Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole

CHICKEN SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE fixed

Squash is a vegetable that we eat year round but it also reminds me of the fall season, which will be here before we know it.  Serving Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole with homemade bread is a comfort meal when the fall season and cooler air moves in.  Enjoy!

Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, roasted and pulp scraped and reserved
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 cups cubed cornbread, divided
  •  Garnish: chopped green onion
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon.  Let cool; crumble. Reserve 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat in pan.
  3. Add flour and garlic to pan.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and cumin.  Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, approximately 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes with green chiles, 1 cup Cheddar, and Parmesan until melted.  Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in spaghetti squash, chicken, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt until combined.  Gently stir in 3 cups cornbread.  Pour mixture into prepared dish; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cornbread, remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar, and bacon.
  5. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with green onion, if desired.

HOW TO ROAST SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut squash in half lengthwise.  Using a spoon, scoop out interior pulp and seeds.  Drizzle squash halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down.  Bake at 400° until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.  Let cool 30 minutes.  Using a fork, scrape squash strands into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

 

Oreo® Milkshake

oreo1102654smidgen

Since we are in the ‘Dog Days of Summer’, today was a good day to make some homemade milkshakes.  This milkshake is so easy to make and makes every child smile from one ear to the other.

Oreo® Milkshake

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 6 Oreo cookies

Directions:

  1. Blend ice cream, milk, and Oreo cookies together in a blender until smooth.  Pour into 2 glasses.

Hiking trip to Greeter Falls, Tennessee

My husband and I live in the great state of Tennessee and there are many things to do here, like hiking.  One of our favorite places to visit is Greeter Falls, which is in Beersheba Springs, Tennessee.  Beersheba Springs is in Grundy County and the county we live in lies beside it.  I remember very well the first time I visited this place.  A good friend of mine had taken me on a roadtrip and I had no idea where we were going.  I had no idea that our roadtrip would take us to a place where I experienced a feeling that was spiritual.  I have lived in Tennessee all of my life and never seen a place as beautiful as Greeter Falls.

scsra-map-trace-bryndal-compressed

I introduced my husband to Greeter Falls not long after we were married in 2004.  He was amazed at the waterfalls, the swinging bridge and the wildlife.  I scratch my head when I think that we have lived beside Grundy County all our lives and never knew of Greeter Falls and the beautiful scenery God has given us to enjoy.

These pictures are from different hikes and we have visited Greeter Falls numerous times with friends and family.

Quick & Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

homemadetartarsauceIn my husband’s spare time, he loves to fish.  Here in Tennessee, there are lots of bass, blue gill, crappie and catfish and my favorite is crappie.  We’ve had some friends come over for a fish fry and one of my close friends started making tartar sauce.  I had no clue that it could be made from things in the fridge that we all tend to keep on hand.

Quick & Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and minced onion. Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Breakfast of Champions: Scrambled Egg Muffins

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day- especially true if you are embarking on a full day of running errands or even ball games with kids.  This recipe is especially good and convenient when my son is off to school and he can grab a couple from the fridge, pops them in the microwave for a few seconds and he’s out the door, eating them as he goes!

scrambledeggmuffins

Breakfast of Champions: Scrambled Egg Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pork sausage
  • 16 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a skillet, brown the sausage; drain. In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add onion, green pepper, garlic salt, and pepper. Stir in cheese and sausage. Spoon by 1/3 cupfuls into greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Note:  This is a recipe that you can change to make a bit healthier.  Instead of adding 1lb. of sausage, use 1/2 lb. of sausage and as for the eggs, you can add 8 egg whites and 8 whole eggs instead of 16 whole eggs.  You can also add sauteed spinach to pack in added nutrients.

There are so many modifications you could make to suit your personal taste- use ham instead of sausage (or even leave out the meat altogether), sub red peppers for the green, fancy them up by using goat cheese…the possibilities are endless.

If you give these a shot, report back and let me know how you made them your own!

How To Care For Your Cast-Iron Skillets

Several years ago, before marriage and children, I had a roommate and she and I went to visit her grandparents. Her grandfather had a campfire in their backyard and all I could think was roasting marshmellows and S’mores, give me S’mores! That wasn’t the case at all. Her grandfather was seasoning cast-iron skillets. I had never heard of this before but I wasn’t much into cooking in those young years of my life. This grandfather told me to wipe the skillet completely with oil and lay it on a campfire. When it starts to have a red glow, it is being seasoned. The things we learn from our older generation is something to treasure and remember.

lodge-cast-iron-cookware

Commandments for Caring for Cast Iron
The first commandment of cast-iron care is simple: respect the finish. Follow these rules.

  • Don’t leave a pan unattended on the stove.  Burned foods can ruin the finish.
  • Don’t use harsh abrasives, avoid soap, and never place your pan in the dishwasher.
  • Don’t put cast-iron pans away wet; dry them thoroughly.

Tip: After washing, dry your cookware immediately to ward off rust. Heat it on the stove over low heat for approximately 5 minutes. While the pan is still warm, rub or brush on a light coating of oil. Store in a cool, dry place.

