Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bring on the COMFORT!

I am so stinking excited to share 2 recipes today! I made both of these last night for dinner, but wanted to make sure they were Franny worthy before posting. Not only are they worthy, but they will rock your dinner table.

I normally do not cook anything more difficult than a frozen pizza on Friday nights, but something got into me and I spent Friday morning cooking dinner. My kids LOVED both of these recipes and what a huge bonus with all the vegetables that got eaten too. Both of these recipes are super easy to put together, so run on out to the store, grab your buggy and fill it with the stuff for your next meal!

Chicken Pot Pie (Courtesy of fellow dance mom, Dawn)

1 refrigerated pie crust
3 boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 can Veg-All
1 can peas
1 can diced potatoes
2 can Cream of Celery soup

Unroll one of the pie crusts into a deep dish 9 inch pie plate. Mix together chicken, Veg-All, peas, diced potatoes and both cans of soup. Pour into pie crust. Cover with other crust. make sure you cut slits in the top. Bake at 350-375 for 45 minutes.

Pot Pie notes: Use whatever canned veggies you have in your pantry. When I do this again, I will probably substitute carrots or butter beans for the can of potatoes. You can also use whatever "Cream of..." soup that you have or like.

Now for the best part....dessert! This apple pie recipe was in my November 2009 Southern Living. It was in an article that the magazine did on the Pioneer Woman. She has a great website chock full of amazing sounding recipes. I highly encourage you to check her out. As a bonus, she is funny too.

Scrumptious Apple Pie-Southern Living November 2009

7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
3/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup uncooked quick cooking oats
Refrigerated pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 and line a deep dish pie plate with pie crust.

Mix together apples, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Add in 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend well. Pour mixture into crust.

Cut butter into remaining 1/2 cup flour with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in brown sugar, oats and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Top this mixture on the apples, pressing it in so that it adheres. Shield your crust edges with aluminum foil or those handy pie crust shields.

Place pie on foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, remove foil or crust shields from crust edges and cook an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let pie sit at least 30 minutes before serving.

Pie Notes:

To get 7 cups of sliced apples, I used about 6 whole apples. If cinnamon is not your thing, leave it out. The original recipe did not call for it, but that is how we like ours, so I added it in. If you do not have a pastry blender, GET ONE! It truly makes "cutting in the butter" so much faster. While you are buying the pastry blender also pick up pie crust shields. I do not have these, but believe me after hee-hawing around with strips of foil on the crust edge I will be sprint to the store today to purchase pie crust shields. Lastly, I cooked this pie in the morning and we did not eat it until 10:30 last night. I just warmed it up in a 300 degree oven.

I can't wait to hear what you think of these. They are definitely in the dinner rotation at my house now!

xoxox, mfjm

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Planning

So, it is Friday morning and I am savoring the Today Show with a cup of coffee from my super cool Kuerig machine and oh....a FRESH apple pie in the oven! Good Lord is smells great in my house. I bet you think that I am going to give you that recipe today, but I am not. Quite frankly I find Apple Pies so common. Don't get me wrong they are great, but I strive to be different....yeah big shock!

A couple years ago, I took over the dessert portion of Thanksgiving. Growing up I was never thrilled with what was offered and as I got older I really thought that it would be ok to branch out from the usual pumpkin, pecan and apple pies. Enter in Chocolate Bourbon Pie. Oh yeah, you read that correctly...chocolate and bourbon in the same pie!

This Brian's favorite thing I make all year. This recipe came from one of my most battered and "go to" cook books that I own....The Stuffed Cougar! This will mean nothing to most of you, but my Richmond peeps know, or should know this book very well.

Chocolate Bourbon Pie

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 TBLS bourbon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 9" unbaked pie shell

Beat eggs while gradually adding sugar. Add butter and bourbon, blend in cornstarch. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into shell and bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve slightly warm with fresh whipped cream.

You can make this ahead and freeze it. Many times I will give this for gifts at Christmas and I just make them when I have time and freeze them in gallon size ziploc bags.

A note about the bourbon....just buy the cheap stuff! I use Evan Williams. I also put more like 5 TBLS of bourbon in the pie. Also a comment on the pecans....PULVERIZE them. Chop them in a food processor until they look like small BB's.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2 for 2...I'm on a roll!

Can you believe it? I am already hitting you with a new recipe. I feel so proud.....obviously it doesn't take much.

Not much chatter today, as I am trying to beat the clock. Today is dance day, so I have to be on the ball and get a bunch of crap done before we leave for dance.

