Comfort Food

Comfort Food

SUMMERTIME RED, WHITE & BLUE


I use red, white and blue all summer long for tablescapes.  Occasionally, I'll set something different, but I really like the patriotic impact of this color combination.

To be ready to set the table in a hurry, I put dinnerware on the baker's rack that sits by my backdoor!  Grab and set the table on the back deck.  It is easy!







MAMA'S EASY BBQ PORK


There are many times when I fix something to eat ... that I am really reminded of my mother and her methods of cooking when we were kids.  Years before the advent of crock pots, Mother slow cooked things in the oven ... or sometimes in a Dutch Oven on top of the stove.  My mother's mother ... had a Dutch Oven that was actually a part of her stove.  Remember those?  German cooks stewed lots of things together and Grandma Schuster was one of those cooks.  She had something in that pot, which dropped down inside of the stove ... almost every single day!

On Sundays, Mother was always up early preparing Sunday Dinner so we could enjoy church and then go home to a big noontime meal.  Mother cooked big meals daily, so this was not unusual ... but what was unusual was the fact that she used her oven to finish foods ... while we were gone to church.  This very tender pork bbq for sandwiches ... was one of my favorites!


I recently made this BBQ the same way Mama used to make it ... but I used my crock pot!  I prepared a pork butt roast in the oven and seasoned it with rosemary and garlic.  I served it with a nice clear gravy to smother mashed potatoes!  I threw what was left of that roast in the freezer and got it out the day I wanted BBQ!  Now, all my readers know that I grill food all year long ... snow doesn't stop me!  Sometimes, though, I crave old flavors!  

I chopped the left over roast into bite-size chunks and put all of it in the crock pot.  I had about 4 cups of cubed meat, so I added a cup of water and let the meat cook for 2 hours on high ... added a cup of BBQ sauce and cooked for another hour on low.  The word "chunk" is important here.  This is not "pulled pork" ... it is not sliced ... it is little juicy tender chunks of flavor!

Mother used to do all that slow cooker work in the oven on Sunday morning and we'd come home to wonderful aromas, taste sandwiches ... and her favorite big yellow Pyrex bowl filled with potato salad!  Sometimes we'd have baked beans with this meal ... but in the summertime, we were likely to have cucumber and onion salad and big bright red sliced tomatoes!

I'll be sharing this with Miz Helen's Full Plate party and a couple others, so make sure you check out the parties listed in my sidebar and go visit for more inspiration!  Enjoy!


PHOEBE'S ARTICHOKE DIP



From the moment she was old enough to actually eat ... Phoebe has loved warm creamy dips.  Her first taste was Artichoke Dip in a restaurant, served with chips, and from then on almost every restaurant meal began with hot cheesy dip, because we knew she would eat it!  Her favorite has artichokes in it, but she will also eat the dip with spinach added!  When I make this dip at home, I add extra artichoke hearts because they are soooooooo good!



Because I collect all things 'pig', I couldn't resist this cute little crock pot.  It is the perfect size for dips and side dishes (1.5 quarts). I usually cut soft pita bread into wedges to serve with warm dip.   I had a nice watermelon ale with my dip. Miss Phoebe had a Grape Crush soda!



The recipe for this dip is another easy one!  The crock pot does all the work. All you have to do is 'dump' the ingredients into the pot and stir it a few times!

PHOEBE'S ARTICHOKE DIP

8 ounces of artichoke hearts in oil
8 ounce block of cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices of white American cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Place the ingredients in the crock pot in the order listed and cook it on high for 2 hours. Turn it to warm for another hour. Stir the dip a few times during cooking and if it is completely melted, it is ready to serve! 
It may not take 3 hours.

I'll be sharing this recipe with a couple parties. Make sure you click through to see the other posts!

You really should check out ...











PIONEER WOMAN FOR DINNER!

I was doing a pretty good job avoiding any big purchase of the Pioneer Woman's dinnerware.  It is all beautiful, but I don't need any ... She got me, though!  
The yellow polka dots did me in!


