If you grew up in the South, you no doubt have always eaten three certain foods on New Year’s Day…some type of pork, cooked greens, and black-eyed peas.   Traditions vary from different parts of the country but these foods generally are the ones that are known to improve your odds for having a prosperous new year.  Whether that is true or not, I’m uncertain but what I do know is they are guaranteed to leave you with a very satisfied tummy!  This is especially true with today’s featured recipe of Bacon and Greens Pot Pie with a Cornbread Crust..Yummy!

Bacon and Greens Pot Pie with a Cornbread Crust
Bacon and Greens Pot Pie with a Cornbread Crust

This recipe is one that brings all these lucky ingredients into one savory dish topped with a crusty cornbread topping reminiscent of a typical pot pie but with a twist.  The original idea for this dish came from Pinterest (where else?) but after making it a few times, I changed out the protein, substituted frozen greens for fresh, and amped up that creamy sauce.  It is now one of our favorite dishes that can be used as a stand-alone meal or a super side.

Bacon and Greens Pot Pie with a Cornbread Crust

Ingredients

For the Greens and Black-eyed Peas:

  • 1 lb. thick cut bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 lb. turnip greens, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of hot pepper vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 15.8 ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

For the Sauce

  • 1 large shallot bulb, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth

For the Cornbread Crust

  • 1 1/2 cup self-rising buttermilk cornmeal mix
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Directions

For the Greens:

Saute Bacon in a medium saucepan until crisp; drain but RESERVE 2 TBSP OF BACON GREASE.

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Add in the next 7 ingredients (all but the black=eyed peas) and cook on low heat, partially covered for 2 hours.

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All the ingredients for the turnip greens ready to go
After 2 hours of cooking, greens are ready
After 2 hours of cooking, greens are ready

Add in the black-eyed peas.

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For the Sauce:

When the greens are close to being ready, you can begin the sauce.  Saute the butter and the shallots until the shallots are tender and translucent.

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Add in flour and stir well with a whisk.  The mixture should be really thick.

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Gradually, add in the chicken broth (about a 1/2 cup at a time). You want it to thicken as you add the broth until you have a beautiful, creamy mixture.

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Combine turnip green mixture and sauce and place In a greased casserole dish.

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For the Cornbread Crust:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and spread on top of casserole.

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Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown and set.

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The last time I made this we served it with pork chops and mashed potatoes but it could easily be a dish on it’s own!

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I am making it again on Sunday, New Year’s Day,  with pork chops and a hashbrown casserole…might as well do it right before we start cutting back for the New Year!

Bottom Line:  This recipe has become a go to recipe for our family since its a new way to use one of our all-time favorite southern dishes…turnip greens.  You could also change it up and substitute ham for the bacon and collard greens for the turnip greens. So versatile, so delicious, and so full of good luck!  I am Chef Frankie, Always in the Kitchen, Having Fun, and Cooking with Wild Abandonment.  Happy New Year!

My motivation for this recipe came from this link:  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/ham-and-greens-pot-pie-with-cornbread-crust.  (I like my version way better 😉

 

 

 

If you are looking for the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer to wow your guests, you have come to the right place.  This tasty spin on bruschetta uses fresh flavors from the fall such butternut squash, parsnips, and eggplant.  Throw in savory elements like onion, bacon, and capers, some raisins for sweetness, and some pistachios for crunch…well, you have a hit on your hands!  The layers of flavor and the variety of textures makes this the perfect bite.

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Roasted Fall Vegetable Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • Root Vegetable Caponata

    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (“lardons”)
    • 1 small onion, diced small
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 red pepper, julienne (1/8-inch strips)
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cups of parsnips, peeled and diced small
    • 2 cups butternut squash peeled and diced small
    • 2 cups eggplant, diced small
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (not sherry wine)
    • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
    • 3/4 cup golden raisins, soaked for 15 min in warm water and strained
    • 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

 

  • Whipped Feta

    • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (I love using the one flavored with onions and chives)
    • 4 oz feta, drained and crumbled
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

****Serve on top of Butter-toasted slice of French Bread or Sourdough

Directions

For the Fall Vegetable Topping:Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bacon to the hot pan and cook until it begins to crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, red pepper and garlic and sweat for 3 minutes.

