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Sweet Corn, I miss you.

One of the sad facts of living in Florida is no fresh summer time sweet corn. Our corn season is early spring here—when and if you can find some fresh some the field (in Bradenton, FL Kings Family Farm). I greatly miss being able to go to Barn-N-Bunk or Sharp’s roadside stand to get it really fresh.
Sweet corn is best fixed simply, garnished simply, and then simply enjoyed. There is a lot of methods to fixing sweet corn. Microwave, boil, steam, grill, or roast. I believe there is only 2 ways to prepare it. 1) A large kettle of water is brought to a rolling boil with 1 T. of sugar. Toss in the shucked corn for 5 to 8 minutes. 2) Roasted on the grill. Pull back the husk, but don’t remove, gentle shape husk into a handle to hold the ear. Place the corn on a hot grill and roast until it is just getting toasted.
Top the corn with salt, pepper, and butter and eat. Then repeat. If you want to jazz it up a bit or have corn that is a little tough, I recommend these three compound butters.

Chili butter
1 stick softened unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 T. lime juice
In a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer beat the butter until fluffy. Add all but the juice. Beat until just combined. Add juice. Whip to combine. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and chill for at least an hour to meld flavors. Serve with sweet corn. This is also good melted over popcorn.

Peppercorn-Parmesan butter
1 stick soften unsalted butter
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. coarsely fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
In a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer beat the butter until fluffy. Add in rest of ingredients. Whip until just combined. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and chill for at least an hour to meld flavors. Serve with sweet corn. Great on baked potatoes or noodles too.

Curry butter
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1 tsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. salt
In a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer beat the butter until fluffy. Add in curry and salt. Whip until just combined. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and chill for at least an hour to meld flavors. Serve with sweet corn. This is really good on popcorn too (your hands will smell like curry for a few days).

If you have any favorite sweet corn recipes, put them in the comments below.
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321 Tex-Mex Layered Casserole

Earlier this week we had Easy Chicken with Yellow Rice & Beans.  We “Grammyed” the recipe by using turkey instead of chicken.  We also had Haystacks.  So with the yummy leftovers, I made 321 Tex-Mex Casserole for Friday night supper.

3-2-1 is just a basic formula I follow to make a casserole.  3 parts protein, starch, and vegetable, 2 parts binder, 1 part seasoning, 1 part liquid, 1 part topping.  I use whatever I have to be used up in the fridge.  Please be cautious of what you use as a topping and seasoning.  I have used salty items for both and made an inedible salt lick.  Other than that feel free to substitute away.

 

321 Tex-Mex Casserole

3 C. leftover rice (yellow, brown, or white)

3 C. leftover beans (black, red, or navy)

3 C. leftover meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork,etc.)

2 C. shredded cheese

1 C. salsa

1 C. chicken broth or water

1 C. crushed nacho chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Put the rice as the bottom layer, Beans next layer, Meat next layer.  Layer 1 C. of cheese next.  Pour salsa on for the next layer.  Pour chicken broth on next.  Next layer is nacho chips.  Finally layer is cheese.  Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes until bubbly.  Serve as is or top with leftover tomato, lettuce, onion, and sour cream.

 

I would love to hear about your favorite casseroles.  Please leave a comment, Tweet us, or leave an email at our website.

 

Have a great day.

Haystacks

When I was in High School, I went on a 4-H Exchange trip to Tennessee.  The family I stayed with introduced me to Haystacks.  Corn chips, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, peppers (hot and/or mild), taco meat, cheese, salsa, and sour cream layered on a plate to resemble a haystack or a crumbled up taco.  Note to the younger folks reading this; it was years before the “taco salad” made it appearance on menus everywhere.  I loved haystacks and they became a regular in our rotation of meals.  My family still loves haystacks.  I have changed from using the taco seasoning packet to my own version of taco meat.  You can use ground beef, but we like it just as well with ground turkey. This is a fun meal for the kids as they can stack it up anyway they want it.  So set out the toppings and let them at it.

Turkey Taco Meat

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 3 T. grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • ¼ C. water

In large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the turkey in the olive oil.  When browned add onion and garlic.  Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Add a little water if necessary.  Serve in haystacks, tacos, burritos, or taco salad.

 

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Meat and Potatoes

Sometimes only meat and potatoes will fit the bill of a satisfying meal.  This evening’s meal was just that.  We paired up baked potatoes with sloppy joe meat and little cheese for the entrée.  We added in a salad and peanut butter cookies for dessert.  Ready in no time with planned overs for a quick Sunday supper makes this meal real satisfying in several ways.

 

Baked potatoes

2 lg. potatoes per person (one for now—one for later)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and scrub potatoes well, Prick with a fork.  Bake directly on the rack for an hour.  If a fork pierces them easily, the potatoes are done.

