These last few days have been rather chilly for most of the US. Well its quite frigid in most parts of the country right now so I think this is the perfect time for some homemade chili.
I like many different types of chili. I like the traditional beef chili, beef and sausage chili and chicken chili. I just like chili period. Today, I’m sharing my chorizo style chili. Chorizo is a Spanish pork sausage and I use it a bunch in recipes. The only kind I could find in the store was the casing style so I’m just going to roll the recipe out there with what I was working with.
1/2 lb of ground beef
1 lb of chorizo sausage, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans regular rotel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can spicy chili beans
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can green chilis
1 tablespoon of chipotle adobe sauce
2 tablespoons or more of chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
In a large cooking pot or dutch oven, brown the ground beef. Dice the chorizo into small pieces and add to the ground beef. Cook until the ground beef is browned. Drain the meat and set aside in a separate bowl or plate. Leave just a little grease in the bottom of the cooking pot and cook the onion and peppers until tender. Once tender, add the meat back to the cooking pot. Then add all the canned ingredients and spices and stir until combined. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes and give it a little taste. At this point, you can determine if any more chili powder, salt, pepper or cayenne pepper is needed. Cover and stir occasionally. Let simmer for 30 minutes or longer.
Ladle into bowls and top with a little cheese. Enjoy!
One of my favorite desserts is cheesecake. I don’t need any fruity toppings or a cheesecake flavor, like chocolate or pumpkin cheesecake. Just give me a plain ole cheesecake and I’m in heaven. Even if I order a cheesecake in a restaurant and it comes with strawberries or a strawberry syrup, I ask if I can just have the plain cheesecake with no toppings.
Last week, I started craving cheesecake. I have no idea where the craving came from. I was driving home from work and out of nowhere, I started thinking about cheesecake and how long it had been since I’d eaten a plain cheesecake, and the next thing I know, all I can think about is making a cheesecake. So over the weekend, I made one.
I didn’t create my own recipe because I didn’t want to have to think that hard. I just wanted cheesecake! So I found the “Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake” recipe or at least the recipe claims to be the copycat version of it. Either way, it’s delicious.
I did come up with my own cheesecake crust. The recipe calls for Graham Crack Crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon but I decided to get the Cinnamon Graham Crackers and chop them in the food processor to make my own cinnamon graham cracker crumbs.
This crust would be delicious with other types of cheesecake as well. It would be perfect for a pumpkin cheesecake!
2 sleeves of Cinnamon Graham Crackers
1 stick of butter/margarine, melted
Pulse the Graham Crackers in a food processor until they are completely chopped into crumbs. Then pour the melted butter/margarine into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined. Then pour the mixture into a greased springform pan. Then place in the freezer while you make the cheesecake filling. Then bake according to the copycat “Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake” recipe.
One of my favorite desserts of all time is my mom’s banana split cake. It is insanely good! It’s also one of my dad’s favorite desserts. My mom used to make this for my dad for Father’s Day, but for some reason, she hasn’t made it the last few years.
Until I made the banana split cake last weekend, it’d been years since I’d eaten it. I swear it’s even better than I remember it being. I could honestly eat the entire 9 x 13 pan of it by myself in one sitting.
I told my mom I made her banana split cake and took some to work for my co-workers to try. They all LOVED it. They were oohing and ahhing the whole time they were eating it. My mom said, “your dad is going to be so jealous when I tell him that.”
Luke has been eating this every morning for breakfast. I asked him if he was going to take some to work for his co-workers to try but he said, “no, I’m keeping it here for myself!”
I think it’s the crust and the filling that make it taste so incredible. I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this banana split cake is! You’re just going to have to make it so you can taste the deliciousness yourself.