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Season with salt and pepper; add the butter and olive oil, and then the parsnips, squash and eggplant. Stir to coat the ingredients with the butter and oil.

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Place in oven and let roast until just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring twice.

 

Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the vinegar, pistachios, capers and raisins.

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For the whipped feta:

In stand mixer with paddle attachment, whip cream cheese until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add crumbled feta, heavy cream and salt and mix for another minute.

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Toast nice crusty sourdough thick slices in butter until golden brown.

Spread with whipped feta and top with caponata.

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Note: Leftovers are amazing as a roasted vegetable sandwich smeared with the whipped feta

 

Bottom Line:  This is unique appetizer is a hit at every party and is pretty easy to make.  It is a beautiful addition to your holiday buffett and very versatile as well.  For example, you can easily substitute acorn squach in for the butternut, or use celery root for the parsnips.  Carrots and turnips are also great additions….feel free to make it your own!  I! am Chef Frankie, Always in the Kitchen, Having Fun, and Cooking with Wild Abandonment!

To see a video of me making this Mornings with Fox43, follow this link:  http://www.wbir.com/life/food/recipes/roasted-fall-vegetable-bruschetta/351682422

This recipe was based on one from the Today Show.  For the original recipe, please visit:  http://www.today.com/food/fall-root-vegetable-recipes-bruschetta-squash-soup-t104684

 

About 2 years, I blogged about a lasagna recipe that I discovered in Cooking Light magazine.  Not being a huge lasagna fan, this was one I truly loved and I have spent the past 2 years improving on an already great recipe!  The typical lasagna has 600+ calories and this version only has 378 per serving!  It is delicious, health”ier”, and it is now my go to recipe for lasagna.  I hope you like my changes and let me know what you think!

Health”ier” Lasagna by Chef Frankie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups fat-free cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef (93% lean)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (25-ounce) jar of your favorite marinara
  • Cooking spray
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients and set aside

Ricotta Mixture

3. Place ground beef in a large non­stick skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle with peppers and remaining 4 garlic cloves. Cook for 9 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble; drain. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in marinara sauce, and let simmer until heated through.

Meat Sauce

4. Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce in bottom of a broiler-safe 2.5 glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Meat Sauce in the bottom of baking dish

Place 3 noodles on top of meat sauce and cover noodles with another 1 cup meat sauce.

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Top with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture.

Second layer of noodles and ricotta mixture

Repeat this step layering 3 more noodles, 1 more cup of meat sauce, and remaining ricotta.

Finally, add the remaining 3 noodles. Spread remaining meat sauce over top noodles.

Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Top with fresh parsley, if desired!

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Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. (I like to take a paper towel and slightly dab off any extra grease from the cheese between steps to keep it a little lighter)

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If additional browning of the cheese is needed, put the broiler on high for about 2 minutes until cheese is slightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to to sit for 10 minutes to set before cutting.  Dinner is Served!

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Bottom Line:  I love this recipe!  Cooking Light was the inspiration and i believe my few changes took it to the next level.  This is one of my most requested recipes and I know it will be come a family favorite in your house.  They will never know that it is a little health”ier” than most lasagnas!  I am Chef Frankie, Always in the Kitchen, Having Fun, and Cooking with Wild Abandonment!

For my original post on the Cooking Light Magazine recipe, please visit:  https://reciperealities.net/2014/10/15/classic-lasagna-with-meat-sauce-from-cooking-light/

 

The kitchen is my playground and I love creating new recipes!  One of my most popular creations is my “Smokey” Jalapeno Poppers.  They are so good that I never can seem to make enough of them.  Last week, at our “Baby Q” we had for my future granddaughter, Hadley Grace Pitt, I made 260 of them and they were gone in 30 minutes!  The problem is that I get so tired of making them so I needed to come up with a recipe for this football season that my fellow tailgaters will still love and I think I did it!

