Friday, May 29, 2015

Cajun Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers get a bad rap.  People think they are dry and flavorless, and I'm not gonna lie, some are.  But these are not!  They are moist and delicious with a nice zing of flavor.  They are great for meatless Monday or if you're having a BBQ and need a vegetarian option for friends.  Bonus, they are really easy to make.  Just mix them up and bake in the oven.


1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 TBS A1 steak sauce
1 tsp Cajun seasoning (more if you like it hot)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 bell pepper, roughly chopped
3 green onions, roughly chopped
1/4 of an onion, roughly chopped
1 small clove garlic
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I zip multi-grain bread in the food processor)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking sheet.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher (or fork) until smooth.

Add steak sauce, Cajun seasoning and egg.  Stir well. 

In a food processor pulse bell pepper, onion, green onions and garlic until finely chopped.  Stir into bean mixture.

Add bread crumbs and mix until combined.

Divide into 4 patties and transfer to oiled baking sheet.  Flatten slightly and brush the tops with oil.

Bake 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake 10 more minutes.

How good do these look?

These freeze beautifully!  Make a double batch and keep some in the freezer.  When you want one, just thaw it in the microwave.  You can crisp it up in a skillet if you want.  These are very good and good for you!  A delicious veggie burger, imagine that!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Smothered Potatoes

Smothered Potatoes are the ultimate comfort food!  This was a staple in my house growing up.  My Mama made them all the time and even though I've been trying for years, I can't seem to make them as good as her's (maybe I'm not supposed to, right?).  But, they're still pretty good.


5 medium Idaho potatoes (they have the right starch content)
1 medium yellow onion
Salt, pepper, Cajun Seasoning to taste
Low sodium Chicken broth (or water)
Bacon grease (you can use oil, but bacon grease is magical)

Peel the potatoes and cut into small chunks.  Chop onion into similar sized pieces.

Heat about three Tablespoons of grease in a big pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add onions and potatoes.  Stir to coat in grease, then let cook to get a little color on the potatoes, stirring occasionally.  You just want them to brown a bit.

Then, season to taste with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.  Stir well.  Then, add about 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water but broth adds more flavor) stir and put the lid on tight.  Turn down to medium-low heat.  Let it steam for about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid.  Stir.  Then repeat the process.  Add a little more broth, stir and put the lid on.  Let steam.  Keep repeating this until the potatoes are tender and smothered down like this:

These potatoes are creamy, a little smoky from the bacon grease, savory from the chicken broth and just plain delicious!  My family absolutely loves them!  I can't seem to make enough.  It's a good thing this recipe is so easy.  The hardest part is peeling the potatoes.

Friday, May 15, 2015

DIY Cleaners

There is no need to spend a fortune to clean your house.  You can make lots of cleaners for pennies from things you probably have on hand.  Bonus, less chemicals in your home!

*If you have granite countertops this is a must.  Don't buy expensive cleaners when you can make it in seconds and it works great!


Pour 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle.  Add 3 drops dish soap and swirl GENTLY to mix.  Fill bottle VERY SLOWLY with water.  Try to avoid making suds.

Spray on granite and wipe with a soft cloth.

*If you have kids (or you yourself are super clutzy, like me) you need to pretreat laundry stains.  This recipe for homemade "Shout" works like a charm.


1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
2 TBS Dawn (dish soap)
2 quarts water

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.  Spray on stain and let sit for a few minutes.  Launder as usual.

*If you have pets, you've probably had to clean up a urine stain (ewww).  If you have carpet, that smell can linger and be totally gross!  This method worked great for me. But, please test it on an inconspicuous area to be sure it doesn't discolor your carpet.


1/2 cup peroxide
1 tsp Dawn (dish soap)
Baking soda

First, soak up as much urine as possible with an old towel!  This is VERY IMPORTANT!  Mix peroxide and Dawn.  Set aside.  Sprinkle a good amount of baking soda over the stain.  Pour peroxide solution over area. Scrub well. Let sit 10-15 minutes.  Vacuum thoroughly.  Repeat as needed.

*If you have a wooden cutting board, you know cleaning it can be tricky.  Soap and water will dry it out and cause it to crack.

The best way to clean it is with a cut lemon.  Rub the cut side of the lemon over the board then wipe with a clean damp cloth.  If you have a stubborn stain, pour a little kosher salt on it before scrubbing with the cut lemon.  Then wipe.  Once completely dry, rub a little olive oil on it to keep it conditioned.

