Broccoli and Cheese Rice Casserole

Here it is! As promised, here is the recipe for Granny’s Broccoli and Cheese Rice Casserole. It is creamy. It is delicious. And it is definitely not something I would normally make.

 After I recieved the recipe from Granny, I found myself wondering around the grocery store looking for a jar of Cheese Whiz, or however you spell it. I couldn’t find it, didn’t know what it looked like or where it would be. My first attempt led me to the cracker aisle staring at a bottle of spray can cheese thinking, now this can’t be right. Then that led me to my second thought which was, ok well what is Cheese Whiz? A condiment? It’s not in the condiment aisle. I found it on a shelf with Velveeta cheese.

Now, I’m not recommending you make this casserole on the reg, but I think every once in a while… like once a year, is ok. I’ve grown up eating this every year around the holidays and I turned out just fine. I got a ton of compliments on it at Friendsgiving, and will probably make it again. Although, I kind of thought of redoing the recipe and  making it with fresher ingredients. You know, kind of like how Paula Deen’s son remakes a lot of her recipes.

Ok, now we are off to the recipe! I actually snapped these pictures right before my family ate Thanksgiving dinner. The Broccoli and Cheese Rice Casserole was disappering fast!

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You’ll need:

1 cup of rice

1 white onion- chopped

2 ribs of celery- chopped

1 stick of butter

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup

10 oz of frozen broccoli

1 small jar of Cheese Whiz

3 cloves of garlic- minced

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 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook rice according to package. While the rice is cooking, mince and chop the fresh ingredients. Spray baking pan with non-stick spray.

2. Saute garlic, celery and onion with butter. Once vegetables are tender, add in frozen broccoli, soups and Cheese Whiz. Combine together until bubbling.

NOTE: I did this in a large stock pot. A large skillet with high sides would work too.

3. Smooth cooked rice into bottom of baking pan. Pour cheesy mixture over top.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly.

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Load up those plates and enjoy!

Teriyaki Pineapple Turkey Burgers

I went to visit my Granny last weekend, and she made these awesome Teriyaki turkey burgers with grilled pineapple! They were delicious and juicy even for typically dry turkey. I had to share her recipe for these awesome turkey burgers. Get your grills fired up!

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For Granny’s recipe, you’ll need:
20oz of ground turkey (can sub ground chicken or mix them for extra flavor)
8 pineapple slices
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Monterey jack cheese

Makes 8 burgers.

Mix 1/4 cup teriyaki and pineapple juice. Set aside.

Mix remaining juice with ground turkey, bread crumbs and ginger. Form into 8 patties. Grill until cooked thoroughly. Grill pineapple slices until golden brown.

Granny spread a think layer of mayo on the buns and toasted them in the oven. Top your burgers with lettuce and all your favorite condiments.

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We ate our burgers with potato chips and sweet tea. Perfect afternoon lunch!

Enjoy!

Iced Lemon Cake

Like I said yesterday I want to start baking more… so pulled out some pictures of a cake that my Granny made me! Iced Lemon Cake. It’s definitely one of my favorite desserts. And my Granny bakes frequently so this will help inspire me to bake more too.


Oh my dear! Love that frosting dripping off the sides. Which reminds me… I need to get some cute little lacey doilies and plates for my food pictures… anyone have any suggestions on local Austin shops one could find such treasures?


I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this vintage food scale with these gorgeous tomatoes. Granny’s house is a wonderland of treasures.


My Granny keeps old recipes that she found in newspapers or on boxes of flour and such. Although Granny knows almost all her recipes by heart now, she still keeps these clippings filed away in an old cookbook.

With the internet I can’t remember the last time I got a recipe from anywhere else? Oh there was that time I made those decadent chocolate cupcakes with recipe off the Hershey’s Cocoa box.


Ok back to the cake… time to take a bite.

I asked Granny what her secret recipe is, with a sly smile she replied Duncan

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Hines.

The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made

Its been about 9 months since I started this blog. So I figured it was time for a “Best Thing I Ever Made” inspired post. There’s been quite a few meals made during this time so I wanted to share some of my favorites. Other things I could have done in 9 months:

Hatched a human

Finished 2 semesters of college

Made a trip around the world on a boat

But instead I decided to write about my culinary

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adventures. Glad you all decided to come along on this adventure. My shameless self-plug: I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s association and am waaayy behind on my goal of $500… any donation is greatly appreciated! So go here and donate $5, $10, $15 if you can. A $25 donation gets you a ticket to the game on June 8th and entrance to the after party. Thanks for your support!