I tried several different versions on my husband before I got the perfect combination but we knew immediately this was going to be a winner!  Introducing my newest creation:

Cheesy Jalapeno Stuffed Shrimp Poppers with Red Pepper Jelly Sauce

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Ingredients

For the Shrimp Poppers

  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied (21-25 pieces per pound)
  • 2 Tbsp of Cajun Seasoning (I prefer Old Bay’s)
  • 1 cup of Cream Cheese (I use the one with green onions and chives)
  • 2-3 jalepenos, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 8 slices of bacon (cut into thirds)
  • 1/8 cup of brown sugar
  • 21-25 toothpicks
  • Cooking Spray

For the Hot Pepper Jelly Sauce

  • 10 oz. jar of Hot Pepper Jelly
  • 2-3 Tbsp of Spicy Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp of Champagne Vinegar (you can also substitute Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp of Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp of Chives, finely chopped

Directions

Shrimp Poppers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, season shrimp evenly with the Cajun Seasoning.  (I lean towards “more is better” so feel free to use as much as you like.)

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Spread approximately one teaspoon of cream cheese onto the inside of the butterflied shrimp.

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Place a jalapeno strip on top of the cream cheese and press down.

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Take a piece of the bacon and wrap around the shrimp. Secure with a toothpick.  (Hint:  You only want the bacon to overlap enough to secure it with toothpick, otherwise the bacon won’t cook through).

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Place poppers on a baking sheet.  For easy clean up, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. (I prefer to put a rack on my baking sheet to allow the grease to slip through to the bottom for crispier bacon, but this is completely optional.)

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Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over shrimp poppers.  DON’T skip this step…it creates the perfect crispiness to your bacon!

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Place the shrimp in the preheated oven bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bacon is crispy and shrimp is cooked through.

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Hot Pepper Jelly Sauce

While your Shrimp Poppers are baking, make your sauce.  (The sauce can be made a couple of days ahead and reheated if necessary).

In a small sauce pan, whisk together the jelly, mustard, vinegar, onion powder, and olive oil. Heat slowly on low.

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Add in Chives and remove from heat.

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Transfer heated sauce to a serving bowl.

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To serve, place your poppers on a platter alongside the hot sauce.  Use the toothpick to dip your popper and ENJOY!

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Bottom Line:  Although the true results won’t be known until Thursday night at the University of Tennessee’s vs Appalachian State tailgate, I think I have a hit on my hands.  Based on the reactions from the Anchors at Mornings with Fox43, Abby Ham and Brandon Bates, I think they will agree!  Try them in your kitchen and let me know what you think!  I am Chef Frankie, Always in the Kitchen, Having Fun, and Cooking with Wild Abandonment!

 

 

Since I will be making this on WBIR/Fox 43 on Tuesday morning, I thought I would reshare this recipe with a little change.  Two years ago, I posted a blog on a mexican-inspired grilled shrimp taco recipe that I created.  My goal was to make a lighter, healthier version and find a way to create a low calorie creamy sauce that would replace all that fattening sour cream that my husband loves to pile on his tacos.  I also wanted to add a bit of tropical flair and hence, Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Tropical Guacamole Salad with a Creamy Lime Sauce was born!

Follow this link to the original blog post:  https://wordpress.com/post/reciperealities.net/966

Since then, I have made it just a bit more healthy with the replacement of Greek Yogurt to replace the Sour Cream in the Lime Sauce.  It was successful!  An already low calorie and low fat recipe became even lighter with not one bit of change in the delicious flavors! Hope you enjoy it!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Lime Sauce and Tropical Avocado Salad

Creamy Lime Sauce

This sauce has 10 calories and 2 grams of fat per tablespoon less than using regular sour cream! Save the leftovers in fridge for up to 10 days to enhance other dishes!

