Mid Week Marinade

As mentioned, Santa left many cooking goodies for me this year and it is all I can do to get in the kitchen and try them out. First up, my reversible griddle {HERE}.

Lodge

I wanted to add this to my collection as a way to prepare quick grilled meals. With it being the middle of the work week, I’m looking for yummy meal without a lot of time spent stove side. I whisked up this easy marinade found via pinterest {HERE} and let the chicken soak for about 45 minutes.

Once ready to cook the chicken, I let my griddle (grill side up) warm over medium heat before adding the chicken.

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I then added my chicken breast and cooked for 6 minutes on each side.

How’s that for a quick meal? Next time, I’ll have my chicken prepared ahead of time to shave off the soaking time needed. Do you have any quick recipes to share? Leave a comment!

AMS

Mid Week Marinade

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar

Whisk all ingredients together. Let meat soak for a minimum of 45 minutes but ideally overnight.

The Lovin’ Spoonful: Mixologist

Every Christmas, my Dad’s family exchanges practical gifts; the most popular of such would include spatulas, dish towels and of course pre-packaged recipes. If you are wondering about the latter – you are may not be alone.

A Smith family tradition was born when the first ‘jared’ mix was given at Christmas many years ago. If my memory serves correct, I believe the first were filled with pre-mixed cookies, yet now has now evolved into soups, rubs and any other edible that fits a jar! This fun sometimes silly tradition is the way in which the women of my family share recipes amongst one another.

Along with a fragrant rub, smores bar and toffee chipper cookie mix; I received a Pasta Fagioli soup mix. Between the Boyfriend’s love of Pasta Fagioli Soup and the cold temperatures here in Atlanta, I was eager to try out this new recipe.

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Recipe courtesy of Aunt Wanda

Pasta Fagioli Soup Mix
(Yields 14 Servings)

In the bag:
1 cup small pasta shells
3/4 cup dried great northern beans
3/4 cup dried pinto beans
3/4 cup dried minced onion
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 bay leaf
Dash crushed red pepper
                                              *****Dried ingredients may be substituted for fresh


Additional Ingredients:
14 cups water (divided)
1 1/2 diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Grated parmesan cheese

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Remove seasoning packet from jar. Remove beans, sort. Set pasta aside. I found this to be a quite humorous statement. After re-reading this line out loud…to The Boyfriend and the parents….I finally realized it indeed did want me to separate each bean from noodle by hand

DSC_0020Place beans in a Dutch oven; add six cups of water. – With no dutch oven, I used the biggest – heaviest pot in my cabinet.

Bring to a boil; boil for two minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for one to four hours or until beans are softened. Drain and discard liquid.

Return beans to pan. Add contents of seasoning packet and remaining water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for one hour or until beans are tender.

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Add tomatoes, carrots, celery and salt. Cover and simmer 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf before serving. Garnish with cheese.

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Serve with your favorite French bread, buttered.

I really enjoyed this new recipe. Though a little tedious, the moment The Boyfriend and I shared as we separated beans from noodles made it worth its while. As I topped our bowls with the parmesan cheese I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. First homemade soup – check!

Have you tried a new recipe? I want to hear – tweet me @theprettypeach
XOXOX

Note to self: add dutch oven to list of kitchen essentials needed!

Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter

Upon a late night craving from The Boyfriend, I found myself digging through the cabinets for something sweet to whip up. Getting to know my boy means soon realizing he has an insatiable sweet tooth. With a few leftover baking items from Thanksgiving, I soon settled on a yummy peanut butter recipe I tweaked to fit what was hanging around my cubbard.

Enjoy!

XO

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Title:
Quote “Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter” made by James A. Garfield

Recipe Inspiration:
Courtesy of JoyofBaking.com

TLS: Hoorah for Okra

For my latest kitchen endeavor, I decided it was time to unthaw okra left behind by the parents on their last visit. Dad has been flexing his green thumb lately and I get the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of his labor. Cream corn, okra, limas and a bounty of other veggies have made their way out of his South Georgia garden and into my freezer.

Living with a health conscious individual means the non existence of fried food in our diet. This isn’t to say I don’t indulge in the crispy side of life when at a restaurant from time to time but when cooking I have never officially fried. In addition to the never-have-I-ever‘s comes the embarrassing admittance that I, a self proclaimed southern lady, has never ate nor dealt with okra! After months of begging from The Boyfriend, I decided to tackle this southern fried staple and officially seal my southern status.

