Recipe | Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet


This. Pizza. Divine.

It wasn't as if we didn't already have a truly decadent pizza recipe that we devour once a month while watching a movie. I had to go and find a deep dish recipe, one that is much easier to assemble I might add, that is out-of-this-world yummy!

We have one size of cast iron skillet.


It is a honkin' 14-inch skillet that weighs a ton without a steaming deep dish spicy cheesy pizza inside.

Add the pizza and it weighs a mint.


We dished up this deep dish, stuffed mozzarella pizza in 1/8 slices and by the time I ate the last bite I possibly could I was sneezing (I have gustatory rhinitus or snatiation disease). Look at those layers meats and cheese - yum.


A couple notes: I brushed the edges with the melted butter and garlic powder and sprinkled on a smidgen more Italian seasoning. I generally like my cheese slightly broiled on top, but when I tried to broil the cheese the edges of the crust were beginning to brown to dark so I let it stand as is.

And, it was delightful, of course.

I would be careful adding any ingredients that have a tendency to increase moisture as the crust or insides may become soggy. 

recipe | angel hair with roasted red pepper sauce


I've experimented with many flavors and challenging my family's palette. One of our favorite recipes is a Rotisserie chicken with roasted red peppers and pesto fettuccini; one of our all-time favorite dishes, hands down. So, it isn't surprising when I say we love the flavor of roasted red peppers.

I thought, because of that recipe, I'd have some idea as to the taste of this new recipe, Angel Hair pasta with roasted red pepper sauce. But, this sauce. Oh my! This sauce goes way beyond simply savoring the smokey and sweet flavor of roasted red peppers nestled in tender rotisserie chicken with a burst of fresh basil. This sauce takes two jars of roasted red peppers with their lightly charred skins, combined with a handful of garlic, and pulsed together. The pungent garlic with the sweet, smoke, and char of the red peppers. Decidedly amazing! Rotisserie chicken and pesto. Eat your heart out.

And that doesn't even come close to finishing the fusion of flavors; a little spice here, some finely diced onion there, and give it one little kick...

While I would have been satisfied with a meatless, angel hair pasta with roasted red pepper sauce, my family are meat lovers in need of sustenance. I decided to go hearty - and big on spice - and flavor. At the last minute, in the final stir-to-combine, I added half-mooned slices of lightly browned Andouille sausage. But, let me be honest; the sausage is not necessary. If you go sausage-less but still want the spice, add in 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red peppers. But, you could definitely go meatless. Or, you could add rotisserie chicken pieces.

And, did I mention it has chipotle sauce in it, too!

Italian Tortellini Salad


Inspired by Will Cook For Smiles and From the Pod. Aside from a dressing debacle, which I refashioned from Will Cook For Smiles and thought was quite bland and oily, and will redefine the ingredients for next time because the dressing could have made this salad something special, the combined ingredients to this Italian-flared tortellini salad was delightful. Silky smooth mozzarella balls, with bursting organic cherry tomatoes, al dente cheesy tortellini's, a mild zing of pepproncini peppers, and hearty Italian meats of Genoa salami and thick-sliced pepperoni combined to make a filling side dish - or main dish for the summer. Once I refine that dressing, probably going with more of a dressing like From the Pod, I'll definitely be making this again. Perfect for a small group get together when we gather for fellowship - and food!



French Onion Pork Chops


These were seriously delicious! Divine, really. As a lover of beef-based onion gravies I was inspired by The Midnight Baker's recipe and quickly added it to our monthly menu plan served with Sour Cream and Chives mashed potatoes and Spicy Steamed Broccoli it was a delightful dinner fit for the meat and potatoes kind of guy. Which is it? Pork or Beef? Yes, it's true this is a pork dish but with the added flavor dimension of a dark, rich, beefy onion gravy. It has a hint of the French Onion soup flavor as it's filled with onions and smothered in swiss cheese and with Vidalia onion's in full season the sweet onion was the host for the gravy with the finishing touch - a bunch of finely diced green onions - whites and stems. I used a pre-made beef stock, but a beef consomme would be wonderful as well, or a beef broth. I have moved almost completely from broth's to stocks for the full-bodied flavor, as well as for its lower sodium qualities. 


50 States 50 Recipes | Arizona


Arizona was tough. One the one hand I have to prepare a food that 1) my family can eat. This means nothing with beans because, one, Joan is allergic to beans, and two, unless the beans are mashed to the point of - well - mashed, then I won't eat beans, except maybe green beans, of course, and garbanzo beans are okay, and I can handle refried beans if they are - well - mashed without any remaining bean texture whatsoever, and 2) my family won't eat the slightly strange I've come to realize. When I began exploring iconic foods of Arizona I kept coming across Sonoran Hot Dogs, a bacon-wrapped hot dog, grilled to perfection, crispy, not burnt, with a 'slightly strange' topping. Bacon-wrapped hot dog - yes. Slightly strange topping - not so much.

