Welcome to Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. This is a place for me to post recipes of all kinds...along with other miscellaneous fodder from my so-called life here in the south. Who knows what you will find here. Could be anything from my husband...known as IT Guy...to my kids and beautiful grandbabies that are growing up way too fast right before my eyes. But...mostly this will be a place for food. I hope you'll see something you like and if you decide to try something from the list...leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Praline Chocolate Turtle Cake

This cake is the ultimate in yumminess! I can't remember where I found this recipe but everytime I make it, I think chocolate can't get any better!! Give it a try and see if you don't agree!

Praline Chocolate Turtle Cake

½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup hot water
1 jar hot fudge topping (I prefer Mrs. Richardson’s if I can find it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cut two 10” circles of parchment paper and lay in the bottom and up sides of two 9” greased cake pans.

To make the cake: Heat the butter, brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Divide the sugar mixture between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle ¾ cup pecans over the sugar mixture and set aside to cool. Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla, and vinegar and combine. Add the hot water slowly and combine until batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the cake pans – over sugar mixture – and bake until a wooden pick comes out clean – 35-40 minutes. Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pans and turn cakes out onto cooling racks. Remove parchment paper and cool completely.

To assemble the cake: Soften fudge topping in microwave until warm but not runny. Spread half of the topping over the sugar mixture side of one layer, letting it run down the sides. Place the second layer over the first – sugar mixture UP – and drizzle with remaining fudge topping, letting it run down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup pecans. Place in refrigerator to allow fudge topping to set up. This cake is best if it sits in the fridge overnight. Decadent!!

A gooey delight

Great-Grandma Lula’s Chicken Strips with Honey BBQ Glaze & Not for the Faint of Heart Mashed Potatoes

Okay…so grandma didn’t make chicken strips “back in the day”. She probably never even heard of chicken strips, much less Honey BBQ Glaze. Instead, she fried chicken pieces and smothered it with white gravy. But I’ve switched it over to chicken strips and honey bbq because that’s what MY family prefers. This is my 2010 take on Grandma Lula’s fried chicken.

Great-Grandma Lula’s Chicken Strips with Honey BBQ Glaze

Here’s MY method for frying the chicken: (You can use your favorite technique. I find that using the self rising flour gives the chicken a light, crunchy crust.)

6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into thirds length-wise. (The frozen breasts you can buy from Costco or Sam’s work great in this recipe. I usually thaw the whole bag and make that work.)

2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs
¼ cup milk

Vegetable oil for frying

Pour enough oil into a large skillet to come half way up the sides. Turn heat on medium to medium-high. Make sure to let the oil heat up all the way. This will prevent the chicken from being greasy.

In a large zip-top bag, put the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In another zip-top bag, put the eggs and milk – then mash together in the bag to mix. (I'm all about easy...and not messing up any more dishes than you have to.)

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place a few of the chicken strips in the beaten egg/milk mixture and coat. Then transfer to the flour mixture and shake well to coat. Place chicken strips one at a time into the hot oil. Fry until golden and juices run clear. Drain on paper towel and keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken strips.

Honey BBQ Glaze

This is SO yummy!! And so easy!

2 cups BBQ sauce. (I use Sonny’s Sweet BBQ sauce….found here in the south at Sonny’s Restaurant and also at Sam's Club. But you can use your favoite.)

1 Stick butter
1 Cup honey
1 cup chopped pecans - optional

Place BBQ sauce, butter and honey in a saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat until butter is melted and all ingredients come together. Keep warm until you’re ready to dip your strips!

Serves 6 – 8 people

The line-up!

Not For the Faint of Heart Mashed Potatoes

6 unpeeled large Yukon Gold Potatoes (I use these because they are creamier than Russets)
1 Stick of BUTTER - softened
½ - 1 Cup sour cream
Heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut the potatoes into large bite sized chunks. The smaller and more uniform the chunks, the faster and more even they will cook.

Cook potatoes in a large pot until soft. Drain. Pour potatoes back into pot. Add softened butter and sour cream. Mash with a potato masher until you have most of the potatoes smushed but with some large chunks. Add enough heavy cream to make potatoes creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Cooked crumbled bacon (please…no Bacon Bits. Ew.)
2 or 3 chopped green onions
1 cup shredded cheese
Garlic salt to taste

Roasted Veggies with Pasta and Kielbasa

For my debut recipe I'm going to post a recipe I created and made last week for the first time. It's so easy and you can make as much or as little as you want. Switch up the pasta. Add some cherry tomatoes. My family LOVED it and there were no leftovers....so make extra if you want it for lunch the next day.

Roasted Veggies with 
Pasta and Kielbasa

Heat over to 400 degrees.

2 yellow squash - cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 zucchini - cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 red peppers - sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 sweet onion - cut in half, then sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 package Polska Kielbasa Sausage- sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1 teaspoon each:
dried oregano
dried sage
dried rosemary
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups penne pasta - cooked

Place cut veggies and sausage in 9x13 pan or rimmed cookie sheet. (I use my Pampered Chef baking pan because I feel it roasts the veggies very well but whatever you have will work.) Sprinkle herbs and spices over veggies and sausage. Sprinkle with a good dose of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and give the whole thing a good toss. Place in the oven and let it roast for an hour or so - stirring a few times throughout the cooking process. When veggies are nicely roasted and the sausage has crisped a bit, remove from the oven. Mix in the COOKED penne pasta and toss. Add a little more olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Dish it up and enjoy with some good french bread.

Serves 4 - 6

If you're not a fan of Kielbasa, you can substitute COOKED chicken breast instead. I have not tried using chicken, but hey...why not? Just be sure to add the cooked chicken with the pasta, AFTER you've roasted the veggies.

Here's what you need for this yummy dish.
It's so easy to throw together and the kielbasa
flavors the whole thing. Super good!