Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sausage One-Skillet Pasta


My momma made this all of the time when I was growing up. Why? It's really good. It's really easy to make. all cooks in ONLY ONE SKILLET! How exciting is that?! Let's hear it for only having to wash one pan! Hip, hip, hooray! I'm not sure where this recipe originally came from, so I cannot give credit to whom credit is due. Momma always just called it, "That sausage skillet stuff" (We believe in very specific names in our family...). Whoever made it... this sausage pasta stuff is wonderful. The pasta cooks with the sausage to make flavorful pasta, and then the sour cream and tomatoes make an easy, rich, creamy sauce that cover that pasta with even more awesomeness! Yum!

Here's my momma's well-loved card:

And here's my recipe card:

Step One: Chop up an onion and a bell pepper. 

Step Two: Put the sausage into a hot skillet, and begin to break it up.

Step Three: After you have broken up the sausage, add the onion and bell pepper...

...and let the onion and bell pepper cook with the sausage as it browns.

Step Four: Now, when the sausage has browned completely, you are supposed to drain off the fat. I rarely remember to do that... but if you want to save some calories, spoon off the grease before moving on :). 

Step Five: Add tomatoes with their liquid, ...

...macaroni, sugar, salt, and pepper,...

...and mix well. 

Step Six: Allow the mixture to come back up to a bubble, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir often. (I take "often" in this recipe to mean every 5 minutes...ish.) 

Cook until the pasta is tender...'til it is done to your liking. If you want to cook everything longer than 20 minutes to make that pasta super soft, go for it! (I do. Those who have been reading this blog for a while know that I like all pasta a little on the "squishy.")

Step Seven: When the pasta is done to your liking, take the pan off the heat. *Drum roll for my favorite part...* Stir in the sour cream. YUM!

Check it out. The pan and the lid are the only dishes from the cooking process that I had to do!

The sour cream gives all those flavors a wonderful body and richness to swim around in...Yum. Yum. YUM!

Side note that has nothing to do with anything: I put a scoop in my one cup measuring cup because I thought it looked cool. The white stuff around the edges is sour cream from measuring sour cream. I have no other explanation for doing this...


Sausage One-Skillet Pasta
Click here for printable version
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
1 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 c. sour cream

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the onion and bell pepper as the sausage cooks. Once the sausage has browned, spoon off all of the grease. Stir in the tomatoes with their liquid, macaroni, sugar, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to come back up to a bubble, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until the macaroni is tender. Remove from heat; stir in the sour cream. 
Pin It!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Soft Inside, Crispy Outside Southern Cornbread

OH. MY. HEAVENS. It's CORNBREAD! And not just any cornbread. No, no. This has the traditional outside crunch of traditional Southern cornbread, but the inside is less dense, softer, more pillowy if you will. This is soft inside, crispy outside Southern Traditional an Untraditional way. Here's my recipe card (which is all kinds of messy):


First of all, do you see this jar? This is an old jam jar full of bacon grease that has lovingly been stored in the fridge. I know that those of you who have been reading this blog for a while have seen that I store bacon grease in a coffee cup by the stove. If, however, you do not use bacon grease very often (or if you happen to be remodeling your kitchen and want to avoid getting sawdust in the bacon grease), storing the grease in a jar (preferably something glass) in the fridge is the way to go. Do you need bacon grease for cornbread? Does it absolutely have to be bacon grease? On behalf of the South, the answer is YES.
The next thing you need to see is this beautiful cast iron skillet. Can you make cornbread in a cake pan? Yes. Is it as awesome as cornbread made in a cast iron skillet? Nope. Not at all.

This is actually a brand new cast iron skillet. I'm using a brand new one because I just got married and my momma's cast iron skillets are still living at her house. Dang it.

Cast iron pans can be (and should be) seasoned. Remember the post I wrote about Miss Coretta from The Famous Jett Jackson hiding her pans all over the house? (On a related note: I was so sad to hear about Lee Thompson Young's early, untimely death recently. My heart and prayers go out to his family, friends, and coworkers.) She was hiding them from Jett's mom who did not know that you aren't supposed to wash cast iron pans. (I do wash mine...but GENTLY and with very little soap...only when necessary.) I did not season this pan very well. In fact, those of you who know a little bit about cast iron pans know just by looking at this one that I didn't season it very well because the handle still isn't a black color. 

Back to cornbread...
Step One: Put about a tablespoon of bacon grease in a cast iron skillet. Heat it over med-high heat until it begins to smoke. (CAUTION: When grease begins to smoke, it is just a short step away from catching fire. SO WATCH CAREFULLY!)

