Sunday, May 24, 2015

Banana Pudding (quick, easy & no-cook)

It's been awhile, y'all.  So I'll just begin by telling you some of the random thoughts that swirl around in my head.
  • School is out. For the summer. Could I please just press pause for a year or so? I used to be all for continued education but now I firmly believe that a first grade education is adequate. Plus, I'm now one of those annoying people that thinks "life goes so fast once you have kids in school." I'm not actually one of those people saying that, though, because that would make me actually annoying. But I'm totally thinking it.
  • This is my baby. She is almost 1. Year Old. I just birthed her, so I'm not sure how she's turning one. Because I just had her the other day. Although she has nursed approximately 5,000 times in the last 12 months. I kept count.

  • She is a complete joy. She screams if I don't feed her fast enough. She loves to swing. She still nurses as many times during the hours when normal people are sleeping as she did eight months ago. I let her because someday I will be sad when she doesn't want to nurse anymore. (Does that make me weird?) It's good to be the baby of the family, let me tell you. She's a regular celebrity around here.
  • So the last time I blogged, we had just gotten Pip, our adorable and tiny chick. He didn't even have feathers. Just fuzz. Or whatever the scientific term of chicken fur is. Approximately 16 hours after we brought him home, he turned into an awkward, half-grown chicken with feathers. He grew something odd-looking on his face and his legs got long. He was not nearly as cute as he had been the day before. Then our mini longhaired dachshund attacked him. She was fierce. He suffered nerve damage in his leg (my vet confirmed this diagnosis) but he compensated well for his handicap. Then he escaped his pen (I use the term "pen" loosely for the box he lived in). We have not seen him since, though my children have been known to wander around the yard calling, "Pip!" as if he's going to saunter up to them. They were even looking for him at the Arboretum during a walk the other day.
  • I haven't the heart to tell him that he got eaten by an animal. If you run into my children, please don't mention that our pet chicken was probably was someone's midnight snack.
  • Our house is on the market. If you're shocked, sorry. I haven't had time to text and/or call and/or email my entire contact list. The good news about this is that my house is really clean. The bad news is that all I do now is clean my house. That's why I haven't told you that my house is on the market. I've been mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, picking up toys, emptying trash cans (where do kids get all of this trash they throw away???), folding blankets (someone makes a fort around here approximately every 4 hours), picking up pillows (all good forts require lots of pillows), putting the dogs out, letting the dogs in, feeding and watering the dogs, feeding and watering the children, cleaning up spilled milk (whoever said not to cry over spilled milk didn't have 4 children), changing lightbulbs (put your house on the market and within 12 hours half of your lightbulbs will have blown. guaranteed.), and wiping snot/spit/drool/yogurt/milk/banana sticky fingers/some unknown sticky or gooey substance off of every glass door and window that can be reached by the tongues and/or fingers and/or feet of little people.
  • Following the advice of our wonderful realtor (if you want her name, let me know. She's awesome and I couldn't recommend her any more highly), I cleaned off our refrigerator, freeing it from the invitations, birth announcements, pictures, chip clips, calendars, magnets, memory work & art work that had accumulated there. Bubby (he's 2 1/2) thinks we got a new refrigerator. Just because it's clean. "Wook at our new fridge!" he announces every couple of hours. It's pretty funny. It actually does look pretty new because it has been protected by a nice thick layer of the items mentioned above.

  • Our peonies bloomed. This is always a momentous occasion in our family because all of my bridesmaids and I carried bouquets of peonies at our wedding...12 years ago. The groomsmen even wore the large buds of peonies in their boutineers. It was fabulous. So now we have a long line of peonies in our yard, and every May when the bloom, it reminds us of our wonderful wedding. And we tell our children about it. And I cut big bunches and put them in our house. Yes, ants come into the house on the flowers. Life goes on.
  • I'll be digging up every last one of my peonies bushes when we move and transplanting them to our new house. This announcement counts as a legal disclosure.
  • So we just re-paved our driveway. It was worth every penny for the entertainment provided to these two middles. They loved all of the equipment, from the steamrollers & bulldozer right down to the sledgehammer.
Your eyes do not deceive you. That is, in fact, Tinkerbell on the left.
  • I haven't really cooked a whole lot of new or exciting things lately. I did a Whole30 challenge. Have you heard of that? Think paleo on steroids. It's insane and awesome at the same time. Basically I turned into a carnivorous rabbit. Bottom lime: in the end it was worth it and I was glad I did it. But during that month I wasn't exactly fixing cheesy, saucy enchiladas, pasta dishes or peanut butter cookies - you know, the types of things that people want to read about and look at on a food blog. I did eat good food, but I was too hungry to even think about blogging. Just bein' honest, ya'll.