 

Sloppy joes

2 lb. ground beef

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1 small can tomato paste

1 C. water (may need more depending on how sloppy you like it)

Brown beef in skillet over medium heat.  Drain off any excess grease.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add extra water if not sloppy enough.  Serve over potatoes or on buns.

Let me know what you favorite planned over meal is.  Please leave your ideas in the comments, Twitter,  or our website.

4th of July Celebration

July 4th is a holiday to remember all the Service men and women, past and present, for standing guard for this country and never forgetting the sacrifices they made.

We had a relaxing day on the 4th.  Grilled out burgers, hot dogs, and turkey burgers.  Added fresh tomatoes, onion, lettuce, banana peppers, and cheese for toppings.  Sides of baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, and pineapple.  Everything was really fresh and delicious.

I wanted to pass along a quick recipe for a seasoning that we like on burgers, either beef or turkey.  It is also good on baked potatoes or fries.

Burger Seasoning

4 T. steak seasoning (we use Montreal)

3 T. adobo seasoning (usually in the Mexican aisle)

Place the steak seasoning in a spice grinder and pulse until the same texture as adobo.  Combine both seasonings in a shaker.  Shake to mix well.  Use on burgers, potatoes, and pork.

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Have a great day!

Gluten and Dairy Free Dinner

We have several in our family who follow a dairy and gluten free diet.    Jonda, my sister, shared these two recipes for a tasty gluten and dairy free meal.  It is so tasty even I enjoy it.  I have seen the benefits of gluten and diary free diets, but I am still not completely sold on it yet.  If all the food was a good as these two, I would be on aboard a lot faster.  Don’t forget to follow us on  Twitter and check out our website.

 

Gluten and Dairy Free Fruit Ice Cream

4 C. mango, cut in pieces and frozen

2 bananas, frozen

6 T. agave nectar

6 oz. coconut milk

Mix all ingredients in food processor and blend together until smooth.

Put in freezer safe, sealed container and freeze for 45 minutes, minimum.

Enjoy!  (May be put in Popsicle molds or cups with ice cream sticks for an “on the go” treat!)

 

Gluten and Dairy Free Turkey & Rice Pasta

½ lb. ground turkey

½ lb. Italian turkey sausage

3 T. Olive Oil

¼ C. mushrooms-optional

1 jar Bertolli Garlic and Olive Oil Spaghetti Sauce

or other favorite sauce

1 pkg. rice pasta-your choice of type

Start water for pasta to bring to a boil while you are preparing meat sauce.  Use directions on pasta package.  Brown the turkey and sausage in 2 T. olive oil, (coat the bottom of the skillet.)  Drain off excess oil, if any.   Add spaghetti sauce and mushrooms to meat and heat thoroughly.  Let simmer while pasta cooks.  Cook pasta according to directions, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil into water to keep pasta from sticking together.  Upon completion of pasta, drain and add sauce to pasta.  Mix. (You may serve pasta and sauce separately, but I find that mixing keeps the rice pasta from sticking together.)  Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Wings with 3 sauces

Tonight’s dinner is a favorite in our house, baked chicken wings with 3 different sauces. Some in our family like it hot. Some like it sweet. Others like a spicy flavor. Everyone is satisfied with these 3 choices of hot buffalo, sweet BBQ, and curry sauce.
We buy the chicken wings frozen in bulk bags from the local food-service store. They are super easy to use and cost less than at the grocery store (unless they have a good sale on). Just follow the directions on the bag for baking in oven. Crumpled foil lining the baking sheet with aid with clean up and keep the wings up out of the fat they will release. While they are baking, I prepare the sauces.
Add carrot and celery sticks, low-fat ranch and/or blue cheese dressing, and baked potato wedges for a great weekend meal.
Buffalo sauce

¼ C. butter or olive oil (not extra virgin)
½ C. cayenne pepper sauce
1 T. red pepper flakes

In a small sauce pan over low heat, dump in the ingredients. Stir to combine. Let come to a simmer. Brush on wings or serve as a dipping sauce.

Sweet BBQ sauce

1 C. your favorite bbq sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard

In a small sauce pan over low heat, dump in the ingredients. Stir to combine. Let come to a simmer. Brush on wings or serve as a dipping sauce.

Curry Sauce

¼ C. olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 T. curry powder
½ tsp. allspice

In a small sauce pan over low heat, dump in the ingredients. Stir to combine. Let come to a simmer. Brush on wings or serve as a dipping sauce.

Note: Do not use extra virgin olive oil for the wing sauces. The subtle taste of EVOO will be lost with the powerful spices. A good quality olive oil is all the is required.