Ok...I must say... I start heating up the grease before I start mixing my ingredients. I've been making cornbread for a while, and when I make it, the amount of time it takes for me to mix the ingredients is almost the same amount of time it takes for the grease to heat just right. If you choose to mix your ingredients while the grease heats, please, please be careful. Keep a watchful eye on that grease while you mix everything together. 
Step Two: Meanwhile (or before you ever begin heating the grease), mix together White Lily self-rising cornmeal, buttermilk, and mayo. 

I know, I know - mayo is the untraditional ingredient that makes the cornbread soft. You won't find it in Mama's recipe, but it makes soft cornbread. Traditionally, an egg is used instead of mayo. My momma ran out of eggs one time but really wanted cornbread, so she tried mayo (since it is made from eggs). Even though I do not like mayonnaise, I LOVE cornbread made this way. 
When you mix everything together, the batter will look super thick like this. 

Step Three: Add about 1/4 c. water. The batter should be more fluid like this. 

This is just a picture of what the grease looks like when it starts to smoke. I'm just proud I captured the picture. 

Step Four: Carefully pour the grease into the batter... 

(It was at this point that I realized I should have used a glass or metal bowl instead of a plastic one. I always tease my momma because all of her plastic bowls are ruined...probably from hot bacon grease during the cornbread making process.)

...and stir well. 

Step Five: Pour the batter into the hot cast iron skillet. 

Step Six: Bake at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. 

Now...if your pan is seasoned well, the cornbread will slide right out...and be much prettier than this when you flip it upside down onto a plate. 

Look at it! Look at the crunchy golden outside...the pillowy soft, melt-in-your-mouth inside of the cornbread. What could be better? Put a pat of butter on the inside. Oh....heavenly, Southern, goodness. 

Untraditional Traditional Southern Cornbread
1 T. bacon grease
1 1/4 c. White Lily Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix
1 c. buttermilk
3 T. mayonnaise 
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Melt bacon grease in a 8" cast iron skillet over med-high heat until it smokes - while it heats, mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Add melted, smoking grease to the batter. Mix well. Pour the batter into the hot cast iron skillet. Bake 25 minutes(ish) or until golden brown. Serve with butter.
Pin It!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kitchen Remodel...The Reason for the Delays

I know what you're thinking. "Amber, you came back for like two recipes and then disappeared." Well, I'd like to explain that ...and I believe the above picture is worth a thousand words.

Yep, we are re-doing our kitchen. I wish I had a before picture, but I don't. You can kind of see what color they used to be by looking inside them. For those of you who are not aware, re-doing circa 1950 cabinets is a process that is in one word ridiculous.

Whoever varnished the cabinets last varnished over the screws, so there were no longer any grooves for a screwdriver. My poor husband had to use about five different tools to get out each screw.

Then, he sanded all of the cabinets. After the sanding process was complete our entire house had a coat of sawdust. One of my husband's friends came over after the cleaning up of the sawdust blanket and said, "Well, you at least covered the door in plastic, huh?" We just looked at each other and shook our heads. Yeah, that would have been smart. Wish we had thought of such!

Apparently, I am allergic to the varnish or something because I was sick for days after the sanding process.

Before we began painting, my husband patiently spackled and sanded, spackled and sanded... and spackled and sanded some more. At some point during the spackle and sanding days, I really, really wanted some homemade rolls. So, I started gathering the materials needed to accomplish such a task.

Unfortunately, all of our kitchen supplies are all over the house. Cooking involves a bit of a scavenger hunt. Right after my husband moved everything out, I remember asking, "Hey, where are the plates?" Without missing a beat, he said, "Right here," and he reached under the desk in the living room to hand me a plate.

Those of you who have been reading a while have seen my roll recipe. There aren't that many ingredients or supplies.

After 30 minutes of looking for ingredients and supplies, I gave up. I decided that I did not want rolls quite that much.

For example, where can I find a cup? On the couch.

Where are our mixing bowls and pots? In the office.

Baking dishes are there, too...

Cake pans and mixing bowls can also be found on bookshelves in the living room...

Where can I find flour, sugar, etc? In the living room on the coffee table.

What about spices, yeast, and other various food items? In a box...on the to the TV in the living room.

Where can I find anything else? In garbage bags that have exploded and overflowed into the floor of the office. (In our defense, they were neatly stacked in the garbage bags. We heard a loud rattle and clang in the middle of the night one night. This is what we found. Why fight it?)

I'm still not sure where to find some things...

