Hello Readers! I know that many of you out there know Brad Harris, but what you may not know is what a wonderful cook he is! Over time Brad has shared some great recipes with me, and I figured it was high time I shared more of them with you. You are in for a real treat today as Brad has shared some of his very favorite and treasured recipes. I know you are going to enjoy them, and like me, you will keep them handy to try some of the really soon!

I asked Brad to share with me a little bit about his interest in cooking, and this is what he said:

I am not real sure where or when I developed a love for cooking, but I know it was a long, long time ago. I have always enjoyed being in a kitchen – I don’t consider it work, but rather a release from a hard day at work. For southerners like me, preparing food for others is the way we share our heart and our passion. It’s the way we say “I really care about you.” Often a loaf of bread, some cupcakes, or a casserole is just what a person needs to feel loved. I have always enjoyed providing that comfort to others. I am always on the lookout for new recipes that are delicious but simple to prepare. I have neither the time nor the patience for two-page recipes! The recipes I have included here are simple to make, but will delight those that you serve them to. I hope you enjoy them!

Nana’s Amazing Strawberry Frozen Dessert

Brad’s Note: My mother-in-law, now deceased, was one of the best friends I have ever had. She was also a wonderful cook. Being a pastor’s wife meant she had to do a lot of cooking! Here is one of her finest dessert recipes.

1 large can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries

1/2 cup chopped nuts

2 large bananas, sliced

1 (10 oz.) carton whipped topping

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4/ cup sugar

Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer and gently by hand add whipped topping. Add remaining ingredients, then transfer mixture to an oblong container, cover and freeze. Can be serves as a salad by cutting into squares and placing on lettuce leaf, or serve as a dessert. It is best to take this out of the freezer a half hour or so before serving to make it easier to remove from the dish. This is really good

Incredible Enchilada Casserole

2 lbs. good ground beef

3 cans mild enchilada sauce (be careful to read the label!)

1 can green chiles

1 can water

1 envelope enchilada mix

12 to 16 soft tortilla shells

Cook beef, drain, then add sauce, chiles, water and enchilada mix. Cook this down a bit to thicken. Place a one-third cup or so in the middle of each tortilla shell, then roll up and place in a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Place the rolled shells very tightly together, then pour remaining sauce mixture over the shells. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Add shredded cheddar cheese as topping after the first 20 minutes. Let cool a bit as it will set and resemble lasagna. This is great refrigerated and reheated the next day.

The Garden Walk Inn Breakfast Sausage Casserole

Brad’s Note: I can’t believe I am sharing this recipe, but here goes! Beth and I found this on our honeymoon at the B&B we stayed at. It is one of the best dishes I have ever seen or made. Perfect for any meal, especially a brunch.

Richard’s Note: Brad suggests using a low sodium soy sauce and to also sliver the water chestnuts. He also says that Zatarain’s might be too spicy for some tastes and that Uncle Ben’s might be a better option for the rice.

1 lb. good ground beef

1 lb. good sausage (flavor of your choice)

1/2 cup chopped inion

2 pkgs. wild rice mix (Uncle Ben, Zatarain’s, etc.)

1 can sliced water chestnuts

5 to 6 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce

Cook the rice according to package directions. Brown the meats along with the onions. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. The next morning stir well, and transfer to a casserole dish. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. Be prepared for the accolades you will receive!

Honey Nut Snack Mix

4 cups Cracklin Oat Bran cereal

2 cups uncooked quick cooking oats

1 cup chopped pecans (or other nut of your choice)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or more!)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 cup sweetened cranberries or raisins

Line a large cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl; set aside. Stir together butter, brown sugar, and honey in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir well to coat. Spring in a single layer onto pan. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes, stir, and bake additional 10 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and bake an additional five minutes. Spread immediately on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes a great holiday gift!!

Cookie Butter

Brad’s Note: I understand that cookie butter is the number one seller at Trader Joe’s. Here is a home version that is very similar. I am often asked “What do I eat this with?” I say a spoon is the best way! But also apple slices or other fruit of your choice.

8 oz. speculaas cookies (Biscoff is the best bet, but other ‘soft’ cookies such as pecan sandies or gingersnaps could be included as well

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Crush the cookies in small bits, then transfer to a food processor. Pulse to a fine powder. Slowly drizzle in the oil, then add the water and blend until a paste forms. Add the powdered sugar by tablespoons, scraping the sides as necessary. Add additional water if needed. You are looking for a thick spreadable consistency. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate. This is delicious with apples, pancakes, ice cream and so forth!

Nana’s Mayo Sausage Biscuits

Brad’s Note: These are so easy, yet delicious and crowd pleasing. Like a famous brand of potato chips, no one can eat just one!

