Thursday, December 30, 2010

Becky's Stuffed Mushrooms

-2 packages large mushrooms
- 1/2 large yellow onion; minced (you can really use as much onion as you wish, same with the other vegetables)
- 2 peppers (I usually mix the colors--you can use any kind you want); minced
- 3 celery stalks; minced
- 3 cans minced clams
- Italian style breadcrumbs
  • Clean and scrape out mushrooms - careful to do this without breaking, but scrape out as much as possible
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Sautee onions, peppers and celery in a little bit of olive oil
  • Add in clams with juice
  • You can also add a splash of white wine
  • I then season with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. Remove from heat.
  • Slowly mix in breadcrumbs, a little at time. You don't want too much, you really just want it to absorb the juice
  • Stuff mushrooms with filling
  • Melt butter and add some white wine, drizzle over mushrooms
  • Cover mushrooms with foil and bake for approx. 45 minutes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parmesan Baked Shrimp

12 small fresh shrimp, deveined, tails removed
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c lemon juice
1/8 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 c fresh shredded parmesan
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon melted butter

1. Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a large freezer bag. Add shrimp. Seal bag and lay flat in the fridge - chill/marinate for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a pie dish. 
4. Remove shrimp from bag and place them in the breadcrumb mix. Use your fingers to bread the shrimp, making sure that each side has a thick layer.
5. Spray a pie plate with non-stick spray. Add the shrimp. Drizzle with butter. 
6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What does a Yankee eat on vacation?

Check out my article about my family vacation to Cape Cod. Topic: FOOD.

The hot buttery lobster rolls were my FAVORITE!

Leave me a comment on The Hungry Southerner and show me some love!!! More comments = more opportunities to write about my favorite topic.

A Yankee Vacation Recipe Guide

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fried Chicken Flop

Hey everyone - go read about my fifth Yankee Challenge: Fried Chicken here!!! 

It was a bit of a flop - my chicken crust was delish but it wasn't cooked in the middle. However, my mashed taters and collard greens were a hit! There are still a few days left to try the challenge and win some Calphalon and a free T-Shirt. Just cook up some fried chicken and post the story and pics on the Facebook fan page!!! 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lobsta Rolls

One of Mr. Bear and my favorite dishes that my mom makes whenever we go home are Lobster Rolls. They are delicious, easy, and so so yummy - plus they just scream Connecticut! (Some lobster rolls are served cold w/ mayo - ours are hot and buttery, mmmm).
1lb Fresh Lobster Meat
1 stick butter
8 hot dog buns
1. Begin to melt the stick of butter over low-med heat. Add the lobster meat. Cook until butter is melted and lobster meat is tender. 
2. Using a fork and knife, carefully cut the lobster into bite sized pieces. Spoon into a hot dog roll. Sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy alongside homemade french fries and coleslaw!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Red Velvet Cake Yankee Challenge

Learn how I made Red Velvet Cake from scatch for my Yankee Challenge on the 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chili Topping

Mr. Bear likes his hot dogs with my chili, cheddar cheese, and diced vidalia onions!

1 pound ground beef
1 vidalia onion, diced
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1.5 cups water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef using a spatula to break the meat into fine pieces. Drain the fat and add the onion. Cook until soft. Stir in tomato paste, water, sugar, chili powder, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture come to a boil, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 1 hour.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mrs. Bear's Spicy Turkey Burger with Cilantro Parsley Pesto

Turkey Burger
1 lb ground turkey
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Cilantro Parsley Pesto
1/2 c Italian parsley
1/2 c cilantro leaves
4 oz pine nuts
1/2 c olive oil (plus extra if dry)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon crazy salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt

The easiest directions ever:
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix it up with your clean hands. Form into 3-4 patties. Cook on a grill or in a non-stick skillet. Top with monteray or cheddar cheese.

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. If its too dry, add more olive oil! Top your burger with the pesto OR use the pesto as a spread on the buns.

*The pesto is also tasty on sandwiches, in tacos, or stuffed inside an omelette with monteray jack cheese.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

I made this yummy breakfast dish when my in-laws came to visit last month! Between the four of us, there was not a morsel left. My strawberry stuffed french toast is sweet, creamy, juicy, and oh-so-strawberrylicious. Top it with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a few extra strawberries!