So... With good reason, all of my cooking endeavors are on hold :)

"So when will the kitchen be complete?" you ask. Well, good question. I am not sure. Let me give you an idea of what we are dealing with. Here are our cabinet doors. "Where are they?" you ask. They are in my in-laws garage of course!

"Have you finished painting them?" Well, yes and no. Yes, they have 2-3 coats on each side. No, because the joint compound is showing through on the front. Soo... Now the front must be primed and reprinted a couple of times.

Maybe our kitchen will be finished by Halloween...
Pin It!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roast and Potato Hash

Beef and Pork Roasts were staples at my house growing up. My mom would put a roast, salt, pepper, and either cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup in a crockpot early in the morning, set it on low, and by dinner time, the roast was ready to eat. For whatever reason, our grocery stores do not package roasts in packages that feed 4-6 people; they package them in packages that feed 8-10 people. 
Partially for that reason, they were usually the main course at any dinner meetings held at our house. I can remember one of the men exclaiming at one of our AWANA planning meetings, "Wow! Do you people eat like this all the time?!" Everyone thought the roast was super hard to make; the reality was - Momma and I made the easiest thing we knew how to make, and then cleaned the house with all of that extra time.
For regular, weeknight family meals, roasts can be a bit more expensive than ground beef or chicken, but you can get not one, but two meals out of them! I always liked roast better the second time around when Momma would make hash out of the leftover roast. Hash is almost a roast and potato stew, and it is sooo good. I actually made The Best Danged Beef Roast from When the Dinner Bell Rings this time, and used the meat leftovers of that recipe to make my hash. Here's how to make it:

Step One: Chop up the leftover roast from your favorite roast recipe into bite-sized pieces, and chop up one onion.   

Step Two: Heat about 2 T. bacon grease over med-high heat in a large high-sided skillet. (I know that it is difficult to tell that there is bacon grease in there because it is already heated, but it is there! Sorry the pan is stained. It happens! :)) If you don't want to use bacon grease, you can use vegetable or canola oil, but bacon is always better. I was raised right - I always save bacon grease! Bacon grease begins so many wonderful Southern recipes.
Step Three: Cook onions until translucent (not pictured).
Step Four: Add the roast, and let it cook with the onions a bit...for a minute or two.
Yeah, I must confess...I did not wait until the onions were translucent before adding the roast. Patience and food do not always go together...

Step Five: Add potatoes! I like the yellow potatoes best, but you use whatever kind of potato you would like. (I would NOT recommend wax potatoes, such as red skin potatoes, for this dish. The soft starchy ones are best for this dish.)

Step Six: Add water until the potatoes are covered. Boil on medium-high heat until the potatoes are super soft.
I'm going to make a common sense statement, but sometimes common sense statements need to be stated so that you will know that what seems like common sense is actually ok. Make sense? If your water level gets very low, and the potatoes are not soft yet, add more water and continue to cook until the potatoes are soft. :)

See the super soft potatoes? :)

Step Seven: Add flour. Ok...Here's another confession - Adding flour like I added flour in the picture is not the best way to do it. I added the flour that way because that's  how my momma does it. Sometimes when you add flour like this, though, the flour does not completely dissolve correctly. To ensure that all flour dissolves put a little bit (3-4 T) of the cooking liquid in a small bowl with the flour, and stir until will combined. Add that mixture to the hash mixture, and stir well.

Step Eight: Add ketchup, and stir to combine.
So, one time, my mom forgot the ketchup. I had never made hash before or paid any sort of attention to how she made this beloved dish so I had no idea that ketchup is supposed to go into it. When she handed me a bowlful, I frowned. She said, "What's the matter?" And without really thinking about it said, "It's not the right color." She frowned, then laughed. She dumped my bowl of hash back into the skillet, turned the heat back on, squirted in some ketchup, and stirred it. I stood in awe of the power of ketchup!
Step Nine: Add salt and pepper to taste. I do not like it when I cannot tell you an exact amount, but the amount of salt and pepper you use will vary based on the original roast recipe you used.

Hooray for hash!

Roast and Potato Hash
Click here for printable version
1-2 T. bacon grease
2-4 c. leftover roast, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 T. ketchup
2-4 potatoes, chopped into 1 1/2" pieces
1 T. flour
salt and pepper

Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onions, and cook until translucent. Add roast, and cook with the onions 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover all with water, and continue to cook on med-high heat until potatoes are soft, adding more water as needed. Stir together 3-4 T. cooking liquid and flour in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the hash mixture, and stir to combine. Stir in ketchup, salt, and pepper, and then cook 1-2 minutes more.
Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...