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Sweet Potato Casserole

My Grandmother started making this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe at least 5 years ago for Thanksgiving.  It has turned into such a favorite the pan is almost licked clean.  My daughter will usually eat as much as I will give and then a second helping.  We no longer prepare the sweet potatoes any other way for the holidays.

I find myself making it throughout the year as dessert for my kids.  I have yet to get Mr.Picky to like sweet potatoes of any kind.  We were headed to my family’s for dinner where I was preparing a somewhat Thanksgiving flavored dinner.  I had extra sweet potatoes to use up and thought this would be the perfect side dish to the meal.  Although we serve it as a side it has enough sugar and butter to be a dessert, this is probably why it is the best.

In my pictures I made the recipe just as my Grandmother wrote the recipe.  When I got to her and said how come mine doesn’t look like yours?  She stated that she had increased the flour amount in the topping which makes it more of a crumb and better.  I have revised the recipe to the correct flour amount so if your picture looks different it is ok.

Sweet Potato CasseroleSweet Potato Casserole:

  • 6 large sweet potatoes or yams- peel after steaming and mash well
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping:

  • 5 Tbs melted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 Tbs flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

After steaming the sweet potatoes until tender, remove the peel and mash well.  Add in the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Continue to mash until well combined and almost completely smooth.

Spread potatoes in a 9×13″ glass baking dish.

Combine topping ingredients and spread over the sweet potatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until topping is caramelized and potatoes are heated through.


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Spanish Rice

I don’t remember even eating Spanish Rice as a child.  Mr.Picky loves spanish and mexican rice out of a box but I refuse to make the sodium filled rice.  I have come up with a recipe similar to the Mexican rice but had no recipe for the Spanish rice until now.

After doing some research and came up with this recipe after combining what sounded good to me.  It turned out great.  In fact is was the base layer to a skillet/casserole recipe I was making.  Be sure to check back for that recipe.

This Spanish rice is not spicy due to the little ones.  Extra heat could be added with come cayenne pepper to the mix or maybe add a diced jalapeño.  It was flavorful without too much salt and the perfect heat for the kids.

Spanish RiceSpanish Rice:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp or 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium/ high heat.

Saute onion, pepper, and rice.  Stirring constantly so the rice does not burn, cook until most of the rice has toasted and the vegetables soften.

Spanish Rice

Add the rice mixture to a medium pot along with the remaining ingredients.

Bring the mixture up to a boil, cover and reduce heat to the lowest it will go.

Cook covered for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork when done.


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Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi is if not familiar is comparable to sauerkraut but a spicy Korean style.  In is made with a lacto-fermentation process.  This good bacteria is the kind you want in your stomach to keep it healthy and strong.  The link attached has some great information on the process Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

We love kimchi at our house.  Well not so much the kids because of the spicy but Mr.Picky and I do.  Usually if I felt the need for a jar we would go out-of-the-way and purchase some from as Asian store that prepared and sold their own recipe.  I knew there had to be a better way.  How To Make Easy Kimchi at Home Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn was a link I found off of pinterest.

So I went to work.   I collected my ingredients which was mostly getting the fresh vegetables but I had to find the Gochugaru or Korean chile pepper to spice the kimchi.  This seemed a bit more difficult.  I ended us purchasing some in paste form as opposed to powder.  I was upset to learn it also had MSG in it.  Next time I will be ordering some online and have patients until it comes.

Putting the Kimchi together was rather simple but time-consuming.  There is a lot of waiting with this dish, but all great things are worth waiting for right?  The end result is just as I like spicy and crunchy.  I can’t wait to experiment with different vegetables.

Something I did not follow was bothering to weigh my vegetables.  Turns out after cutting it all up I knew I about doubled my amounts.  So I went ahead and doubled my sauce and ended up with 3 partial quart jars probably only 2 quart jars compacted.  Word to the wise is weigh the vegetables and adjust the recipe accordingly.  The link above provided great step by step pictures of the process if you need them.

Homemade KimchiHomemade Kimchi:

  • 1 (2 lb.) head of Napa cabbage
  • 1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
  • water
  • 1 Tbs grated garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tsp fish sauce or water
  • 1-5 Tbs gochugaru (Korean Chili Pepper), add according to level of spice desired
  • 8 oz. diakon radish
  • 4 green onions, trimmed 1″ pieces

Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

In a large bowl combine cut cabbage and salt.  Wearing gloves or just with your hand (it made mine soft) message the salt into the cabbage until starts to soften.  Cover the cabbage will cold water and place a plate on top of the cabbage to hold it down.  Now place weights such as soup cans or jars on top of the plate.  Let stand 1-2 hours.

Homemade Kimchi

Drain water and rinse cabbage with cold water at least 2-3 times.  Allow to drain for about 20 minutes in a colander in the sink.

Meanwhile combine garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, and gochugaru(I added 3 Tbs of spice but doubled the recipe and it is perfect for our taste, I would probably start with 1 Tbs for a single batch) until smooth.

Slice the radish into match sticks pieces and trim the green onions.  Add all the vegetables to the spices including the drained cabbage.  If using your hands to mix (wear gloves) or a spoon and mix all together until evenly coated.

Pack the Kimchi into clean jars and press down until most in under the brine, leave at least 1 inch head room in jar.  Seal with a lid.

Allow Kimchi to set out at room temperature to ferment for 1-5 days.  Press down the vegetables each day to release some gases and taste.  It will bubble and give you  a very pungent aroma in the kitchen.

When the kimchi has reached the point of fermentation that you wish move to the refrigerator.  It can be eaten now or store for 1-2 weeks for the best flavor.

