Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits: Sunlight
There is nothing as awesome as a fluffy, warm, buttermilk biscuits, slathered in butter and some jam or jelly. In the south they take their biscuits seriously. Every person who makes buttermilk biscuits think theirs are the best, and their families will adamantly agree. I’m here to tell you I think mine are the best, because of course I do, and they really, really are! πŸ˜‰

My mom made bread occasionally, but I don’t ever remember her making biscuits. That didn’t stop her from helping me figure them out though, and I actually won a ribbon in 4-H for buttermilk biscuits. In all honesty, there weren’t many entries, and I remember mine were sort of misshapen, but they tasted really good. After that I didn’t revisit buttermilk biscuits again until after Jamison and I married. Even then it took me a while to get them exactly how I imagined them in my head, and it was long after we figured out Jamison is allergic to gluten, but I finally did, and these are the result.

Buttermilk Biscuits: Goodness

The biscuits mix up quick, and in no time you have fluffy, warm pillows of goodness, ready for your favorite butter and toppings. We’re talking 30 minutes from start to finish. They’re good for sausage and ham biscuits too, or breakfast sandwiches, or they’re perfect just as is. No matter how you slice them, you’re looking at buttermilk biscuit perfection!

Buttermilk Biscuits: Ready to Eat

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
Buttermilk
1 pastry cutter or fork
Flour for the counter and cutter
1 biscuit cutter or small glass

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar until incorporated. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter in to the flour mixture until crumbles form. Next stir in butter milk until dough forms. Start with 1/2 a cup and slowly add more until dough forms in to a ball. It may be a bit between crumbly and sticky at the same time, it’s funny like that, but that’s ok. Usually you’re going to use about 1 cup of buttermilk total, but you might need slightly more, or slightly less, depending on the humidity and such.

Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a surface that has been sprinkled with a thin layer of flour. Give the dough a few kneads to incorporate all of the ingredients. If it’s sticky, sprinkle on a bit more flour and knead it in until it’s a relatively dry dough. Shape the dough in to a round and flatten to about and inch thick. Fold the dough over on itself toward the middle from both sides and then press the dough back out again to an inch once more. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.

After the final press, take a biscuit cutter or a small glass and dip it in flour and cut your biscuits and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Cut the dough until you run out. You may need to shape the last of the dough in to a round for baking. Depending on the size of your cutter, you’ll end up with 8-14 biscuits, give or take.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Buttermilk Biscuits: Baking

Notes: I like to use King Arthur Flour. I really like their products. I’ve used White Lilly in the past as well, I did grown up in Tennessee after all, but I really prefer King Arthur.

I use organic cane sugar in everything, but regular refined sugar will work ok too. The same with the sea salt, I always use it, but table salt will work too, though I find it to be a bit more strong that sea salt, so you might want to cut it back to 1/2 -3/4ths a teaspoon if you do go that route.

A word on the folding of the dough. This is a very quick method that forms the layers of the biscuit. I mean look at these beautiful little layers:

Buttermilk Biscuits: Layers

Aren’t they gorgeous?

My favorite toppings are Irish butter and strawberry or blueberry jam. These are a few of my favorites:

Buttermilk Biscuits: Jelly, Jam and Irish Butter

Pumpkin or sweet potato butters are good as well.

Now it’s time to eat! Enjoy!

Not Your Mama’s Tiramisu

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu

If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes a while, you probably have heard me lament my extreme distaste for coffee. I just don’t like it. The flavor doesn’t appeal to me. If you get enough cream and sugar in the cup to make it somewhat palatable, you’re actually drinking sugar sludge and that’s not appealing either. Therefore, tiramisu has never been a favorite, in fact though I’ve tried many times, I’d rather pass. Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept of tiramisu, but in actuality? No…not so much! I mean come on! Creamy layers of soaked lady fingers, with a sprinkling of chocolate for fun? Divine…IF you leave out the coffee, because coffee! Blech!

