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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

Don't let the picture fool ya...this stuff is TASTY!


For Thanksgiving, I did a whole bunch of cooking and wanted dessert to be really simple and not to have to play with it. As my standard practice, I started stumbling in my favorite recipe sites for anything dessert and crock pot. This one glared at me and I knew it would be the Blackburn Thanksgiving dessert. It did not disappoint. The apples were loaded with cinnamon and the topping was extra special with its' walnuts loaded into it.

Note: I served this with a French Vanilla ice cream. I took the picture prior to adding it so the picture would show how it looks.


1 cup all-purpose flour

The Chocolate Covered Banana Tini

I wanted to figure out a way to combine two things that I love. The first being the tini and the second being a chocolate covered banana. I could eat those things by the dozen when I was growing up and let's just say that I have had to slow down since I have gotten older! So, I set out to play and this is what I developed. My next plan is to use the base for a Banana Cream Pie Tini...wish me luck!


1 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 oz Chocolate Vodka
1.5 Banana Liqueur
1.5 oz Cream de Cacao
1.5 oz cream/half-half


1) Prepare a very chilled, large tini glass by swirling chocolate sauce, such as Hershey's, in the glass. Return to freezer while preparing the tini.

2) Place all ingredients in a chilled metal shaker filled with ice. Shake for no less than 60 seconds.

3) Strain into glass and garnish with canned whipped topping, chocolate sauce and banana slice(s) !

Cranberry Chicken

I have been cooking this dish for so long that even if I was pressed, I couldn't tell where it came from. I love this incredibly simple dish that if I am having a really lazy cooking day that I simply head to it. Even the rice and frozen corn it is partnered with is simple to make.

So, here we go:

6-8 Chicken Thighs (I have seen recipes using b/s chicken breasts)
1 can WHOLE cranberry sauce
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup french dressing


1) Liberally spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray

2) In a bowl, mix the next 3 ingredients together and pour over chicken.

3) Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

4) Serve over rice with some of that scrumptious sauce served over it and some corn on the side. Easy Peasy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Experiment with Homemade Tamales

Sorry for the shadows!


Know me for a second, you know I am a LOVER of Hispanic cooking, particularly of Mexican cooking. I love and am fascinated by the Mexican heritage so I stalk my poor friends who are of Mexican descent, who cook with the ferocity that I cook, for tips on cooking, seek out Mexican recipes, study Mexican name it. I also refuse to go the shortcut route on Mexican cooking, even with my Agave Nectar Margarita a commercial margarita mix isn't allowed in my home.

One of my favorite dishes is the tamale. I LOVE 'em, but have always been incredibly intimidated by preparing them. In the 1990's, I worked for a company that a woman by the name of Rosa Hernandez, who to supplement her income sold homemade tamales. I was always in for 2 dozen a month. When I left the company, that was the end to homemade tamales for me. As I would ask my friends to teach me how to make them, I would get "they are too time consuming. I don't make them." So, alas, I put my love of tamales on the back shelf of my mind.

One day, I decided that I was going to take the bull by the horns. I WAS going to overcome my fear of making them. After I found a recipe for them on Allrecipes, I purchased the corn husks and the mesa, but then my fears of screwing them up crept in again. I put everything in my cabinets for a later day.

As I was recipe searching for meals, this Homemade Tamales recipe popped up again. That was it...CARPE DIEM...Seize the Day...I was on. The rest of the ingredients were added to my shopping list and I was on my way. I am not a fan of lard so I stopped by my Jewel butcher and asked her if lard could be interchanged with shortnening. I explained to her that I was making tamales for the first time and wasn't a fan of them. Now, Suzanna told me that she actually makes them frequently and told me that I could use Canola oil instead of either of them. I was really happy at that point. One thing she had warned me about was the "wrapping of the tamale in the corn husk. As someone who has to use a toothpick to secure my cabbage rolls, I felt my insecurity creeping back in. This time, I wasn't going to let it stop me though.

So I set off and here was the outcome...


Tamale Filling:
1 1/4 pounds pork loin
1 large onion, halved
1 clove garlic
4 dried California chile pods
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sour cream
Tamale Dough:
2 cups masa harina
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Canola Oil
1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks
1) Place pork into a Dutch oven with onion and garlic, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 2 hours.
2) Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, stir in salt, and set aside. Shred the cooked meat and mix in one cup of the chile sauce.
3) Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water. In a large bowl, beat the oil with a tablespoon of the broth until blended. Combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt; stir into the oil mixture, adding more broth as necessary to form a spongy dough.
4) Spread the dough out over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Place one tablespoon of the meat filling into the center. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.
Tamales without sauce and filling exposed
5) Remove tamales from husks and drizzle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, mix sour cream into the chile sauce. 
So, I did it! I made my first batch of tamales. What was my take? I found the process of making tamales to be less intimidating, but can see why my friends say it is tedious. On that note, I will be doing this again. It took me back to my Rosa Hernandez days.
I partnered it with my Mexican Rice and the simple slow cooker refried beans recipe to hit The Pub and Grub recipe base really soon!  
As for this recipe, though, I will continue to use this one but make my changes to it. I like my foods spicy and found this recipe to be a bit bland. My husband, on the other hand felt it was restaurant quality. When Suzanna asked me how my tamales went, I explained my issue with the blandness and she explained the pepper to use instead of the California pepper I used. So, next time I will use that pepper. I will also be trying my hand at the beef tamale recipe. I will also set aside a day and make the by the dozens and freeze them.
 I am no longer intimidated by the tamale!

