Posted in Food!

Stuffed Pumpkin

Thanksgiving, the ultimate feast day in the United States, is upon us.  It seems appropriate for me to revisit the Food category of Jilly’s which is too often neglected.  This has been a favorite recipe at my house for many years and now, my friends, I share it with you.  There are multiple ways to prepare this dish, so make it your own.  It is a beautiful presentation piece on the table, no matter how you prepare the filling.  In honor of the spirit of the holiday, I am thankful for all of you, my on-line friends.  ~Jilly

stuffed pumpkin
Photo Here

1 pie pumpkin – choose a pretty one with a nice stem.

1/2 lb. sausage (I make my own. Use what you most enjoy. A spicy sausage is recommended since the pumpkin and rice will mellow the spice.)
1/2 cup steamed rice (I like Basmati)
1/2 cup steamed wild rice
1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped 
1/4 cup croutons
1/2 cup shredded cheese; a sharp Cheddar is my personal choice.
Season with fresh herbs: thyme, sage, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley.  Salt & pepper.


Wash the pumpkin & pat dry.  Cut the top one-quarter off and clean seeds and strings from the inside.  Note: I like to notch the lid so that it doesn’t fall into the pumpkin as it bakes. It also makes it easy to find the ‘fit’.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 for about 30 minutes, until partially cooked.  Prepare the filling while it bakes.


Crumble & brown the sausage.  Drain excess fat.  Mix all filling ingredients except cheese and herbs.  Fill the pumpkin, replacing lid, and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin.  You want the pumpkin flesh to be tender but the sides still intact for ease of serving.  Remove lid and sprinkle cheese and fresh snipped herbs on top of the filling.  Spoon out filling being sure to include the cooked pumpkin flesh.




Posted in Food!

White Chicken Chili

Hey, Y’all!  It’s been just ages since I posted anything in the category of Food.
Long overdue.  I reckon it falls to the great state of Texas to own the original
Chili Cook-Off ritual.  It has spread like  wildfire all across the land and into
festivals and kitchens even here in Florida.  I don’t suppose my little ole recipe
here would win any awards, but we sure like it.  This ain’t your traditional
Chili, now folks.  This here is White Chili made with chicken and it packs 
a bit of a zing.  I hope y’all like it enough to share it with some good friends
around the campfire.  Cheers, Jilly!

½ small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
10-12 green olives, chopped
15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. can diced green chilies OR one Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bottle beer or hard cider
1 cup broth, chicken or vegetable
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces OR 2 chicken sausages, sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili-lime Cholula (or other hot sauce)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
Chopped cilantro

Sauté the onion and celery in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add minced garlic.  Continue to sauté for an additional minute.  If you are using a fresh Anaheim pepper, add it with the garlic.  Add all additional ingredients except chopped tomato and cilantro. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Adjust seasoning according to taste.  Stir in the tomato and let simmer a few minutes more.  Serve with chopped cilantro.

Posted in Food!, Poetry

Oh, Do You Know

Were it not for that fatal
flaw we would have bought
that house on Drury Lane
which was so fitting considering
all of my perfect muffin recipes

Oh, there were the usual blue
berry, banana nut and the infinitely
naughty double
chocolate chip that could
hardly be called breakfast
but we didn’t buy that

house that city
proved itself
to be the perfect recipe
for suffering which
is supposed to build
character but only
added bitters
to the glass

© Jilly's 

Day 2 at NaPoWriMo
and our prompt is to write a poem about a recipe
or in the form of a recipe.
Write on, y'all!
Posted in Food!, Photos

Puttanesca Sauce or Dinner at the House of Ill-Repute

This sauce gets its name from its quick prep time,
making it popular with street-walkers who purportedly would
whip up a quickie batch at the end of a long night of, um, working.
So, sailor, if you are new in town to this saucy little number,
come on in, honey, and we’ll talk.

1 large clove garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes.
I like the fire-roasted version as they add depth to the flavor.
(4-6 fresh Roma tomatoes can be used if available.)
10 Kalamata olives, give or take, sliced.
1 TBSP capers
Dried oregano – about ½ teaspoon
Crushed red pepper – to taste.  Some like it hot!
Dash sugar
Cooked pasta
Fresh basil
Parmesan cheese, grated

Hey, Joe, let’s get cooking!

Warm the olive oil in a deep skillet and press in the garlic.
Sauté over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn.
Throw in the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, red pepper, and sugar.
Simmer about 5-7 minutes while you grate the cheese and
snip up the basil leaves.
Serve the sauce over hot pasta and sprinkle the basil and cheese
on top.

Now, doll, before you dress and leave,
I should tell you that this usually has anchovies in it.
So, if you like it that way, slip a few in with the tomatoes.

😉  ©Jilly’s 2016

Photo by Jilly with help from CBL.