A few years ago I stumbled across a recipe for a coffee free tiramisu and I was intrigued. As is often the case I intended to make it, and then got tied up in this crazy ride we call life, and never got around to it, because isn’t that how it always goes? A few months ago around Christmas I decided I was going to make some and set out to acquire lady fingers, only to find those buggers are harder than you would think to locate, so I got side tracked…again.

I finally decided to check Amazon, and wouldn’t you know it, lady fingers! Then as is par for the course, I got side tracked again. I even put them in my cart, and still forgot them. I finally got back to the whole idea this weekend.

When I had ordered the lady fingers, I actually looked at the recipe for the first time in years and wasn’t convinced it was what I wanted to do. It just wasn’t quite right. I did some research and found other coffeeless recipes, but they weren’t quite it either and in the grand tradition of kitchen experimentation I thought, “Screw it! I’m going rouge!” and what I ended up with is so good, whether you like coffee or not, you won’t miss it. I promise! And if you like chocolate this is definitely the dessert for you!

So here we have my coffee free tiramisu! It’s definitely not like your Mom would make, but that’s not a bad thing…at all! One day, I plan to experiment with a chocolate tea variety, but that is a story for another day. So sit back, relax, and let’s make a little tiramisu…and hold the coffee, please!

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ingredients

What You’ll Need to Soak the Lady Fingers:
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
1/4 cup of chocolate vodka or liqueur

Stir the ingredients together in a small pot. Heath through until sugar is melted.

Yes…you just made hot chocolate! πŸ˜‰

Sit aside and let cool to room temperature.

What you’ll Need for the First Part of the Cream Layer:
4 egg yolks (Note: If you have a thing about raw eggs, this is not the recipe for you.)
1/4 cup of sugar

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a glass bowl and beat on medium/high for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and the air in the mixture makes it look bigger. It’ll be very creamy. Set aside.

What You’ll need for the Second Part of the Cream Layer:
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 – 8 ounce package of mascarpone, softened

Beat the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and beat until incorporated.

Now you’re going to mix the first part of the cream layer and the second part of the cream layer together.

Fold the second part in to the first egg mixture until incorporated:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Cream

Now comes the assembly.

Give an 8 X 8 inch dish a quick spray of non-stick spray, or if you want to go a little crazy, give it a rub with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with about a tablespoon of cocoa powder:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Cocoa

Next you will start making your lady finger layer. Take a lady finger and dip it in the cooled hot chocolate mixture, coating both sides and place in the your baking dish:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Starting Out

Repeat this process until the bottom of the dish is covered. You may have to break a few of the lady fingers to get them to fit toward the end:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for the Cream Layer

If you soak the lady fingers more than a few seconds they’ll disintegrate. I like to just give them a dip on one side, and then on the other.

Add 1/2 of the cream mixture and spread out over top of the soaked lady finger layer:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for the Second Layer

Then repeat with another layer of soaked lady fingers:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Second Layer

And then top with the remaining cream mixture:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for Chocolate Garnish

Now this is where you can have a bit of fun. You can shave chocolate over the top, drizzle it, or go a little nuts like I did, and place a dark chocolate ganache heart on top of each slice. It makes it easier to tell where you’ll slice it later too:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for the Fridge

And now comes the hard part. You need to place your tiramisu in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. You’ll want to cut right in, but trust me, sitting makes it better. The lady fingers become soft, the flavors meld and you end up with lovely, gorgeous layers!

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Layers

I had some the next day for second breakfast. What? You didn’t know I was a Hobbit? πŸ˜‰

Take a look at this forkful of goodness!

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: A Bite

Even though it’s hard, you’ll be glad you waited! Now dig in and enjoy!