Beach Side Spicy Shrimp

In tailgating, it is simply common knowledge that I will have some form of a seafood, normally shrimp, hanging around. As a result, I am always on the lookout for some tasty morsels that can be included on my spread.

When I saw this one on A Bachelor and His Grill, I knew it would make an appearance somewhere, I just wasn't sure when. When I decided to make Grilled Creole Steak with Creole Gorgonzola Butter and my crock pot baked potatoes for the Bears/Packers game, I knew I found its' time to shine. Shine it did.

Now, on his site, David Olson has his shrimp peeled and on skewers. Because shrimp are so temperamental in cooking and can go from scrumptious to rubber in the snap of fingers, plus shrimp are so easy to peel, I keep the shell on and grill individually. 

Every piece of these shrimp were GONE! They had a nice flavor to them that really either could complement a main dish or be one on its' own served with a creole spaghetti.

On a separate note, this rub is one that I will be using on other forms of seafood. The taste in this rub was spectacular and versatile.

One last point in how I served these. David had squeezed the lemon over the shrimp after they came off the grill. Because I kept the shell on mine, I served mine with lemon wedges for my family to squeeze the lemon juice on after peeling.

So, here we go:

3 T. olive oil
1 t. jarred garlic
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. chili powder
2 pinches granulated sugar
1/2 t. SMOKED paprika
Salt / black pepper & crushed red pepper flake to taste

3 Lbs large shrimp
Lemon wedges


1) In a small mixing bowl thoroughly combine first 7 ingredients ( all but shrimp & lemon).

2) Add Shrimp to mixing bowl with spice rub ensure each shrimp is well coated. Allow to marinade for a good 1-2 hours.

3) Place over HOT Grill Grates for 4-6 Minutes, TOTAL! Turn after 2-3 Minutes.

4) Set aside to REST for 2-3 Minutes

Grilled Steak with Creole Gorgonzola Butter

Bears tailgating is taken very seriously in the Blackburn home. Have it be an late or evening game and SERIOUS chowin' is about to commence! So, I am always on the lookout for different, extravagant recipes to celebrate the Monsters of the Midway.

Shuffling around Pinterest, I stumbled upon a blog written by Creole Contessa , who cooks up some mean stuff and has a creole twist to boot! I was hooked. So that was it, her Pan Roasted Steak with Gorgonzola Butter was being crowned the winner in the meal choice to celebrate our old rivalry with the Green Bay Packers. Unlike her recipe, though, I am a griller. If it is a steak, nine chances out of ten, it is seeing a grill versus a fry pan. I partnered with Beach side BBQ Shrimp and crock pot baked potatoes (both recipes can be found on The Pub and Grub Forum) for the perfect meal.


3 rib eye, T-bone or strip steak

½ T.. creole seasoning

½ T. black pepper

½ T. garlic powder

½ T. onion powder

½ T. chili powder

1 t. paprika

1 lemon, zested, juiced

1 lime, zested, juiced

½ stick of SALTED butter

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Gorgonzola Butter (recipe below)


1) Rinse steak and pat dry. In a glass baking dish place steak and pour 3 tbsp. of olive oil over steak, rub into steak on both sides. Mix seasonings together and sprinkle steak rub on both sides of steak, rubbing into steak.

2) Zest lemon and lime and sprinkle zest on top of steak. Juice lemon and lime and pour over steak. Marinate steak in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours if possible. Bring steak to room temperature for least 30 minutes prior to cooking.  While steak is marinating, make Gorgonzola butter and refrigerate.

4) Combine melted butter and olive oil. Prepare grill. While steaks are grilling, brush with melted butter and olive oil combo. Grill steak to desired temperature. Slice Gorgonzola butter onto steak.
3) Place steak in a  warmed oven until butter is almost melted.

