Gourmet Four Cheese Macaroni

I think that just about any child would be satisfied with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, for dinner whether as a side or even the main course, even if it needs some extra flavorings. I sure did, although I would frequently add Ranch dressing to mine.

However, as children transition to teens and then adults, their tastebuds change and grow more complex.

I know that in my mid-thirties (at the time of composing this piece) any kind of instant macaroni and cheese dinner is way too bland and sometimes not even some high-end Ranch dressing can help it.

So, back in the latter parts of 2020, I was hanging out with my then neighbors (I say then because we are no longer neighbors due to the wicked deeds of a woman named Ida.)

They were given a bag of plain elbow pasta and were wondering how to make it into a worthwhile meal.

Since I had begun to cook for them around that time, I came up with a wonderful version of macaroni and cheese that I will share the recipe thereof in this piece.

First here are the ingredients that you will need:

Dried Elbow or Shell Pasta.
Whole Milk.
Mild Cheddar.
Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago Cheese Blend.
Olive Oil.
Red and Green Sweet Bell Pepper Flakes.
Basil.
Black Pepper.
Garlic Powder.
Parsley.
Table Salt (only if you choose not to use Bacon.)

The Seasoning Base:
First of all, take a decent-sized saucepan and cover the bottom with Olive Oil.

Next, add the Bell Pepper Flakes, Basil, Black Pepper, and Olive Oil, then take at least two strips of bacon, cutting them into one-inch squares. In order to know when you have enough seasonings, you must not be able to easily see the bottom of the saucepan. Sautee the mixture, stirring frequently until everything is caramelized.

Once the seasoning base is caramelized, add whole milk to the saucepan until it is 5/8 full.

Combine Shredded Mild Cheddar along with the Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago Cheese Blend. Add enough until the milk is no longer pure white. Then add a liberal amount of Parsley.

If you chose to forego using bacon, this would be the time to add salt to taste. It will require a considerable amount of salt, though, in my humble and honest opinion.

Lower the fire and stir almost continuously until the sauce is thick, then put the fire on the lowest setting and keep stirring though not as much.

Take another pot and fill with water and bring to a boil.

Add the Shell or Elbow Pasta and a few drops of Olive Oil.

Boil until pasta is soft.

Drain pasta in a colander whilst running cold water (this is to preserve the drain seals of your kitchen sink.)

Place pasta back into the pot, give the sauce a couple of vigorous stirs then combine sauce and pasta.

Mix until all is well blended.

Serve and enjoy.

This is a great side dish to entrees such as pork chops or fried chicken or baked barbecued chicken. Another side item I would highly recommend with such a meal is sweet peas, which I have been meaning to post my recipe for them to this blog as well.

Note:

You can also refrigerate this dish overnight, reheat it in your microwave oven and serve it the next day. It will taste even better because all of the flavors were given a chance to fuse properly.

I remember a former in-law of my then neighbors commenting on how I should be a gourmet chef after she tasted this creation of mine.

I explained to her that not even a gourmet chef would make the necessary amount of money or have the required benefits needs to meet my medical needs. And if that weren’t enough I know due to my mental limitations, I cannot withstand the amount of pressure that is associated with such an occupation nor could I take the back pain from standing all day and moving pots continuously. I have no Culinary Arts degree, rather I am all self-taught. I must needs admit acknowledge that my ability to cook is indeed a gift imparted to me from God Almighty!

All in all, I hope that you, the reader, have been inspired by the culinary creation and always I hope you have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you as He has blessed me!

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Home Made Hamburgers

Hamburgers were my favorite food from some time in infancy all the way to my early twenties, when I upgraded to Buffalo Chicken. Still, the hamburger has a place in my heart (hopefully it doesn’t choke my heart with all the cholesterol it contains.)

While covering other interesting topics, I plan to use this piece to present a hamburger recipe that I invented but the inspiration came elsewhere.

