think my friend Jared about chocked when I mentioned this in passing. That’s okay, I have it figured out now!

First things first, cut up the potatoes to roughly the same size, that way they cook roughly the same amount of time. My favorite potatoes for mashed potatoes are Yukon Gold (the little yellow ones) although any potato really works. One night we had purple potatoes, therefore purple mashed potatoes. It was Jared’s fault. It was at his house and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I never figured out why, but you’re supposed to start potatoes off in cold water to cook them. Bring them to a boil and when you stick a fork (or a p-hork as I call it sometimes. Hey if you call a phone like fone, why not a fork a p-hork? I should also mention I pronounce phone p-hon-ay…. don’t ask, it’s best not to) in them and they fall off, they’re done.

With the Yukon Gold potatoes I leave the skins on. With Russet potatoes I might peel most of the potatoes that we boil, but I still leave the skin on a couple depending on how many potatoes I use. I just like the taste/flavor/texture it adds.

I have a hand potato masher, but Mark prefers to use the mixer. We learned in the artisian Kitchen Aid I used to have that you use the paddle attachment, but in our professional mixer, use the dough hook. Although he got a glass bowl for Christmas and it looks like he’s using the paddle attachment in the glass bowl, so I’d say, use what works best! Although I’d steer clear of the whisk.

Now this is where you add in your butter, garlic, salt, pepper, really any seasoning you choose, including cheese. Have fun with it!

This was his attempt at “roasted” garlic even though it was done on aluminum foil on the grill top. I don’t know but I can tell you it was good so that’s all that matters!

So, you can stop there… or do what he did last night…. Place half the potatoes in a pan, top with cheese, another layer of potatoes and a few pats of butter. He placed it in the oven at 350˚F for roughly 35 minutes because that’s how long our pork chops were in the oven.  5 minutes until it was “finished’ he pulled them out, topped with more cheese and put them back in to allow the cheese to get melty (technical term).

Dish them up and eat!

 

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Dixie’s Sky-high Biscuits

This past weekend at my house was… let’s just say interesting. We’ll leave it at that for now… But I woke up on Saturday morning and was hungry. Mark asked if wanted his sausage/tatortot thing and I told him I was thinking either waffles, pancakes, or biscuits and gravy. He chose Biscuits and Gravy. So I hopped out of bed and went and made biscuits and gravy… all from scratch.

A few years ago I set out to figure out how to make biscuits. I burned more batches than I care to share, until I found these. They are big, buttery, thick, flakey, everything you could want in a biscuit. While I was on my quest, a blog friend suggested to melt butter in a cast iron skillet and bake the biscuits in the melted butter in a warm cast iron skillet to get a nice crusty, buttery bottom, and since then my life has been forever changed.

If you want a biscuit that is life changing, try these. And if you don’t, well, still try them anyway. Sunday morning I made biscuits again because they are so quick and easy to whip up and we ate them with jelly because I didn’t have any sausage left over for gravy again.

Dixie’s Sky-high biscuits (adapted from Delightful Country Cookin’)

  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter + 2 tbsp, separated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
Instructions
Preheat oven 400˚F.
Place a cast iron skillet on the stove on low with 2 tbsp butter to allow butter to melt and coat the bottom of the skillet.
Combine flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
Cut in butter until mixture is coarse and crumbly
Add egg and milk, stirring quickly until just mixed.
On a lightly floured board, knead the biscuit dough briefly, 10 or so times.
Pat or roll out to about a 1-inch thickness.
With a biscuit cutter, cut biscuits and place in the melted butter cast iron skillet.
Bake at 400˚F for 12-15 minutes until biscuits are cooked thoroughly and lightly golden on top.
Then they are ready to eat with your topping of choice, i.e. gravy, jelly, butter, or even plain!
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Colton’s Steakhouse {Poplar Bluff, MO}

On our drive home Sunday, we made it as far as Poplar Bluff before needing fuel for the truck and our bellies.  I did a quick search for restaurants, other than the Dairy Queen we ate at for lunch and the MacDonalds (aka McDonald’s… there’s a story there!). I came across the fact that Poplar Bluff had a Colton’s Steakhouse, so we decided to eat there.

