Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Potluck Time of the Year

and Christmas...
...time to bring out the casserole dishes!  

We just got back from a Potluck with Chuck's high school friends.  It is an annual affair and I am always trying to decide what to take.  Someone always brings fried chicken so I will chose corn, potato or green bean casserole.  The potato and green bean casseroles are old standards, but the corn dish is a little different.  It is always a hit and I thank Angela for sharing it with me.

Corn Casserole

Heat and blend together on stovetop:
1/2 C Butter
6 oz. Cream cheese
1/2 C Milk
2 Cans  Shoe peg corn
1 Can   Diced Green Chilies

Pour into Casserole Dish
Sprinkle bread crumbs or croutons on top (not many bread crumbs)
Bake at 350o for 35 minutes.

My recipes for the old standards:
Sinful Potatoes

1-2 lb. pkg. Frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb           Velveeta cheese
1 C            Mayonnaise
1 C           Water or Milk
4 slices crisp bacon
1/2 C        Diced onions (green onions with tops are best)

Defrost potatoes. Grate cheese or melt in microwave. Stir all ingredients together with mayo. Put in buttered casserole dish and garnish with crumbled bacon. Cook at 350 deg. for 30 minutes.

and last, but not least:

Unusual Green Beans

3-14 1/2 oz. C
ans French Style Green Beans

1 can          Sliced water chestnuts
2 cans        Cream of celery soup
1/8t           Pepper
1/2C          Milk
2 cans       French fried onion rings.

Heat beans and drain. Layer beans & sliced water chestnuts in a 2 qt. greased casserole. Mix celery soup & pepper with milk and heat. Pour over the mixture in casserole. Bake in a 350 deg. oven about 25 min. Top with french fried onions and bake until onions are golden brown, 10 min. or more. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

On Christmas afternoon we go to our friends' home for an overnight stay. I like to make a contribution by taking an artichoke spread, but Chuck says it's too rich for him so I won't be taking it this year. The recipe was given to me by my college roommate and I love her for sharing it with me.

Hot Artichoke Spread

1-14 oz.   Can Artichoke hearts, drained & chopped.
1C          Hellman's mayo
1C          Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder to taste
Can green chili peppers, chopped.

Mix all ingredients and put into oven dish and heat at 350 deg. for 20 min. or until mixture bubbles. Serve with Waverly crackers or Dorito Chips.

Sweet potatoes with Marshmallows ... standard fare for me to bring to our family get-together at Thanksgiving.  We all congregate at my sister-in-law's home...about 20 in all.  What a great tradition!  At Christmas we all go our separate ways so this time with our family is special

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

3 or 4 medium size sweet potatoes
1 stick of butter
Sugar or Splenda to taste
Cinnamon to taste
Marshmallows for top

Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces. (This is the hardest part of this recipe...I actually get the muscles of the house to cut them up for me.)  Boil until soft.  Mash until all lumps are gone. (This is actually the easiest part. I use an old fashioned masher-no electricity required.) Add other ingredients to taste.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Top with marshmallows and continue baking until they are brown.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Arkansas Burger

Hands Down...
the Best Burger in Arkansas...maybe anywhere
Just Decoration...not the real thing!
My friend, Sheila, and I have to have our "butter" burger fix about once a month.  We call it that because they slather* butter over the bun before they toast it.  We also think they mix it in the hamburger meat as a secret ingredient :)  

Chuck and I went today while we were out doing errands.  We actually split a burger and fries.  The burger is really not that big, but we were trying to save on calories. We were fine with that, but will probably need a snack or two before supper*.
Ah..memories.  I used to work at Worthen
Now Bank of America

...and the decor 
is fun, too!

Arkansas Burger Co on Urbanspoon

*two good southern words: slather meaning spreading a whole lot of butter and supper meaning dinner other places.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Franke's Cafeteria, A Little Rock Institution

Rodney Parham
Franke's is where we go to eat real home cooking when we don't want to cook at home.  That's what we did tonight.  

