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Jeff and I are considered empty nesters, but not so much anymore. With Shelter at Home, our 2 unmarried children are BACK!! Both online–one working and the other taking PT classes. So what does that mean for me? Time to dust off the apron and get those meals back on the table.
Bet there are many of you in the same boat–whether your kids have flown back to the coop, you’re sheltering 24/7 with a husband, toddlers, and school-agers, or you haven’t cooked in years and your favorite restaurant(s) are closed.
To add a little levity and help during a stressful time, I thought it would be fun to share what’s cookin’ from the Kurr family kitchen. I’ve also asked my Facebook followers to share as well by commenting on my Share A Meal posts. No guilt–no judgement–just a transparent look at what we’re all doing at home to beat the mealtime blues.
Trust me, this doesn’t have to be fancy or earth shattering. Sometimes the meal might be healthy and sometimes–not so much. It might be Pizza or take out from a restaurant in town. One day, it might be a super dressed sandwich on Dave’s Good Seed bread and the next day peanut butter and jelly on Bunny bread. Sometime’s there will be a great new recipe and directions but maybe not. There might be a beautiful pic of the finished meal on a plate and sometimes just the ingredients that went into a recipe. It might be a meal someone brought to you or you took someone else. It might be a No Time 2 Cook entree you picked up at your favorite store or maybe it’s another meal from frozen foods. NO RULES! We’ve got enough on our plate (no pun intended). If you would like to contribute, just go to our Facebook page and comment on the last Share a Meal post. We would love to hear from each and everyone of you and so would our followers.
I’m going to start the sharing today with the Breakfast Beignets I did for my kids this morning. OK! Ok! I know it sounds fancy but it is so NOT! It’s just what I had on hand. A can of Pillsbury biscuits, powdered sugar and a new bottle of vegetable oil. That’s it. At the last minute I cooked up some sausage for a little protein to offset all that sugar. Jeff wouldn’t eat them and opted for a bowl of cereal instead. He said he wasn’t interested in eating fried bread. Really! OK, then that’s just more for the rest of us. See, I told you the recipe might not be healthy.
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Our sister town, Water Valley, MS, broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Watermelon-Eating Contest this past weekend at their annual Watermelon Festival. There were 754 contestants competing. Now that’s a lot of watermelon!
In honor of Water Valley’s achievement, I thought I’d share some of the tips my mama taught me in picking out a good watermelon. But beforehand, I searched the web and found out there are more ways to pick a good watermelon than the tips I learned from Mama.
Click here to the best blog I found on picking out a great watermelon. It includes all of Mama’s tips plus some I’d never heard. Now, I can’t wait to go watermelon shopping.
Happy Watermelon hunting to you too!
This no mess method is a great time saver, and you’ll always have browned ground beef in the freezer for tacos, spaghetti, soup, etc.
Directions for browning ground beef in the oven:
When cooking soup, stews, and chili, excess fat will rise to the surface. The following methods for removing fat from soup, stew, and chili work with just a little effort on your part.
The first method is the most obvious. Just skim the fat off with a ladle. Don’t worry, you’ll pick up some of the broth as well, but losing a little of the good broth is well worth removing the fat and calories. If you’re like me and determined not to lose a bit of the good stuff, the bowl of hot skimmings can be cooled and chilled. When chilled, remove and discard the congealed fat on the top. Then, return the good broth underneath back to the pot.
Another method is to use a fat skimmer. This great gadget can be purchased from kitchen supply stores or Amazon. Directions come with the skimmer.
The third method might surprise you. White bread may be bad for us to eat, but its great for absorbing the last bit of fat from the top of the soup–and the staler the better. After skimming as much fat as possible, the bread will get the rest. Just place slices on top of your soup, flip, and remove quickly. You can even tear off some pieces to get that illusive fat around the edges. Then you’ll have virtually fat free soup, stew, chili, or even spaghetti.
See the images above. The left image was spaghetti before the fat was removed. The second image is the congealed fat that was removed after the skimming was chilled in the freezer, and the third image is a virtually fat free spaghetti.
I just hate browning ground beef. The splatter, the greasy skillet, dealing with the fat! But, there are some soups, stews, and chilis that don’t require browning like the ground beef in my Mama’s Beef and Vegetable Soup. Here’s the method I use that my Mama taught me.
Try this method in your soup recipes. You’ll learn which ones are just as good without browning the meat. You will find that some require browning and some do not. For instance, I just have to grit my teeth and brown when I’m making my mama’s spaghetti sauce while her Beef and Vegetable Soup, I prefer with unbrowned beef.
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Mama had a huge influence on No Time 2 Cook, and with Mother’s Day approaching, I honor her and loving mothers everywhere. However, our story could be your story, as well. As it unfolds, Mama could be your father, wife, husband, son, daughter, sister, grandparent . . .
