Friday, November 28, 2008

Whip it good!

Potatoes are one of my favorite side items to have; I love them mashed, baked and practically in other way they come.  There are a multitude of things that can be done with potatoes and there are tons of different ways they can seasoned.  Potatoes are one of those great things that are basically a blank slate waiting to be made and seasoned according to ones desire.

Mashed potatoes are a weakness of mine.  I could eat them with a little salt and pepper, with gravy or even like a loaded baked potato.  For this version of mashed potatoes I wanted to keep it pretty simple so I made garlic whipped mashed potatoes.  Those are never a disappointment; I love garlic and I love potatoes so this was a perfect match.  This recipe was so easy to throw together and the end result was fluffy, whipped potatoes!


Garlic Whipped Mashed Potatoes

Garlic whipped potatoes 


2 Medium potatoes

1 Small clove garlic, mined (1/2-1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic)

1/4-1/3 Cup milk or cream

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chives for garnish


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Place potatoes in pot and boil until fork tender.  Remove from pot and let cool enough to be handled.

Mash up the potatoes using a fork or potato masher, just break them up enough to make it easier to mix with hand held mixer. (I leave the skins on mine but you can remove them if desired).  Once potatoes are mashed turn hand mixer on low and gradually add milk/cream and butter.  Mix together well and then stir in the minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Once everything is mixed and to taste serve and garnish with fresh cut chives.

Garlic whipped potatoes

Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sugar Seared Scallops with Caramel Sauce

Scallops are one of my favorite things, I just love them.  It seems like they are a very versatile thing to cook.  They can be cooked with bacon, salt and pepper, butter for a more savory traditional way or they can be made with a little bit of sugar for a completely different and sweet taste.  I'll eat them pretty much any way they are cooked.  

For this particular night I really wanted something a little different but with a sweet kick.  I took the rout of using sugar rather than the savory rout.  The results were amazing.  I think I've found my new favorite way to have scallops...and I thought nothing could beat bacon wrapped scallops, I guess I was wrong.  This was awesome and we paired it with steamed asparagus and creamy, garlic mashed potatoes.

It's a cheesy world

To continue with the cheesy theme that started with my Cheez-It Chicken, I decided to make some cheesy baked squash.  As I previously stated in my cheesy chicken post, I love cheese, so that also means there can never be too much cheese...kind of like you can never have too much chocolate:).  Squash is one of my favorite vegetables; I have prepared it in many different ways but never combined with cheese. 

I was really please with the way this recipe turned out.  The squash was so teneder, the onions had a great flavor and the cheese went wonderfully.  I basically took all the flavors that were in my Cheez-It Chicken and put them in this dish.  I thought it turned out pretty tastey especially since it was an experimental dish!


Cheesy Baked Squash

Cheesy baked squash 



2 Medium squash

3-4 Tablespoons butter

Salt & Pepper, to taste

2 Well rounded tablespoons sour cream

1/2 Medium onion, sliced

Olive oil

1/4 Cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Rinse squash and then thinly slice.

Cheesy baked chicken



Place squash and sliced onions in an oven safe baking dish.  Drizzle a little olive oil on the squash and onions, salt and pepper to taste and then mix together.

Cheesy baked squash cheesy baked squash

cheesy baked squash

Add sour cream and stir together well. 

Place in oven and baked for 20-25 minutes.  After about 20-25 minutes take out of oven and sprinkle cheese over top, put back in the oven until cheese has melted.

cheesy baked squash  cheesy baked squash


Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

It's so easy being cheesy

Cheese is one of my favorite foods.  I use cheese in all kinds of dishes; from comfort foods to savory foods.  There is such a variety of cheeses; I love trying new kinds but sometimes good old cheddar is just what I need.  Cheese and cheese flavors also come in so many forms from the infamous cheese in a can to cheese flavored crackers to cheese coated crackers and chips.  It's everywhere! 

Since I love cheese so much I thought I would experiment and make a super cheesy chicken.  Why not combine my love for cheese in all forms and make a wonderfully cheesy meal?  That's what my Cheesy Cheez-It chicken and cheesy squash casserole was all about.  If you love cheese or just have to satisfy a craving for it then this will definitley do it for you!


Cheesy Cheez-It Chicken

Cheez-It Chicken   


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast

2-3 well rounded tablespoons sour cream

1/4 Cup shredded cheddar

1/4-1/2 Cup Cheez-It crackers, crunched up

Pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line pan with foil and spray with a little cooking oil

Season both sides of chicken with fresh, ground black pepper.  You may use a little salt if you like but the crackers have plenty of salt in them.  I used a little sea salt:). 

