Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake

I have a confession. I have never made a pineapple upside down cake. Well until the other day.

I remember eating this cake in my grandmother's kitchen and tasting it at church homecomings. Moist cake with a decadent topping of pecans, pineapple and cherries. YUM!

Not sure why I never prepared one.Maybe I was afraid Old Betsy (the iron skillet) would fail me? Now I have renewed faith in Old Betsy. She "turned out" the prettiest cake.

I tweaked an Alton Brown recipe. Pineapple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake (wow long title) Have I mentioned I am a huge fan of his? I enjoy all the scientific explanations and such. I'm such nerd. HaHaHa. There hasn't been one of his recipes to fail me yet.

The recipe called for coarse ground cornmeal. I live in the sticks,hill, boondocks and the stores here do not have plain,coarse, ground cornmeal. I adapted and used cornmeal mix and only added 1 tsp of baking powder.

The original recipe did not call for buttermilk.I added 1/2 cup and added to the cornmeal mix along with the whole milk to soak. I allowed the mixture to soak for 45 minutes and kept stirring it to ensure good absorption.

I was amazed  that there wasn't any hint of cornmeal taste or grit in this cake!

I did not chop the pecans. I wish I had. The whole pecans kind of just disappeared throughout the cake. Next time, more nuts throughout the cake!

Pineapple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake  (adapted from Alton Brown)
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk (at room temp)
1 cup white cornmeal mix
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
6 slices canned pineapple in heavy syrup
6 maraschino cherries
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons juice from canned pineapple
3 whole eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a microwave-proof dish, bring the whole milk to a boil. Remove the milk from the microwave and add the cornmeal mix and buttermilk. Stir and let soak at room temperature for 45 minutes. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully place 1 slice of pineapple in the center of the pan. Place the other 5 slices around the center slice in a circle. Place the cherries in the centers of the pineapple slices and sprinkle the nuts evenly over the fruit. Drizzle pineapple juice over top.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and whisk. Add the cornmeal mix and milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Add this to the flour and stir just until combined. Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the skillet. Set a platter on top of the skillet and carefully invert the cake. Serve.

 I am also linking to these lovely and fun linky parties!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

It's a Keeper

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Green Beans with Caramelized Onion and Red Potatoes

I have a thing with wanting a green vegetable with dinner.

It's not a rule.

Something green always looks better on your plate and is good for you too.

I love green beans.

Not wanting to take a trip to the grocery store, I dug around in the freezer and found a bag of frozen green beans.

Now what to do with the green beans?

I love onions.

So I decided to caramelize the onions and add them to the green beans.

The smell of the onions cooking reminded me of French Onion Soup. (YUM)

Red potatoes were added as the stock and beans cooked.They absorbed the flavor of the garlic and shallot very well.

The onions melted in my mouth, the potatoes were soft and the beans still had a slight fresh crunch.

Next time I think bacon or ham would be a nice touch too!

Green Beans with caramelized Onions and Red Potatoes:


1 pound frozen green beans
3 small red potatoes quartered
1 cup chicken stock
1 clove garlic minced
1 shallot minced
2-3 Onions halved then sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sugar

To prepare the green beans:

Add 1 clove of minced garlic and minced shallot to 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
Bring to a boil add potatoes, boil for 5 minutes then add frozen green beans.

Return to boil and cook until stock is nearly gone.
Sometimes I need to use a little more stock.

If any stock is left in beans. Drain beans and add your onions.

To prepare the onions:
Heat a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and butter..
Once the better is melted add the sliced onions. Sprinkle salt and pepper.

Continue to cook on medium heat and cover pain for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and start stirring onions every few minutes. Add a pinch of sugar and stir more. You know its right when you hear a faint sizzle.

Continue cooking and stirring frequently until you reach your desired color.

Mix with cooked green beans and serve.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Meatball Stew

I saw this recipe in an email recently and decided to tweak it somewhat.

Stew is absolutely a comfort food and one that I usually prepare and let "stew" for

hours in the crock pot.

This recipe is an easier and much quicker stew. Meatball stew is also very frugal.

Served on buttered noodles it hit the spot on these much cooler evenings.

Less beef could be used. However, I made extra meatballs,placed them on a jelly

pan,froze, and placed them in a freezer bag. The next time I prepare this dish,

meatballs are ready!

Meatball Stew: (Adapted from Rachael Ray)
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots chopped
2 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 onion chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
½ bag (8 ounces) of frozen peas
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cans beef broth
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.

In a medium to large Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add the meatballs and cook, shaking the skillet often, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

I used a spoon to gently turn the meatballs, making sure to give ample time for the meat to cook and release from pan.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet and add the carrots, potatoes, onion and celery. Cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the beef broth and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the reserved meatballs and caraway seeds, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve with buttered noodles.

I'm also linking to these wonderful parties:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

The days have been so nice here in Georgia.

So nice that once again,the oven came back on.

This recipe for macaroons is quick, easy and satisfies a craving for something sweet.

The coconut for some reason, reminded me that Christmas is coming soon. Maybe it reminds me so because it resembles snow?

This recipe only makes 12. I think next time I will double it!

Coconut Macaroons:

2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups coconut
Silvered almonds
Semi sweet chocolate bits
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup of milk

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour cookie sheet.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.
Add sugar, flour, salt and almond extract and blend.
Stir in coconut.

Drop dough by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto greased and floured cookie sheet.
Gently press a few silvered almonds onto each mound.

Bake at 325 degrees for 14-17 minutes or until set and light golden brown.
Remove from cookie sheet.

