I loved it when Mother made Poppy Seed Chicken, so much so I asked her to make it for my birthday dinners (with, of course, her Elizabeth Doyle’s Chocolate Cake recipe). It’s the perfect meal for a weeknight dinner or a weekend dinner party with friends. Add brown rice, a salad, and rolls and you’ve got comfort food at its best. Poppy Seed Chicken can be made ahead, from freezer to oven, and is a great entree to take to a friend in need. We enjoyed it last Sunday and served it on a bed of brown rice, with sides of watermelon and a tomato and cucumber salad.
5 cups cooked chicken, sliced into bite-size chunks
2 cans cream of chicken soup
16 ounces sour cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 2 sleeves)
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven heat to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, Parmesan, poppy seeds, parsley, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir, then add the cooked chicken and stir again until the meat is evenly coated in sauce. Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter with a fork. Sprinkle over the chicken mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes until the cracker topping is golden brown and the filling is hot all the way through and bubbling around the edges.
Mother taught me how to make fried chicken. It’s actually very easy to do; it just takes a little planning and patience. Of course, she never measured anything, and neither do I for this recipe, but it’s super easy to make it up.
First, buy a cut-up chicken – also called a “fryer” in the grocery store. It consists of two wings, two legs, two thighs, and two breasts. Alternatively, it’s cheaper to purchase a whole chicken and cut the chicken yourself, and you can save the bones to make chicken stock. Here a how-to video:
Wash your chicken to rinse off any extra salt used to preserve the chicken until the sell-by date. This next step requires planning because you are going to soak your chicken in buttermilk overnight, which helps to make the chicken tender and moist when it’s ready to eat. This process is very similar to brining a turkey. Pour a pint of buttermilk into a large mixing bowl, and add in about 2 TBL of dill pickle juice. The pickle juice adds in the salt and pulls the moisture into the chicken. Stir the mixture, then place your chicken parts into the bowl. Turn over the chicken until it’s completely covered and submerged in buttermilk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it inside the refrigerator until the next day.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. The cookie sheet will be where you will place your dredged chicken pieces.
After you have brined your chicken overnight, you will now prepare your dredging station. To make sure you have an extra crispy coating – because that’s why we all love fried chicken – we are going to double dredge each piece. In a pie plate or shallow dish, pour in 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp of garlic powder, and 2 tsp of ground pepper. Stir until mixed.
Take the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk and lay them on a separate sheet of parchment or waxed paper on the counter (not on the cookie sheet). Do not rinse the parts. Reserve the buttermilk, do not throw it away.
Take a piece of the chicken from the waxed paper, dip in the flour, and with your fingers turn the chicken piece over and coat it’s evenly with flour. Then dip the chicken piece in the buttermilk, coating it lightly with milk (be gentle because you don’t want to remove all the flour from the first dip), then dip the chicken piece back into the flour mixture, coating it a second time. Place the double-coated piece of chicken onto the waxed-paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat this step until all the parts have been double-coated. You may need to add more flour, garlic powder, and pepper to the dish if you run out during this process.
Discard the buttermilk and flour mixture once you are finished. Let the chicken sit on the counter for 30 minutes so the coating can set and come to room temp, so you aren’t putting cold chicken into hot grease.
While you are waiting for the chicken to rest, prepare your frying pan. I like to use my Grandmother’s cast-iron skillet because it retains heat, but if you don’t have one, a large skillet with high sides works fine. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan, without letting the tip touch the bottom of the pan.
Pour in about 2-inches of canola oil and heat the oil on medium-high until it reaches about 350 degrees. Regulating the temperature is where patience comes in. You have to oversee the oil to regulate the temperature, adjusting the heat as needed. Don’t watch a movie or text friends. Always attend to a skillet of hot oil – you hear me!
Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, very carefully start with the legs and wings, adding them in one at a time to the skillet. Cover the skillet with a grease guard like this . It protects you from popping grease and mess on the backsplash. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Don’t touch or mess with the chicken. After 10 minutes, turn the chicken over. While you are cooking your first batch of chicken, put another cookie sheet lined with foil and topped with a cooling rack (like ones you use for cookies) and place in a warm oven. Do not put cooked chicken on a paper towel – it will make it soggy and defeat the whole reason we are doing this! The excess grease will drip off the chicken onto the cookie sheet.
Check your temperature, which likely dropped when you put your first batch of chicken in the grease. That’s okay, just slightly raise the heat. If the heat doesn’t go all the way back up to 350 degrees that okay, the grease and pan are still hot. Just work with adjusting the temperature a little at a time, but don’t fret if it doesn’t go up to 350 on the next batch.
