Friday, December 19, 2008

Dixie Caviar

There are so many versions of this recipe, and it really comes down to what you like. I'm putting measurements here, but I can honestly say I've never measured a thing for this. I just put it all together until it looks like I want it to. It tastes even better after sitting in the fridge overnight.

Dixie Caviar

-2 cans black-eyed peas, drained (or you can use a bag of frozen, thawed)
-1 can black beans, drained
-1 can hominy or shoepeg corn, drained
-2 tomatoes, diced
-1 small onion, diced
-3-4 green onions, diced
-2 jalapenos, diced
-2-3 cloves garlic, minced (honestly, I use the pre-minced stuff in the jar... no one knows)
-cilantro to taste
-2ish cups bottled Italian dressing (if you add in more ingredients above, you may need up to the whole bottle)

Mix it all in a bowl together and enjoy with tortilla chips. You can garnish with cilantro and sour cream, or just serve those things on the side.

*Other variations inclue various types of beans, olives, pimentos, etc... The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Menus

I've finally nailed down (I think, anyway) the Christmas menus. Christmas Eve will be coming and going as we take turns going to the Christmas Eve services and visiting with everyone, so that will be an appetizer meal. Recipes and pictures to come.

Most of the things I've chosen are because a) a lot can be done ahead of time, b) there's some healthy stuff thrown in (I know, who eats healthy on Christmas??), and c) it's good stuff!

Christmas Eve:

Onion souffle with melba toast
Dixie Caviar and Ro-tel dip with tortilla chips
Spicy Chicken on Pita Wedges
Marinated Asparagus With Pecans
Whatever frozen bite-sized appetizer looks good at Costco
Apple Pecan Bread
Lemon Custard Bites

Christmas Morning:

Pierogs (tradition in my husband's family)
Cheese Grits
Mini Quiche (so cheating and getting these at Costco)
Banana bread
Pumpkin bread
Coffee, Tea, OJ

Christmas Lunch:

Roasted Broccoli
Roasted Roots (carrots and parsnips)
Pyramid Potatoes
Green beans with lemon, garlic, and toasted almonds
Corn Casserole (I had to have at least one casserole)
The Famous Rolls
Birthday Cake (kidlet turns 1 on Christmas day!)
Pie of some variety

Christmas Evening:

Tuscan Vegetable Soup
Harvest Grains Ciabatta

The plan for all of the cooking:

Weekend before:

  • Make the spicy chicken topping for the spicy chicken pita wedges and freeze
  • Bake apple pecan, banana, and pumpkin breads and freeze
  • Make and bake pierogs and freeze
  • Since I need the ham for the pierogs, go ahead and bake it with the honey glaze, cut into slices, and freeze
  • Assemble pyramid potatoes and freeze before baking
  • Make rolls and freeze
  • Bake more harvest grain ciabatta and freeze

Tuesday (23rd):

  • Chop all onions I'll need and keep in baggies in fridge
  • Make Dixie Caviar (it's actually better after a day or so)
  • Make marinated asparagus (needs to sit overnight)

Wednesday (24th):


  • Pick up birthday cake (sounds like a great job for the Hubs and kidlet!)
  • Assemble onion souffle and refrigerate until ready to bake
  • Make lemon custard bites and refrigerate
  • Make green beans for Christmas Day

Late Afternoon

  • Assemble pita wedges
  • Bake onion souffle
  • Throw some Velveeta and Ro-tel into a mini slow-cooker
  • Bake appetizers from freezer
  • Take top off of veggie tray (Seriously, I'm not doing all that chopping and washing. Costco is just as capable.)


  • Assemble corn casserole and refrigerate
  • Take ham, potatoes, pierogs, and breads out of freezer to fridge

Christmas Day:

For Breakfast

  • Make cheese grits
  • Heat up quiche and pierogs
  • Set everything out


  • Roast broccoli and root vegetables
  • Put pyramid potatoes and corn casserole in oven to bake
  • Heat up green beans, ham, and rolls
  • Enjoy lunch!

Late afternoon

  • Make soup & warm up bread

Having a plan breaks everything up nicely and allows me to not spend too much time in the kitchen while everyone is here. And it also ensures I won't forget anything!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Menu Saturday (On Friday Again...)

This week is a little calmer, thankfully. Whew.

Saturday: Leftover soup
Sunday: Pork tenderloin (garlic, rosemary, olive oil, s&p), asparagus, bruschetta
Monday: Pork tenderloin panini (French bread, tenderloin slices, manchego cheese, apple slice), fruit
Tuesday: Chicken and rice casserole from the freezer
Wednesday: Mexican Lasagna topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and green onion
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: Chicken thighs with pear and leek sauce, green beans, peas, Harvest Grains Ciabatta

Friday, December 5, 2008

Menu Saturday (on Friday)

Ah, the parties. They start this week for us, which means that the meals I plan really need to be healthy. In addition to our dinner meals, I'm making a big pot of cabbage soup for lunches, so that I don't do my typical lunch grazing next week.

Saturday: Party
Sunday: Baked salmon, asparagus, zucchini
Monday: Chicken stir-fry with brown rice
Tuesday: Party for me, leftovers for Hubs
Wednesday: Whole wheat pasta with 5-minute tomato sauce, peas, green beans
Thursday: Party
Friday: Tuscan Vegetable Soup, Harvest Grains Ciabatta

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cheese Grits

One thing we southerners love is our cheese grits. And, this does not just mean grits with cheese melted on top (I always find that such a disappointment at restaurants). They're great for brunch or breakfast, or for dinner with some shrimp on top.

There are recipes all over the place, but the easiest and tastiest I've found is from Southern Living. I pretty much start with theirs, and then adapt it to what I'm in the mood for.

Creamy Cheese Grits
adapted from Southern Living


5 cups of water
2-3 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
4 oz colby-jack, shredded
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 Tbs butter
1/2 - 1 tsp pepper


Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits* and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently until thickened (may take up to 10 minutes, mine usually only take about 6). Stir in cheese and then remaining ingredients until cheese is melted and mixture is blended. Serve immediately.**

*It is important to whisk the grits as you add them, otherwise they'll become lumpy.
**I've had no trouble reheating these in the past. You might need to add a little extra moisture, but they're great.

Other variations - you could try extra sharp cheddar - I like the extra bite, but not everyone does. You could also add extra spices or tobasco. Just depends on your taste.