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!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

There's a little restaurant in Folsom, California called The Lake Forest Cafe. It's one of those little places that looks like it used to be a house a long time ago but as the city grew the older houses were either turned into businesses or torn down. Anyway....this little place was somewhere a friend and I would go every once in a while. The first time we went she said..."make sure you order Mike's Potatoes". I thought...."wow...this Mike person must be pretty special to have a dish named after him." Uhhhh...yeah...Mike's REAL special because these potatoes were the BOMB!! Knowing I'd probably not get to have Mike's Potatoes for a long time, I created my own version of that spectacular dish. So, so good!! Maybe not quite as good as what is served at The Lake Forest Cafe...but a pretty close imitation!

Mike's Potatoes

4 tablespoons butter
3 medium Russet potatoes, unpeeled, diced into large chunks and boiled but not mushy
1 1/2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 medium tomato, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 green onions ~ chopped
1 small onion ~ diced
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sour cream (optional..but you should!)

Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the diced, cooked potatoes and cook until browned and crisped.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add tomato, onion and green onion and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Add cheeses and stir until cheese melts.

Gently stir in the avocado and top with some sour cream, if desired....but recommended!

Serve with other breakfast-y type stuff and eat!

Serve immediately.

Here we go!

Boil the potatoes until they 
are tender but not mushy.

Melt the butter in a large skillet.

Then add the potatoes and cook until crisp.

Add the tomatoes, onions and green onion. 
Cover and cook a few minutes.

Add the cheese and stir until it melts.

Gently stir in the avocado.

Then serve!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This was a total experiment that actually turned out pretty good. I discovered this is great as a party food or used as a filler for treat bags at a birthday party. You can switch out the sprinkles to match the party theme, because really...who DOESN'T have their sprinkles matching their party decor, right? Anyway...this was a FUN little sumpin'-sumpin' to throw together. Sweet and delicious!

Cupcake Popcorn


2 bags microwave popcorn ~ popped
2 cups superfine sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup white cake mix ~ sifted
Cupcake sprinkles

Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl, removing any unpopped corn kernels.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water.  Stir over heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to a boil and boil uncovered for about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook to the hard crack stage, about 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can drop a teaspoon of the candy mixture into a glass of cold water and if the mixture cracks, you're good to go.

Remove the candy mixture from the heat. .

Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn and stir quickly to coat the popcorn with the candy.

Working quickly, sprinkle the sprinkles into the coated popcorn.

Sprinkle the cake mix over the coated popcorn and give it a good toss.

Spread the popcorn on waxed paper to cool. Separate the popcorn as it cools with a couple of forks.

Allow to dry completely. Store in an airtight container.

Let's get started.

Combine the water and sugar.

Boil to the "hard crack" stage.

Pop your popcorn, separating 
the duds and fluffies.

Sift your 1/4 cup cake mix.

Pour the sugar mixture over the 
popped corn then add the sprinkles. 
Lastly, add the sifted cake mix. 
Spread to cool and harden. 
Then eat!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Clam Chowder

I love clam chowder. IT Guy does not. Because we eat everything I cook, I don't make very many seafood recipes because I would be the only one eating them. But every now and then, I get a hankering for something seafood-y. And this clam chowder was perfect! I took some to my dad from whom I inherited my love of clam chowder...and his words were "You outdid yourself". Pretty high praise, I'd say.

Clam Chowder


5 slices bacon ~ diced and cooked crisp ~ reserve 2 tablespoons drippings
3 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams ~ drained, juice reserved
1 49-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup celery ~ diced
1 cup carrots ~ diced
1 small onion ~ diced
3 cups frozen southern hash brown potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven, cook diced bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to drain and reserve 2 tablespoons drippings.

Saute veggies in the bacon drippings until softened.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in flour and cook for a minute or so.

Add potatoes.

Add chicken broth and reserved clam juice and cook until thickened.

Simmer for about 15 minutes until veggies are tender.

Add bacon, cream and clams.

Simmer for about 15 minutes to heat through.

Serve with crackers or crusty french bread.

Here's what you'll need. 
Here's what you'll need.

Dice and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon. 
Dice and cook the bacon until 
crisp. Remove the bacon.

Drain the clams and reserve with juice. 
Drain the clams and reserve with juice.

Saute the veggies with the salt and pepper in the reserved bacon drippings. 
Saute the veggies with the salt and 
pepper in the reserved bacon drippings.

Add the flour and cook for a minute or so. Then.... 
Add the flour and cook for a 
minute or so. Then....

...and the potatoes. 
...and the potatoes.

Add the chicken broth... 
Add the chicken broth...

...and the clam juice... 
...and the clam juice...