Now here are The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made:

5. Sourdough Stack

This breakfast came to be early on in my blog and you can see the progress I’ve made… especially the photography. Despite the photography, this dish was one of the more creative things I’ve made. I really like this one.

4. Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting
The name explains why this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.

3. Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Ranch Coleslaw

I mean… seriously. These were AH-MAZ-ING! Sooooo deliciously spicy and good and perfect for any occasion.

2. Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Simply delicious. Not to mention this recipe is from one of my favorite, favorite bloggers, Joy the Baker.

1. Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa

Definitely the winner. Absolutely the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made. This dish was so fresh and the pineapple mango salsa could be used on so many other things. Searing tuna is not nearly as hard as it seems and is something I want to incorporate more often in my cooking rotation.

What is the Best Thing You’ve Ever Made?

Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing

Well, I survived cooking my first Thanksgiving Turkey! Wohoo! With help of my Granny and the Conder family, I was able to pull this off.

First off, it takes about four days to properly thaw a frozen turkey. So, I bought a fresh one… Which begs the question, why not just buy fresh in the first place? Well it’s about double the price in case you were wondering. Still, my 22lb turkey was $45 so not too bad.

Ok backing to cooking. I wanted to go all out and actually stuff my turkey, so it takes about 5hrs to cook in a convection oven. Of course before you start on the turkey, you’ll need to make the stuffing.

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For the stuffing, you’ll need:
3 packs of cornbread mix
7 eggs
2 cups of milk
12 slices of toasted bread
1 stalk of chopped celery
2 cups of chopped onion
4 cans of chicken broth
2 sticks of butter
Lots of dried sage

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Mix eggs, milk and cornbread mix.

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All mixed up.

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Now bake the cornbread (don’t forget to spray the pan with Pam!) and I toasted the bread at the same time.

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While the cornbread is baking, chop up your celery and onion.

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Now, sauté in a pan with a stick of butter. The recipe didn’t call for it but I added 3 cloves of minced garlic.

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Sauté until slightly softened.

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Dice up the toasted bread.

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 Now mix cut up bread and crumbled cornbread. We crumbled the corn bread with our hands and mixed everything in the turkey baster because you need to something that big to get everything mixed.

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Now add the sautéed vegetables.

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Add 4 beaten eggs.

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Add 4 cans of chicken broth.

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Add 1 stick of melted butter.

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Add tons of sage. Probably 5-6 tablespoons or to taste.

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Now mix it all up. Set aside because now its turkey time!

Oven should already be preheated to 350 degrees.

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For the turkey, you’ll need:

A turkey, duh!
 Oven bags- you don’t have to use this but it really helps keep the turkey moist and makes cleaning up a breeze.
1 stick of butter
Some extra celery and onion chopped up
Dried parsley and thyme
2 tablespoons of flour

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 Now you will need to rinse the turkey and remove the neck and the bag of guts inside. I almost missed the bag of guts! They will be in a little plastic bag… I couldn’t find them but Mr. Conder came over and was like no they are in there and pulled them out. Totally avoided disaster. Would have had melted plastic in my turkey. So lesson learned, the guts are in there… So look until you find them.

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Now time to rub your turkey down in butter, parsley and thyme. I used my hands to do this… It gets messy.

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Pull the skin away from the meat. Now, just slide the butter and herbs all around using your hands. Messy, messy but totally worth it.

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Flour the bag. This is very important or the bag will blow up!

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In the bottom of the bag add some celery and onion slices.

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Now, turkey goes into the floured bag with the celery and onion on the bottom.

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Stuff that bird!!

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 I had extra stuffing left over, so I put it in a baking pan and cooked for an hour and 20min. I left it in the fridge until the turkey had about an hour to go so everything would be timed correctly.

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 Now close up the bag. Rinse out the turkey baster that you previously mixed the stuffing in, and place bagged turkey in baster. I put the baster on a cookie sheet for extra support. If you have a heavy bird, you will definitely need this!

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Make slits in the bag.

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 Pop it in the oven with the meat thermometer. Since my turkey was stuffed and so big it took about 5hours and 15min to cook at 350 degrees. I didn’t need to do anything to the turkey during that time.

When the turkey is ready, the meatiest part of the beast will read 165degrees on the meat thermometer.

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Now can you believe after all that hard work I forgot to take a picture of the finished bird!! This is what it looked like after I carved the roast beast.