But, I wanted to try these Tucson-created and classic hot dog with a bit of twang and delight for my Arizona, 50 States 50 Recipes - recipe. Still, they have beans in their recipe. That, of course, is a simple fix. Remove said beans from the recipe. True, it won't, strictly speaking, be an iconic Tucson, Arizona Sonoran Hot Dog, but I'm all about creating my own recipes. And Joan can't eat beans and I. just. won't. Unless they're mashed without any remaining bean texture whatsoever. Thus, I had to remove this, increase that, add this, double that, change this. The result is Susan's Arizona Sonoran Hot Dogs. 

They were delicious. The flavor combinations were sublime. 

But, here is the unfortunate part: While everyone loved the bacon-wrapped hot dogs (duh!) (Hello! It's bacon!), and Joan ate the Avocado salsa, a layer of beautiful summer, sweet and tangy; only I ate Susan's Arizona Sonoran Hot Dog as the dish was meant to be devoured and enjoyed. 

Still, it was good! Quite honestly, I will make this again. I liked the flavor combinations, and even if the men in the house only eat the hot dog wrapped with bacon smothered in ketchup, mustard and relish - how, un-, un-, un-adventurous, I will delight myself in Susan's Arizona Sonoran Hot Dog. 


(Find all my 50 Recipes 50 States recipes below) 

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50 States 50 Recipes | Alabama

I have begun my newest cooking project 50 States, 50 Recipes in which I research those iconic recipes each of the fifty states are often known for, such as, Key Lime Pie from Florida, Kentucky's Hot Browns, or Alaska's King Salmon...I'm perusing Pinterest, favorite recipe blogs, and pulling out my dusty cookbooks and adding those state recipes to our monthly menu, cooking up the new fare, and serving them for my families meal or even as a small group dessert. I haven't given myself a time limit, like all 50 states in a year, but, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes just about that to eat through all 50 states tastes. I already have three states recipes selected for the month of May. But, today I begin with...
First up, I baptized some chicken, as the tale goes, in an Alabama White Gold BBQ Sauce. I was inspired to create this tangy, peppery, non-tomato based sauce from quite a few different recipes I scoped out on the internet using the original Alabama White BBQ Sauce as a basic recipe. Alabama White BBQ Sauce is an iconic northern Alabama staple for various barbecue meats including chicken and pork, created in Decatur, Alabama by Big Bob Gibson's BBQ in 1925. Normally, a tangy BBQ sauce is not our families favorite but after one taste of the mouth-watering, basted-with-white gold BBQ sauce-grilled chicken, we were hooked. Super moist, smokey chicken grilled slow and steady, which we smothered in the sauce at the table. Delicious!
Alabama White Gold BBQ Sauce
2 Cups Mayonnaise (Duke's is best)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly grated, or prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced

Whisk all ingredients together.

Use with Grilled Chicken: Pour half of the mixture over thawed chicken and marinade for 2-3 hours. Reserve remaining sauce. Grill chicken slowly, basting with marinade. Serve with remaining sauce. Store remaining in refrigerator.

 Alabama  |  Alaska  |  Arizona  |  Arkansas  |  California  |  Colorado  |  Connecticut  |  Delaware  |  Florida  |  Georgia  |  Hawaii  |  Idaho  |  Illinois  |  Indiana  |  Iowa  |  Kansas  |  Kentucky  |  Louisiana  |  Maine  |  Maryland  |  Massachusetts  |  Michigan  |  Minnesota  |  Mississippi  |  Missouri  |  Montana  |  Nebraska  |  Nevada  |  New Hampshire  |  New Jersey  |  New Mexico  |  New York  |  North Carolina  |  North Dakota  |  Ohio  |  Oklahoma  |  Oregon  |  Pennsylvania  |  Rhode Island  |  South Carolina  |  South Dakota  |  Tennessee  Texas  |  Utah  |  Vermont  |  Virginia  |  Washington  |  West Virginia  |  Wisconsin  |  Wyoming     

May 2016 Menu Plan.

May 2016 Menu

A busy and event-filled month ahead juggling our lives, maybe by the skin of our teeth and added to the mix a ton of new recipes because I JUST CAN"T NOT add new recipes to our family's lives and taste buds and repertoire. An anniversary celebration getaway, a boys-only camping trip, family delightfully invading our small, humble abode for the graduation celebration slash pary of the last of my Mom's grand children, John and Jarrod - finally! Besides the new recipes as I continue my tour of 50 States 50 Recipes hosting Kentucky, Florida, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, I have three new recipes just because they sound good and different.