Gorgonzola Butter:

1 stick UNSALTED butter, softened

4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese

1 green onion, minced

¼ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. creole seasoning


1) Add butter to a bowl, smash with the side of a spoon. Add Gorgonzola cheese, minced green onions, black pepper and creole seasoning. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken


I had made the mistake of being pretty unprepared for dinner one night, including even taking meat out of the freezer. When it dawned on me, I realized the only thing that I had that could be prepared quickly were chicken breasts that were individually packaged. I then went on a search for what I could do with them that was new and different. Of course, Allrecipes came to the rescue and I found this version of a chicken Parmesan.


1/2 t. jarred garlic
1/4 lb butter melted
1 cup dried Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. Fresh parsley
1 t. salt
1/8 t. ground black pepper
5 boneless chicken breasts


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In a shallow bowl, combine the garlic and butter. In a second bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper

3) Dip the chicken in the butter and then the crumb mixture.

4) Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Serve with pasta and sauce, if desired

Skier's Stew

Anyone who knows me for even the shortest amount of time knows that I loathe when temperatures drop and the coldness sets in. One redeeming quality to the short days and frigid Illinois farm field blowing snow is this stew. I found it in a cookbook that I had purchased from Taste of Home magazine years ago, but it is one that I make several times per year. What makes this stew special is that it slow cooks for 5 hours in the oven so that  the meat can be cut with a spoon. I serve it with either biscuits or yeast rolls from my bread maker. It is such pure simplicity and down home goodness that it warms from the inside out.

So, here we go:


2 lbs stew meat cut into 1 inch chunks
6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
25 baby carrots, cut into chunks
1 can diced tomatoes, drained and juices reserved in a 2 cup measuring cup
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 envelope dry onion soup mix


1) In a large dutch oven, layer half the potatoes, meat, carrots and tomatoes. Repeat layer

2) Add water to reserved tomato juice from drained tomatoes to equal 1/2 cup of liquid. Pour over stew.

3) Pour tomato sauce and top with the onion soup mix. DO NOT STIR

4) Place in an oven that has been preheated to 250 degrees and bake for 5 hours.

5) Remove from oven and stir. Serve with biscuits or rolls.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Grinch

I love entertaining at the holiday season and am always on the search for fun little recipes that will bring some fun to my parties. I found this little bad boy on Although, the original recipe packed 3 oz of vodka, in my humble opinion, undrinkable, I felt it had potential. So I set out to make it drinkable. Beware though, these can sneak up on you as they taste more like a kool-aid versus an alcoholic drink.

Unlike its' namesake, there is nothing cold hearted about this tasty libation!

Here is what I came up with:


1.5 oz vodka
1.5 oz Midori
1.5 oz  Triple Sec
2 oz  Sweet and Sour


1) Place all ingredients into a metal shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a well chilled glass.

2) Decorate as desired.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stephanie O'Dea's Chocolate Frito Candy

I have been taking time away from The Pub and Grub due to getting Christmas trays ready for gift giving. I had to pop back in and post this WONDERFUL recipe which is a frequent request from others.

One of my FAVORITE cooks is Stephanie O'Dea from the Make It Fast, Cook It Slow slow cooker cookbook series. This series is a frequent go-to for me and this is a recipe that I have practically memorized. Now, I don't follow Stephanie's gluten free lifestyle, so mine includes ingredients that can be found in any supermarket.

This recipe is SO simple to make, it isn't even funny. Stephanie makes a comment at the bottom of the recipe that she sneaks pieces of this candy into her robe pocket. At first, I was like I wouldn't expect her to say less...until I tried it. I can see it now. This recipe is sweet, salty, peanutty...all my favorites! Just a lil note. At this time, when I make this, I triple and quadruple the that is what the picture above is showing. I think the recipe, as shown below, is maybe about 4 cups of candy.

So, here we go!


2 cups Fritos/corn chips, smashed
2 cups pretzel sticks, smashed
1 stick butter (8 T.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T. Peanut Butter
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts


Crushed pretzels and corn chips

1) Place butter, brown sugar, peanut butter and chocolate chips in 6 qt crock pot. Cook on low for 1 hour (2 hours tops).

2) Stir and add corn chips, pretzels and peanuts.

3) Prepare a 9x13 cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread chocolate mixture.

4) Place in a cool place for about 1 hour or until hardened.

5) I have found cutting in 1 inch strips makes it easy to cut the sized pieces I like to give.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Blueberri Tini

I was a happy lil' camper the other day. In searching out a tini recipe, I stumbled upon a restaurant site that had no less than 50 tinis. The Blueberry Martini was one which was listed so I decided to play with it and developed this spectacular little drink. Simple yet elegant.

As I say on a regular basis...the key to a great tini is cold equipment whether it is the shaker or the glass. Just take a look at the ice crystals on this bad boy.

So here we go:


1.5 oz Blueberry juice ( I used Ocean Spray)
1.5 oz Blueberry vodka
1 oz Triple Sec
.5 oz FRESH SQUEEZED lime juice


1) In a metal shaker, fill half way with ice and pour all ingredients into shaker.

