Friday, December 26, 2008

Lulu LaRue's Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This dish is a holiday favorite at our house and much easier than actually making the original recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes. For years I tried to make Twice Baked Potatoes and they almost always turned out too dry or too runny. I was overjoyed when I learned of this recipe. It always turns out perfectly.

This is also my entry (my Potato Ho name is Lulu LaRue) for the January Potato Ho-Down, sponsored by Noble Pig and Evil Chef Mom. During January, the Ho-Down will be hosted by Fig & Cherry, so be sure to go over and take a peek at all the wonderful potato recipes on January 16th. So, let's jump in feet first, shall we?


5-6 lbs. large baking potatoes, peeled, boiled or baked

5-6 slices of bacon, cooked crispy

1/2 cup of milk

1 stick of butter

2 bunches of green onions, chopped (add a little of the green part for color)

1/3 cup chives, finely chopped

8 oz. package of cheddar cheese, grated

8 oz. container of sour cream


1. Bake or boil potatoes until tender. Once skin is removed, mash with potato masher, adding the milk and butter. The consistencey should be a bit lumpier than mashed potatoes.

2. Add the sour cream and onions, then half of the cheese and half of the bacon. Mix well.

3. Place in a casserole that has been sprayed with vegetable spray.

4. Sprinkle remainder of bacon and cheese on top of casserole.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and top is slightly browned. See how simple this is? So, don't be afraid to try it. Your family and friends will love it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hearty Homemade Beef Bourguignonne Beef Stew

One of the best things about winter is having wonderful homemade soups and stews to warm you when it's cold outside. So, it just makes sense to start with a hearty beef stew. I learned this recipe at my grandmother's hip, although I've made a few changes to the recipe over the years. Let's get to it, shall we? 


1 Lb. stewing meat, chopped into bites sizes

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 large baking potatoes, chopped

15 to 20 baby carrots, sliced

3 to 4 celery ribs, sliced thin

4 to 5 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup of green bell pepper, chopped

2 cups green beans, chopped

1 - 12 oz. can of tomato sauce

2 - 12 oz. cans of diced tomatoes

1 carton of beef broth

3 to 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet

1 large or 2 small dried bay leaves

salt and pepper, to taste

Olive Oil

1 to 1-1/2 cup of Red Wine


1. Place flour, salt and pepper in brown paper or plastic bag, adding meat and shaking, in batches, until all meat is coated.

2. Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven, over a medium heat.


3. Begin adding the meat and browning, adding the onions next. Cook until meat is lightly browned and onions aren't quite transparent.

4. Add the entire carton of beef broth, allowing the mix to boil, then turning heat down to a simmer.

5. Next, add the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce, stirring.

6. Add the Kitchen Bouquet, the bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and allow to return to simmer. Let this mixture simmer for one hour.

7. Add the remaining vegetables to the stew and let simmer for an additional two hours. 8. Approximately ten minutes before serving add the cup of red wine and stir.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Homemade Habanero And Green Tomato Chow-Chow

This recipe has become a favorite among our friends and I get a growing number of requests for it each year. If you've never had Chow-Chow, then you are really in for a treat. This powerful little *relish* packs a mighty punch, and can be served in a large variety of ways.

It is an excellent accompaniment for a variety of beef cuts, as well as pork. It also makes a convenient last minute appetizer when poured over the top of a block of cream cheese, served with crackers. Or simply served on crackers. I swear it's delicious all by itself.

This year, we had a shortage on green tomatoes, because only one of my plants survived the triple digit heat in late Spring. After that, it was just too hot to consider planting again. Although, I did have one stubborn Sweet Cherry 100's plant that eventually provided me with a colander full of green cherry tomatoes that I took before the first freeze.

At the same time, my golfing buddy, Judy, brought me all the green tomatoes they took from their garden, so it seemed I had enough to make two cases of pint jars filled with the mysteriously hot relish. So, let's get to it, shall we?



For The Chow-Chow

10 - 12 large green tomatoes

2 each large bell peppers, one red, one green

2 large red or yellow onions

1 large head of cauliflower

1 large head of cabbage

 2 large heads of garlic

3-4 large jalapeno peppers

3-4 firm Habanero peppers

1 can of medium to large artichoke hearts

For The Pickling Liquid

6 Cups Apple Cider vinegar
2 Cups water
5-1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 CupPickling Salt
3 teaspoons whole allspice

2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
3 teaspoons celery seed
3 teaspoons mustard seed
3 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 large square of cheesecloth
kitchen twine


1. I start the pickling liquid first so that it can cook down a bit while I'm preparing the vegetables.

2. Combine first four ingredients for the pickling liquid in a non-reactive pan, over high heat.

3. Lay out a square of cheesecloth and place the remaining 6 ingredients on it. Carefully tie it closed with the kitchen twine and throw in the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low flame and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes on top of stove. Allow it to cool entirely, after removing from flame. Set aside. At this point, it can actually be kept in the fridge for up to five days before use.

5. Clean and coarsley chop the vegetables to be added to the food processor.

6. The order doesn't matter. Pour it all into a large bowl until you finish preparations. Once all of the chopping done, add the entire mixture to the pan with the pickling liquid.

7. Bring mixture to another boil. Once it has reached the point of a full rolling boil, you can turn of the heat. Now, you're ready for the canning part.

8. After running all the jars and lids through the dishwasher, I always put them in a stockpot filled with boiling water, just because I'm a real safety gal.

9. After 15 minutes of boiling the jars and lids, you can drain them on clean paper towels.

10. Fill each jar with the hot mixture, add the lid, and turn each pint jar over for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. They should pop and seal once they are turned back over.

11. Allow Chow-Chow two to three weeks of fermenting before opening a jar.