Bringin’ Home the Bacon: Dad Recipes

Bringin’ Home the Bacon: Dad Recipes

Dad Recipe: Mexican Cornbread

Fresh jalapenos and home-ground yellow cornmeal are key for this yummy south-of-the-border one-pot supper!

Fresh jalapenos and home-ground yellow cornmeal are key for this yummy south-of-the-border one-pot supper!

Our friend Lisa at Happy Place Organics hooked us up the other day with some fresh-from-the-garden jalapenos, and whenever there are jalapenos around Mullins Manor you can bet this dish is pretty sure to follow.

The dish itself is a family favorite, and relatively common summer fare where I grew up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky – although I’m not sure of the particular folkways that would account for its prevalence there.  Each person making it seems to have a slightly different take on ingredients, but generally there’s always meat, always some cheese, (almost) always whole kernel corn and definitely always jalapenos – the fresher the better, and the ones from Happy Place Organics were about as fresh as they come.  I think there might have been thirty minutes, if that, from garden to pan.

It’s an easy dish, has lots of flavor and very minimal clean-up.  Enjoy!


  • 1 lb. ground beef (although I used chorizo)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. cornmeal (I’m really lucky to have home-ground from my parents’ garden!)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. diced jalapenos (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese


  • An iron skillet is a BIG plus for baking this (or any) cornbread!  Otherwise, use a 9×13 pan.
  • Pan for browning hamburger
  • Mixing bowl
  • Oven at 450

Brown and drain your hamburger meat and onion.

Combine (in your mixing bowl) corn, eggs, cornmeal, baking powder, milk, salt, peppers and 1/4 c. of oil.

Heat the other 1/4 c. oil in your skillet or pan.  Pour half of the batter into the pan.  Layer meat/onion mixture and cheese, then top with the other half of the batter.  Bake at 450 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

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Dad Recipe: Tastes Like Summer!

(Farm-Fresh!) Veggie Pizza

(Farm-Fresh!) Veggie Pizza

2013-06-26 20.10.14Lisa – a great friend, all-around awesome person, and founder of Happy Place Organics just down the road from us in Midway, Kentucky – has a lot of produce starting to come in this summer.  I always like playing “Iron Chef” with whatever happens to be seasonal, which this evening happened to be an adorable little yellow squash, a couple of zucchini, a bunch of (incredible-smelling) basil, and some fresh green onions.  What to do?

On our weekly meal plan, it was supposed to be ‘hot dog’ night.  Yawn.  Instead, I started rambling through our pantry and cabinets to see what else we might have to go with the veggies.  I wound up having exactly what I needed to make (my version of) Paula Deen’s Vegetarian Pizza.  Here goes!


  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium or 2 small green onions with bulb
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 c. Ranch dressing (I used Kraft buttermilk)
  • 2 tbs. sour cream (I used lite)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 c. fiesta blend shredded cheese (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • about 1/2 c. fresh basil (amount depends on strength)
  • 1 roll store-bought pizza dough


  • Sheet pan
  • Salad spinner
  • Mandolin slicer

Prepare your pizza crust according to package directions – you want to brown it on the bottom and just start to brown it on top, then remove it from the oven and let it cool.  Adjust your oven (after the pizza crust is out of it!) to 350.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Cut the ends off the squash and zucchini and trim the onion(s).  I like to use as much of the green shoots as possible; as a rule of thumb, when they start tasting less like onions and more like grass, that’s a good place to make your cut. 🙂 Position your mandolin directly over the pan and slice the squash, zucchini and onion into the oil.  Saute for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream and dressing in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Spread on the (cooled) pizza crust.

Add the squash/zucchini/onion and use your mandolin to slice the tomato(es) and place those slices on the pizza next.  (I sliced my tomato onto a plate and then moved the slices; I’m afraid if you tried to use the mandolin over the pizza there would be way too much tomato juice).  Sprinkle the garlic over the tomato layer and add salt and pepper to taste.  (Due to varying preferences at Mullins Manor, I only put tomato on half of ours).  Rinse the basil and give it a quick spin in your salad spinner to make sure it’s good and dry; add this layer next.  Sprinkle the cheeses over the veggies, and move the whole thing into the oven for about ten minutes or until the cheese melts.  Slice/serve/enjoy!

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Dad Recipe: Mother’s Day Brunch Pizza

Did Mother’s Day get its start in a small western Kentucky school?