The turkey will need to sit out for about 30min before you start carving it.

The best part about all of this, you can just throw away everything at the end. No clean up! Yay!

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It’s all ready for my 40 closest friends to dig in and feast!

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Don’t forget about that extra stuffing!!

Tomorrow, all the other sides ready for your feasting eyes!! Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!

Snickerdoodles

This recipe is taken straight from my Granny’s kitchen. Literally, she hand wrote the recipe for me from memory. So, I now have her recipe framed and in my kitchen. I love it.

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These cookies are my absolute favorite ever. No lie.

You’ll need:
1 cup of soft shortening part butter (that’s bakers talk for Crisco sticks, use the butter flavored ones. Can find this on the baking aisle)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tarter

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon ( for rolling dough)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt.


Mix shortening, sugar and eggs.


Mix all together.


In a separate bowl, mix extra sugar and cinnamon together. You will roll the cookie dough balls in this before baking.


Place dough balls on a greased pan. I patted a little extra cinnamon sugar on the center of each cookie before baking. Bake for 8 to 10min at 400 degrees.

Enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes

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I paired this side with Granny’s Fried Chicken. I mean who doesn’t want mashed potatoes with their chicken?

What you’ll need:

Russet Potatoes

Butter

Buttermilk

Salt and Pepper

For this, I washed the entire 10lb bag of russet potatoes. If you’re serving a small crowd, then use less.

Now, Granny peels her potatoes, to get those super white, creamy mashers. I, however, left the skins on mine. I mean who can’t use a little extra fiber? Plus, it saves a ton of time. It does mean, though, that you need to wash your potatoes really well and get all the dirt off.

I then sliced the potatoes and subsequently quartered those slices making cubes.

Place them all into a big pot and submerge with water.

Boil potatoes for a while (30min or so, depends on how many you are cooking) until they are nice and soft.

Then drain the water from the pot. The steam coming off the potatoes when I drained them practically gave me an inhome steam facial, so be careful!

Now, return potatoes to the pot and begin mashing. Add 2-3 heaping spoonfulls of butter and about ¼ cup of buttermilk.

Keep mashing until thoroughly mixed. I called in reinforcements for the mashing! It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it!

Thanks Meredith Cranch for all your help!

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now they are ready for enjoyment! Homemade mashed potatoes,
Yum!

Fried Chicken

I started this section in honor of my Granny. These are dishes that I grew up eating on Sundays and holidays with my family. Some of these dishes might be a little more labor intensive than my usual cooking but I promise, it’ll be worth it.

Down here in Austin, my friends are my family and I wanted to treat them as such by cooking my favorite meal that my Granny makes me.

Fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Here’s what you will need to make fried chicken. Click here for mashed potatoes (coming soon).

Chicken Breasts

Buttermilk

Flour

Season Salt (I mixed Lawry’s and Tony Chachere’s)

2 eggs

Vegetable Oil

Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts.

Slice into one inch wide strips.

Then poke the chicken with a fork (I think they call this “tenderizing”).

Next, place into a dish and cover with buttermilk.

Let this soak for a while. The longer the better. I let mine soak for almost two hours. Place in fridge while soaking.

When you are ready to start cooking, beat 2 eggs in a dish and set aside.

Then mix flour, season salt and Tony Chacere’s in a separate dish. Go easy on the seasoning or else the chicken might turn out salty.

Next transfer the chicken strips from the buttermilk pan to eggs. Completely coat with egg then cover in the flour mixture. Beware: this gets messy!

Once you have completed this step, it’s time to heat up the cooking oil. I used vegetable oil but canola oil is ok too.

Make sure that the oil is nice and hot. It will start to give off that “fried” smell. You can test the heat by placing a little piece of batter in the pan. If it immediately starts to sizzle, then your oil is ready.

Begin by placing the chicken strips into the frying pan. Be careful the oil could pop ya!

Granny said “do not crowd the chicken while it is cooking” so make sure you don’t try and overload your pan with chicken.

Cook each side until golden brown. Probably 3 minutes or so each side but use your judgment.

The oil will begin to cook off so add a little more as you cook. Be careful not to add too much oil or the temperature will drop and you’ll have to wait for the oil to heat back up again.

Its important for the oil to stay hot or else the chicken batter will get soggy, not that crisp we are looking for.

After the chicken is finished cooking, place it on a paper towel. Wait for it to cool, then serve!

It will smell so delicious that you will have a hard time waiting to eat it!