A Few Of My Favorite Food Blogs (And Why)

I started finding food blogs while searching for recipes online a few years ago, and I quickly became addicted.  It didn’t take very long until I decided to start one myself. 

I wanted to share some of the blogs that hooked me in the beginning and I still continue to follow.

  Use Real Butter 

It’s not hard to be drawn in by Jen’s knack for writing and her humor.  She’s a fantastic photographer and shares stories not only about her food, but about her life in the Colorado Rockies with her boyfriend and dog, and her experiences with chemo.  It’s hard to stop reading once you go there.  I’ve made a few things from her recipe archive, but hands down Shredded Beef Tacos  is the best – I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  Smitten Kitchen  

 A well known blogger, Deb shares recipes and stories from her little kitchen in New York City.  I love her entire blog section devoted to tips such as measuring, organizing spices, and food temperature.  Every now and then you’ll get to read her take on some of her local New York City restaurants, and also see some pics of her PRECIOUS baby.  Last Thanksgiving I made Artichoke-Olive Crostini as an appetizer…it’s awesome.  (She’s a huge artichoke addict, by the way).

 Big Red Kitchen   

Robin Sue started her website as a documentation of her recipes for her children, and it became something more.  She has tons of great recipes for feeding families, snacks for kids, and tells hilarious stories about her family. Check out her take on “Pop Tarts“.

  101 Cookbooks  

Heidi decided to begin her blog when her cookbook collection reached over 100.  She said it was “time to stop buying and start cooking”.  Based in San Fransisco, many of her writings and pictures have been featured in many publications, and has also written a couple of cookbooks.  She’s a vegetarian who focuses on natural, healthy ingredients but also has a sweet tooth.  I’ve made her Mushroom Casserole as a side dish for chicken one night (which was delish), and I’ve had my eye on this  for a while.  I have to make it very soon.

That’s only a few of the blogs that I love to follow, but these were my original favorites. 

By the way, my fellow Ingredient Challenge competitors, Nutritionella, And Love It Too!,  Marci Gilbert, From The Little Yellow Kitchen, and I are playing around with different ideas for the Challenge, like using limited ingredients, etc.  Please comment on any one of our blogs and let us know your ideas or thoughts – or if you would like to join us!  We challenge every other Friday, and post our recipes the following Monday.

Happy Thursday!

~Dixie Chik~

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Ingredient Challenge Monday

Welcome our two newest challengers to Ingredient Challenge Monday – Lauren and Chrissy of From The Little Yellow Kitchen!  So excited to have our bi-weekly foodie competition growing. 

Lauren and Chrissy, two recent college graduates and best friends, document their love for the kitchen with scrumptious looking dishes like Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna (how good does that sound?), Chocolate-Peppermint Whoopie Pie and Baked Brie Bites.  These are my kinda ladies.  Check them out!

And now onto this week’s challenge ingredient…..

Can you tell what it is? 

It’s a cutsey little grain called Quinoa – pronounced “KEEN-wah”.  The first time I said it I thought it was “ke-NO-uh”.   I’m such a silly little southern girl.  Calcium-rich Quinoa originates from South America, and made its way to the US in the ’80’s where it continues to grow in popularity.  If you’ve never tried it, you should!  It’s got a texture somewhat similar to rice, but it’s gluten and wheat-free.  The possibilities are endless here. 

One more thing….we will be posting our recipes on Tuesday, January 18th instead of Monday the 17th because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  So check back with us then to see what we all came up with!  Here’s our updated list of challengers –


Marci Gilbert

And Love It Too!

From The Little Yellow Kitchen

Dixie Chik Cooks

Make sure and check us out next week and give us some feedback on our creativity.  Thanks for following, and have a great weekend!!

~Dixie Chik~

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Cauliflower Smash with Grey Poupon Gravy

I know I sound like an idiot but I love a challenge.  Well, usually not a real challenge.  But a cooking challenge.  My very favorite cousin, Meighan, and her boyfriend visit weekly for dinner.  We look forward to these visits – she’s hilarious, my kids love it, everybody laughs and it keeps our family close-knit.  I am saying “Knit”, right?  And Ben, her boyfriend, has become a real part of the family.  The two of them have recently started “dieting” – she with her calories and he with his carbs. 

Damnit, why carbs.

Anyway, tonight they were coming to dinner, and I had the task of putting together a low-calorie AND low-carb dinner….OH yeah, and a kid-friendly (you know those two silly little babies of mine) dinner.  Mr. Dixie is currently out of town, so his needs weren’t on the table – he is dieting currently, but for the most part he is a huge foodie like me.  Just for the record.  Just sayin’.   Oh, and he really doesn’t need to be dieting anyway. Ok, I’ll hush.  

As I poured through recipe after recipe….blog after blog….I ended up deciding to try out what many low-carber’s are doing these days – pureering cauliflower as a sub for mashed potatoes. 

There are many recipes and concoctions out there – I took a handful of different versions and made my own.  My 12 year old daughter’s friend was over this evening and after I made it I got her to taste it and tell me what she thought it was – without giving her any hints – and she said “mashed potatoes!”.