Family members of mine frequently tuned their television sets to the New Orleans station WWL-TV. There was a gentleman employed by that station named Frank Davis. He did reports on hunting, cooking, and fishing. In addition to those, he often covered humorous or light-hearted pieces of news, to which he applied the phrase “Naturally N’Awlins.” Prior to his employment at WWL-TV, he worked as a Wildlife and Fisheries Agent. Sadly he passed away in 2013, but the Interstate 10 Twinspan Bridge over Lake Ponchitrain connecting New Orleans to its suburb of Slidell, Louisiana, was rightfully renamed the “Frank Davis Naturally N’Awlins Bridge” in his honor. N’Awlins is a butchered pronunciation of “New Orleans” by the locals. By the way, this piece will have several references and explanations of Louisiana colloquialisms. I feel the need to point these out because I am proud of my Louisiana heritage. I feel the need to explain because I realize that this blog has readers from around the world and they would not appreciate these Louisiana-isms without a due explanation.

It was from watching one of his pieces on either my parents’ or grandparents’ television sets as a preteen, likely while waiting to catch the school bus that I was inspired, at least partially, to come up with what I think is the near-perfect recipe for homemade hamburgers. Individual results may vary.

I’ll admit that I am still fine-tuning this recipe, but I think I have it mastered well enough to share with the world.

If you, the reader, are wondering what was so special about Frank Davis’ Home Made Hamburger recipe, I will tell you:

He fried the ground meat (or grind meat, as my former Bayou Blue neighbors say) in Mayonaise (or “my-nez” as all the Y’ats say.) I say former neighbors because a wicked and abusive woman named Ida drove me out of Bayou Blue and I hate her for it! Frank Davis was obviously a Y’at but I cannot remember for the life of me how he pronounced the word mayonnaise. For those of you who wonder where is Bayou Blue, it is a community on the Northeastern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana. And for those of you who wonder about Houma, it is a small city between South Central and Southeast Louisiana, the seat of government for Terrebonne Parish, named after the Native American Houmas tribe. And finally, a Parish is an administrative subdivision used in Louisiana that is the equivalent to a county or borough elsewhere in the United States. People in certain parts of Terrebonne Parish, pronounce ground meat as “grind meat” for whatever reason and I find it amusing. Maybe I should have been a linguist because I like to study dialects and I find certain regional colloquialisms to be of much humor. Speaking of regional colloquialisms, a Y’at, for those who do not know, is typical, though not exclusively, a white person native to the Greater New Orleans area. They are known for saying certain phrases, such as, “Where y’at?” (a contraction of “Where you at?” which is a form of asking “Where are you?” or “What is your location?” or in the case of CB radio “What’s your twenty?”) Y’at English is very similar to Brooklyn or Long Island, New York English. My theory behind that as I was presented by a former friend and neighbor is that most of the white children in New Orleans went to catholic schools and natively spoke French (either Cajun or Creole French.) However, these catholic schools were taught by a detachment of nuns from Brooklyn and they taught these children how to speak English but in the Brooklyn dialect. So the white catholic population of Greater New Orleans learned English in this fashion and it is still widely spoken to this day, especially by the older members of that population.

Now, since we have all of that explained (and I hope you, the reader, found it amusing or at least educational), let’s get down to the business at hand.

I wish to present the recipe for what I think is a durn good homemade hamburger but why don’t you try it for yourself.

I don’t know exactly what Frank Davis added to his ground beef prior to frying it in mayonnaise, but my version deviates somewhat from that. I don’t exactly fry the hamburger patties in the mayonnaise, rather I add it to the mixture along with other herbs and spices.

So, here are the ingredients:

Sesame Seed Hamburger Buns
Fresh or Frozen, then Defrosted Ground Beef
Parsley
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Panko Bread Crumbs
Mayonaise of your choice, as long as it’s authentic
Large Tomatoes (I prefer the Creole variety)
Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Large White Onions

First, take either a skillet or use your griddle, grease it with a very minute amount of the cooking spray of your choice (Pam would suffice) and light your burner, and raise to high heat, thus allowing your cookware to get hot. This will save cooking time.

Next, while your griddle or skillet is getting hot, take a large mixing bowl. I like to borrow the ones that my mom purchased from Schwegmann’s back in the day. For those who don’t know, Schwegmann’s was a legendary, but now defunct, grocery chain in the New Orleans area, that existed from 1869 to 1995. It (and The Real Superstore-another New Orleans grocer and competitor to Schwegmann’s) was the inspiration for Melinda’s Massive Supermarket that appears in several stories I wrote over the years.