Place semi sweet chocolate chips and butter in microwave safe bowl.
Add milk and whisk.
Drizzle over macaroons. 

I am also joining in over at Delightful Country Kitchen's link party at:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beer Braised Chicken and Onions

I had a very busy day planned and wanted to get a jump on that night's dinner.

My slow cooker made an appearance.

Not wanting a trip to the grocery store I studied my pantry and fridge and came up with Beer Braised Chicken and Onions...a "Chicken Carbonnade".

Light Beer was used and not one single drop of oil was needed for this recipe!

Don't let the amount of onions scare you away. Most of the onions and carrots "Melt and meld" into the dish.

The results were wonderful! The chicken was tender and moist. The sauce, (gravy, here in Georgia) was scrumptious. I served the dish on rice and the rice absorbed the flavors and aroma very well.

Beer in the slow cooker does give off a hmm beer smell. One son came into the house and asked me if I was making beer! HaHa.

When I told my youngest son, rooster that he would be having Chicken Carbonnade for dinner; He asked: "Mom, isn't carbon an element?" HaHaHa


2-3 Pounds Boneless,Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Bottle of Beer
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock or broth
2 Green or Red Bell Peppers
2 Carrots grated
2 Large Onions Sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic minced
2 Packages Chicken Gravy Mix
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Cup or so of flour

Place one layer of sliced onions on bottom of slow cooker.
Salt and pepper chicken on both sides.
Coat chicken with flour and place on onions in slow cooker.
Cover chicken with remaining onions,garlic,bell pepper,carrots and both packages of gravy mix.
Pour beer and chicken stock on and around chicken.
With a spoon mix gravy around sides of chicken.

Cook on High setting for 6 hours or low setting for 8 hours.
Serve with rice or noodles.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pear Cobbler..Simply made

Here in Georgia, the weather has been wonderful with warm afternoons and cool crisp mornings.

I have a pear tree that stands proudly in my backyard. Pears are hanging heavily on the tree’s branches  and also are laying on the ground. The squirrels have also enjoyed the pears.

We picked pears yesterday and the cool morning today inspired me to heat the oven and make a cobbler.

This recipe gives more of a  cake like topping. If Fall has a taste and smell, the spice and warmth of this cobbler would be it for me and my gang. Ice cream melts lovely on top too!

Yes, my home smelled like the soon - to - come, the impending and most welcome season of Fall!

Pear Cobbler

2 cups sliced pears
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

Mix pears with 1/2 cup sugar and let stand at least 30 minutes up to an hour.
Place butter in 2-quart casserole and place in 325° oven until melted.
Combine all dry ingredients, including remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.
Mix well.
Beat egg and add to milk.
Slowly combine with dry ingredients to make a batter.
Pour over melted margarine.
Do not stir.
Spoon pears on top of batter.
Do not stir.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour.
Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini is abundant during the summer months.

Grocery stores are overflowing and Zucchini is super cheap.

The local vegetable stands offer small, medium or large “cups” grown fresh in the seller’s garden.

I love Zucchini.

I always purchase the large “cup”.

This summer I have fried, boiled, grilled, sautéed Zucchini.
I have also used it raw in salads.

Craving a prelude to the soon to come winter comfort food; I decided to stuff the Zucchini.

It is a easy and satisfying recipe.

The now double digits (10) “Rooster” never fussed about it being green and a vegetable.

I'm joining Full Plate Thursday this week over at:

Stuffed Zucchini:

5 zucchini squash washed and cut in half lengthwise
2 cloves of garlic minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup onion diced
1 cup flavored stuffing mix
½ cup fat free sour cream
1 package frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup sharp shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush cut side of squash with olive oil; sprinkle with salt, and pepper. Place squash, cut side down, on a lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, or until tender. Scoop out pulp, keeping shells intact; reserve pulp.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
In a large skillet. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until transparent. Mix in minced garlic and cook for a minute. To the skillet, add stuffing mix, spinach, sour cream, Cheddar and squash pulp. Mix together and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 3 minutes. Spoon mixture evenly into squash shells. Place on baking sheet, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Brown Sugar Grilled Chicken

Sometimes I become bored with bottled BBQ sauce and sometimes I am just too lazy to make my own.

Wanting something different I decided to add a rub to my chicken.

I have used this rub in the past on chicken thighs in the oven and scattered green onions on top of each piece too.

The results on the grill: Sweet and spicy! Also the sugar gives the chicken just enough char.

Brown Sugar Grilled Chicken:
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (usually add this but the lil guy isn’t pepper friendly)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Mix spices, olive oil and brown sugar together in a bowl.

Cover top and bottom of each chicken breast with mixture.
Place in fridge for about an hour or so.
Grill on medium heat.

Yummy xx

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yogurt Pie

The heat here in Georgia has been scorching hot!

We wanted dessert. However, I did not want to heat the oven and the house.

So I prepared a nice, cool and refreshing dessert.

Yogurt Pie.

Did I mention healthy too?

The first bite wants you to rename it Ice Cream Pie.

The yogurt adds just enough of flavor and add an extra container of yogurt if a more intense flavor is desired.

Yogurt Pie:

2 Containers fruit flavored yogurt. (This time I used the ones that had the granola on top)
1 Container of Light or Fat Free Cool Whip
1 Graham Cracker Crust
Any fresh fruit for garnishing

In a bowl mix yogurt and cool whip together thoroughly.
Place mixture in Graham Cracker Crust
Top with Granola.

Place in freezer for a couple of hours.

Remove, slice fruit and serve.


Search This Blog