1 cup self-rising flour

2 Tbs. mayonnaise

1/2 cup milk

1/3 lbs. sausage

1/2 cup or more shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the sausage and drain on a towel. Combine flour, mayo and milk. Stir in sausage and cheese and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, or into a mini-muffin pan (sprayed). Bake at 400° about 15 minutes until top is light brown. Best when served warm. These are so good!

Apple Cinnamon Roll

Dough:

2 cups milk

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

6 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

2 eggs

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 Tbs. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

2 cups finely chopped apples (I used Golden Delicious apples)

In a small saucepan, heat milk to about 110°. Add yeast and sugar to bowl of a stand mixer and pour in the milk, stir to dissolve. Add salt and two cups of flour and beat for two minutes. Beat in eggs and butter. Stir in the remaining flour half a cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Switch to dough hook and knead about five minutes, until smooth and elastic. Spray a large deep bowl with cooking spray, shape dough into a ball, put it in the bowl, turn once to coat and cover it with a clean towel. Set in a warm place and allow to rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled in volume. Meanwhile make the filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and apples in a small bowl. Melt remaining butter in a small dish. Dust counter top with flour and roll out dough into a long rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Brush with about half of the melted butter. Top with the apple mixture, sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving about an inch empty on all sides. Line cupcake pans with 24 liners. Roll dough into a log beginning on the long side of the rectangle. Trim off both ends to remove the uneven part that doesn’t have any filling. Slice the log into approximately 24 even pieces. Place each piece in a cupcake liner, folding the ends together to make a “C” shape. The pieces should come to about the top of the liners. Cover the cupcake tins with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise for another 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with remaining melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbs. milk

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until combined. Start with one tablespoon of milk and add more as necessary until you have a glaze that is thick but runs easily off the spoon. Drizzle over warm cupcakes and serve. Store in an airtight container and reheat leftover cupcakes in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving.

Bacon Jam

1 lb smoked bacon, sliced into small pieces (or use regular bacon and liquid smoke)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium brown onion, sliced

3 Tbs. brown sugar

Tabasco sauce (according to taste and optional)

1 cup brewed coffee

1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar

1⁄4 cup maple syrup

Black pepper

Extra water

In a non-stick pan, fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Fry the onion and garlic in the rendered bacon fat on medium heat until translucent. Transfer the bacon, onion and garlic into a heavy based cast iron pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the water. Simmer for two hours adding one-fourth of a cup of water every 25 to 30 minutes or so and stirring. When ready, cool for about 15 to 20 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse for two to three seconds so that you leave some texture to the “jam” or of course you could keep whizzing and make it a smoother and more paste like. Serve on your favorite burger, grilled cheese, as an appetizer on crusty bread. The possibilities are endless! Yields one and three-fourths cups and serves 10 to 15 people.

Banana Bread Brownies

1 & 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 & 3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Brown Butter Frosting:

1/2 cup butter

4 cup powdered sugar

1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 Tbs. milk

Heat oven to 375°. Grease and flour 15x10 jelly roll pan. For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for one minute. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).

Spaghetti with Fried Egg and Bread Crumbs

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread

1/2 cup plus

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves

1 lb. spaghetti

1/2 cup (1 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

4 large eggs

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°. Tear bread into 1-inch pieces and pulse pieces in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses; transfer crumbs to bowl. Toss crumbs with two tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread evenly over rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring often, until golden brown, eight to 10 minutes. Mince garlic. Heat three tablespoons oil and one-fourth teaspoon salt in 12-inch non-stick skillet over low heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until garlic is foamy, sticky, and straw-colored, eight to 10 minutes; transfer to bowl. Meanwhile, bring four quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and one tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve one cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add garlic mixture, three tablespoons oil, Parmesan, and one-half cup reserved cooking water and toss to combine; cover and set aside. About five minutes before pasta is ready, wipe now-empty skillet with paper towels; heat skillet over low heat for five minutes. Crack eggs into two small bowls (two eggs per bowl). Add remaining two tablespoons oil to skillet, swirl to coat pan, then quickly add eggs. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny, two to three minutes. Adjust consistency of sauce with remaining reserved cooking water as needed and season pasta with salt and pepper to taste. Evenly divide pasta and bread crumbs among four serving bowls and top each portion with fried egg. Serve immediately,

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast

Make as many of these as you need to!

1 boneless skinless chicken breast

2 Tbs. cream cheese

1 Tbs. green onion, chopped

2 pieces bacon, partially cooked

Pound out chicken breast so it is about 1/4-inch thick. Mix together cream cheese and green onions and spread cheese mixture over one side of chicken breast. Roll Chicken breast up to conseal cream cheese. Wrap partially cooked bacon around chicken breast and secure with toothpick. Place on baking sheet and back for about 30 minutes at 375°. Broil for about five minutes to crisp bacon.