Sunday, January 13, 2013

Minny's Chocolate Pie

"After seeing the movie "The Help" I was excited at the concept that there could be a recipe out there for a chocolate pie you could bake. I found the recipe they used for the movie on Food and it tasted like homemade pudding in a pie crust...YUM!"


1 packaged pie dough crust, such as Pillsbury
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving

    Preheat the oven to 350°. Ease the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned.
    Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.
    Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center. Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.

Make Ahead The chocolate pie can be refrigerated overnight.

My Notes:

-When you pre-bake the pie crust you can put a piece of parchment over the crust and place another empty pie plate on top to hold it in place.... I did not have pie weights or dried beans

-I think the pie is much yummier slightly warmed.  I placed a cooled piece in the microwave for 20 seconds and it was perfect.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jen's Chili Mac and Cheese

"I am really into casseroles right now...especially ones that have all the food groups, so I don't need to make anything else on the side.  My husband loves chili mac, but I really haven't ever ordered it at a restaurant because it just didn't sound good.  I decided to try to create a recipe that the whole family liked, and it was a huge hit.  Just a tip, this recipe was too much for a 9x13, but half of it would not fill the 9x13, so you can make 1/2 the amount and have a smaller casserole, or you can just make the full recipe and refrigerate the leftover chili separate from the mac and cheese."



1 lb. ground beef  (I used sirlion)
1 lb. sausage
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. green pepper, diced
1/2 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 10 oz. cans of tomatoes with green chilis
2 16 oz. cans of chili beans
6 oz. tomato paste
1 beef bouillon cube or 1 T. beef base paste
2 c. water
1/3 c. BBQ sauce
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. mustard
2 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
Mac and Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni noodles
1 jar cheese whiz or equivalent Velveta
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. shredded pepper jack cheese
2 T. butter
1 T. Franks hot sauce
1 1/2 c. 2% milk
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. of reserved water from boiling noodles

8 oz. more of shredded cheddar cheese


Start the chili about 2 1/2 hrs. before you want to eat.  In large skillet saute beef and sausage with celery, peppers, onions and garlic.  Drain and brown.  Run meat mixture through food processor.  In a large pot mix remaining chili ingredients along with meat mixture and place on stove over low-medium heat.

When it is 1 hr. before you want to eat, in large pot start water to boil for noodles.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In medium pot over medium heat mix cheese whiz, shredded cheeses, butter, Franks, milk, and spices.  Cook until melted together, stirring frequently,  and turn down to low to keep warm.  Drain noodles, reserving 1/4 c. of water, return noodles to pot you boiled them in, add cheese sauce and reserved water.  Mix together.  In 9x13 baking dish fill dish 1/2 way with mac and cheese and most of the rest of the way with chili.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil, top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Serves 6-8* not including leftover ingredients

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Italian Layer Bake

"This was so yummy and not intended for anyone on a diet (which means I cheated last night).  I made a few changes which are included.  You can find the original recipe over at Mr.


2 (8-ounce) container refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 lb. sliced deli ham
1/2 lb. sliced deli pepperoni
1/2 lb. sliced deli salami
1/2 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 lb. sliced provolone cheese
1/2 c. Italian dressing
1 1/2 cups mild yellow pepper rings
3 eggs, beaten
garlic powder and italian seasoning blend


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll 1 roll of crescent roll dough without separating triangles and press into bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
Layer with half the ham, pepperoni, salami, Swiss provolone, and peppers. Pour half of beaten eggs over peppers and then 1/2 c. Italian dressing.  Layer remaining meats and cheeses and peppers.
Place remaining roll of dough over peppers. Pour remaining beaten eggs over dough and season with garlic and Italian seasoning blend.
Bake 20 minutes, remove foil, and bake an additional 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden and heated through.

Serves 6-8

Curried Tomato Soup

"This soup was delicious and reminded me of tika masala. If you added chicken and rice you after you pureed it, you'd have chicken tika masala soup. The original calls it a bisque, which doesn't seem right since I have recently found out that to be a true bisque means that it has a fish base.  It also did not blend smooth enough to match the photo of the original.   I made a few changes which are included. You can find the original at Real

4 T. butter
1  onion, chopped (I used a medium vidalia/sweet)
4  cloves  garlic, crushed
1 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. black pepper
3  teaspoon  curry powder
3  28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 c. water
16 oz greek yogurt
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, diced


Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes (with their juices) and water and bring to a boil.  In a food processor, puree until smooth. Return to pot and slowly stir in yogurt. Add cilantro.  Heat an addition 10 minutes.

Serves 6-8

The original recipe said to puree in the blender, but even though I held the lid down it exploded out of the top.  I would recommend a food processor with a locking lid.  You will only be able to blend part of it at a time, so keep a large bowl on hand to hold what you've blended already.

-for a chunkier soup, leave 1/4 of the soup unblened

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin With Cherries

"I made this for Christmas dinner and it was a huge hit.  It looked and smelled amazing!  I found the recipe HERE.  I made a 4 pound roast and baked it for a total of 1 hr and 45 minutes on 325° F."


    1  2-pound piece boneless pork loin
    1/2  teaspoon  ground allspice
    black pepper
    1/2  cup  dried cherries, chopped
    1/2  cup  fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    1  tablespoon  whole-grain mustard
    6  slices bacon
    1  tablespoon  currant jelly
    1  teaspoon  red wine vinegar


Heat oven to 350° F. Season the pork with the allspice and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the cherries, parsley, and mustard. Spread evenly over the pork. Lay the bacon slices crosswise over the pork, overlapping them slightly and tucking the ends underneath. Roast for 45 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the jelly and vinegar. Brush over the bacon and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer registers 150°; F, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ale and Cheddar Soup

"I found this recipe on Pinterest.  The original came from HERE and they adapted it from Food and Wine.  This soup was awesome.  I served it with burgers for the family and the rest of the 1 lb package of bacon was used for the burgers.  Next time I would like to try it with dark brown ale as suggested in the original, but I didn't find that out until I traced the version I used back to the original."