Of course I relied on Paula Deen to navigate me through this slimy new world with southern grace. Below is her recipe that was a hit in my house. Try it for yourself and tweet me your thoughts @theprettypeach!

XO

Ingredients
6 cups oil, for frying
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Paula Deen’s House Seasoning****
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds sliced okra
1/2 cup buttermilk

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On medium to high heat, warm oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Have enough oil in the pan to almost (but not fully) cover the sliced pieces of okra.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, sifted flour, House Seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well.

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Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It may be necessary to fry the okra in batches.)

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Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately..

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****Paula Deen’s House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months

Lovin’ Spoonful: Thanksgiving 101

For our first Thanksgiving in Atlanta, the boyfriend and I decided to stay home for the holiday. This change in tradition meant starting our own. Against his recommendation of just ‘picking up’ our meal – I broke out the cookbooks in search of thanksgiving feast recipes.

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Notice the brownies amongst the books….cooking jitters!

After many google searches and calls home, I finalized our menu and rolled up my sleeves. First on the list of things to do: prep the turkey. To my utter alarm, I opened up the 10lb turkey to see no legs!?! Instantly I dialed Dad’s number and was assured it was indeed not deformed instead just the turkey breast I bought by mistake. Many deep breaths and coaching from the boy resulted in a seasoned turkey, from scratch pecan pie and delicious family thanksgiving favorites.

Our Menu:
Turkey
Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Souffle
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie

To my pleasure, my first Thanksgiving attempt was a success! Putting up leftovers ended with a second piece of pie, followed by an afternoon nap and football. During the holidays my second slice pecan pie is a wonderful ending to any meal. Try it for yourself!

XO

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Second Slice Pecan Pie

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add diced butter a couple of cubes a time until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch buttered pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Pie Filling:

3 eggs room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarse chopped pecans
1 uncooked pie crust

Beat eggs slightly in bowl, stir in  sugar, corn syrup and melted butter. Add vanilla then stir in pecans. Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

The Lovin’ Spoonful: Apples and Orange Juice

The Boyfriend’s grandparents are coming to town so I did what most southern’s do – scrub my house from top to bottom then broke out the cookbooks for the perfect welcoming recipe. While southern summers are spent chatting outside over glasses of sweet tea, winters are spent around the table, talking over coffee and some type of cake-like food. With the cool weather in tow, I knew a bread would be perfect to serve with a warm cup of coffee while my guests were visiting. I knew I wanted to try something new and after a little digging, I found a recipe for apple bread that I felt my beginner skills could indeed pull off.

While executing my newfound recipe, I found myself thinking of my Nana. She is a master baker from years of adding a touch of this or a sprinkle of that. I can see her delicate hands tossing pecans in a bowl then always taking a nibble to see what needed to be added. Maybe one day I will have such instincts but until then, I will follow the recipe to a T! Tips I picked up from Nana through the years helped make this attempt a success so let me pass such things along to you:

  • Always sift your flour
  • Set your eggs out before baking so they are closer to room temperature
  • Never dump all your dry ingredients in at one time
  • Pre-heat your oven in advance so it is an even temperature throughout
  • Don’t open the oven door while baking unless you must!

Try this yummy bread for yourself! Recipe found {Here}. If I can pull it off, I’m sure my readers can!

XO,
The Pretty Peach

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The Lovin’ Spoonful: Loaf of Heaven

If you know me, you know I epitomize the southern stereotypical diet of ‘meat and potatoes’ – my relationship with vegetables consists of choking enough down to satisfy The Boy without him noticing the few I slide off the plate for the pups. Shh…don’t tell! This concealed act is justified in my head solely because I believe the puppies should get their veggies even if it means me sacrificing the very ones off my plate.

Though my love for meat has been inherent from birth, I have yet to remember a plate of meatloaf I enjoyed. When asked to name dishes I preferred, I have never once uttered meatloaf. Upon persistent request from Eric, I decided to try my hand at cooking a southern classic.

Here is the recipe I chose and has since become a classic in my cookbook. I love how simple this is by using staples found in any southern pantry.

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Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 egg lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

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Directions:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine been, tomato paste, onions, green pepper, oats, egg, salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into a loaf and place it in a 9×5″ loaf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.Slather glaze on top of the meat loaf and bake until the meat loaf is firm and cooked all the way through; about one hour.

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Enjoy!!

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Suggestions for more flavor? Would love for you to comment!!

XOXO