Posted in Food!, Poetry

The Moon is to Blame

Since he left

I Camembert my

Brie existence

I went to Monterey

but Jilly’s Manchego

had to flee Asiago

no one there had seen



I wandered for days

until completely


forcing me from Gouda to worst

my Saga Sirene

came to a Munsterly end

when I Butter Käsed my Feta

to the Bleus

and determined that

the moon is to blame

I am innocent of all Cheddar shame.

© Jilly’s 2016

Day 14
(Please forgive my descent into pun!)
28 Days of Unreason
"The moon is to blame.  I am innocent."
~Jim Harrison
Posted in Food!

Italian Beef Sandwiches

It’s a Chicago Thing!

Okay, so my guilt will get the better of me if I don’t level wich ‘ya right up front; I don’t eat beef – haven’t in ages. (Long, dull story.) But, hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t love you guys with this great recipe, not to mention it can be made with chicken instead!  So, let’s get to it.

You’re going to need a crockpot, first and foremost.  And a good long day of cooking time.

Here’s the ingredient list:

4 pounds rump roast, trimmed (4 pounds chicken breast)

1 TBSP oregano

1 shallot, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

10 ounces beef broth (if you use chicken, you can switch to vegetable broth)

6 ounces beer – seems like something from Milwaukee would be regionally appropriate.

8 ounces tomato sauce

6 ounces pepperoncini peppers, with juice

6 hard rolls – you’re going to have juice, so don’t be afraid!  I use hard hoagie rolls.

Brown the roast on all sides in a frypan with a touch of oil.  Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients (except the rolls) in your crockpot.  Put it on high!  Transfer that roast beef to the crockpot and let it cook on high for about 8 hours.  The peppers will be all cooked down, so I like to add some nice fresh ones at this point, for presentation, ya know?

Remove the roast and shred the meat.  Slice the hard rolls and place meat, peppers and several ladles-full of the juice on each one.  This is a knife and fork kinda sandwich, obviously.

Oh, Man!!!! You are gonna love this!  It will be perfect for Sunday night football!

© Jilly’s 2016


Posted in Food!

The Shrimp & Grits Blues

Now, I know what you’re going to say, but just hear me out.  I love traditional Shrimp & Grits – really, I do!  But, the first time I ever had blue cheese grits, well, I just wept right there in that high –class seafood joint in Columbia, SC.  I never looked back.  This recipe was birthed from that emotionally laden moment.

Grits are a philosophy.  In my poem The Bends (posted today) I mention Pat Conroy, who was a foodie extraordinaire and he would blanch at quick grits.

½ cup yellow grits (the quick kind, like I said)

2 cups chicken broth

This is an art, like Cream of Wheat.  Bring the broth to a boil, then s-l-o-w-l-y add the grits, stirring constantly.  Turn the heat way down to low and let those little grits simmer for about 5 minutes.

1 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (Use something good, okay?)

1 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (Again, spring for it!)

¼ pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 pound shrimp, grilled

Once the grits are done, stir in the cheeses until they are melted and blended.

The bacon and shrimp go in at the very end.  If you put the bacon in too soon, it will become all UNcrisp – not cool!

If you like some zing, dust those shrimp babies with Old Bay or Zataran’s while they are grilling.  You can also add a bit of that to the grits if y’all want to.

Let me know!  Cheers!  Jilly

© Jilly’s 2016

Posted in Food!

Red Beans & Rice

Musical Choices: Blues – Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton, anyone who makes you feel real bad so that you feel real good while you get the kitchen messy!

[This is just right for two; double it up if you feed a crew!]

3/4 cup rice

1 1/2 cups water

Bring to a low boil, cover, reduce to low temp.  Steam 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, let’s make red bean heaven!

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

14 oz. can red beans, rinsed

14 oz. can broth, chicken or vegetable

1 bay leaf

2-3  Andouille sausage links (I use chicken sausage – healthier! Trader Joes / Whole Foods)

Toss the onion & celery in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan sprayed with cooking oil.  Saute over medium heat for a few mintes.  Add the garlic, beans, broth & bay leaf.  Simmer on low with the lid on while we deal with those beautiful sausages.

There is a personal philosophy of the sausage in Red Beans.  Many like them left as a whole link while some cut them up.  Either way you choose….

Roll those babies in a frypan over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until you just can’t stand it any more and you are sure you’re going to starve!  Add them in to the beans and leave the cover off that pan.  Y’all will know when it is done when the broth is about 3/4 reduced.  Now, if you’re a purist, toss a little pat of butter in there just before you spoon the beans over the rice.

Bonus:  Add some kind of hotsie-totsie sauce to it.  I live and die by Cajun Power Sauce (order it from some place in Louisiana), but you might go for Tobasco or Cholula.  Up to you, baby!  Let me know!  Cheers, Jilly

© Jilly’s 2016