We usually get a lite plate and something we not only don't, but won't, cook at home.  I got roast beef, "the best", mashed potatoes "real" and Brussels sprouts (Chuck won't eat them :).  Chuck got liver and onions (I won't eat liver), mashed potatoes "real" and black-eyed peas (we do fix those at home).  He gets a roll and I get a corn muffin and give it to him.  I save my bread calories for something more worthy...maybe a dessert or a glass of wine.

I was introduced to Franke's in 1962 when they were on Louisiana Street across the street from the Arkansas Theater.  My friend, Carolyn, and I would go there on our lunch hour.  We sat at the counter and had a cheeseburger with  grilled onions.  Sometimes a group of us would go through the line.  Yes, Rufus was there to carry our tray and we tipped a whole quarter for his service.

Then, my Mom and Dad moved to Arkansas to be near their only child...that would be me :D.  

Dad managed the Franke's in Hot Springs for several years.  They fixed a baked ham dish with pineapple that was delicious.  They don't have it anymore.  Also, the egg custard pie was warm.  Then, everyone got worried about bacteria and the Health Department made them refrigerate it.  The only time we get warm egg custard pie now is when my sister-in-law makes it  at Easter.

There are two Franke's on Rodney Parham and the other in the Regions Building.*

We love Franke's!

*(The Regions Building began as First National Bank Building where Chuck and I worked for many years...I'll save that for a story on my Blog: Plaid Papers, A Journal.)

Franke's Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 3, 2010

Senor Tequila---Hit or Miss

Tonight was a "Miss".  We decided to change our routine.  I went to First Tee and hit some golf balls at 5:00pm instead of noon.  Chuck was teaching class.  We decided to stop at Senor Tequila's on University on the way home.  We were both thinking "Mexican"!  We are usually there for lunch.  I always have Chicken Taco Salad and it is good.  Chuck gets a traditional Mexican plate.  

Tonight we thought we would try something different.  Not a good idea.  I had Chicken Nachos, rather tasteless, and cheese dip.  They have the white dip, my favorite.  It was the best part of the meal along with the beer on tap in a frosty mug.  

Chuck had Seafood Fajitas, Scallops, Tilapia and Shrimp.  They tasted too fishy.  It was too much food, mainly filler...chips for me - onion and mushrooms for Chuck.  Chuck thought the mushrooms were good.

We will go back because next time our selection may be better.  We know the service will be good and the price reasonable. (We did note; however, that the coke cost more than the beer.  Go figure???
)Senor Tequila on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Capers! Always A Favorite

Our friends were here from Hot Springs.  We decided to visit over a nice dinner.  Neither of us had been to Capers in a while.  She and I like to have lunch there as it was the favorite place to lunch for her and her Mom.  It is also a great place to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.  Capers has discovered a secret that keeps people coming back for more: friendly wait staff, great service and best of all great food.  We tried to think if we had ever been disappointed.  We could not.

We took advantage of a bottle of wine for 1/2 price offered Monday through Thursday.  Our selection of an Italian Wine, Sartori Pinot Grigio, was enough for all of us to share a couple of glasses each. Two of us ordered Chicken Picatta; one, a Shrimp Cocktail and House Salad with the House Dressing, a Champagne Vinaigrette and lastly one, Scallops on the Savor the City menu.  All reported their choices were excellent.  We shared the Lemonade Pie that came with the Savor the City menu order.  We remembered it as the Icebox Lemon Pie made with Eagle Brand Milk. It was a good ending to a nice evening.

Bon Appetite
Capers on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 27, 2010

65th Street Diner

A nice lady was kind enough to let me borrow this picture...
it was in the napkin holder on the table!
Home Cookin!  Yummmmmmm!  It's Friday and fish you remember when we always had fish on Fridays for lunch in the school cafeteria?  I are as old as I am!

I left the Fletcher Library at Noon today; 

picked Chuck up at First Tee and headed for 65th St. Diner!  

Chuck has had a cravin' (Southern speak!) for catfish for the last three weeks.  We debated between Catfish City on University, Frontier Cafe on I-30 access road and 65th St. Diner after the Otter Creek exit.  65th St. won!  It has the best catfish for the best price.  It is cafeteria style and the line always move fast even at noon.  Today was no exception.  We even got a fresh batch of the fish!  We had to let a few people in line before us, but the sacrifice paid off!  We got fresh fish, fries, pinto beans, hush puppies, iced tea(it would be nice to have real lemon for the tea and fish) and slaw (the best in town!)...