2) Shake vigorously for 60 seconds.

3) Strain into a very well chilled martini glass. Serve with fresh blueberries if desired.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cranberry Christmas Punch

Adapted: Creative Culinary

I had stumbled upon a recipe for a Christmas gin drink on Pinterest and thought it looked interesting. Now, we are not huge gin drinkers in the Blackburn house so when I made the drink, the gin flavoring was overpowering to me, but I knew that it had potential if I adjusted the flavorings a bit. I set off on Thanksgiving day to see what I could do. My family thought this was definitely a winner!

So, here we go!:


Cranberry Simple Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 orange, cut into slices
1 1/2 cups HIGH QUALITY dry gin, such as Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater or Tangueray
4 cups chilled Ginger Ale
1) In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine syrup and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and stir constantly until berries start to burst. I think mine took about 7 minutes to get them to where I wanted. Set aside.
2) In a pitcher or a punch bowl, muddle the lemon and orange. Add the gin and muddle a bit more. Add the Cranberry Simple Syrup and stir.
3) Add the Ginger Ale and ice. Stir and serve immediately. Be sure to add some of the fruits and garnish with additional lemon or orange slices.  It really adds to the prettiness and flavoring!

German Pancake with Buttermilk Syrup

Partnered with Paula Deen's Perfect Scrambled Eggs and Bacon!

I love doing breakfast for dinner. It is a nice break from always having meats and such at dinner time. I have been trying to get away from doing the same old stuff and stumbled upon this very easy dish on Allrecipes. We ate the entire pan of this it was so tasty. The recipe makes a 9x13 pan with TONS of syrup. My husband said it almost tasted like a breakfast pastry.

So, here we go!:



6 Eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 T. MELTED Butter


1.5 cups WHITE sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 T. light corn syrup
1 t. baking SODA
2 t. vanilla extract


1) Pour melted butter in a 9x13 pan. Set aside

2) In a blender, combine eggs, milk and flour until smooth and pour into 9x13 pan. Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. One of the main complaints that I saw on Allrecipes focused on the blending. I made sure mine was WELL blended.

3) While pancake bakes, combine first 5 syrup ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 7 minutes stirring constantly until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir again. Now, for some reason, my psycho syrup came out as white. It was still really tasty though!

4) To serve, cut a square of pancake and spoon syrup over pancake. Very different!

Pot Roast

Adapted: The Food of Love Blogspot

I just recently joined and one of the recipes that immediately jumped out at me was this Pot Roast. Now, being the good Irishmen that my husband and son are, they love meat and potatoes. This roast was LOADED with both and produced results that were restaurant quality. Now, the prep and cook time take a bit longer, so give yourself plenty of time. We had NO leftovers!

The gravy on this roast was SPECTACULAR. I will never make a pot roast another way. OK..that might be taking it a bit far as we love new pot roast recipes in the Blackburn household. This is a PERFECT Sunday dinner though!

So, here we go!:


3 tbs cornstarch
4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder (this is found in your coffee aisle of your supermarket)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp celery seed

Pot Roast:
2 onions, quartered
1 lb SMALL red potatoes, quartered
16 BABY carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 bay leaves
2 tbs soy sauce
1 (3 lb) boneless beef chuck-eye roast


1) Preheat oven to 300 degress and place the rack in the center. Prepare Rub and coat roast with it.

2) Tear off several very large sheets (30x18 inches) of HEAVY aluminum foil and fit them into a roasting pan.

3) Place all the veggies in the center of the pan, drizzle the soy sauce over the veggies and place the roast on top of them. I sprinkled any leftover rub over the meat. Then, TIGHTLY seal the foil and place in oven for about 4.5 hours.

4) When finished remove the meat from the packet and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Arlene from The Food of Love recommend slicing it, but I cut it into chunks. Drizzle with the gravy and have gravy to pass. It partnered BEAUTIFULLY with a Pinot Noir!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food by Denise Linn and Meadow Linn

Book: The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food

Author: Denise Linn & Meadow Linn

Release date (if applicable): November 26, 2012

Synopsis: I wracked my brain about how to describe this cookbook. Not coming up with anything that I think described it fully, I decided to use the description given on Goodreads.
Provocative and insightful, this eclectic, inspiring, and beautiful book will open your eyes to the remarkable link between nourishment and spiritual awakening. Filled with ancient wisdom, practical advice, personal anecdotes, vibrant ceremonies, and original dishes lavishly illustrated with color photographs, The Mystic Cookbook brings to life a wealth of recipes and a myriad of experiences from places as far-reaching as Mexico, Italy, Vietnam, France, North Africa, and India—as well as from mystical, legendary, and mythic realms.
You’ll also discover how to increase the vibration of the food you eat to heighten conscious awareness; use food to open your chakras; trigger past-life memories with aroma; invite fairies and angels for dinner; travel through time and space from the comfort of your dining table; create feasts to activate abundance, success, and love . . . plus much more! In Denise Linn and Meadow Linn’s extraordinary book, learn little-known secrets about the food you eat and how it can mystically transform your life!