12-14 slices your favorite bread
12oz strawberry cream cheese
1.5 c sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen - slightly thawed)
5 large eggs
1.5c milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon + extra
4 tablespoons cold hard butter
Powdered Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Shmear strawberry cream cheese on a slice of bread, lay it flat - cream cheese side up - in the baking dish. Repeat until the bottom of the dish is covered. 
3. Sprinkle on the strawberries. Repeat step 2 but lay the bread cream cheese side down.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk thoroughly. Pour mixture on top of bread in baking dish.
5. Dot the bread with small pieces of butter. Sprinkle tops of bread with cinnamon.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bread is no longer soggy.
6. Enjoy a big steamy slice topped with powdered sugar and extra strawberries!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Shrimp Etouffee and Beignets!

Check out my third Yankee Challenge here:

Leave a comment and you could win a t-shirt!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Becky's Baked Shrimp

My friend Becky made this baked shrimp dish as an appetizer this past weekend. The recipe had been passed on to her by her mother, who had altered the original recipe a friend had passed on to her some time ago. Last night I made Becky's baked shrimp for dinner and used the shrimps three different ways: over a salad, in a taco, and inside a quesadilla. This easy recipe has quickly become one of my favorites and I think that once you try it out you will agree that Becky's Baked Shrimp is incredible!

1/2 cup lite olive oil
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
1 lb fresh shrimp - shelled and deveined

1. Combine ingredients and refridgerate for 1-4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes or until shrimp are firm and pink.
3. Serve over rice or salad, inside a taco, or alone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mrs. Bear's Meaty Lasagna

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 large can stewed tomatoes (Italian style - garlic, basil, oregano, etc.)
1 medium can diced Italian seasoned tomatoes (Italian style)
1 small can tomato paste - plus 2 cans filled with water
1 small can tomato sauce (Italian style)
2 tablespoons Italian herb seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 lb ground chuck (crumbled, cooked until brown over md heat in a skillet, drained of grease)
3 hot Italian sausage links (meat removed from casing and cooked with ground chuck)

16oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt

16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 box no cook lasagna noodles
1 large baking dish
Non-stick cooking spray

1. Over medium-low heat, cook the onion in olive oil in a large saucepan until translucent. Add the stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Add the tomato paste, plus fill the can with water and pour into saucepan two times. Add the seasoning and cook uncovered for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Add the meat and cook for another 45 minutes uncovered over low heat, stirring frequently.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine ricotta, egg, and seasoning in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Coat the bottom of the large baking dish with sauce. Add one layer of noodles. Use a spatula to shmear a thin layer of the ricotta mixture over the noddle layer. Add a layer of sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. 4. Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles and repeat the steps for the ricotta, sauce, and mozzarella until you only have enough noodles for one last layer. Top the noodles with sauce and sprinkle mozzarella cheese. 5. Spray a large piece of tinfoil with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the lasagna with the tinfoil, sprayed side down, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and bake for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Third Yankee Challenge... and Southerners wanna help?!

If you don't already know - I am the resident Yankee cook over at The Hungry Southerner and once a month my southern pals challenge me to cook a very southern dish. I am a bit nervous about my newest Yankee Challenge... shrimp etouffee-something and fried dough thing-a-ma-jigs --- umm yah I have no idea what this is or how to make it! I know what a roux is, I am lucky to have access to fresh shrimp here in Maryland, and I just bought some powdered sugar... but yah... this is a scary challenge.

So my friends... anyone have any advice for making Shrimp Étouffée & Beignets??

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pimento Cheese Pizza?

Sounds delish huh?

Check out my latest and greatest creation on The Hungry Southerner!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mrs. Bear has been BUSY

Hey folks - sorry for the food blogging hiatus I took without any warning. I've been super busy getting ready for my summer teaching institute, working on some things for The Hungry Southerner, and nannying! Tomorrow I am making a super duper yummy dinner for Mr. Bear's birthday and promise to blog all about it on Friday. In the meantime, check out my Yankee Challenge 2 - Big Southern Vegetable Plate.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ten Foods that LIE!

My favorite website Cooking Light has a great article that I must share with you... "10 Foods That Sound Healthy (But Aren't)." Um... you should totally read it here because you WILL be surprised! Here is a rundown of the top ten foods that will trick you into believing they are good for your waistline. Who knew food could be a little liar!