Then add the fresh or defrosted ground beef.

Add the mayonnaise, I would suggest one to one and a half tablespoons per pound of ground beef.

Add in the parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and bread crumbs.

Just eyeball the seasonings. When each of the bits of herbs and spices is evenly distributed and visible throughout the entire mixture, then you should have enough. One thing about Louisiana cooking that probably annoys the rest of the world is that we hardly ever measure our herbs and spices. We tend to just wing it or eyeball it and somehow we still have one of the best if not the best cuisine in the world.

Thoroughly mix everything together by hand. This part is the most unpleasant because it results in very greasy hands. And just for CYB purposes please disinfect your hands before and after mixing these ingredients.

Next form the mixture into patties of your choice of width and thickness. This all depends on how many you are feeding and how you like your hamburgers. I typically make them the size that is 2-3 times thicker than what would be sold at Burger King or Wendy’s, but slightly less wide.

There is no need to add salt because the mayonnaise makes the patties salty enough.

Also, the mayonnaise is a more flavorful substitute for just plain raw eggs and is what makes this recipe stand out from other hamburger recipes.

Finally, the Panko Bread Crumbs is a binding agent, helping hold the patties together, especially whilst cooking.

Many of you New Orleans people would like to use Blue Plate Mayonaise and that is fine. However, I find that store brand mayonnaise has more flavor. The two brands I am partial to are the ones labeled as “Rouse’s” which is another fine Louisiana grocery chain. Or Best Choice which is distributed in several grocery stores that are supplied by Associated Wholesale Grocers, of which Rouse’s is currently one. But, I suppose, that Kraft or Hellman’s would also suffice.

Place patties in skillet or griddle and reduce to medium heat. Press down on the patties with your spatula and consistently flip them until there is no more pinkness in the patties. I must add that the patties should be flipped frequently enough to prevent charring

For CYB purposes, take a meat thermometer, and make durn sure that the innermost core of the patties has reached a temperature of 160 Degrees Fahrenheit, which is 71.11 Degrees Celsius AKA Centigrade or 344.261 Kelvin!

While the last of the patties are near done cooking, take your Sesame Seed Buns and place them on a large, microwave-safe platter and sprinkle some water from your kitchen tap on them. Place them in the microwave oven for roughly 45 seconds. This results in a delicious steamed bun.

While waiting for the buns and the patties to slightly cool, slice your tomatoes into about one either eighth or one-quarter inch thick round slices. Then slice your raw white onion into round slices one-eighth of an inch thick.

Place a generous amount of mayonnaise on both the inner sides of the top and bottom half of the buns. The messier, the better. Many Y’at’s judge the goodness of a sandwich by how many napkins are needed whilst eating it. The more napkins, the better the sandwich!

Next, add the pattie on top of the inner side of the bottom half of the bun.

Place one tomato slice on top of the pattie, then place the 3 to 4 rings on raw white onion on top of the tomato slice. Top the onion slices with a handful of shredded Iceberg Lettuce, then place the top half of the bun over the lettuce and press down until the Hamburger Sandwich is compact.

Repeat the process until all are prepared this way.

Serve and enjoy.

Now you, the reader may need to make some modifications to this recipe as you see fit.

Remember, I am still fine-tuning and may give updates in the future as I could change this recipe some.

I must admit that I have no culinary degree at all and that cooking and anything else in which I have any considerable skill, I either taught to myself through independent learning and in reality, is a gift imparted to me by God Almighty. If you tried and enjoyed my recipe or it has inspired you to create a similar recipe, give the glory to God and just realize that he used me but all glory is due unto Him!

I hope that you the reader, have enjoyed this piece and that you were informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

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Pan Seared Salmon with Walnuts

From late August of 2018, when my Paw Paw broke his hip, went into the hospital, and then passed away, I took care of my Maw Maw until she, herself passed away in late December of 2019.

