Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Squash Casserole

One of my very best girlfriends is gardening this year. She seems to be pretty good at it as well. (Side Note: Why is it that some people have green thumbs and some people do not? My husband can grow anything. No grass in the front yard when we bought the house? Yeah there's grass now. My hydrangea dies, he brings it back to life. He has planted blackberries bushes along the fence, a peach, orange and lemon tree in the backyard and transplanted bushes from the front yard to the back. It's amazing and I love him for it but I am soooo jealous.)

At the poker party this weekend she gave us a giant bag of yellow squash that has, since being placed on my kitchen counter that night, been calling my name to cook it. Th only problem? I don't know how to cook squash. It's not something I grew up eating. Oh sure, I remember going to my Grandmas as a little girl and she would have cooked fried squash for my Grandpa for supper, but it's not anything my parents ever, EVER cooked. Luckily for me I do not have my parents taste in all things veggie so I happen to love well, really any and all veggies including but not limited to squash. I knew I had to find a recipe, other than fried, to use up and consume this bright happy vegetable. Enter Vintage Victuals or more aptly enter Yellow Summer Squash Casserole from Vintage Victuals.

If you haven't been to Ellie's website you should just stop what your doing and go check her out, finish looking through my blog first of course. She makes a ton of classic southern recipes, very well I might add, but she also makes some recipes that I have never had before. I wish that I lived closer to her, boy do I ever.

This casserole has a hint of sweetness and is acutally quite good. It would be perfect for a potluck or picnic and would go so well with ham. I will be making this again only instead of breadcrumbs for the topping I will be using crackers.

Yellow Summer Squash Casserole
from Vintage Victuals (link above)

3 pounds yellow summer squash
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 more tablespoons butter
about 1/2 cup crushed crackers or bread crumbs

Wash and slice up the squash. Boil or steam until tender, drain thoroughly, then mash.

Add the onion, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, and pepper to the squash. Pour mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter, and then spread it over the top of the squash. Sprinkle with crackers or bread crumbs.

Bake in 375 degree oven for approximately 1 hour, or until brown on top. Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Thank you Nessa for the squash it was delish and next time I'll share, XOXO,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Salmon Cakes

I found this recipe in the Spring 2010 Kraft Food & Family magazine. I search through each one as it comes to find something new, quick and easy. On the quickness aspect this recipe isn't so fast per say and with my adversion to getting my hands dirty, ewww, well it is kind of messy to make but the chicken stuffing mix adds something to it greater than just crackers. I'm glad I made them.

Baby Cakes gave this one 2 forks up and actually said that we should have these for dinner everynight. I have to admit that I agree. The flavor is great with the chicken stuffing mix and sauted onions (my adaptation). Wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful. The only thing I can even think of adding is some kind of dipping sauce because they are a bit dry but other than that delish!

Salmon Cakes
adapted from Kraft Food & Family Magazine, Spring 2010


1 can (14.7 oz.) salmon, drained, skin and bones discarded
1 pkg. (6 oz.) stuffing mix for chicken
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup water
1/2 yellow onions, diced
non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice


Saute the onions in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. A spray or two of non stick spray will help a bit. Take them off heat and set aside.

Mix all the ingredients together. Shape them into 12 patties, using about 1/3 cup stuffing mixture for each patty. Refrigerate for a minimum of 10 min.

Use the same skillet from the onions and heat to medium heat. Add the patties to the skillet in batches.

Cook 6 min. or until golden brown on both sides, turning carefully after 3 min.

They really are very good. You could even make them ahead of time and just cook them as needed.

Yum once more,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I ran a search for Strawberry Bars online and came across a blog called Baking Bites that had this recipe on it. I couldn't pass is up and I knew the girls would love it. Infact when I called Maggie to tell her what I was bringing for our monthly Girls Poker Party she said "oooohhhh Megan those sound good." Yes, yes they do.

They are light and fresh tasteing. Smell like summer and actually have a cooling effect in your mouth. Tart and sweet, wonderful. I will be making these bars again in the future, possibly the near future.

You'll notice that my pictures aren't so great this time, not that they are ever great but you know what I'm saying, I almost forgot to take pictures so I had my sister hold the fine china, lol, while I shot a photo or two. They do not do the bars justice. You can't even imagine.

I truly can't say enough about these bars they are wonderful. All the girls thought so and so much so that I didn't bring a single one home. Another have to make recipe.

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
recipe from Baking Bites


1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt


1 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or use the Baker’s Edge pan, if you have one).

Begin by making the crust.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard - nothing to worry about).

Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices.

Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day.


Goulash O'neil

This is a recipe I grew up eating and I have to tell you that when I was younger I loved this dish. It was one of my favorites. It is a tomato based sauce with a bit of dry mustard and brown sugar that is cooked all day on low heat. The meat is so tender it tends to fall apart. Yum!

Occasionally I like to make things for BCakes that I grew up eating and when I found this recipe in my box I knew I had to make it. This particular recipe is traced back (according to the phone call to my Mom) in my family from my Mom's Mom's Mother, i.e. my Great Nanny O'neil. Apparently my Nanny grew up eating it, my Mom grew up eating it and I in turn grew up not only eating it but loving it as well.

