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!

Friday, July 29, 2011

I realized I don't put a ton of side dishes up here on SFFS so I decided to be more diligent in that area. And besides...who doesn't love a good side dish? And who doesn't love a good side dish made with potatoes? I know I do. This was a fun and easy dish to whip together. It would be great to take to a get together. If you're running short on time you could even use frozen mashed potatoes...but fresh are much better. I only had russets but my favorite are the Yukon Golds. The russets worked great here...it was delicious!!!

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes – washed and left unpeeled
1 6.5-ounce container Garlic & Herb Cheese Spread

½ cup milk
6 pieces bacon – diced and cooked
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11x7 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Cube and cook potatoes until tender. Drain. Pour potatoes back into the pot and stir in the cheese spread. Add the milk, cooked bacon, and salt and pepper. Spread potatoes into prepared pan and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until hot and cheese has melted.

This is what you'll need. 
Remember..you can also used 
frozen mashed potatoes.

Dice the bacon then throw it in a frying pan.

Cook it until it's nice and crispy, 
then drain it on some paper towels.

Dice and cook the potatoes until tender. 
Then throw in the cheese spread.

Then add the bacon, milk, salt and pepper. 
I also threw in about 1/2 stick of butter...
but that's optional.

Mix it up real good then 
spread it in a greased pan.

Sprinkle the cheese on top 
then bake for a little while.

Yum...melted cheese and hot potatoes!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If you make the Sweet and Savory Quesadilla, you MUST have some jalapeno jelly to go with it. So here is the one I used. Please don't be afraid of this. It's more sweet than hot but it is spicy. All the seeds and veins are removed and as we all know, those two things are the source of the heat in a jalapeno. You're just left with something that has a little kick. If you don't want to make this....you can always purchase some but you've GOT to have it!

Jalapeno Jelly

1 green bell pepper
12 jalapeno peppers
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
Pinch salt
4 ¼ cups sugar
4 ounces liquid pectin
4 jalapeno peppers – seeded and finely chopped

In a food processor, combine the green bell pepper and the 12 jalapeno peppers. Process until finely chopped.

Transfer the peppers to a large saucepan and stir in the cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through two layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. Discard pulp. You should have about 1 cup of liquid.

Return the liquid to the saucepan and stir in the salt and sugar until dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When mixture comes to a rolling boil, boil for one minute then stir in the pectin.

Stir in the remaining 4 chopped and seeded jalapenos. Ladle into clean jars leaving ¼ inch headroom. Place lids and rings on, turn jars upside to cool. When cool and lids are sealed down, store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 pint jars.

Remember: Jalapenos are hot! Don't touch your face, lips or eyes while handling them! BURN!!! Better yet, wear latex gloves while chopping!

Here's what you need!

Seed and devein the jalapenos. 
Then throw them, along with your bell pepper, 
into a food processor.

Chop 'em to bits!

Strain them to get this!

Stir in the sugar and salt and boil!

Then add the pectin.

Then throw in the diced jalapenos.

Ladle into clean jars then 
turn them upside down to seal!

Here's a picture of a jar of store-bought. 
I found this in the Asian food aisle.

A long time ago....in a galaxy far, far away...we lived in California. And one of our favorite restaurants to go to was Chevy's. We loved their chips and salsa. In fact, if you scroll through my recipes you'll find my version of their salsa.  One thing that I loved to order at Chevy's was something on the menu that I've never seen anywhere else. I don't even remember what they called it but I remember what it tasted like. So I decided to recreate it in my kitchen. This quesadilla was just so light and fresh tasting. As you know...we LOVE Mexican food around here but usually it's more substantial. But this? This is not. And the nice thing about this is that you can add more of whatever you like. Are you a carnivore? Add more chicken. Like fruit? Add extra apple? Go vegetarian if you want! But one thing you don't want to leave out is the jalapeno jelly that goes with it!! Make sure you have that! I've left a recipe for it, or you can buy it premade! It absolutely MAKES this dish perfection!

Sweet and Savory Quesadillas

For one serving:

One burrito sized flour tortilla
1/2 cup shredded chicken
3 - 4 thin slices of granny smith apple
6 - 8 thin slices of brie or Camembert cheese

One one side of your tortilla, lay 3 - 4 slices of cheese. Add chicken and apples and top with more cheese.

Grill until cheese has melted and tortilla is lightly browned.

Serve with pepper jelly!

Layer everything on a tortilla. 
Begin and end with cheese...
that holds all the stuff together!

I use my Foreman to grill it, 
but you can use a skillet or grill pan.


Monday, July 25, 2011

We went to a get together last week. Everyone brought a pie to share. There was peach, strawberry, French Raisin (a post for another day), and some rebel (Heather...I'm talkin' to YOU!) even brought a cheesecake!!! Me? I brought chocolate, of course! I don't know about everyone else, but IT Guy and I LOVED it. There was enough leftover that he took a couple of pieces to work and enough for me to have a tiny sliver for dessert tonight! Smooth and creamy and lucious!!

Chocolate Caramel Decadence

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups half & half
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 9-inch graham cracker crust – purchased or homemade

Prepare pie crust. Pour ¾ cup caramel into pie crust and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, sugar and half & half. Heat until thick and bubbly. Add semi sweet chocolate and butter. Stir to melt.

