Posts Tagged recipes

Weekend breakfast: Homemade biscuits and jam

It’s that time again–the weekend, when breakfast foods are hearty and plentiful in my house. So, imagine my surprise when nobody was hungry but me! Living with one full grown man and a pint-sized guy with a decent appetites usually spells out bacon, eggs, toast, etc. But not this Saturday morning. You would’ve thought they were on a diet by their lack of interest.

So, I decided to enjoy some simple treats: homemade biscuits topped with homemade blackberry jam. You heard that right, homemade on both counts. Yuuuummmm!

The first time I ever tried to make homemade biscuits was when I was about 16. I thought I’d show off to my family and whip up my mom’s biscuits and sausage gravy. Um, yeah. That didn’t turn out well. I ended up with a thick paste in the skillet and flat lumps of dough. Now, 17 years and lots of practice later (along with a tutorial from Mom), I can make a pretty tasty batch of biscuits. So if you’re still working on your biscuit making, don’t worry this is an easy recipe that will have you feeling like you have mad kitchen skills.

Oh, and the jam is not too tough either. Just takes a little time and babysitting. I make a large batch and can it all so I can have fresh jam any time I want.

Homemade Biscuits

  • 1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk

Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl or food processor. Add the butter and work in into the dry mix with a fork or if you’re using the food processor mix on low. When crumbly, add the milk and mix into a dough.

Flour the countertop and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough until and inch thick. Use biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass (dipped in flour) to cut out biscuits. Don’t worry, this will make a mess (see my counter below).

Butter the tops of the biscuits with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Place them on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes. They will fluff up in the oven (see below).

Now when they are ready to eat, top with jam of your choice. I prefer the blackberry jam I canned over the summer. If you’d like to make your own, try this recipe from Sure Jell.


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Artichoke Penne Alfredo

I used to think I didn’t like artichokes. That was before I actually tasted them and discovered how good they really are. I enjoy them in spinach-artichoke dip or just marinated, but I really love them in a dish a friend introduced me to–Shrimp Abaco. She found it on the Food Network and served it at a dinner party over the holidays. It was so good that I had a second helping and insisted on the recipe before I left her house, two things I never do.

This week I was craving her dish, but I didn’t have mushrooms or shrimp. So I got creative. I must say, my version is quite tasty and highlights the garlic and artichoke flavors that marry well. I hope you enjoy this and find yourself being creative in your pantry as well.

Artichoke Penne Alfredo

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, diced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 artichoke hearts, choppped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup parmigiano-regiano cheese, grated
  • 3 cups penne, cooked

In a saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil. Once melted and warm, add the onion. Over medium-low, cook until translucent. Add the garlic, then heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, but not to a rolling boil. Add the artichokes, nutmeg, pepper, salt and wine. Cook for 15 minutes and then add the cheese. Stir all ensuring the cheese melts and thickens the sauce. Pour over pasta and garnish with parsley or more shredded cheese. Serve with garlic bread or salad.

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Southern Fried Catfish, delish!

When I think of Southern things, fried food is usually at the top of the list. Fried chicken, fried okra, and my personal favorite fried catfish. It’s been a while since I’ve fried anything, so when I spied some catfish filets at the fish counter of my grocery, I was inspired.

I was excited about cutting them up into “nuggets” when I got home. Oh heck, I was almost giddy. You see I’ve been in workout mode for past few weeks and diet mode for much longer than that. So, anything fried feels like a luxury I’ve not been able to afford. There I am giddy at the fish counter when I decided to add some fried chicken to my menu too. I mean, really, if I’m going for it, why not go big?

At home, ready to whip up dinner, I’m reminded of all the many church potlucks and fish frys of my youth. I’m sure it had something to do with my inspecting my cast iron skillets to decide on just the right one. The women in my family cook with cast iron and if you’re lucky you’ll get a skillet as a wedding gift. It might even be one handed down from someone else in the family. Those are the best because they are already seasoned. I believe cast iron is the only way to go when frying, simply because it sustains high temperatures and cooks evenly.

So if I’m frying catfish and chicken, why not add some green beans cooked in pork fat, freezer corn and mashed potatoes? If I had one last meal, this would have to be it. Simple, yet delicious and soul satisfying.