 1/2 pound thick cut bacon (plus a couple pieces crumbled as a garnish)
 1 onion, diced
 2 stalks celery, diced
 4 jalapeno peppers, diced (I used mild from a jar...about 3/4 cup)
 2 cloves garlic, chopped
 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (I used dried since it was what I had on hand)
 2 tablespoons butter
 1/4 cup flour
 1 (~12 ounce) bottle/can ale
 2 cups chicken broth
 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 and 1/2)
 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
 cayenne to taste (I omitted this and was glad since it was spicy enough)
 salt and pepper to taste


Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving 1-2
tablespoons of the grease in the pan.
Over medium-high heat saute the onion, celery, garlic and jalapeno in the reserved bacon grease and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
In a large pot over medium heat,  melt the butter then sprinkle in the flour and let it cook until it starts to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the ale followed by the broth and bacon and let cook for 10 minutes.
Add the cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cheese and cook until the cheese has melted but do not bring it back to a boil.
Season with thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with  crumbled bacon.

Serves 6

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crusty Bread

 "I found this recipe on Pinterest and it came from HERE.  I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  I am in love.  Not only is this bread super easy, but looks absolutely gorgeous and tastes heavenly.  I made my dough at 8pm and baked it at 11:30 am the next day for dinner.  I greased my pot, but I didn't need just comes right out."


3 cups unbleached all purpose flour ( I had bread flour on hand and it worked fine)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. (I used a metal Farberwear pot but anything with a lid will do)  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.  
Mix in ideas:
-3/4 cup cranberries, orange zest from one orange and about 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- zest from two lemons, chopped fresh rosemary and about 2 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere
-pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds
-Turkey bacon and cheddar
-Rosemary, feta and sundried tomatoes (the ones in oil to bring a fantastic flavor)
-Jalapeno, and pepper jack (use canned peppers - small can)
-Chocolate and cranberry
-Rosemary and sharp cheddar
-Chocolate chip and orange infused cranberries
- Apricot, cranberry, and chocolate -
- Rosemary and Feta
-Marinated artichokes and raw garlic - sliced 6 cloves very thinly
- Orange infused cranberry, almond and orange zest
-Lemon zest, feta, and rosemary

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pizza dip with Mini Garlic Breads

 "I found this recipe on pinterest.  It came from the Noble and they got it from the Slow Roasted Italian
 blog.  I did not add bacon to the top, but I will next time.  This was great.  I served it with a French baguette cut in small slices roasted with melted garlic butter."


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
8 ounces shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
9-12 slices of pepperoni (I used enough to cover the top)
4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped


Preheat oven to 350o.
In a blender or a food processor combine tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Blend until pureed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and 2 ounces of shredded Italian cheese.  Mix until well combined.  Spread cream cheese mixture in an even layer over baking dish (8 x 8 or a pie plate).  Pour blended sauce over cream cheese mixture and evenly distribute with spatula.
Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over pizza sauce.  Top pizza dip with pepperoni and bacon.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbling.

*I also turned the broiler on for an additional three-five minutes to brown the cheese and crisp up the pepperoni

~Timesaver...instead of pureeing the tomatoes, just use canned tomato sauce and mix the seasonings in with a spoon.  Or if you are really in a hurry, just use already made pizza sauce.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creamed Corn Casserole

 "I have made this a few times over the past few years, but I don't remember where I got the recipe.  The original recipe calls for Jiffy corn muffin mix, but today I made it with corn meal and other extra ingredients which I assumed were the equivalent of Jiffy."

1 c. corn meal (I use Hodgson Mill)
1/4 c. white sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs beaten
1 c. sour cream
1 can corn, drained
1 can creamed corn


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Pour into greased 9x9 inch baking dish.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until middle of casserole is set (not jiggly).  Serve with honey drizzled over if desired.
Serves 6-8

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jen's Creamy Italian Gnocchi Soup

"I am so excited to share my new creation with you.  It's been a while since I came up with an original recipe.  This idea came about when I made a soup a few weeks ago that I wish was tomatoey so to the leftovers I added a cream sauce and spaghetti sauce, which made it perfect.  I racked my brain for  yummy  ingredients, and thought it'd be fun to try gnocchi in it."


1 lb ground sirlion
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
1 1/2 c. raw carrots, diced
1 c. sweet onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 T. garlic, minced

2 medium zucchini, diced (peeled or not)
3 c. beef stock
1 c. white wine
2 T. balsamic vinegar
3 - 28 oz. cans tomato sauce
28 oz. can diced tomatoes (not drained)
6 oz. tomato paste
3 c. water
1 T. basil
1 T. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs cheese-filled gnocchi, cooked according to package directions
2 c. half and half
1 c. grated parmesan cheese


In large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook beef and pork until browned, drain grease.  Meanwhile in large stock pot over medium heat melt butter and add olive oil, carrots, onions, celery and garlic.  Saute until carrots are soft.  To  pot mix in next 11 ingredients and cooked meat.  Simmer soup over medium heat for 30 minutes.  Mix in cooked gnocchi and garnish with shredded Italian blend cheese sprinkled over top.

*NOTE:  This recipe made about 16-20 servings, so to make a standard large pot to serve 6-8 I would half the recipe.