Banana Split Cake:
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 stick of butter, softened
1 box powdered sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
4 ripe bananas, sliced
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapples, drained
1 16 oz. container of cool whip
maraschino cherries (enough to top each serving)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
For the crust, mix flour and 1 stick of butter together and press into bottom of the greased 9 x 13 pan. My mom’s recipe says to bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until very light golden brown. I actually had to bake mine for about 14 minutes because the center still looked like raw dough after 10 minutes. Once it’s baked, the crust resembles a cookie crust. Set aside the baked crust and let cool.
For the filling, cream 1 stick of butter and add the powdered sugar and milk a little at a time until blended together. Add vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Spread over cooled crust. Place in refrigerator until filling is set (about 30 – 40 minutes).
Once the filling is set, layer the sliced bananas and crushed pineapples on top of the filling. Top with cool whip and cherries. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Izzy and I were on our own this past weekend because Luke went to the Georgia vs. Florida game with his parents. The weather was supposed to be cold and rainy on Saturday so Friday night I went by the grocery store to buy a few ingredients for my vegetarian chili. I’d decided I would just stay home on Saturday and stay warm. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any plans for Saturday because I woke up to a huge surprise that morning!
Saturday morning, Izzy and I got out of bed (she sleeps in the bed with me when Luke’s not home) and I opened the blinds like I do every morning and there was snow on the ground! And it was still snowing! It wasn’t just little flurries. Really big snowflakes were coming down. I was completely shocked so I can only imagine the look on my face.
I opened the backdoor and let Izzy out and I stepped out onto the patio (still stunned) and sent Luke a text message. My exact text was, “Ummm, I woke up to snow!!!!” I immediately started taking pictures and videoing Izzy because I wanted proof that it had really snowed.
I was able to get a brief video of Izzy nose diving into the snow. She was so excited! She loves snow!
Later that morning, I took Izzy for a walk around the neighborhood and continued to take pictures. I think I was still in shock. Izzy and I saw a couple of neighborhood kids running around the neighborhood throwing snowballs at each other. When they saw Izzy they said, “there’s a snow dog.” I started laughing and agreed she’s definitely a snow dog.
I’ve decided Izzy is our snow charm. We’ve had snow 3 out of the 4 years we’ve had Izzy. If you know anything about South Carolina, you know it doesn’t snow here very often so having snow 3 out of 4 years in A LOT for us!
This is what I saw when I opened the blinds Saturday morning!
The view of our house as Izzy and I started our walk around the neighborhood.
Another picture of our neighborhood. Isn’t it crazy to think there was this much snow in SC the first day of November???!!!
I hope you had a great weekend!
You know how certain smells take you back to another time in your life and old memories coming rushing back? Like walking by someone and you smell their perfume or cologne and it reminds you of someone else because it’s the same perfume or cologne they used to wear. Foods also brings back memories. I love recreating my family’s recipes because those foods take me back to my childhood.
Several years ago, I asked my mom to make a family cookbook for me so I could recreate my favorite childhood recipes at home. Family is very important to me and when I cook my family recipes, I feel like my family is close by…even though their over an hour away.
Recently, my mom’s Hornet’s Nest Cake has been on my mind. My mom made this cake almost weekly the summer I turned 11 years old. It was the same summer my grandparents took my cousin, Emily and me to England. We were there for a month. My grandparents wanted all of us grandchildren to go to England so we could see where my grandmother grew up and meet all of our family over there. It was such a special experience and a time I’ll never forget. Luke is about to have a fit to go to England and I’m hoping he and I can go at some point.
That same summer my brother was on a very good baseball team so baseball games went on almost the entire summer because they won tournament after tournament. During that baseball season, my parents became best friends with another couple, Mary Lynn and Johnny who’s son was also on the baseball team and who was also good friends with my brother. After most of the baseball games, Mary Lynn and Johnny and their son would come over to our house. The adults would eat snacks and drink wine (or wine coolers) and Todd and his friends would play ping pong. My mom always wanted to have a dessert to serve so she started making a Hornet’s Nest Cake. It is incredibly easy to make and it’s absolutely delicious.