The recipe I am giving you today is dedicated to my brother, John. I have never known a person who loved Macaroni and Cheese like he does. Not the creamy kind, but more like a Macaroni pie variety. This recipe was passed along to me by a former co-worker and super friend, Anita.

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

8oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash (or 2) of pepper
3-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Grease crock pot (or use a crock pot liner). Mix all the ingredients except 1/2 the cheese. Pour into prepared crock pot. Top with remaining cheese. Cook on LOW for 3-6 hours. I usually cook for 4.5-5 hours, but have gone longer.

Let me know what you think. This is one of my family's favorites.

xoxox y'all!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SSSSSH........I'M BACK!!

Can we get a woo-hoo? I know that many (ha) of you had given up on me that I would ever post again. Well, I am back and ready to roll. Did you notice that I spruced up the blog a bit? Many thanks to Kat-bird for steering me to this great blog creator site.

So what have I been cooking up in the past 6 months or so? Lots of the usual and one special addition.....Baklava! Major OMG about how freaked I was to make this, but it truly was so easy, and if I do say so, it came out beautifully. Most of you are probably thinking why the hell are you making Baklava...go BUY it! The story goes like brother proposed to his girlfriend in Greece on a spur of the moment trip over "spur of the moment", I am talking booked the ticket 2 days before he went and stayed long enough to get a "yes", sleep a few hours and fly back to Virginia.I decided before his plane had even left the tarmac at Dulles that I was going to make Baklava for them. I excitedly bought the ingredients and then they sat and taunted me until I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with the fillo dough. When it baked up and got the honey syrup poured over it, I knew that I had nailed it. WOW! It was amazing.

I am not giving you the Baklava recipe tonight, as I don't want to jump back in with making you deal with fillo dough, so I am giving you a recipe that came to my inbox this morning from Southern Living. Normally I delete these emails, but the words "comforting casseroles" reeled this baby right on in. I changed the topping, from the original, and it was FABULOUS!

Chicken Cobbler

3-4 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
3+ TBLS butter
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 8oz pkg fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped jarred, drained roasted red peppers
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup white wine
1 small pkg Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing
1 stick butter

In a large skillet, melt the 3+ Tablespoons of butter and cook the onions for 10-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes or so. Pour in soup, white wine, roasted red peppers and chicken. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes....until just boiling. Pour mixture into a greased 9 inch or so pan (do not use 13x9, it is too big). Melt the remaining stick of butter and mix in with the stuffing. Pour over top and bake, uncovered at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

I served with petite brussel sprouts...yum! My kids even liked it....woo-hoo!!

The only notes I have about this are that I might reduce the amount of wine slightly. It was almost overpowering. I also added lots of additional roasted red pepper, I would not add quite so much.

The only must have kitchen tools that I used for this was my mandolin slicer and a 10 inch "family" skillet. While you may not use a mandolin too often, I think that they are invaluable in achieving thin, even onion slices. The family skillet is something I use almost everyday. Not sure what I did without it. Mine is stainless steel and goes from stove top to oven to dishwasher. It is from the Emeril cookware line. The mandolin is from Pampered Chef......definitely on the short list for replacement very soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bring on the Pot...Crock Pot that is!

Catchy title don't you think?! I had to do something that would grab my enormous (in my dreams) following!

Seriously, today is all about that thing you love to hate....the Crock Pot! I don't know about y'all, but after 2 or 3 meals, everything tastes the same that is cooked in it. Well listen up my friends, your world is about to be rocked by this amazingly simple and oh so delectable dish.

As you all know, we love us some fine bar-b-que in the south. Tomato, vinegar or mustard based, it is all tasty and it is all about what you prefer. In my house we love mustard based...thanks to Maurice's Barbeque. While it is a bit controversial that they fly the confederate flag on the roof of their business, they make some mean barbeque.

I have been in such a rut for meals for my family, that I knew that I had best get my act together or be reduced to eating Beenie Weenies. I scored a home run tonight and you can score one tomorrow night with this fab-o meal.

Without further chatter, here you go....

Crock Pot Pork Loin Roast

1 3-4 lb pork roast
6 whole cloves
salt & pepper
2 onions

Slice 1 onion and place in the bottom of your pot.

Take roast and push the whole cloves into the top and salt and pepper it to taste. Place on top of onions.

Slice second onion and scatter on top of roast.

Add enough water to fill pot about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full.

