The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It

Nacho! Nacho Man!
February 24, 2012, 4:28 pm
Filed under: Food I Make, Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

The Before.

We are nacho people. The more complicated, the better.

We recently ate this bad boy. At its base, it featured hamburger meat with refried beans, an onion, and black beans all warm and seasoned to the hilt. Then, we had lettuce, Cheddar cheese, white Mexican cheese dip, tomatoes, sour cream, and fresh pico de gallo on the top.

It was a monster of a meal. It had to weigh five pounds at least. My husband, Miss Helper, and I tore into it with tortilla chips. Mr. Picky had a grilled cheese and watched us in disgust.

It was missing a thing or two, though. It could have used some guacamole and black olives. And pickled jalapeño. And avocado slices.

I think I’ll have to make it again soon….

The After.


Super Bowl Recipe #4-Fried Stuff

Mmmm…fried things. Every Super Bowl needs something so bad for you it hurts.

I made these this week. I battered my mushrooms in flour and milk then let them set. Meanwhile, I dredged my almond-stuffed olives and pickles in flour, an egg and water mixture, and then panko. I fried them all in batches for about four minutes each. I salted them when they were done.

The pickles were my favorite. They were crunchy and sour. I liked the olives too. Well, the mushrooms were also my favorite. Like picking a favorite child, I just can’t decide.

Fear not fried food. It was really easy and fast to make these delicious snacks.


It’s Super Bowl Week 2012

My first Super Bowl hosting attempt was circa 1991. I was in high school. I invited around twenty kids to my parents’ house to watch the big game. I took my role as hostess very seriously. I made them stand for the National Anthem and then fed them throughout the whole game.

We watched every play-some more seriously than others. Of course, all was quiet for the commercials.

My friends came early and stayed late. We had a blast and talked about it all the next day at school.

Good times. Good times…

Back in the day, I made taco dip, a cheese ball, brownies stuffed with caramel sauce, and a new concoction called Rotel. I made enough food for an army, but my parents paid for it so I didn’t mind.

Times have changed quite a bit. I have two kids, a husband, and I have to buy my own groceries and do my own dishes. We don’t make it to many parties, and I don’t expect a crowd this Sunday night. Still, the Super Bowl is an honored tradition that must be lauded.

And, of course, the food is awesome.

This week, it will be my goal to share with you some new and old recipes fit for any big game party. Even if you are not going to a party or even watching the big game, I hope you enjoy.

Go Giants!

The Themeless Christmas: I Can’t Win ‘Em All
December 12, 2011, 2:14 am
Filed under: Food I Make, Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , , ,


Every year, I have a “theme” at Christmas, or at least I usually do.

Since we have several different parties to attend with different folks at each one, I like to pick a festive dish and take that one dish to each party. That dish is my food theme for the year.

It just makes things easier.  I don’t have to think or work too hard. I can buy all my ingredients once, memorize the recipe, make the dish over and over, and be done with it.

One year, I made Ollie’s Cheesecake everywhere we went. I have also made a monster cheese platter. Several years ago, I made a baked brie.  Last year, I took two things: bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese and also brie on toast with honey and walnuts.

All of my themes over the years have been different and have come from some inspirational moment somewhere somehow. 

This year? I got nothing.

Nada, I tell ya.

Last night was our first party.  This particular shindig is always fun, and I like to think that my dish always shines.

Well, almost always.

I spent all day yesterday fretting about what to take. I poured over my cookbooks, the Food Network, and my foodie magazines, but nothing looked or sounded right. I must have opened and closed the refrigerator a hundred times thinking that something would inspire me. I Googled and Pinterested. I tried, but nothing happened.

So, with no clue and no inspiration, I overcompensated with mediocre dishes.

One of our friends met me at the door with a big smile. “What did you make this year?” he asked.

I wished he hadn’t asked.

I ended up taking a boring chicken dish. I roasted some chicken breasts wrapped in prosciutto. Then, I sliced them and topped them with seasoned pecans and a raspberry sauce.  Unfortunately, the dish got stirred at the party, and all of the prosciutto, pecans, and sauce fell to the bottom. So, all that was left was plain chicken.

I also made a caraffe  of salted hot chocolate.  I love this recipe, but I usually make it for just four.  Last night, I was preparing for many more.  To adjust, I used a heaping tablespoon of Kosher salt. As one friend said with a half smile on her face, “Oh, it has a kick. It’s good.” She said this right before she poured her cup down the sink.

My dessert was a crescent roll wrapped around a dollop of Nutella, a bite of cream cheese, and a sugared pecan. I topped them with another pecan.  They were actually pretty good, but a roll of crescent rolls just doesn’t go very far. It only made a dozen.

I was so sad and embarrassed.  Somebody brought a store-bought cheese ball, and it was more popular than what I brought.

