Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dinner Time... My Happy Place

I am so glad to be back in Montana, however I am already missing the fabulous southern food we ate in the great south. One night last week I decided to re-create my southern favorites!

I remade the ribs that I had created for my family in Florida that I posted on the Sharing Thyme and Space blog and I also made some Slow Cookin' Collard Greens varying the recipe and experimenting and I made my ultimate favorite.. Cheesey Grits! For dessert I picked a new recipe that I had just learned and created a delicious Rasberry Cream Cheese Layer Cake. I even tried my hand at videoing! But I couldn't figure out how to  to load it to the blog.. so maybe next time!
The trick to the mouth-watering aspect of this meal is that it is all cooked low and slow. I started the ribs at noon and started the greens at 2pm. By 3pm the house smelled so good that I could barely hold myself together to wait for my dinner guests.

This is one of those comfort meals that helps your loved ones forget the stresses of the day and immediately be transcended to a happy place. In my opinion that is what family dinner should be about. A safe place to take off you burdens and curl into a comforting delicious meal surrounded by people who love you no matter what. I might even say, love you because of your craziness! Dinner for me is about releasing the day and starting the transition into quality time, relaxation, and laughter.

That's why it is so important for me to share dinner around the table with my loved ones. I want to share in the joy of togetherness and delicious food with the people that mean the most to me. I hope you try these recipes out. You won't be dissapointed and let me know how it turns out!

Cheesey Grits.. Montana style

2 cups broth
1 cup half n half
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups polenta
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 can cream corn (14oz)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup shredded chedder cheese
1/4 cup diced fresh green onions

Combine all liquids with the polenta and salt then cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes stirring constantly.  After 15 minutes it should thicken up; add the can of cream corn which will thin it out some, then cook another 15 minutes on low heat, stirring periodically.  It should have the consistency of thick batter.  Mix in the chedder cheese and the chives.  When this tasty shiznit is ready, pour it in a baking pan, and then bake that mother fucker like it aint no thing, bitches.  Peace out.

Slow Cookin' Collards

2 lbs. fresh collard greens
1/4 cup white onion diced
6 strips bacon; sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken stock (you can substitue any kind of stock you have on hand here)

To clean the collard greens fill a large bowl with cold water. Next remove the stem from the collard greens with a knife all the way up the leaf and slice into large chunks. Repeat with all of the collard leaves and throw them into the cold water. Bathe swirling them around for a few minutes to make sure any dirt is removed. Strain them through a collander and set aside.

Place the olive oil in a large pot and heat over high heat. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and onions and brown until the bacon is crispy. About 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the collard greens and the chicken stock. Cook on low for 5 hours or longer. The longer you cook them the more flavorful they will become. You can't go wrong or overcook these. They just keep getting better and better!

Rasberry Cream Cheese Layer Cake

Crust:

1 cup graham cracker; crushed
4 tbsp. butter; melted

Combine and press into the bottom of a round baking dish. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

8 oz. frozen rasberries (you can substitute blueberries, blackberries, etc)
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar (separated)
8 oz whipped topping

Combine cornstarch and 3 tbsp. of water. Then add the cornstarch, sugar, and fresh rasberries in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. The mixture will become thickened and glutenous and have the consistency of jelly. That is exactly what you are looking for. Set aside to cool while you prepare the cream cheese filling.

Combine the cream cheese and sugar using a mixer until creamy and smooth. If you don't have a mixer you can also use a large spatula to combine. Then gently fold in 4 oz of the whipped topping reserving the other half for the top layer.

To prepare, place the rasberry mixture on top of the graham cracker crust. Layer the cream cheese mixture next, then top with the remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle leftover graham cracker crumbs over the top if desired!

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but it could be overnight as well! This is a super easy, refreshing dessert that is sure to please a crowd or you! After all you are number one!

Mental Health Benefit: If you are in need of a little ego boost, try these easy recipes out. I guarantee that you will get praise from your loved ones for days following this meal! I also used the leftovers to create the best sandwich for lunch the next day. I toasted whole wheat bread and heated the greens and leftover rib meat and piled them on for the best sandwich EVER! Two meals in one and both were equally satisfying and mouth-watering!

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