1. Multi-grain and Wheat Bread
2. Prepared Salads
3. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
4. "Energy" Bars
5. Bran Muffins
6. Smoothies
7. Packaged Turkey
8. Foods labeled "Fat-Free"
9. Restaurant Baked Potatoes
10. Sports Drinks

Okay, here are some of my comments on this list....and then I want to hear yours!
  • I rarely order a salad from a restaurant with everything that is listed on the menu. And when I do order a salad it isn't always because I am trying to watch my figure. Usually there are some sneaky little guys in prepared salads that make the big bowl not so healthy.
    • For example, tortilla strips should never be put in a salad - they are high in fat.
    • Dressing should always be on the side - if your lettuce is drowning than you are ingesting nothing but a bowl of mayo.
  • I know reduced fat peanut butter isn't good for you b/c of all the sugar but I don't care. I love it!
  • "Energy" bars are a waste of time b/c they NEVER fill me up and always give me a tummy ache.
  • Muffins sold in grocery stores are the devil. They taste so good but they are SO bad for you.
  • Packaged turkey makes me nauseous - its slimy and so not fresh. Do yourself a favor and wait in the deli counter line and order something low sodium.
  • A fully loaded baked potato should be a meal in itself - not a side item. Sour cream, cheese, butter, bacon bits = heart attack.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Honey Peanut Butter Explosion

I have no idea what to call this creation other than an ooey gooey delicious mess. I made it last week while I was suffering from a migraine and nothing was sounding appealing to eat. Melted peanut butter and honey drizzled over a banana has always been a favorite snack of mine. When I sprinkled some Apple Cinnamon Cheerios over the banana mess I fell in love. I've also tried the sauce drizzled over sliced apples, Honey Nut Cheerioes or Plain Cheerios. Every combination tastes as good as the others.

1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon lite Smart Balance butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 cup Cheerios
1 banana, sliced

1. In a small bowl, melt together the first four ingredients in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 5-10 seconds. You want the sauce to be creamy, not bubbly/burnt.
2. Combine the Cheerios and banana in a bowl. Drizzle sauce over the top and mix with a spoon. EAT!

Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza

If I liked red onion I would be all over this Cooking Light recipe...potatoes + goat cheese + mozz... YUM! My version would use homemade pizza dough and maybe carmelized vidalia onions.

7 ounces fingerling potatoes (about 5 potatoes)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until just tender; drain. Cool slightly; cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan, and sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

4. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 14 x 10–inch rectangle. Sprinkle cornmeal over a large baking sheet; place dough on baking sheet. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over dough. Arrange potatoes and onion over mozzarella; top evenly with goat cheese and garlic. Bake in lower third of oven at 450° for 15 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with thyme; cut into 12 pieces.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 314
Fat: 10.3g (sat 4.9g,mono 3.7g,poly 0.6g)
Protein: 14.4g
Carbohydrate: 39.8g
Fiber: 1.8g
Cholesterol: 22mg
Iron: 2.4mg
Sodium: 599mg
Calcium: 173mg

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cheesey Green Pepper Breakfast Bake

8 slices white bread
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 cup frozen diced green peppers
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
non-stick cooking spray

*Assemble the night before*

1. Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray. Break up the bread into bite sized pieces (they do not have to be equal sizes) and lay it on the bottom of the baking dish.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, milk, water, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Whisk together. Pour egg mixture over the bread in the baking dish. Use a spatula to make sure the egg mixture is distributed evenly.
3. Sprinkle the green peppers evenly across the egg mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate overnight.
4. Bake the next morning at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mexi-Rice ChickenBake

Poor Mr. Bear hasn't been eating very well since I became sick last week. Migraines do not allow a person to do much of anything - so he's been fending for himself in the kitchen. After my trip to the doctors office and the pharmacy, I was feeling MUCH better and the need to whip up something different for dinner. I searched through our almost bare cabinets and came up with some rice, corn, and chicken. From those ingredients I came up with a Mexi-Rice Chicken Bake that received many hugs and kisses from the Hubs.
1 bag Mexican Rice (Knoll's is a great brand)
1 can Mexican corn, drained
1 can 97% fat free cream of chicken soup
4 chicken thighs OR 2 cups shredded precooked chicken **
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook rice according to directions on package, but for less time than instructed (3-4min). You do not want your rice to turn mushy while baking, so only cook the rice until it is partially soft and there is still liquid in the pan.
**2. If you are cooking the chicken thighs, place them in a deep skillet with 2 cups of water and simmer over medium heat until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
Take the thighs out of the stock and remove the skin. Then use a fork to shred the chicken from the bone. Strain the stock to remove any fat or skin that has fallen off of the chicken.
Add the chicken back to the stock and sprinkle in the cumin, chili pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside over low heat for 5 minutes.
3. In a casserole dish combine the rice, corn, soup, and chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake 20 minutes. Enjoy with a spoonful of your favorite salsa!

