Hot Dog Chili

“What’ll ya have?  What’ll ya have?”

Does that remind you of anything?  Chances are, if you have ever passed through Atlanta you have been to The Varsity.  If so, then you know these words well.  If you haven’t, then it sounds like a good time for a road trip.

I grew up just North of Atlanta and when we went to the “big city”, The Varsity was always a treat.  There are now 8 locations, but the downtown Varsity will always have a special place in my heart.  I can remember going there for the first time with my dad and going there on field trips as a kid.  It was always the place to go before a concert, a Braves game, Falcons game, or Hawks game.

It isn’t very convenient these days, so when I found this recipe, and it was actually great, I was thrilled.  I have found numerous recipes over the past few years that claim to be like The Varsity chili, but in my opinion, nothing ever quite measured up.  This may not be their recipe, and of course you won’t have The Varsity ambiance, but when you’re hours away, this is a very close second!  There is one catch though…it has to be on a bun.  Don’t ask me why, but without a bun it’s a little sweet.  However, if bread is in your diet, give this recipe a shot.  I think you’ll be pleased.

 

Hot Dog Chili
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 2 lg. onions, grated
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • ⅓ c. water
  • 4 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. In a Dutch oven, brown ground beef, drain and set aside. Add grated onions to the Dutch oven and cook until soft. Add cooked and drained beef back to the pot. Add ketchup, water, yellow mustard, cider vinegar, chili powder and salt. Stir to combine. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, for 1½ hours, or until almost all the moisture has cooked out of the chili.
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Pineapple Chicken Salad

This week I’m looking forward to a visit with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Loretta.  We have been friends since we were 13 years old!  Just don’t ask us how many years that has been because we will both deny that number.  Who knew, all those years ago, when that new kid showed up at school, that she would become such an important part of my life.  She’s been there to make the rough times in life a little easier and the happy times a little happier.  I’m so thankful for her and so excited about our visit this week!

I made this chicken salad to take to Loretta’s house.  I love this recipe because it’s so different from your typical chicken salad.  It’s easy and scrumptious!  You can serve this chicken salad on your favorite sandwich bread or with crackers.  (The chicken salad is pictured on Hungry Girl Flatbread.)

Pineapple Chicken Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 2½ c. chopped cooked chicken breast
  • ⅓ c. sliced almonds, toasted
  • ⅔ c. mayonnaise
  • ¼ c. chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained well
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients. Serve or refrigerate.
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Cheesy Corn Casserole

Here is a perfect side dish.  I especially like it with grilled steak, grilled chicken, or even hamburgers and hot dogs.  Wes and Savannah love this recipe and it is very easy to prepare.  This would be perfect if you’re cooking for a crowd because it makes a huge casserole.  I usually cut it in half for my family. You can prepare this casserole ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.  Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.

 

Cheesy Corn Casserole
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 c. milk
  • 4-oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 2-oz. Velveeta, cubed
  • 2 c. grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3 lb. fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add butter and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, Velveeta, cheddar, and paprika, and cook until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in corn; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and bake until top is golden brown and bubbling, about 40 minutes. Let cool before serving.
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Fig Cake

My mom and dad had a huge fig tree when I was growing up.  It’s still there to this day.  They loved them straight off the tree and mama would make fig preserves every year.  I really can’t remember if I ever tried a fig back then or if I just insisted that I didn’t like them because I didn’t want to eat them.  I was convinced I didn’t like them though because the first fig I remember eating was 4 years ago.  I remember it, because it’s when we moved back to Georgia.  Wow, I had no idea…they are fabulous!

Still, I had never cooked with figs until this year.  I made a fig pie last week and attempted to make fig preserves.  I found a recipe, and knowing how to follow directions, (most of the time, just don’t confirm this with Greg), I went to work.  I did exactly as directed but I almost ruined the figs.  The sugar and water mixture started to burn so I quickly scooped the figs out and abandoned all fig preserve plans.

When I saw this recipe I immediately thought of my cooked figs.  This rich cake is moist with just a hint of spices.  The texture reminds me of banana bread.  The caramel glaze is wonderful!  I’m not going to lie, once I turned the cake out of the pan I scrapped out every bit of the caramel glaze still in the pan and ate it like candy!  Don’t just take my word for it though, our friend Jimmy said it was the best cake he’s ever had!

 

Fig Cake
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 c. pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1½ c. canned figs, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Glaze, recipe follows
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan and set aside.
  2. Mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and sugar until well blended. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice, mix well. Stir in the nuts, figs, and vanilla.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 - 55 minutes.
  4. Start the glaze on stovetop during the last 10-15 minutes of baking time. Pour the glaze over the hot cake while still in the cake pan. Return to the oven for several minutes until hot bubbly.

Glaze
 
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Ingredients
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ¾ c. unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
Instructions
  1. Combine all glaze ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over medium high heat until the sauce reaches the soft ball stage or 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

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Mini Sausage Pizzas…Back to School Breakfast

Most schools in our area have started back or will be starting soon.  It’s an exciting and stressful time of year with new schedules, new teachers, new friends, and getting back into a routine.  It’s bittersweet around our house this year.  My baby has started her senior year of high school.  I can remember when I walked her into kindergarten on that first day of school.  It seems like it was only yesterday that I drove away from the school crying.  I watched the clock all day, waiting for 3 o’clock so that I could hurry back to the school to see how her first day went.  Now I’m crying again, knowing that this time in my life, and hers, is almost over. 
One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the struggle with school day breakfasts.  My friend, Melanie, shared this recipe with me and it has quickly become a favorite of everyone that has tried it. She first tried these pizzas at a brunch while visiting family in Louisiana and I’m so glad she brought the recipe back home with her!  Not only is this delicious but it’s easy and freezes well which is perfect for busy school mornings.   Take out the number of pizzas needed and they can go straight into the oven from the freezer.  I put each pizza into a sandwich bag, then I put all of the sandwich bags into a one gallon freezer bag.
Mini Sausage Pizzas...Back to School Breakfast
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb. bulk pork sausage
  • 2 (5-oz.) jars sharp pasteurized process cheese spread
  • ¼ c. butter, softened
  • Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, to taste
  • 12 English muffins, split
Instructions
  1. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain well. In a bowl, mix cheese, butter and seasoning. Stir in sausage and mix until combined. Spread on cut sides of muffins.
  2. Wrap individually and freeze for up to 2 months or place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes.
  3. If frozen, unwrap and bake at 425 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. *Note: I used Kraft Old English cheese spread
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