Cheez-It Chicken

In a bowl mix the sour cream and shredded cheddar.  

Pour crackers on a plate to roll chicken in.

Coat chicken in sour cream mixture, roll in crackers and then place in prepared pan. 

Cheez-It Chicken

Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

Cheez-It Chicken


Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

The combination of tequila and lime...

Can be paired together to make a variety of things from drinks to seasoning and marinades.  For this recipe it was used to make Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa's, Tequila Lime Chicken.  One of my favorite things is tequila lime chicken, there are so many recipes and variations available now that there are endless options.  I looked through several recipes before I came across this one and I decided this was the one I would try this time.  

I was so happy with the outcome.  All the flavors were so evident but they weren't overwhelming or overpowering.  I watch Barefoot Contessa from time to time but I don't think I've ever made any of her recipes.  After trying this one she is definitely on my "fave's" list of Food Network chefs/cooks.   

WC Fall Gift Exchange

This was my first time to participate in the "What's Cooking" gift exchange and I had a blast.  I had so much fun buying the stuff for my person as well as anticipating the stuff I would get from the person who got my name.  It was kind of like an early Christmas!

Amy of Skinny Food By Amy fixed me up with some awesome goodies.  She gave me a tart pan, which I have been wanting one for quite some time now, some pretty pink sprinkles, pumpkin loaf mix, some not cards and sticky notes.  I absolutely loved my package of goodies.  I can't wait to get in the kitchen and start using them all.  I know I'm going to get tons of use out of the tart pan.  I can't wait to make the pumpkin loaf; I know it's going to be incredible.  Thanks Amy (Joey'sGirl)!

WC gift swap

It's a sweet and tart sandwich

We kept super very low key last night since I have a ton of cooking to do this evening and tomorrow for Turkey Day.  I still wanted to cook but I didn't want anything that was going to be too involved and take a ton of time.  I had already pulled some chicken out of the freezer before I went to work, so I at least knew we would be having something involving chicken!

I looked through some cookbooks and narrowed it down to Rachael Ray's "grilled honey lime chicken" or her "pecan crusted chicken cutlets with maple barbeque dressing".  Both recipes looked pretty easy; I have made the pecan crusted chicken before, which is awesome, but I've never tried the other.  I asked Spencer his opinion, since they both sounded good to me, and he chose the grilled honey lime chicken.

I was very happy with his selection!  It wasn't hard to get everything together and prepared for this meal.  I had everything mixed and diced in no time.  While I had it marinating it gave me time to get some other stuff done around the house, which was an added bonus. 

Once they finished marinating it didn't take any time to cook them.  In a total of about 15 minutes I had everything cooked, toasted and made.  This was exactly the type of meal I was wanting to cook; something good, not difficult but still tasted wonderful. 

All the flavors of the marinade blended together perfectly.  There was a tartness from the lime juice but the sweetness from the honey really toned it down and paired very well.  It also had a kick of spiciness to it because of the steak seasoning; it was definitley a flavor filled dish that was wonderful!

Rachael Ray's Grilled Honey Lime Chicken

honey lime chicken


The juice of 1 lime

2 Tablespoons honey

1 Rounded teaspoon cumin

A handful of cilantro, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 tabelspoons)

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast (I used about 10 chicken filets)

1 Teaspoon steak seasoning blend (I used about 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons, the filets were generously coated)


Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl to make dressing.  Sprinkle chicken with seasong blend or salt and pepper.  Coat chicken in dressing and set aside for 10 minutes.

Pan-fry over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet, uncovered, 6 minutes per side.

Honey lime chicken

Spread honey lime mayo on bread and then place chicken filets on bread to make sandwich.

Honey Lime Chicken Sandwich  Honey Lime Chicken Sandwich

Num, num num....

Recipe from: Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2

Toned down tartness

Last night we had Rachael Ray'sHoney Lime Chicken, which was awesome!  I made sandwiches using the chicken so I wanted a different type of sauce/spread to use for the sandwiches.  I wanted something that complimented the marinade but didn't over power or have too much going on.  The honey lime mayo I came up with was awesome.  

I used it as a spread on the sandwiches I made but it would be great as a deep or even as a dressing.  Spencer went on and on about how much he liked the sauce and how well it went with the chicken on the sandwiches.  I will probably be doing some more experimenting with this sauce in the near future; possibly try it as a glaze or marinade! 