Because I live on a disability pension and have a considerable amount of free time, I answered my family’s request to take care of her.

It was a pleasant time of my life, because whilst taking care of my Maw Maw, I would sometimes cook for her and she would help me hone my cooking skills. I very much appreciated that.

The only unpleasantness of the whole ordeal was that she felt compelled to constantly watch cable news channels, the content of which would put her in a bad mood. And one of the sponsors to one of the cable news channels that she frequently watched was California Walnuts. One of these commercials suggested adding walnuts to a salmon recipe and serving it over rice. So that is what this piece is about:

It is a fairly simple but healthy and delicious recipe.

First I will list the ingredients:

At least 12 ounces of fresh or frozen salmon fillet.
Butter.
Lemon Juice.
Parsley.
Black Pepper.
Walnuts.

If the salmon fillet is fresh, then you are ready to go. If frozen, please make sure to thoroughly defrost before cooking.

In a copper skillet, take butter, lemon juice, parsley, black pepper, and [shelled] walnuts and combine them over medium to slightly high heat, stirring aggressively.

I never measure my ingredients, just simply eyeball everything. That’s a sure-fire trait of Louisiana cooking! But for those who wish to know; here is a ballpark figure, per 12-16 ounces of salmon:

I would imagine the recipe calls for one tablespoon of butter, three quarters to one whole fluid ounce of lemon juice, one to one and a half teaspoons of parsley, one-half teaspoon of black pepper, and a half handful of walnuts.

Once the butter melts and all the ingredients are combined, add the salmon fillet to the skillet and lower the fire slightly. Spread the mixture over the fish and press with a fork. Flip every two minutes are so until the fish is flaky, tender, and pink without the appearance of blood.

As the featured image suggests, serve over hot rice with a side of steamed green beans and enjoy.

This is a very delicious meal and tremendously healthy for both the mind and body.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Since about 2016 or 2017, I have been trying to perfect my spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

…I think, as of 2021, I have come close to where it needs to be…

Here are the ingredients:

(And just so we’re clear I hardly ever measure my spices. I just eyeball everything. You too will know when it’s right.)

Olive Oil.
Garden Combination Spaghetti Sauce.
Lean Ground Beef.
Yellow Squash, sliced.
Zucchini, Sliced.
Basil.
Parsley.
Italian Seasoning.
Green and Red Bell Pepper Flakes.
Onion Powder or Flakes.
Garlic Powder.
Mozzarella Cheese.
Parmesan Cheese.
Seasoned Salt.
Black Pepper.
Bay Leaves.
White or Brown Sugar.
Dried Spaghetti Pasta.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional.)

First of all, preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Then while waiting for the oven to reach the target temperature, take a mixing bowl, and add your Lean Ground Beef. Also add your Black Pepper, Parsley, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder or Flakes, and Mozzarella Cheese. If you dare, add some Crushed Red Pepper flakes at this time, although later you or your family members may need Alka Setzer (think of a certain commercial from 1969!) Sanitize then rinse your hands thoroughly then mix all of these ingredients until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Once everything is evenly mixed, form it into balls the size of ping pong or table tennis balls, you can go bigger or smaller on the size of the meatballs depending on how many you wish to feed.

Place them in a non-stick skillet, spacing them about 1.5 inches apart.

Once the oven indicates that it has reached the target temperature, place your meatball pan in the oven for 25 minutes. The way I personally keep track of the baking time is by using the stopwatch feature on my Casio G-Shock wristwatch.

While the meatballs are baking, take a decent-sized pot and pour in the Olive Oil. Pour just enough until the bottom of the pot is completely covered.

Add the sliced Squash and Zucchini, Basil, Parsley, Italian Seasoning, Green and Red Bell Pepper Flakes, Onion Powder or Flakes, Garlic Powder, Seasoned Salt, Black Pepper, Bay Leaves, and White or Brown Sugar.

Place pot on medium heat and stir very frequently.

Once the seasoning base has slightly browned, add your jar(s) of Garden Combination Sauce. Ragu is a very good brand but the store brand will do just as well. Whatever sauce remains in the jar after pouring, rinse with your from your kitchen tap and let the mixture of sauce and water collect at the bottom of the jar. Add this to the sauce in the pot. Lower the heat and stir occasionally.