Several individuals and groups receive credit for establishing Mother’s Day as an official holiday, and (as recounted by Wikipedia) historians vary on which regional observance gave rise to the national version.  However, a historic marker in a schoolyard in the river town of Henderson, Kentucky commemorates the holiday’s origins in the Bluegrass state:

Here, Mary Towles Sasseen Wilson in 1887 first observed Mother’s Day. Started with her pupils. In 1893, she obtained national observance. Kentucky Legislature recognized her as “originator of idea.” Congress adopted second Sunday of May as holiday in 1914.

– Kentucky Historical Society, Highway Marker Database, Marker #191

Discussions of Mother’s Day history aside, however, this Sunday we’ll take time out to honor the Moms in our lives.  What better way to do that than with breakfast in bed?  And what better breakfast food than this yummy brunch pizza, compliments of the awesome folks over at eMeals?  You can even order a gift certificate to give Mom her own subscription to get more awesome recipes like this one.  Enjoy!


  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen diced hash browns
  • 14 oz. pre-baked original Italian pizza crust (12-inch)
  • 3/4 c. favorite pimento cheese
  • 1 c. finely chopped cooked ham
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook hash browns in hot oil 5 minutes; set aside.
  4. Place pizza crust on large baking sheet.
  5. Spread pimento cheese in a thin layer on crust.
  6. Top with ham, hash browns, green onions and cheese.  Slowly pour eggs in center of pizza (eggs will spread during baking).
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and center is set.
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Dad Recipe: Breakfast Mini-Quiche Muffins


I woke up this morning to an oddly quiet house – Mama and Katie-Bug were nowhere to be found. Violet-Bug was still sound asleep. No cause for alarm, though. Occasionally on weekends, Mama and whichever kiddo is awake first will go across town to the most awesome doughnut bakery in the world – Spalding’s – and return with a bag full of yumminess.

I was awake anyhow, so I thought of what might compliment the doughnuts. I remembered the breakfast muffins our babysitter makes, and thought I’d try something like that. I didn’t have the exact ingredients hers calls for, but I cobbled together the following. It was a hit!


  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 slices of bacon, crisp, crumbled (I used the microwave kind)
  • 1 c. frozen hash browns
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • baby spinach, shredded (about a cup; depends on how much you want)
  • 1 c. + about 1/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • Big bowl, smaller bowl
  • Whisk
  • Muffin tin (12 muffins)
  • Liners (I used the silicon kind)
  • Cooking spray
  • Oven at 375

Put the hash browns in the bigger mixing bowl. Crumble the bacon into the hash browns and add the spinach and one cup of the cheddar cheese. (I used kitchen scissors to shred the spinach leaves). In the smaller bowl, whisk the four eggs and add the salt/pepper/onion powder and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the hash brown bowl and stir to combine.

Put the muffin liners in the tin and spray each one lightly with cooking spray. Divide the mixture into the pan and put a pinch of the reserved cheddar on top of each.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

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Dad Recipe(s): Kid-Friendly, Fast Supper!

Last night found Mama stuck in a trial late into the evening, so Katie-Bug, Violet-Bug and I were flying solo for dinner.  I remembered on our way home that I’d pinned a recipe on one of my Pinterest boards a while back for just such an occasion – mini corn dog bites!

When I found the pin and clicked through to the original website, I found a whole list of similar ideas.  Here are the instructions (this post hardly qualifies as a ‘recipe!’) for the corn dog bites and a ‘bonus’ snack.  Be sure to visit the originating blog (Easy Food) for lots of other cool ideas!

Corn Dog Bites

Put the corn bread batter in a mini muffin tin, with a hot dog piece in each.

Put the corn bread batter in a mini muffin tin, with a hot dog piece in each.

  • 1 pkg Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • two or three hot dogs (we used Ballpark turkey franks)

Prepare the cornbread mix as directed on the box (using the egg and milk).  Pour the batter into a mini muffin pan.  Cut the wieners into sections and place a section in the middle of each muffin; bake as directed on the box (about fifteen minutes at 400 degrees).

Banana/Peanut Butter “Hot Dogs”

Surprisingly yummy combo!

Surprisingly yummy combo!

  • Hot dog bun
  • 1-2 tbs. peanut butter
  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 1-2 tsp. jelly or jam (any flavor)

Spread the peanut butter inside the hot dog bun.  Put the banana in the bun as you would a wiener; spread the jelly or jam on top as “chili.”  It may sound and/or look strange, but it’s ‘dog-gone’ (sorry!) tasty!


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Dad Recipe: Copy-Cat Green Beans From a Particular Chicken Restaurant

This is a super-easy way to take canned green beans from bland to awesome!