Our story is about relationships and how they can change overnight when receivers becomes the givers and givers the receivers. How in adversity we discover inner strengths and recognize new gifts. It’s about support of family, friends, and the community around us. About memories, tears, laughter, joy, and fellowship. Our story is about a painfully sweet journey of love, grace, mercy, and even hope. It’s about saying goodbye.
At age 82, Mama was still working as the lead proof reader for the Mississippi House of Representatives. Her last day of work was a Friday, and the following Wednesday, she was diagnosed with stage 4 non-smokers lung cancer. That day we knew, our lives would never be the same again.
Who remembers longing for their next birthday? Waiting for the sun to come up on Christmas morning? How about the impatience for the birth of their first child? We seem to spend the first half of our lives anticipating and wishing for the next event, milestone, and celebration. And, God willing, our mothers have been present to celebrate and support us on each and every occasion.
Mama never missed a big event, EVER! And, she was there for most of the small ones as well. She was also my biggest supporter and the inspiration behind No Time 2 Cook. Many of our recipes either came from Mama or she was there when they were developed. As once a busy mom, she recognized the role No Time 2 Cook would play in helping bring families back to the dinner table.
At age 50, I began to realize Mama’s mortality as a few dear friends lost their mothers to illness. My perspective of time began to change wanting to stop the clock and slow everything down. The thought of losing Mama gripped my heart and literally took my breath away.
We lost my daddy to a brain tumor when I was in my mid-twenties. He was only 51. He and mother had been high school sweethearts and married in their late teens as did many of their friends at the outbreak of the Korean War. They were inseparable and completely devoted to one another. After service and college, Mama stayed home and Daddy traveled.
With Daddy away during the week, Mama focused her attention on mothering my sister, Kay, and me. She spent her days keeping house, preparing meals, and driving us to our many activities. She was also involved in Girl Scouts and volunteered at our church. Much of Mama’s church work revolved around visiting and taking meals to older home bound members. Seeing their needs first hand got Mama really excited about No Time 2 Cook as she caught the vision of how our meals could minister to the elderly.
In later years, Mama and daddy spent their weekends taking care of our family farm. Mama raised a big beautiful garden every summer, and Daddy raised Black Angus cattle and tended his grape vineyard. They were also great hosts throwing big parties and meals for their many friends and our large extended family. Mama was the most organized person I have ever known and it was during these years as a teenager and young adult that I began to learn about planning, cooking, and entertaining for large groups of people. Little did we know, but Mama was setting the ground work for No Time 2 Cook.
When Daddy passed away, my sister was married and busy with her family raising a houseful of boys. I was a young single professional teaching Home Economics at the university in Monroe, LA. Mama’s “Empty Nest” years would now be spent without our daddy. In her grief, she sought healing through her family and friends turning her focus once again toward Kay and me. Though we would have given anything to have Daddy back, we loved having so much of Mama’s time, presence, and assistance in our ever growing hectic lives. And, that’s how it was for the next 32 years.
Needless to say, Mama’s illness caught us completely off guard. This wasn’t the way it was suppose to happen! Mama was healthy, living in and caring for our family home. She was still tending her vegetable and flower gardens and working her part time job at the legislature. She was our mother who was always there when we needed help, support, companionship, advice, a listening ear. The day of Mama’s diagnosis, everything changed!
Mama faced her illness with calm and perfect grace. Though willing to have treatment at the onset, she was firm in her resolve against extraordinary measures. She would endure some discomfort to a point but would not sacrifice complete quality of life at any cost.
Mama knew her final destination and what and who was waiting when she crossed over from this life to the next. I overheard her many times say, “I often wondered if my faith would stand when facing the end of my life. Now that the time is here, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my faith is solid and will carry me through to the other side. And, the peace I feel is indescribable!” That was my Mama! Though her health and strength were failing and our roles reversed, there she was stronger than ever.
Here, I could spend pages describing the downward spiral, sharing the disappointment when Mama could no longer stand the chemo. The day we walked out of the oncologist’s office knowing it was our last visit. And, with the hospice referral tucked inside my purse, how thankful that I was behind Mama in her wheel chair and she couldn’t see the tears streaming down my face. But, that’s not our story. It is however about relationship, fellowship, and the people who participated along the way.
Mama settled in to our home without a miss. At first, it wasn’t very different from when she would come for an extended visit. She went to work with me every day listening and participating in the day to day discussions about No Time 2 Cook. She helped in the house as her strength allowed. We had our coffee time in the morning and a little wine in front of the fire at night.
There were many letters, cards, phone calls, and visitors. Everyone wanted a piece of “Joy” and she relished in the attention. Each visitor came with their own set of memories. We laughed, we cried, we reminisced, we fellow-shipped. It was a sweet time with Mama in the center, and I began to realize what my friends and family were going to mean to us over the coming months.
And, where do I begin when describing the support of her medical staff? Mama’s doctors were never in a hurry as if Mama were their most important patient of the day. The techs, the nurses, Mama’s sitters, and her hospice team were the very best! There big smiles and cheerful dispositions helped keep our focus on the positive.