My rating: 3 stars

My opinion: Several things struck me about this cookbook. First, this book is new age/metaphysical. If this isn't your cup of tea, you will have issues with the concepts in this cookbook. There are a large number of concepts such as food rituals and developing a relationship with your food sources. There were definitely parts of this book that I think took the concepts too far. Second, The pictures in the book were beautiful, but there were WAY too many of them. This was a 312 page cookbook and I would bet that almost a half of those pages were of pictures. What I did like about this is that each recipe was accompanied by a picture of the completed dish. Finally, In a 312 page COOKBOOK, there were only 47 recipes. That barely makes a cookbook. Now, every single recipe looked delicious, and were unique but I don't think that constitues a cookbook.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : To a very select audience. Others, take a look at the book at a bookstore or library before purchasing.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Portuguese Baked Cod

Partnered with Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic

I have been trying to incorporate more fish into my dinners. Because I have a husband whose believes that unless a fish is fried, it isn't good, I need to always be on the lookout that will appease both of us. It has a sauce that has a nice blend of white wine, lemon and capers.

This fish has such a unique flavor to it. Plus, the veggies pick up the flavors of the sauces and they blend beautifully together.

So, here we go:


1.5 lbs fresh cod
2 baking potatoes-thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion-thinly sliced
2 red peppers-thinly sliced
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T. capers
1/3 t. paprika
Paula Deen's house seasoning-to taste


1) Place fish in a 9x13 pan. Place fish fillets on a plate and season with PDHS and pour lemon juice over fish. Set aside for 1 hour.

2) In a small bowl, combine white wine, olive oil, capers, paprika. Set aside. In a larger bowl, place veggies and pour oil mixture over veggies and pour into the pan. Place fillets over veggies and cover with foil.

3) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Be sure to spoon extra sauce over fish and veggie mixture.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Egg Nog Tini

Anyone who knows me for one minute...knows I HATE LATE FALL AND WINTER. Despise it. I keep trying to keep up my happiness factor once late November hits, but I really stink at it. If I could work and live in a spot where I NEVER had to see snow again, I would do a jig!

A couple of years ago, my husband brought home a card from Bacardi that a taster had been giving out and they had the recipe for an Egg Nog Tini. Now, I have made other Egg Nog Tinis before, but they have left me as cold as the outdoors! Until I tasted this one. Now, we get our Egg Nog from Aldi. I used to spend $9 a bottle for egg nog and found the Aldi brand gave the same taste/quality as the local dairy brand for a fraction of the cost. Plus, I didn't have to purchase a 1/2 gallon bottle. So come November...I am always perusing the Aldi refrigerators eagerly anticipating the arrival of their Christmas special products which Egg Nog fits into.

To boot, they have a spice cookie (again a special purchase) which do a beautiful rimmer and topping.

So, how easy is this tini? It only has 2 ingredients! Now that is easy.


2 oz Bacardi Gold
4 oz Egg Nog

Spiced cookies ground down.(optional)

Canned in whipped cream


1) Fill a shaker half way with ice. Pour liquid in and shake for no less than 60 seconds. (This is a 'tini which must be served ice cold!)

2) Rim glass and pour drinks in. Top with whipped cream and additional cookie crumbs.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mistletoe Martini

Hard to believe it, but we are heading into the Christmas season. Where did the year go? The Pub and Grub, true to its' name, will be starting to focus on holiday drinks for all you yuletide fun!

This is one of my favorites that I stumbled upon accidentally. Loving anything tropical, it has both pineapple juice AND Malibu rum! It tastes like Christmas on your favorite beach.

Now, this tini has to be served very cold. Be sure to place glasses and shaker in the freezer to chill.

So, here we go!:


1.5 oz Malibu Rum
1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
1.5 oz Midori
1.5 oz Sweet and Sour


1) Fill shaker with ice half way full with ice

2) Pour all liquids into shaker and shake for no less than 60 seconds

3) Pour into chilled tini glass. Make sure you have a layer of froth!

The Tipsy Monk

I have found a DYNAMIC new cookbook author by the name of Billy Taylor on Amazon. His book was an Amazon freebie, which I grabbed and have been unable to put down. I would have GLADLY paid the book's shelf price though.

Those of you who know me or have followed me for the tiniest length of time know I love me some coffee. I have used it in drinks, as a beef rub, in my desserts. I am not picky! So, when I saw a cookbook with the title Unforgettable Fall Recipes with Coffee: A Seasonal Collection of Gourmet Recipes for Coffee Cakes, Sweets and Warming Drinks, I was SO over that bad boy!!