After the first four pieces are finished cooking, place on the cooling rack in the oven, and move to wings and breasts. The breasts will need to cook 12 minutes on each side because they are thicker. So start with 10 minutes on the wings, turning them over, giving the breasts two more minutes to cook. Wings 10 minutes on side two, twelve minutes for the breasts on side two. Remove from oil and put it into the warm oven. Let the last four pieces of chicken rest in the oven for about 10 minutes; then you will be ready to serve all your yummy fried chicken!
Since it does require some time and patience, fried chicken won’t be an everyday kind of meal, but when you do make it, your family will be in for a real treat! And, leftover fried chicken is perfect chopped up for a cobb salad the next day.
Eating meals outdoors always seems to lift my mood and the weather has been so nice dinner alfresco. I love the smell of meat cooking on the grill while sipping a good glass of wine. I’m sharing a recipe I found on Pinterest for Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad. The recipe originates from Cafe Delites and if you don’t follow her blog you should. In fact, I am sure you have already seen many of her recipes on Facebook.
The best thing about this recipe is that the marinade is also the dressing for the salad. You prepare it, then use half for the chicken and pour the other half into a bowl or dressing bottle.
While the chicken marinates in lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh herbs, I prepared the salad. Instead of plating everyone’s portion separately, I decided to plate it from one big platter.
Starting with romaine lettuce, then avocados, cucumber, red onion and tomatoes.
Tip: Always let your grilled meat sit on the counter for at least 5-10 minutes to allow the internal juices to set which keeps the chicken moist. Slice the chicken and arrange on top of the salad platter. Drizzle remaining dressing over the top.
I served it with a bottle of Pedernales GSM 2014 from Pedernales Cellars that I picked up in Fredericksburg during a wine trip I took last fall. This Rhone-style blend incorporates Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache from their estate Hill Country vineyard and partner vineyards in Texas. Described as a “medium-bodied blend brings together the diverse character of these three varieties into a fantastic balance that delivers aromas of raspberry, fennel, mushroom, and molasses. This is a rich red wine with significant oak and a soft finish.” It really is one of my favorite wines to sip in the evening.
So if you were wondering what to make for dinner, this salad and wine along with a good crusty warm french bread would be the perfect way to celebrate spring.
Be sure to follow my Pinterest salad board. I have over 150 recipes for fresh salad inspiration.
March 18 is Sloppy Joe day! Fun fact for conversation at your next cocktail party; Marilyn Brown, Director of the Consumer Test Kitchen at H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh, says their research at the Carnegie Library suggests that the sloppy Joe began in a Sioux City, Iowa cafe as a “loose meat” sandwich” in 1930, the creation of a cook named Joe.
Here’s an awesome recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I have made it for my family and it is devoured every time. I substitute the beef with ground turkey for Miss Bee’s preference. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry, so this is the perfect comfort food right now as we are together at home. Your kids will love helping you prepare this dinner, and they will think you are so cool because you know who invented the sandwich!
2 Tablespoons Butter
2-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1-1/2 cup Ketchup
1 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard it.
Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.
Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, topping with a slice of cheese if it makes your skirt fly up. Serve hot with potato chips or tater tots.
New to the Instapot generation, I am just now sticking my toe into the water of the possiblities I can create in this magical vessel. I purchased it last November during the Amazon black Friday sales and I’ve made maybe two recipes in it. It was intimidating because most IP cookbooks just give you ingredients and basic instructions, but not how to work your machine.
Miss Bee gifted me with a fantastic book that I think may help me overcome my fears of “the machine.” I am sure in about 10 years, the size of the Instapot as we know it today will be much smaller – kind of like the size of microwaves back in the 70s that were as big as Buicks and came on their own rolling cart. We gave one to Mother one year for Christmas. She cried.
Enter the book that is a must for your library — the Instapot Bible by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough authors of 32 cookbooks. I like this book because they tell you how to work your Instapot in the first section of the book. Each recipe has been tested in every authorized IP model. So, there is no fear in when to do what – especially whether or not you should release the steam which seems to scare the beejeezas out of everyone who still has their IP in the box! They literally walk you through each and every step. It’s foolproof. You just need to know what size IP you have which will say in your owners manual or on the box.
Miss Bee selected three recipes for me to make and ALL THREE have been amazingly easy to prepare and delicious to eat. So much so that she has asked for the chili mac at least twice and I’ve only started cooking from the book in the last few weeks.
Instapot Chili Mac – my IP has a saute feature (which I recommend you choose the pot that has the saute feature) so you can cook your ground meat and your onions in the IP without having to cook in two separate pans. Once browned you dump everything into the IP, including uncooked pasta. 15 minutes later, and little mess, you have a giant pot of love topped with shredded cheese.