My sister and I were a team when it came to Mama’s welfare. But, with Kay in Jackson, I actually think it was harder on her than on me. She was isolated from Mama’s daily care and medical treatment. I could see firsthand how Mama was doing, and Kay had to depend on my reports. With Mama away, Kay took over her house, gardens, finances and bills. Every weekend, she drove to Oxford to help with Mama’s care. Those were sweet times for the three of us.
Kay and I have always been close, but caring for Mama strengthened our bonds beyond imagination. As our beloved mother was slipping away, God in is infinite mercy and grace, was growing a love between we two sisters that would carry us through our pain and grief long after mother’s passing.
Time marched on and the cancer spread. Mama became weaker and could not be left alone, and sitters were required when I was at work. I’ll never forget the day her hospice team arrived. A hospital bed and other equipment were ordered and my sun room became Mama’s bedroom. It was a day we dreaded but actually became a sweet time of relief and release.
Mama was thrilled to be next door to the master bedroom with me sleeping just a few feet away. I was relieved to have her close as well. Also, the sun room was in the center of our house and Mama always did love being in the middle of everything. As she spent more time in bed, she took great comfort waking and hearing the beat and rhythm of daily life from the heart of our home. She was right where she needed and wanted to be.
Mama’s health reached a plateau from late May through early June. We even hosted our family reunion in Oxford during that time. I just moved Mama, sitters, and household to the hotel for the weekend where the reunion was held. It was a glorious time, with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and a slew of cousins in attendance. Mama was in her element. The weekend was a true celebration of her life.
Our daughter, Annaleigh, was away from home during the early days of Mama’s illness. She was a high school senior studying dance at a residential arts school, and upon graduation, coming home for the summer. I worried about Annaleigh and how she would handle the changes taking place in our home and her response to Mama’s weakening condition. My fears were groundless. Annaleigh took on the role of secondary caregiver like a pro. In fact, as mother’s care became more intense and demanding, I saw in Annaleigh the gift of healing and a true caregiver’s heart.
Since entering college, Annaleigh is still dancing but in addition has decided to pursue physical therapy school upon graduation. Would she have discovered these gifts without this life experience? Maybe not. What a beautiful picture of when we let go and let God unfold his perfect plan for us.
Five days after our family reunion, Mama suffered a massive stroke and five days after that she was gone. My husband, Jeff, best described Mama’s passing when he said “Joy just slipped quietly into the arms of the Father.”
Right after Mama got sick, a sweet cousin told me, “Joe is pacing the river bank just waiting for Joy, his beloved, to cross over.” I pondered her words and why they brought me such comfort. Now that Mama’s gone, I know the answer. Mama will be pacing the river bank awaiting me and all her loved ones just as I’ll be pacing for mine. And as that age old hymn goes “God be with you til we meet again”.
My Southern Pecan Pie is the only pecan pie recipe you will find in my recipe box. It came from my mama’s best friend and next door neighbor of 45 years, Ms. Betty Robinson.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ms. Betty made her Southern Pecan Pies into the most delectable mini pie tarts you have ever tasted. She stacked them in a pretty glass covered cake plate that stayed in the middle of her breakfast table.
Ms. Betty and Mama got together every afternoon for 5:00 coffee and Ms. Betty’s Pecan Pie Tarts were the standard treat during the holidays. I never turned down an invitation to join them when I was home for a visit. These were memorable times with two precious gentle Southern women and I miss them dearly.
Ms Betty’s Pecan Pie was one of the first recipes I pulled from my recipe box in the early days of No Time 2 Cook. Many were sold throughout Mississippi to my loyal farmers market friends. It warms my heart to share the recipe with my Facebook fans and website followers. Careful though, as once you begin baking and taking these pecan pies to family events, you’ll be in charge of pecan pies from here on out.
My Southern Pecan Pie recipe makes 2 traditional 8″ pies or 16 mini pecan tarts. Since I’m usually in a hurry to get these pies cooked, I buy store bought frozen pie crusts. I can’t remember when I made a crust from scratch. These pecan pies freeze beautifully allowing me to make all my Thanksgiving and Christmas pies at one time. The frozen pie shells in disposable pans are really handy for freezing multiple pies ahead of time.
I recommend you buy store brand frozen pie shells, as they are usually flakier than the brand name pie crusts. Also, let them thaw and reach room temperature before filling. Then, crimp the rim into pretty fluted edges or imprint with a fork as you would do if you made your pie crust from scratch. If you want to use a pretty pie dish, buy the refrigerated pie crusts from the dairy department. Let these come to room temperature, as well, before trying to handle
For the full recipe for my Southern Pecan Pie click here.
Down here in Mississippi, we say “puh-kahn” pies– sorry, not “pea-kan” pies.
I attended my first holiday party of the Christmas season last Friday given by Jeff’s new boss and his wife. They were fantastic hosts, and the evening was delightful with fabulous food and beverage, lovely decorations, and great conversation.
