Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pineapple and Pecan Chicken Salad


One place you will never see Gerald is in a Chicken Salad Chick restaurant...if you do, call me ASAP. He's undoubtedly been kidnapped! It's a little different at home. He has tried a couple of different chicken salads and lived to tell about it! Thus, today's post...

I've been jumping around a little bit lately, but I'm revisiting Mother's Day to share with you the recipe for the chicken salad sliders we had that day. I have already given you the recipe for Gerald's Favorite Chicken Salad (which if you know Gerald, you realize how much of an oxymoron "Gerald's favorite any kind of salad" is!). If you haven't tried it, click above and check it out. It really is good.

I wanted to do something a little different this time, so I made up another fruity twist on chicken salad with ingredients I had on hand. I did buy a rotisserie chicken, which I picked and chopped before adding all the extras. 

TIP - Be sure to pick your chicken while it's's so much easier!

Next I added a small can of crushed pineapple (with the juice), a cup of craisins (I have been buying the low sugar variety and no one knows any better!), half a bunch of chopped green onions (white and green parts) and a cup of toasted pecans.

TIP - I toast my pecans in the microwave. I place them in a bowl and begin with about 1.5 minutes on high. Stir and continue to cook in 30 second intervals until they are done. They take on the taosted flavor without as much damger of burning. Lots faster, too.

Lastly, I added about a cup of mayo. Add more or less to taste. Also season well with salt and pepper. You can add a little bit of sugar if it is not quite sweet enough for you. The juice makes it pretty sweet, though. I usually add a little more mayo (maybe 1/4 cup) just before serving. The chicken will absorb much of the mayo, and this makes it more creamy. Prettier, too.

I served this on whole wheat Hawaiian rolls. That added to the sweet flavor, too, so don't sweeten the chicken salad too much! Even the men liked this salad. Gerald says the other is still his favorite, but hey, at least now, he has a couple of chicken salad recipes under his belt!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bacon and Cheese Scones

Today we're talking scones, or what we Southerners would call "fancy biscuits"! When I make my corn bisque, I usually make crispy garlic bread to dip in it, but last week, I decided to try something new. Since I wasn't adding crab or shrimp to the bisque, I decided to try these bacon and cheese scones. Corn and bacon go great together, right? Right!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together two cups all purpose flour, one teaspoon salt,
one tablespoon baking powder and two teaspoons sugar. 
Cut in four tablespoons of very cold butter.
Work until butter is smaller than pea-sized.

TIP - Don't use your hands. That will warm the butter and soften it. Use a biscuit cutter or a fork. Also - stick it in the freezer while you get all your ingredients ready. It will stay colder much longer, allowing your butter to stay cold. This helps your biscuits rise and be fluffy.

Add eight slices of crispy and crumbled bacon, one cup grated cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup of minced chives.

Mix well until everything is coated in the flour. Slowly add in 3/4 cup of heavy cream (I used half and half). It may not take all of it. You don't want the dough to be wet. However, it needs enough moisture to come together when squeezed.

Grease a 10" skillet with butter.

Pat dough lightly into the skillet.

Use a sharp knife and carefully cut into "pie slices".
Brush lightly with an egg beaten with a little milk.

Bake 30 to 35  minutes or until done and golden brown.
Using a sharp knife, go back through the cuts.
Serve warm.

This was the perfect compliment to the creamy and sweet corn bisque! I dipped a little into the bisque, then finally just crumbled it into large pieces and dropped it in. Jewell ate her's with grape jelly. Either way, it was delicious!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Corn Bisque

It's raining out today, and that just makes me hungry for soup. Know what I mean? I know I still owe you a couple of posts about food from Mother's Day, but I thought I'd jump ahead and give you this soup recipe. We have rain in the forecast for the next couple of days. You've got plenty of time to make and enjoy this delicious soup!

Gerald's parents came for a quick visit a couple of weeks ago. I know they like to eat light at night, and we should too, so I made us a pot of corn bisque and a pan of bacon and cheddar scones. Umm, Umm, good. 

I found this recipe in Southern Living nearly a decade ago, and I have changed it a little over time. I first made it at the beach and added fresh crab meat. Yep. It was amazing. I still add canned flaked crab meat from time to time, but this time, since we had bacon in the scones, I left it vegetarian.

Begin by heating two tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat. Add two stalks of celery and a large onion, both chopped. I season every layer lightly instead of waiting until the end. Saute until translucent.

Add four cloves of minced garlic near the end. Saute for one minute or until you smell the garlic.

