Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Best GRAVY!

I made this recipe after I watched an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. They featured Pine State Biscuits and their amazing biscuits and gravy recipe. They did not give the accurate measurements for the gravy recipe but they did give out the ingredients used.

I have made this recipe a couple of times now and I think this time it was truly perfect! Even though it seems like there are a lot of ingredients they are mostly pantry items and you probably already have them on hand.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust it any way you want. Don't like the spice? Leave out the cayenne pepper and the red chili pepper flakes. OR you can add more! Whatever your taste buds desire.

Make biscuits and gravy with this BISCUIT RECIPE.


1 Tbsp. oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 tsp. vegeta
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (less if it's too spicy for you)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 c. water
2 c. milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. flour


1. In a large saucepan on medium-high heat: add oil and onion. Saute 5 minutes.

2. Add ground pork and all of the seasonings. Brown pork on both sides, break up with wooden spoon. Cook for about 12 minutes.

3. Add water and cook on medium for 10 minutes. Keep breaking up the meat.

4. Add milk and heavy cream. Cook on medium for 5 minutes.

5. Make a roux in a small saucepan. Melt butter on medium-high. Stir in flour. After 2 minutes mix into the gravy mixture. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Stir in maple syrup.


Biscuits~From Scratch

From Mr. Alton Brown!

I have made this recipe a million times and never change anything. It's simple, fast, and fool-proof.

I don't use a biscuit cutter. I roll the dough out and cut the biscuits into rustic strips. That way I don't have to re-roll the dough and don't end up with biscuits. I make one big layer of 1/4 inch biscuits and they end up being perfect for biscuits and gravy.

Work fast to get the ingredients together. The colder they stay, the better.


2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
2 Tbsp. shortening, cold
1 c. buttermilk, chilled


Preheat oven to 450.

1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add cold butter and shortening. Mix in with a pastry cutter or fork. Don't over mix.

3. Make a well and add cold buttermilk. Mix in with fork just until combined.

4. Turn dough over onto heavily floured surface. Gently fold dough over 5-6 times.

5. Bake on a baking sheet lined with foil for 10-15 minutes.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Eclairs are one of my favorite desserts but every time I've ever eaten them they were from a bakery. There is something scary about making your own... but there shouldn't be.

I found a recipe on allrecipes and decided to try this recipe out. It turned out awesome! I only changed a couple of things.

The eclairs themselves turned out flaky and light. They had a ton of little air pockets inside to hold the custard. The custard is a "cheat" custard since it starts with instant pudding but that's why it's great. It only took a couple of minutes to put together.

Yields 10 four inch eclairs

For the dough:

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 c.)
1 c. water
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large eggs

For the custard:

1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 c. cold milk
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the chocolate:

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. shortening


For the dough:

Preheat oven to 450.

In a medium saucepan bring water and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously  the mixture will begin to separate from the sides and will form into a ball.

Remove from heat. Add eggs in one at a time. Stir well after each addition. Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip. Pipe dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make the eclairs about 4 inches long. (I used a ziploc bag with one of the corners cut off)

Bake 15 minutes, reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Split the eclairs with a serrated knife and fill with custard.

Dip the tops of the eclairs into the chocolate mixture. Allow to set before eating. You can place the eclairs uncovered into the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the custard:

In a medium bowl combine pudding mix and milk. Stir well, refrigerate 5 minutes or until set.

In a medium bowl beat heavy cream into stiff peaks. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold into prepared pudding.

For the chocolate:

In a microwave safe bowl combine chocolate and shortening. Microwave for 30 second increments until melted. Be careful not to burn.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I made this recipe for my daughter's first birthday party. It was gone in the first 30 minutes! It's a recipe I always turn to for parties or for fun football days.

This recipe can also be made ahead and refrigerated. Just pop it in the oven when you're ready for it.

Slightly adapted from


4 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
14 oz. canned artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
10 oz. Alfredo style pasta sauce
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened


1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine all ingredients together and mix well.

3. Spray an 8x8 pan. Add all ingredients and bake 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve warm with bread, crackers, vegetables.

Spanish Rice

Adapted from here.


1 Tbsp. oil
1 c. chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. uncooked white rice
2 c. water or chicken broth
1 c. salsa
1 tsp. vegeta
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 c. fresh cilantro


1. Heat the oil on medium-high in a medium saucepan.

2. Add onions and carrots. Saute 4 minutes.

3. Add rice and garlic. Saute 5 minutes or until the rice is a light golden brown color. Make sure to keep stirring to prevent it from burning.

4. Add salsa and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.

Shrimp Fajitas

We love this recipe so much that we actually made it two nights in a row.

I adapted this recipe from


For the shrimp:
1 lb. cooked shrimp
1 Tbsp. oil (I used canola)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. oregano

For the veggies:
1 Tbsp. oil
1 yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
5 roma tomatoes (mine were pretty small)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. cilantro
1 lime, juice of
2 tsp. vegeta
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder

sour cream-optional


For the shrimp:

1. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl. Make sure it's completely cleaned and patted dry. Add in oil. Mix well.
2. Add in the rest of the spices and the brown sugar. Mix well and make sure all of the shrimp is coated evenly.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

4. When the veggies are almost done preheat the oven to broil. Place the shrimp on a baking sheet and broil 3-4 minutes on each side. Be careful to watch the shrimp the entire time.

For the veggies:

1. Heat a large deep skillet on medium. Add the 1 Tbsp. of oil.
2. Slice the onions, green pepper, and tomatoes into thin slices. Add to the hot pan and stir well. Add the seasonings. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often. Lower the heat if necessary.
3. Add garlic and saute an additional 5 minutes. Mix in cilantro. Saute 2 minutes.

To assemble:

1. Heat the tortillas in the microwave between paper towels. About 30 seconds.
2. Pile each tortilla with veggies and shrimp. Add any additional toppings such as salsa, cheese, and sour cream.