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Quinto Baked Beans

Quinto Baked BeansYears ago Mr.Picky was searching for a baked bean recipe.  We found one in a Better Home and Gardens Grilling Cookbook, although he strayed from the recipe a bit.  This is Mr.Picky’s recipe to make when he is grilling and preparing dinner.  Over the years I think we have perfected this variation of baked beans.

Quinto baked beans give you a variety of five beans and textures alongside the sweet yet smoky flavored sauce.  These beans are not swimming in sauce but are nicely covered and can easily be served on a plate without mixing with everything.  Of course it has a bit of bacon in it which adds flavor and a nice bite when crisped up.

For the next event, or bring a dish meal try throwing these together.  Everyone will love them and they are a good hearty hot dish.  I think I forgot to mention you make them in the slow cooker which just makes everything easier.

Quinto Baked Beans:

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pork and beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-16 oz.) can garbanzo beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can butter beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white kidney or cannellini beans
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs prepared or yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

Saute bacon until partially cooked, drain off as much fat as you can.  Add in onion and garlic and continue to cook until bacon is fully crisp.

Beside the pork and beans, drain and rinse all the cans of bean.

Place all beans, the bacon and onion mixture, and all remaining ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4 hours.  Stirring every so often to prevent burning of the sugars.

Enjoy, enjoy it even more along some good BBQ.


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Drunken Peppers and Onions

I came across this recipe which looked amazing for Flank Steak Fajitas Recipe : Sunny Anderson.  I didn’t have any flank steak so I decided to make my chicken fajitas.  The idea of drunken peppers and onions sounded amazing.  Plus the one reason I don’t usually make fajitas is everyone complains about all the peppers.

So I decided to make the chicken fajitas and drunken peppers separate as Sunny Anderson had made hers.  The peppers were great.  Although my chicken lacked a bit of flavor because it was not cooked with the peppers and onions.  It still is the best fajitas I have had.  Mix dinner up and add a little drunken peppers to the meal.

I winged the recipe and used what I had but they turned out great.  I was worried the jalapeño might be too spicy but it was just right.  Of course it depends on the jalapeño.

Drunken Peppers and Onions along with chicken fajitas.

Drunken Peppers and Onions along with chicken fajitas.

Drunken Peppers and Onions:

  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeño, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beer, we used modelo since we were having mexican food

In a large sauté pan heat oil.  Add in all the peppers and onions and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Drunken Peppers and Onions

Season with salt and pepper and add the beer, cover and cook another 8-10 minutes until the peppers and onions are almost caramelized.

Use to top fajitas, hot dogs, or anything your heart desires.  I think this would make a great dip as well if you added some cream cheese and yogurt.


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Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Broccoli Quinoa BakeI made broccoli quinoa bake as a meatless meal last night.  We loved it, in fact I am already thinking of endless quinoa bake ideas.  Mr.Picky was not around to try it but I think he would tolerate it.  We ate it as a main dish because quinoa is full of protein and we had plenty of broccoli in it.  It would also make a great side dish accompanying any meat really.

Think of it as an easy risotto.  Don’t let the broccoli and quinoa fool you.  We combined both healthy ingredients with some cheese to come up with a family edible solution.

I had inspiration from many recipes I found but I ended up revamping the recipe to my taste.  I made a white sauce by scratch with pulled the whole thing together.  The fat content in other recipes seemed extremely high to me and I reduced that and all turned out well.  Give it a try, it is a great dish to test quinoa out on the family.  I just told them it was rice.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • 1 tsp Morton Nature’s Seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded blended cheese (Colby,cheddar, or mozzarella)
  • 1 green onions,chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed until tender and chopped
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

Bring quinoa, water, and dash of salt to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa looks like it has white tails.  Fluffy with a fork and set aside to cool slightly. (You can skip this step and use leftover cooked quinoa about 1 1/2-2 cups worth).

While the quinoa is cooking steam up the broccoli or use frozen and thaw.  Either way coarsely chop the broccoli.

In a saucepan you are going to make a white sauce or base soup to pull the whole dish together.  Combine 1 cup cold milk and 1 Tbs cornstarch.  Whisk until smooth and continue to heat over medium heat.  At this point you can add the chicken bouillon, salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to taste, dash of nutmeg and to season I added Morton Nature’s Seasoning (see link to create your own).  Continue until starting to thicken, make sure and taste your seasoned sauce.

Cream of whatever or white soup.

Cream of whatever or white soup.

(In substitute to the white sauce you could use a can of cream of mushroom, cream or chicken, or cream of celery soup.  You can also add in mushrooms to the white sauce or any other vegetable you desire)

Now to put it all together in a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cooked broccoli, the white sauce, 1 green onion chopped, shredded cheese, and mayonnaise.  Stir until well combined.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2 or 2 quart baking dish.  Spread evenly and sprinkle with 2 Tbs parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake

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Crockpot Refried Beans

When looking for a simple refried bean recipe I came across Refried Beans Without the Refry Recipe – Allrecipes.com.  This was so easy and my family fell in love.  My daughter is constantly asking when I will make a pot of beans.  Not only is the an inexpensive side dish but is makes a large quantity that can be split and frozen for later uses.  You are controlling what goes into the beans including the amount of salt.

I make these beans as a side dish usually with mexican food.  We eat them up through the week by making bean and cheese burritos for lunch or into a tasty late night snack dip.  Give these beans a try you can’t go wrong.  I gave the recipe my own tweaks after making them multiple times now.

Crock-pot Refried Beans:Crockpot Refried Beans

  • 1 1/2 cup dried pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cup dried black beans
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic,crushed
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Placing a colander over a bowl strain the mixture of all liquids (but reserving the liquids).

Return the beans to the slow cooker.

Using an immersion blender pulse until desired consistency adding about 1/4 cup of liquid at a time as needed.  You can also mash beans with a potato masher for a coarser bean.

Taste for additional salt if needed.


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