*You want to make this first so it can go in the fridge while you prepare everything else.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (do not use store bought!….remember, FRESH FLAVORS)
  • 1/2 cup Low or Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of hot sauce (more if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (more if you like)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Combine first 10 ingredients (all except oil).  Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking to emulsify.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.  Can be made a day ahead and will keep in fridge so several days after as well.

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On to the Tropical Guacamole Salad!

Tropical Guacamole Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, pitted, peeled, and cubed
  • 1/4 pineapple, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of jalepeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

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Isn’t that a beautiful Salad?  I could eat it for days!

Just an FYI…this would be great on anything and I even snacked on it by itself the next day!  The lime juice helped the guacamole from turning brown too fast.

 

Lime-Marinated Shrimp Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning (depends on how spicy you like it)
  • 2 lbs. shrimp
  • Tortillas of your choice (I had whole wheat and Jeff had corn)

Directions

Whisk together the lime juice, garlic, and olive oil; Place in a gallon sized Ziplock bag.  Add the shrimp and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.

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Drain the marinade and rub shrimp with the Cajun Seasoning.  Thread shrimp onto skewers.

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Preheat your grill to high.  Brush grill grate with olive oil.  (Note:  I used my indoor grill pan that day since the weather was not cooperating.)  Grill shrimp 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through.  Remove the Shrimp from the skewers and set aside.

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Now it’s time to prepare your taco! Place 4-5 Shrimp on tortilla, top with the Creamy Lime Sauce and add a couple of heaping tablespoons of the Tropical Guacamole Salad.

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You can even add a little cheese if you want!

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I like to serve this with some Mexican Black Beans to compliment the tacos…YUM!

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Bottom Line:  This recipe will wow crowds…it truly is that good!  I like the switch from the Sour Cream to the Greek Yogurt and I think you will, too!  Add it to your Cinco De Mayo celebration in May for a sensational burst of flavor!  Until next time, I am Chef Frankie, Always in the Kitchen, Having Fun, and Cooking with Wild Abandonment!

P.S.  Join me on WBIR/FOX 43 on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 as I prepare this on the 8:20 Cooking Segment!

In the South, few things come even close to being as delicious as a perfectly crisp piece of fried chicken (well…maybe bacon!).  It is considered satisfyingly flavorful comfort food at its best and there are many recipes and techniques to choose from.  I have tried quite a few recipes but I always come back to this one adapted from Southern Living Magazine many years ago.

I pretty much kept the recipe in its original form with the exception of a couple of extra spices and the addition of allowing chicken to sit coated at room temperature.  Those tweaks helped turn a great recipe into an extraordinary one.  It is my family’s favorite and will become yours too!

Now let’s get this out of the way….this is NOT a healthy dish and we usually one have it a couple of times a year but oh, when I do make it, it doesn’t last long!  There are several important secrets to making perfectly fried chicken:

  • Brining the chicken in salt water
  • Allowing the chicken to sit out at room temperature an hour before frying just after coating it
  • Using some bacon grease in your skillet
  • Applying a combination of covered and uncovered cooking time

Those may seem like simple and insignificant tips but they truly do make a difference in the end product and definitely should not be skipped.  The end result will be a perfectly crispy outside crunch and juicy, tender bites of chicken on the inside.  Perfection every time…check it out!

Ingredients

3 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) broiler-fryer, cut up**
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup bacon drippings
**Our family loves bone-in chicken thighs so that is what I used in the pictures used in this blog (6-8 thighs are perfect for this recipe)

Preparation

Combine water and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl; add chicken. Cover and chill 8 hours. Drain chicken; rinse with cold water, and pat dry.

Combine salt, pepper, onion powder and cayenne. Season both sides of chicken with one teaspoon of spice mixture.  Combine the remaining 3 teaspoons with flour in a large freezer bag. Place 2 pieces of chicken in bag; seal. Shake to evenly coat. Remove chicken, and repeat procedure with remaining chicken, 2 pieces at a time.  Allow to sit coated on kitchen counter for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

Combine vegetable oil and bacon drippings in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or chicken fryer (I used an electric skillet); heat to 360°. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, skin side down. Cover and cook 6 minutes; uncover and cook 9 minutes.