Mary Lynn and Johnny and their sons also went to Santee with my family that summer. I remember walking out onto the dock one morning when Mr. Johnny was fishing. He went to cast the line and accidentally “hooked” my ear. He was so sweet and so worried about it. It didn’t feel too good but it was actually kind of funny that it happened. To this day though, I stand as far back as I can from people when their fishing because I’d prefer not to get “hooked” again.
Mr. Johnny passed away a couple of weeks ago so I’ve been thinking a lot about that summer which also made me think of my mom’s hornet’s nest cake since I associate that cake with that wonderful summer. That summer is truly one of the happiest summers from my childhood. I think it was a very happy and special summer for all of us.
You just cook some vanilla pudding according to the package instructions. The box says to stir the pudding constantly and you really do have to stir it constantly. I thought I could stop for about 30 seconds to check on dinner (I’m constantly multitasking), and I went back to stir it and it had burnt to the bottom of the cooking pot so don’t stop stirring! Once it’s cooked, let it cool and then stir in a box of yellow cake mix until combined.
Then pour the pudding mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan and pour an entire bag of butterscotch chips on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.
Hornet’s Nest Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 2.75oz. box vanilla pudding
1 11 oz. bag butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pudding according to package instructions (my mom’s uses evaporated milk). Once cooked and cooled, stir the cake mix into the pudding until combined. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with the butterscotch chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.
Our garden is somehow still producing food. So I decided to make a quick and easy appetizer. I love feta cheese and Jamie likes sundried tomatoes and olives so I combined them all together and made this wonderful treat. The banana peppers are a little hot (spicy) which gives them an excellent flavor.
We didn’t get very many pictures because we couldn’t wait to dive in and try these peppers. Jamie snapped a couple of pictures and decided those would just have to do.
This recipe makes 4 large stuffed banana peppers.
1 half small onion, diced
3 oz feta cheese
1 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
1 tbsp chopped calamata olives
4 large hot banana peppers
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
In a medium skillet, cook the onion in a little olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) until tender. Then add sundried tomatoes and chopped olives. Slice the banana peppers as shown and take out the seeds. Add the feta cheese to the onion mixture and let it melt a little. Stuff the peppers and then on a greased baking sheet, bake at 400 for about 12 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
One of my favorite people in this world is getting married. I’m so excited and so happy for her. Ashley and Jesse have been together 10 years and now their getting married!
Ashley is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful people you could ever meet. She and I have been best friends since high school so we share a lot of fun and crazy memories. Some of my favorite memories are with Ashley. Unfortunately, I won’t get to be there for her destination wedding in Aruba. I hate to think I won’t be there to be part of her wedding festivities, but some unexpected things came up and Luke and I won’t be able to go.
Friday night, I attended a surprise bridal shower for Ashley. She didn’t have a clue about the shower because she’d told everyone she wanted to keep things simple. I’m so glad I was able to be there for her surprise bridal shower. I’ll never know how everyone was able to keep the bridal shower a secret but somehow everyone did and Ashley was completely surprised. The bridal shower was a lot of fun and it was really great seeing everyone.
These are some old photos I found of Ashley and me…
At our Senior Yearbook Day in high school.
The summer after our freshman year in college.
Our sorority days.
Hanging out at the KA house.
My 21st birthday.
On our Bahamas cruise our junior year of college. I was obviously super excited!
The summer before our senior year of college…at a Kenny Chesney concert.
Before going out our senior year of college.
Ashley, I love you to pieces, and I’m so happy for you and Jesse!
My dad and my brother aren’t chocolate lovers like most people in the family. For their birthdays, they want my Memaw’s caramel cake. It’s not really a caramel cake but that’s what we’ve always called it. It’s actually a yellow cake with homemade caramel icing.
My mom won’t attempt to make the caramel cake because she says she can’t ever get the icing right so she let’s Memaw make their birthday cakes. My Memaw’s caramel cakes always turn out to be delicious!