Notes: There are so many variations you could do with this. You could add 1/3 cup of cocoa in to the cream mixture for a more concentrated chocolate flavor. You could add in some salted caramel elements to give a bit of a twist. If you just wanted to, you could add in espresso in place of hot chocolate, but that would defeat the purpose as far as I’m concerned, now wouldn’t it! πŸ˜‰

Chicken Casserole

Chicken Casserole
Growing up in the South I attended a lot of pot luck dinners. There were always certain things there, and amusingly, everyone had a different way of making them. Deviled eggs usually made an appearance, some made with pickle relish, some not, some sprinkled with paprika, some piped with a flower icing tip. Another sure bet was cornbread. You’d find some people made it sweet, some didn’t, and which ever camp you were in, you were adamant that your cornbread was the best. There was usually a Jello salad of some sort. And you’d almost certainly find some sort of Ambrosia salad. Potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken…oh my! No two were alike. Ever. Another sure bet was a chicken casserole.

Chicken casserole, oh the many ways this dish can be made! This variety is made with a cornbread/stuffing like topping. When I go to Tennessee these days, I end up cooking a few times while I’m there. My mom doesn’t enjoy cooking anymore and she jokes that she’s my sous chef and does the chopping and cleaning. Last week when I was there, I made Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Casserole and Irish Stew on Saint Patrick’s Day. This version of Chicken Casserole is mostly how my mom made it. It has a cornbread/stuffing topping, two kinds of cream of soups, lots of chicken, and a surprise ingredient that she usually didn’t add…sour cream.

This makes the perfect meal, paired with a salad. It’s hearty and the ultimate comfort food when you’re looking for something that reminds you of childhood, or my childhood at least. You can’t go wrong.

What You’ll Need:
2-3 cups of chicken, chopped (Note: You can use white meat or dark meat or a mix of both.)
1 can of cream of celery soup (Note: You can buy a soup or make you own. I usually make one, but this go around I stuck to the canned variety. Pacific makes some good cream of soups you could use. If you can’t find celery, you can use cream of chicken.)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (Note: See above.)
1 cup of sour cream
Sea salt
Pepper
4-6 cups of crumbled cornbread (Note: I prefer unsweetened cornbread for this, but when I made it at my mom’s house we used a Jiffy mix and it was good. Again it’s a preference thing. I think it’s better with regular cornbread, but you can go either way. Use 4 cups if you want a thinner topping, 6 if you like a thicker variety.)
2 tablespoons of ground sage
2 eggs
1 cup of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch dish with non-stick spray and spread out the chicken in an even layer:

Chicken Casserole: Chicken

Add soups, sour cream, a pinch of each salt and black pepper to the chicken:

Chicken Casserole: Soups, Sour Cream, Salt and Pepper

Stir to mix:

Chicken Casserole: Ready for Cornbread Topping

In a separate bowl, crumble the corn bread:

Chicken Casserole: Cornbread

Add a pinch of each salt and pepper and the ground sage:

Chicken Casserole: Cornbread, Sage, Salt and Pepper

Next add eggs and broth and stir to mix:

Chicken Casserole: Cornbread Topping Ready to Spread

Spread the cornbread mixture out over the chicken:

Chicken Casserole: Read to Bake

Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown:

Chicken Casserole: Baked!

Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: There are so many variations of this casserole you can make. If you want, you can use a stuffing mix as the topping, instead of making a basic cornbread stuffing. More chicken is fine, so is less. You can switch out the soups and use different kinds. Mom had some sour cream that needed to be used, so that’s why I added it this time, as an experiment, and I ended up liking it a lot, but if you don’t have sour cream, you could use a little milk of cream instead, about 1/2 a cup.

Dianne’s Crazy Good Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I have always loved spinach artichoke dip. I mean what’s not to like, it’s gooey, cheesy goodness. Before Alexis was born, I started experimenting with making my own. This recipe is what has evolved over time. The components are mostly the same, but the quantity and quality has changed over the years. I have friends who specifically request this dip when they’re coming to visit. It’s always a hit with those that love this kind of dish.