*After you've used that lemon to clean your cutting board, don't throw it away.  Put it in your garbage disposal and let it rip.  This disinfects it and gets rid of odors!

*Here's a great way to get odors and stains out of your DISHWASHER:

Empty the dishwasher.  Fill a glass measuring cup with white vinegar and place it right side up on the top rack.  Run a hot water cycle.  Then, remove the cup.  Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda on the very bottom of your empty dishwasher.  Run another hot water cycle.

Worked great on my stainless steel dishwasher and on my Mom's plastic dishwasher as well.

*Microwave splatters can be a real problem.  You don't want to use chemicals where you put your food.  So how do you get it clean?  Here's an easy way:

Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 cup of water in a microwave safe cup (I use a glass measuring cup).  Microwave on high for 2 minutes or so, until very hot and steamy.  Let it sit in the closed microwave for 5 minutes (longer if really gunky).  The steam will help loosen the gunk.  Then, wipe clean with a scrubby sponge dipped in the soda water.  Wipe off with a clean damp rag.

Making your own cleaners is super easy to do and can save you a lot of money.  It's also good for the planet.  No down side.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

7up Biscuits

My daughter is in college.  She's almost finished her first year.  It's crazy!  How did she grow up so fast?  It really does happen in a blink!  Anyway, what I miss the most about her not being here is the whole family sitting around the table together.  So, when she was home the other day, I made a big supper for us to sit around and enjoy.  It included these moist, buttery 7up biscuits.  They were the star of supper!

These are similar to the copycat Popeyes biscuits I've blogged about before.  But, those used club soda instead of 7up.  You can use any clear carbonated beverage here.  I found this recipe online and tried it because A, it looked easy, B, I had all of the ingredients on hand, and C, the photo made my mouth water.  Always a good sign.


2 cups baking mix (Bisquick or Jiffy brand)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7up
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut sour cream into baking mix.  I use a pastry blender but a fork works just as good.  To "cut in" just means to work the wet ingredients into the dry until crumbly.

Stir in the 7up.  It will be sticky.  That's ok.  Don't over mix!

Sprinkle more baking mix (or flour) on your counter (about 1/2 cup).  Knead and fold the dough until coated in flour.

Pat out evenly (about 1/2 to 1 inch thick).  Cut out with a round biscuit cutter (or just use a glass).  Should yield about 8 biscuits.

Pour melted butter into a cast iron skillet (or baking dish).  Or you can just put the butter in the skillet and stick it in the oven until the butter melts.  But don't let it burn!  Then, place the cut biscuits on top of butter.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Optional:  Pour a little more melted butter on top.  (Why the heck not?)

There's nothing better than a buttered biscuit and this one bakes in a puddle of butter.  So, yeah it's pretty awesome.  The 7up helps it rise and get light and fluffy.  The sour cream gives it a tender crumb.  This is a really easy but absolutely delicious biscuit!  


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Chili Lime Baked Chicken

I cook a lot of chicken. It's something everyone likes, even the pickiest of eaters.  However, it can get a little boring.  So, I'm always looking for new ways to make it. The other day I looked in the pantry and fridge to see what I had on hand and came up with this marinade.  It turned out pretty good!  My Pickiest Eater Ever Son loved it!  When that happens, I write the recipe down and call it a keeper.  Here it is:

*Note:  I doubled this recipe because I wanted leftovers. A few nights later, I shredded the chicken and used it to make quesadillas.  Yum!


4-6 pieces bone in chicken (legs or thighs or a combo)
2 TBS lime juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp garlic powder (fresh garlic would burn here)
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 TBS honey

Place chicken in a big zip top bag.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until well combined.

Pour marinade over the chicken and seal bag.  Make sure all of the chicken is covered well.

Place in the fridge for at least a few hours.  *Tip:  put the bag in a bowl just in case it leaks it won't get all over your fridge!  You could fix this up in the morning and let it sit all day in the fridge.  The longer it marinates the better. But not more than a day.  The lime juice (which tenderizes the meat) can actually start to cook the chicken if left too long.

When you're ready to cook it, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place chicken in a baking dish (or big cast iron skillet).  Don't pour the extra marinade on top, discard it.  Too much liquid and the chicken will steam instead of bake properly.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.  Just make sure it's no longer pink inside.

This chicken was very tender (the lime juice does that) and flavorful.  The skin was crispy and golden (the sugar and honey does that).  

I will definitely be making this again. I always have these ingredients in my kitchen, it was easy and my picky eaters were satisfied.  That's a win in my book.