As I pondered holiday parties, several thoughts came to mind. The first was how you can always spot the foodies in the group. You don’t have to tell us twice to help ourselves to the buffet table, and we usually start up conversations about food with the other foodies standing in line. Not only do we want to discuss each dish at length, but if the hostess is near, we will quiz her about the ingredients and we never hesitate to ask for recipes. While all of this is happening, I imagine there must be a level of frustration among the hungry non-foodies behind us.
You know when the food for holiday parties is well planned and executed. The table is full of both the familiar and unfamiliar, everything is beautifully staged tasting as good it looks, and you wake up the next morning wishing you had some of the leftovers for breakfast. For this party, the hostess and her mom get 5 stars in my book.
One of the sweet treats served was an old favorite that I haven’t thought of or seen at a party in years, and they tasted exactly the way I remembered. So the next day, I pulled out my old tattered recipe binder and wah lah, there it was, Ms. Betty’s Toffee Praline Bars. These were among my favorite party foods back in the 1980’s when I was a young adult, just beginning to entertain, and teaching Home Economics at NLU in Monroe.
It’s interesting how the best recipes never go out of style. So, this gave me an idea for this season of blogs and recipes. Between now and the New Year, I’m going to be sharing party food recipes. Some will be old favorites but some will be new. Obviously, the first recipe will be Ms. Betty’s Toffee Praline Bars.
Alas, I did not take a picture of them the night of the party. So, I called the hostess and she arranged some on her grandmother’s plate and sent it to me. Lovely! On a side note, you may recognize Ms. Betty’s name from another recipe, Ms.Betty’s Pecan Pie. Yes, that’s the same Ms. Betty. She was my mama’s next door neighbor and best friend.
If you have a great recipe you’re preparing for the holidays that you would like to share, send it to me by clicking on Contact. If you have a picture of your recipe, send it too. My personal email is at the bottom of our contact page. In turn, I may share your recipe giving you credit on our recipe website and Facebook page
So stay tuned to the website and like us on Facebook and see what we share. If you try one of our recipes, send us a picture and let us know how it turned out.
Merry Christmas to you and your family, and God bless!
For more information about No Time 2 Cook’s owner/founder, Karen Kurr, click here.
This year for Thanksgiving my sister and I hosted 13 people ranging in ages from 7 – 80 at our little two bedroom/1 bath cabin in Mississippi. The table where we gathered for our meal dates back to the 1800’s and came from our family farm. When growing up, our mama cooked, and we shared many a meal with family and friends around this old table. Mama would have been pleased to see a new generation gathered around her table sharing great food and building new memories.
After filling up on Thanksgiving fare, we spent the evening in rousing family games of Gestures and Catch Phrase, then pulled pillows and blankets from Mama’s old cedar chest and bedded the crew down on wall to wall cots and pallets. Being at the cabin is like stepping back in time, and I don’t think anyone missed their football games. Family cabin rule #1, no television, and the cell phone service isn’t so great either. I just love the chatter and laughter of cousin bonding without the roar of television in the background or I Phones glued to their hands.
When it came time to divvy up the leftovers, I was the only one with my hat in the ring for the turkey carcass and the ham bone. So, I brought them both home. Yeah for me! I didn’t have time to make my broth when I first got home, so everything went in the freezer until I could deal with them.
When I was ready, the turkey carcass was first on my agenda, and I remembered Mama’s old Turkey Carcass Soup. The name was not my favorite, but the soup was always delicious. Since I didn’t have the recipe, I had to go by memory. I could remember the main ingredients with one being white beans. I wanted a low carb soup, and so I needed a substitute for the beans. In my research, I stumbled upon the suggestion of using frozen shelled Edamame. Hmmm. Really? I’m also a sausage fan and thought that would be a good ingredient to add. I used Country Pleasin Original Smoked Sausage. You could use a turkey sausage if you wanted to go really low fat, but the way I do my sausage, there’s not much fat that goes in the soup so I use what I like best.
The new recipe was written and named Turkey, Sausage, and Edamame Soup. Oh my goodness, this soup was amazing! Even my husband, Jeff, loved it, so I thought I’d share it with you. If you already used your Thanksgiving carcass or heaven forbid, threw it away, never fear, there’s always Christmas. And, by the way, a couple of meaty chicken carcasses will do just as well for this recipe. Before you go any further though, please read my recipe on how to make a great Homemade Chicken Stock.
Tomorrow, I’ll work on the ham bone. What to do? What to do? Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.
For more information about No Time 2 Cook’s owner/founder, Karen Kurr, click here.
I learned from my mama that good homemade soup stock is essential in making the best soups, gumbo, and stews. Mama was an excellent cook, and she loved to cook soup and gumbo which we ate year round. That habit came from the years we lived in Houma, LA. In South Louisiana a little hot weather never got in the way of a good bowl of gumbo, shrimp creole, or etouffee.
