Category: Sides

Pork Tenderloin Big Salad

After a weekend of livestock showing and eating out of the concession stand, it was imperative that I get some veggies in my system. I needed greens! A girl can only live on meat for so long.

PT Salad

I went to my local grocery store and got everything they sold that I could possibly put into a  salad. Pickings are slim in a small grocery store.

I even made my own ranch dressing because we all know that stuff is the bomb.com. And, this needed to be the ultimate salad…after all, I had waited long enough!

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You can add whatever meat you have on hand. Grilled chicken or steak works great.  As a matter of fact, I ate this for lunch the next two days and topped it with chicken. I can never get too much salad. Yum!

The pork was smoked in the smoker and then finished off in the oven. It was delicious. My husband thought I was crazy for putting on a salad. He prefers his meat in a tortilla.

Pork Tenderloin Salad
Print Recipe
A big salad for a big appetite when you want salad as your main meal. 🙂
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Pork Tenderloin Salad
Print Recipe
A big salad for a big appetite when you want salad as your main meal. 🙂
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Cut up your veggies and assemble the salad with all ingredients.
  2. Top with the pork tenderloin.
  3. Drizzle with ranch dressing.
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Potato, Squash, Onion and Mushroom Medley

Here is the down and dirty people! I have been cooking squash every night this summer!! I have begun to know a few things about squash.  We are one.


I need to put together a post of, “101 Things to Do With Squash” before summer is out…like for real…it is crazy. I do have other squash recipes. Check here under side dishes.

But, for now I will just tell you about this simple,  love-it-like-no-other dish.

This can include just about anything you have in the fridge…or in my case…laying on the counter!!!!! #freshveggies


Chop it. Toss it. Bake it. Eat it. That simple!!

[recipe title = “Potato, Squash, Onion, Mushroom Medley”]

    • 3 peeled potatoes – any kind will do…red are my favorite, and you will need about 5 if you use those
    • 2-3 medium squash, cubed thick (They cook faster than the potatoes so they need to be thicker)
    • 1 whole onion, sliced long
    • 1 package of mushrooms
    • 1 link of German sausage
    • 1/2 stick of butter (and maybe a little more)
    • Optional ingredients – today it was okra!
  1. Cut up all your ingredients and place them in your pan.
  2. Chop up the butter and lay it around the top.. tuck it in the sides..more is always better.
  3. Sprinkle heavily with salt, pepper and garlic. Don’t be shy! You need to be able to see it. For reals….this makes all the difference!!
  4. Top it with a lid or foil and bake at 350 degrees for a good 45 minutes to an hour.  Stir it around after 20 minutes. Then, finish cooking. SIDE NOTE: This can also be cooked on the grill. It takes the right kind of dish or some heavy duty tin foil. The smoke flavor really adds to it. I prefer it that way, but it can be more of a hassle depending on what else I am cooking.
  5. This will serve 6-8 people. You can easily double everything to serve more. It is one of those dishes that grows as you add all your favorite things. Just remember to add more butter!!! [/recipe]

Now, don’t whine and think,  “Oh my gosh that takes to long to cook!!!!!”

Just get it started before you do anything else. By the time you are done cleaning up the kitchen so you can start cooking, they will be half cooked. Go start the grill, clean it off, season your meat, cook it, and by the time the meat is done, the veggies are done! Walah!

A little secret…for the best flavor, do not skip the German sausage. This is cream-of-the-crop good. It caaaaannnn be done without it, but just for the record, you need to understand… this ingredient is KEY! (I didn’t have any tonight so it’s not in my photos. I survived…but wasn’t happy about it.) I added a “meatless” tag to this because you could make it an all veggies dish if you prefer.

This will cook down so feel free to stack it high in your pan.

It is done when the potatoes get soft.

Happy eating!

 

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Yellow Summer Squash Bread Recipe

It’s the end of July and it’s hot in Texas! The squash plants seem to be the only ones happy about this heat. They are showing off by producing lots of yellow squash!

Yellow Summer Squash Bread

I decided to make a loaf of squash bread…you know, like zucchini bread but with the yellow squash vs. the green ones.

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Squash Cornbread Casserole

It is summer and the garden is going gang busters. 
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I’ve been feeding my family squash almost daily. That means it is time to get creative!

Since I love cornbread casserole, I thought maybe it could be done with squash vs. corn. So, I got busy whipping some up in the kitchen. Of course I didn’t have a recipe, so I improvised.