By this time, the meatballs should be baked, but if not, take them out when the timer or stopwatch reaches 25 minutes.

The reason why I say to bake them in a skillet is that a skillet has a handle. This will be crucial to the next step.

When the meatballs are indeed done baking, slowly pour them and their drippings (this adds extra flavor to the mix) into the pot of sauce and stir very thoroughly until the entire mixture is evenly distributed. And please for CYB purposes as well as your safety, use a gosh durn pot holder when handling the skillet (it will be very hot.)

Lower your heat to Medium-Low and stir occasionally.

Taste your sauce frequently during this time and adjust the seasonings to your desire. This is where you would adjust the Sugar, Black Pepper, and Seasoned Salt until it conforms to your’s and/or your family’s personal preferences.

Let the sauce simmer for the next 2.5 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, take another pot and fill it with water from your kitchen tap.

Then take your dried spaghetti strands and break them in half, then drop them in the pot of water. Add a few drops of Olive Oil.

Place on High heat until the noodle strands are soft and have earthworm-like flexibility. Check and stir frequently, sometimes they cook quicker than you think, so frequently checking not only to saves time but also saves on either your electric or gas bill (depending on which is the power source for your stove.)

Once the noodles are indeed flexible as earthworms, turn on the cold water tap in your kitchen sink and place a colander in the basin in which you placed your colander. Make sure the drain is unplugged and otherwise unobstructed. This will preserve the drain seals on your sink and save you a lot of trouble down the road. Pour the noodles into the colander and let the water flow. The cold water coming out of the tap will cool off the boiling hot water from the pot, which would otherwise eventually disintegrate your drain seals.

Either keep the noodles in the colander or transfer them to a serving bowl. Garnish with some Parsley and/or Italian Seasoning.

Keep stirring and tasting the sauce until it has simmered for 2.5 to 3 hours.

Serve sauce over pasta and enjoy!

Add the Parmesan Cheese to individual servings at this time as each person sees fit.

This meal would be complete with sides of Garlic Bread/Texas Toast and a Garden Salad with Italian Dressing.

The perfect drink to go with this meal, in my opinion, would be Concord Grape Juice and the store brand is almost as good as Welch’s!

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Ghetto Punch

I had heard of a certain restaurant in New Orleans making Ghetto Punch and I heard it was a combination of Kool Aid and Tea.

I’m not sure exactly how true that was, but one day I was out of sugar and pay day was a ways off.

So, I improvised and mixed Instant Tea mix (which already contains sugar) with Kool Aid and my drink came out fairly decent.

I’ve been trying to tweak it as of lately and I find this is the best combination.

Try it if you dare.

As stated on Facebook and Instagram:
…This is how I make Ghetto Punch…
1 Gallon of Tap Water
1.33 Cups of Lemon flavored instant tea mix
1 Packet of Watermelon Kool Aid
1 Packet of Pink Lemonade Kool Aid
Extra sugar until sweet enough (optional)
Stir briskly
Chill in refrigerator until cold
Enjoy!
This recipe really comes in handy towards the end of the month especially as a cost effective alternative to soft drinks!

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White Beans

Dry Loose White NAVY Beans
Cooking Oil
Medium Grain Rice
Black Pepper
Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Tabasco Coarse Ground Mustard

This is a simple and a fairly cheap meal, but if done right is very delicious believe it or not.

I will say that you have to use Navy White Beans, and NOT Great Northern.

I find that Navy Beans have a better taste, so that is why I am advising this.

Soak your beans overnight for 12-36 hours and change your water at the halfway point of soaking.

Line the bottom of a medium to large pot with cooking oil and add the black pepper (use a liberal amount), onion powder, garlic powder and a little salt.
Eyeball your spices. The more beans you are cooking, the more spices you will need!
Place on a slightly high fire until the base is ever-so-slightly carmelized.

Reduce fire then add beans and water. Make sure you have enough water for the beans to swim deeply in.

Stir the mixture thoroughly, then cover.