Put top on and cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Once roast is done and very tender, remove it from the pot, remove the cloves and discard the water and onions. Put the roast back in the pot and shred it up.

Add your favorite barbeque sauce and set on low for an hour or so more. You may need to add a little water or broth to keep it from getting to dry.

That is it! How simple is that, and they will think you slaved for hours!

Franny's notes:
What I love about this is how easy it is. The next best thing about it is that I picked up the pork roast while at Target waiting for a prescription. I was okay to buy the meat, as it was prepackaged by Hormel and looked beautiful with no funky colors. Guys....this roast was $6.49! Can you stand it?? What a bargain! For the sauce, I used John Boy and Billy's sweet and mild Grillin' Sauce. When I make this again, because you know I will now make it until my family says, "dear God not again!" I will use Bone Suckin' Sauce. I just didn't have any and the thought of going to the grocery store was more than Icould handle. I will be serving this over rice, again because that is what I have, but it would be phenom on good seeded buns.

Let me address the clove ingredient.........don't lose me on this! I was super skeptical at first, but it gives the faintest hint of flavor. Whole cloves are in the spice aisle...likely in the glass jars. If you have an Earth Fare near you, you can buy cloves by the ounce. Whole Foods or fresh market may do it too. At Earth Fare they are in the section with vitamens, loose herbs, etc...go figure. my point on this is, that I got a small Ziploc bag of cloves for less than a buck and have more than plenty for many many more roasts.

Let me know how it goes! xoxox

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Holy Batman...

Today's entry is in honor of my crazy, new friend Martha. Martha is an absolute riot and the sayings that come out of her mouth are second to none. Martha and I sit and chat most Tuesday and Thursday afternoons while Maggie is in dance. Martha owns a children's consignment store in Rock Hill, SC, so if you are ever this way let me know and I will hook you up with her. Not only the deals you will find on great clothes, but her fabulous southern wit will make the fact that you went to Rock Hill worth it!

So today, Martha and I were chatting about great dinner dishes. The subject of pork tenderloins came up, as that is what is on the menu at my house tonight. In the course of chatting, I remembered this amazing "Slap your Momma", "Holy Batman", "Fantabulous" recipe for pork tenderloin.

If you are Catholic and observing no meat Fridays, make this on Saturday otherwise sprint to the store this instant to get the ingredients for Friday night's dinner. Y'all, no lie, it is that incredible!

Here goes...

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin

2 lb pork tenderloin

Mix together:
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sherry (cooking sherry is fine)
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons dry mustard

Put pork tenderloin in roasting pan and pour the above mixture over it.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until internal temperature is 160. Baste the pork about every 15 minutes while it is cooking.

Franny's notes:
I always have this one of 2 ways. The first way is just sliced and served with garlic cheese grits. The second way is to slice it very thinly and serve on rolls for entertaining. Either way you cannot go wrong. Next crucial point....if you do not have an electronic meat thermometer go get one now! All these years that I have been making this, come to find out that I have also been cooking it way too long. This little gadget is a meal saver. Mine is Taylor brand, but I think that Pampered Chef also makes one. One of the best things about it is that when the meat reaches the temperature that you have set on the thermometer it sets off this buzzer that doesn't quit until you go stop it.

Enjoy and let me know how you like it and what you serve with it, because I am sure I lost over half my meager audience when I said to serve it with grits! xoxox

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Brunch Anyone?

Oh my....did you think that you had gotten rid of me? No such luck...sorry! It has been a bit crazy around this house and every day that I say, "I am adding a recipe today", it clearly has not happened. So, without any further chit chat, here is my offering for today.

This is one of the best breakfast/brunch dishes I have ever had. It is easy, because you do most of it the night before. I have also found that it is a most welcome change from the egg and sausage casserole that I know y'all have all had at least a dozen times!

Further on this, I have substituted egg beaters for the eggs and fat free half and half for the full strength. There is no difference is taste, but a pile of difference in fat and calories. For the maple syrup, you may ONLY use the real deal. If you are like me, you grew up on Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima....LISTEN can only use real maple syrup for this recipe! I know that it is ridiculously priced, but suck it up and get it.

Here we go:

Overnight Pecan French Toast

1-1 1/2 loves of french bread (each slice should be about 1 inch thick)

Mix together:
8 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Pour 1 cup into a greased,sprayed 13x9 pan. Arrange the french bread slices over the egg mixture. I pack them tight! Once all bread is arranged, pour the remaining egg mixture over the bread, cover with foil and refrigerate over night.