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Easy Skillet Cornbread

Something that I L.O.V.E. is cornbread! I guess that explains how deep my Texas roots are! We are serious about our cornbread.

I put myself through college waiting tables. One of the restaurants I worked in put sweet cornbread out on the tables. People ate it up like chips and hot sauce. It was delicious.

 

While it is easy to whip up a store-bought bag of cornbread and add some milk and egg, I want to encourage you with everything in me to try this homemade version. It is fantabulous!! I mean it!

It’s not the sweet kind, but it is amazing none-the-less. It can easily be passed off as dessert. It is the perfect compliment to beans. And, be sure and butter it with the real stuff.

 

The cast iron skillet has much to do with the yum factor … so don’t underestimate the power of the iron people! If you don’t have one, get one! They sell them at Academy and Amazon! Even Facebook has a group for the serious cast iron folks. It’s a big deal…I’m telling you.
Buy a bag of yellow corn meal and keep it in your freezer so you can make this regularly.

I didn’t invent this recipe, but I adapted as fast as I could. Let me bow down to The Pioneer Woman for this amazing creation! She’s just across the way a bit in Oklahoma so we could be cornbread sisters. Scoot on over to her page here and get the recipe! It’s easy and awesome.

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The Best Green Beans Ever

Remember when you were little and the only vegetables you seemed to eat were green beans and corn? 

Maybe that was just me. 

I despised veggies when I was young. I forver ate my hamburger with meat and cheese only! No veggies!!

As an adult, I don’t eat green beans as often as I used to because thankfully my palate has grown to love other vegetables.
 
However, I’m a sucker for the old fashion green beans with bacon and onion cooked with them! How much more southern can you get? 
 
We were discussing this recipe at work the other day. Every since then I’ve wanted some. 
 
Tonight, I needed a side dish to go with some turkey I had made earlier. This was my chance to fulfill a craving. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand, but I didn’t have all night so I opted for canned beans vs. frozen. They were great! 
First,  sizzle up one package of bacon. I recommend cooking it crisp. (Like, who wants to eat soft bacon anyway?) Yes, for you oven people, it would work fine in the oven. Just save your grease. 

My recipe is bacon heavy because I love bacon. Feel free to cut the bacon in half if that suits your fancy. 

While the bacon is cooking, chop half of a large onion or one small onion. 

When the bacon is as crispy as you like it, remove the bacon and drain half the grease. 


Then, add the chopped onion.  Cook these until they are clear…well, as clear as they can really be in bacon grease. 🙂
While the onions are cooking, chop the bacon into bite sized pieces. Crunchy bacon makes this step really easy. 

When the onions have cooked through, remove them from the grease. (I prefer to place them on a plate with a paper towel to absorb extra grease.) Drain any excess grease out of your pan and wipe clean with a paper towel. Be careful not to burn yourself…that pan might still be hot! (Every calorie counts…even if this recipe is latent with fat, bacon molecules.)
Next,  add two cans of drained green beans. You could use any kind of green bean that you fancy. This is all I had on hand. Most people make this with a full bean and not a french bean. But it works fine either way. Also fresh green beans would be even better…I just didn’t have any. 

Add your cooked onion and chopped bacon back to the pan.
Add one cup of chicken broth. (NOTE: Frozen beans take longer to cook. If you opt for frozen beans, you may need to add a full can of broth and cook longer.) 
 
Cook 20 minutes on low until broth cooks off. You want to do this slowly so your beans absorb all the savory flavors. Don’t rush it too much. 
Eat them as soon as possible…out of the pan because who can resist green beans all slathered in bacon..right? 

Confession: I ate most these myself. Not all in one setting, but I didn’t let them linger long.

Craving gone! Ingredients
2 cans of green beans – or 1 package of frozen beans
1 cup of chicken broth (one can if using frozen beans)
1 package of bacon (depending on your love of bacon, you could easily get by with 1/2 a package)
1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped (or one medium onion)

1. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from grease and drain on a plate with a paper towel. 
2. Chop onion. Cook in bacon grease. 
3. Remove onion. Drain grease from pan. 
4. Chop bacon. 
5. Add green beans to the pan, cooked onions and chopped bacon. 
6. Add one cup of chicken broth. (more if using frozen beans)
7. Cook on low, uncovered for 20 minutes or until broth is gone. 
8. Cool and enjoy!

