Tag Archives: Garlic

Chicken and Handmade Noodles

chnAuthor: Cassie Stevens

One of my favorite dishes my mother makes for Thanksgiving is her turkey and homemade noodles. OMG! They are so good, she makes them the day before and lets them dry out overnight. Although I have tried many times, I don’t make them the same as my mama.  Well, this is a similar recipe to hers.  My chicken and noodles has veggies in it unlike my mama’s, but I think it adds a lot of flavor to the stock.

I start by making the dough for the noodles. It’s really very easy, all you need is

2 cups of flour

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

2 egg yolks and one whole egg beaten

1 tsp olive oil

Prep: In a large bowl stir together the flour and salt, then make a well in the center.  In another small bowl mix egg yolks, whole egg, water, and olive oil.  Add egg mixture to flour. Mix well. add a tsp of water at a time if too dry. On a floured surface roll out dough and knead until smooth and elastic. (8 to 10 minutes). Cover and let dough rest for ten to fifteen minutes.  Cut dough in half and roll out as thin as you want your noodles. Dust with flour on each side so the dough does not stick to the counter and cut with a knife, pizza cutter, or the nifty little roller cutter that I found at a thrift store never opened for fifty cents.

chn2I love that thing. I’m glad I picked it up. It also has another roller blade that tenderizes meat. I use it for pastas only. I tenderize my meat other ways.

chn3So after all your pasta is cut, it’s time to set it aside to dry.  I just place it on a parchment lined baking sheet to air dry. I turned it after an hour to help it dry out more evenly.

chn4I let mine dry for about two hours. It was dry enough by that time. As soon as it was dry I started the stock. I added a Tbsp of minced garlic and enough olive oil to cover a stock pot. Then I added the veggies:

chn5About three carrots, half an onion, and two stalks of celery. Dice them all up and sweat them out in the stock pot. I also, added two Tbsp butter, cause I can never cook without it. I love butter, real butter!  Once your veggies are sweatin’ add 3 cups water and simmer.

Next in a cast iron skillet or whatever pan you have (I love my cast iron skillet) brown your chicken. I used 3 boneless breasts and I seasoned my chicken with salt and pepper and a little bit of minced garlic in the bottom of the pan. Once browned on each side I set aside to rest for a few minutes. Then cut into small cubes and put inside stockpot to finish cooking for about ten to fifteen minutes.

chn7Drain the liquid from the stock pot into the skillet and bring to a boil, then add your noodles. Cook for about three minutes. Noodles will be done. Cook a little longer for thicker noodles.

chn6Once the noodles are done, add them to your stockpot. Before you add more water, make a slurry to thicken to a gravy.

chn8Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp flour and mix well in a measuring cup with just enough water to dissolve. Add to stock pot, then add more water to desired consistency. Let simmer for a few minutes and it will thicken up to a gravy consistency.


Looks yummy right? Time to eat! Pair it with your favorite dinner rolls and you have a great dinner your family will be talking about for a while!

chn10I hope you enjoy as much as we all did! Happy cooking!


Spicy Shrimp and Butter Grits ~ Southern Comfort Food

sg6Author: Cassie Stevens

I am a southern girl, and I eat like it too.  Cornbread, beans, grits, mashed taters, all kinds of gravies, butter, BBQ, etc.  Southern comfort foods, and this is one of them.  Shrimp and grits! YUM! better yet, spicy shrimp and grits! YUM! YUM!

Shrimp and grits started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the south where they were also known as “breakfast shrimp.” The popular cuisine of corn grain provides a new twist in a variety of ways that it can be made. This has caused chefs to try to create new variations of the basic shrimp and grits recipe.sg2

You may be wondering what grits are made of. Well grits, formerly “hominy,” is ground corn that has been mashed. This dish was invented by the Native Americans from the Carolina region. Grits were used as one of the ways for Native Americans and white people to communicate in the latter part of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century before people learned how to speak the same language. An important event happened in 1584, when Native Americans gave some of their grits to Sir Walter Raleigh, and the people who came to live in Jamestown, Virginia a few years later.sg3