Not only did we love all of Mama’s soups, but so did our church family. Once a month, we had Sunday potluck, and Mama always took a big pot of soup. No matter how big the pot, it ALWAYS came home empty. By the time I got through the lunch line, it was gone. Bless her! Mama quickly learned to leave some at home for our supper that night. So on potluck Sundays, I knew I could count on Mama’s soup for supper.
Homemade soup stocks can be made from the bones (preferably meaty) of any kind of poultry or meat including beef, pork, lamb, etc. You can also make great seafood stock by boiling shrimp, crawfish, muscles, or crab shells. If you love soup and don’t mind cooking once in a while, never throw away bones or seafood shells. If I’m at someone’s house for a meal and see them throwing away a good meaty bone, I’ll even ask for it.
A few Christmases back, we were guests at our cousin’s who prepared a prime rib for the meal. I was so glad to be part of the clean up crew when I just stopped her from throwing meat, bones, and juices into the trash. Whew! What a save. I grabbed the pan (with promises to return it later) and quickly stashed it in my cold car. To a soup cook, that bone and trimmings were pure gold and made some of the best grillades you’ve ever tasted. Grillades you ask? Well, grillades is a Cajun meat stew in a brown gravy with a little red wine and trinity (onions, celery, & bell pepper) served over rice or grits. Hmm, better pull that recipe out of my recipe box real soon and share. Stay tuned!
If you find yourself with leftover bones or shells with no time to deal with them, just put everything in ziploc bags and freeze until you are ready. After you make your stock, if you don’t have time to make the soup, freeze the stock until you do. I have an entire freezer shelf dedicated to homemade stocks just waiting to become rich savory soups for my family.
If you have the freezer space, cooking large pots of soup and freezing in small containers is a great way to save time and money. As a general rule, soup is more economical, healthier and more satisfying than fast food and restaurant fare. Besides, it helps bring the family around your dinner table while enjoying a home cooked meal on a busy night.
I would cook large pots of soup on weekends when Jeff was home to watch the kids. I froze them in dinner size portions to pull out on busy nights. This was when I began writing down and perfecting recipes for the food business I wanted to start one day. My sister and I actually began No Time 2 Cook by cooking some of the great soups we grew up eating as kids and selling them frozen at local farmers markets.
To learn how to make a great Chicken Stock and how to safely handle stocks and soups while cooling follow this link.
When choosing a recipe for a specific homemade soup stock you should consider the meat and the seasonings used on the meat when cooked. Cajun seasoned chickens and seafood work well for gumbo. Seafood stocks work well in seafood bisques, etouffee, and chowders. Smoked ham and pork shoulder stocks are perfect for bean soups. Cooked prime rib makes a fabulous stock for Grillades. My most recent recipe, Turkey Sausage, and Edamame Soup, was fantastic. The secret was the broth that was made from My Favorite Roasted Turkey .
Happy soup making!
For more information about No Time 2 Cook’s owner/founder, Karen Kurr, click here.
Learning how to prepare 1-2 servings of a No Time 2 Cook entree can be very beneficial for family’s of fewer than 3-4 people. This method allows individuals and couples to enjoy our delicious entrees with just a little effort and a few on hand kitchen items.
Remove a No Time 2 Cook casserole from the freezer and allow to sit out until the product has thawed enough to cut into the preferred serving sizes. Do not allow to completely thaw. The product should still be well frozen but in a softer frozen state. Remove and save the top label. Cut into desired serving sizes (Remember when served with several sides, one of our casseroles should yield 3-4 servings. I feed my family of 4 with one casserole when served with 2 steamed veggies and a salad.) Wrap each serving in plastic wrap and place all servings back into the No Time 2 Cook black tray. Wipe away any residue from the label and place over the servings for identification. Slip the entire tray with the label and individual servings into a gallon Ziploc bag and return to the freezer.
To cook a serving that needs to bake such as Chicken Pie, mini loaf pans work well. I suggest lining the loaf pan with foil for easy clean up. Remove serving(s) from plastic wrap and place in lined mini loaf pan. Return unused servings back to freezer. Bake at recommended oven temp and to internal temperature indicated by the instructions on the bottom of the No Time 2 Cook black tray. The baking time will be shorter than the time indicated since the product is now smaller than the full size casserole. Keep a close watch as it bakes and temp with an internal probe thermometer. These are available in the kitchen supply section at most medium to large grocery stores or kitchen supply stores.
To prepare a microwaveable/skillet product such as Chicken and Dumplings, just pop the serving into a microwave safe dish or non-stick skillet. Cook until hot and bubbly. Stir often and heat to the internal temperature indicated on the bottom of the No Time 2 Cook black tray using a probe thermometer.
This time of year, I am often asked for larger casseroles that will feed a crowd. Now, “You have a larger size and can eat it too!” Here’s how.