Note: I have no association with Knoll's - it's just my personal opinion!

Mrs. Bear is Sicky

While I am off trying to figure out what has been making me sick for over a week now... check out my next Yankee Challenge on The Hungry Southerner!

If you have any cooking tips about southern veggies PLEASE share!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Aunt Ella's Macaroni and Cheese

I don't know who Aunt Ella is... but she sure knows how to make some New England mac n cheese!!
I found this recipe in my beloved The Cape Cod Style Cookbook by Jerome Rubin. I paired the cheesy goodness with some fresh corn on the cob and Turkey Meatloaf Muffins last night and let me tell you....Mr. Bear was a very very happy husband.

8 oz macaroni (your favorite shape)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (omitted)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (added)
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 cup milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated onion (omitted)
Paprika to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook the macaroni in boiling water until al dente. Drain the macaroni and return to saucepan. Stir in the butter and the egg.
2. In a large bowl, combine the mustard, salt, garlic salt, and nutmeg with the tablespoon of boiling water. Stir in the milk, 2 1/2 cups of the cheese, onion, and macaroni.
3. Pour the macaroni into a lightly greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 1 hour or until the top is all light brown and crusty. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Sorry folks - don't have a picture of this one! I made this recipe up back when the Bears were living together one summer and all they had to eat were the veggies from Mr. Bear's Mawmaw's garden! When you make this pleeeease send me your pictures!

4 large green peppers, caps, core, and seeds removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Assortment of diced veggies (carrots, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, etc)
1 1/2 c cooked brown rice
1 can tomato paste
2 TBSP Italian seasoning
Salt + pepper
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

1. Coat skillet with olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent over med-low heat. Add veggies and spices. Cook 10 minutes.

2. Stir in rice, tomato paste, plus 1/2 can water (use tomato paste can).

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat small baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Fill peppers with mixture - do not overfill. Sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese.

4. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the peppers are soft.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parmesan Dill Couscous

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 cup frozen broccoli, microwaved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Cook couscous according to directions on box. Add the rest of the ingredients.
2. Serve alongside your favorite fish!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shredded Chicken Burritos

Combine the following in a large bowl:
1 Rotisserie Chicken shredded (3 cups shredded chicken)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lime juice

Large Flour Tortillas

Use the following in amounts of your personal liking:
Mexican Rice - this one is pretty tasty:

Vegetarian Refried Beans (warmed in pan over stove top)
Shredded Cheese (used Mexican blend) 
Shredded Lettuce
Fresh Salsa
Lite Sour Cream
Black Olives

Warm tortilla between dampened paper towels in microwave for 20 seconds.
Layer beans, rice, chicken, cheese - cover with dampened paper towel. Heat in microwave for 20 seconds.
Top with lettuce, sour scream, salsa, olives.
Fold right and left sides in first. Roll from top to bottom.
Cover and microwave again for 20 seconds.
Cut diagonally and ENJOY!

Other add-ins: jalapenos, diced onion, hot sauce, green chiles, etc.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Easy Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 jalapeno, seeds/rib removed, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small tomato, seeds and pulp removed, diced

1. Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.

2. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the cilantro, garlic salt, salt, pepper, jalapeno, and lime juice. Mash the mix some more. Stir in the tomato last.

3. Cover with plastic wrap, directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation (green becomes brown), if not serving immediately.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Carmelized Leeks and Tomato Pasta

I made up this recipe a few nights ago when all we had in the fridge was a few cheeses, leeks, and some fresh parsley. Enjoy my recipe!

2 leeks
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can drained diced Italian tomatoes (garlic, basil, oregano)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded Fontina, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bags Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles, drained and rinsed thoroughly
Handful black pitted olives
Crumbled bacon

1. Cut off roots, outer leaves and tops from leeks. Cut leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove grit/dirt and cut each half into 1-inch half moon strips.