...and simmer until thickened and veggies are tender. 
...and simmer until thickened 
and veggies are tender.

Add the clams, cream and bacon and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes. 
Add the clams, cream and bacon and 
allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Nice and thick! 
Nice and thick!

And ready to eat!!! 
And ready to eat!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheddar Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

This little pasta dish turned out so good! I'm a sucker for anything with chicken and ranch but when you add bacon to the mix? Well...what else is there to say? You just HAVE to try this. Yes...you must.

Cheddar Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta


1 12-ounce package Bowtie Pasta ~ cooked and drained
1 medium onion ~ diced
1 pound bacon ~ diced and fried crisp
2 chicken breasts ~ cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoon flour
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos ~ drained
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove cooked bacon from pan and drain off all but three tablespoons of drippings.

Cook onion in reserved bacon grease until tender. 

Add cut-up chicken and cook until done.

Add the flour and Ranch dressing to the skillet and cook for a few minutes.

Pour milk into the skillet and cook mixture until thick.

Add shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Add bacon, pasta and pimentos and stir to combine.

Let's get going. 
Let's get going.

Dice and cook the bacon until crispy. 
Dice and cook the bacon until crispy.

Remove the bacon and fry the onion in the bacon drippings until tender 
Remove the bacon and fry the onion 
in the bacon drippings until tender

Then add the chunked chicken and cook until the chicken is done. 
Then add the chunked chicken 
and cook until the chicken is done.

Add the flour and ranch dressing mix and stir. 
Add the flour and ranch 
dressing mix and stir.

Then add the milk. 
Then add the milk.

Stir until nice and thick and bubbly. 
Stir until nice and thick and bubbly.

Dump in the drained pimientos and the cooked bacon. 
Dump in the drained pimientos 
and the cooked bacon.

Stir in the cheese until melted. 
Stir in the cheese until melted.

Toss in the cooked pasta and stir to combine. 
Toss in the cooked pasta 
and stir to combine.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As I was cruising the internet the other day, I ran across a picture of some popcorn. After reading the recipe, I decided I'd put a little twist on my own white chocolate popcorn. The recipe I saw was made with melted marshmallows...which I'm sure was delish...but I'm a white chocolate girl from way back so that the direction I went it. I made a bunch of this for my cookie exchange and lucky me...there was some leftover!! This would be super fun for any kind of party...just change the color of the M&M's to match the party!!

Winter Popcorn


3 packages microwave popcorn, popped
1 12-ounce package white chocolate chips
1 - 2 cups blue M&M's
Sanding sugar

Pop the popcorn and place in large bowl.

Melt the chocolate and pour over the popped corn.

Stir until popcorn is coated.

Sprinkle the M&M's into the popcorn then spread popcorn onto sheets of waxed paper.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar and allow to dry.

Here's what you need. Keep in 
mind that I doubled the recipe.

Pop the popcorn. Take out the duds!

Pour the melted chocolate and stir.

Sprinkle the M&M's over the top and toss to combine.

Spread out to dry but sprinkle 
the sanding sugar on first!

Eat it up!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Italian Meatball Soup

With winter weather in full force around here, I've been in the mood for soup! It's a good thing everyone likes it because I've got some other soups in the works. But this Italian Meatball Soup was the first one I thought of and it turned out so yummy! I think the only thing I'd change would be to put some red pepper flakes in the mix. But it was tasty without them!
Italian Meatball Soup
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Panko Bread crumbs
2 teaspoon Italian seasonings ~ divided use
2 cloves garlic ~ minced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 medium onion ~ diced
1 red bell pepper ~ diced
1 green bell pepper ~ diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes ~ optional
1 32-ounce container beef stock
3 cups water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup orzo
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, milk, Panko, 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and some salt and pepper. Shape into small meatballs. Set aside.
In a dutch oven, saute all the veggies until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings and the red pepper flakes if you're using them.
Add the beef broth, water and tomato paste and bring to a boil.
In a separate skillet, cook meatballs in a little olive oil or butter until browned on all sides.
Gently add the meat balls to the veggies.
Add salt and pepper and simmer for an hour...adding orzo the last 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

The ingredients.

Combine the meat, milk, 
panko crumbs, Italian seasoning 
and salt and pepper.

Make the meatballs! Set aside.

Chop your veggies.

Saute the veggies in a little olive oil 
along with some salt and pepper, 
some more Italian seasoning and 
the red pepper flakes, if you're using them.

Add the beef broth, water 
and tomato sauce to the veggies.

In a separate skillet, brown the 
meatballs on all side them add 
them to the dutch oven.

Simmer for a while then add 
the orzo and cook until done.