some hungry owl love!

Our first visit to a local spot, ‘The Hungry Owl’ a modern twist on some southern and cajun favorites. Really great burger, shrimp and grits to die for, wine and beer in wide selection, and true ambiance if you sit near the back of the dining room by the glass wall in front of the kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen style! It was totally what we needed, our first dinner out on vacay right before the wedding! I would totally recommend it!




dinner party made easy.

So I know it’s been a while folks! I seem to not update here as much since I got my other blog up and running, vintage vixen crafts. Scrapbooking and crafting is definitely my first love after cooking, I really have to be in the mood to cook a full meal these days and I’m always searching for something quick and easy. But I do love to cook and grill and throw down with the best of them, it just seems like there’s never enough time, especially this time of year, right? So today I wanted to share with you a few easy recipes that I gathered /assembled and with the help of my very knowledgeable sis, ( you can find here blog here) we were able to throw together a pretty quick, yet elegant dinner party for me and my 5 soon to be bridesmaids. A few of the boys tagged along too, mostly banned to the porch the whole night, and we still have food leftover! It was a great night and everything turned out really pretty so I just had to share!

This was our menu:

Sweet and Spicy cocktail sausages 2 pkgs cocktail sausages, 1 can jellied cranberry sauce, 1 bottle chili sauce, or in this case I actually used some Asian  sharacha chili sauce and bbq sauce with 1/2 cup brown sugar, they were out of the chili sauce at my local store. Mix all ingredients and cook in crockpot on low for a few hrs, until party time!

Christmas Pepper Jelly w/ Cream Cheese and crackers- this one is easy, purely assembled. 2 blocks cream cheese, 1 sml jar green pepper jelly and 1 small jar red pepper jelly, spoon over cream cheese and serve with Wheat Thins or Triscuts.

Baked Brie w/ crackers- 1 large wheel brie cheese, 1 can pillsbury crescents, strawberry jam. Unroll crescents, roll out dough to make into a large square, making sure to seal the perforated edges. spread 2 Tbsp strawberry jam over this, then place unwrapped brie in the center. Gather dough around brie and assemble like a loose package, use excess dough to decorate (holly leaves, etc) and bake at 350 for 20 mins or until golden brown. Serve with Ritz crackers and apple slices if desired.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Phyllo cups-original recipe is here. however, after the tedious task of making all those phyllo cups, (who knew you could buy those already made?! not me apparently!)  my sis and I were pretty much like let’s just make up our own filling. We ended up mixing sauteed shallots (2) garlic cloves(2) which I cooked in butter over a low skillet with the drained chopped, frozen spinach, along with salt and pepper, about 1/2 block reg. cream cheese, and 4oz. tomatoe basil goat cheese. (Jimmy was supposed to get me reg plain goat cheese but this is what he came home with). We didn’t add any of the eggs or anything and after we spooned the filling into a ziploc and piped it into our precious phyllo cups, we baked it at 350 for about 10-15 mins just to warm the filling through, then top with grated parmesan.

Baked Chex Mix- this is the easiest one in the book. take 1/2 stick of butter, melted, and about 1/4 cup or less to taste of worchestershire sauce. Mix well and pour over 1 lrg bag reg chex mix. Bake at 350 for 10-12 mins, stir and bake for another 10-12 mins.

Fried Four Cheese Raviolie w/ Marinara- I got this idea also from food network see the original here. we basically followed the recipe but who knew there were so many raviolie in 1 pkg? I bought 2 thinking there wouldn’t be enough to fry. I didn’t have rosemary so we just did salt and parmesan, but the eggwash and panko worked out pretty well for the batter, thanks to lots of helping hands and a baby fry daddy, these were pretty simple to make!