Removing Rust from Your Cast-Iron Pan

Don’t let rust keep you away from your beloved pan; removing it just takes a little elbow grease. First, scrub the pan with a stiff-bristle brush and hot soapy water to remove any rust or buildup. Rinse well, and dry completely. Next, use a paper towel to rub a light coating of oil on the pan, inside and out. Place a sheet of aluminum foil or a rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack of your oven to catch drips. Place the oiled pan upside down on middle rack of the oven, and bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour. Turn off the oven, and let your pan cool in the oven. Repeat as necessary. Store in a cool, dry place.

Tip: Take it easy when applying oil to your pans for storing and seasoning. Using too much can result in a sticky residue. To remove any residue, heat your pan over medium heat. Using a folded paper towel or cloth, carefully rub in 1 tablespoon oil at a time until the surface is smooth.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pie

Pies are a ‘thang’ of the South. I have always had a hard time baking pies, except for fried pies.  My family loves sweet stuff so I found the nerve to attempt this one and it turned out purrrfect!  I served this with sweetened whipped cream but vanilla ice cream will be the next topping to try with this recipe. IMG_2496resized

Blueberry Buttermilk Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1 (9-inch) frozen deep-dish pie crust, thawed
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Sweetened whipped cream, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Place blueberries in pie crust.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until butter is in nickel-sized pieces, approximately 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and salt; stir into egg mixture.  Pour into pie crust.
  4. Bake until set, 60 to 65 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary.  Let cool before serving.  Top slices with whipped cream, if desired.

Butterfinger Cake

ButterfingerCake01

This is a recipe that was passed down to me from a friend and I’m very thankful that she was sweet enough to share this sweet treat.

Butterfinger Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 box German Chocolate cake mix or Chocolate Cake mix
  • 1-16 ounce Cool Whip
  • 5 regular sized Butterfinger bars, crumbled
  • 1 (12.25 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 (14 ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  1. Prepare cake according to package directions using a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  2. Mix caramel topping and condensed milk together.
  3. Poke holes in cake about 1-inch apart and 1-inch deep using handle of wooden spoon. Pour sweetened condensed milk and caramel mixture over cake.
  4. Spread Cool Whip on top of cake and sprinkle Butterfinger crumbs on top of Cool Whip.
  5. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cook’s Notes:  By putting holes in your cake, this will allow the caramel to seep into the cake and the taste is out of this world.  One of our family’s favorite desserts.

.

Beer Can Chicken

beercanchicken

Beer Can Chicken is a delicious, juicy recipe that we love to cook in the summertime so since the weather is starting to warm up a bit, it’s the perfect time to add this recipe for everyone to try.  Personally, I had never heard of it until I married my husband 11 years ago and thought it was a strange way of cooking chicken.  You can use your own herbs and spices to this recipe but I’ll share how I make it, or should I say, how my husband makes it.

The first thing to do is to set up your grill, which we have a charcoil grill.  You want indirect heat so I have a picture of what your grill should look like.  After your chicken is prepared for grilling, place it over the pan on your grill to catch the drippings.

indirectheat

Beer can chicken is nothing more than opening a can of beer and putting it into the chicken so when the beer boils as it cooks, it infuses into the chicken. It makes for a more juicy chicken and it’s a fun summertime meal.

Beer Can Chicken

 Ingredients:

  • 1 – 3 pound chicken
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 24 ounce tall boy (beer, Bud Light Lime is our preference), half full
  1. Rinse chicken under cold running water. Discard giblets and neck from chicken; drain and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, dry mustard, salt, and ground black pepper.
  3. Put the chicken on a platter and carefully use your fingers to loosen the skin on the breast area and pull it gently away from the meat.
  4. Rub the  mixture underneath the skin and on to the meat, being careful not to tear the skin.
  5. Fit whole chicken over the can of beer with the legs on the bottom; keep upright. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mix into the top cavity of the chicken. The beer may foam up when the seasonings fall inside the can. Rub the remaining seasoning mix over the entire surface of the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken, standing on the can, directly on the preheated grill. Close the lid and grill the chicken until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 hour 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the chicken from the grill and discard the beer can. Cover the chicken with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.

Cook’s Notes:  The other half of the can of beer is for the cook to enjoy while preparing dinner. You can also purchase a Beer Can Stand at almost any store but my husband prefers to balance the chicken on the beer can itself.  Another note, my husband’s family calls this recipe “Dancing Chicken” because they say that the chicken dances while it’s being cook.  Too many beers, possibly.

Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

Smoked Sausage and Potatoes is a family favorite and is a meal that my family loves to have with green beans and squash. Several months ago when making this meal, I would fry the sausage and potatoes in olive oil, which is also delicious.  Since I serve this meal with fried squash, I didn’t want to serve two food items in the same meal that are fried so I found this recipe tucked away in a recipe book.

Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Sweet Paprika
  • Dried Thyme
  • A handful of grated Cheddar Cheese
    1. Preheat the oven to 400*F. Line a large baking tray (with sides) with several sheets of foil, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. Put the sausage rounds, onions, and potatoes into a large bowl. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika and dried thyme. Toss together with your hands until everything is evenly distributed. Pour this out onto the baking tray, and spread it out as much as you can.
    3. Place into the preheated oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Turn off the oven.
    4. Spread the cheese over top of the cooked meat and potatoes and put back in oven until cheese has melted.