Sunday, December 25, 2011

The best layed plans....

always seem to go a rye, lol

Well its December 24th and I was planning on serving a beautiful roasted turkey with all the trimmings.  About a week ago I brought the bird and left it in the garage frig - thinking that it would be thawed out by today, and all ready to go.  I didn't even check on it last night (I really should have) to see if it would need any speed thawing to finish off the process.  Since well it had been in there a week already it had to be thawed out.

So I bring the bird in and guess what - I still have a turkey popsicle - too late to speed thaw now.  So instead of giving you my super secret turkey recipe I give you this advice.

Check on your thawing bird - regularly, and do not underestimate the power of freezing temperatures in the garage (they will keep your refrigerator super cold).

photo credit -

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oven Roasted Chicken and Veggies

This weeks recipe was super fast and easy to prepare, and everyone at the table really enjoyed it.

Oven Roasted Chicken and Veggies

1 Chicken whole or cut up
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
4 - 6 Potatoes
2 Carrots
2 Ribs Celery
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning Blend *
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Onion Powder or Dehydrated Onion Flakes
Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop all the veggies into small to medium cubes (pieces) and place in 13x9 baking dish. Drizzle generously with oil and season liberally with all the spices above except the lemon pepper. If using a whole chicken cut out it's spine using kitchen shears, and flatten it out skin side up on a cutting board by cracking its breast bone. If using cut up chicken  place skin side up on a cutting board.  lube the chicken with oil and sprinkle both sides with all seasoning. Place chicken on top of the veggies and back until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are fork tender, approximately 45 - 60 minutes

I will make this year round, substituting the veggies with other seasonal produce such as parsnip, zucchini, yellow squash,  tomato, mushrooms, yams or brussel sprouts.

* Check out this awesome hub page on how to make you own Italian seasoning -

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chili Feast

So Sunday night I had two good friends over for dinner, and I served up chili with beans, cheesy corny cast iron corn bread, queso dip, all the topping for chili and then topped it off with a peach black berry pie.

There are no great secrets to anything I served that night, my chili recipe comes off the back of a pack of chili seasoning, but I tweak it. Used 1.5 pounds of seasoned ground beef 2 cans of beans (1 drained), 2 cans diced tomatoes, and 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce.

The queso dip is found on the back of every have of diced tomato and green chilies and on the back of every box of processed cheese log (you know the brands I am talking about) - but everyone loves so I don't fool with the recipe there.

Now the corn bread is a different manner the secret to that on is the cast iron skillet - its old and well seasoned from years of love. If you don't have one you can still make this recipe in a metal pie pan.

Cheesy Corney Cast Iron Cornbread
2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 10 oz can corn with peppers (mexi corn)
8 oz shredded sharp cheese
2 tbsp solid vegetable shorting

Preheat the oven as directed on the box of cornmeal mix, put shorting in the cast iron skillet and place in the oven while heating.  Combine all remaining ingredients, and let sit till the oven is hot. Pour the cornbread mix into the hot skillet (I do not recommend taking the skillet out of the oven for this). Bake 25 -30 min or until a knife suck in the middle come out clean.

Another fabulous cheat is the pie - I don't make my own pie crust, I can and have in the past but given the time I have as a busy mom and the chance for "issues" with something at finicky as pie crust I buy is pre-made.  The filling came out of 2 can peach pie filling and 1 pint of blackberries. It was wonderful and no I don't feel bad about a semi-homemade dessert like that, especially considering how much was left over.

The aftermath

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Manwich Casserole

Last nights entree was inspired by the fact that I wanted to make sloppy joes, purchased the meat and sauce thinking that I had a bag of hamburger buns in the freezer. So I get home from the grocery store Thursday evening put away the food and go to the back freezer to pull out the bun-sicles I find that I have no buns :-)

What I did have was a giant bag of tator tots, and so the casserole was born. It is a variation on the classic tator tot casserole, a recipe that the kids already loved.

Here's the Manwich Casserole
1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 can Manwich sloppy joe sauce
1 bag frozen tator tots
8 oz bag of shredded cheese
1 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 450 and heat a frying pan on medium high. Dice the onion, add the oil to the pan, dice the bell pepper. Sautee the onion and bell pepper till slightly soft and the onions start to brown at the edges. Place the tots on a sheet pan and par bake apx 7-10 mins.  Add the onions to a 13x9 baking dish. Add the ground beef to the frying pan and season to taste. Once the beef is cooked drain off the excess fat and add it to the baking dish. Combine the onions, peppers, and beef with the sloppy joe sauce. Sprinkle meat mixture with shredded cheese (about 1/2 the bag). Top with a layer of tator tots. Place baking dish and any remaining tots in the oven at 450. Bake until golden brown apx 10-15 mins. Top the casserole with the remaining remaining cheese, continue to bake until the cheese melts.

I served the casserole with steamed broccoli and  
cauliflower, and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.

Please give this recipe a try, everyone here loved it and I hope you do to.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The cake that started it all

In 2008 I made my first specialty cake. It was for a good friend who happened to really enjoy beer. When I offered to make the cake I asked what kind should I make and the they suggested, "Can you make it beer flavored?"

Well I wasn't about to make a beer flavored cake but I did the next best thing that I could do. I proceeded to make a stencil and frost the yellow cake to look like a can of beer. I even notched out the corners of the can so that it would have the correct contours.

Since that time I have made at least 30 more cakes flavored and or decorated to fit the recipients request.

So here it is in all it's humble glory the bud light cake

Welcome to What's for Dinner

Well as a wife and mother you may have guessed that I do a lot of cooking. This blog is about the foods that I put on the table for my family as well as the custom cakes I produce for friends and family. Seeing as I am a sweet southern girl who was raised to be hospitable and make sure no one ever leaves the table hungry I will also be sharing the recipes that were used to create the family meals.

I will admit that almost all the the meals are semi homemade and very rarely gourmet, but they are always quick, easy, tasty and most of the time kid friendly.

So I hope that you will subscribe to my blog and enjoy what I hope will be a tasty journey.