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Google recently released their “Google’s Year in Search 2016.” One category included was a listing of the top-searched food recipes for the year. We took a look in our own collection to gather our recipes for these delicious, and sometimes, just fun, items to create our own list of favorites in 2016.

1. Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean CasseroleThis classic casserole might be the star of your holiday table, but it isn’t just for holidays and pitch-in dinners any more. In 2016 home cooks were bringing this side dish to their table throughout the year, and we commonly see at least a couple of versions of this dish on pitch-in dinner tables. We are always delighted to try other’s approach to this staple. Here is our recipe for a Green Bean Casserole, with Mushrooms, Bacon, Onions and two optional Cheeses.

2. Brussels Sprouts
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Cipollini OnionsThe Brussels sprout continues to be super popular this year; it’s the only green vegetable that got its own Google search spot in the top 10. Here is our recipe for Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts, and, you might also like our Browned Brussels Sprouts with Cipollini Onions.

3. Hashbrown Casserole
Hash Brown CasseroleCasseroles continue to dominate the top 10 list, and for good reason; they can be prepared ahead of time, chilled, warmed, and served later, making them very versatile and reliable. One of the most popular recipes searched is the ever-popular hashbrown casserole. This has been a Christmas Breakfast staple at our house for many years, and I prepared it a number of times for Men’s Breakfast at church. Get the recipe here.

4. Guacamole
GuacamoleAnother simple-to-make delicacy made it to the top of the charts this year. It’s guacamole made from wonderful Haas avocados. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E. It makes a great dip with tortilla or corn chips, excels when planted by the spoonful on top of entrees, sides, salads, and even when served sliced in soups and tacos. The process is quick and easy, and produces a luscious, silky smooth dip with a hint of lime. You’ll find our recipe here.

5. Chicken Marsala
Chicken Tenderloin MarsalaThis is a delicious, classic chicken dish that used to be taught in junior high school cooking classes. Our Italian-American version calls for breaded chicken breasts that are braised with Marsala wine, mushrooms and onion. Paprika provides a smokiness to offset the sweetness of the wine. Quick and easy to assemble, this dish is ideal for a simple weeknight dinner, and is elegant enough to gain status as a longtime favorite for entertaining company. You can find our recipe here.

6. Chicken Tetrazzini
Chicken TetrazziniIf you’re not familiar with Chicken Tetrazzini, this essentially is a bowl of luscious pasta loaded with lots of chicken and mushrooms. This is one of Lea’s favorite dishes, to make, and to eat. If you have time to make your own delicious egg noodles, you can take this dish to a whole new level. Get the recipe right here.

7. Snow Cream
Homemade Ice CreamSnow cream can be one of two distinct desserts; a cream-based dessert with one or more flavoring agents added, or, a dessert in which snow is mixed with a sweetened dairy-based liquid to make an ice cream substitute. We rarely see snow here in Central Texas, so we tend to go with the cream-based version. Get the recipe here. Our recipe is located here.

8. Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream frosting on mini-muffinsIt’s great that there are enough cooks out there that want to learn to make their own buttercream frosting, rather than giving in to the ease of buying it at the store. It’s completely simple to make, and totally essential for baking when you want that extra measure of flavor that comes only from homemade buttercream. Our recipe includes a tip to avoid getting the frosting too runny. The recipe is located here.

9. Pork Chops
seared-pork-tenderloin-medallions2_smlThe ever-popular pork chop topped this year’s Google search charts again, which is not so surprising considering how easy or elegant this homey dinner staple is to prepare. We have lots of pork chop recipes on our Entrees page, and one of our favorites, Apple-Ginger Thick Cut Pork Chops, is located here.

10. Turkey Gravy
Pan Gravy with Chicken Fried ChickenSearches for turkey gravy rose to new heights in the last few weeks prior to Thanksgiving, and, according to Google, it was very popular this year! Once you learn to master gravy making, you can pretty much turn pan drippings and fond from any dish into a silky smooth and extra flavorful pan sauce or gravy to serve with your meal. Here’s our recipe and some tips to help.

These delicious recipes are essential for every recipe starter collection, and all have countless versions that have been developed by seasoned cooks over the years. Historically, the most adventurous cooks had extensive libraries of cookbooks to use for inspiration and exploration. Trading recipes with others who had an interest in expanding their meal offerings was a very common practice. Today, there are many other ways to find a recipe, including that quick search on the web, including our own collection. We hope you enjoy our tried and true recipes, and look forward to hearing about your favorite variations, too.