I had yellow polka dot flatware and I've done other yellow dot tables, so I already had a couple yards of fabric.  When I saw this dinnerware pattern, I knew I had a cute tablescape ... or several cute tablescapes! You'll see this many times in my future posts.

I also liked the fact that the flowers included the big teal cabbage roses ... or maybe they are peonies.  Whatever they are ... you don't see that color in nature.  I think Kipling wrote about blue roses. I remember being the only kid in my high school literature class who knew that there were no blue roses!

Since that was over 40 years ago, I guess we could have blue roses now! I have them on my table, and that makes me happy!



Miss Phoebe was supposed to help me decorate this table, but she got engrossed in a movie, so I was on my own.  I decided to use jars for vases. The one in the top right of this collage is one she painted a couple years ago.  If you'd like to see more about that project, go to Autumn Jars.   The Ball jar was a gift from my daughter, filled with yummies.




If you'd like to see the meal that was served on this pretty table, visit Cajun Chicken Dinner!  I'll be sharing this post with a couple of the parties on my sidebar, so make sure you go by and see all the other party girls!

CAJUN CHICKEN DINNER


I had a delicious meal in a restaurant a few weeks ago while traveling.  It reminded me of a catfish meal I had several years ago in Baton Rouge. I told the waitress that I would love the recipe and she just stood by my table and told me exactly how the chef made Cajun Chicken in a cream sauce.  I couldn't believe it!

I decided that I would make this entree for a family dinner and each of us practically licked our plates!  You know that  feeling ... when the sauce is so good you could nearly drink it!?

Here's the recipe for my knock-off Cajun Chicken in a Cream Sauce!

I find that the Creole blends of spices are a little less peppery than Cajun blends, so I prefer Tony Chachere's!

Dredge chicken breast tenders in the spice blend ... use as much as you like ... I did a mild coating on just one side.  Saute the tenders in butter until they are done. When the tenders are close to done, add sliced sweet red peppers to the pan and begin to saute those.  Add a couple sliced green onions to the skillet. Remove the tenders and set them aside ... and add 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan and bring to a low simmer.  Add 1 cup of parmesan cheese (the shake from the round box kind) and 1 cup of half and half. Let this sauce simmer until it thickens slightly.  Add 1 to 2 cups of tiny pre-cooked salad shrimp and heat through.


Isn't that about as simple as it gets?  I served my chicken with fettucini noodles and delicious fried corn.  First, though, we had a nice crisp wedge salad.



This wedge salad is simply topped with strawberry poppy seed dressing and bleu cheese.  The sweet red pepper is a nice addition.  We love them!


I'll probably share this post with a couple parties in my sidebar.  If you'd like to see the tablescape for this meal, visit Pioneer Woman on MyTable.





GETTING READY FOR MEMORIAL DAY!


Memorial Day in my town has special meaning.  Historical account reflect that the first ever Memorial Day ceremony was held here, in a small church cemetery ... then a couple weeks later in our Woodlawn Cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois. Civil War General John A. Logan (who was later a candidate for Vice President) is the creator of Memorial Day in the U.S. and he is from my hometown, Murphysboro, Illinois.

Anyway, we have always believed that Memorial Day is the beginning of summer and that it is a very important time for us to decorate graves of our loved ones and especially of veterans.  I'll post about my Civil War Veteran, later.

Right now, I'm just throwing together some cute patriotic vignettes in my house. Here is the first and you might get to see more ... just depends on how much time I hve in the next couple of weeks!  The good news about patriotic themes is that they really last all summer!


Bunnies are always a part of my junk decor and half of what you see here from our junk shopping!  When you've been doing this ... and tablescaping ... as long as I have, you can always find what you need in some corner of the house or in a box stored away someplace. However, the star boxes and the sewing machine drawers are recent acquisitions.


This watercolor of Woodlawn Cemetery features the gates of what was originally the Carbondale College in the mid 1800s.  The cemetery is not totally fenced in because we want people to feel comfortable visiting this historic place.





Hope this post finds you already planning lots of summer adventures ... picnics and backyard barbecues!  Memorial Day will launch that season for me!

I'll be sharing this post with a few of the parties in my sidebar.  Make sure you check out all the other posts!


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