Good Eats!

Spicy Shrimp n’ Grits

I don’t really claim to be a ‘southern’ girl – although I was born and raised in North Carolina, I don’t do all the country cooking… I hate collards, butter beans, field peas and the like.  I’ll never forget the first time I heard of this thing called ‘fatback’!  I’m still not exactly sure what “chit-lins” are and don’t really care to find out.  Any who… the one southern food that I absolutely love is grits – and the more cheese the better!  Throwing in the jalapeno gives it a nice kick and of course you can add whatever else you like.

BBBANow, if you want to try the best grits on the planet, you’ll have to go to the Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale in small town USA, a little town in the NC mountains called Waynesville.  Their Creole Shrimp & Grits (grilled shrimp in bacon creole sauce over creamy smoked gouda grits & melted green onion) were phenomenal!


  • IMG_09132 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups white corn grits, quick cooking
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup green onions, for garnish (optional)


In a medium sauce pan, bring the heavy cream, chicken broth, and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until grits have thickened and absorbed the liquid.

Stir in the jalapenos, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese.  Transfer the grits into the cast iron skillet and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Place skillet under broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese on top has melted and grits are light brown in color. Garnish with green onions (optional).

Adapted from:  Food Fanatic

Good Eats!

Pumpkin Cheesecake & Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

With the help of Facebook, I’ve been able to reconnect with some of my friends from high school.  I’m about an hour away from my high school and several of these chicks are somewhat local as well.  We try to get together for lunch every few months just to catch up – those lunches usually end up lasting about three hours!  The other day, when discussing plans for the upcoming holiday meals, someone mentioned they wanted to try a pecan cheesecake recipe.  I have a fabulous caramel pecan cheesecake that I apparently never posted, so here it is – along with a new pumpkin cheesecake I tried for National Pumpkin Cheesecake day last month for work.  I love, love, love cheesecake and I’m always looking for new toppings and flavors and these are two of my favorites, especially in the fall/winter.  They’ve both been big hits at family dinners and potlucks.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin
  • 3 and 1/2 T all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 4 eggs, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Pour melted butter over the crumbs and stir until moistened. Press the mixture in the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 8-9 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 F. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Break the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture and stir just until well combined. Don’t over beat the mixture, or the cheesecake may crack. Pour on top of the graham cracker crust.

Bake at 325 F for 1 hour. At the end of the hr, turn off the oven and leave the oven door shut for another hour and a half before opening the oven door. The long cooling period, will help minimize cracks. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool completely.

Source:  Chocolate with Grace

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter


  • 20 caramels
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Mix crumbs, sugar & butter; press into the bottom of a springform pan. Bake at 325 for ten minutes.

Microwave caramels and milk in a small bowl on high for about two minutes or until smooth. Stir at least every minute. Mix in pecans and pour into crust. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blended. Pour over caramel mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate three hours or overnight. Garnish with pecan halves and drizzled melted caramels.

Good Eats!

Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza with Balsamic Drizzle

If you are a pizza traditionalist you probably won’t like this – actually you probably wouldn’t try it anyway.  We eat pizza, but we enjoy trying different variations and toppings.  I know, it sounds weird but surprisingly this combo worked really well together.  The mozzarella is great, but I think next time I’ll replace it with goat cheese.   Usually we use naan for our homemade pizzas, but for this one I wanted a thinner crust so I used a gluten-free whole wheat crust.
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 cups kale, washed, dried and stems removed
  • ½ medium onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sweet potato. Allow to boil for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is fork soft. Remove from heat and mash with almond milk, salt and pepper until spreadable.  Spread onto the pizza and top with the kale, onions and cheese.

Bake pizza for 10 minutes or until kale begins to crisp.  While the pizza is baking, prepare balsamic drizzle. Heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a pot over high heat. When it becomes to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring. The vinegar should get thicker. Remove from heat and watch carefully so it doesn’t get hardened.

Remove pizza from oven and drizzle with balsamic drizzle.

Source:  Jessica in the Kitchen

Good Eats!

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad

We are not new to the kale bandwagon, but most of the time I cook it and it’s mixed into a dish or we blend it in a smoothie.  This is the first kale salad that we’ve tried that I really liked.  Luckily, my local Harris Teeter’s produce department has already done the work and offers peeled, seeded & cubed butternut squash all ready to go.  I took the shortcut and grabbed some pre-washed kale too.  Don’t judge – it was a long day!  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this salad.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time I didn’t really let the squash cool so the goat cheese kinda melted a bit.  Next time, I think I might try to let it cool a little more first.  This is a great fall salad!


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled


Heat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss together the butternut squash, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 tsp salt, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, adobo sauce, garlic cloves, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.  When the squash is done roasting, toss it with the kale, black beans, and dressing. Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Source:  Eats Well with Others

Good Eats!

Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

It’s no secret that we love Mexican food, especially when it’s easy to make and tastes this good!  To keep it quick and simple I used a rotisserie chicken I picked up from the grocery store deli.  I usually keep jasmine rice on hand so I used that instead of the Basmati.  I already a bunch of cheddar jack cheese so I used that instead of the white cheddar (any cheese will work) and I was surprised to find that Harris Teeter had refried black beans which we like better than pinto beans.  I’m fan of cilantro so instead of using it as a garnish I added it to the mix before baking and I used some green onions as the garnish.  Oh and it’s just wrong to serve any kind of Mexican dish without a dollop of sour cream (or substitute with greek yogurt).
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 cups dry Basmati rice
  • 2 cans (10 oz each) Enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 cup white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can (11 oz) corn kernel
  • cilantro for garnish
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cook the rice. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Mix the 2 cheeses together.

In a large bowl mix the shredded chicken with the enchilada sauce, refried beans and half of the cheese. Add rice, season with salt and pepper if needed, and mix well. Pour rice mixture into a large casserole dish. Top with corn then with remainder of cheese.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.

Adapted from:  Jo Cooks

Good Eats!

Pumpkin Cream Pie

It’s that time of year when all the white girls want pumpkin everything!  Now, I like pumpkin but I’m not all crazy about it.  Even when Starbucks brings out the pumpkin lattes I still stick with my normal Chai tea latte or spiced apple cider.  I’m crazier about spiced apple cider than pumpkin – especially when it’s spiked with some spiced rum… ok, sorry back to the pie.  So, it’s fall and National Dessert Day, I just had to whip up this super duper easy dessert.  To make it even easier, rather than make my own crust I just bought one – I actually like the shortbread crust better than graham cracker anyway.  Oh, and I didn’t have any pumpkin pie spice so I just used cinnamon and nutmeg.  Done!


  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped topping


Beat cream cheese and pumpkin puree in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add sugars, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Beat until combined.  Gently fold in whipped topping.  Spread into crust.  Refrigerate overnight or until firm.  Spread extra whipped topping over top of firm pie and serve.

Good Eats!

Shrimp Superfood Salad

We’ve been on a health kick, eating a lot more salads and now I buy quinoa by the pound.  This is an excellent salad, you can do anything with it.  I prefer it with some shrimp but you can add grilled chicken or just eat it alone.  For the sweetener I used agave nectar just because I happened to have some.  I forgot the orange but I did substitute some mandarin oranges from the can.  Nice, simple weeknight dinner or great for lunch.


  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and segments chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • grilled shrimp (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of sweetener
  • salt & pepper


Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

For the Lemon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine. Or, add lemon juice, garlic, sweetener, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk in oil.

Combine cooled quinoa with red onion, orange segments, avocado, beans, corn, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour Lemon Vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.  Top with grilled shrimp.

Adapted from:  Iowa Girl Eats