Next for a potluck at work, I made their Mac and Cheese. OMG. This is so creamy and much better than the baked version because it doesn’t get dry or crunchy on top. I used both white and orange sharp cheddar, but they suggest other varieties of cheese to use to change it up.
And here’s the IP Monkey Bread. In my Facebook post I said I might just give up cinnamon rolls #myspiritanimal for this monkey bread. Gooey, buttery and full of cinnamon goodness. All I needed to buy was a can of biscuits, all the other ingredients were in my pantry. This would be a perfect baked good to take to brunch or as a hostess or Christmas gift. You prepare it in a springform pan, but I didn’t have a small enough one to fit down inside the IP, so I used a small bundt pan and it worked great. I inverted it onto a pie plate once it was finished (hence the messy presentation in the photo).
I wish I could link to the recipes, but the authors don’t have a website to access recipes. Amazon lists it for $15.72, but you could check with your local library and check it out first to see if you like it. I know you will.
Let me know if you purchase the book and what you make!
I love this time of the year when produce is beginning to hit the stands and sprout in our own gardens. We were a little late putting in our vegetable garden this year due to the late frost and rainy spring (I am definitely NOT complaining, because Texas heat is coming). I look forward to our hot and sweet peppers making their appearance. Be sure to check back to see our “Galvanized Garden” we are putting the finishing touches on thanks to my friends at Jabo’s Ace Hardware – my offical HWT blog sponsor. You can check out the first video we made on how to prepare for proper drainage in your containers on my Home with a Twist YouTube Channel here . Big favor — if you could please subscribe to my channel it allows me to have very own YouTube address for my blog rather than just a series of letters and numbers.
Anyway, since grilling season is also here, homemade savory and sweet salsas always make an apperance for dinner. I love this recipe from My Turn for Us blog because it’s not too hot. You could always add in heat, but if you like a milder salsa, this one packs its punch with fresh mango!
1 Mango, diced
1/4 cup red onion. chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (I used 2)
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
salt to taste
1. Combine all ingredients, cover and chill in fridge until ready to serve
We served it with grilled salmon, but think fish or breakfast tacos, pork tenderloin and shrimp. Oh, my. Summer is coming folks!
This an interesting story from the Washington Post of Dorcas Reilly and her famous green bean casserole. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for Mr. and Miss Bee if I didn’t make her beloved side dish for them every holiday.
It started with a call from the Associated Press and a question: What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products?
In 1955, the AP, like other newspapers and magazines of the time, was running a feature of an easy-to-make Campbell’s Soup side. The question came with a caveat: the recipe had to be built around green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, two items most Americans regularly had in their homes in the ’50s.
The request fell to the Campbell’s Soup Co. test kitchen in Camden, N.J., an arm of the company that focused on coming up with recipes for its products. Dorcas Reilly, a supervisor for Campbell’s home economics department, was tasked with leading her team to figure out what could be done. The group would test and grade recipes repeatedly. Only a perfect score would qualify it as ready to go. In November of that year, Reilly and her team settled on what would be first known as “the Green Bean Bake,” an easily adaptable six-ingredient recipe of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper and French fried onions that takes 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake.
“We worked in the kitchen with things that were most likely to be in most homes,” she told NPR in 2015. “It’s so easy. And it’s not an expensive thing to make, too.”
When Campbell’s started to put Reilly’s recipe on the cans of its cream of mushroom soup in 1960, the popularity of the dish hit new heights. More than 60 years since the dish was invented, green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple, with an estimated 20 million-plus American households expected to serve it this year, according to Campbell’s.
Throughout her life, Reilly, a culinary trail blazer during a time when women were often on the sidelines in corporate America, remained astonished at the success of a dish based on green beans and cream of mushroom soup, one referred to by Campbell’s as “the mother of all comfort foods.”
“We all thought this is very nice, etc., and then when we got the feelings of the consumer, we were really kinda pleasantly shocked,” she said in a Campbell’s promotional video for the dish. “I’m very proud of this, and I was shocked when I realized how popular it had become.”
Reilly, an influential innovator of beloved comfort food in the U.S., died on Oct. 15 of Alzheimer’s disease in Camden. She was 92. A visitation and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday in Haddonfield, N.J.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dorcas Reilly, the creator of one of the most beloved American recipes, the Green Bean Casserole,” Campbell’s said in a statement, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Dorcas was an incredible woman whose legacy will live on for years to come. She will be missed by her Campbell colleagues and all those who were impacted by her creativity and generous spirit.”