Honey Lime Mayo


1/4 Cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 Teaspoon lime juice

1/2 Tablespoon honey

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Place mayo, honey and lime juice in a bowl and mix together well.  After all ingredients are combined add fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Serve as a dip or a sandwich spread.

honey lime spread


Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Three Bean Chili

3 bean chili

It's chili time!!!  Sunday was a day of many "to do's"; I had stuff to do around the house plus I was baking cookies for round 4 of Operation Baking Gals.  I wanted to make something good for supper but I didn't really have to time prepare a meal that needed a lot of attention through the cooking process since I had the cookies going on I was doing other stuff.  I decided that chili would be a pretty easy thing to put in the crockpot and let let it go.
I have made chili multiple times before and it's always met our expectations.  Even though I love the past chili recipes I've made, this time I wanted to make one all my own.  I am so glad I decided to make my own version of chili, it turned out so very good!  There were so many flavors that went into this recipe and they all blended so well and made a very good flavored chili.
This recipe really didn't take long to put together.  It would also be a great meal where everything could be prepared ahead of time and then put together and cooked at the desired time.  It would also be great meal for the crockpot or on the stove top.
Remember, the spices and flavors will blend together more after the chili sits a day.  Be careful with the amount of heat added because it will get more intense!

Three Bean Chili

1 Pound sausage
1 Pound ground beef
1 Can chili hot beans
1 Can black beans
1 Can navy beans
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 Large onion, chopped
1-2 Carrots, chopped
1 Stalk celery, chopped
2 Medium jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 1/4 Tablespoon seasoned pepper blend
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 Bay leaf
2 Cups Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce (or any type of hot sauce desired)
1/2-2 Tablespoons chili powder (season to desired taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large pan brown the sausage and beef.  Once browned drain meat well and set aside.
Heat skillet and melt 1-2 tablespoons butter.  Once butter has melted add onion, carrots and celery.  Sautee the mixture until onions turn clear.  Once onions begin to turn clear remove from heat. 
In a large stockpot or crockpot (whichever cooking method desired) pour all 3 cans of beans in and mix together.  Stir in tomato paste and water.  Add browned meat, veggies, jalapenos, bay leaf, hot sauce and other seasonings and mix together well.  Adjust seasonings to fit your taste. 
Once everything is mixed together turn on the heat. 
For crockpot cooking cook on high for about 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally then turn to the warm setting.  If needing to cook for a longer time set temperature on low.
For stove top cooking turn stove on medium to medium high and let chili cook/simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half.
Spoon into a bowl and serve with favorite toppings...chives, sour cream, cheese etc.

3 Bean Chili

Recipe Source: A Lynsey Original

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin


There are many things that make me think of times when I was growing up; specific foods and recipes as well as many other things.  Oatmeal Raisin cookies are one of the many things that are classics that bring back memories of when I was younger.  They are awesome cookies and they are very much a classic.  I can look back at cookbooks and recipes and find that there are many cooks that have been making these for quite some time and the recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.

Oatmeal Raisin cookies are one of my favorites, as well as Spencer's.  It's not a recipe that really jumps in my head when I start thinking of cookies to make but any time I have them they are always so good.  As part of the cookies for Operation Baking GalsI decided to send some homey, classic cookies and what better type of cookie than Oatmeal Raisin?  

Although there is nothing wrong with the classic version; it's one of my favorites and it's been around for a while, I decided to put a little twist on this batch.  I wanted to bring a different taste to these as well as a fall inspired taste.  When I think of fall and winter I think of the smell of spices; cinnamon and cloves to be exact.  I thought that a little hint of fresh ground cloves would bring a different taste to these cookies; so I decided to add just a little to the recipe.  It was an awesome addition to these cookies; it wasn't too much and it wasn't overwhelming at all but it did add that little something I was looking for.  

I loved the final outcome of these cookies.  It was definitely a different spin on a classic but the cloves complimented the rest of the flavors very well.  I made Spencer try the first batch out of the oven and he LOVED them!  I think this is his new favorite Oatmeal Raisin cookie!!! 


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies



1 Cup butter flavored crisco

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 Cup brown sugar

3 Eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/4 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

2 Cups flour

1 1/3 Cup Raisins

2 Cups oats

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves



Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl combine crisco and both sugars, mix until well creamed.  Once creamed add eggs and vanilla and mix well. 