Cheesy Bacon and Dill Dip w/ crackers-this I actually don’t have a recipe for. It was 2 dip mixes that Jimmy’s mom had given me where all you do is add 1 cup of mayo and 1 cup of sour cream to them, then chill for a few hours. Well I made both of them seperatly, then after they had been in the fridge for a while I tasted them and they were a little bland so I mixed them both together and added some fresh chopped maple bacon that I had cooked that morning. It really gave it more flavor I think and it was B’s favorite.

Favorite Deviled Eggs-simple technique, thanks to my sis🙂 cover your eggs in a large pot with just about 1-2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, once they have been boiling ( a rolling boil) for a minute or two, turn off the heat, cover them with a tight fitting lid, and take the pot off the burner and let them sit until the water is cool. They came out perfectly cooked! not over or under. I prefer my yolks a little dark yellow and almost fudgey, myself, but these were perfect! Beware; brown eggs have a thicker membrane and are not very easy to peel! Even after running them under cold water my sis and I really had a laughing spell with those eggs! Mix yolks, mayo, salt and pepper to taste, and sweet pickle relish.  Spoon filling into a ziploc and cut off tip, pipe into halved egg whites. Sprinkle generously with sweet paprika. Always a party fav! There were NONE left of those.

Ina’s Jam Thumprint cookies- this recipe we actually followed exactly, until we cooked the first batch and my sis, the COOKIE QUEEN suggested that we not roll the entire ball in the flaked coconut, but just the top half so it wouldn’t burn so much on the bottom, also we lowered the oven temp because my ghetto oven is 50 degrees hotter than what the dial says, according to my sis. We also cooked them for not as long, and they turned out perfect with apricot and marionberry preserves from Oregon:) The original recipe is here.

So I think it was a pretty well-rounded appetizer menu. For drinks we had red wine, and this strawberry-white wine concoction that Jimmy got me that turned out to be way too sweet. We also made EGG NOG white russians. 1 part Kahula, 1 part Vodka to 2 parts egg nogg and 2 parts milk. It turned out to be the perfect compliment and there are still leftovers:) on that note…. I think I might go partake of some while yall look at these pics! Until next time, you favorite food gal~ KT

p.s. I swear one day I’m getting Jimmy on this thing!!!

Here are pics :

best backyard burgers.

so a few nights ago, we decided to make burgers on the grill. not just any burgers though, these are special burgers. i got kind of inspired while doing laundry that day and watching one of my favorite food network cooks- Barefoot Contessa. My meemaw loved her show and now every time i watch it i think of her. on my days off when i’m able to stay home I always try to catch it or DVR an episode, even if it’s one i’ve seen…cause I just love her and i swear if I could only live her life… LOL. Anyway, these burgers are a take on her burger recipe/ another recipe Jimmy and I have done before for black and blue burgers. I added the balsamic onions which was her recipe too and it really makes these the tastiest backyard burgers ever. you must try…they are easy to cook even on a baby weber like we have!!

for burgers:

2 lbs 80% lean ground beef or ground sirloin

italian breadcrumbs, about 1/2 cup

1 large egg

Worcestershire, about 6-8 tablespoons

garlic, grated or smashed, about 2 large cloves

salt and pepper to taste

for blue cheese filling:

1 container 8 oz. good blue cheese

1 8 oz container cream cheese, softened ( you can use lower fat or not fat for this)

First, combine the cream cheese and blue cheese and form hockey-puck shaped rounds. about 1/2 inch thick. Make about 4-6 depending on how many burgers you plan on making. refrigerate the cheese mixture for up to 30 mins, until rounds are solid and not sticky. Next, combine all ingredients for burgers in a large bowl, making sure to mix well. Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate for about 10 mins.  While these are cooling, get your charcoal or gas grill going to a rolling fire, to get those burgers on!

Next, take out cheese rounds and burger mixture, forming the burgers around the hockey pucks. Being sure to form them well enough that they stay together pretty well. Then, throw them on the grill and cook until desired tenderness is reached. While grilling, make sure not to mash burgers down with any type of spatula, this releases juices and also will make burgers fall apart. Be very cautious when flipping burgers as well!