I would love to have the slaw recipe.  I have yet to make an edible slaw.   I refuse to give up.  If I figures it out, I will share the secret.  (you probably already have it...if you do, will you share? :D) 65th Street Diner Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Pizza Joint

The Pizza Joint is the
first stop in the quest.  

Pizza is our favorite "comfort" food, that is, almost equal to the "hamburger".  We have eaten a lot of pizza and have our favorites.  Now we are going to revisit these pizza restaurants with a "review" in mind.
The Pizza Joint is located on Hwy. 10 almost to Chenal Parkway.  It is a long trip to eat pizza so it has to be worth it.  We liked the decor...very "pizza-friendly".  We got the Veggie Thin Crust and a small house salad. The pizza was really good, but could have been excellent with more sauce.  The salad was nondescript: lettuce (not enough), mozzarella cheese(too much) and bacon bits (ok)...rated: boring. 

We will The Pizza Joint on our "TTA"* list.  However, there are so many pizza places and so little time.

The Pizza Joint on Urbanspoon
*To Try Again

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Riverfront Steak House North Little Rock Arkansas

What a great end to the celebration of our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  Chuck's sister, Peggy, and brother-in-law, Del, treated us to a wonderful meal at the 
Riverfront Steakhouse 

at the 
Wyndham Hotel 
in North Little Rock.

We didn't get there early enough, but the lobby bar looked like a great place to have a before dinner drink and people watch.  Maybe next time.*

Always the best steak in town.  Just a few comments from us.  We would suggest that you make reservations and ask for a specific area of the restaurant for your seating.  You can do this at or by calling the restaurant*.  There are two or three choices: the back of the room just inside the entrance and behind the cashier, the front of the room closer to any live music and salad bar or the front side for more intimate dining.  All seating is good.  It just depends on your personal preference.
*If you call, you can find out if there is an event at the Verizon Arena and the best time to beat the crowd.

Be sure and take advantage of the free valet parking.  It's worth it. At peak times a place to park is had to find.

How can you fault the food and service?  You can't. . .both are first rate.  However, a word from the wise.  If you are ordering a fillet, find out if it is a thick or thin cut.  I ordered mine cooked "Medium".  It was well done because it was a thin cut.  It was still tender, but I would have preferred "Medium"  Where as Chuck ordered his "Medium" and it was perfect because it was a thick cut. 

The menu is "ala carte".  The baked potato was perfect. (We split it because we just can't eat a whole potato anymore.)   I ordered Sautéed Fresh Asparagus - Served with Hollandaise Sauce.  I would not order it again. . .just don't think it was worth the extra cost.  I might try the Sautéed Fresh Wild Mushrooms next time*.
*Chuck put his card in the bowl for a free dinner for two.  We are counting on being lucky.  We are ready to go again.  

August 3, 1985
Happy 25th Anniversary!

Riverfront Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eating In Tonight

A good country meal...Meatloaf, Squash, Green Beans, Cantaloupe and Cornbread. It's the kind of meal you could go back for more helpings.

The meatloaf recipe came from The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook that I have had since the '60's.

Onion Meat Loaf

1 Cup soft bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 Cup minced onions
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 TBS chopped parsley
1/2 Cup grated carrot
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2-6oz cans tomato juice...I use one plain and one Hot 'n Spicy
2 strips bacon

We use a mix for the cornbread-Martha White's Cotton Country Buttermilk Cornbread Mix.  The squash is simmered w/onion in a saucepan with a little water until tender.  The green beans are Del Monte whole green beans boiled, then simmered, with 1 tsp. of salt for 30 minutes (they taste like home grown to us). 

Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bravo - Wow Out Two Nights In A Row!

Bella Sera! Friends called and we went.  Bravo is a part of a national chain located in the Promenade at Chenal.  This was the first time for us.  They had been before and liked it.  
We weren't so lucky.  Chuck got the 5 oz. fillet "medium" with a skewer of shrimp and mashed potatoes.  He was expecting a thick piece of meat...not!  What he got was a well-done thin fillet and cold mashed potatoes.  The waiter was most congenial and brought some hotter mashed potatoes.  Chuck didn't ask about the steak.  