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Slowly add flour mixture into crisco mixture.  Make sure mixture is thoroughly mixed.  Once everything is combined mix in oats.  After oats are mixed in fold in the raisins. 

Spoon balls of dough (make them about the size of a walnut or golf ball) on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.  

Recipe makes about 4 1/2 Dozen.


Oatmeal Raisin Oatmeal Raisin


Recipe Source: Lynsey Lou's Blog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So many things to do with pumpkin

Pumpkin Cookies

There are many things that can be done with pumpkins.  We carve them, toast the seeds, puree the filling of them and use that for multiple things.  I believe we can all agree that the most popular use for pumpkin is Pumpkin Pie.  Although I think people are trying to change peoples minds and expand their outlook on pumpkin and uses for it this year. 

Over the past few months I have seen so many different uses for pumpkin.  I have seen the pumpkin quarted and baked and then served with meat, I've also seen it hollowed out and used as a bowl for soup; as well as seeing it served with pasta as a sauce.  There are many uses for pumpkin, other than pie, there just needs to be a little creativity! 

I decided to try something different with pumpkin as well.  For round 4 of Operation Baking GalsI decided to send them a "taste of the season" by making Pumpkin Butterscotch cookies.  Many of you are probably turning your noses up right now, just like my darling Spencer did.  Let me tell you, don't knock it until you've tried it.  These cookies were very good, and the flavors were mild but still delicious.  If you're looking for a cookie that has very strong flavors this isn't for you; if you're looking for a cookie that has a more mild flavor but is still tasty then you must try it!


Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies


1 15 oz. Can pumpkin puree

1 Cup butter flavored crisco

1/2 Cup sugar

1 Cup brown sugar

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1 Teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon ground cloves

4 1/2 Cups flour

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Bag butterscotch chips



Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl combine crisco and both sugars and cream.  Once creamed add the pumpkin puree and mix together well.  Once cream mixture and puree are mixed well add in cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cloves and combine.

Sift together baking powder, baking soda, flour and salt.  Add mixture into pumpkin mixture 1 cup at a time.  Once all the flour is added and mixed fold in butterscotch chips. 

Spoon on cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheet before removing to cooling racks to completely cool.

Pumpkin Cookies


Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

Operation Baking Gals...Round 4




Round four of Operation Baking Galsconcluded this past Monday, November 10.  This is only my second round but it's amazing.  It's such an incredible feeling knowing that I'm helping to send a little piece of "home" to the men and women so bravely serving us and our country.  What better way is there to celebrate Veteran's Day than to be part of this "Operation" that ended the day before.  We are giving thanks to the men and women that are serving our country and who is also one day call themselves veterans.   

During each round there are multiple teams that are formed.  For each team formed there is a soldier which the team bakes goodies for.  We have a designated window of time in which we ship our baked goods to the soldiers.  Having this window of time guarantees that the soldiers will recieve the goods around the same time and they will have tons of goodies to enjoy. 

Personally I am so grateful for every one of these men and women and their selflessness.  If it weren't for them and all the ones that were there before them and the ones that will be there after them we would not have the country that we do.  I'm so proud to be an American and I'm so proud of every soldier in the U.S. forces.  Baking cakes and cookies isn't a huge thing; but it's one thing that we can do for them to send them a little piece of home every month until they return. 

This month I joined two teams so I had two soldiers to bake for.  The teams I joined were "Team Just Add Nuts" and "Team Crumbly Cookie".  I appreciate both teams; their willingness to lead groups and find soldiers to support are amazing.   

 The leaders of "Team Just Add Nuts" are Val and Randy Romeo of Michigan of Just Add Nuts.  They were wonderful leaders who provided tons of support for the bakers and gave us a little background on our soldier, Alex Herrera. 

Here is a little about our Soldier:

Our soldier for this round is SFC Alex Herrera. Alex is a husband and father of two sons. His family lives in the Sterling Heights, Michigan area and are anxious to see him return. This is Alex's fourth tour of duty. He has served our country in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is a member of the Army.


The second team I joined was "Team Crumbly Cookie".  The head of this team was Bridget of The Way The Cookie Crumbles.  She was also a great team leader.  She answered any questions we had but she was very layed back as well.

I don't know very much at all about this soldier.  I do know that his name is Joshua and he is stationed in Iraq.  I hope that he along with the rest of the soldiers remain safe and return safely.


