Recipe: Easy Pecan Pie Bars


Easy Pecan Pie BarsEstimated Cost:  $7.00

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Baking Time:  35 minutes

Cooling Time:  2 hours

Yields:  36 bars

If you love pecan pie (who doesn’t?) this recipe gives you all of its delicious flavor in a bar cookie that only requires minutes to prepare.  It’s impossible to bake these only once!


1 pkg. (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg

Pecan Filling:

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 13×9-inch baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, stir all Crust ingredients until dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan using floured fingers. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir all Pecan Filling ingredients until well blended. Pour over hot crust.

4. Bake 15 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Mike’s comments:

These are so damn good they should be illegal, honestly.

A perfect dessert to follow some Let Freedom Ring Buttermilk Fried Chicken.


Recipe: Let Freedom Ring Buttermilk Fried Chicken

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Let Freedom Ring Buttermilk Fried ChickenEstimated Cost:  $10.00

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Frying Time:  15 minutes

Serves:  4

Southern buttermilk fried chicken is said to have been one of Dr. King‘s favorite meals. August 28th, 2013 seemed the perfect day to celebrate a speech that comes, if we are lucky, once in a lifetime, with a recipe I hope he would have enjoyed.

After much trial and effort, I’ve found fried chicken to be the alchemy of the culinary world. Successful fried chicken is made up of equal parts science, magic, and spirituality.  The magic happens when you combine your heart and a simple scientific concept.  Fried chicken needs to be cooked at a consistent temperature of 325 °F.  

The easiest way to maintain a consistent temperature when frying is to use an electric skillet. This recipe is based around using an electric skillet, but if you feel confident in maintaining the consistent temperature using other means, more power to you!

1 pkg. whole chicken cut up (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts each cut in half)
1 cup buttermilk (need a substitution?)
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
canola or vegetable oil

1. Place enough oil in the electric skillet so that it’s about a half inch deep. Preheat the electric skillet to 325°F (about 5-8 minutes).

2. While the oil is heating, mix the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl; whisk until combined. In another small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper.

3. When the oil is fully heated, dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then in the buttermilk mixture, then in the flour again, and place in the oil.

4. Cook each piece about four minutes. Once it’s brown, flip it and cook for four more minutes. Remove to a plate with paper towels to drain. Fried chicken can be kept in a 200°F oven until you are ready to serve.

Dr. King’s comments:

I have a dream today.

Recipe: Mexican Burgers with Spicy Ranch Sauce

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Mexican Burgers with Spicy Ranch SauceEstimated Cost:  $10.00

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Grill Time:  12 minutes

Serves: 6

hamburguesa Wonderful!

1 pkg. taco seasoning, divided
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
6 hamburger buns

1. Combine 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning, mayonnaise and sour cream in small bowl; mix well. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Mix ketchup and remaining Seasoning Mix in medium bowl until well blended. Add ground beef; mix gently. Shape into 6 patties; refrigerate until ready to grill.

3. Grill over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes per side or until burgers are cooked through. Add cheese to burgers 1 minute before cooking is completed.

4. Serve burgers on rolls with Spicy Ranch Sauce and desired toppings (see below).

Mike’s comments:

One of the most fun part of serving grilled burgers is providing your guests with delicious and appropriate toppings. A few toppings to consider when serving Mexican Burgers include: guacamole, salsa, sliced onion, sliced jalapeno, leaf lettuce, and avocado slices.

Original recipe source: Lawry’s Grill Labratory

Recipe: Crescent Reuben Roll-Ups

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Crescent Reuben Roll-UpsEstimated Cost:  $6.50

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Baking Time:  20 minutes

Serves:  4

Crescent Reuben Roll-Ups simply have to be tried to be believed.  Super easy to make, they don’t take a hit out of your wallet, and you will want to make them again and again.  These ROCK hard.

1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 Tbs. Thousand Island dressing
8 slices thinly sliced corned beef
8 slices thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 cup well drained sauerkraut

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unroll dough on a floured work surface; separate into triangles.

2. Spread each triangle with 3/4 teaspoon Thousand Island dressing. Top each with a slice of corned beef, a slice of cheese, and a teaspoon of sauerkraut. Roll up loosely as directed on Crescent can.

3. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve into crescent shape. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Mike’s comments:

One of my favorite, simple, ways to serve Reuben’s at home.

Original recipe source: Pillsbury Kitchens

Recipe: Easy Onion Roasted Potatoes

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Easy Onion Roasted PotatoesEstimated Cost:  $3.00

Prep Time:  5 minutes

Baking Time:  35 minutes

Serves:  4

Recipes don’t get much easier then this, or more affordable, and they are definitely delicious.  I prepare these spuds, often times, at the end of the month when the grocery budget is nil and supplies are waning.  A great recipe for the novice chef to the seasoned vet.  Thank you Lipton!

1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
4 medium all-purpose potatoes, cut into large chunks
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 425°F

2. In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients; toss to coat. Pour mixture into a 13×9-inch baking pan.

3. Bake at 425°F for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Mike’s comments:

These are in the oven as I type this post!

Recipe: Texas Pinto Beans

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Texas Pinto BeansEstimated Cost:  $6.50

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  2 hours

Serves:  8

A Tex-Mex variation of a classic “pot of beans” recipe.   A bag of dry pinto beans is transformed into something magical when combined with chicken broth and onions. Salsa Verde (green salsa), jalapeno, and healthy spoonful of cumin bring the kick.

With sour cream, shredded cheese, and warm tortillas on the side, Texas Pinto Beans are transformed from a side into a meal.  Easy to make, inexpensive to buy, and delicious – I recommend adding Texas Pinto Beans to your table soon.

1 bag (1 lb.) dry pinto beans
1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth (4 cups)
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (how to)
2 cloves garlic, minced (how to)
1/2 cup Salsa Verde (green salsa)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
water, if needed

1. Place all ingredients, except water, in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking 2 hours, stirring often, until beans are tender. Add water as needed to keep the beans moist.

2. Serve with extra Salsa Verde, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and warm tortillas if desired.

Mike’s comments:

Serve these with the suggested extras during your next game night, but be sure to print off extra copies of the recipe.

Recipe: Couldn’t Stand the Weather Texas Tornado Cake


Couldn't Stand the Weather Texas Tornado CakeEstimated Cost:  $7.00

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Baking Time:  40 minutes

Serves:  10

Texas Tornado Cake is all about baking a cake, with little preparation time, with common ingredients you have in the fridge and pantry. Last minute guests dropping in? No worries – bake a cake with the speed of a Texas tornado!

This recipe’s original post date was
August, 27th. In memory of one of my all time favorite musicians, and personal favorite guitarists, I used a little bit of artistic license in the alteration of the recipe title.

Stevie Ray Vaughan: born 10/3/1954, died 8/27/1990.  R.I.P. brother.


1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 can (15.5 oz.) fruit cocktail, including the liquid
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flaked coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease and flour a 13×9 inch cake pan.

2. In a stand-up mixer, cream sugar and eggs together until fluffy. Add the fruit cocktail with juice; mix just to combine.

3. In a separate medium mixing bowl sift together flour and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the fruit cocktail mixture; mix to combine.

4. Pour batter into the cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and nuts onto the surface of the batter. Bake at 325°F for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

5. With about 10 minutes remaining on the cakes bake time start the topping. In a a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring the butter, milk and sugar to a low boil. Stir constantly for 2 minutes then add the coconut. Remove from heat.

6. Spoon hot topping over the cake as soon as it is removed from the oven. Let the cake cool before cutting it.

Stevie’s Comments:

All these years you and I’ve spent together
All this, we just couldn’t stand the weather

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