Add six level tablespoons of flour and stir until the veggies are well coated. Cook (stirring constantly) for about three minutes on medium-low heat to cook the flour.

Add six cups of chicken broth. Using a whisk, make sure all the flour is dissolved into the broth, then gradually bring to a boil.

Add three tubes of thawed frozen creamed corn. I usually use two tubes of yellow corn and one of white, but all Walmart had the other day was white. Turned out just as good! After adding the corn, simmer on low for about 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Be very careful - it's so hot!

The recipe calls for heavy cream. I forgot to buy it, so I just used half and half. It was fine. Also add six tablespoons of sherry. I used Marsala instead. A friend had given me a bottle to make Carabba's Chicken Marsala. As usual - I used what I had on hand.

Stir well over low heat.

You can still see a little of the celery, but it's not chunky by any means. This is fine.

I sprinkled the soup with a few chives from my herb garden. The scones have chives in them, so it was nice to repeat the subtle flavor.

This is so creamy and naturally sweet from the corn. I usually serve breadsticks or garlic bread with this, but the scones were a delicious side. I'll share the recipe for them soon!

This soup tastes like summer, and there are so many things you can add to it! Crab meat is great, but so is shrimp. I've never tried it, but you could probably add shredded chicken as well. Give it a try soon!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Simple Chip Dip

Because Mother's Day is all about us women, I planned a female-friendly menu. Although, it was well received by the men, too! We had chicken salad sliders, spinach and strawberry salad, chips and dip, and assorted pickled veggies.

Today I am sharing the recipe for the chip dip. This tastes like a really good ranch-style "party dip". It's super easy and delicious!

Simple Chip Dip

2 cups sour cream
1 cup mayo
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
4 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight for best flavor. This has to sit for several hours to let all the herbs rehydrate. Will keep in the fridge for three days. Serve with your favorite chips.

My mom brought over a jar of her famous pickles. We all keep these on hand. They are by far my favorite pickle. You can find the recipe for them here.

Here's another look at my tablescape. Check back tomorrow and I'll share my chicken salad recipe.


I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Pretty in Pink - Mother's Day 2017 Tablescape

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Mother's Day. I know I did! We hosted my parents, along with my brothers and their wives and kids at our home for lunch. My in-laws were in town earlier last week. I'll share the special supper we had with them later this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Building a Tablescape - How and Why, and in it, I showed you how I had pulled a few things for both Mother's Day and Cinco de Mayo. That post was not just about how to do it, but the importance of why - spending time together around the table and building traditions. Above you can see what I used as a base for my Mother's Day tablescape. Below I'll show you how it all came together.

I began with my white linen tablecloth and then layered a pink gingham check cloth that I made nearly 15 years ago when Faulkner was hosting a dinner for auxiliary groups from various other Christian colleges. I was responsible for decorating one table. This was long before I was blogging, and although I loved entertaining even back then, my skills were far from what they are today! I pretty much had the tablecloth and napkins (you'll see below) and then my white dishes and green stemware. Pretty, but no depth to it. I've come a long way baby!

The tablerunner above came from Dillards on clearance. It has been seen recently in Brack's Chinese-Inspired tablescape as well as Thanksgiving 2015

During lunch yesterday, my mother asked me where I got the scalloped placemats. She was beginning to say that she had some like them. I guess I looked a little sheepish, because she said, "Are these mine?!" Guilty! I couldn't find a picture of where I have used these before, so I don't know why I "borrowed" them. I assured her I'd return them this week...I need the space! 

Next came my wicker chargers. I absolutely love these! They're perfect no matter the season, and they add such pretty texture. They play well with the table runner.

I know I've been using my "new" thrift store white dishes ("Heritage" by Pfaltzgraff) a lot lately, and I thought about using my original white everyday wear, but I thought the shape worked well with the salad plates I used.

The pretty in pink stemware is also called "Heritage" and is a retired pattern by Fostoria. They're so lady-like! 


I added coffee cups to the placesetting. Not only was I planning to serve coffee with dessert, it adds more dimension to the tablesetting.

Here are the napkins I made for the Faulkner dinner years ago - a pretty pink and green toile. I think the green glasses were probably very nice with it years ago.

I decided to use my "gold" flatwear. To me, it went well with the wicker natural elements - if not texture wise, at least in color. Silver would have stood out too much. The pattern is "Golden American Chippendale" by FB Rogers.