For this round I wanted to send them something homey feeling but also something with the flavors of the season.  I made Oatmeal Raisinwith a hint of clove for a classic recipe to send them.  I also made Pumpkin Butterscotchcookies so they could have a taste of the season.

May God Bless Them.  Please remember to keep the men and women of the service in your thoughts and prayers everyday. 


Don't Drop the Hot Potato or it will Crash...

I don't guess a crashed hot potato is a bad thing... it's actually very good.  Just add a little salt, pepper, butter and chives and you have a wonderful side dish for any meal:).  Can I just say I loved this recipe!?!?

This is yet another recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  She definitely knows her way around a kitchen and cooks meals that could feed an army.  Which is a good thing since she has a small army of her own.  For this recipe I downsized quite a bit; if I hadn't then I would have had enough Crash-Hot Potatoesto last me the rest of the year!  I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe as well.  

I decided to make these potatoes to have along side the Crispy Yogurt Chicken.  Boy did it compliment the chicken well.  This recipe was very easy; I also timed it perfectly so they were done at the same time as the chicken.  There isn't a whole lot that goes into these potatoes but they sure are good and very full of flavor.  Pretty much everything used in this recipe are things that are on hand at all times.  I followed the recipe pretty much step by step, but I'm sure it would be good with any other toppings desired.  

My dad and Spencer were in the kitchen visiting with me as I made this meal and they started watching with particular interest when I started making these potatoes.  Everything was pretty normal with the boiling part but when I moved them from the pot to the baking sheet is when they starting paying close attention to what I was doing; with all the smashing it's can get pretty interesting.  After I finished the process and put them in the oven they both said, well that's a great way to cook potatoes!

The end result of this recipe was awesome.  The potato was nice and soft just like a regular baked potato but the skin and outer parts were a little crispy and crunchy...crunchy is right up my dad's alley!  I loved how these came out; it had a couple of different textures and tons of flavor.  Next time I make these (and there will be tons of next times for this recipe) I may try to add some other toppings and flavors...we'll see.  So now, on to the good stuff!!!


Pioneer Woman's Crashed-Hot Potatoes


1 Bag new potatoes (I used a couple of regular baking potatoes)

Olive Oil, for drizzling

Salt and Pepper, to taste

A fresh herb of choice (I used fresh chives   


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add desired amount of potatoes into boiling water, cook until they are "fork tender" (You should be able to gently press a fork into the potato). 

Drizzle olive oil generously onto a baking sheet.  This will keep the potatoes from sticking to the sheet...this is a critical step so drizzle generously!!!  When the potatoes are tender place them on the cooking sheet.  With a potato smasher (I used the bottom of a glass) gently press down the potato until it's smashed, then rotate the smasher 90 degrees and smash again (not necessary if using a glass).  ***Don't smash them all the way.  Make it about the thickness of a cookie.  Repeat process until all potatoes are smashed.

Generously brush the top with olive oil.  Sprinkle potatoes generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  After salt and pepper, top potatoes with the fresh herb of your choice. 

Crashed-hot potatoes

Now place the potoates in a 450 degree oven on the top rack.  Cook potatoes for 20-25 minutes...or until golden and sizzling. 

Crashed-Hot Potatoes

Recipe from: The Pioneer Woman

Crispy, not fried chicken

I have been wanting to try The Pioneer Woman'syogurt chicken for a while.  The recipe makes quite a bit, I knew I could down size it but I could only down size it so much so I wanted to make it when there were others eating with us so we didn't have a ton of leftovers.  My dad came in town the other day so I decided it would be the perfect time to try this recipe.

This is a wonderfule recipe and it's pretty easy and not ver time consuming at all.  There really isn't a lot of prep work for it; so as along as you have everything on hand there's really not much to it.  I was able to assemble it, put it in the oven and do some other things.  It's a main course that is no fuss to put together.  

Another thing I loved about this recipe is that it's a great alternative to fried chicken.  The end result is crispy chicken but it's much healther.  You also get the nice crunch of fried chicken; but the flavor is a lot different than that of fried chicken.  The flavoring that's included in this recipe is awesome; both Spencer and my dad were very impressed as was I.  I know I will definitely be making this recipe over and over!!!


Pioneer Woman's Crispy Yogurt Chicken


1 package chicken legs (or any type of chicken desired)

2 Cups plain yogurt

2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped

Parsley, chopped...a tablespoon or so (I used fresh chives)     

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper


Panko breadcrumbs


In a medium bowl mix together yogurt, garlic, fresh herb (of choice) and lemon juice. 