Anyway, my eyes found so many great recipes which I will be bringing to the Pub and Grub at a later time, but one really stood out to me as we come into the cooler weather and nights by the fires or holiday gatherings that I wanted to bring it to your attention right away.

Now, as to be expected, I tweaked it a bit for my husband's and my tastes, but I am giving you both recipes. I do only have pictures of my version. We had tried the original recipe and then decided we needed to soften it a bit and, thus, came up with our version. Let's just say it was a happy morning in the Blackburn home!

By the way, I have NO idea what double cream is. I know he said coddled cream could be used but I was WAY too lazy to go through the process to make Coddled Cream...might do it if I was serving this at a party though!

This first is Billy's original recipe. I don't like my coffee black, so it was a bit bitter for my husband and I. If you do like your coffees with no creamer in it, you probably won't have issues with So here we go:

* I used a 14 oz coffee mug for my recipe warmed in a 170 degree oven.

The Tipsy Monk (Original)

1/2 T. Amaretto
1/2 T. Creame de Cacao
1/2 T. Frangelico
1/2 T. Triple Sec
Double Cream and Cocoa to serve


1) In a warmed mug, combine all the liquors and swirl.

2) Add coffee, filling about 2/3 way full

3) Serve with the cream and cocoa.

The Tipsy Monk (Blackburn Style!)


1/2 T. Amaretto
1/2 T. Creame de Cacao
1/2 T. Frangelico
1/2 T. Triple Sec
2 t. sugar, equal or brown sugar
2 T. half and half
Canned whipped cream and sweetened cocoa


1) In a warmed mug, combine all the liquors, cream, sugar and stir gently.

2) Add coffee, filling about 2/3 full.

3) Top with canned whipped cream and sweetened cocoa. Serve IMMEDIATELY!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jolean's Cheese Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole

I loved this little dish that reminded me of a twist on scalloped ham and potatoes. This was pure comfort food with its' cheesiness and smoked sausage flavors. I made this in an 8x8 inch pan, but because it was so filling, my family was able to eek out 4 servings.
3 cups potatoes peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes and boiled
4 T. Butter
4 T. Flour
2 cups milk
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
8 oz package Velveeta Cheese
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch slices
1/8 t. paprika
1) Brown the sausage in a frying pan.
2) Mix browned sausage with potatoes in a large bowl.
3) In a large sauce pan, melt butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper and Velveeta one at a time stirring each time until smooth.
4) Pour sauce over potato mixture and stir. Pour into a prepared 2 qt casserole. Top with the shredded cheddar and paprika.
5) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Take out when golden brown on top.

Lip Lickin' Chicken Recipe

Lip Licken Chicken partnered with roasted cauliflower

8 chicken Breasts
1 t. Garlic Powder
1 t. Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 (16 oz) container Sour Cream
8 oz SHREDDED Parmesan cheese
2 cups sliced mushrooms, sauteed in butter or olive oil
16 Asparagus spears, cooked


1) Spray a 9x13 baking dish liberally with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in in dish and sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

2) In a bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

3) Garnish with mushrooms and asparagus spears and return to oven for 15 minutes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grilled Giant Pork Chops with Adobo Paste

adapted: Epicurious

Partnered with Soffrito Rice

Much to my husband's dismay, I grill ALL year long. Below zero with a windchill? Yep, I am out there. Snowy? Won't stop me! This is a filling chop recipe that I assure will be on my Winter grilling menu.


2 1/2 T. Olive Oil
2 T. Paprika (NOT HOT)
1 1/2 T. Dried Oregano
1 T. Jarred minced garlic
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 t. finely grated fresh lime zest
1/4 t. black pepper
6 (1 inch thick) bone in pork loin chops


1) Prepare grill for direct heat cooking.

2) Stir together all ingredients but pork chops to form a paste. Rub it all over pork chops.

3) Let pork chops sit for about 1/2 hour.

4) Grill chops over coals. Flip a couple of times during cooking. Mine took about 20 minutes for me to be happy with how done they are...otherwise cook until internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Copykat's Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I love the Copykat site ran by Stephanie Manley and this was a new recipe from there for the Blackburn family. Although, this isn't my favorite Olive Garden soup, I sure do enjoy it. I also loved how easy it was to make!

Now, although I did make a couple of changes, the recipe is the same. First change I made was instead of finely chopping veggies, I kept them chunky. I love the taste of veggies in my soup and I didn't want to lose that with finely shredding them. Being a spinach lover,  I added a full bag of baby spinach and I loved it. I was a bit nervous that it would be overloaded with wasn't. I am really happy I made that change. I also omitted the nutmeg that even Stephanie calls optional. I did include it in the ingredient list so feel free to add it if you would like.

