Easy Garlic Cheese Biscuits
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
 Savory Servings
Jan 24, 2012 | 31042 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Easy Garlic Cheese Biscuits
Easy Garlic Cheese Biscuits
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Bake time: 8-10 minutes

The shelves in my kitchen are overflowing with cookbooks. Some dating back into the 1950’s even. Even though I don’t always get to look through them as often as I would like, I can’t bear to get rid of even one of them. Last week I grabbed one of my favorites – determined to find something in it to make. It is the Betty Crocker Red Book Bridal Edition Cookbook. I received mine about 12 years ago right before I got married. I haven’t really had the time to go through it and make a lot of recipes but I was so excited to find a recipe for easy garlic cheese biscuits.

I love going to a certain restaurant just for the garlic cheese biscuits. Yes, the seafood is okay and it’s an all around decent meal but I just can’t get enough of those biscuits. I had no idea how this recipe would turn out and I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and about 20 minutes before dinner. They came together so easily and they were delicious. I thought they were close to the same as the restaurant ones but my dinner guests insisted they were identical if not better. If you love those biscuits, I encourage you to make this recipe and judge for yourself!

What you will need:
2 cups of Original Bisquick
2/3 cup of milk
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup of butter, melted
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

The Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450. Mix the Bisquick, milk, and cheese until a soft dough forms; mix it thoroughly until you get a soft dough. Using a spoon, drop them onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them for about 8-10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Mix the butter and garlic powder and brush it on the warm biscuits before removing them from the cookie sheet.

The first time I made these, I was in a hurry and I misread the instructions and put ALL of the ingredients into the bowl and dropped them on the cookie sheet and baked them and served them and they were just as delicious. So if you are really pinched for time, that method works as well.

Roasted Root Vegetables
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
 Savory Servings
Jan 04, 2012 | 3939 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Roasted Root Vegetables (with grilled chicken and brown rice)
Roasted Root Vegetables (with grilled chicken and brown rice)
Total prep time: about 15 minutes
Total cook time: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Most New Year’s resolutions include eating healthier and losing weight. This is one of my favorite side dish recipes that is both healthy and takes advantage of the delicious vegetables in season during the fall and early winter seasons. It is one of my own creations and was born out of a need to come up with new and creative ways to prepare turnips! My parents live on a farm in Tennessee and my Dad has a garden year round. In fact, I came home today with a box FULL of fresh, purple top turnips. They are just beautiful. However – the flavor can vary greatly depending on how you cook them. I grew up eating them stewed with just a little sugar and I grew to love them. Yet I still am unable to convince my family to eat them that way. This recipe is unique in that it includes several root vegetables – and together their flavors blend and meld in a way that produces a very bold side dish. I love to serve this alongside a fresh chuck roast or with grilled chicken and brown rice. The dish has carrots, red onion, parsnips, and purple top turnips. Are parsnips new to you? They are a root vegetable that is related to the carrot, except they are much paler and taste sweeter. You prepare them just like carrots – remove the outer skin with a vegetable peeler and they are ready to go. Turnips are the same – using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler remove the outer skin (cut off and discard the root end). It is such a simple side dish that can cook while you prepare the rest of your meal.

Here is what you will need:

1 red onion cut into chunks
3-4 parsnips cut into 1 inch chunks
3-4 carrots cut into 1 inch chunks
3-4 small turnips cut into small chunks
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

The Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread them out on a large baking sheet and roast them on the middle rack of the oven for about 45 minutes – 1 hour or until all of the vegetables are tender. Gently stir them with a spatula about every 15 minutes so that they are cooked evenly on all sides.  

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
 Savory Servings
Jan 02, 2012 | 3094 views |  0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Total approximate time from start to finish: 35-40 minutes

It’s finally starting to feel like winter! And you know what that means – another SOUP RECIPE! If this is your first visit to my blog, I love a good soup recipe. I probably have enough recipes to make one every day the entire season of winter. All different cultures have some sort of soup recipe and it is so exciting to try to find new ones that are easy and delicious to make. I found this one in my food and wine quick from scratch recipes cookbook. I modified it just a bit for our family and I have been making it for 6-7 years now. It is definitely one of my favorite soup recipes. It is perfect on a cold night and just like most chicken soups – it is great when you have a cold. It has a kick of spice to it with the chili powder so you might want to adjust that to your personal tastes. One of my favorite things about this recipe is the bok choy. We live in Alabama – how often have you cooked with bok choy? Believe it or not, you can find it at most grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc. Just look in the produce section with the other cabbages, greens, etc. I just adore the various flavors that come together – from the Asian spices to the little zing of cilantro – it comes together to make a delicious pot of soup!

Here is what you will need:

1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery cut into ¼ inch slices
4 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed and minced
1, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced very thin
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1/8 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes in thick broth
1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (leave them whole) or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons of Asian fish sauce
1 cup of cilantro leaves plus ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
1 ¾ teaspoons of salt
¾ pound of spaghetti
½ head of bok choy, cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
¼ cup of lime juice (from about 2-3 limes)

The Instructions:

In a large pot, heat both oils over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, ginger, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Then add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, fish sauce, cilantro leaves, and the salt. Bring it to a simmer, cover it and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer it covered for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is just done. Remove the chicken and let it cool. Cook the soup for about 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted, boiling water until it is just done (about 9 minutes). Drain the pasta and add it to the soup. Cut the chicken up into small, bite sized pieces and add it to the soup as well. Last, add the bok choy. Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook it until it is just done, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. I love to serve mine with a nice, crusty bread to soak up all of the spicy goodness in the broth.

