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Friday, February 10, 2017

Sausage Rotel Casserole

Dressing up...this should be a fun and exciting childhood experience.  Not so much for my kiddos.  They've been studying Fairy Tales in school lately and this week held a couple of dressup opportunities.  Since I made my daughter wear a fancy princess dress to her Fairy Tale Ball, she said I ruined her whole day.  My son came home with a list of specific Fairy Tale characters he could choose from to dress up as...but he insisted that he had to be a super hero. Sigh.  

I was thankful for a simple recipe to throw into the oven while my kids were throwing fits about dressing up. Ha!  This Sausage Casserole is probably not the healthiest recipe, but it is hearty and filling...and most of my family members loved it!  It's great for a busy weeknight when you may or may not have some cranky family members to please.

Sausage Rotel Casserole

1 lb. ground Sausage
4 sticks Celery (chopped)
1/2 Onion (chopped)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups Cooked White Rice
1 can Rotel Tomatoes (drained)
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Cook the Sausage, Celery and Onion over medium heat until the meat is browned.
3.  In a large bowl, mix the meat mixture with the next three ingredients and 1 cup of Cheese.
4.  Pour mixture into a greased baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cup of Cheese over the top.
5.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and browned a bit.

I finally talked him into dressing as a bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears!  I don't think he made it off the bus with the ears.  Oh well.  Fairy Tale week is just not for us. Ha!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

It's always fun to get creative with a vegetable.  It's also a good way to make a healthier meal more exciting.  Today, I'm dressing up a spaghetti squash, Italian style.

Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

1 Spaghetti Squash
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 lb Mild Italian Sausage
1 large clove Garlic (minced)
1 Red Bell Pepper (chopped)
1 cup frozen Kale (thawed and patted dry)
1 (15 oz) can Tomato Sauce
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Cut the Spaghetti Squash in half and clean out the seeds.  Drizzle with Olive Oil and place face down on a cookie sheet.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
3.  Cook the Italian Sausage, Garlic and Bell Pepper in a large pan over medium heat until the meat is completely browned.  Drain the excess oil with a strainer and return to the pan.
4.  Scrape the Spaghetti Squash noodles out of each half of the squash and add to the pan with the meat mixture.  Also add the Kale, Tomato Sauce and Oregano.  Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring to combine all ingredients.
5.  Pour the meat mixture into the two halves of the Spaghetti Squash.  Cover with the cheeses.
6.  Return to the oven on the cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.  Change the oven setting to Broil at the end and keeping a close watch, let the cheese become browned and bubbly.
7.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Copycat Kung Bo Chicken

I get really inspired when I find a tiny, whole-in-the-wall, hidden gem of a restaurant that serves up unique and amazing dishes.  One such place is Verti Marte in New Orleans.  If you haven't discovered it, look it up pronto!  And if you go, get the All That Jazz Po'Boy!

Today I'm talking about Chinese food in Tupelo, MS.   There is a place on Cliff Gookin Blvd. called Hong Kong.  Nothing about it stands out from the road and we almost didn't notice it.  I'm so glad we did and decided to try it.

It is my plan to systematically try every dish on the menu.  However, there is one dish that I've already eaten multiple times and is so far, my favorite.  It is called Kung Bo Chicken.  It is a beautiful blend of chicken, vegetables, peanuts and spicy sauce.  I was inspired to attempt my own version of it at home.  The attempt was a success and I want to share it with you!

Copycat Kung Bo Chicken

1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tbsp Sriracha
1/4 Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Zucchini
2 Carrots
2 Celery Sticks
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup Peanuts
2 Chicken Breasts (diced)
1.  Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and chop all veggies.
2.  Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.
3.  Add the vegetables and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to brown (7-10 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
4.  Add a bit more oil to the pan if needed, and add the chicken.  Pour about 2 Tbsp of the sauce over the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is done.
5.  Pour the vegetable mix, along with the peanuts,  back into the pan with the chicken.
6.  Add the rest of the sauce to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes more, or just until the sauce thickens.
5.  Serve immediately over regular or fried rice.
(My Fried Rice recipe is here:  Basic Fried Rice)

So who's not on the "Gilmore Girl/Parenthood/This is Us" bandwagon lately?  It seems these emotion-grabbing, high drama/some comedy shows are taking over the airwaves.  And I have to say, I'm on board!  After solemn dedication to watching 154 episodes of the Sherman-Palladino masterpiece that is Gilmore, I (and my husband) are now hooked on Parenthood.  After a while, you start to think they are real people in your life.  This is probably not a good thing. Ha!  But alas, let's all watch the fictional drama unfold together.

We all know that Lorelai and Rory can't get enough Chinese takeout.  So if you want to have a Gilmore inspired night with your friends, make my Kung Bo Chicken and talk super fast.  Also, make sure to use plenty of obscure pop culture references that not many people have heard of.  Haha!  And when you do this, invite me!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Moroccan Meat Pie

There is a certain flavor blend that really inspires me.  An amalgamation of savory, sweet and exotic just really puts a dish over the top.  I kind of made this recipe up, based loosely on something my mother-in-law made.  The first time I prepared it, I did dumplings.  They would be perfect party food....(Link to recipe here).  Tonight, I made it in pie-form as dinner for my family.  It was quick and easy and a taste-bud pleaser for adults and kids.

