Potluck MVP! Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

My first visit to New Orleans was in the fall of 1998.  I studied for my undergrad degree at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Go Badgers!!

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My freshman year roommate brought me to her hometown of Metairie, Louisiana. There I tried my first ever stuffed artichoke, we spent at least an hour peeling off its leaves and scraping the artichoke meat and breading off. Amazing!

stuffed artichoke

I’ve tried to bake my own stuffed artichokes over the years but it takes so much time and effort.  This week I tried a recipe that gives all the flavor without all the cleanup!  It makes a great addition to a holiday meal, it may even replace green bean casserole at my family dinner. The recipe can be found on the local Nola site, re-posting here:

Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

Makes 8-12 servings

3 (16.8 ounce) cans French-cut green beans, drained

2 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained

2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

3-4 pods garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop into pieces.

Pour the green beans, artichoke hearts, bread crumbs, cheeses, chopped onion and garlic, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese into a 9- by-13-inch baking dish that has been coated with nonstick spray. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to blend everything thoroughly. Drizzle olive oil over the top and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Note: I’d squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the casserole just before serving.

IMG_1979Try it, you’ll love it!

Sarah

 

Win that Cookie Swap! Ginger Cookie Recipe

This past weekend was a whirlwind of to-do lists and fun events.  I started off Friday by posting my first ever youtube video!

Then it was off to Virginia Beach to celebrate a friends birthday.  It was 78 degrees at the beach on Saturday.

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The only hint that it was December was the Santa surfer.

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Finished off with a sold out show in downtown Norfolk.  If you haven’t heard this song, it is so much fun to sing at the top of your lungs!

By Sunday it was time to drive back home and bake up a storm for my cousin’s 13th annual cookie swap.  If you have never attended a cookie swap, everyone brings 6-7 dozen of their favorite homemade holiday cookie. Then you swap your cookies with everyone there so you get a huge variety of cookies without all the headache.

For the swap we had 21 different types of cookies!

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It was a tableful of calories, and a full time job to keep the kids in attendance from pigging out.

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Once the swap begins, everyone works their way around the table grabbing 6 of each type of cookie.  After the first round you can go back and get 4 cookies. Everyone keeps going around until the cookies are done!

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At this cookie swap we also vote on best Rookie cookie, most festive, most difficult to make, and best overall cookie.  And guess who won best overall cookie? This girl!! Shared with my favorite cookie tester.

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So here is the award winning recipe:

Ginger Cookie Sandwiches with Caramel Buttercream
Soft and chewy molasses ginger cookies are sandwiched together with caramel buttercream frosting!

Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 18 sandwich cookies
Ingredients

For Ginger Cookies:
1 c. sugar
¾ c. shortening (Crisco)
1 egg
¼ c. molasses
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
1/4 c. chopped crystallized ginger
⅓ c. sugar, for rolling

For Caramel Buttercream:
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. prepared caramel sauce
1½ tsp. caramel extract (I find this easily at Walmart with the other
extracts)
3 ­ 4 c. powdered sugar

Directions
For cookies:
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and shortening.
2. Add in egg and molasses. Mix until well­ combined.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, and spices until well blended.
4. Add flour mixture to mixing bowl, beating until well­ combined.
5. Roll dough into 1­inch balls and roll the balls in granulated sugar.
6. Place them 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-­10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

For frosting:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and caramel sauce til blended.
2. Add caramel extract.
3. Add enough powdered sugar that the frosting is thick and fluffy, but spreadable. Beat until fluffy.
4. Form cookie sandwiches by spreading the bottom of one ginger cookie with buttercream, and topping it with another cookie.

Enjoy

Notes
You must measure the molasses accurately. Too much, and the cookies will get sticky and goopy.

 

New Fosters – Chanel & Darla

After adopting Maya, I took a little break from having fosters in the house.

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I wanted to give her a chance to bond with the two adult cats, Coco and Max. As well as recover completely from her upper respiratory infection.

But it didn’t take long and I was ready to help some more little cuties. So last week two sisters, Darla & Chanel arrived 🙂

Chanel

Chanel is a spunky all black domestic short hair around 6 months old.  She is a little chatter box! She loves to play in everything and with everyone.  This kitten has no fear of even the meanest of cats (side eye to Max).

Darla

Darla is a black/white domestic short hair around six months old.  Darla is more reserved then her sister, I think she needed some time to figure out if we could all be trusted.  After 3-4 days she started to show her playful side and is exploring more of the apartment. Not really into getting affection, I’m working on getting her to trust me and enjoying lap time.

Both of these cuties are available for adoption from Lost Dog Rescue Foundation and will start attending adoption events next weekend!

http://lostdogrescue.org/chanel-3/

http://lostdogrescue.org/darla-3/