A note on Gnocchi. Stephanie calls for regular sized gnocchi or the little baby ones. I used the mini ones and am thrilled that I did! Make it a point to find the mini ones. I will no longer use any other!

So, here we go!:


1T. olive oil
4 T. Butter
4 T. Flour
1 Qt Half and Half
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 t. jarred minced garlic
2 cans (14 oz) chicken broth
1 cup cook and diced chicken breasts
1 package of baby spinach
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. parsley
1/4 t. nutmeg (optional)
1 package mini gnocchi cooked according to package directions


1) Saute the onion, celery and garlic in the butter/olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add flour to make a roux. Let cook for 1 minute and add half and half.

2) Add the carrots and chicken.

3) Once it thickens, add the chicken broth. When it thickens again, add the remaining ingredients. Allow the soup to simmer until the carrots are soft.

Potato Bacon Casserole


I love doing breakfast for dinner and am always on the lookout for good recipes that fit the bill. One can never go wrong with ham, cheese, potatoes and eggs! This dish fit that bill in an "all in one" casserole. My only complaint regarding this dish was that it was tiny. What they said served 6 in the recipe only served 3 with servings that were large enough to fill my men! As can be seen above, the servings weren't that huge even with only serving 3.

I ended up partnering it with fresh tomatoes from my garden and toast. So yummy. Next time though, I will double the recipe. We didn't even get any leftovers from the original recipe. So, have a larger family double the recipe. Cooking for one or two? The original recipe is fine!

So, here we go:


4 cups SHREDDED hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
8 oz bacon or ham. Using bacon? Cook and chop it before adding to dish
1 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 large egg beaten or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 t. seasoned salt


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.

2) Layer 1/2 potatoes, 1/2 onion, 1/2 bacon and 1/2 cheese in bacon dish. Repeat layers.

3) Combine evaporated milk, egg, seasoned salt in a bowl and pour evenly over potato mixture. Cover with tinfoil.

4) Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 more minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia (Chicken)

Made with Tilapia

Made with chicken breast

I love Tilapia. The rest of my family...not so much. I can't even get my son to go anywhere near it. So, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for good Tilapia recipes. If they can also be made up to be made with chicken...even better.

I stumbled on this recipes on Pinterest and knew that I had to try it. had originally pinned it and I am thrilled they did. It is a good one. I partnered with regular white rice which soaked up the sauce. I can't tell if it had more of a Mexican flare to it or an Asian one...but really, I don't care!

So, here we go!:


1 pound Tilapia (or thin cut chicken breasts)
KOSHER salt and coarsely ground pepper
1.5 t. jarred garlic
1 T. chopped fine fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
1/3 cup rough chopped cilantro
1/4 cup whit whine
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
chopped green onion and chopped cilantro to garnish


1) Heat oven to 475 degrees. Pat the fish/chicken dry and season lightly with salt/pepper. Place in a baking dish.

2) Put the garlic, ginger, jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor and add wine soy sauce and sesame oil. Process until blended.

3) Pour over fish/chicken and place in oven. Bake fish for 15 minutes. Going the chicken route? Cook for 25 minutes. Brush sauce over fish/chicken a couple of times during baking process.

Chicken ready for the oven

4) Serve over rice with additional green onions/cilantro.

Cafe Rio Slow Cooker Chicken with Cafe Rio Cilantro Rice


Anyone who has followed the Pub and Grub for the shortest length of time know that the Blackburns LOVE some Mexican food! So, when I found this recipe on the Six Sisters site AND it used a crock pot, I knew it was on the Chicago Bear sofa tailgating menu! Now, this makes a TON of these tortillas and I think next time I would halve the recipe, but it was a winner in our home.

Wanna go healthy? Use low fat sour cream, cheeses and whole wheat tortillas!


3 lbs chicken breasts
8 oz Italian dressing
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
Burrito sized tortillas

Garnishes: sour cream; salsa; shredded lettuce; chopped tomato; chopped green onion; cilantro rice (recipe below); cheddar or Mexican blend cheese; avocado; warmed black beans


1) In a bowl, combine Italian dressing, cumin and chili powder.

2) Place chicken breasts in a crock pot and pour sauce over chicken. Stir to cover.

3) Cover and cook on high for 5 hours. Shred chicken and return to crock pot. Keep warm.

Cafe Rio Cilantro Rice:

2 cups uncooked rice
2 cups chopped cilantro
1 cup salsa verde
1 bunch chopped green onions
4 cups water
Pinch of salt


1) Mix the cilantro with 2 coups of water in the pan you are going to cook the rice with and 2 more cups water and the salt, salsa verde and green onions.