Rinse chicken and salt generously with Kosher salt. 

In another bowl pour in the panko breadcrumbs, start with about 2 cups.  Salt the breadcrumbs and mix.

Butter the dish being used to bake the chicken. 

Roll the chicken in the yogurt mixture, 1 piece at a time, then roll in breadcrumbs.  Place chicken in baking dish.  Repeat process with all chicken.  Once finished breading the chicken, place a slice of butter on the large part of each piece of chicken.  Be sure every piece of chicken has a slice of butter on it so the Panko breadcrumbs have enough moisture and don't dry out.  

PW Yogurt Chicken 

Cover with foil and bake about 1 hour on 350 F.  Remove foil for the last 15 minutes or so to allow the chicken to get nice and golden.  Bake until golden, you may need to leave it in the oven a little longer. 

PW Yogurt Chicken


Recipe from: The Pioneer Woman

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Little Sauciness

When we had "Taste of the Tropics" meal I decided to make a dipping sauce for the coconut shrimp.  Although they were wonderful by themselves and full of flavor I wanted a light sauce to dip it in; I guess because I was in a sauce mood!  I didn't want regular cocktail sauce; I wanted something light and semi-sweet to compliment the flavor of the sweet coconut on the shrimp. 

There was nothing to the sauce.  It was so easy to throw together and the end result was pretty tasty.  I decided to carry the common element of the meal, cilantro, through to the dipping sauce as well.  It was a very nice addition to a simple creation, but it pulled everything together.  I'm sure this would be good served with other foods as well.  Since there's not a lot to it, it would be very easy to change up the flavors and things it would compliment.


"Taste of the Tropic"

Sweet Cilantro Cream



1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

2-3 Teaspoons cilantro, diced


In a mixing bowl add whipping cream and sugar.  Beat on high until it begins to thicken a little.  Once it's at the desired consistency add cilantro and fold in.  Serve along side coconut shrimp or any other desired dish.

Sweet Cilantro Cream



Triple Cheese Threat

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

When I think grilled cheese, it just takes me back to my childhood.   I love grilled cheese sandwiches, there's not a lot to them but they are so very good.   Sometimes all it takes is a tall glass of milk and a hot grilled cheese sandwich to hit the spot.  It really hit the spot for supper!    

This isn't you're everyday, regular grilled cheese!!!  There is nothing wrong with the classic grilled cheese sandwich (it's a classic for a reason), but I decided to put a little spin on it.  I took the Cheesy Cornmeal Breadand made a grilled cheese sandwich, but made more of a grown up version.  The end result was nothing but awesome!  This is one of the simplest recipes but it is so good, and it definitely settles the craving for a grilled cheese sandwich.


Triple Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich


4 Slices of Cheesy Cornmeal Bread

1/4-1/2 Cup shredded sharp cheddar

1/4-1/2 Cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Butter, for bread and skillet



Although I'm pretty sure everyone knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich I'm going to walk through the steps anyway!

Preheat a small skillet with a dab of butter over low-medium heat.  Butter one side of the cheesy cornmeal bread slice and place buttered side on the skillet.  Spread a little mayo on the side of bread facing up.  Sprinkle a generous portion of cheese (the more the better in my opinion) on the bread.  Take second slice of bread and spread a little mayo on in and place on top of the cheese.  Spread butter on the side of bread facing up.  Cook until golden brown, flip and cook other side until it's golden brown and the cheese melted.  Serve up with a tall glass of milk and go back to your childhood!


Grilled Cheese Sandwich 

Recipe from: Lynsey Lou

Is it white bread or cornbread?

It's a mix of both!  This is yet another recipe inspired by Spencer and one of his finds at a local restaurant.  I remember the first time he had this bread he went on and on about how good it was and how unique it was.  He was amazed how it was a normal bread but it had the flavor of cornmeal and the cornmeal could also be tasted.  The next few times he went to that restaurant he had the same sandwich with the same "jalapeno cornmeal bread"; he was definitely obsessed with this bread by now.  Ever time he had it he would come home and describe the flavors of it and tell me how awesome it was to have a bread that was a real bread but flavored with cornmeal.