The colonists were learning about maize (corn) from the Native Americans, who were well versed in that area. Multiple items quickly became basic food sources for the settlers, including corn and grits. These items had been a normal part of the Native American diet for a long time.sg1

Centuries later, in 1976, grits were  declared as the official state food of South Carolina and are well known for their significant contribution to the culture and economy of South Carolina, and the power of the people who live there. The region stretching from the Carolinas to Louisiana is now called America’s Grits Belt.sg4

For many people in this region, a day without grits is like a day without sunshine. They hate and have no respect for prepackaged instant grits or quick grits. For them, the only way to eat real grits is to cook them the old fashioned way slowly with stone ground grits. However, there are a number of ways to spice up the meal like adding shrimp.

For many decades, shrimp and grits were a mainstay of the diet of the people who lived in and around Charleston, South Carolina.


I live in Tennessee, not far from the origin of shrimp and grits. I love it! Well, in this recipe I used, lemon juice, butter, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, parsley, garlic, and onion powder. Spicy!

I cooked my grits then added a little butter, salt, and cream to my taste. Viola! the best ever spicy southern shrimp and grits. Gotta love it! Good southern comfort food! Enjoy! ~ C


10 to 15 cooked shrimp (depending on size)

Juice from half a lemon

1 tbsp salted butter

1 dash cayenne pepper (or to your heat preference)

1 three finger pinch dried parsley

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

In sauce pan combine all ingredients until heated through. Serve over cooked grits.


Friday’s Flavor ~ Shrimp Scampi with Leeks

ss1Author: Cassie Stevens

What’s easier than a shrimp scampi? Lemon, garlic, butter, parsley, onions (or in this case leeks), salt, pepper, and shrimp.  Bring a little white wine to the party and jazz it up a bit. Mmmmm…. Just about every shrimp scampi photo I see on the Internet looks delicious, even from first timer cooks.  Scampi is quick, easy, and old school, but so good, and good for you.

ss2Served either with bread, or over pasta or rice, although sometimes just the shrimp alone. Most variants of the “shrimp scampi” come on pasta.

Fun Fact: Scampi is a kind of small lobster known as  Norway lobster, Dublin Bay prawn, or true scampi.  The name is often used to loosely describe a style of preparation typical for this lobster.

And now for the leeks…….



Leeks are a new ingredient for me. Until now, I have never had or used a leek.  I had heard that they are a lot like an onion in flavor.  I would agree with that, I think they are very good and mild in onion flavor with a hint of mild garlic. My husband was new to leeks as well, and he too would agree that they are very good. He said it was  ****ing awesome! Ha! ha ha!

For those of you that don’t know:  The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves. One of the most popular uses is for adding flavor to stock. The dark green portion is usually discarded because it has a tough texture, but it can be sautéed or added to stock.

I would recommend trying leeks if you haven’t.  I think they are just great.  I shouldn’t have waited so long to try them. I will be seeking more recipes that use leeks in the future.

Back to the scampi…..Mmmmmm! Oh Yeah!

ss2This is an easy dish you must try out whether you are a beginner, or if your a veteran cook.  I hope you enjoy and make lots of memories while cooking and just have fun in the kitchen. Bon Appetite!

Copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce

Copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce :: Pen Pals and Cookin' GalsI’ve become addicted to making things homemade now. It’s truly an addiction. As I’m planning dinner I see an ingredient and think, hmm… I wonder if I can make that? And here’s the thing, I usually can. How have we come to an age where we think there’s no way we can make our own dressings, sauces, and marinades? 

Occupy Easy Food! Lol, just kidding. Kinda. I want real food. I’m crying for real food. Give me things that I can pronounce. Give me comfort food that I can feed my children, without worrying that they will end up with terrible side effects of the very food that has attempted to nourish them all their lives. Let me nourish my family!

So tonight I decided to copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce. Yeah!

But before we get to that, let me tell you something…

Anniversary Flowers :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

It’s my anniversary. 🙂 Hubs and I have been married for 5 years now. Those are my flowers! Swoon… We had big plans to stay in the theme hotel that we spent our wedding night in. But that is all the way in Idaho, and although my mom lives there and could watch the kids, we’d have to get there… 8 hours’ drive. With two small kids and the traveling we did last week, we nixed that idea.  And because we don’t have a fancy restaurant very nearby (and because littlest girl has bad separation anxiety – no sitter), I made us a fancy dinner. We always joke when we go out for dinner that I could have made it better at home.