Continue stirring occasionally.

It is optional to mash some of your beans against the inside of the pot as they get softer. This creates a thick gravy and makes the beans creamy.

Add more black pepper and salt to taste.

This may take 1 to 5 hours of cooking time, whether you are feeding yourself or you could be cooking on Navy Battle Ship (if so, thank you for your service!)

I frequently taste the food I am cooking and you should too so you can know when the beans are soft enough and the flavors are just right.

As the beans are finishing, draw water into another medium to large pot and add a few more drops of cooking oil.
Bring the water in that pot to a boil.
Boil the medium grain rice for 26 minutes or until soft.
*I misplaced my Casio G-Shock watch, that a durn big mistake! However, many times when cooking rice I employed the countdown timer feature on that watch to precisely cook rice*

Drain the rice and run cold water in your sink whilst doing so. The preserves the seals in your sink drains and therefore will prevent your sink from leaking.

Serve rice over beans and garnish with a liberal amount of pickled jalapeno peppers.

If you really want more flavor, because white beans, I wholeheartedly admit can be quite bland, add the Tabasco Coarse Ground Mustard to individual dishes!

Enjoy!

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Fried Chicken

This is more or less how I make fried chicken.

I’m definitely not saying I will be the next Colonel Sanders (I mean only God Himself could make better fried chicken than Colonel Sanders-change my mind) but mine does taste fairly decent.

Cooking Oil
Milk or Buttermilk
Eggs
Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional)
Chicken Pieces
Flour
McCormick Poultry Seasoning
Sugar
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Season Salt
Creole Seasoning

Caution:
…This entire process is totally messy from start to finish…

Take as many fresh or frozen pieces of chicken as you wish.
They can be on the bone or fillets.
If fresh, you are good to go.
If frozen defrost them toroughly.

Fill your skillet 3/4 full with cooking oil and begin heating it up. This is one of the few times I measure.

OPTIONAL: Drizzle Louisiana Hot Sauce on chicken pices and massage it into the meat.

Take eggs and beat them in a bowl.
Combine them with milk or buttermilk.

Take a plastic sealable bag and combine most of all flour, then: poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, season salt, Creole seasoning and a tiny bit of sugar. As always, eyeball your seasonings. Leah Chase, God rest that wonderful lady’s soul, never measured by the way!

Seal the bag and then shake it very well.

Take your chicken pieces and dredge them completely through the milk and egg mixture.

Afterwards, place chicken one by one in bag of flour and seasonings.

Shake the bag with chicken until the piece is completely coated.
Repeat with every piece.

By this time the oil in the skillet should be hot.

Slightly reduce the heat.

Place chickens in hot oil for 18 to 25 minutes depending on their sizes.

The larger the chicken piece the longer the frying time.

Turn pieces over with a pair of tongs at 4 minute intervals to prevent burning.

This would be another situation where my Casio G-Shock would have come in handy, but I misplaced the durn thing.

An entry level Casio G-Shock wristwatch, namely the model DW-5600E, is a stellar watch and is very helpful for kitchen work among many other professions, by the way.

Remove chickens from frying pan and allow them to cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

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Potato Salad

Diced Red Potatoes
Chopped Red Bell Pepper
Smoked Sausage
Parsley
Mayonaise
Onion Powder
Black Pepper

This is my own take on Potato Salad.

It is uniqe, but tastes very good.

…There are countless ways to make potato salad by the way…

Wash the red potatoes thoroughly! This is of the utmost importance!
Dice the red potatoes (you may need a few or you may need many depending on the amount of people you are feeding.)
Leave the skin on the potatoes. Not only will this say you time, but it will give you extra nutrition from the skins!
Boil them until they are soft enough to easily push a fork through.

While the potatoes are boiling place some smoked sausage in a frying pan.
Heat it until it is cooked thoroughly.
Save the drippings and cut sausages into small chunks.

Drain the potatoes.
Run cold water in your sink while doing so, as I’ve stated before, to preserve the seal on your sink drains and therefore prevent your sink from leaking!

Place boiled potatoes in a bowl.

Add mayonaise (the more potatoes you have, the more mayonaise you will need.)