Just yesterday, Jeff and I had a spur of the moment invitation to a dinner party where I needed to take a dish. It was late afternoon and no time to go to the grocery. Never fear cause lucky for me, I always have a back up of No Time 2 Cook in my home freezer. When something comes up like this, I usually take Crab and Mushroom Penne or Chicken and Dumplings because they are microwaveable or heated on a stove top. I can heat these from frozen, transfer to a casserole and I’m ready to go out the door. Not so yesterday, as I had only 1 Dumpling and 1 Penne. I did, however, have 2 Chicken Pies. Time to restock the freezer!
I wanted to take a large dish in one of my pretty casseroles for the table and two Chicken Pies side by side in a casserole that need to be baked from frozen presented a problem.
So, I had an idea. I placed the above casserole in a warm oven (170 degrees). In an hour, the pies were slightly thawed but still icy. I could then break them apart with a spoon to fill up the empty cavities of the casserole dish. Then, I took a knife and spread the thawed topping across the entire casserole. Wa lah!! You’d never know I started with 2 pies.
All I had to do then was bake and garnish with a little parsley.
Beautiful, delicious, and tastes just like homemade! That’s because the ingredients are the same as the recipe that came out of my little recipe box when I made my first Chicken Pies for The Belhaven Farmer’s Market in Jackson, MS. Wow! I wonder how many Chicken Pies I have made since that market 10 years ago.
So here’s my No Time 2 Cook tip of the day– Always! Always! Always! Keep several No Time 2 Cook entrees in your freezer for emergencies. Preferably, at least 2 of one kind when you need a large casserole to take to church, a party, a sick friend, a new mama, or as a bereavement dish. Your friends will think you spent half a day in the kitchen. You can keep the secret, but I would love for you to tell them it’s from No Time 2 Cook.
Of course, our regular size casseroles are perfect to share and to have for supper when you have no time to cook. They’ll give you easy, quick, wholesome meals and feed a family of 4 when served with several side dishes.
Enjoy and let me know how your’s turn out!!
Send me a picture of one of your large No Time 2 Cook casseroles at karen@notime2cook and I’ll post on our Facebook page.
Often, I am asked about the birth of No Time 2 Cook, and I always say it goes back to when my kids were young. Back then, I always kept my freezer full of frozen entrees that I prepared from scratch. After cooking my recipes in large batches, I would divide and freeze them in family size portions. Some of our favorites were my gumbo, chicken and dumplings, and chicken pie. In my fridge and freezer, I also kept fresh and frozen veggies and greens. Then, everything needed was ready to pull out to add to my entrees for quick meals on busy nights.
My family never liked the processed taste of frozen dinners and canned products. And, I wanted to provide well-rounded meals I made at home. With a baby on my hip and juggling after school activities, the birth of No Time 2 Cook took root. As I watched my friends struggle to find the time to prepare wholesome meals, I knew there was a business on the horizon.
In the Spring of 2005, I had the opportunity to test my idea at a local farmer’s market and the rest is history. Today, you can find No Time 2 Cook products from my little recipe box in Kroger stores across the deep South as well as other small retail stores. Also, this fall, we opened an online store making our entire menu available across the mid and central United States.
Today, everyone’s all grown up including me. So here’s what we are doing these days. My husband, Jeff, is beginning his 26th year with Baptist Hospital as a Radiation Physicist and my oldest, Allen, graduated from Ole Miss in 2014. Growing up in the family business, helped prepare Allen for his current job as Vice President of the Oxford Lafayette Economic Development Foundation. Annaleigh, the baby on my hip, is 21 and studying Dance and Sports Medicine at a nearby university. As for me, I still oversee operations at our No Time 2 Cook plant in Oxford .
I love when everybody is home and we can sit down to one of my home cooked meals around our family dinner table. I do hope you enjoy my cooking, too. And remember, whether it’s your home cooked meal or one of ours, spend time around your own family dinner table.
Wishing you rich conversation, companionship, and wholesome meals with your family, friends and loved ones.
For more information about No Time 2 Cook’s owner/founder, Karen Kurr, click here.
Jeff and I just returned from a vacation in Banner Elk, NC to view the fall foliage.
Banner Elk is in The Smokies, a part of the Appalachian Mountains. With a Scottish heritage, I have always felt akin to Appalachia first settled by Scottish immigrants who remained as the mountains reminded them of Scotland’s Highlands.
As we set off on our trip, I was determined to find the perfect Appalachian recipe for my blog and newsletter this week. After researching the web and studying the local menus, 2 foods kept popping up. Pinto Beans and Cornbread. Lucky me!! I’m a pro at Pinto Beans and have a great recipe for Southern Cornbread. So with the weather cooling off and my youngest home from college, it was a perfect weekend to cook up a pot of beans, bake some cornbread, and make sure my recipes were just right for my readers and loyal No Time 2 Cook fans. So in honor of my Appalachian roots, here goes:
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Serves: About 2.5 quarts
There’s nothing like getting away with the girls for a few days especially when one of the girls is your sister. Kay and I just returned from our girl vacation to Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Aunt Kathy invited us to her home on the lake and offered her wonderful guest house for our stay. We could actually hear the bells of Garvin Gardens chapel across the lake at our guest house. Exquisite!