While the burgers are going, prepare toppings for burgers. Take one large red onion, slice thinly, and spread over an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and good balsamic vinegar, making sure all onions are covered. It helps in this step if you cover your baking sheet first with aluminum foil, because the vinegar will burn if you aren’t careful. For the second topping, cover another baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out about 8-10 strips of bacon. I used maple bacon, which is our favorite, but you can use any kind you like. You can also cook the bacon in a skillet if you prefer but I find that cooking it in the oven is also easier and crisps it up more evenly. Cook both the onions and the bacon on about 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. When the onions come out, sprinkle more balsamic on top and let them cool.

When the burgers are done, let them rest. Then fix them however you like! you can add lettuce and tomato, mayo and all the condiments,whatever you like. Make sure you add the onions and bacon! And when buying buns for these guys, get the good ones. The Sara Lee sesame large buns are our favorite, soft and perfect size for these burgers!

Please try this recipe at your next backyard or football gathering, they are wonderful! Till next time, your favorite food gal, Katie🙂

p.s. I swear i’m gonna get jimmy to update on this thing one day!

favorite things: peanut butter and jelly ‘pantry’ bars

So I know I don’t update that much, but seriously if we had internet at the house I would be updating once a week!! LOL so looking back on my last 6 posts or so, I realized I haven’t done any sweets! Which is just super crazy because whether it’s skinny cow ice cream or something really sinful, i just HAVE to have something sweet around the house. Part of that comes from my genes I think, growing up with a choc-0-holic of a grandpa, and a Dad with a major sweet tooth, I really didn’t have much a of a chance!!! so here I am now going on 3 years with Jimmy, and he is exactly the same! so funny! I heard on tv the other day that actually eating ice cream or dairy before bed helps you get more restful sleep. just an excuse for me to have my skinny cow almost every night i guess!

so I went to a crop recently (in case yall don’t know what that is it’s when a bunch of ladies get together in a central location to scrapbook…for several hours at a time) yes, I AM really into scrapbooking…probably a little more than I’m into cooking, although I enjoy both. One day I’ll have a scrapbooking blog and business up and running…just keep checking back and I will post a link on here for you guys!! Anyways, the point of that was that at this crop I went to last Friday night, there were these amazing peanut butter jelly bars! It just so happens that the next day I found a recipe for them and there ya go- it was meant to be! They are super easy to make and such a welcome change from the standard chocolate and peanut butter combo! Plus, Jimmy could live off of PB&J’s if I would let him, I swear! so here goes:

Favorite Peanut Butter and Jelly ‘Pantry’ Bars:

1 stick unsalted softened butter

2 cups creamy or chunky peanut butter of choice

3/4 c of brown sugar

pinch of salt

Cream these ingredients in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly, then gradually add 3/4 to 1 cup of flour until well combined. Take this mixture (which should be thick) and spread evenly in a buttered, glass casserole dish. In this step, you can also add semi-sweet chocolate chips and flaked coconut if you like, I prefer just the simple PB&J combo myself!  Then take jelly of choice, I prefer Strawberry or Grape and spread evenly over peanut butter mixture. It’s better if you use a jelly that’s not chunky, like preserves, cause it will melt down better into bottom layer.

For topping, you will need:

1 cup flour

2 cups chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts

3/4 c brown sugar

pinch of salt

Combine mixture to make a crumbly, streusel-like topping. Sprinkle this over PB&J bars and bake at 350 degrees for approx 30-35 minutes. Then let cool, store in an airtight container.

I told you! Super easy and GREAT for get-togethers! Stay tooned for next update…I might have a link to my new scrapping blog by then!!! Love yall🙂 KT

beautiful bisque.

Building on a recipe that I learned to make while working at the Coffee Loft in Fairhope many years back, this bisque recipe is tried and true and simple enough to make for even the beginner soup maker. All it takes is a little time, patience and love and the right combination of ingredients. I have made this both with crab, crawfish, shrimp and corn, and with all 4 it’s fabulous! But if you have a picky eater like I do, you can skip the corn and just add the good stuff!!