Born on July 22, 1926, Reilly was raised in Camden. She would become one of the first members of her family to attend college, earning her bachelor’s degree in home economics from the Drexel Institute of Technology, now known as Drexel University, in 1947. She headed to Campbell’s in 1949, where she was one of two full-time employees developing recipes for the company’s home economics department.
With the economy flourishing in the ’50s, there was an appetite for meals that were easy to make, delicious and cheap. Reilly found success with a tuna noodle casserole, a tomato soup cake and a Sloppy Joe made from tomato soup. “It was about the team working together,” Reilly said in her college alumni biography. “I didn’t do it; we did it.”
But things were different when it came to her most notable side dish. Campbell’s has estimated that 40 percent of its cream of mushroom soup sold in the U.S. goes toward making Reilly’s green bean casserole. And millions of Americans have adopted it as part of their Thanksgiving celebrations.
“Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl for green bean casserole,” Jane Freiman, director of Campbell’s Consumer Test Kitchen, told NBC’s “Today” in 2015.
Reilly’s cuisine hit new heights in 2002, when Campbell’s donated the original recipe card written by Reilly to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The yellow recipe card resides in the same place as Thomas Edison’s lightbulb and phonograph and Enrico Fermi’s first controlled nuclear reactor.
Her son, Thomas B. Reilly, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his mom was humble about her career never spoke about the achievement when he was growing up. It only started to come up more when she was recognized as the inventor of the dish.
“I think she was surprised,” her son said to the Inquirer. “I think she was even more surprised at how much of a big deal it became. She was not a flashy person. She didn’t bask in the limelight. She just went in and did her job every day, like most blue-collar people.”
Though she was known for her work, Reilly had said how “food should be fun and food should be happy.” It was a mantra she carried with her in bringing green bean casserole to the Thanksgiving table. And millions would follow.
“I loved to go to work every day,” she said at Drexel in 2009. “It was just another day’s work. ” She added: “I hope you enjoy green bean casserole forever.”
For inspiration on how to put a twist on Mrs. Reilly’s famous side dish, go here for more recipe ideas.
Just in time for July 4th, this recipe for BBQ baked beans is a Southern Living recipe I’ve had in my file since 2007. They are so good anytime, but especially when a cookout is in order. I make mine in the crock pot so they can simmer on low for several hours. But, you can also bake them in the oven if you are short on time.
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef (optional — I don’t include the meat when I make the beans)
10 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 (15-oz) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can of butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can of pork and beans, undrained
2 TBL molasses
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Cook onion, and if desired, ground beef in Dutch oven, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in bacon and remaining ingredients, and spoon into lightly greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Chill for 8 hours, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, stirring once. (I usually cook them at 250 for a few hours if you have the time).
For the crock pot version, I saute the onion in olive oil on the stove, then dump everything into a greased crock pot and stir it all together. I cook on low for several hours stirring a few times during cooking. I also double the recipe if I am serving for a crowd.
Tomato Basil soup and grilled cheese are at the top of my best-of list. Soup is a perfect dish for winter and when I found this recipe for Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup on Pinterest from Cafe Delites, I wanted to give it a try.
First, I always wash my vegetables with Thieves fruit and vegetable spray. It’s all natural, filled with essential oils and smells amazing. It’s really important to clean your vegetables thoroughly before you slice or eat them.
You roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven first and it makes the house smell heavenly.
For step four I don’t have an immersion blender, so I ladled the soup in batches into my food processor to make it creamy. I think you really need to blend the soup because otherwise you might be overwhelmed by the skins from the tomatoes. It brought the ingredients to a creamier state perfect for dipping your sandwich.
For my grilled cheese I always use English toasting bread from the bakery and extra sharp cheddar cheese I slice from the block. It just oozes deliciousness.
Plate it all up on the cutest soup and sandwich set from Sur la Table. And, since the soup is red why not serve it for your Valentine on Wednesday!
My sweet niece gave me a wonderful cookbook for Christmas – Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give by Amy Nelson Hannon. I swear I want to make everything in this book – every recipe sounds so delicious!
Starting with this recipe for Broccoli Salad. Our neighbors had a get together for Super Bowl and I took this dish. It transports well, makes enough for about 8-10 people and I think would be a perfect side salad with sandwiches, too. Don’t be afraid of the mayonnaise and sugar addition; it makes the perfect sauce.
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup cashews
Put the raisins in a small bowl and splash them with a few tablespoons of water. Heat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds, stir them, and let them soak in the water so they’ll plump up and become tender.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. In a medium bowl, toss together the broccoli, red onion, and cashews. Drain the raisins and add them to the mix. Stir in the mayonnaise sauce and coat everything well. Cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!