In the morning...

Microwave together:
1 stick of butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2-3/4 cup REAL maple syrup
1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Microwave this together for about 2 minutes (until butter melts), stir well and pour over the bread.

Bake, uncovered at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Franny's notes:
For the french bread, I use the skinny loaves that come from the bakery at the grocery store. It usually takes about 1 1/2 loaves. Once I take this out of the oven, I let it cool quite a bit. I promise y'all, that whoever you serve this too, they will go crazy over it! Simply said, it is FABOLICIOUS!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Soup's On...

Hey y'all, today I am going to switch gears away from the sweets. Today's entry is dedicated to Estelle, Maggie's 2nd grade teacher. She wrote me on Monday asking me to please make the recipes healthier, bless her heart she didn't grow up here. Wait until I tell her how vegetables really should be cooked. So today's recipe is for a soup that I made recently for the teacher's luncheon at Maggie's school. Maybe Estelle was just trying to make me feel good, but she asked for this recipe.

I do have to give proper recognition to the person who first gave this recipe to me, Rose Lane. Growing up I spent as much time at my house as I did at Rose Lane's. When I got married she passed this recipe along to me, and I can honestly say it is one of our favorites during the cold months. Try switching up some of the veggies in it. I usually just add whatever is already in the fridge.

When I make this, I make it in my Crock Pot. Let me stop here and tell you about one of the best inventions EVER for the Crock Pot....Slow Cooker Liners by Reynolds. You simply put one of these bad boys in your pot before turning it on, throw your ingredients in, stir, put the lid on and walk away. I know you are dying to know why these are so fab, so here it is....after you eat your delish meal all you have to do is pull the liner out and throw it away! Hello y'all less time scrubbing the pot means more time on Facebook!

So here is the pot-full of love recipe....enjoy! xoxox

Quick Minestrone

Saute the following in a little oil:
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed basil leaves

Put the following into Crock Pot:
2 cans Bean with Bacon soup
3 soup cans of water
1 can beef broth
1 16oz can tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup cabbage, cut in long thin strips
1 cup cubed zucchini
1 chopped carrot

Stir the above together until smooth and add in the sauteed onions, celery, garlic and basil.

Cook on low for 8 hours. 30 minutes before you want to serve, add in 1/2-3/4 cup small pasta, like Orzo.

Please note with the addition of pasta to this, the soup thickens up. Obviously the more pasta you add the thicker the soup. Additionally, the last time I made this, I started it at 11pm the night before I needed it, and just cooked it on low all night. The house smelled fabulous when I got up the next morning and the soup was done. I felt like my day was off to a great start!

Hope y'all enjoy this, hurry and make it before the weather gets to warm! xoxox

A Monday Fix

Woo-Hoo, here we are at the beginning of another week. In my house, we like to say, "gotta bad case of the Mondays!" Well listen up, bad Monday's are about to come to a screeching halt with the addition of a Coca Cola Cake, or as my grandmother Eunice would say "Co-cola Cake". Y'all, this cake is like nothing you have ever had. When you take your first bite, you will want to close your eyes and have a little moment to yourself.

Unlike the Hot Milk cake, this cake is based off of a cake mix. How cool is that?! If you get in the kitchen and dig your heels in, you can have this cake mixed and in the oven in about 8 minutes. What could be better....except maybe someone doing it for you AND cleaning up!

Y'all have a great Monday and stop off at the Teeter, Ukrops or whatever your grocery store of choice is and grab the ingredients for this, you will not be sorry.

Coca Cola Cake

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a 9x13 pan.

Beat together the following:
1 box white cake mix
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of Coke
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon quality vanilla extract

Beat this for 4 minutes on medium high, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Stir in:
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Pour batter into pan and bake about 35 minutes. Once the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and the cake springs back when you press on it, it is done.

While the cake is cooling for 15 minutes, make the frosting/icing.

Coke Icing

1 stick of butter
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup Coke
1 1lb box of powdered sugar, sifted

Melt the butter of medium heat. As butter is melting, stir in the cocoa and Coke. Stirring constantly, bring this to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar. Mix until the icing thickens up and is smooth. You can add a splash of Coke if you need to.

Pour the icing over the top of the cake. Spread it so that the entire cake is covered. Once it sits, it will harden up. Wait 30 minutes before cutting the cake.