So here it goes… Beth’s Crab and Corn (or Crawfish, Crab and Corn Bisque:

Start with a large pot with a tight fitting lid, preferably a dutch oven or gumbo pot. I have one that was my granma’s that has lots of good years of use already in it! I have also made this recipe recently in my crock pot, and it turned out really great! You’ll need 1-2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened, one large yellow onion, chopped fine, one large bunch of celery, finely chopped, and about 6-10 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped. Also you will need all purpose flour to start your rue.

Over med-low heat, begin melting the first stick of butter. By tablespoonfuls, add the flour to the butter, stirring vigorously each time and making sure not to burn the flour. You will add up to 1 cup by the time you are done. Add 1/2 of the remaining stick of butter at the end, and let the rue cook for a few mins to get the raw flour taste out, but again keep stirring it to make sure it doesn’t burn. After a few mins, the rue should be a light brown color, then you can start adding your veggies the holy trinity-the onions first, then celery, then garlic last. Mix this well. the veggies should be well coated in the rue mixture in almost a paste-like consistency. Let them cook for a few mins.

After a few mins, you will need to start building your soup. First, add about 1 box (or 2 depending on how much you want to make) of  low sodium chicken stock. Turn the mixture up to high and let it start to come to a boil. At this point, you may also add some chicken base- about 1 tsp. if you have that at home as well. Next, add 1 large container half and half. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil before you add the seafood.

Jimmy really had no idea what a crawfish was until he moved down south! Now he’s hooked for life on that DIP (Sauphin Island Parkway) seafood!!I have used freshly peeled and caught crawfish, as well as frozen, but in Mobile you have the availability of both at your fingertips. Either will work well here. If you are using fresh, 2 lbs will do. If you are using frozen, 2 packs should work. Also I use 1 container lump fresh crabmeat (the pricey stuff) along with 2 cans of the inexpensive crabmeat you can find at most stores. If you are adding shrimp in this step, you would need to peel and devien them,a nd add them last. Add the crabmeat at this point along with 1-2 tsp zataran’s or other crab and shrimp boil, salt and pepper to taste, cayenne to taste Or you can use Emeril’s seasoning here, and garlic powder or Everglades seasoning to taste. Let that cook on a low boil for a while, or all day if you like, the longer the better, then add the crawfish last. Mix well all ingredients making sure the bottom isn’t burning, and return stove to med-low. Cover the mixture and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring about every 10 mins.

After the soup has thickened, you may add your shrimp at the very end along with green onions, corn, and parmesan cheese if you like. This soup will be better over time and the longer you let it sit and cook. It is also WONDERFUL the next day after soaking a bit in the fridge. I like to serve mine with crusty french bread and extra parmesan on top, along with a cold beer! This recipe also easily doubles and is great for ball games or parties!!!

That one was for you Mitra!!! Let me know if my instructions weren’t clear🙂 In a hurry to get home and cook now!

Until next time, your favorite food gal,


pork meets eggroll.

I have to admit, I am one of the kinds of people who once they’ve had something really good at a restaurant, I try to go home to duplicate it. It never seems to be exactly the same as when you’ve eaten whatever it is out, but cooking is all about trials and tribulations right?  I guess it was sometime this past fall that Jimmy and I treated ourselves to a very RARE date night…the typical dinner and a movie. We went to see TRON in 3D (which I have to admit was awesome but why don’t they let you keep the 3D glasses for next time? #lame) well before the movie we went to Applebee’s. They had a few new things on the menu, and one of them was an appetizer that we tried, pulled pork wontons! Man they were so good! I could have eaten a whole other order on my own! They were like BBQ pulled pork inside a crispy fried wonton shell with this sweet slaw and spicy vinaigrette of some kind that had cilantro in it. Building on this  idea, I came up with a similar version of that, pulled pork egg rolls. I could never really find the wonton shells needed to make the same kind that Applebees does, but this is very similar and gives you a really good app or a main course that goes great with homemade fried rice.