Our first evening found us at a fabulous reception as Aunt Kathy’s guests at Garvan Woodland Gardens, the botanical gardens on Lake Hamilton, followed by a beautiful performance by Ballet Arkansas in the garden chapel. Our dear friend, Lauren, who dances with the ballet gave a stunning performance.
On Friday, Kay and I hosted a brunch on the lake for Aunt Kathy and guests. Mama’s Grits were on the menu. These are “THE BEST” grits and so very easy! I’ve always made them from memory but thought I would write down the recipe and share with my faithful followers. You’ll never cook grits right off the package again.
Our Brunch Menu was Italian Breakfast Casserole (I halved my Brunch Casserole for a Crowd as there were only 7 of us, then substituted the sausage, ham, and bacon for ground chuck as we had a guest allergic to pork, and lastly added Italian Seasoning for the perfect touch.), Mama’s Grits, a fresh fruit tray (pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe, star fruit, kiwi, and blueberries), served with Greek yogurt & honey, granola, and raw almonds, Mimosas, and orange juice.
Later in the weekend, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Steve gave us a grand tour of Hot Springs. If you’ve never been, I encourage a trip. Though we did not get to enjoy the baths on this trip, I highly recommend you make a reservation at the Arlington Spa for true pampering. Next time, we’ll definitely make the time.
Chicken and Dumplings is our best seller; and begins with a rich premium chicken stock sauce made with real butter. We add Southern style peppered dumplings, generous amounts of pure white meat chicken, and garnish this customer favorite with celery and carrots. Our recipes have changed little since they came out of my recipe box. Add a couple of side dishes to all of our entrees and serve a family of 3-4.
Chicken Pie was the first casserole sold in my early farmer’s market days, and we owe our success and presence in Kroger to its popularity. We add generous portions of pure white meat chicken cooked to perfection and sourced from local Mississippi farmers. We then add peas and carrots in a perfect cream sauce and topped with my signature crust made with real whipping cream.
This was my Mama’s recipe beginning with baked Southern Cornbread, real butter, and premium chicken broth. We add lots of pure white meat chicken, celery, onions and just a touch of sage. We use only the best ingredients in all of our products avoiding processed meats, hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG. That’s what makes our premium entrees taste homemade and sets us apart from other frozen dinners.
This favorite Mexican entree is made authentic with Masa and Ancho Chili seasoning. It’s made with USDA ground chuck and black beans in a light tomato filling then topped with a Masa corn crust. Bake, cut in squares, and make beautiful with your favorite Mexican condiments. This is my kid’s favorite No Time 2 Cook dish. Instead of Taco night. we have Tamale Pie night at our house. Also make this fabulous Tamale Layered Dip using our Tamale Pie as the base. Great for parties, tailgating, or for Family Game Night supper. Click on the picture below for the recipe.
This is my sweet Mama. Her name was Joy which was most fitting for her cheery personality and love of life and people. Mama taught me how to cook and was my # 1 fan and supporter. It is my hope to keep her memory alive and legacy burning bright passing on her knowledge and wisdom along the way. I do hope you enjoy our cooking!
Our Chicken Pie was one of the first casseroles designed in our early farmers market days. The recipe came straight out of my family recipe box and has changed little as we still cook everything we do from scratch using wholesome fresh simple ingredients. Chicken Pie continues to be a customer favorite and is available in select Kroger stores, SuperLo, and other small retail shops. Our locator page will help you find a store near you.
Now, thanks to our new online store, many more can enjoy our Chicken Pie along with other great products such as Chicken TetrazPoppy Seed Chicken, Seafood Gumbo and much more.
We just had your chicken pie last night for dinner. It was oh, so good! Tastes just like my homemade chicken pie. We also bought the chicken and dressing and can’t wait to try it. Thank you for making these available. I shop Kroger all the time. Sadly, my store didn’t have the crab and mushroom penne. All we did was bake, and threw together a salad in bag kit. Great dinner in little time! We will definitely be purchasing more in the future.
Good day, I found the crab and mushroom penne at Kroger on pipeline in Hurst, Tx. So delicious! I wasn’t expecting the little kick of heat. loved it! For a smaller store, I didn’t expect that location to have all your products. They had the whole line it seemed. Can’t wait to try the chicken/dumplings! Thanks for making such tasty comfort food products. Anna Payne
Thanks Anna for the great comments on our products. We are so glad that we can make your evening meals a snap!
To find a location near you go to our store locator or order online.
Who fights for the holiday ham bone and turkey carcass? My sister and I do.
This year she got the turkey and I got the ham. It’s a good thing we had one of each.
I’m always astounded when I hear friends say they threw theirs away. When I ask, “Why in the world did you do that?!” They give one of the following reasons: I didn’t feel like dealing with it. My answer: Put it in the freezer and deal with it later. Or, I don’t ever want to deal with it. My answer: Bring it to me, and I’ll deal with it. Or, I don’t know how to deal with it. My answer below:
This blog is specifically about using a meaty ham bone. I’ll deal with the turkey carcass on a future blog.