Recently, on our way home from Katie’s birthday party, we drove around at a restaurant to get dinner for the whole family (Mama and I, the girls, plus both sets of grandparents).  In short, we had all partied out and weren’t up for cooking that evening.

We chose a restaurant here in Kentucky that offers Fried Chicken.  (Wink.)  As one of our side selections, we went with green beans.

If you’ve ever had the green beans from this particular Kentucky restaurant that deals in Fried Chicken, you know they’re not just run-of-the-mill heat-and-serve green beans.  There’s a little something extra in there.  And whatever that was, it led Violet-Bug to eat almost the entire family-sized container by herself.  I thought it might be worth my while to do a little research.

There are a handful of recipes online, but by general consensus the secret ingredient is good old-fashioned MSG.  I didn’t have any straight-up MSG but I had some cheap meat tenderizer that used it as the chief ingredient, so I went with that.  I knew there were bits of onion and bell pepper in there, and garlic salt and black pepper rounded things out nicely.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper recipe, and these beans have gotten rave reviews around the table.  Enjoy!

‘Secret Recipe’ Green Beans

  • 1 can green beans (any brand; do not drain)
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • Approx. 1 Tbs. chopped bell pepper*
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. meat tenderizer w/ MSG

In a small pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper and saute until softened (but not browned).  Add can of green beans and their liquid, garlic salt, pepper and tenderizer and stir.  Bring to a low boil and let cook for one minute.

* – Good tip, especially right now at harvest time: chop up some bell pepper and keep it in a storage container or bag in your freezer – it makes recipes like this (or meat loaf, or omelettes, etc.) a snap!


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Dad Recipe: Crock Pot Barbecued Pork Sandwiches

Crock Pot BBQ Pork (Image Used With Permission)

I would be utterly lost without my Crock Pot.  For days when you know in advance there’s going to be next to no time after work to cook dinner, it’s a fast and easy way to have a hot meal waiting for you when you come through the door.  And now the folks over at eMeals have put together an amazing week-long menu of slow-cooker goodies, and it’s your free gift with a new subscription.  They’ve been kind enough to allow me to share the following sample – if it’s something you think your family would enjoy, you should really visit the eMeals site to check out all of the different plans that are available!

Crock Pot BBQ Pork Sandwiches (via eMeals)


  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) Boston butt pork roast
  • 18 oz. bottle of barbecue sauce
  • 12 oz. cola drink
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 16 oz. bag shredded cabbage coleslaw mix
  • Hamburger buns


  1. Place pork in crock pot and pour barbecue sauce and cola over the pork.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours (or low for 12-16 hours), until pork is tender and meat shreds easily.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; add coleslaw mix and toss.
  4. Serve pork and slaw on hamburger buns.

That’s all there is to it!  I like to add hot sauce to mine, but this is a literal crowd-pleaser meal with next to no effort besides putting the ingredients in the slow cooker and turning the knob.

I’ve blogged several times here about eMeals and how their product has revolutionized family dinner time in our home.  I promise the price of a subscription (as low as $5 a month) will be covered several times over just in the first week you go grocery shopping with an actual plan in mind, rather than wandering up and down the aisles making up a menu based on what you think looks good at the time.

My Other eMeals Posts:

Some More KDL Crock Pot Recipes:

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Dad Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Every kitchen needs at least one Crock Pot. This is a great-looking classic model from Flickr user SaucyGlo - just imagine the dishes it's cooked over the years! (See footnote for complete image credit)

Hard to believe I’ve made it this far into 2012 before posting my first recipe of the year.  This one was easy and a real crowd pleaser! RM

A little while back, I subscribed to the Slow Cooker e-newsletter from  One of the featured recipes in the most recent edition caught my eye – a slow cooker take on chicken and dumplings.  It sounded quick, easy, and kid-friendly so I decided to give it a go this weekend.

And am I glad I did!  Everyone at the table took seconds, and Katie-Bug took thirds.  We ended up with very little left over out of a seven-quart slow cooker.  The original recipe is here, but I took some advice from a few of the AllRecipes user comments and made a couple of changes of my own so what follows is the version I made.  Enjoy!


  • 2 large chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 2 cans (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • one sweet onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I actually used garlic salt since I didn’t have powder)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • chicken broth to cover (can use water if you want)
  • one can of jumbo/Grands/Texas-style biscuit dough
  • enough flour to dust a rolling surface
  • 7-qt. slow cooker
  • Rolling pin
  • Pizza cutter
I sprayed the inside of my Crock Pot with Pam, plunked the two chicken breasts in, sprinkled the poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper over them, dumped the two cans of soup in, added the onion, and poured in the rest of a box of leftover chicken broth I had in the fridge along with enough water to finish covering the chicken.  Stir the soup, onion and water/broth enough to get it combined, then cover and let it go on high for about four hours (however long it takes the chicken to thaw and cook; the original recipe called for 5 to 6 hours on high, but that would have led to chicken jerky in my cooker).  Remove the chicken and slice into bite-sized chunks; return to pot.  