Franny's notes:
Like the previous recipe, a stand mixer is top of my list for beating. Also, right up at the top are the silicone spatulas from Sur Le Table. Wow, these things rock it out! My mom gave me the one and only that I own, and it has reindeer on it. I love it so much that I refuse to put it away until the Christmas season. That being said, I think that the store comes out with themed spatulas for each season. Not as cheap as the dollar store, but will certainly last you longer than 1 week! I also have to give kudos to my 9x13 Wilton cake pan. This is the only pan that I make this cake in. It comes out perfect every single time. So grab your 40% off coupons from Michaels and Hobby Lobby and treat yourself to a great cake pan. I am sure that glass pans would do fine, this is just what makes me happy.

In terms of the ingredients, any white cake mix will do. I usually get whatever is on sale or better yet a "buy one get one" deal. The buttermilk I use is usually the fat free, only because that is all I can usually find in a quart container. I know that I don't have to remind you about my thoughts on butter and vanilla, if you need a reminder, go back and read my notes on the Hot Milk cake.

Savor each bite of this trashy sounding, but incredibly fantastic cake. xoxox

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Southern Standby's

I am kicking off this new blog with a recipe for a cake that I just made this week for a friend's birthday. The recipe is for Hot Milk Cake with Caramel Icing. When you mix this up, do not be freaked out by the consistency. It is fairly thin, but bakes up beautifully. When I made this, I poured the batter into 2 round pans to make a layer cake. After pouring the icing over it, I wished I had done it as a 9x13 "sheet" cake. The icing is quite thin; however, it hardens up as it cools on the cake. You do not have to use the Caramel Icing for this cake, that is just what I used.

Before I give you the recipe, I will say that unless otherwise noted, I use the hound out of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for all my recipes. I typically let batter beat on medium high for a minimum of 4 minutes. I use the paddle attachment and do stop halfway through to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you do not have a stand mixer, a GOOD hand mixer will work just fine. Blah Blah Blah onto the recipe!!

Hot Milk Cake

Preheat oven to 325 and grease/spray either 2 round pans or a 9x13 pan.

Beat together:
4 eggs (preferably room temperature)
2 cups sugar

Add in:
2 cups sifted flour (I only use Swans Down, but regular flour is okay too!)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Let this beat/mix until the flour in mixed in and then add:

1 cup milk, in which you have melted 1 stick of butter

Beat this mixture for about 4 minutes and then add:

1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

Pour batter into prepared pan at bake for 30-35 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center. Cool.

Caramel Icing

Boil together the following:
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

Boil until the temperature reaches 'soft ball' on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Beat (I used a hand mixer at this point) adding up to 1/2 cup more of milk while beating to prevent icing from becoming cement.

Pour over cake. let the icing "set up" on the cake before cutting.

Enjoy.........Let me know how it goes for you!

A few additional notes:

I only use real unsalted butter. I also only use a good quality pure vanilla extract. If you belong to Costco or BJ's, you can get a 16 oz bottle for short money. Seriously y'all, please do NOT use that cheap imitation mess that cost 99 cents at Wal-mart. If you are taking the time and effort to make a "from scratch" cake, then use quality ingredients.

Can't wait to hear from you! xoxox

What is this about?!

OK y'all, so after many requests for several recipes, I decided that the easiest way to get them to you was to just create a blog. Welcome to Franny's Favorites. Like the name? I thought it was catchy and reminded me of my oldest and dearest friends. I will post my favorites on here as I come across them. Feel free to tell me what you think of them.....the good, bad and the ugly!

For those that read this who may not know me, I am a mom to Maggie and Quinn and wife to Brian. I grew up in Richmond, VA, moved to Boston, MA after I got married, and we are now settled in upstate SC. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to cook. When I was in my early 20's I had a small baking business called 'A Smackeral of Love'. I did this mostly out of my parents kitchen. Once I got married and left Richmond, I lost my baking focus. In the past several years I have found that passion again. I am more than thrilled to be sharing recipes with you. To me that is the greatest compliment! I will also try to put in kitchen products that I love and will never be without in my kitchen.

I will be including all different kinds of recipes, not just baked goods....although they are my favorite! I may even post what I am fixing for dinner, if I think it is worth your time. This mama is all about keeping things fairly simple, especially at the end of the day! Feel free to send me your recipes as well, and I will post them up here and give you props, after all who doesn't want props?!

I am putting this disclaimer in, that I really do not know what I am doing with this whole Blog thing, but I am sure that as I go along, I will get better at it, so please have patience. xoxox