Char’s Delicious Baked Beans

My grandma has a delicious 4 Bean Hot Dish that I LOVE.  Well, yesterday I was at a work pot-luck and tried this delicious Baked Beans recipe that I needed to share:

Gdula Beans


  • 2 can (28 oz) baked beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) baby lima beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) butter beans, drained
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed tightly
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 pound browned ground beef
  • 1 pound chopped and fried bacon
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


Fry chopped bacon.  Remove from bacon grease in pan and set aside. Brown onion and ground beef in the bacon grease. Drain when finished. Mix bacon, onion and beef mixture, and the rest of the ingredients in crock pot. Set crock pot on low and cook over night.

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Camarones a la Diabla

So there is this taco bus that has moved to a town about 20 miles away from my house…. and it’s amazing.  Seriously, the best Mexican food around.  Last weekend I decided that I wanted to recreate the experience of one of my favorite dishes at home, so I looked at the menu description, and found a few recipes that looked sort of like what the menu said.  Well, I can say SUCCESS!  It was amazing.   A little different than the bus, but still very delicious.  This is very easy to make with any other meat if you don’t have shrimp handy.


  • 4 to 6 roma tomatoes
  • 6 Dried chiles de arbol (in the Mexican section of your grocery store)
  • 2 Dried guajillo chilies (in the Mexican section of your grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ Medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ Medium Green Pepper, thinly slices
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. shrimp, deveined


Bring the tomatoes, arbol chilies, and the guajillo chilies to a boil in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Remove stems from both chilies, and the seeds from the guajillo chile.  Puree the chilies and the tomatoes, along with the water they were cooked in, in a blender until smooth; season with salt and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and sauté for about 1 minute, then add the green peppers and minced garlic and sauté for an additional 5 minutes or so.  Add the shrimp and sauté until fully cooked.  Reduce heat to low and pour the A La Diabla sauce over the shrimp and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce reduces.  Serve with tortillas, tostones, etc.

Becca’s Notes:  I added the green pepper to the recipe, as the recipe I was trying to recreate had them, as well as mushrooms in them.  I also didn’t have the whole pound of shrimp, so I ended up using chicken.  I cooked the chicken almost all the way through before I cooked the onion mixture.  I then took the chicken out and cooked the onion mixture in the drippings, and followed the recipe as it was written.  The restaurant I was trying to copy also used mushrooms in their recipe.  I didn’t have any on hand, so I didn’t use them.

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Persimmon Cookies


  • 2 ripe persimmons, pureed (approximately one cup)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease or line one baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar.
  4. Beat in the egg and persimmons
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, stir in the
    chopped nuts.
  6. Drop by tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto the prepared
    baking sheet.
  7. Try to flatten the dough and shape it to make it round and flat.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for  about 10 minutes.

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Flaky Pie Crust

Another one that is super easy to make and which makes 5 double crusts:
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb. lard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 egg – slightly beaten
  1. Mix flour, salt and lard together in a large bowl, using a knife to cut up the lard.  Mix until the size of small peas.
  2. Mix water, vinegar and egg together to make at least 1 1/4 cups liquid.  You may need to add a little more water if dough is too dry.
  3. Pour liquid into dry ingredients and mix with a fork until it leaves the sides of the bowl.
  4. Roll out using quite a bit of flour on the board.
  5. Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes – crust only.  For a single or double crust pie – bake at 400 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
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Glazed Banana Cake

Recipe from AAUW Assn.