What You’ll Need:
1 – 12 ounce package of frozen spinach
1 – 12 ounce package of frozen artichokes, chopped
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of Parmesan, shredded (Note: Make sure you’re using real Parmesan.)
6 to 8 ounces of goat cheese
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (Note: Only add the extra salt is the garlic salt you use isn’t particularly salty.)
Mozzarella (optional, only if you choose to bake the dip)

This dip can be made two ways. Once you get all of the ingredients in the pot and heated through and the cheeses are all melted, it’s perfectly OK to eat right away, BUT if you want to really make it pop, top with some mozzarella and bake. If you’re going to go the oven route at the end, preheat your oven to 400 F before you start making the dip.

Spinach Artichoke Dip: Eat It Now or Bake It

In a large stock pot add all the ingredients except for the mozzarella, and stir over medium heat until heated through and bubbly. It really is that simple. At this point you’re ready to go, or you can do the next step.

Spinach Artichoke Dip: Ready for Cheese

If you decide to bake the dip, spread the dip out into a baking dish and cover with a generous layer of mozzarella cheese.

Spinach Artichoke Dip: Ready to Bake

Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned on the edges.

Spinach Artichoke Dip: Baked

Serve with cruditΓ©s, bagel or tortilla chips, or toasted bread. The toasted bread is really, really good, but you can’t go wrong with any of the choices.

If you really want to spice things up, throw on some splashes of hot sauce.

Spinach Artichoke Dip: With a Splash of Hot Sauce

Notes: You can leave out the artichokes if you want to, but they really do make the dish. This dip makes a good topping on pizza in place of your traditional tomato pie, or spread on garlic bread before baking.

Cheesy Potato Cakes

Cheesy Potato Cakes: Ready to Serve

One of my favorite things when I was a kid is when my mom would make potato cakes. She didn’t make them often, but once in a blue moon when we had left over mashed potatoes she make some. I remember watching her make them and thinking one day I’d make them too. I don’t make them that often either, but when I do, I often add in cheese, because cheese and potatoes…what’s not to like?

These potato cakes come together quickly and you can make and “fry” an entire batch in about a half hour. They’re perfect as an appetizer, or even as a snack. If you like cheese and potatoes, this is the dish for you!

Cheesy Potato Cake

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of mashed potatoes
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt (Note: Use less salt if you’re mashed potatoes are heavily salted, more if they aren’t.)
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 potato, shredded
Olive oil
More shredded cheese for serving
Sour Cream
Chopped scallions

In a large bowl mix together mashed potatoes, flour, sea salt, black pepper, cheese, egg and shredded potato until “dough” forms. This can be a bit sticky depending on the moisture content of your potatoes and humidity and such. You’re going to get your hands dirty, but what’s the fun of cooking if you don’t get a little messy! πŸ˜‰ Form in to a ball about the size of a plum and then flatten. Repeat until you run out of potato mixture. You can make the patties all at once, or make them as you go, it’s up to you.

Add flattened patties to a skillet that has a thin layer of olive oil heated over medium heat. “Fry” each side until browned. When you flip the first time, flatten the patty a bit with your spatula. I like to flip them a couple of times until they’re done. Place on a tray lined with paper towels after “frying” and sprinkle with sea salt.

Cheesy Potato Cakes: Fried

Serve warm topped with a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of sour cream and chopped scallions.

Cheesy Potato Cakes: Dig In!

Notes: There isn’t a lot of oil in this, so frying isn’t quite the term, but it serves it purpose. You can add in herbs to the potato cake, such as dill or thyme if you like. They’re also good just plain if you don’t want to add the toppings.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

First off let me say thank you for all the prayers, good thoughts, emails, etc. that you sent to me for my father. We really appreciate all of you. It meant a lot.

Let me give you a little update….