When I’m using a ham hock, I make red beans or pinto beans with smoked sausage and season with red pepper for a Cajun flavor. But, when I get the holiday ham bone with lots of meat still on the bone, I make beans like my Mama made beans. No sausage in these beans as the ham is the meat and she used black pepper instead of red pepper. On a side note, Mama’s family came to Mississippi in the 1930’s from Bowie, Arizona, and we had an aunt in Arizona who would send us new crop pintos every year. New crop beans are like new crop pecans. They’re always better.
Mama always served beans and ham over a piece of white bread. We loved this when we were kids. Now I really like them just as a soup with a piece of cornbread. My family likes them over rice. They are also good spooned over crusty garlic French bread.
Remember, if you don’t want to do this right after the holiday, you can freeze the ham bone or you can make your broth and freeze to pull out later. I have one whole freezer shelf dedicated to chicken, ham, pork, and beef broth. Homemade broths always, always, always make the best soups, dressing, and gravy.
And, never fear, if you did throw away the Thanksgiving ham bone, there’s always Christmas.
October is National Seafood Month and this Saturday is National Pasta Day, a perfect time for No Time 2 Cook Crab and Mushroom Penne found in your local Kroger store. One serving with a tossed salad and a steamed veggie is well under 500 calories. 4 servings in each casserole.
Don’t you just love Fall? Are you ready for those nippy nights and cool days? It can’t come soon enough for this Mississippi girl. Or can it?….. (more…)
Busy night meals can save you time in the kitchen as well as money by avoiding the fast food line. Double, triple, or quadruple any recipe that freezes well, and prepare when you have some extra time. Divide into family size portions, enjoy one tonight, and put the others in the freezer. Then, on busy nights ahead, just add a couple of easy side dishes to your entree and your meal is ready with little effort on your part. My Old Fashioned Meatloaf recipe works great with this method. By the way, weekends are a great time for cooking meals ahead.
When my kids were little, cooking meals ahead for my family is how I kept up with our hectic pace. With my busy night meals, I could have a home cooked dinner on the table every evening. That’s when I began saving recipes and thinking about starting a business like No Time 2 Cook. It is my hope that my cooked from scratch entrees such as Chicken Pie and Chicken and Dumplings can help other families with their mealtime preparations. Just like my busy night meals, all you have to do is pop one of our entrees in the oven or microwave (the directions on the package will tell you the preferred heating method), add a couple of easy sides, and your meal is ready in a snap.
Find our products at Kroger, small retail stores, or purchase from our online store.
Here’s a time saver I love. The Kroger Mobile App saves me tons of time and money.
This weekend was opening football season for Ole Miss with kick off at 11 am. We had family and friends coming in for the weekend with their kids. Typically we would have tailgated at The Grove but with such an early game, I decided to tailgate in my kitchen. With a full house of overnight company and 16 coming for breakfast brunch at 8 am, I needed to do my main cooking the day before. Breakfast Casserole seemed a good choice as it could be assembled the night before, refrigerated, and just popped in the oven that morning.
Now, I seldom just pick a recipe out of a cookbook or go straight by it, and there were several good breakfast casseroles in my recipe box. Problem was, I didn’t want to make another trip to the grocery. I had some sausage, some ham, some bacon, and 3 different types of cheese but not enough of any one to make the casserole. Thankfully there were eggs or I would have been up a creek. So after reading several recipes, I went to work designing and preparing a new Deluxe Breakfast Casserole for my crowd of Rebel fans that fit the ingredients in my fridge.
I woke up at 7 am and popped the casserole in the oven. While it baked I prepared fresh pineapple slices, grapes, and strawberries in a bowl. There was room for 2 trays of Sister Schubert Cinnamon Rolls on the bottom rack that went in the last 10 minutes. My Breakfast Brunch was ready when my crew began to stir and in town guests arrived. Only problem, I was so busy entertaining, I forgot to take pictures.
One young guest was quite skeptical of trying the casserole. I asked him “Do you like eggs?” “Yes” he said. “Do you like bacon? “Yes mam” How about Ham? “Uh huh” Sausage?” “Oh yes!” “What about cheese?” “Yes!” “Well then” I said “You’ll like my Breakfast Casserole” He did!! Caught him coming back for seconds! My other little cousin told me it was the best breakfast casserole I had ever made and I better hurry up and write down the recipe cause he sure was hoping I would do it again. So here you are No Time 2 Cook fans. Click here for the recipe and enjoy!! And let me know how your’s turns out. I served my Mama’s Grits, too. Click here for that recipe. You’ll never cook grits any other way again.
By the way! Everyone had a great time, especially the kids. What kid wouldn’t with a score of 76-3 with their team winning. Hope your team won this weekend, too! Happy Football season and tailgating ya’ll!
No Time 2 Cook, a woman owned business, celebrates Women’s Equality Day. Did you know (more…)