Pulled Pork Eggrolls

for the pork tenderloin: (regular, unseasoned pork tenderloin or shoulder, approx 1.5-3 lbs)

1 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp grill seasoning (such as McCormick)

1/2 cup orange juice or apple juice*

1 1/2 cup BBQ sauce of choice or Asian Sweet Chili Sauce*

plus 1 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp ground ginger for Asian*

* in these to ingredients, you can decide if you want a more BBQ-y pulled pork or a more Asian style pork. I have made it both ways and it works well. If you are doing BBQ, use apple juice, if you are doing Asian, use orange juice.

Make sure pork is at room temp. Add whole pork into slow cooker. If it’s too big to close the lid, cut the pork in half to make it fit where lid can close tightly. Add all dry ingredients to pork first, rubbing each side well with the rub. Next mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl and add to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours until tender, or on low for 8 hours.  This is a great smell to come home to after a long day’s work!!

After the pork has cooled, you can simply use it to make pulled pork sandwiches on soft buns, by using the liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker and reducing it in a saucepan over low heat, as the BBQ sauce.  This is a great quick meal to serve with store-bought sweet potatoe fries or tots!!

To make the eggrolls, let the pork cool and tear it in a large bowl using a fork until it’s completely shredded.  You will need 1 bag of coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage, large eggroll wrappers, and 1 cup of chopped scallions, softened cream cheese*, also chopped cilantro and rice wine vinegar is optional. To begin building your eggroll, take one eggroll wrapper, lay it on a flat clean surface, and wipe down all four edges with water, using your finger. Put a small amount of the pork, then the cabbage, then cream cheese(optional), then scallions, cilantro, and rice wine vinegar. Fold in each side equally, and start rolling eggroll tightly, making sure that all edges are well sealed. Repeat these steps until all ingredients are used. Fry the eggrolls in a fry daddy or in a large skillet with 2 inches of canola or veg oil in the bottom, until golden brown. This is a great way to use the pork for a second night if you have some leftover!!

You can also serve these during a football party, as a different type of snack, and here are a few ideas for easy dipping sauces:

Duck sauce (store bought) or sweet and sour (store bought)

You can make an easy sweet and sour sauce by combining soy sauce, grape jelly, and ketchup over low heat. Also, another good homemade dipping sauce is creamy peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, teriyaki marinade, sweet chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, canola oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Use almost equal parts of peanut butter, teriyaki and soy, then add other ingredients to taste. These are all super easy and just take some experimenting to make!! I hope all you fellow Asian-food fans will try this out when you’re having a craving for Applebees pulled pork wontons like I was!!

The best chicken lasagna ever!!

I myself love anything Italian. Especially their food. So when I found a recipe for cheesy chicken lasagna with white sauce, I knew I had to try it. I used to always get the frozen stouffers veggie lasagna when I lived alone, it was one of my favs, so I figured this would be similar. It was my first attempt at making any type of lasagna from scratch so of course I was intimidated. But I bought the oven-ready noodles and it was a easy! You must try if you love chicken, spinach and lots of cheese!!!