Turn chicken pieces; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 to 9 minutes, turning pieces during the last 3 minutes for even browning, if necessary. Drain on paper towels.

Note: For best results, keep the oil temperature between 300° to 325° as you fry the chicken.

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I like to drain my chicken on a wire rack

Chicken is ready to be served with all your favorite sides!

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Crispy Fried Chicken served along side some mashed potatoes, pinto beans, freshly sliced garden tomatoes, and my awesome Turnip Greens recipe…I will blog on that soon!
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Look at that perfectly piece of crisp chicken….Makes you want to make it right now!

Bottom Line:  I love this recipe and again, it is always the one I keep coming back to.  Sometimes I kick up the heat a notch with some roasted red pepper flakes or add a little twist by adding in a little garlic and it still come out perfectly with just a little different flavoring.  The key is to follow the cover, uncover, and flip exactly and your fried chicken will turn out perfectly every single time!  I hope you try this recipe in your kitchen and let me know what you think and stay tuned for my delicious Southern Turnip Greens recipe.  Until then, I am Chef Frankie..always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with Wild Abandonment!

For the original Southern Living Recipe this blog is based on, please visit http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/our-best-southern-fried-chicken

Tomato & Pancetta Pie…An Update to an Old Favorite!

A couple of summer’s ago, I posted a blog on Tomato Pie, a recipe that had roots from my hometown of Benton, Tennessee.  The story is quite interesting so I encourage you to read how I came to learn about tomato pies from some old friends by following this link:

https://reciperealities.net/2014/08/01/tomato-pie-a-recipe-with-a-hometown-story/

Since then, I have been making a lot of tomato pies,  even miniature versions..here are some I made for a “Girl’s Night In” recently for a friend about to go in the oven!image

Over the course of time, I have “tweaked” the recipe even more by adding in some Pancetta and replacing the onions with shallots.  I love Pancetta which is basically an Italian bacon without the smoking process and shallots have a little milder flavor than onions so its a nice compliment to the tomatoes.  I also mixed in my basil with my tomatoes just to avoid getting too big of a basil bite…just my preference but one that I really like.  Here is my newer and most favorite version!

Tomato & Pancetta Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch pie shell
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of pancetta, chopped
  • 3-4 tomatoes,  roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon (or more if desired) Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 leaves)*
  • 2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozarella)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Crystal Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Follow package directions and bake the pie crust…your goal is to achieve a light golden brown color (about 12 minutes).

Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes and place in a colander to drain in the sink.  Salting helps bring out some of the moisture. image

After allowing to drain for about 5 minutes, spread on paper towels remove even more moisture.

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While pie crust is baking and tomatoes are draining, saute the pancetta until crisp and golden brown.  Remove from pan reserving the excess fat; set aside.

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Add the shallots to the pan and saute until translucent.  Add the pancetta back to the pan and mix well.  Remove from heat.

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After removing the pie from the oven, brush Dijon Mustard on the bottom and sides of the crust.

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Place your tomatoes in bowl and mix with the basil.  Place tomato/basil mixture in the pie crust, spreading evenly.

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Next spread pancetta/shallot mixture over tomatoes.
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In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Hot Sauce or Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball.

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Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

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Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, around 30-40 minutes or until you reach an internal temperature of about 150 degrees.  This can also easily be made ahead, just make sure you bring it to room temperature before baking and it may need a few additional minutes of baking.  (If your pie browns too much on top, before it reaches the desired temperature in the middle, just place a loose piece of foil over it.)

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Garnish with additional basil and allow to sit on counter for 5 minutes before slicing…Ready to serve!

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Temperatures here in East Tennessee have been hovering in the 90’s for weeks and standing in a hot kitchen is just that…HOT!  So I have been testing recipes that gets me in and out of the kitchen in a jiffy but still gives my family a wonderful, tasty meal at dinner time.