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Bananas, Mashed (You may use more if desired)
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1 Cup Melted Margarine or Butter
  • 2 ½ Cups of Flour (not cake flour)
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla


  • 1 – 1 ½ Cups sifted Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Grated Orange Rind
  • 2 Tbsp. Orange Juice or ½ of Juiced Orange
  • 1 Tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Add Sugar until syrupy


  1. In one bowl add sugar to bananas, then add eggs and slightly cooled margarine
  2. In another bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. In yet another bowl, stir Baking Soda into buttermilk (it will expand)
  4. To a 4th bowl, add alternately: Flour mixture, Banana Mixture, Buttermilk Mixture; Ending with Flour.
  5. Add Vanilla
  6. Pour into greased and floured Bundt Pan.
  7. Bake at 350˚F for 30-45 Minutes (toothpick or fork should come out clean)
  8. Punch hold in cake immediately out of oven.
  9. Pour glaze over cake

Notes: This recipe does require a bunch of bowls, something that I personally hate – but the cake is well worth the time spent doing dishes after.  My family has stopped making banana bread because this banana cake is so good.

I did bake this in 2 large bread pans and it worked really well.  Since it was a little thicker it required more baking time though.


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Brazilian Fish Stew


  • 2 1/2 pints red grouper, skin on, scaled and cut into 2- inch pieces (or substitute redfish, flounder, striped bass, escolar, or any other white-fleshed fish)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 to 3 fresh cayenne chiles, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 cup fish or chicken stock, or canned, low-sodium chicken broth, or water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • One 14.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Steamed white rice, for serving


  1. Place the fish in a large nonreactive mixing bowl, add the lime juice, and set aside to marinate while you proceed with the recipe.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium- high heat, and add the olive oil. Once it is hot, add the onions and cayenne peppers and sauté, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, stock, and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and stir well to incorporate.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Season the fish with the remaining teaspoon of salt.
  6. Then add the fish (with the lime juice) and the coconut milk. Stir to combine, and bring the liquid to a boil.
  7. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the flesh of the fish starts to flake, about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the cover, sprinkle the cilantro over the fish, and serve accompanied by steamed white rice.

Notes: I used cod and shrimp and it turned out delicious.  I didn’t have any other fish on hand, and didn’t feel like making a special trip to the store.

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Corn & Black Bean Salsa – Similar to Texas Caviar


  • 1 Can Black Beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 Can Corn (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Pepper – diced
  • 1 Medium Red Pepper – diced
  • 1 Medium Orange Pepper – diced
  • 1 Small bunch of Green Onions – chopped
  • 1 Small bunch of Cilantro – chopped
  • 1/2 Bottle of Hendrickson’s Sweet Vinegar & Olive Oil

Mix all together and serve with tortilla chips

Alternative Ideas

  • 1/2 Small Red Onion – Diced
  • 2-3 Jalepenos – Diced and deseeded

I tried it the original way, and decided I’d like it with a little bit of spice, so I added the jalapenos. I wish I would have added a couple more. I also ran out of green onions, so I used red onions to compensate.

I have also blended the cilantro in a blender with the dressing so there aren’t large chunks of cilantro – both ways are delicious.


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Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp & Grits



  • 2 pounds unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp (31/40 count)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits


  1. Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Toss shrimp with flour until lightly coated, shaking to remove excess.
  2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet.
  3. Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings 4 minutes or just until mushrooms begin to release their liquid. Add shrimp, and sauté 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute (do not brown garlic).
  4. Add lemon juice and next 3 ingredients; serve immediately over Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits.
  5. Sprinkle with bacon.

Cheddar Cheese Grits


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked stone-ground white grits
  • 1 (10-oz.) block sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Bring 2 Tbsp. butter, next 4 ingredients, and 5 cups water to a boil in a medium-size Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits, and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours or until thickened.
  3. Stir in cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter until melted.
  4. Serve immediately.

Quick-Cooking Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits:

  1. Substitute 2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits for stone-ground grits.
  2. Decrease water and milk to 4 1/2 cups each.
  3. Prepare recipe as directed, cooking grits 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.


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Carne Asada

Lime Marinade

Combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
    1/4 cup Green Onion (whole), finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP Minced Coriander or chopped parsley or cilantro (I used chopped cilantro)
  • 1/2  tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper

Chimichurri Sauce

Mix the following together, cover and let stand at room temperature overnight:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 t. dried oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 t Salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

Make lime marinade and pour over flank steak and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Score flank steak and drizzle with chimichurri sauce while cooking over the grill.

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