This is one of those cases.

When we were in Billings, we went to Texas Roadhouse. I ordered a rack of ribs, my favorite!  They were burnt; and I like a little char on my meat. No, they were near inedible. We said this to the waitress, and she did try to fix it by bringing me a new rack (a little better). Then the manager graciously comped us a half rack. I gotta say though, my ribs are way better. And now… they are AMAZING with homemade BBQ sauce. No HFCS. No preservatives. Take that KC Masterpiece and Roadhouse! 😛

Copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals
Start by sauteing onions and garlic.

Copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Add the rest of the ingredients, taste, then give it a good zhjuzz (how the heck do I spell that?) with your hand blender. If you don’t have a hand blender, please, invest in one. I use mine on a daily basis. This is my favorite. I’m waiting for my cheap Walmart one to die so I can justify getting myself an awesome new one. Stainless steel suckah! I’ll take the green one, thanks.

Simmer for a little while so the flavors can marry. Ah, marry. You see what I did there?

Add it to all your favorite BBQ applications. For us, it was a delicious rack of ribs, cooked with my uncle’s finger-lickin’ recipe.

Copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Littlest girl enjoyed her anniversary dinner. Thanks for getting married mom and dad! She got to chew all the bits of meat off our bones. She happily scraped each one clean. Not hard since the meat falls right off the bone. We handed her a few half-eaten ones to make sure she got to have some of the good stuff too.

Copycat KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

I paired these with a side of garlic green beans (simmered for a few hours on the stove with a few cloves of smashed garlic), and basil roasted red-skin potatoes. Mmm! Want the recipe?

Masterpiece BBQ Sauce (from scratch)

1 Tbl oil (olive)

2 cloves garlic diced

½ onion diced

3 Tbl white or apple cider vinegar

1 Tbl worcestershire

1 Cup ketchup

1/3 Cup salsa (one recipe I saw called for 4 Tbl minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I think that this would make a more spicy, warmer sauce. As I didn’t have this on hand, I used salsa, but I don’t think it added much to the recipe as it was mild. Next time I will plan ahead and try the chipotle!)

1/3 Cup brown sugar

1/3 Cup molasses

1/3 Cup honey*

1/8 tsp paprika

Heat the oil, then saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Blend to a smooth consistency (be careful with hot liquids in the blender!).

*This is a sweet BBQ sauce (like KC Masterpiece). You can make it less sweet by leaving out the honey, increasing the amount of vinegar (1 T at a time), add heat by adding chili peppers or red pepper flakes. Make it your own. It’s a pretty forgiving sauce, so play with it!

For the ribs: Cut a rack into even pieces, about 2 bones per piece. Boil in water until the meat is almost falling off the bone (about 3-4 hours on the stove top). I cook mine in my crock pot on high, my 6 hour setting. Remove the pieces, being careful not to let them fall apart, to a sheet pan. Here they will dry out a bit (about 5 minutes) so that the sauce will stick. Brush the sauce on all over. Heat the grill. Add the ribs and cook on both sides just to add some grill marks and grill flavor, about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on your grill temp. Remove, and add more sauce if you like. Enjoy!

I didn’t figure up the cost of the sauce, but I can bet it’s cheaper than store-bought. It makes a ton. I’m freezing the rest of mine. I’ll tell you how it comes out. But the ribs? Those cost $0.50 per rib. That’s $2.00 per serving, as we like to have about 4 ribs per person. Try to get that at a restaurant! Mama win!

Please let me know what you think. This is a well-loved dinner here. I’m sure your family will love it too!

~Veronica Hilliard

30 minute Garlic Parmesan Rolls


Author: Cassie Stevens

These are my cousins 30 minute rolls that she posted up a while back.  I needed something quick for dinner tonight and my husband was due home soon.