Daddy ended up having to have a defibrillator inserted in to his chest. The unsettling thing about everything that happened was they could never tell us exactly what happened and why. One thing they were adamant about though was, if it happened once, it would happen again, and we needed a safeguard in place to deal with what may come. Daddy’s slowly regaining strength now that’s he home and allowed to get up and move around. I stayed in Tennessee for the week he was in the hospital and the week after to help out mom and then headed back to Maryland. Alexis and I will be going back to Tennessee in late July/early August to check in. Again, thank you for all the thoughts and emails. Again, they really meant a lot to me.

And now let’s discuss some cinnamon rolls!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Ready to Eat

One day when I was at Mom’s house I was watching the Food Network. I’ll admit it…I highjacked the TV because I was tired of hearing the tripe on Faux News and needed a break. One of the shows in my little marathon Food Network block was was Alton Brown’s.

I love Alton Brown. Most of the time anyway. There have been shows where he’s told you things to do to make the best whatever that I totally disagreed with, but that’s a rare occasion, and as always it’s always good to remember it’s OK to disagree. For the most part he amuses me. His humor and quirky wit are fun to watch. On this day he was making cinnamon rolls. I mean who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls? I’m sure there are those out there who don’t, but I’d say they’re hard to find, and really do we want to do all that searching?

No. Not me!

Anyway…

These cinnamon rolls were amazing to look at. It was one of those times when you wish you had smellavision so you could smell them baking. There’s something so settling and satisfying about smelling cinnamon (or even just dough for that matter) when it’s baking. They were big, fluffy, absolutely awesome just to look at! I found the recipe online and left it open in a window on my iPad browser. I had to make these and yesterday I started the dough.

The dough is made the day before, rises and then you roll the dough out, fill it with the goodness of brown sugar and cinnamon, roll, cut, and put in a baking dish, cover it, and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

Easy peasy.

The next morning you let them rise for 30 minutes in an oven with a dish of boiling water underneath them for 30 minutes, remove and preheat oven to 350 F. Put them back in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, ice and eat.

Seriously, what’s not to like about that?

And when they come out of the oven, they’re browned and gooey and perfect!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Ready to Ice

Even the icing loves these rolls! Don’t believe me? Take a look at this heart Alexis found on hers:

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Even the Icing Loves These Rolls!

How cool is that?

Try these cinnamon rolls. You’ll love them!

You can find the recipe here.

Calm Chowder

Clam Chowder

I love clam chowder. I’ve always loved this lovely soup. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy this fabulous little creation. It is to me the epitome of comfort food.

Want to know the secret a really good clam chowder? Bacon drippings! Obviously you could skip this and just use olive oil, but the flavor of the bacon really enhances the soup. What’s comfort food without a little naughty? And bacon drippings are definitely naughty. Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone! ;oP

Clam chowder can be made many different ways, and I’ve made various types over the years, but this version is hearty, chunky, and just perfect for a cold winter day! If soup is for dinner, and you like clams, this is the soup for you!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (Note: I used a yellow onion this go around, but I usually use red onions instead.)
8 stalks of celery, chopped
4 potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
2 large carrots, shredded
A generous pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
4 cups of water
3 bay leaves
6 – 6.5 ounce cans of clams in juice, undrained
1 – 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1/2 a quart of half and half (Note: I usually use the fat free variety, but regular will work as well. If you want to go really crazy you can use heavy cream!)

Add a little olive oil to the bottom of a very large stock pot and place chopped bacon in the pot and saute until crisp. Remove bacon, leave the bacon drippings.

Add onion, celery and potatoes and cook until the onions and celery are just tender.

Add carrots and stir to mix. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Next add flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for another 2 minutes, but do not let the flour brown.

Next add thyme, salt, pepper and bay leafs, along with the water and stir to mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered until potatoes are fork tender, usually about 30 minutes.

Add clams, clam juice and half and half and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until soup is heated through and slightly thickened.

Remove bay leafs and serve immediately.