Easy Chicken Lasagna
1 box oven ready lasagna noodles
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and chopped
Diced, cooked chicken breast
1 med yellow onion
1 box frozen chopped spinach, drained
Minced mushrooms, if desired
Half and half or milk
4 cups mozzerella cheese
Italian bread crumbs
Leg container Ricotta cheese
Olive oil, salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt a few tbsp butter and olive oil over med high heat. Add onions, cooking until translucent, then garlic. Constantly stirring, add 2-3 tbsp flour and mix well. Next, add 2 cups half in half or milk and lower heat being sure not to boil. Mix well, then add half of the mozzarella cheese (2 cups). In this step I used provolone cheese the first time I made it and it worked also. These mixture is your white sauce.
Next, begin your assembly in a deep casserole dish. Spoon some of the white sauce in the bottom of a greased and lined dish. Layer with noodles. Next add 1/2 of the ricotta, 1/2 of the spinach, and the diced chicken. Add some white sauce and repeat with another layer. On the top layer, spoon the remaining sauce, the remaining mozzarella, then the breadcrumbs. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes. Serve immediately! Will keep well in fridge for up to 1 week!!
Until next time food friends,
Enjoy some spice in your life!! Love, your favorite food gal:)

Can U believe it… Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese!

I have made this recipe several times since discovering it a few weeks ago in FNM. I made it the first time for Jimmy, and he of course couldn’t get enough of it! I made it again about a week ago and brought some to work to share and it was a major hit! I have a few small variations that I think make it extra special, but it’s not hard to make it just takes a little time and patience. The hardest part is getting the cheese sauce to the right consistency. After you have made it though 2 or 3 times, it’s super easy! And it’s always a hit with everyone and will feed a large crowd. Especially if you have unexpected guests at your house, kids love it too! I hope you will give this recipe a shot, because it is by far one of my favorite dishes I have tried this summer.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

7 Tbsp unsalted butter

Kosher salt

1 lb elbow macaroni (we used whole wheat pasta)

2 stalks celery

1 small yellow or white onion

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie or roasted at home)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 c. hot sauce (preferably Frank’s original, NOT buffalo)

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp dry mustard

2 1/2 c. half and half (we used 2 c. fat free and 1/2 c. milk)

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded

2/3 c. sour cream  ( we used fat free)

1 c. breadcrumbs (preferably panko, but cheese nips can be substituted here)

1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese

2 tsp. fresh parsley *optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes, drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. (For the chicken in this step I roasted my own chicken breasts in the oven with olive oil and mcormick’s montreal chicken seasoning). Add 1/2 c. of the hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about another 2 minutes.

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and dry mustard  with a wooden spoon until smooth. It should be a light yellowy-brown color, with most of the flour taste cooked out of it. Be careful that your temperature is not too HIGH in this step, otherwise your sauce won’t be smooth. You may have to add another tbsp of flour in this step to get the right ratio. Whisk in the half and half ( and or milk) and the remaining 1/4 c. hot sauce plus more to taste. Stir until thick, about 2-3 minutes. alternately stir in the cheeses, cheddar and pepper jack until melted. Last, stir in the sour cream and mix well until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared dish, then top with the chicken mixture. Top with some of the cheese sauce, then the remaining macaroni. The rest of the cheese sauce should be spread evenly on top. Melt the 2 remaining tbsp butter in a microwave safe dish, then mix in blue cheese crumbles and breadcrumbs (or cheese nips) to make the topping. Spread the topping evenly over dish, and bake until bubbly, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool for 1o minutes before serving! Enjoy!!

Ahhh:) the ultimate comfort food… MAC AND CHEESE!

❤ your favorite food gal,


finger lickin’ good

I must say that since jimmy has been a transplant to the south from the west coast, he has definitely become a convert of the ‘”church of BBQ”. One of our favorite BBQ joints is just right down the road from us, Smokey Dembo. The funny thing is they are only open Thursday Saturday so you know they are doing something right with their food if they can afford to stay in business! The guy that owns the place starts smoking his ribs on Tuesday to get ready for Thursday night’s menu! Craziness! Well who has that kind of time these days? I certainly don’t, so I came up with a way to satisfy jimmy’s cravings for BBQ on a weeknight and still get it done in less time. I found a recipe that oven-roasts the ribs and it gives them a really yummy taste, but doesn’t take as long. I have made this recipe 2 different times and the second time it turned out better because I tweaked it to our liking on the spices and of course basted them with our favorite BBQ sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s. If you haven’t made ribs outside of the standard grilling method, you have to try this recipe! It is so easy and perfect for a mid-week BBQ craving!