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With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, this is a good time to discover delicious recipes to help serve up the age-old cure to winter sniffles. We’re talking about soup. And, now with abundant winter vegetables that deliver or contribute to tasty soups, there are no excuses for winter doldrums. Squash is not only abundant in the fall, it is also cheap. Here are a few of our favorite soup recipes for chasing away those winter blues.

Chicken Lime Cilantro Soup
Chicken Lime Cilantro SoupThis is Lea’s version of a favorite chicken-lime-cilantro soup that she particularly enjoys at a Mexican restaurant we frequent. Combining lime and cilantro flavors with the hominy and chicken stock. It’s quick and easy to put together, and is an excellent dish to wisk you away from the everyday doldrums. Find the recipe here.

Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup, served hot or coldHere is an historic and flavorful recipe Lea acquired when we went to a hearthside dinner at Connor Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. You can just imagine yourself being in a simpler time when you sit down to bowl of this soup that can warm you up in winter, or cool you down in summer. It just doesn’t get any handier! The recipe is located here.

Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean Soup
Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean SoupThis is a perfect soup for those chilly days of fall and winter, with Hot Italian Sausage, Fire Roasted tomatoes, and fresh kale. This is a quick and easy recipe, but if you want to cook it longer to blend the flavors, leave the kale out until just before you are going to serve. The kale is best when it has just a little crunchy bite to it. The recipe is here.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato SoupLarry often made this soup for our church’s ill and shut-in members during our afternoon of cooking for weekly fellowship dinners and adult bible study. This soup looks quite tasty even when packaged in re-purposed plastic containers to be delivered to shut-ins’ homes. Celery, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, combine to make this perfect tonic for those chilly, gray sky, days. The recipe is located here.

Egg Drop Soup
Egg Drop SoupThis is an excellent recipe we developed for our youngest grandson, who really likes a good bowl of egg drop soup. Our version is heartier than you get in most restaurants. The recipe is real easy to scale for the number of servings you need. To make a single serving cut the above amounts in half. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Here’s the recipe.

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery SoupCelery is an excellent source of antioxidants, beneficial enzymes, and vitamins, and can be used to help with weight loss. And, it also makes a delicious soup! This recipe turns up the heat on a cream of celery soup that is SO much more flavorful than the canned variety! This soup will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days, and is an excellent base for other soups, stews and casseroles. Get the recipe here.

Spoon Dumplings for Soup
Spoon Dumplings in StewTake any soup or stew to a whole other level by adding simple spoon dumplings just like great-grandma used to make. This recipe was handed down by Lea’s grandmother to her mother, and then to her, and has long been a family favorite. These dumplings are moist and silky, adding another layer of flavor and texture to elevate your dish. Get the recipe here.

To browse our collection of recipes, simply click on the category links at the top of the page. “Entree” means “main item,” (often meat), while Side means something to accompany the “main item,” such as a vegetable. If you’re fairly new to cooking you might enjoy browsing our page on spices. Wonder about what spice goes with what? Just click here for some helpful detail.

Corn, is a large grain plant first domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Over time is became one of the most versatile food staples throughout history. Originally maize, it became known as corn which could be consumed in any number of ways; roasted, baked, fried, boiled, ground into meal for any number of uses. We are celebrating corn in its many forms in this listing of recipes that will help you appreciate the most appealing and tasty dishes easily prepared at home.

Marjorie’s Corn and Peas
Corn and Peas Side DishThis is another amazingly good recipe from the Thistlethwaite family. I fondly remember a number of delicious Thanksgiving dinners when Marjorie (J.B.’s mother) would bring this delicious vegetable dish. Combining shoe-peg corn and frozen peas with sour cream and spices, it goes together quickly, and certainly stands out on the table. The recipe is located here.

Texas Style Creamed Corn
Texas Style Creamed Corn with BaconThis corn is so delicious with barbecued ribs or brisket! Most of Texas’s best barbecue restaurants serve this style corn with coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans. Add bread, pickles, onions, and hot sauce, and you have a feast! You can even add in some bacon crumbles as shown above. The recipe is located here.

Texican Street Corn
Texican Street CornThis is a delicious ear of corn! Cooking in the microwave retains all the flavor and sweetness other methods often cook out, and clean up is so easy; no shucking, no frustration trying to remove the silks. We like them without any cheese just as well, although you can take this in many flavorful directions by using your favorite cheese.The recipe is located here.