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How to Make White Gravy

Okay folks, this blog is going to be extremely spiritual…especially if you take your food serious.


Blogging about food is something I haven’t done until recently, but I cook ALL the time so I thought it was fitting.

 


In order to get good food, I just have to cook it myself! Plus, I have a sweet family that enjoys eating so cooking is a must.


My sweet friend Michelle asked me the secret to making cream gravy. She had done it several times and each time it had not turned out well. It reminded me of being in college. My roommates and I would try to make gravy, but we were never successful. It wasn’t until I got married and really started cooking a lot that it got easier. It takes some practice.

I tried to snap some photos to capture the experience. Consistency is not the easiest thing to photograph, but maybe it will all make sense.


These particular photos were taken while making S.O.S. That is fried hamburger meat in white gravy. It is best eaten over biscuits.

First, after I cook my hamburger meat (or you can pour a little grease in the pan), I drain most of the grease out of the pan. I leave around 4 or 5 tablespoons. You don’t have to be exact because you can add more or less flour accordingly.

This photo is hard to see, but I have tilted the pan to try to show you. Leaving a FEW drippings in the pan is good too. It makes the gravy taste better, but DO NOT over do it. You can actually have too many.

Next, sprinkle some flour in your pan.  You want it to somewhat be equal to the grease. Maybe 3-4 tablespoons. Not too much, not too little. (secret #1) This is where the mistakes are made people!!

Now, stir it around. It should be somewhat liquidy, not to clumpy. I recommend using a wire whisk (secret #2). If you are really good, you can use a fork. Cook it until it looks kinda like this. Thick and bubbly…but not too thick. This happens fast. No more than 2-3 minutes.

Now, get ready! Here is where the fun part comes in. Pour in some milk. Maybe half an inch deep and stir with that whisk I told you to use. Make sure you get around the edges and on the sides. Sometimes the flour likes to gather around the edges. You will gradually add milk as you go so don’t panic that this is not enough gravy.

Make sure your temperature is set kinda low, maybe a 4 on the electric stove. You do not want to scald the milk. Cook until the mixture gets thick. (secret #3) DO NOT FORGET TO STIR. If you don’t like stirring, this is not the dish you should be cooking. Stir! I said stir!!!!

Now, see this picture?  Can you see the thickness here.  Not over thick, but starting to thicken. You see that, right?

Now, it is the time to add more milk. This will be the last time you add milk. Do not over do it. Just add about what you added before…maybe a little bit more. If you are not comfortable adding that much milk, you can do it in smaller stages. Add a little, stir, thicken, add some more, etc.

You can go ahead and season it now. I only use salt and pepper. Don’t ask me how much because that just depends on your taste buds. But, you can see from the picture how mine looks. (Equal parts of salt since you can’t see that.) The salt and pepper make the gravy so don’t be afraid to season it good.

You can take some very short breaks from stirring, but never leave the gravy on the stove alone. It can do tricks while you aren’t looking. The milk will burn if you are not careful.

Continue to stir on and off for about 5-10 minutes, the gravy is going to get thicker. This takes a while, but remember…all good things come to those who wait. Your taste buds will thank you.

ALTERNATIVE STEP:  If you are stirring your heart out, and your gravy does not get thick, add more flour. You heard me right, add more flour. It will be fine because you are using your secret weapon – THE WHISK!  It will look clumpy, but whisk it in like it had been there from the start. You can do it.

If your gravy gets thick really fast, then you will need to add more milk. It will also thicken a little bit as it cools off. So, if it gets thick ASAP, and you have not had to stir much, you need to add more milk. Remember, it’s gravy not flour. No one wants to eat flour!

You are almost there.  See this consistency? You are on the right track. Just keep cooking and stirring.

Finally the master piece is DONE! You did it. Can you see this consistency? Kinda thick, but not too thick? That is what you are going for. This whole process takes about 15 – 20 minutes.

When I finished, I added my hamburger meat back to my gravy because I was making SOS. If you are really talented, you can make the gravy with the meat in the pan, but why chance it? Just take it out, make gravy, then add it back.

Click here to share these secrets with your friends! 

And, if all else fails, I have a great alternative for you.

Pioneer Gravy Mix!

This stuff cooks in about 3 minutes and it’s pretty darn good in a pinch.

Making gravy takes practice so don’t be to hard on yourself if it doesn’t work out the first time. Just keep trying. Comment below and let me know how it goes!

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