My Mom has always been such a wonder to me because she wasn't a Texan until late in her teen years when her family moved here from Albany, New York. To me there's something mysterious about that. I live in the city my father was raised in, it's home to me. When my mom talks about moving here she will tell this story about how when her siblings and she crossed the Texas state line they kept expecting to see cowboys on horse back and tumbleweeds. I guess in a way that's how it would be for me going to New York. I would expect to see buildings and busy streets, you know bright lights big city and all that. It wasn't until adulthood that I realized Albany is actually "the country" in New York. Just the fact that she grew up in New York makes her glamorous to me and I wasn't shy about that in school either from what I can remember. Even this recipe seems more sacred to me because it comes from somewhere I've never seen, heard, touched or tasted.

I know I got a little off subject there but that's what this recipe does to me, it makes me think about my Mom and sitting at the dinner table eating and talking about our days. This recipe is home to me and I hope that you'll give it a try.

O'Neil Goulash

3/4 cups ketchup
2 Tablespoons worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I used 2)
1 Tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
dash of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1-2 lbs. stew meat
medium onion, big dice
carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup water (plus 1 or 2 cups on reserve)

Simply combine all the ingredients in a large pot and cook all day long over low heat. Stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed.

Serve over rice, your choice, or egg noodles.

*My mom used cornstarch when I was growing up to thicken the sauce at the very end of cooking but I didn't need to. Mine was thick enough without adding anything else.

I hope that you try this version of Goulash. It really is very good.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cajun Black-Eyed Peas and Sausage

I am a major fan of black eyed peas, really any hearty bean. Not such a fan of mushy beans, i.e. refried or baked but you put a bowl of kidney, black-eyed or even butter beans down infront of me and it takes all I've got not to eat the whole bowl. So naturally when I see a recipe starring one of my favorite beans I jump on it.

The original recipe came from a Food Network Magazine and I seem to have misplaced the ripped out page as of right now so I searched it via and found it here. It was acutally titled Caribbean Rice and Peas but since I adapted the recipe so much, to my own liking, I renamed it Cajun Black-Eyed Peas and Sausage.

The BCakes loved it and asked that I make it a regular and I liked it quite a bit as well. Would be pretty easy to play around with the ingredients to make it just right and I do beleive I will be doing that in the future.

Cajun Black-Eyed Peas and Sausage


12 ounces frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. spicy pan sausage
3 ribs celery, diced
3 shallots, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup uncooked brown rice, quick cooking
2 bay leaves
4 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens


Combine the black-eyed peas and 3 cups of chicken broth in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until done. Add the shallots, celery, garlic, cajun seasoning and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables brown, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste turns brick red, about 2 more minutes. Add the rice, bay leaves and the black-eyed peas with their liquid to the skillet and bring to a boil; do not stir.

Add the collards; cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer undisturbed until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 50 minutes; set aside for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

On a side note it was a rainy weekend here in Walnut Springs and apparently a friend wanted in out of the rain. I went to shut the shades on the back door at around 9 pm and when I reached my hand under the curtain to grab the pull I saw something. When I looked again it was a the head of a snake right by my hand. I screamed for Michael and did the ewww dance. Luckily it was on the outside of the door but from where it was it had to have crawled up the wall and worse yet still be half on the wall half on the window. I have no idea what he was after, perhaps the light inside? I don't know. All I do know is I will so be looking close for rat snakes when I go outside on rainy nights. I took pictures but the flash kept reflecting off of the glass resulting it well crappy pictures, this is the only one I could get...

As you can tell from the picture he was running for his life, after all my big bad husband was coming for him. At one point he actually coiled and began to strike at the stick Michael was using to try and get him. (According to my husband it should be killed but I just couldn't. He was outside and outside is HIS home. Now if he's in the house, MY home, then well all is fair in love and war.) No worries snake lovers we let him live but I doubt he'll be back. lol.

Make it, Eat it, Enjoy it,

Frito Taco Salad

I have been sick. I am on the upside of sick but still I've been sick. I hibernated in my bed for days, slept, visited the doctor, have/had taken multiple medications and have finally re-entered the non zombie world. It's back to work, back to life as normal and back to cooking. I must admit though that having the hubs cook, or ahem help cook, has been quite nice.

It had been days since BCakes had tasted a home cooked meal. I had been living on mainly chicken noodle soup and he has been completely burnt out on fast food so he really wanted a "real" meal. Enter one of the easiest and fastest meals ever and it was his idea. Go him!

When BCakes and I were dating we ate many a meal at his parents house and one of the revolving recipes there just happened to be a salad, namely a taco salad. Now my M.I.L. didn't use any meat in this salad but the hubs wasn't having that so I abliged and he cooked up some ground beef to add along. In all honesty I really don't feel like it needs it. There are enough things going on in this recipe and you actually don't even notice that there was meat in there. It's probably because the beans are so hearty. So next time no meat! Anyway my wonderful husband assisted me in making this super simple salad.