2. Combine butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-low heat. Add leeks to pan; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar, salt, and pepper; cook 10 minutes, sitrring occasionally.
3. Add tomatoes and garlic powder; cook 8 minutes. Pour contents in a bowl and cover. Cook Shirataki noodles according to directions on package. Drain.
4. Turn heat to low. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon butter and melt. Sprinkle in one tablespoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, combine the butter and flour so it is a paste. Whisk in 1/4 cup milk until there are no clumps and mixture is smooth.
5. Remove skillet from heat and add cheeses; whisk until sauce is thick, but smooth. Add parsley and oregano. Stir in leeks and tomatoes. Put skillet back on burner over low heat and cook 3 minutes.
6. Add Shirataki noodles to the skillet and stir to combine. Garnish with olives, parsley, and cheeses.

*Note: I used half a bag of egg noodles b/c I only had one bag of Shirataki. Any kind of pasta will work well with this recipe!*

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kelly's Spicy Chicken Dip

Everytime we go to Ohio to visit Mr. Bear's family, his cousin Kelly makes her famous might fine spicy chicken dip. The first time I met her (five years ago!), she kindly handed over her recipe and now I shall share it with you. It is so easy and SO yummy. Let me know if you make it!

Kelly's Spicy Chicken Dip

2 lg cans chunk chicken, drained
2 8oz pkg cream cheese
12 oz Frank's Red Hot
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup Ranch dressing
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a baking dish coated with non stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve with assorted crackers, tortilla chips, celery, and carrots.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beach Bod Salad

Beach Bod Salad by Samantha Caplan, Certified Health Coach and the creator of Living Beauty
(Also one of my nearest and dearest friends that I hold close to my heart)

Samantha says, "One of the most beautifying of greens is arugula. Just a few of the benefits you'll receive include a cleansing of the skin from the inside out (due to the sulfur content) and a natural protection from the sun (from the beta-carotene)!"

Serves 1 - 2

1 bunch of arugula (depending on how hungry you are; start with 2 cups and go from there)
½ cup of washed mushrooms
½ sliced yellow pepper
¼ cup of walnuts
¼ of a large red onion sliced
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt to taste

Optional - if you want a little sweet, add some raisins or other dried fruit of your choice; craisins, apricots, kiwi, or others

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!
*Tip - Use up all of your ingredients and make a salad for the next day, too...saves time!

Samantha has more amazingly healthy recipes and GREAT advice on how to have the best outlook on life. Race on over to her website where you can sign up for her free newsletter: Living Beauty

Mrs. Bear's Meataballs

I am glad you all enjoyed my song! As promised, here is my easiest meataball recipe (I have quite a few variations). If you make them - let me know how they turn out!

Mrs. Bear's Meataballs
1 lb ground chuck
1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1 green pepper, finely diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon worchestershire
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, parsley) OR 1/2 tablespoon each spice
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands! If the mixture is too dry - add more tomato sauce. If the mixture is too wet - add more bread crumbs.
2. Roll the meatballs into whatever size you need for what you are making - teeny balls for pizza, small balls for sandwiches, large balls for pasta - and place them on a cookie sheet that has a high edge (the meatballs will produce some grease that you do not want dripping all over your oven).
3. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on their size. After the first ten minutes, turn the meatballs around on the cookie sheet so they crisp on all sides. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A song about Meatballs...

I wrote this little ditty on November 20, 2008 for Mr. Bear in honor of my fabulous meatballs....and Kelis and her "Milkshake"...whatever happened to her anyways?

"My meatballs bring Mr. B to the kitchen,
And he’s like
Theres nothin better than yours,
Damn right, they are the best,
I can teach you,
But I’ll have to charge

I know you want it,
The recipe that makes these,
My meatballs are a hit.
They'll make your tummy growl,
The way I cook,
No one can deny….my skills.

La la-la la la,
Warm the oven up.
The meatballs are com-ing"

Do you want my meatball recipe?

Monday, April 26, 2010

A delay...

My tour through the Cape Cod cookbook has been delayed! Upon Mr. Bear's return from a two and a half week business trip, he says he wants to eat healthy for awhile to make up for all of the eating out he had done in the West Coast.

My three pages of recipes are going to be so sad they aren't getting some blog time.

This week we will be eating lots of Gorton's cajun blackened fish... canned northern white beans... and frozen broccoli. Yippee skippee.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

My new favorite cookbook...