I’m very happy with how this recipe turned out.  As a matter of fact I had a hard time not licking the scraper while I was doing dishes AFTER dinner which says a lot.  Hey – I’m not a scraper licker.  The gravy kind of came as part of the chicken I made; but it was so good I couldn’t NOT use it.  I would bottle it if I could – I think I would drink it.

Tonight I made some herbed grilled chicken, green beans with marinated mushrooms, some pasta (for the kids), and this….

Cauliflower Smash with Grey Poupon Gravy

1 head Cauliflower

1/4 block reduced fat cream cheese

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup fat free milk




2 heaping tbsp Grey Poupon coarse mustard

1/2 cup Italian dressing

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp Worchesteshire sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour

Wash the cauliflower and pat dry.  Cut up into pieces.  Bring a large stock pan with water to a boil.  Add the cauliflower and boil for 15 minutes, or until fork-tender.  Set aside. 

In a sauce pan, melt 1 tbsp butter on medium heat, add the rest of the gravy ingredients and whisk until combined.  Bring to a slow boil, and stir until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside, covered.

In a food processor, mix the cauliflower, cream cheese, butter, and milk until smooth.   Add in salt and pepper to taste.




Pour a spoonful of gravy over the mashed cauliflower.  I promise you won’t miss potatoes 😉


Dixie Chik

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Beef and Bean Sliders with Verde Mayo

Usually I have those moments when I throw things together and they are so good – and of course I have taken no pictures or even paid any attention to what I did or how much I used of what. 

So, I was cleaning out my fridge today (there were several things to either chunk or freeze) and coupled with a few dinner rolls my husband bought on our last winter storm-run yesterday and some leftover chuck roast I quickly became a little imaginative. 

For some reason I have been on a Mexican kick, and have found a way to turn the last three nights into my own personal taco night no matter what I’ve made for dinner.  Hopefully I’ll get over this; there’s only so much cheese, jalapenos and sour cream my ass can handle before having to go up a size.  However, on a side note, have y’all heard that people that consume spicy peppers have a 30% higher metabolism than people that do not??  Let’s hope I have that on my side because trust me, I love some hotness.

Anyway, today as I was cleaning out the fridge I put this yummy little thing together…and it was delicioso 😉

Beef and Bean Sliders with Verde Mayo

2 cups shredded beef (leftover roast, shredded steak, or your choice of beef)

4 slider buns (or dinner rolls will do; sliced)

1 cup refried beans

1/2 cup mayo

3 tbsp tomatillo sauce

1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

2 tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 400°.  Combine the mayonnaise and tomatillo sauce.  Set aside. 

Separate the slider buns and brush with the melted butter.   

Ok, now spread some refried beans on the bottoms, then add a heaping tbsp full of shredded beef.  Put both tops and bottoms of slider buns in the preheated oven for about 2-3 minutes (you’ll see/hear them sizzling), but don’t let the tops burn, you may have to take them out sooner. 

Pop the bottom part of the sliders back in the oven until cheese is melted and the edges of the buns are getting brown.  Take them out and top the bottoms with cheese.  Remove from oven.  Spread about a tbsp of the verde mayo on the top of the buns, and put the sliders together. 


Dixie Chik

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Tomatillo Sauce

I absolutely love Mexican food.  I love the cheap kind, the expensive kind, but I especially love making it at home.  Guacamole is so much fun to make, but unfortunately I’m the only one in this house that appreciates it, so I rarely do make it.  I found Pioneer Woman’s pico de gallo recipe and fell in love with it, and a couple of years ago I also found Use Real Butter (Jen Yu)‘s Shredded Beef Tacos which are AMAZING.  I just love her.

Back in October, we took the kids on a Disney cruise that ported in the Keys, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and the Bahamas.  It was heaven.  I love Disney 🙂

Anyway, when we stopped at Cozumel, we went to see the Mayan ruins, and after that went to an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch.  My son has dubbed this meal the best of his entire life.  It was very good…..but not sure I would say that.  

They had a very, very lengthy menu and some of it I didn’t understand so I had a hard time deciding what to order. 

I ended up ordering steak tacos that were awesome – the steak, cheese and peppers were combined and served on the side next to warm tortillas.  Very good.  And the service was serious – they really wanted you to be happy.  I think I’m officially ready to go back on that cruise now.

Onto the recipe-

I like to make salsa, guacamole, pico, etc. but I’ve never tried making tomatillo sauce “verde sauce”, which I have a little soft spot in my heart for.  I order it every now and then and when it’s good, it’s really, really good….but when it’s bad, you can pretty much live without it.  I would like to perfect it at home.  Here’s my first attempt-

Tomatillo Sauce

1 lb tomatillos

1/2 onion, diced

2 tbsp Mojo sauce

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 big handful fresh cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 400°.  Peel the sticky skins off of the tomatillos.  Place top side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, or until brown on the bottom and a little wrinkly – they will be soft. 

Place the tomatillos with the rest of the ingredients (except salt; wait until last) in a food processor.  Process until salsa type consistency.  Salt to taste. 

Serve with tortilla chips, over burritos or in tacos!

Oh, and if you’re unsure about the Mojo, here’s a pic.  I had never used it, but since I bought it I have found several handy uses for it.  It’s good stuff…


Dixie Chik

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