As usual, by the time I realized this recipe was worthy of a post all the evidence had already been devoured!

The liquid may appear fairly thin, but don’t panic.  Dust a work area with flour and roll out the biscuit dough.  I rolled it in two-biscuit batches, but you can do it all at once if you want.  Once it’s rolled out to about 1/4″ thickness, cut into strips with a pizza cutter.  Add the strips to the broth, stirring between drops.  Cover and let it cook for about another 45 minutes to 1 hour on high, until the biscuit dough is cooked through.  The residual flour on the biscuit strips will thicken the mixture nicely.  
We had this with corn on the cob as a side dish, but about any veggie will do.  It tasted a little more like a pot pie than traditional chicken and dumplings, but whatever you want to call it as you can see from the picture there wasn’t much left!


Image Credit: This photo, “Crock Pot,” is copyright (c) 2012 by Flickr user SaucyGlo and made available via Creative Commons under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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Dad Recipe: Tomato Pie

I always take a 'small' sample for quality control purposes. (Photo by author)

This time of the year, tomatoes tend to ripen faster than you can eat them.  That is, unless you have a go-to recipe to use up several all at once.  This is based on a recipe from Lee Bailey’s Tomatoes but I’ve made so many changes to it I’m ready to claim it as my own! 🙂 Frequent readers might notice this isn’t as ‘precise’ as a typical recipe post might be and that there are a lot of ingredients listed ‘to taste.’  There’s no big, involved explanation for that except there’s a wide variety of tomatoes out there and this is more about technique.  


  • Crust – You can use a box pie crust mix or frozen (thawed out but not pre-baked).
  • Tomatoes – 3 pounds or so; about five or six good-sized
  • Shredded Cheese – 1/2 to 1 c. depending on preference
  • Mayo – about 1/4 c. (depends on the ‘wetness’ of the tomatoes)
  • Basil – to taste
  • Chives – to taste
  • Salt to taste

Get your crust ready first.  Follow the package instructions for a mix (if you prefer, you can use Bisquick – I use a cup of mix, 1/4 c. softened butter, and a couple tablespoons of boiling water) or, if you’re using a frozen pie crust, let it thaw but don’t pre-bake.  If you want to include a top, thaw a second one.  Press the dough into a pie pan (reserving some for the top if you desire).  

Slice your tomatoes somewhat thickly.  Depending on how juicy they are, you may want to put the slices on a cooling rack over a plate so they can drain.  If they’re on the dry side, you can slice directly into your mixing bowl.  I usually slice all of mine into the bowl, and just before adding the other ingredients I drain off any juice that’s accumulated.

Mix the rest of the ingredients into the tomatoes and stir to combine.  Transfer to the pie crust.  Add a top crust if you desire.  (A top layer seems to lead to a more moist pie; a ‘topless’ pie like the one in the picture is a little drier and has more of a casserole consistency).

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

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Dad Recipe: Asian Cole Slaw

There are some dishes that have such a great work/payoff ratio they just automatically become the go-to dish for potluck events.  Such is the case with this recipe, which came from one of my bosses via a local fund-raiser-type cookbook (so this isn’t an original, sorry to say).

This Asian coleslaw draws on relatively inexpensive ingredients, takes next to no time to put together, and has been a pretty consistent crowd-pleaser.  I’ve made this dish for several years now, and it seems whenever I take it someplace new I get tons of requests for the recipe.  So, here it is – enjoy! RM

Ingredients (Slaw)

  • 1 pkg. coleslaw mix
  • 2 pkg. beef flavored ramen noodles
  • 1 pkg. (small) slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c. chopped green onion


  • 2 seasoning packs from the ramen
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • 1/3 c. vinegar

Crumble the Ramen noodles and put them in the bottom of the serving bowl.  (I open one end of the package and pound it with a rolling pin or ice cream scoop).  Then pour the coleslaw mix on top of the noodles, and add the almonds, sunflower seeds and onion on top. (Note: I never put the onion in mine, as the wifey’s not an onion-eater. It’s still good without it!)

In a separate bowl, mix all ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad.  Let it sit in layers until you’re ready to serve it; stir it up just before serving.

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