2 thawed pie crusts-thawed
a little over a lb. Ground Beef
1/2 Red Onion (chopped)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 6 oz. can Tomato Paste
 6 oz. water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1 Egg
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  While you are thawing the pie crusts, cook the beef (that is salt and peppered), onion and garlic until beef is browned.  Drain the grease off the meat and return to the pan.
3. Add the tomato paste, water, ginger, cumin and cinnamon.  Cook and stir until mixed well.
4.  Pour the meat mixture into a pie crust and cover with the second pie crust, smashing the edges together.
5.  Beat the egg in a bowl with a little water and brush the top crust with the egg wash.
6.  Bake until the crust is flaky and golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

I've been a little MIA from my blog lately.  There's a good reason for that and here she is:

We are over the moon about our sweet Phoebe!  She is a precious blessing.  I'm also ready to get back into cooking and blogging.  I'm always looking for inspiration and new recipes to try, in the hopes of inspiring you.  So tell your friends about 1cookingchick, because I'm back!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Kale Artichoke Dip

Finally!!  It is starting to feel a bit like Fall here in the deep South!  Fall is such an inspiring time...especially for cooking.  Today I felt like Spinach Artichoke dip, but wanted to make it a little different.  I decided to try Kale instead of Spinach.  The result was delicious!

1 10 oz. bag Frozen Chopped Kale (thawed)
1/2 cup Whole Milk (more if you want it creamier)
2 cups Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 jar Artichoke Hearts (chopped)
a generous sprinkling of Garlic Powder
a sprinkling of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2.  Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Transfer to decorative oven-safe dish.
4.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly.
5.  Serve with your choice of chips.
(if you want to make it a little less healthy and a little more delectable, you could add butter!)

This mixture of flavors would also be delicious in pasta shells, topped with Marinara or Arrabiata Sauce.  That is how I will serve it next time...and I'll let you know how it goes.  I'll probably go with homemade Arrabiatta, just because its fancier and more delicious!  Haha!  Happy Fall, all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Are you thinking. "what in the world is Pasticcio?"  It is Greek lasagna.  Pasticcio consists of three separate layers that blend together to make a lovely flavor.  On the bottom, you have ziti noodles.  The middle layer is a mix of meat, vegetables and spices (including cinnamon, of all things) that give this dish a very interesting flavor.  The top is a soft and creamy Bechamel Sauce.  This sauce is prepared carefully, by adding flour, warm cream and cheese to melted butter in a sauce pan.  The result is a thick, creamy and lovely layer to top off this interesting dish.

I have not been in much of a cooking mood lately.  I'm in the third trimester of pregnancy and it has been tough.  However, we had several friends over the other night and I made Pasticcio.  I always get excited about cooking this Greek dish.

Here is the recipe I always use:

Try it soon!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Hollars and My Claim to Fame

So what happens after you live in a beloved neighborhood and home for four years, bring both your babies home from the hospital to this home, and make a thousand great memories there?  I'll tell you what happened to me.  John Krasinski (yes, Jim from The Office), decided to direct a movie in my neighborhood....and wait for it....some scenes in my beloved house!  You may have heard of The Hollars.  It premiered at Sundance last Spring and is now coming out for the masses.  Take a look at the preview!


The house with the red front door was mine.

It was probably a week after we had moved out and headed to Birmingham, AL for my husband's medical fellowships.  My former neighbor called and, knowing what a celebrity-stalker I am, said "Lauren, you're not going to believe this!  A guy with the movie (because by that time, we knew that a movie was to be filmed in Fondren) was just in your driveway asking to speak to the owner of the house."  Well, as you can imagine, I had very mixed feelings.  I was so excited!...But also a little sick because we had JUST left.  We wouldn't be there to experience all the hoopla.  However, I made up my mind right then that I would go back for filming.

The "redecorated for the movie" inside of my ex-house.

What was the master bedroom had been transformed into two little girls' room.  It was so strange to walk in and see my bedroom painted pink.  I sat in my old next-door neighbors' front yard all night long watching them film a scene where Sharlto Copley crawled through the window of this room.  I guess we'll have to see the movie to understand why.  But I watched him do it over and over and over.  I hadn't realized how long it takes to film one scene for a movie.  It took almost all night to perfect the window sneak-in.  He also climbed over our ex-fence and on top of our ex-recycling bins.  Very interesting.

When I went back to Jackson to ogle the moviemakers, I stayed with my next-door neighbor.  The night before filming at my house, this letter was taped to her front door.  I was so excited to see it!!

with Emily Blunt, Sharlto Copley and Ashley Dyke.  Emily Blunt is not in the movie.  She was there because she is married to John Krasinski.  Charlie Day actually took this picture.  But I didn't know who he was because I haven't seen Horrible Bosses.  Apparently he's a big deal too.  Oh well!  

And a few more shots of my old house with a movie being filmed inside of it.