Fried Catfish

  • 2 filets fresh catfish
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Oil to coat about an inch of the pan

Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Cut the castfish into 3-inch pieces. Add them to the buttermilk in a large bowl with lid. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, peppers and paprika. Take out the catfish and dredge the pieces in the flour mixture. Pour the oil in a cast iron skillet and bring it up to a medium heat. Once warm, add the fish pieces in and be prepared for the sizzle. When one side is browned, flip the fish over only once. It should be white and flaky inside.

Melissa’s Notes:

I use buttermilk because it makes the fish moist and gives it a tangy flavor. I fry chicken the same way, with the same seasonings but exclude the cornmeal.

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Cincinnati Chili, a unique twist on a family favorite

Chili has always been a staple in my family. To me, it goes with winter like peanut butter goes with jelly, you can’t have one without the other. Growing up we ate chili at least once a week. We’d crumble crackers or cornbread up in the tomato base to thicken it up. I enjoy my family’s recipe for chili, but I do like to change it up every now and then by making Cincinnati Chili.

Cincinnati Chili, for those outside the Ohio-Kentucky area, is a delicious blend of spices–cinnamon, allspice, cumin, chili powder, etc.–onions, ground beef and tomatoes. It can be served over hot dogs with shredded cheese and chopped onions to make the Coney Dog, or it can be served as the following:

  • Two Way (chili over spaghetti noodles)
  • Three Way (a layer of spaghetti, chili and cheddar cheese)
  • Four Way (a layer of spaghetti, chili, cheddar cheese and onions)
  • Five Way (a layer of spaghetti, kidney beans, chili, cheddar cheese and onions)

Don’t be shy to try the mountainous four- or five-way chili, but whichever way you try it you must eat it with oyster crackers (small, hexgon-shaped crackers).


My recipe comes the 1987 Inter County Rural Electric Employee’s Cookbook (Danville, Ky.). It’s like a church cookbook, everything’s good!

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 16 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 servings spaghetti, cooked
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag oyster crackers
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 16 oz. kidney beans, drained and heated

Combine ground beef , onions and water in a saucepan. Simmer until beef is turns brown. Add tomatoes with liquid, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and all the spices. Cover and simmer for 3 hours. The fat will float. If there is time, place chili in the refrigerator and lift the fat layer off. If times doesn’t allow, it’s ok. It tastes great. Servings: 6.

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Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

I really like Mexican food. It’s pretty easy to make and is usually a hit in my house, which includes a 5-year-old who thinks the world could survive on macaroni and cheese. Since I’m not willing to serve mac and cheese every night, my boy is forced to eat other meals. While making up this week’s menu, it was little surprise that chicken and black bean enchiladas made the short list.

It seems every time I go to a Mexican restaurant I order enchiladas–chicken, shrimp, cheese, beans, you name it. It’s the old standby and for good reason, they’re delicious. Here in Columbia, I think Rio Grande has some of the best ones yet. I attribute it to their sauce.  And since I probably can’t get the proprietary recipe, I had to come up with my own sauce recipe and I’m happy to share it.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 whole jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups enchilada sauce* (see recipe below)
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Boil the chicken in a pot of water with 6 halved jalapenos. Once the chicken is cooked, take off the heat and shred. Rinse the beans and add to a bowl with the chicken. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the chicken and beans. In a skillet, add the olive oil, onions and two diced jalapenos. Once tender, remove from heat. On each tortilla, spread the chicken and bean mixture along the center, top with onions and jalapenos, then finish off with a quarter cup of cheese. Roll up tortillas tightly.

In an 8×8 baking dish, pour one cup enchilada sauce in bottom of dish. Place four rolled up tortillas in the dish. Pour two cups of enchilada sauce over top. Add two cups of shredded cheese on the top.

 I usually put aluminum foil over top so the cheese doesn’t brown too fast. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

Enchilada Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 4 chipotles en adobo
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 cups chicken stock

In a large high-sided pan, add olive oil, onion, garlic and peppers. Once tender, add tomatoes, paste, chipotles en adobo and chicken stock. Now add the spices.

Simmer 15-20 minutes. Now add the entire mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until thick and smooth. This recipe makes 4 cups.

Melissa’s Notes:

Sometimes I double this recipe and freeze the extra in Zip-loc gallon bags. They lay flat and take up less space than containers. It’s a nice treat to have onhand when I’m feeling lazy but want something tasty to eat.

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