You can also store this soup in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

Notes: You could add in corn too if you liked, for an even chunkier chowder. Leeks would also be a good addition to this soup.

French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

I love to make croissants. I use the recipe that Abby from Abby Sweets blogged about a while back and they’re perfect! The only problem is that I’m the only one who can (in Jamison’s case) or will (in Lex’s) eat them, so I usually end up eating a few and then freezing the rest. They freeze beautifully as they would say on Steel Magnolias.

Anyway….

There was a bag of frozen croissants in the big freezer that I kept looking at whenever I got something out of there to use. For a while now I’ve wanted to make a French Toast casserole and my mind started thinking it would be fabulous to make the casserole out of the croissants! Why not? When Mom and Darlene were here at the beginning on October I let them thaw and got to work.

The result?

This is a warm, ooey gooey treat that is just perfect for a special breakfast on a cold morning! What could be better than that?

What You’ll Need for the Casserole:
8-12 croissants cut into cubes
8 eggs
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of natural brown sugar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/3 cup of half and half or heavy cream
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut croissants into cubes and place in a very large bowl.

Whip together eggs, cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup and heavy cream until completely incorporated. Pour this mixture into the bowl of croissant cubes and toss until all cubes are thoroughly coated.

Pour the cubes into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. (I used a 14 X 10 inch pan, but you can use a 13 X 9 inch pan as well.) Sprinkle the top generously with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and egg is set and then remove from the oven.

Top with Maple Topping (see below) and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

French Toast Casserole

What You’ll Need for the Maple Topping:
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of maple syrup

10 minutes or so before the casserole comes out of the oven start making your Maple Topping. You want this to be warm when it goes on the casserole as it comes out of the oven.

In a medium size pot stir together heavy cream and maple syrup. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes stirring often.

Pour mixture over the hot casserole and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: I think some chocolate chips would be good in this for a chocolatey kick. I’d also like to try this with banana, apple or pumpkin bread for a bit of a twist. You can serve with extra maple syrup if desired. Also making your own cinnamon sugar is easy, mix 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and you’re good to go!

Cheesy Sour Cream Enchiladas

Cheesy Sour Cream Enchiladas

As I mentioned in my last post we recently had a Tex Mex feast with friends to celebrate Labor Day. One of the dishes that I served was a Cheesy Sour Cream Enchilada dish, along with our other Tex Mex selections.

Now I’m a big fan of enchiladas, when they’re done right of course, and this one really was fabulous! I ended up eating left overs for a week, but I didn’t regret any of those repeat meals! It’s a bit of work to put together, but it really is easy, and if you like these types of dishes then you’ll definitely like this one!

On a side note this was my little piece of heaven yesterday:

Assateague National Seashore: Our Spot

Isn’t it gorgeous? I really love the Assateague National Seashore in Maryland!

Assateague National Seashore Looking Back up Toward Ocean City, Maryland

Lex had a blast playing in the waves:

My little Mermaid

And we had a really nice time despite the fact I had a small migraine and stayed mainly under the umbrella snoozing much of the afternoon while Jamison and Lex played on the beach. Toward the end I started feeling a bit better. A day on the beach, despite the headache is heaven to me! Even if all I did was enjoy the breeze and listen to the waves!

This was taken right before we started to pack up our things and head home:

Me and Miss G

What does any of this have to do with enchiladas? Nothing! But I wanted to share anyway!

Now let’s make some Cheesy Sour Cream Enchiladas!

What You’ll Need:
Burrito sized flour tortillas
4-6 cups of shredded cheese (Note: Colby, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, pepper jack and Colby jack can be used. Or you can use a mix of any of them.)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4-6 heaping tablespoons of flour
2 cups of chicken broth (Note: I used homemade, but store bought is fine.)
1 can of chopped green chilies
1 – 6 ounce jar of fire roasted peppers, drained and chopped
1 can of Rotel
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small container of sour cream (Note: 8 to 10 ounces)
More shredded cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray a large, rectangle baking dish with non-stick spray, or brush with olive oil, to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Place a tortilla flat and add a generous amount of cheese down the middle of the tortilla. Since this is your only filling, make sure to add a lot of cheese!