Frito Taco Salad
recipe from Lynn Bennett

1 pound hamburger mean, cooked and drained
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 head of lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 small bottle catalina dressing, desired amount
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2-4 cups fritos corn chips
seasoning to taste

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and toss to coat in dressing. Voila, that's it and it is so yummy.

I personally add the dressing and fritos last. Dressing because you don't actually need the entire bottle and fritos because you want them to keep the crunch.

This is going to be one of our go to meals from now on. I had comepletely forgotten about it but I doubt I ever will again. The flavor combo, although simple, works really well together.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pear-Berry Shortcake

Remember a few posts back when I told you that I had dropped a cake on the floor and it was terrible? Well this is the cake that I dropped. No not the exact cake but a remake of the infamous floor cake.

A month or so ago my co-worker Sherry made a Strawberry Shortcake Sheetcake for Easter and brought the leftovers in to work for anyone and everyone. It was so good that I ate 2 pieces, shhh don't tell anyone, and asked for the recipe. She gave it to me and in true Megan fashion (I can never leave anything alone) I remade it into the recipe below.

I took it to Mother's Day over on BCakes' side and it got raves. It was really good. Infact BCakes just polished off the last piece last night. It's cold and creamy. Fruity and sweet, just wonderful. Really really delish.

This recipe is actually a three part recipe. It takes some time and refrigerator space so go ahead and make some room for it.

Pear-Berry Shortcake
adapted from a recipe made by Sherry McShan

Step 1 the Cake:

1 yellow cake mix and all that requires (i.e. eggs, oil, water)
1 box instant vanilla pudding

Prepare the cake mix according to package directions adding in the pudding mix. Bake according to package directions as well.

Step 2 Pear-Berry Topping:

1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 bad frozen blueberries, thawed
1 can sliced pears in syrup, chopped and drained, saving syrup
1/2 cup sugar

In a bowl toss the strawberries, blueberries and chopped pears into the sugar. Add the pear syrup and stir to combine. Cover and set in fridge to marinate and create the juice.

A few hours later or overnight poke many holes, I used a skewer, into the cooled cake. Pour the fruit and juice over the cake and easily spread the fruit around. Set aside for a minute or two and continue with the next step.

Step 3 Whipped Pudding:

1 extra large Cool Whip topping (or 2 regular)
1 box instant vanilla pudding

In a bowl mix the pudding mix and whipped topping together until there are no streaks of yellow or lumps of pudding.

Top the fruit mixture with the pudding mixture and spread evenly.

Cover and place the cake back into the fridge until time to serve. I would recommend hours if not overnight.

This picture isn't the greastest but I almost forgot to take a picture of it at all hence the picture of it almost gone.

I know that my directions are a bit different but hey my brains just works the way it works. However, despite my directions this cake is soooooo good. Honestly. Enjoy,

Monday, May 3, 2010

Butter Bean and Spicy Sausage Soup with Spinach

I had a mishap on Saturday and it was terrible, really really sucked for a lack of better words. I created and baked a new recipe for a cake (which I will be making again and eventually blogging but not right now obviously!) and while taking it from fridge to car dropped it. It is all slow motion to me now and it was terrible. Humph. It sucked you guys.

Anyhow, the entire weekend wasn't a wash when it came to cooking/baking. Yesterday was wonderful. Now I know it really isn't the weather for soup but I found this recipe hanging out in my recipe box and knew I had to make it using some spicy venison sausage. Unfortunatly there is nothing to help me decifer who it came from or when so just know I didn't make this recipe up. I did however adapt it to my liking.

This soup is so good. After every bite I let out an Mmmmmm, BCakes was working on something in the house and was laughing while saying "it must be good cause I can hear you eating it". Har har buddy, har har. We saw a few minutes later who was laughing because he couldn't keep quite while slurpping it down either.

Next time some kind of crusty buttery bread to dip but honestly it wasn't missed this time around. You have to make this soup and for those who are not into spicy just use regular italian breakfast sausage. Nom nom nom.

Butter Bean and Spicy Sausage Soup with Spinach

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lbs. spicy breakfast sausage
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
3 cans butter beans, 2 cans drained and rinsed, 1 whole can
2 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1/4-1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2.5 cups rotini pasta
2-3 cups fresh spinach leaves, for later
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 cups chicken stock, might be needed later

In soup pot, over medium heat, brown the sausage with the olive oil.

Once the sausage is browned add the garlic and italian seasoning and cook until you can smell the garlic or lightly browned.

Next add in the beans, water, cheese and chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add the pasta and boil per package directions, about 10-12 minutes. Stirring every once in awhile.

Now add the spinach and stir until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you are ready to serve do so now or turn the heat off, put a lid on it and let it sit for a bit. That's what the extra broth is for, the pasta just keeps drinking up the liquid so you can add more as you see fit. It is a soup after all.

Seriuosly make this soup. I am making it again next week. For real.

I lovenly shared this recipe over at Recipe Swap Thursday on Prairie Story.

See you next time,

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