Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shredded Barbcue

Two things I love are barbecue and easy … this recipe is both! 

The recipe is for chicken, but I have also done this using a beef roast and it turned out wonderfully!

My fellas agree this is great for hearty sandwiches, but I also love to serve it over yellow rice. We also like to add some sharp cheddar to the sandwiches. 

I like to cut my chicken into large chunks before cooking, but you do not have to … you can toss them in whole if you prefer.

Shredded Barbecue
3-4 pounds of boneless chicken - breasts or thighs, whichever you prefer
Olive Oil
1 large onion, dices
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons of smoked paprika - this is a personal taste thing
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) barbecue sauce  - I prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s

Heat oven to 325 degrees

Wash and pat dry chicken

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy, oven save pot with lid, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat.
  • Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring around frequently.
  • Add the smoked paprika and stir.
  • Add chicken pieces and stir to coat the chicken. Add salt and pepper.
  • Pour in barbecue sauce and stir to coat. Bring to simmer and turn off heat.

Cover pot with lid and bake in oven for 90 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Remove  oven and use a slotted spoon to remove mean in to a large bowl. Use forks to shred the meat.

While shredding, heat the pot on the stove, bringing the sauce to high heat and reducing it to about half its volume. Pour this mixture over the shredded chicken and mix well.

You are all ready now for big, messy sandwiches or the best yellow rice ever!

You can also cook this in a crock pot … do all of the on the stove cooking as listed then do the oven cooking in the crock pot instead. The sauce at the end can be done in a saucepan, quickly and easily.


Cheesecakes are not really hard to make, but they do take some time and prep. After trying various and sundry recipes over the years, this is what I have the best results with.

Before you begin, I should point out some important things …
  • ALL ingredients should be room temperature, especially the cream cheese
  • Do not over mix your filling, especially after the eggs go in!
  • To prevent cracking, I place a pan with about an inch of water on the rack under the cake. Also, do your cooling slowly … turn off the oven, pull out the rack and run a sharp knife around the edge to separate the cake from the pan, slowly open and reclose the springform, open the oven door a bit and cool to room temp in the oven. 


2.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

4 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1.5 cups sugar
3 tbsp. flour
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/2 - 1 tbsp. lemon juice (I use 1/2 … go with 1 full if you like yours a bit more tangy)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

  • Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar … stir in melted butter until mixed and moistened
  • Pour mixture into a 9 inch springform pan and press the crumble into the bottom and about an inch up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and cool to room temperature.

  • Cream together sugar, cream cheese, flour … cream at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Turn mixer down to medium low and add eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg mixes well.
  • Turn mixer down , again, to low and add sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice … mix until just combined.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees. (Don’t forget your bottom rack pan of water!)

When done, the center will still be wobbly and will look more shiny than the edges … this will even up as it cools.

When cake comes to room temp, move to refrigerator to chill overnight.

At this point, let your taste buds and imagination run wild! You can eat this fabulous cake plain or top it in any number of ways.
  • Fresh fruits
  • Canned fruits in syrups
  • Warmed, fresh jellies
  • Sweet whipped cream - 1 cup whipped with 2tbsp powedered sugar
  • Plain ‘ol chocolate syrup drizzles

Baked Mac and Cheese

Most everyone loves mac and cheese, but not everyone realizes how easy it is to bake it up, hot and fresh! My sweet mother-in-law taught me how to make this and I am eternally grateful.

The following is her recipe, tweaked a little over the years to the tastes of my fellas.

Baked Mac and Cheese

Pan - this recipe is for either a large baking dish or 2 smaller ones. I like to make it in 2 pans ... I do not bake the second one, but wrap well and freeze it for easy dinner side later.

1 box macaroni
1 stick of butter
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (I tend to use a little more)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk … 1/2 cup at a time 
shredded cheese ... Cheese is to YOUR taste ... sharp cheddar is a great basic, but you can add others. I use 2 cups of sharp cheddar, 2 handfuls of colby jack and 1 handful of mozzarella. You will also need cheese to top in the last 10 minutes of cooking - I use what is left of the colby jack.

Pre-heat oven 350

Spray pan(s) with non-stick spray
  (I like to do this, but I know some folks do not)

par boil macaroni with salt

  • in heavy pot, melt butter
  • add salt, pepper, flour … STIR!
  • add milk, 1/2 cup at a time … keep stirring!
  • when slow boil, add cheese a handful at a time ... keep stirring! 
  • add splashes of milk if the mixture is becoming too thick
when cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, start gently mixing in macaroni a cup or so at a time until it is all mixed 

Scoop mixture in to pan(s) 
  **at this point, if you are saving a pan for later, wrap it well and put in freezer.

Bake for 20 minutes ... cover top in remaining cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes 
  ** if cooking the frozen one, bake for 40 minutes, then cover with remaining cheese and bake additional 10 minutes

Remove and let set/cool for 5 minutes

Enjoy and bask in the warmth of mac and cheese!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Winking Sun Is Going To Shine!

Now that we are in to Summer, I want to get this thing rolling ... pictures, thoughts, prayers, recipes, stories, rants, praises ... you name it, I want to do it here!

Summer has been off to a good start!

Brannon is continuing on in Florida Virtual School. He finished this year with all A's and is going in to 4th Grade, with 5th Grade Math. He did his first FCAT in the Spring and got a 5 in Language Arts and a 2 in Math. He has hated learning times tables and facing them in FCAT showed him that learning them wasn't just Mom being naggy. :-) He's doing a Summer math program now and has jumped in with both feet because he said that next time he is going to "kick FCAT's butt!" 

Robert is working in Tallahassee for the Leon County School District and really enjoys his job. His Summer schedule is 10 hour days Monday - Thursday and Fridays off! We love this!

Daddy is doing well and making our outdoor areas look beautiful! 

And me? Well, I am enjoying my life with my boys. Every day is an adventure, sometimes small and sometimes big! Last weekend, we did a road trip down to Sebring for a McIntyre family reunion. It was fun to road trip together and to then see so many folks I love. Mama Char, Papa Dale and Elizabeth came and visited at the hotel, too. Elizabeth went swimming with Brann and they had a ball!

So, here's to getting this sun shining!