If you’ve been to a Colton’s before, you know they serve you rolls before your meal. If you’ve never been, hey, they serve you rolls with your meal. And these rolls are so yummy! I could make a meal out of these rolls.

I went for their Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. Steak, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese. Perfection! Then I went with a side of Fried Okra. If you’ve never had fried okra, you should try it! Not all people like it, but it’s really really good, IMO. But this sandwich, I wound up eating it with a knife and fork. I was so excited though to eat it! So tasty.

Other than my mother in law, everyone else at the table ordered a salad. I kind of felt like a chunky monkey… lol. Mark and Jared ordered the Grilled Sirloin Salad, cooked medium rare. Hubby went with Ranch (YUM!) and Jared went with Bleu Cheese (yuck!). Hubby also got a side of fried okra. I’m telling you the fried okra is awesome! And that salad, it’s good! I’ve had it before, well I’ve tasted it… I’ve never ordered it but it’s so worth it!

Karen had a Fried Chicken salad with Ranch. See salads all around me. I’m not sure what Memaw ordered. Yes, my mother in law is called Memaw by almost everyone. Oh… And our waitress/server. She was excellent! She made the meal even better than it already was!

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Copycat: Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole

If there is one thing that it seems like everyone likes at Cracker Barrel, it would be the hashbrown casserole. There is something about that hash brown casserole, the potatoes, the cheese, the onions, just all of it.

So the goal was to set out and recreate this. First off, onion. Now, Initially I was going to dice the onion up with my knife, but then I decided to get my food processor out and let it do the work for me. In hindsight, I might have stuck with the knife.

Using the food processor is kind of a newer concept for me. Back when I was in college, my parents had satellite tv. I would come home on breaks and I got really into watching Rachael Ray’s 30 minute meals. She made Pesto all the time. At the time, this was back in the early 2000’s, I wasn’t real sure even what Pesto was. It was a new concept for me, but I sure knew I wanted to try it! So glad I did too! Anyway, that year for Christmas I wanted a Food Processor. I got one and then it sat in a box for a while because I didn’t have my own kitchen.

It came with all these attachments I didn’t know how to use. One day I sat out to hand grate cheese and Mark was like, why don’t you just use your food process. I’ll tell you… my life was forever changed.

The next thing that is needed for this recipe is potatoes.

After I peeled them, it was time to grate them.

Oh wait NO! Food Processor! It’s time for the food processor and this thing is frigging awesome! In a matter of no time I had all 6 potatoes grated and ready to go. If I’d have hand grated them it would have taken me every bit of 30 minutes…. this was done in like 5 minutes or something.

So I threw the potatoes, cheese, and onions into the bowl and time to mix. It is easiest to mix by hand.

Now comes time to mix the milk, melted butter, and seasonings. In hindsight (it’s always a learning curve when you cook) I would mix my seasonings in with the potatoes, cheese, and onions instead of the liquid. You get a better distribution of seasonings that way.

Then it’s time to bake.

It bakes for an hour, at 30 minutes yank that puppy out of the oven and stir it. That helps distribute and get a more even cooking.

Finally, the masterpiece is finished. Now this is a picture of this recipe tripled. In a normal helping you get an 8×8 pan of this deliciousness. Triple the ingredients though and you need the big thick lasagna pan to hold all this deliciousness.

Cracker Barrel Hash brown Casserole
Ingredients:
2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup milk
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

In a large bowl combine the potatoes, cheese, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Lightly coat an 8×8 inch square baking dish with butter (because everything is better with butter!)
Spread the potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, melted butter, and broth. Pour the liquid mixture over the potato mixture.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes.

Cool a couple minutes to allow the potatoes to firm up. Serve and enjoy! You’ll be thankful you did!

Copycat: Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole

by Nicole Willoughby
Prep Time: 10-30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
6079250
Ingredients (serves 9)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
In a large bowl combine the potatoes, cheese, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Lightly coat an 8×8 inch square baking dish with butter (because everything is better with butter!)
Spread the potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, melted butter, and broth. Pour the liquid mixture over the potato mixture.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes.
Cool a couple minutes to allow the potatoes to firm up. Serve and enjoy! You’ll be thankful you did!
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