The Cape Cod Cookbook by Jerome Ruben

I picked up this gem at the local library last night. Cape Cod means a lot to me... it was my Grandmother's favorite place, my dad's childhood vacation spot, and most importantly...where The Bears got engaged! When I saw this book shoved between some Southern cookbooks on a shelf, I quickly stuffed in into my library bag before anyone could snatch it up (b/c everyone looks Yankee cooking obviously).
  So last night, in good cookbook reviewing fashion, I snuggled up into the corner of the couch with a notebook and pen, prepared to write down some of my favorite recipes. From this list I will choose some recipes to try out, and others to copy into my own personal recipe book for later use. After I realized I had recorded the page numbers of the first 30 recipes, I decided that it was more than likely I was going to love 90% of the 210 recipes the book offered. Mr. Bear is going to be thrilled when he sees this...
I like to make a two week dinner menu before I make my list for the grocery store - I usually have breakfast and lunch suggestions on the menu as well. This weekend I will be making the most delicious menu yet! Obviously it is going to be based on the bestest, most mouth-watering, and financially practical recipes I have found in this incredible cookbook.
 I will most definitely post the winners when the Bear's Two Week Dinner Menu is complete!

Ooo... but wait... there is a Raspberry Breakfast Cake that might have to make an appearance one morning! Perhaps I will be making menus for more than one meal of the day...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I can cook a southern breakfast!

Read about my first Yankee Challege: Big Southern Breakfast here!

 Leave a comment - I want to know what you think of my story! Plus, your comment will automatically be entered as a chance to win a free Hungry Southerner t-shirt!

While I would love to give you the recipes I used for my bacon skillet gravy and buttermilk biscuits... my lips are sealed! Brandon's Mawmaw was kind enough to share her personal recipes with me and I think I need to keep them in the family =0)
If you want to make your own buttermilk biscuits and gravy - I can tell you what you need. Then you'll have to google some recipes and see which you find easiest to follow.
Ex. Paula Deen has a great recipe for Biscuits with Milk Gravy here.

I think you all need to try the first Yankee Challenge - it wasn't as scary as I anticipated, nor was it anything close to being the kitchen disaster I was imagining. My husband LOVED everything that I made (and he is one honest guy when it comes to my cooking). Also, The Hungry Southerner is offering a prize to the reader with the best pictures and story about their experience cooking a big Southern breakfast.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's on my lunch plate...

Canned beets, asparagus cooked in a skillet with garlic salt and spray Pam, walnuts, mixed greens, shredded parmesan, and chicken (marinated in organic ginger soy dressing)

Spinach and Sausage French Bread Boats

Here is another recipe that I made a couple of years ago... These boats were made for Mr. Bear when he was still just my boyfriend - therefore, I don't have any pictures. (Back then I didn't take pictures of my food...).  Spinach and Sausage French Bread Boats are a quick and easy meal one can make to impress a special boy (or girl) in their life. Serve alongside a salad if you are feel frisky.

1 package Italian sausage link (mild or hot)
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 TBSP minced garlic
Non-stick cooking spray
1 bag baby spinach leaves
8oz ricotta cheese
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TSP red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
1 loaf French bread - sliced lengthwise and hollowed out
*don't buy the skinny French baguette... you need a big fat loaf!*

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Remove sausage from casing. Brown in skillet over medium heat. Drain. Add sausage back to the skillet and add onions and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
3. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add spinach to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until wilted. Add to bowl with sausage and onion.
4. After mixture cools for 4-5 minutes, add ricotta cheese to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
5. Fill hollowed out bread halves with mixture. Top one pizza with 1/2 seasoning and 1/2 cheese, repeat for other pizza.
6. Bake on pizza stone 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is crisp.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Lime Chicken

I came up with this recipe about three years ago when I saw something similiar in my Cooking Light magazine. I've only made it, and it was for an old friend - we ate it on top of a salad (romaine lettuce, corn, tomatoes). Even though this dish is very sweet, I think the chicken would taste good over rice, or inside of a tortilla with a little bit of lettuce and mexican cheese. I also wonder how it would taste if one added a bit of chipolte seasoning or hot sauce...

3/4 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TSP dijon mustard
1 TSP honey mustard
2 TBSP water
1 TSP cornstarch
2 1/2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP lime juice
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 TSP cajun or southwestern seasoning

1. Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. Add slowly to saucepan. Turn heat to medium and whisk until mixture is thick.
3. Whisk in butter and lime juice. Cook for 3 minutes. Add shredded chicken and seasoning.
4. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve over rice or as the innards of a burrito.