A note about the ingredients:
You can find the Asian fish sauce and the Asian sesame oil on the Asian food aisle at Kroger, Winn Dixie and Food World. The fresh ginger is in the produce section, usually near the root vegetables in the refrigerated cases. You can find the bok choy near the other cabbages and lettuces. If you have rice noodles on hand, you can certainly substitute it for the spaghetti. It definitely gives it a more Asian flare.

Rudolph Reindeer Cupcakes
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
 Savory Servings
Dec 20, 2011 | 7238 views |  0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Rudolph Reindeer Cupcakes
Rudolph Reindeer Cupcakes
This is one of the cutest cupcake ideas I have found. I wish I could take credit for it but I just had some good luck with recreating it. I saw it in a magazine last year and I was able to find the picture online last week. It is not as difficult as it may appear – you can make your cupcakes from scratch or make it using a box mix. I had a little extra time so I made mine from scratch, I will post the recipe I used for the cupcakes (starlight yellow) and the frosting (chocolate butter cream) later this week. I am only posting the instructions for the décor, I wanted to go ahead and get this up in case anyone wanted to make these for Christmas. I made them for one of my son’s classes at school for today’s Christmas party and they LOVED them. The trick to keeping the “parts” on is peanut butter. It makes the perfect edible glue! And who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate together? I hope you have as much fun making yours as I did mine. They are almost too stinking cute to eat! Almost….

What you will need:
Cupcakes with chocolate icing (made from scratch or use a box mix and tub icing if you want)
Nilla wafers
Mini pretzel twists
White M&M’s (found in the bag of coconut M&Ms)
Red skittles
Peanut butter
1 tube of black gel icing

The Instructions:
Make the cupcakes and frost them with chocolate icing. It is easier to work on one "part" and put it on all of the cupcakes at one time. I started with the “faces” and put peanut butter on the back of a nilla wafer and placed it on the bottom middle part of the cupcake. Next, lightly spread peanut butter on the back of the pretzel that will come in contact with the cupcake and press them lightly into the cupcake for the antlers. For the eyes, put a small dab of peanut butter on the back of two M&Ms and place them just above the nilla wafer centered on top of the pretzels. Put a little peanut butter on the back of a red skittle (you can also use red M&M’s or brown M&M’s for regular reindeer) and place it in the center of the nilla wafer. Last, take the tube of black gel icing and put a tiny dot in the center of each M&M.

Don’t be sad if a little bit of the peanut butter is visible on the various “parts,” I thought mine looked a little smudgy. But, I was told by several very honest friends that it was not noticeable until I pointed it out. Besides, it adds to the character of these sweet little treats!


Ava's Pumpkin Cake with Homemade Cream Cheese Icing
by RaDonnaRidner-Thurman
 Savory Servings
Dec 16, 2011 | 4547 views |  0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Ava's Pumpkin Cake with Homemade Cream Cheese Icing
Ava's Pumpkin Cake with Homemade Cream Cheese Icing
This recipe is one of the most special recipes that I own. It belonged to my husband’s maternal Grandmother, Ava Wilson. She was an amazing woman and I had the privilege to know and love her for several years before we lost her suddenly to a stroke. Every year in November, she would make a very special pumpkin cake for my husband for his birthday. I think she had perfected the recipe over the years. One year (5 years ago), we weren’t able to make it to Tennessee to celebrate his birthday. So I called her to get her famous recipe and try to make the cake myself. I will never forget that phone call, I still laugh when I think about it. Her measurements were very general – “a little of this,” “maybe a cup of that or more if you need it.”  She was so happy that I had called to get the recipe and asked me if she could pass me the torch so that I could continue the tradition of making him a pumpkin cake for his birthday. Of course I happily accepted and I have been making it every year since. I hope we can keep this special recipe in our family for generations to come.

I will warn you – it is a bit labor intensive but it is absolutely well worth the time and energy you put into it. Fresh pumpkin works best but you can substitute canned pumpkin if you must. Every year I send my sweet husband to work with his pumpkin cake to share with his co-workers. They cut the first piece around 8:30 and by 10:30 there is none left. It is very moist and delectable with hints of fall spices. Top it off with the cream cheese icing and it is pure heaven.

MOM’s Pumpkin Cake Recipe
Ava Wilson

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour two 9 inch rounds (or a 9 x 13 pan).

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and vegetable oil. Using a mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined. With your mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and beat well. Stir in the pumpkin (if using fresh cooked pumpkin, make sure you have gotten most of the moisture out with a cheese cloth or strainer).

Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s). Bake it on the center rack of your oven for about 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Let cakes cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing them from the pan. They need to cool an additional hour before you frost them if at all possible.

Place one layer on the cake plate and apply a liberal amount of cream cheese frosting. Trim the top of the second cake if needed so that it will lay evenly on top of the first layer. Gently place the second cake onto the first layer and frost the entire cake liberally with remaining cream cheese icing (there may be some leftover frosting, you want to use enough to cover the cake and any gaps).

Cream Cheese Icing:

1 stick of real, unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz each), softened
2 pounds of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Using a mixer, blend the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Slowly add all of the powdered sugar until the frosting is a nice, spreadable consistency. You can store the leftover in the fridge – it is yummy with fresh strawberries.

**If you are frosting a 9x13 cake, you can halve the cream cheese recipe.

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