Of course, everyone loves a good pasta dish but when you add in crisp bacon and freshly grated parmesan cheese…well, you have a superior dish to serve!  Spaghetti Carbonara (or actually any pasta Carbonara..ha, ha) is delicious simplicity at its best. What is so great is that it only has a few main ingredients that you usually have on hand in your own pantry and fridge. You probably won’t even have to go to the market for this one!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti, broken in half (or your favorite long pasta)
  • 2 large eggs (it’s best to set these out of fridge at least 20 minutes before preparing recipe)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leave

*Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti according to the package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook bacon until crispy brown, reserving the excess fat in the pan
  • Add in minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute on low heatimage
  • While bacon and pasta are cooking, whisk eggs and parmesan together in a small bowlimage
  • You must work quickly for this next step!  Temper your eggs by whisking in a small amount of your pasta water into egg mixture. (You don’t want scrambled eggs!)
  • Lift your pasta directly from pasta water to your pan with the bacon mixture; stir in the egg mixture to the pan.  Add in one tablespoon of reserved pasta water at a time until you reach your desired thickness.  (Since I lifted my pasta directly from the water, I only needed one tablespoon of the reserved water).image
  • Serve immediately and garnish with parsley to add some bright color.image

Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with some additional parmesan cheese, if desired and serve this beautiful dish with a side salad and dinner roll….Yummy

Bottom Line

This is the most decadent weeknight dish ever!  I will be making this again and again..It would even be nice as a small side dish with some shellfish or chicken.  Let me know how this recipe works with your family.  I am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with Wild Abandonment!

When I was growing up in the South, potato salad was at every church potluck or family gathering but I was never a fan.  In a child’s mind, something crunchy like raw onions and celery mixed in with your favorite smooth ingredients just didn’t mesh with me.  The only version of potato salad I would even remotely eat was my mom’s because she left the potatoes a little bigger and included two of my personal favorites, mustard and boiled eggs.  She did put raw onions in her version but not celery and I was able to pick around just those.  Obviously, one would assume I would grow out of my “no crunch” in my potato salad but I never did, so I took her recipe and adapted it to one that I now love!  So in honor of Mother’s Day…thanks for the inspiration, Mom!

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This version omits the raw onions but does include chives which gives that “oniony” flavor along with a splash of green color.  My husband’s mother always included sweet pickle relish in her version so that was a must for him if I wasn’t going to put in onions and celery so I compromised.  Since I am not a sweet pickle fan, I added dill pickle relish as well to give it a tangy kick with just a tiny bit of crunch.  Both relishes have bits of red pepper in them which again adds a touch of color to the white potatoes.  Top it with a sprinkling of paprika, and not only do you have a tasty dish but an eye pleasing potato salad. Dig in!

Southern Mustard Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes, 8 small or 6 large, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • 6 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • 1 cup of Mayonnaise (more if you prefer it creamier)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of mustard (depending on how tangy you like it)
  • 2 tablespoons each of sweet and dill pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I prefer Kosher Salt)
  • Paprika (as much as needed to sprinkle on top)

Directions

Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with chicken broth then add enough water to completely cover.  Add in parsley and bring to a boil.  Bring to simmering boil and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes until tender.  Drain and allow to cool.  (I like to add the chicken broth because it adds another level of flavor to the potatoes.)  Season with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

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In a large bowl, add your chives, potatoes, and eggs.

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Add in the mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle relish..stirring well

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Place potato salad mixture in one of your favorite serving dishes.

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Sprinkle liberally with paprika and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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That looks delicious!

Serve this with your favorite burger, hot dog, or BBQ….Dig in!

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Southern Mustard Potato Salad served alongside Jeff’s smoked ribs, grilled asparagus, and vinaigrette slaw…Yum!

Bottom Line:  I could eat this by itself with nothing else…it is that good!  It is so easily adaptable to your own tastes…add more or less mayonnaise and mustard.  Make it your own.  It will be hard to find another true Southern Mustard Potato Salad to beat this one!  Let me know how it works at your next BBQI am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with Wild Abandonment!

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