Slowly pour chocolate mixture on top of caramel in the pie crust. Drizzle with remaining caramel. Chill several hours or overnight.

All the good stuff...

Mix the crust ingredients.

Form your crust then drizzle 
some caramel sauce over that.

Cook your egg yolks, sugar and 
half and half until thick and bubbly.

Add the chocolate and stir to melt.

Then toss in some butter.

Pour the chocolate mixture into your pie shell. 
Drizzle with more caramel. 
Allow to chill for several hours, then add whipped cream! 
Oh yeah...then scarf it down.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Can I see a show of hands of people who know what polenta is? Cornmeal boiled in water, right? No big deal. Cornbread's cousin. So when I presented this dish to IT Guy, I made the mistake of using the word "polenta". He called it "different". I had to laugh a little bit. When I told him what it was, he totally changed his tune. Isn't it funny when something you eat all the time, then all of a sudden it's called by a different name, or presented in an unfamiliar fashion, we turn our noses up at it. So after IT Guy familiarized himself with polenta, they were good friends. This is a delicious dish. To me..the polenta with the sauce or gravy on top, tasted just like the dressing and gravy we make at Thanksgiving at our house. I'm sure it was the corn taste shining through...but in short...we all enjoyed it a lot!! And the best part? it was EASY!

Italian Meatballs with Polenta Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 egg
¼ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
½ cup finely diced onion

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Shape into golf ball –sized meatballs.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle the pan with some olive oil, then place meatballs in skillet to brown on all sides. About 10 minutes.

Slice polenta into 12 slices and place in the bottom of a 9x13 inch greased casserole dish. Place meatballs on polenta and set aside.

1 can golden mushroom soup
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl combine soup with the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well blended then pour over meatballs and polenta.

Bake in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Here's what you need for the meatballs.

Mix the ground beef, egg, diced onion, 
bread crumbs, milk and salt together. 
Form your meatballs.

Cook them in a heated skillet 
with a little olive oil for 
about 10 minutes or so. 
Nicely browned all around.

Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch slices 
and put them in your casserole dish.

Then arrange your browned 
meatballs on top of the polenta.

Mix up your sauce/gravy....

Then pour it over the polenta/meatballs.

Bake it up then sprinkle it with some parmesan cheese!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

I had someone (Hi Nicole!) ask me for a scalloped potato recipe the other day. I had to reach far back into the recesses of my mind...a very scary place sometimes...to remember making it. I did remember throwing something together not too very long ago...but for the life of me I couldn't remember what I did. So...I had to create a new one. It turned out very yummy. We all really enjoyed it. I decided to put cheese in it but the cheese is easy enough to leave it out and it's still delicious. So here you go, Nicole...hope you like it!

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

4 cups thinly sliced Russet potatoes – about 5 – 6 medium sized spuds
1 cup shredded cheese – cheddar, jack or a combo
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion – diced

Heat oven to 375

In a medium skillet, sauté onion in some olive oil until tender. Add butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Pour in milk until creamy and thick. Add salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Slice potatoes into thin pieces. In a greased casserole dish, layer half of the potatoes. Spread half of the milk mixture on top of potatoes then spread half of the cheese on top.

Repeat with remaining potatoes, sauce and cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 – 15 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Here's what you'll need.

Saute the onion until tender then 
add the butter. Stir in the flour the 
add the milk. Stir until thick and bubbly 
then set aside. Don't forget the salt & pepper!!

Slice the potatoes *this* thin.

Starting with the potatoes, start layering. 
Potatoes, sauce cheese. I used everything 
twice ending with cheese on top.

Bake it for a while then let it 
set for about 10 minutes before serving! YUM!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Honey Strawberry Jam

With the good prices on strawberries around here, I decided to make jam the other day. I had the jars and the rest of the ingredients...just needed the berries. So IT Guy and I trotted off to the store and I bought a few baskets. I came home and got to work. I think the last time I made Strawberry jam was.....well, I don't remember when it was so it must have been a long time ago. I threw caution to the wind and added honey to the recipe and it turned out so good. I have never added honey to a jam recipe before but I likee!! Our little 3 year old granddaughter even made herself TWO peanut butter and jam sandwiches  with it....and I have NEVER known her to eat a pb&j  before. Will wonders never cease!!??

Honey Strawberry Jam

8 cups crushed strawberries – about 5 16-ounce containers
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup Pectin
2 cups honey
1 ½ cups sugar
8  8-ounce canning jars

Combine crushed berries and lemon juice in a large pot.

Stir in Pectin and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add honey and sugar and continue to boil and stir slowly about 12 – 15 minutes until foam has subsided and jam feels sticky.

Ladle into clean jars. Seal with lids and rings and turn jars upside down immediately. Allow to cool then store in the refrigerator.

Here's what you need. You can 
use all honey or you can use part
 honey and part sugar...which is what I did.

I crushed my berries in my food 
processor. You can use a potato 
masher if that's more your style 
and want it more chunky. Using 
the food processor resulted in 
more of a spread consistency.

Add the lemon juice, honey (and sugar, 
if you're using that) and the pectin.

Stir and cook until it's nice
and thick and gooey. Yum!

Ladle into jars and seal!