From all of his raves I knew I needed to be hunting for a recipe that was similar to this amazing bread.  I started my hunt not a moment too soon.  About a week ago he was going to this famed restaurant to get his favorite sandwich but when he arrived they were closed.  Just like so many other businesses right now, they were struggling to make it with the economy being like it is and unfortunately they are closed...hopefully just for the time being. 

My first attempt of this famous bread was pretty good but I am still working on perfection.  I didn't stray too far from the original recipe since this was my first time baking it but it turned tasty.  It smelled so good while it was baking and then when I pulled it out of the oven the loaves were so pretty and golden!  They tasted awesome; and all the flavors were very evident but not overwhelming at all.  This is definitely a "must try" bread!  I'll keep posting with my modifications to this recipe and possibly with a recipe of my own!  


Cornmeal Cheddar Bread


Cheesy Cornmeal Bread


1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 (1 tbsp) package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 cups grated colby jack cheese
5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
I used 5 Cups)

2 Tablespoons diced jalapenos

3-5 Tablespoons jalapeno juice (I will probably add more next time)


Pour boiling water over cornmeal and let stand until just warm.

Stir together sugar and lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast over top and let stand until doubled in volume.

In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, salt, brown sugar, 1 cup cheddar cheese, cornmeal mixture and yeast mixture. Stir well.  Mix in jalapenos and jalapeno juice until evenly mixed.  Add flour 1 cup at a time. When dough becomes too stiff to stir, turn out onto a floured surface. Knead in additional flour until dough is no longer sticky. Knead dough 10 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1/2 hours. Punch dough and divide in half. Shape into two loaves and place into buttered loaf pans. Let rise again until doubled in volume. Carefully sprinkle remaining cheese over bread.

Bake at 375°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and sides of loaf are also golden. Remove bread from pans and cool completely on wire racks.


Cornmeal Cheddar Bread


Adapted From: Shop World Kitchen

Lime Style Asparagus

Staying on my "Taste of the Tropics" theme; with our coconut shrimp and cilantro lime rice we also had steamed asparagus with a hint of lime.  It looks like I was on another one of my lime kicks since both of my side items had lime in it.  As I have said before, asparagus is a favorite side at our house.  I love the flavor of it; I don't mind eating it cooked in a very simple fashion but I also like to try new ways of cooking it too.  I just like to have some "different tastes" if I feel like having a little something more. 

Steamed asparagus is nothing new to anyone I'm sure.  I did stay on the simple track with this specific version but I did want to give it a little something different.  In trying to incorporate a little added flavor I decided to add some lime juice to the water I was using to steam the asparagus.  The finished product was great; it gave it that little something extra I was looking for.  This method is a great way of adding a little more flavor without drowning the food in spices, sauces and seasonings.


Lime "Infused" Asparagus


1/2 Pound asparagus-fresh or fresh frozen

2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice, divided

Water for steaming

Salt and Pepper


Place water in a pot being used to steam the veggies.  Bring water to a boil then add 2 tablespoons of lime juice.  Place asparagus on the steamer tray in the pot and cover.  Steam to desired doneness (I steamed mine for about 4 minutes).  Once asparagus is done drizzle with remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper.  Serve while warm.


Lime Asparagus

  Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

A Taste of the Tropics

The other night our meal was inspired a little by the tropics.  We had coconut breaded shrimp with a sweet cilantro cream  dipping sauce, cilantro lime rice and steamed asparagus with a hint of lime.  All of those flavors combined remind me of somewhere sunny and warm with sandy beaches; and being somewhere like that sounds so awesome right now!  

We have had a mix of weather here in Arkansas lately, so one week I can be cuddled up with big bowl of steamy soup and the next week soup is one of the last things I want to cook.  Let me tell you, it's now November and we are still experiencing weather in the upper 70's!  Crazy Arkansas weather; if you don't like the weather just stick around and in about five minutes it will be completely different:).  

Enough about the crazy weather patterns, this is a food blog not a weather blog.  To compliment the coconut shrimp I made cilantro lime rice.  It was awesome!  You could taste a hint of all the flavors in the rice but none of them overwhelmed the other.  This was a perfect side item; it was light and fresh and so simple to make.  This meal was my taste of the tropics in mid November when the weather matches the weather in the tropics!  CRAZY!



1 Cup cooked brown rice

1 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice



Combine cooked, warm rice and butter and stir together.  Once butter has coated all the rice stir in the cilantro and lime juice.  Mix together well and serve.


Cilantro Lime Rice  

Recipe from: Lynsey Lou

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