Here you can see my salad plates. Although round, the pink on the inside reflects the shape on the dinner plate. I picked these up last fall at a thrift shop. I think I got eight for $5. I believe the pattern is "Lyon". They are by Gibson.

Continuing with the natural elements, I decided to use these rope-accented flower vases I made a couple of years ago for another Mother's Day table. You can see exactly how I did it by clicking the link above. I started off planning to use three, but ended up pulling one off later.

Friends for Faulkner had their annual yardsale about a week ago, and I picked up three of these pretty gold votives. They worked with the natural colors and my gold flatware. 

So here's what it looked like after I set the table mid-week. I try to set the table ahead of time, especially when I know we have a busy weekend.

I picked up my flowers on Friday afternoon. There is a wholesale floral shop that let's me in (I still pay tax, but it's a great savings). I went in not knowing what I was going to find with it being Mother's Day. They had some beautiful pink tulips, but: a) they weren't right for the vases I was using, and b) they were the wrong color pink. They had some pretty pink Alstromeria that I was heading for, but then I saw these...

It's called "Rice Flower", and I thought it was so pretty and different! They have a very woody stem with foliage almost like pine needles. I bought a bunch and cut it to the length of my vase. There are five stems in each vase, and when I put them in the vase, they automatically formed a beautiful dome! I added a little bit of cutting from my nandina and called it a day. Pretty and low, it was the perfect color for my tablescape. The florist also told me they dry well. We'll see if I can figure out how to do it. They'd be beautiful in Jewell's bedroom.

I put my flowers out and lit the candles as everyone was arriving.

The ladies all sat in the dining room. It was such a pretty and feminine table! I love all the layers and levels. My favorite tablescapes are the ones stacked up high!

We had a simple, but delicious meal. I 'll share that with you over the next few days.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Easy Sopaipillas

Today I'm wrapping up my Cinco de Mayo posts with a recipe for easy sopaipillas and the details on the rest of the meal. My kids love getting sopaipillas when we eat at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. This was the perfect end to a great at-home Mexican meal!

Easy Sopaipillas

Thaw one sheet of frozen puff pastry. This takes about 20-30 minutes at room temp. Keep it covered so it doesn't dry out. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Next I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper so I wouldn't have to add any oil or spray. Then I cut the pastry sheet into nine even pieces, then cut those in half diagonally. I spread them a little on the baking sheet to allow them room to puff up. I baked them about 12 minutes, until they were crispy and a light golden brown. While they were baking, I mixed a cup of granulated sugar with a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon in a large, deep bowl. As soon as I took them out of the oven, I tossed each one in the sugar mixture. I placed three pieces on a dessert plate and drizzled them with honey from my daddy's beehives. 

These were sweet, but light, and with a little decaf coffee on the side, they were the perfect finish for our Mexican fiesta!

You can get the recipe for the mole here. I first made it for my Mixing Bowls Cookbook Club last year. For this meal, I bought my rotisserie chicken on Monday. I picked the meat off the bones while it was still warm, then froze it. Thursday morning, I took it out and thawed it. I made the mole right after lunch and allowed it to simmer. I added the chicken about one hour before dinner. Yumm.

I had Gerald stop and get chips, cheese, and salsa from a Mexican restaurant on the way home. No need to reinvent the wheel!

We had a great time eating and talking. The kids enjoyed having their grandparents to themselves, and I loved that there were no phones or iPads at the table! Ole!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Sorry I'm using the same pic as yesterday, but I want to tell you how I made the Mexican Street Corn Salad, and this is the only picture I have!

I began with the dressing. I mixed 1/4 cup of mayo with the zest and juice of a lime. I also added salt and pepper to taste.

To a large bag of thawed frozen corn, I added a couple of finely minced cloves of garlic, half a jalapeno, seeded and finely minced, a couple of tablespoons of cilantro, a teaspoon of chili powder, and a little more salt.

I added about half of the dressing to the corn and mixed well. I saved the rest to add right before serving. Dressing is often absorbed when it sits. I put both the salad and the dressing in the fridge to allow it to chill.

Right before dinner, I opened my cheese. This cheese is kind of like a soft goat cheese in texture. It crumbles well, but is not as wet and sticky as goat cheese.

I broke up the entire package. About 1/2 a cup went into the salad with a little more of the dressing. The rest of the cheese was for the mole. (More about that tomorrow.)

This salad was fresh and creamy. It has a subtle kick, but you can make it as hot - or not - as you want by adding more or less jalapeno.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the rest of the meal and share what we had for dessert!

  I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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