I'd love to hear your comments if anyone decides to make this - or what kinds of variations you may have for my recipe!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Well my friends, I survived my first Yankee Challenge. My pants are a little snug today from the obscene number of buttermilk biscuits I ate - and the bacon gravy I kept sampling (even though I am not supposed to eat that stuff). It was a huge success and my husband was SO proud of me for killing the big southern breakfast assignment on the first try. He told me it's not every day a Yankee can make a good batch of breakfast gravy without first screwing it up a couple of times.

I'd love to show you all the pretty pictures I took of my food, but I am allowing my friends over at The Hungry Southerner to blog about it first. In the meantime, I will leave you with a glorious picture of my beautiful buttermilk biscuits.
Being the true Yankee that I am... I made my biscuits toooo small. Breakfast biscuits are supposed to be BIG and for some reason I grabbed a tiny glass to use to do the cutting.
Next time they will be fatter - I promise!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Hungry Southerner's Yankee Challenge

A friend of a friend contacted me about a month ago about this cooking blog and said he loved what I was doing. He liked my passion for cooking and my dedication to making good food. Soon, with our shared interest in the stuff we put in our tummies, we became foodie friends. He told me about a website he and some fellow foodies were thinking of creating - a website dedicated to southern food and southern food culture - and asked if I wanted to be a part of it: The Hungry Southerner.

Funny thing is that even though I lived in the south (GA & TN) for five years, and am married to the most incredibly gorgeous Tennessean, I am nothing like a southerner. I might have good manners and love college football, but I lack a certain twang and craving for rich food. I don't like fried chicken, sausage gravy, or okra - not because it is yucky, frankly because my stomach can't handle it. 

I am 100% Yankee, born and raised in Connecticut, and hold onto my Nutmeg State heritage like it is a piece of platinum gold. Ask my husband - I used to get mad when people said I was starting to pick up a bit of an accent. I proudly tell anyone I encounter that I am from the North. I LOVE being from New England and everything associated with that particular region of the country involving food - lobster rolls, clam bakes in a handmade stone grill or a hole dug on the beach, New Haven pizza, cookouts (not bbqs), bagels and omelettes for breakfast (not grits), and so on. I am also half Irish/half Italian - and my palette is more drawn towards pastas than a big juicy slab of beef. 

With all of that being said, I asked my friend how I could contribute to THS. He said he thought it would be great if once a month I attempted a southern meal - this attempt in the form of a Yankee Challenge. All I had to do was make the dish, take some pictures, feed someone other than myself, and blog about my experience. I am always up for a challenge, for I think I can follow any kind of recipe, so I quickly and happily accepted my friend's invitation to be a part of The Hungry Southerner.  

I was welcomed to the southern foodie gang with open arms and a sweet intro on the website - Meet the Yankee.  Then I was prompted with my first dare...take on a BIG southern first thought was, "OH BOY....what the heck have I gotten myself into??"

Now you may wonder why I am so nervous after stating that I can cook anything.
I think I can cook anything ....but a southern breakfast...

 The hungry southerner that will be eating my buttermilk biscuits, eggs, thick cut bacon, stone ground grits, and skillet gravy is MY HUSBAND. The man who was raised eating his MawMaw's famous southern breakfast atleast four times a week. From the first Sunday he brought me to her kitchen, on a ginormous farm in Tennessee, he's told me there is no breakfast better than MawMaw's. Her biscuits & gravy, or her fried potatoes and bacon,  no one can compete with her. No one has ever been able to even come close to making anything as delicious as her.

And now I have to cook some of the same things she's known for cooking... and hope that he likes it or I will feel like I've failed my first Yankee Challenge. My husband won't hold back - he will tell me if my gravy is too runny or if my bacon is too soft.

Sunday is the big day... and I'll be posting all about my experience on The Hungry Southerner next week.
 Wish me luck! And follow me on Twitter throughout the challenge...

Because I am sure going to need it...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crab Bruschetta

Inspired by my recent trip to San Francisco - here is my rendition of Crab Bruschetta from the tasty appetizer my husband and I ordered at Pompei's Grotto in Fisherman's Wharf.

(Pompei's Grotto's Crab Bruschetta)

1/2 lb fresh lumb crab meat, picked over for shells
4  roma tomatoes, diced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh shredded parmesan
1 loaf Ciabatta bread - sliced and halved

1. Combine tomatoes, crab, parsley, basil, garlic, Old Bay, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir with a large spoon. Drizzle in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then mix in the parmesan gently.
2. Toast Ciabatta halves under the broiler. Spoon on crab bruschetta and enjoy!