Sweet Tea Ribs

3-4 bags black tea, any kind  ( I used iced tea blend)

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp light brown sugar

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp cummin

1 tsp dry mustard

2 tsp black pepper

salt to taste

zest of 1 orange, plus juice for sauce

BBQ sauce of choice, for basting  (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s honey chipotle)

2 racks baby back ribs

Empty tea bags into a bowl and combine with brown sugar and other spices to make a rub. Grate in the orange zest and mix well. Pat the ribs dry and trim the membrane from the underside. Rub the tea mixture over ribs, making sure to coat every surface. Place them in a roasting pan, meat-side up, and bring to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the juice from the orange and BBQ sauce over low heat. It should thin out the sauce but still make it thick enough for good basting. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the ribs and cover with foil. Roast until tender, about 1 hr and 30 minutes. Be sure not to check the ribs at any time during this step, keep the oven closed so that they can roast evenly!

Remove ribs from oven and increase temp. to 450 degrees. Baste the ribs with the remainder of the BBQ sauce, and return to the oven and cook, uncovered, basting a few times until ribs are dark and glazed, about 20-30 minutes. When ribs are done let them cool and serve with your favorite southern sides! potato salad is one of my fav’s, here is a very simple recipe for a good one:

Lemony Potato Salad

2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

1 lemon, for zest and juice

1/2 cup parmesan-romano blend cheese

Boil potatoes in  a large pot of salted water, until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Mix mayo and chives together, and add the zest and juice of 1/2 of the lemon. Combine potatoes with dressing, mixing well. Grate the rest of the lemon zest into bowl, then add parmesan cheese, tossing again to mix. Chill in fridge until ready to serve!

Hope y’all enjoyed these southern-inspired recipes today. I sure enjoyed sharing them! Until next time~


for the love of pizza.

probably one of the staples in our house is homemade pizza. who doesn’t like pizza right? it’s so much fun to make your own dough (and super easy too when you use the jiffy in a box kind) as well as entertaining to see your cooking partner try to perfect his dough-throwing skills. Jimmy used to work at Round Table Pizza in Portland, OR back in the day. He was a dough-roller. Now, since we have been together, we try to make a different homemade pizza at least every other week. It’s simple and fun, and if you make personal size ones, you can top it with whatever you want!! I recently got a super great ” encylopedia of pizzas” if you will, with my food network magazine subscription. It has 50 different recipes. We’ve only tried one so far, but I want to share it with everyone cause it was so yummy! You must try this one out for your next week-night dinner. The other thing I really liked about it was the ingredients were really inexpensive and some of them I already had on hand. Here goes:

Apple-Cheddar Pizzas


  • 2 boxes jiffy pizza crust mix ( or premade crust of your choice)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 med apples (green or granny smith are suggested)
  • 1-2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • approx. 8 slices pan cooked bacon ( we used maple flavored)
  • maple syrup

Mix pizza dough according to package directions, cover with a damp paper towel, and set aside to rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, begin cooking the bacon in a skillet until crisp, being sure not to overcook it, and drain of excess grease. Cut apples, core them and slice thinly, set aside.

After pizza dough has risen, flatten by hand onto cookie sheet, ( you should have two 9 inch rounds or squares). Brush dough generously with olive oil, and lightly salt each. Pre-bake in oven at 450 degrees for approx. 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you want it to rise but not get too crispy.

After pizza doughs are cooked, top each with 1 thinly sliced apple and thyme. Spread cheddar cheese evenly over each pizza. Bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes. remove from oven, top with cooked bacon, and bake for another 5-6 minutes.  When pizza is done and golden brown, remove from oven. Immediately drizzle with maple syrup while pizza is still hot. Serve warm and enjoy! You may need a fork!

Until next time, your favorite food gal~