I got the tilapia which was good, but a little dry.  Luckily, a substituted angel hair pasta for the potatoes and it was hot so I didn't have to contend with that issue.

For what we got it was a little pricey.  In hindsight, we should have split the tilapia and ordered house salads and maybe a cup of soup.  That would have been plenty for us, as we usually subscribe to the "everything in moderation" advice.  As we have gotten older we find we fill up much faster and metabolize our food much slower.  (heads-up to all of you that love "eat all you can buffets"...your time will come)

Bravo Cucina Italiana on UrbanspoonFor such a large space our table was located by the windows so it seemed more private than the middle of the main dining room.  The service was a little slow, but that may be because it was new and really popular.  The chefs, I am sure, are kept pretty busy.  We will certainly give it another chance.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Starbucks at Barnes and Noble

Yum!  Tall Skinny Latte with two Splenda and an Apple Purse.  You can't beat it...

...unless it is an frapuccino with an Apple Purse!...or maybe two Frapuccinos and two Apple Purses for Two. 

And then again it's hot so let's make that a shaken iced tea with one Splenda.

Meet you there!

Cantina Laredo - Viva Mexicano!

Last night we were treated to dinner and conversation by two of our favorite people at one of our favorite restaurants, Cantina Laredo at Midtowne Little Rock. 

The occasion-our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  Here's how our evening went:

We would like a booth, please!  (We like booths...for conversation and privacy.)

Lynne:  What is that in the bowl? "An avocado and a lime".  It must be to entice you to order quac.  We opted out for cheese dip...delicious!

Drinks:  Pinot Grigio for me, 
virgin pomegranate margarita*, 
and 2 beers.
      *could have been better with tequila! :) 

Lynne:  I am going to have the new CILANTRO CHICKEN SALAD-Fajita chicken with black beans, red pepper, monterey jack cheese, and avocado with cilantro-lime dressing..that is, unless you want to split?

Chuck:  No, I am going to try something different...which ended up being 
TAMPICO-Grilled chicken breast topped with sautéed artichoke hearts, mushrooms, spinach, red bell peppers with sour cream-poblano sauce and monterey jack cheese

On previous visits we split the Botanos Platter and the Fiesta Grill.  These were by far better selections than what we had on this occasion.  

Lynne:  The salad was in a neat bowl that appeared to slant toward you...that's all I can say for the salad.

Chuck:  The TAMPICO was just fajita chicken with a little sauce and potatoes on the side.  It really didn't taste Mexican.

While we were somewhat disappointed in our entrée selections last evening, the atmosphere, service and DESSERT made up for it.  DO NOT, repeat DO NOT miss the Mexican Apple Pie. How can you beat apple pie sizzled at the table in Mexican Brandy Butter Sauce and topped with cinnamon ice cream?  It was delivered with four spoons and was shared by all.

Friends were heard to say:  Her: "C'mon Brooks you have to try the Sauce.  It is to die apples for me, just sauce.  Brooks: "Hmmm, the ice cream is good."

We highly recommend the experience, especially with two of your favorite friends. The wait, if there is one, is reasonable as are the prices...and did I say the service was excellent.  We had the cutest waitress who was not only charming but was knowledgeable on the menu. We will return.

Cantina Laredo on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bar Louie - Little Rock - Arkansas

Bar Louie new to Little Rock...

We like to try new places and decided to meet a friend last Monday Night.  She's moving away so we wanted to say goodbye for now and have a nice dinner.  Not the place to have a visit.  The acoustics are not good for hearing what you are thinking let alone what you or your guests are saying.  In fact, for us it was too loud for anything.  I call it "noise pollution".

We ordered the beer-battered fish and chips, chicken nachos and philli-steak sliders.  I would rate those dishes a 5 on a scale from 1 to 10...10 being excellent...5 being "fair to middlin".  (fair to middlin...a good Southern expression).  The price was a little on the high side for what we ordered.  We know places where we can eat about the same thing for a little less.  There was a lot of food, but not what I would order next time.  That is to say, if there is a next time.  Too many restaurants-too little time.Bar Louie on Urbanspoon