Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . .A Taste of the Gulf!

Even though I am married to a 'Taylor', 
it also means I am married into a long line of Zimmerman's
on my mother in laws side.
Without giving you the whole family tree,
that side of the family is being represented here today
as we go back in time on this Free Recipe Friday.
I was given this recipe wayyy back in the early days of our marriage.
One day, back in the mid 80's, my sweet hubby and I
had driven his Granny and Grandad Zimmerman
down to Beaumont to visit their son Stanley, wife Arlene and their family.
We stayed only for the day...but had a great time
watching Uncle Stanley sit in his chair and smoke his pipe,
catching up on family news and happenings...but before leaving,
Aunt Arlene cooked us the most fabulous lunch...
a meal I had never, ever had before.
I asked for the recipe and am forever grateful that she obliged!

We have been making this for years!!!
(The oleo listed below even shows the recipes age!)
I'm not sure if this was something Aunt Arlene concocted on her own,
if it was an old recipe or a common one - but oh so glad
it made its way to our taste buds!
It is basically a stuffing....although we have never 'stuffed' anything with it...
but I'm sure you could get really adventurous
and stuff a turkey or a chicken with this yumminess -
just be really careful about cooking it all the way through.
Our kids used to pick the shrimp out of it, grrrr.
There was nothing so aggravating as heading to the fridge
in anticipation of eating some leftover 'Aunt Arlene Special'
and you open the lid and someone has picked half of the shrimp out!
But surely no one in YOUR family would EVER do that!!!!
(Thankfully, our kids aren't so picky anymore!)
So, here you go...Aunt Arlene calls it Seafood Casserole...
our family has tried to rename it...but, to me it will always be
Aunt Arlene's Seafood Casserole...
you really need to make it nowwww!


1 stick oleo - melted (butter or margarine)
1 small onion - diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. pkg - Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix
1 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
1 can crab meat 
(we recently substituted half of a can of pink salmon
and is was just awesome!)
1 lb. medium size raw shrimp - peeled and deveined
(fresh or frozen)

Now here comes the really difficult part...
combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Just dump 'em in there...all of it....and give it all a good ol' stir.
Now, spray a casserole dish (equivalent to a 9x13)
with non-stick cooking spray and dump the mixture right in.
That's it....that's all there is to it!
Bake in a 350 oven for 40-45 minutes.
If you overfill your dish as I did, you may want to make sure and
bake it on a cookie sheet to catch any dribbles.
Serve this up with a good green salad
and maybe some crunchy bread or good crackers.
This is even great made ahead!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . . Good Gravy!

Ahh, who wants to go camping?!?
This week on Free Recipe Friday 
we're gonna take a virtual camping trip.
With this amazing fall weather upon us,
it's making us dream of being on a campsite somewhere!

Today's post is a recipe that is a tradition
 for our family on every camping trip.
It is Sausage Gravy.
Ahh, did you hear that???
I think I heard some angels singing or something!
Oh, you didn't hear anything???
Well then, I guess you haven't had
the same Sausage Gravy that WE have had! ;) 
It is also routinely made in the Taylor household
once or twice a month for our big Saturday breakfasts.

So, with camping on our mind,
 it was only fitting to have THE finest Sausage Gravy maker
in the whole United States
to share with us his gravy makin' skills!
A man that takes Sausage Gravy makin'
pretty seriously!
So, let me introduce to you,
the one, the only,
James Taylor! (isn't he cute?)

Ok, here goes...

Get a whisk---
Fry up some ground sausage in an iron skillet
(cheap stuff works well cause its greasy)
(use a wad about the size of a baseball - more if you like).
Chop it up as it cooks into little crumbles.
I usually add a "little" bacon grease at this point but that's me.
Once it's cooked, turn the heat down to medium
and sprinkle in some all purpose flour
until all the crumbles are coated - stirring all the time.
Don't add so much flour that you make a doughy mess.
Just enough that all the sausage crumbles
are coated and the flour is wet with piggy grease.

Now for the tricky part.

Get the whisk-
Fill a small glass with milk
and another larger glass with tap water.
Pour the milk into the sausage first -
slowly while stirring so the sausage doesn't cool off too much.
It'll look all lumpy but don't stop stirring with the whisk.
Now slowly start pouring in the water
a little at a time while your whisking what looks like cement
and your arm starts crampin'. 

You want the gravy to look like smooth pudding
but that comes later. The whisk is the key.
Whisk whisk whisk.
Stir stir stir until it's smooth.
If it's too thick, just add a little more water
and stir stir stir till the water is blended in
and the gravy is smoooooth.
Let it cook for a few minutes while stirring
so the flour doesn't taste raw.

Add salt and black pepper to taste
toward the end as you stir stir stir.
Once it looks all smoooth like pudding
you can turn the heat down to simmer
and wait on the biscuits that you got cookin' to be done.
Great on biscuits or even toast.

Mom used to dip cat poop in it. It's THAT good.

A special thanks to my sweet hubby
for sharing with us this week.
He makes gravy like no other!
Listed below are the things you will need
to make gravy for yourself or your family.
Hope you'll try it real soon!