I love spending the time hunting down Pinterest and researching new recipes from food blogs or cookbooks. So often, I nudge the recipes to make them just my own, for our tastes, our likes and dislikes, expanding our palettes with things like Bacon and Eggs Fried Rice (with peas) with Chinese Chicken and Sausages or Bacon and Smoked Gouda Cauliflower Mash, both I believe, will be winners.

Gradually, I am filling my own recipe album, which as I type this I realize I need to have copies made for my kids' recipes books, full of delightful family favorites with main dishes, breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts, many of which I'm serving up in the month of May 2016.

fall of the bones goodness


Six Sister's Stuff

This was our very first time - ever - having ribs at home. In all my years of cooking I've never made ribs. I'll be honest, here. I was intimidated. Seriously, intimidated by the delicious looking ribs hitting the tables of other cooks and feeling, there is no way I can make those delectable, mouthwatering, memorable ribs. But, then I found the easiest recipe possible for cooking delectable, mouthwatering, memorable ribs. 

Cook them in the crockpot.

Finish them under the broiler.

Yep, that simple.

Thank you Six Sister's Stuff for this amazing recipe (modified ever-so-slightly).

Here's the real kicker! My sons actually made them! Pretty simple really, but, they were in charge of dinner as Hoosier Man and I had a session with our counselor and I new we'd run over time. Here's what Jarrod (with a little help from John) did:

Fall off the Bones (Goodness) - I mean, ribs

Put 2 racks of pork loin ribs, thawed and cut in 2-3 rib sections in the crockpot, on low. In a bowl, mix 3- 3 1/2 cups pineapple juice with 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, thoroughly. Pour over ribs. Put the lid on and let those babies cook. (They were rotated in the liquid once or twice).  Then, just before you're ready to eat, transfer those ribs very carefully to a bar pan (or broiler pan). Heat that oven to 500 degrees on broil. Slather the ribs liberally with Sweet Baby Rays Sweet & Spicy BBQ sauce. Broil for 10 minutes or until ribs caramelized and darken.


The entire family loved these babies!


kid's recipe book | roasted chicken, chili, and rice skillet with bacon


The Picky Palate makes delightful recipes and when I saw a chicken and rice skillet dish, with bacon no less, I just had to make it! And, of course I just had to make it our own. This dish is pure, unadulterated comfort food: cheese, lots of cheese, roasted chicken, such lovely flavors, steamy rice, smokey green chilis, a touch of chipotle heat - and bacon. Just a pound of bacon to sprinkle on top. Flavorful combination all around.

Obviously, I served it with a salad. Duh.

'Tis true I made this in the southern August heat. Ok, not the best time. But, it sure was good! And it was very easy to put together and perfect for one of my really bad days of pain. A day when I needed the comfort food. 

We have a huge, 14-inch cast iron skillet, that on those really bad days of pain I can barely lift, but I used for this dish and, man, does this make a ton of food. Serves 6-8 easily. We had plenty of leftovers to enjoy.

the recipe book...more recipes


I grew up with a version of this recipe. My favorite way to eat it was over toast with butter, while everyone else ate the noodles. For some reason growing up I didn't appreciate the taste of store-bought egg noodles. I've modified Mom's recipe some but this is still one of the best poor man's stroganoff.


Because I feel sorry for my sons I've only made Broil Parmesan Tilapia a couple of times but I'd have it on the menu every couple of months if they'd let me because I love it made this way, smothered with parmesan cheese, mayonnaise (I prefer Duke's brand) and butter plus some delightful seasonings, served with rice and a salad. So good!


There's a story with this dressing. It goes like this:

Every quarter the boy scouts have a Court of Honor whereby all the ranks and merit badges are presented to the scouts and prior to the presentations everyone brings pot luck dishes to share. We normally bring homemade Caesar Salad ( a big dish of it), Green Bean Casserole, and Garlic Bread. They are our go-to dishes.

At this last Court of Honor Jeff needed to gather the boys up to go and found John and Jarrod in a circle of the scout moms telling the ladies just how easy it was to make the Caesar Salad Dressing, that it was homemade and they passed on their 'secret' recipe. Jeff got such a kick out of finding the boys sharing the salad dressing recipe with the scout moms after they raved about the salad.


Yes, smothered in butter. Delish!


My friend Margie gave me this recipe after she brought it to our small group gathering and I adored it, especially at a time when I had trouble eating desserts with my skewed taste buds.