2) Bring to a boil and stir in the rice into BOILING water. Cover and turn the heat down.

3) Steam for 30 minutes and stir before serving.

Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp


I absolutely love these lil bad boys. My family can chow down on these sweet little morsels of shrimp goodness.

Various herbs, lemon juice and brown sugar make a spectacular marinade that the shrimp soak up like a sponge.

Now, a note on the shrimp...You can use raw peeled shrimp. I have always been taught that it is better to cook shrimp on the grill with the shell still on and to peel at the meal. This is because shrimp can go from spectacular to rubber pretty dang quickly. The shell helps to buffer some of that time and give for mistakes. I have found in my years of cooking shrimp for this to be true. While I could probably use peeled shrimp at this time, I still continue to prefer the shell on. In my humble opinion, it keeps the shrimp "juicier". It might be a tad messier and inconvenient, but I have just worked past that. Just have a bowl available to put the shells in and maybe some wetnaps for after the meal.

I have served this several ways. A big bowl of them for sofa tailgating or with a crock pot baked potato or with a rice pilaf and salad. Your choice!

Partnered with my crock pot loaded baked potatoes

So, here we go:


2 t. ground paprika
2 T. minced or jarred garlic
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 t. dried basil leaves
2 T. packed brown sugar
2 lbs. LARGE shrimp peeled and deveined or shell on (your choice)


1) In a large pan or a container cover wooden skewers with water. Allow to soak for one hour.
2) Whisk together the first 8 ingredients and pour over shrimp. Stir to coat evenly and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours (I do 4 hours.).
3) Skewer shrimp onto skewers. I normally get 5 shrimp on each skewer. Be sure to leave spaces between each shrimp to ensure even cooking.
4) Place on grill of your choice. Try not to have them over direct heat. I let mine cook about 5 minutes each side. This is why it is important not to have them over direct heat!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Overnight French Toast Casserole


When I say how much I love PINTEREST, it is because I come across recipes like this! Now, I love me some french toast and this reminded me why I love it so much! This had a fantastic blend of flavors and then topped with the crunch of pecans and a Cinnamon/brown sugar "glaze".  Serve it with a warmed maple syrup and it is heaven on earth.

Now, it takes 12 hours to prepare so be sure to do the planning to make it. I served it with Paula Deen's "The Lady's Perfect Scrambled Eggs" and bacon. So good.

Consider it for a brunch, breakfast or,  like me, breakfast for dinner.

So, here we go!


1 Loaf Soft Crusted French Bread sliced 1.5 inches thick
4 T. butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup WHOLE milk
1 T. vanilla
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, chopped more finely
maple syrup and powdered sugar


1) Combine melted butter and brown sugar, place in a 10 x 15 pan.

2) Arrange bread slices in pan overlapping them if necessary (but try not to)
3) Combine the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

4) Pour over bread, top with pecans and wrap with saran wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
5) Take pan out of the fridge 10 minutes prior to baking and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. If it starts to brown too quickly, tent with tinfoil.
7) Serve slices with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Mozzarella Sticks

Adapted: Taste of Home

Looking for something different than the traditional crumb coated mozzarella sticks? Egg roll wrappers, Baby! These were really, really different. They were really, really cool and chowed down at the Blackburn home. Now, they aren't something that we will eat all the time due to being fried, but I am always looking for different dishes for Chicago Bears sofa tailgating. These definitely fit the bill!

So, here we go:


12 pieces string cheese, unwrapped
12 egg roll wrapper
Oil for deep frying
Marinara sauce


1) Wrap a piece of string cheese as instructed:
  • Place egg roll wrapper in a diamond shape on cutting board in front of you. (Keep other egg roll wrappers covered by a damp cloth)
  • Place string cheese at the closest point to you and start rolling away from you.
  • Once string cheese is half way up, fold in corners on left and right and finish rolling
  • Wet final tip and seal on roll
2) Heat oil to 375 degrees in an electric skillet

3) Fry sticks a couple at a time for roughly 45 seconds each side and drain on paper towels. Serve with Marinara sauce.

Paula Deen's "The Lady's" Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Beautifully partnered with overnight french toast!
Look at that fluffiness!

When Ms. Paula calls things perfect...boy are they perfect! This is the ONLY way I will make scrambled eggs now this lil boys are just so perfect.

They are rich, creamy, cheesy and just plain dynamic! I have made them so many times at this point that I have them memorized. They are just a step above your everyday scrambled eggs but still so simple.

So, here we go!:


8 eggs
2 HEAPING tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon water
Salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese


1) Beat the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl

2) Melt butter in a pan. I spray with cooking spray just because I hate cleaning up burnt on egg.

3) In the HOT pan, pour the egg mixture in and turn heat to low. Scramble the eggs. When just about finished, top with cheese and continue to scramble. Serve while hot.