I have until Saturday to figure out a theme for our next party, or mark my word-I will buy dip and chips at the grocery rather than embarrass myself again.

Better safe than sorry.

Thank Goodness for FB: My Friend Trish’s Peach Sandwiches

We all have many kinds of Facebook friends. I know I do. 

For example, the first kind of FB friend is the friend who is really, really a friend.  My momma is my example of this. 

And, I have the friends who were once friends but now not so much. Several of my friends from high school fit into this category.

I have the type of friend who is not really a friend but you have to have them as FB friends anyway because you have no choice.  My creepy cousins and a few people I work with, for example.

Friends who make me wonder why in the world I am FB friends with them-like the girl with the scary Jon Benet-ish pageant kid pictures that I just can’t look away from.  *Shiver* 

I also have the friends who were never really friends on the first place, but I want to see what they are doing because I am nosey.  Several of my sorority sisters who may or may not have been mean to me fit into that category. 

Then, you have the friend you know but don’t really know until you reconnect on FB. A friend you had all but forgotten about until one fateful friend request.  That’s my friend Trish.  This gal’s got it all-deep Southern roots, a story telling ability partnered with the keen sense of how things work on the page, a sense of humor I love, a handsome and smart family, a Doctorate. 

And? This girl can Cook with a capital c

One day this summer, amid the dull daily updates-“I’m having cereal for breakfast!”and the blurbs from random cousins who use way, too, many, commas, I found a picture of a sandwich.  This sandwich was way prettier than my sorority sister’s scary pageant kid.  It had bacon.  Cream cheese.  Peaches.  Wow.

My FB friend Trish was the maker of this wonder, and I immediately messaged her as only FB friends can do to ask her permission to share this magical sandwich with you.

And she, being a good-hearted Southern woman, said yes.

Behold, people.  This is what having a good FB friend can get you:


 My version of the real thing goes like this:

One package of peppered bacon

One square of cream cheese, softened

2 T Basil-I used dried.  Trish used fresh.  You do what you gotta to do. 

Two fresh peaches-good ones from late in the season

Good, fresh Italian bread

  1. Cook your bacon but not until crispy.  You want the bacon just up to crispy but not there yet.  Mine was overdone.  Drain on a paper towel.
  2. In a small bowl, mix your cream cheese and the basil.  This is gonna be sooo pretty!
  3. Peel and slice the peaches.  Slice them pretty thick. 
  4. Assemble-bread, basil cream cheese, peaches, bacon, bread.  Yum.


Our book club is a friendly place where we eat delicious food.  However, I always like to have the best dish.  Even though no one else knows we are competing, I mentally keep score.  Let me tell you, it is hard to win.  My momma is in our book club.  So are many of my teacher friends who can bake anyone under the table.  One girl is the sandwich queen; her chicken salad is to die for.  Then there is my friend who is also our vet.  That girl can flat out put anything on a cracker, and it will be delish. 

 The competition is imaginary yet fierce.

 Well, this summer, I made these sandwiches for one of our meetings.  They were a hit to say the least.  Everyone had to know what they were and what was in them. I heard over and over, “Where did you get the recipe?”

 My response? I humbly (or not) said, “My friend Trish.  She is a professor in South Carolina.  I’ve known her for years!  She let me borrow the recipe.”  I sounded sooo cool saying that!

 I do believe I won that month at book club.  All thanks to these bacon and peach sandwiches and my friend Trish.

Party Pickles
June 13, 2011, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , ,


Most people would scoff of the idea of taking pickles to a function.  Pickles!  What a faux pas!

These aren’t your momma’s pickles. 

This recipe is one I have used for years.  Yummy and easy, it does impress a crowd.  Seriously.

You do need to plan ahead here.  It may be easy, but it isn’t fast.  It takes about a day. 

Ingredients: one jar of dill pickles of any size and sugar

Here’s whatcha do-using a normal jar of regular dill pickles (I like hamburger dills), pour out most of the pickle juice.  You can save it for later, freeze it and make pickle sickles, drink it out of the can, whatever.  I usually pour it down the sink.  Anyhoo, leave about one-fifth of the juice at the bottom of the pickle jar. Then, get out the sugar, sweetie.  Pour about 1/4 of a cup of sugar in the jar, attach the top of the jar,  and shake it up.  Then, go do something else for a while.  Watch tv, paint your nails, whatever.  When you remember what your were doing, go back to the jar and repeat the process: 1/4 cup of sugar, put on the top, and shake.  Do this over and over until the juice is back to the top. Refrigerate. 

I have served these bad boys on a plate before-simple, simple, simple-and walked out of the party with an empty plate.  I have also mixed these in coleslaw to serve with fish, and they are fantastic on burgers.  They last for a long while in the refrig. 



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