Roll the tortilla around the cheese and place the stuffed cheese tortilla seam down in your dish. Repeat this process until you have filled your dish. You can fit 8-10 tortillas in the dish. The key is to cram them in there together!

Once you are finished filling the dish, set it aside.

In a large skillet heat oil until warm and then add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add chicken broth. Continue stirring constantly to make your “roux”. I use this word loosely. You don’t want the “roux” to brown, just to thicken.

When “roux” is thickened remove from heat and pour in sour cream, chilies, Rotel, chopped onion and fire roasted peppers until combined. Pour this mixture over the enchiladas in your dish making sure to spread the mixture out evenly.

Top with more cheese and cook in a preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: You can top these with more sour cream and/or guacamole when servings. Also you could put chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, etc in with the cheese if you wanted meat in your enchiladas.

Cheesy Mexican Rice

Cheesy Mexican Rice

Who can believe it’s already September? The years seem to go faster and faster every year. Alexis started third grade today. How is it possible that she’s even old enough to be in third grade?

But I digress…

On Sunday afternoon we had some friends over for a Tex Mex feast. We had spent the Sundays before Memorial Day and the 4th of July together, so I decided we needed to make it a trifecta with Labor Day and invited them over for an early dinner. The kids played, we talked, we ate, we had fun! That’s what friends are for.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the recipes from Sunday. You’ll see queso, sour cream enciladas and a fabulous Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake that is so sinful you might just gain five pounds looking at the screen! I’ve also got a roasted vegetable enchilada recipe that I made a month ago or so, along with Cheesy Potato skins and honey butter. You’ll want to stay tuned for the queso and Chocolate Ganache Cake alone, but the other recipes are lovely too!

I love Mexican themed foods. My dishes are most likely labeled more Tex Mex than Mexican, but I use the terms interchangeably depending on my mood. This dish is the very epitome of comfort food…It’s warm, hearty and extremely satisfying. Plus it’s a little spicy, which is always a good thing in my book! It makes the perfect side dish to a Tex Mex/Mexican feast. Try it, you’ll like it!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of uncooked rice (Note: You can use whatever kind of rice you like. I usually use jasmine or brown rice. I used jasmine this go around)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped (Note: Use what ever color you like.)
1 onion, chopped (Note: Again what ever type you like. I usually use red onion, but this go around I used Vidalia instead.)
3 cups of creamed corn (Note: I used some I had made myself, but you could substitute two cans of creamed corn if you like.)
1 can of Rotel, undrained
1 – 6 ounce can of fired roasted peppers, chopped
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, cut in to cubes and softened
1 cup of Colby or cheddar
1 cup of Monterrey Jack
Sea salt
Finely ground black pepper
More cheddar, Colby and/or Monterrey Jack Cheese for topping

In a large stock pot cook rice according to package directions and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large skillet saute bell pepper and onion in a little extra virgin olive oil until tender.

Once onions and peppers are tender stir in a generous pinch of sea salt, some finely ground black pepper, creamed corn, fired roasted peppers and Rotel and stir until mixed.

Add cream cheese, Colby or Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese to the vegetable mixture and stir until melted and thoroughly combined throughout the vegetables.

Pour vegetable and cheese mixture in to the stock pot with the cooked rice and stir until combined.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch dish with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil. Pour the mixed vegetable mixture into the dish and spread it out to fill the dish. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with shredded Colby, cheddar and/or Monterrey Jack cheese(s) and place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove dish from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cheesy Mexican Rice

Notes: If you can’t find Rotel you could use a small jar of salsa instead, but the Rotel gives it a better over all flavor. This makes great leftovers too!