My dad’s birthday was last week so Luke and I went to Florence for the day on Saturday so we could spend some time with my family and we celebrated my dad’s birthday Saturday evening. As always, we ate Memaw’s caramel cake and vanilla ice cream. YUM!
My sweet mom sent some caramel cake home with us and of course, we devoured it. The other night I ate a slice of caramel cake with a scoop of Talenti’s Southern Butter Pecan Gelato. Oh my, that was too yummy!
Memaw’s Caramel Cake:
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
1 stick of butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 can evaporated milk
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Bake the cake mix according to the package instructions and set aside to cool.
2. In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt butter.
3. Stir the light brown sugar with the melted butter. Continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
4. Add the evaporated milk and bring to a boil.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the sifted confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract.
6. Let cool before icing your cake.
Have you ever ordered a sampler platter in a restaurant? A sampler platter is the perfect solution when you can’t decide what you want to order. When I was a teenager, I’d almost always order a sampler platter because I wasn’t very adventurous about food back then. My favorite sampler platter consisted of mozzarella sticks, fried mushrooms, chicken tenders, potato skins and jalapeno poppers. I know that wasn’t the least bit healthy but it was SO GOOD!!!
It’s been years since I’ve eaten a fried mushroom and over the weekend, I had a craving for them. I mentioned fried mushrooms to Luke and he was totally on board with cooking our own fried mushrooms.
They’re actually really easy to make but once you remove them from the hot oil, let them cool for a few minutes. Luke and I immediately dove in and ate some while they were still scorching hot and I don’t recommend that. Like I said, give them a few minutes to cool.
We dipped our fried mushrooms in Ranch and spicy chipotle dressing but you can use whatever dressing you like. Blue cheese or spicy ranch dressing would also be delicious.
10 oz. whole mushrooms
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 – 3 cups vegetable oil
In a medium cooking pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and egg together until combined.
For the large mushrooms, cut them in half so they’re all about the same size.
Once the oil is hot, dip the mushrooms into the milk and egg mixture. Then drop them into the flour mixture to coat.
Using a slotted spoon or a spider skimmer, place the mushrooms into the hot oil. Once the mushrooms turn golden brown in color, use the slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms from the hot oil and place them onto a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
Serve with your choice of dressing or dip and enjoy!
This is the first edition of the Throwback Thursday. This dish goes back to Sunday dinners throughout my childhood and even sometimes today. My mom, sister and I would go to church, eat Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house and then we’d spend the afternoon with my grandparents. One of my favorite dinners we’d have were fried pork chops. My Mawmaw always made homemade biscuits to go with the fried pork chops and she’d always ask “do y’all want gravy?” I don’t know why she’d asked because we always said yes.
I prefer bone in pork chops, but I bought the pork chops that were on sale this week.
I got 2 rather large pork chops and cut them in half. Then I put the pork chops in a zip lock bag and beat/thinned out the pork chops with a meat tenderizer. I prefer a thinner chop just to make sure you don’t burn the crust.
4 pork chops (should be about a lb)
2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
a pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Vegetable Oil (enough to coat the bottom of a large skillet)
1/4 cup of buttermilk
If pork chops are thick, put them in a large zip lock bag and beat them with a meat tenderizer to thin the chops. Once they’re fairly thin, pour the buttermilk in the bag with the chops. Set aside for 30 min or so.
Coat the bottom of the skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat.
In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and the remaining dry ingredients. Pull out the pork chops and coat both sides with flour and place in the skillet. Cook for about 8 minutes (or more depending on the thickness of the pork chop) or until one side is golden brown. Make sure the flour is still on top of the uncooked side of pork as sometimes the flour will somehow come off, so sprinkle some more flour on the pork chop and flip over to cook on the other side. Cook for another 8 minutes or until golden brown and the chops should be cooked through.