I just sprayed the tops of the rolls after they had a few minutes to rise with cooking spray, sprinkled on the seasonings and, baked as normal.


I remembered these rolls and I wanted to try them cause they looked so delicious. Well they are really really good! I added garlic powder, salt, pepper, grated parmesan, and parsley to the tops.


So Good! They took no time at all. Hope you get to try them too. ~ C

Rosemary Garlic Parmesean Yeast Rolls


Author: Cassie Stevens

Light and buttery, you’ll love these! They go great with anything from pasta to seafood.  Fresh rosemary from my patio garden, grated Parmesan, garlic, and butter. Hot from the oven, they are crisp around the edges. and so soft and delicious on the inside. These will be a big hit at the dinner table with your family and friends.

I make a large batch and most I will make plain (for snack-time sandwiches) and the rest I will top (like these above) for dinner. I start with the yeast, the milk/cream mixture, and a little sugar. I will let that sit about 5 to ten minutes until it’s nice and foamy. Like this:


Then I will mix  in another bowl the eggs, the rest of the sugar, salt, and softened butter. Mix well and add to the yeast and milk mix. Stir until incorporated. Then add 6 cups of flour and mix in well with a wooden spoon, add one more cup of flour and mix in well again. Clean off your wooden spoon, cause you will be using your hands from here. I always knead my dough with my hands. For the last cup or more of flour, I will sprinkle a little on top of the dough and spread the rest out on the counter.  Roll the dough ball out on the your floured surface and begin kneading your dough ball. Keep adding flour down on your counter until your dough has a smooth and soft not sticky consistency. your dough shouldn’t need too much more flour. Place in a greased bowl and let it rise for about an hour in a warm place, like your oven or on top of your dryer if you are doing laundry, or I heard even on top of your refrigerator works great too. So, after your dough has risen and doubled in size, flour your counter, roll out the dough and knead for just a minute to get the big air bubbles out.  Then cut into about thirty even pieces.  Shape into balls. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush each roll with a little melted butter and egg mixture.  Then sprinkle on you seasonings, or leave plain. Let rise until doubled again. Then bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Here is pan of plain ones I made for sandwiches. They keep well if I store them in a plastic bag once they are cooled.


OK, so here is my recipe: This was the one I found online

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup water

5 tsp yeast

2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 sticks butter

2/3 cup white sugar

7-8 cups all-purpose flour

For my Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Topping:

Lightly sprayed tops of rolls with cooking spray, sprinkle on grated Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, 1 chopped sprig fresh rosemary.

POW! you get these ~ awesome herb and cheese crusted yeast rolls.


Hope you enjoy!

Lemon Pepper Sage Talapia with a Lemon Butter Cream Sauce


Author: Cassie Stevens

What a delicious way to eat fish.  Creamy, lemony, light and healthy. This was an awesome dish and I recommend you try this the next time you have fish. I would imagine you could substitute just about any fish you like. We happened to have talapia today. Lemon and fish just work so well together. I love it! Love, love, love it! I wanted something a bit creamy tonight with it so I came up with this lemon butter cream sauce. It was so delicious and easy! I paired it all up with a mix of butter beans, green beans and spinach. OMG YUM!

I used frozen talapia placed out on a sheet pan. I seasoned them with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and one whole leaf each of sage fresh from my garden. I am a gardener as well. I have to have my fresh herbs. They save me so much money.  Plus, my daughter picks and eats straight off the plants. She loves basil! I have to keep her away from them sometimes or she will strip my plants. Anyways, place the seasoned fish into the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or so. While I was waiting on the fish to cook, I mixed 1 stick of butter with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste, about two tablespoons of dried parsley.  Then added about 1/8 cup of lemon juice and mixed until blended well.  Add in one tablespoon of flour mixed in before it got to hot, then added one cup of cream. I let the cream sauce heat up to a simmer for a few minutes.  While keeping an eye on the cream sauce, I drained the spinach, butter beans, green beans, and put it all in a pot. I added two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of ham soup base (its ham bouillon). Bring the beans to a boil. By that time, your fish should be done. Serve it all up and enjoy the awesomeness of the sauceyness. Ha ha! so good. Give it a try and tell me what you think.