Creamy Creamed Corn
Creamed CornThis recipe comes as close as possible to the flavor of the creamed corn at one of our favorite BBQ joints in Central Texas. Combining heavy cream, cream cheese, butter, sugar, salt and pepper in a slow cooker, it is a delicious blend of flavors that goes very well with every barbecue dish. Get the recipe here.
For a spicy version see Poblano Creamed Corn.

Campfire Chicken Dinner with Roasted Corn
Roasted Chicken Dinner in FoilWhat a fun recipe this is! A chicken quarter, or breast, potatoes, carrots and roasting ears, all in a single foil pack. Can actually be cooked on the campfire, or roasted in the oven, for the fun of an “outdoor” meal with all the flavors and variety of a home meal. This can be served right in the foil for easy after-meal cleanup!
The recipe is located here.

Poblano Creamed Corn
Poblano Creamed CornThis recipe is based on a favorite side dish we enjoy at a barbecue restaurant in Bee Cave, Texas, near Austin. I actually based the sauce in this dish on Southern creamed corn slow-cooker style recipes, and added the roasted Poblano chili for that unctuous earthy flavor. This requires special attention, and quite a bit of stirring, to successfully obtain that slow-cooker intense flavor. This is delicious with any barbecue flavored dish. The recipe is located here.

Cornbread Casserole
Cornbread CasseroleThis is an oldie, but goodie! This is so simple, and goes well with lots of homemade meals! The recipe doubles easily, too, for bigger gatherings! Combine whole kernel corn, cream-style corn, and sour cream with a store-bought cornbread mix. A quick and easy favorite, it takes only 5 minutes to prepare, and even the kids love it! The recipe is located here.

Golden Sweet Cornbread
Golden Sweet Skillet CornbreadSkillet cornbread, historically known as hoecakes, is cornbread made like a pancake. Inside, it’s dense, but creamy. Skillet cornbread takes it up a notch or two with even texture, and sweetness throughout. This is an American classic that pays homage to our pioneer ancestors. The recipe is located here.

Celebrate corn! And, share with us your comments, thoughts, and favorite recipes, to be shared with others. Best regards from our kitchen to yours!

Dinner Table SettingAs the holiday season approaches, we begin thinking about those wonderful times the family gets together and shares a sumptuous way-out-of-the-ordinary meal. The traditional family dinner at our house wasn’t as much about the menu as it was brimming with opportunities to gather around the table with loved ones to catch up, and share stories while enjoying a delicious meal. The centerpiece of the meal, (excluding, for the moment, the desserts), was a delicious protein, which was often a beautifully roasted bird.

One of our favorite memories of days gone by was our “talent show” the afternoon of Christmas Eve, when we would each perform a skit, usually humorous, because few of us had any theatrical talent. It was a fun couple of hours, and was a great time of family sharing. Afterwards, most of us were in the kitchen preparing goodies for that evening’s Birthday Party for Jesus. Good food and seasonal drinks lined the table as we held hands as we stood in a big circle around the table, each telling what we were grateful for, and then gave thanks before eating our fill.

Roasted Tangerine ChickenTo highlight your table, and delight your guests, prepare a bird that really stands out. One of the more colorful birds we have had good success with was the basted Tangerine Roasted Chicken with its bright orange tone created by the combination of molasses, tangerine and lemon juices, and a touch of Lemoncello. The bird shown here was a large one, weighing a little over five and a half pounds.

Birds carved at the table seem to please guests the most, because we eat with our eyes first, and watching the bird being carved stimulates anticipation and excitement. Another attractive bird is the Peppercorn Encrusted Roast Chicken. If you like crispy skin, you might like the stuffed Italian Roast Chicken which is roasted in a hot oven, and stuffed with flavorful herbs, orange wedges and garlic. Another eye pleasing recipe is the Roasted Worcestershire Sauce Chicken with Balsamic Glazed Hericot Vert and Corn on the Cob.

Bacon Wrapped Turkey BreastIf you want something a little out of the ordinary for your get together, you might consider the spatchcocked Roasted Cornish Game Hens, the very flavorful Pepper Crusted Turkey Breast, or, the very elegant Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast that always gets o-o-hs and a-a-hs when presented.

Don’t throw that carcass out when cleaning up after your meal! Stick it back in the fridge to be used in another favorite dish that usually follows the next evening or so, Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Luck Supper made with the meat left on that carcass, combined with some fresh vegetables, and topped with sumptuous spoon dumplings. It’s easy to make, fills the house with wonderful holiday aromas, and delivers a very satisfying meal for the evening after the feast.

Potluck Supper

What are your favorite memories or traditions? What dishes make regular appearances at your family’s gatherings?

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