Seasoned Iron Skillet (or other large saute pan)
1/2 lb. of pork sausage (or a 'wad')
Extra fat if needed (bacon grease or veggie oil)
Flour (appx. 1/2 cup)
Milk (appx. 1 cup)
Water as needed (usually 2-3 cups, maybe more)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Biscuits or Toast

Now our great family secret recipe is out.
All you have to do is decipher it!
No problem, right?!?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . .Cheese Truffles!

Welcome back to Free Recipe Friday!
Enjoyin' the cooler temps????
Who doesn't love fall???!?
The weather, the colors and the flavors are so nice aren't they!?
It reminds me of our daughter's wedding...
which was on a beautiful fall day in November.
That day was almost one year ago...EEK...
where does the time go???
So, as we reflect back on that momentious occasion
 we will spotlight some yummy goodness from that day...
an easy cheesey treat that you can whip up in a flash.
Cheese Truffles!
They are quite delicious AND a pretty impressive little appetizer -
what more could you ask for!?!

Our menu was indeed a fall menu that day...
Irish Beef Stew, an Autumn Salad with
mixed greens, apples, walnuts and bleu cheese -
a bazillion assorted homemade muffins,
made by my amazing muffin makin' sisters...
assorted crackers...and these heavenly delights...

They consist of just a very few ingredients,
are easy peasy to make AND can be made up ahead of time!
So here goes....

4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used 6 oz.)
1 (4-oz.) container crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
1/2-1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

This recipe made 23 bite size cheese truffles for us!

Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed of an electric mixer
until well combined.
Cover tightly and chill at least 1 hour or until firm.
You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days!

Roll cheese mixture into 3/4 inch round balls.
Roll each ball in chopped parsley or bacon crumbles.
Either serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.
If chilled, let stand 30 minutes before serving.


Gorgonzola Truffles:
Substitute 1 (4-oz.) container crumbled Gorgonzola (bleu) cheese
for the Feta cheese and use 1/2-1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
for the chopped parsley.

Goat Cheese Truffles:
Substitute 1 (4-oz.) container crumbled Goat cheese
for Feta and 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
for the chopped parsley.

Maid of Honor Shelby, making up a ton of assorted truffles
on Melody's wedding day!

The wedding 'party'
The love birds, Jason & Melody!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Free Recipe Friday. . .Fried Goat Cheese!

Ever tried it? Goat cheese that is...yum!!! 
Just ignore that part about it
being made from the milk of a goat if
it freaks you out a little.
Goat cheese is an amazing cheese.
It is more of a dry, crumbly cheese,
so by frying it quickly, it won’t melt and ooze all over as it cooks.
And as we all know, goat's milk
 is easier to digest for those who have a low tolerance for cow's milk.
Wikipedia states that goat cheese has been made for thousands of years
and was probably one of the earliest made dairy products.
It also says that the west (that's us)
has popularized the cow, but that goat milk and goat cheese
are the preferred dairy products in much of the rest of the world.
And it is delicious - you should try it!

For this evenings Free Recipe Friday
we will pay homage to our great friend, goat cheese.
Let's fry it up!
Fried stuff puts a smile on most everyones face! :)


Panko breadcrumbs - readily available these days

Goat Cheese - sadly, not too many varieties available around here

Panko breadcrumbs with other spices

eggs and flour used for dredging

Ohhh, and some olive oil to fry these babies up in!


6 oz. goat cheese log

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

pinch of kosher salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of flour

olive oil


Chill the cheese!
Pop the whole package in the freezer for approx. 15 minutes.

While your cheese is chillin'
grab the rest of your ingredients
for the dredge.

Put the panko in a medium-sized bowl.
(substitute white breadcrumbs in a pinch
but the crunch won't be the same)
Add the parsley, granulated garlic/garlic powder,
ground pepper, and kosher salt.
Stir to combine well.

In a seperate little bowl,
crack the eggs and beat them.

Put the flour on a plate or in a shallow bowl.

Remove your goat cheese from the freezer
and carefully slice the log into 1/2 inch slices.
Wiping your knife clean after each slice.
You can also use unflavored dental floss
for easy slicing!

Put the cheese in the flour. Flip it gently to coat on both sides.
Drop the floured cheese into the beaten egg.
Flip it gently to coat with egg on both sides.
Lastly, put it into the seasoned panko breadcrumbs.
Flip it to coat on both sides.
Repeat with the rest of the cheese,
setting aside onto waxed paper or a cookie sheet.
You can do this an hour or more ahead of time if need be
and just keep refrigerated.

Now, here comes the fun part.
Put a little olive oil in a nonstick pan.
Use just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
Gently grab your little coated goat cheeses
and place them into your pan and fry over medium heat.

Watch closely as they will brown very quickly.
Flip each one over and gently brown on the other side.
Remember not to overcrowd your pan.
A crowded pan means your food will almost steam,
instead of fry,
and you’ll wind up with soggy cheese….
and nobody wants that!
Remove and drain on a paper towel
as they become golden.
Let them rest a bit before consuming
or the lava hotness will dissolve your taste buds.
Now sit back and watch them disappear!!!

These are great to eat alongside a salad
with some great bread, to serve at brunch
or eat cold for breakfast :)
These are amazing anytime, day or night!