Add sausage chunks and drippings.

Add garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Eyeball your spices, you will know when enough is too much.

Cut a red bell pepper into small chunks also and add to mixture.

Add a little parsley for garnish.

Mix and mash entire contents together until it is consistent.

Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy!

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Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients
Cooking Oil
Dry Loose Red Beans
Medium Grain White Rice
Finely Chopped Parsley
Smoked Sausage
Bay Leaves
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Creole Seasoning
McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning

I don’t give specified amounts of ingredients because some of you may be serving plenty of people and some of you may just be serving yourself.

I never measure my spices, either, instead I eyeball everything.

Soak dry loose red beans overnight for 12-36 hours.
Change water at halfway point during soak.
Drain beans.

Cut smoked sausage into small round pieces.

In a medium to large pot (depending on the amount desired to cook), line the bottom of the pot with cooking oil.
Add the smoked sausage, bay leaves, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper Creole Seasoning and McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning. Eyeball your spices!

Place pot on medium to slightly high fire.
Stir frequently.
Press on pieces of smoked sausage to allow their fat and juices to mingle with the seasoning base.
Heat until slightly browned.

Lower the fire to between medium and low and combine beans and water with enough water for the beans to swim in.
Cover the pot and stir occasionally.

The beans will get softer and softer as the cooking time progresses.

Mash some of the beans against the pot when soft enough (optional.)

It could take between 2 and 5 hours to complete cooking and water may need to be added during the cooking process.

I always taste the food that I am cooking and this helps determine whether it is done or not.

When the beans are near done, take another medium to large pot and fill it with water.
Add a few drops off cooking oil to the water and bring to a rolling boil.
Add the rice and boil for approximately 26 minutes or until rice is soft enough.
Drain rice and for Heaven’s sake, run the cold water in your sink while draining.
*Don’t run the cold water on the rice, but let it hit the drain hole while draining your rice. Boiling hot water causes the seals in your sink drain to deteriorate prematurely, which will cause your sink to leak!*

Serve rice over beans and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!

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Green Beans

Ingredients:

Fresh or Frozen Green Beans
Cooking Oil
Bacon
Sugar
Season Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Diced Red Potatoes (optional)
Chopped Mushrooms (optional)

When I can (please no pun intended), I use fresh green beans but if this is not an option, frozen works almost as well.
Most canned green beans have a terrible after taste and I consider canning them to be assault, battery, rape and muder of perfectly good green beans.

If using fresh green beans, make sure the tips are snapped off. French style cutting is also an option, but this is very time consuming and can also cause personal injury if not absolutely careful. I use my Case Trapper knife for this very purpose.

If using frozen green beans, allow them to defrost, at least for a little while.

Take your favorite type of bacon and some sterile kitchen scissors and cut the bacon into neat little squares.
*If you use raw bacon and are anal about food borne pathogens like I am, you may microwave the bacon before cutting it, but for best results add the drippings as well as the bacon to the recipe.*

Line the bottom of a medium to large pot with cooking oil, then add the cut up bacon (and drippings if applicable), sugar, season salt, onion powder, garlic powder black pepper and the optional diced red potatoes.
…Eyeball your spices. I never measure! The more green beans you have the more seasonings you will need. You may just be cooking for yourself or you may be cooking for a small army…

Place pot on a medium to high fire.
Heat the base and frequently stir until it is ever-so-slightly carmelized.

Dump green beans into pot and add some water.

You may also add the chopped mushrooms at this time if you wish.

You want enough water to steam the green beans but NOT boil them.

*Steaming preserves the all the nutrients that green beans provide whereas boiling destroys all those nutrients*

Lower the fire/heat.

Mix everything thoroughly so the flavor of the seasoning base is infused to the green beans.

Cover the pot, but stir occasionally.

The cooking on low fire time may take 1 to 3 hours depending on how tender you want your green beans to be and how much you are cooking.

Towards the end, add the potatoes, if you desire to use potatoes.

*Make durn sure you wash them well, but to save time as well as add some nutrition to your meal, leave the skin on. The skin is good for you!*

Serve and enjoy.

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