  • After my Whole30 experience, it was my husband's birthday. He requested Banana Pudding. It's his fave. I love it too. He prefers the no-cook version and since it WAS his birthday and all, I obliged. But this is my favorite - with homemade vanilla pudding. Mmmm. How bad could that be. But the no-cook version is way faster and easier and you don't have to worry about curdling your eggs in your hot custard or scorching the bottom of the custard because you forgot to stir, stir, stir. (Been there, done that. Scorched and/or curdled pudding must go straight in the trash. There is no redemptive plan for such a mistake.) And this no-cook recipe is a very delicious version. I've already educated you Yankees on banana pudding, so if you need a refresher, read this post.
I'm off to clean up some mess that someone made in the time I wrote this post. I'm not sure who did it, how it happened or what spilled, but I guarantee someone did something somewhere. I just tell myself that sticky won't exist in heaven. And I'll just leave you with this picture of our perfect family, where no one cries or whines and everyone always is happy to have their picture taken.



Banana Pudding (quick, easy & no-cook)

2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding
3 cups whole milk
1 cup sour cream
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 box vanilla wafers (don't buy generic please)
6 bananas (give or take...depending on size, just don't be skimpy)

Whisk together the pudding mix and milk in a large bowl until no lumps remain. Whisk in the sour cream. Use a spatula to fold in the Cool Whip.

In a large serving bowl (think a salad bowl - and it's nice if it's clear glass so you can see the layers), start with a layer of vanilla wafers (cover the bottom), sliced bananas (cover the vanilla wafers), and pudding (use about 1/3 of the pudding mixture). Continue layers - you'll do 3 of each - ending with the pudding. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Chili Mac & Cheese

Since it's been a long time since I posted, I thought I'd introduce you to the newest member of our family.

Pip.


Can you tell that my biggest girl is pretty excited. Pip is a chick (can you tell?). Yes, as in a chicken. 

No, we haven't moved to the country since we last talked. Why do you ask?

So anyway.


Chili Mac & Cheese. Comfort food, I think it's safe to say.

My mom used to make this for us. It's just really good. These things just go together. So you really should make it.


It's easy. It's good. It's cheesy. That's enough for now.

Chili Mac & Cheese

8 oz macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked), cooked according to package directions
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups shredded)

Brown the beef with the onion and bell pepper in a large skillet, crumbling the beef and cooking until no longer pink. Drain any grease. 

Add the garlic, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, basil, salt & pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Combine with the pasta and pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with the cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until bubbly and hot (about 20 minutes or so).

Friday, February 27, 2015

French Silk Pie

It's Friday! Therefore, we should definitely eat chocolate pie.

French Silk chocolate pie, to be specific.


I have made this several times, and I love making it because it's fun to make!

And it's a totally bizarre process.

Here's what you do. Mix up some butter & sugar, pour in some melted chocolate (cooled, please), and then crack in an egg every five minutes while your mixer is on.


So the pie filling takes over 20 minutes just to make. Four eggs x 5 minutes between each egg (plus a couple minutes to beat the sugar & butter together). I mean, that's weird. Who in the world figured out that you could get a fabulous, fluffy pie filling this way?

I mean, who has that much time on their hands?

I don't actually really care. I'm just thankful that someone made this discovery and that I made the discovery of this recipe on Pinterest.

Actually, my mom has known about this pie for decades. I can't believe she was holding out on me. When I mentioned that I was going to make this pie, she casually said, "Oh, yeah, I used to make that pie."

Really. Thanks for enlightening me. Spread the fabulousness around, y'all. Don't hold out on those that you love. Make this pie for them.

French Silk Pie

2 sticks butter (yes, I said a cup of butter), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
4 eggs
1 baked pie shell, cooled
Whipped cream, for serving (make the real stuff or use the canned Redi-Whip but please don't ruin this delicious pie with Cool Whip)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat it on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until fluffy. Add the vanilla and chocolate and combine.  Set your mixer on medium speed and add an egg every 5 minutes (this will take 20 minutes to add the eggs). Scrape the bowl well (especially the bottom) each time you add an egg. Beat for another 5 minutes. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

Cauliflower is so cool now. I mean, for a vegetable that used to not be the cool kid, it certainly has turned its life around.


Just ask Pinterest. There you can find cauliflower-turned-pizza-crust. Or cauliflower that supposedly tastes exactly like rice! Allegedly.

Well, I made some soup with the vegetable. And it was really good.  I think it was good because I roasted the cauliflower.

I. Love. Roasted. Vegetables.

All of them.  Well, most of them.  Like roasted Brussels sprouts. We're really into those right now.


Anyway, this soup was really good. It doesn't boast any absurd claims, like a chocolate chip cookie made from cauliflower or anything. But that's okay. It just is a soup made with cauliflower, some other veggies, and finished with some half-and-half and cheese. Believe it or not, it was very delicious.

Oh, and I used fat-free half & half.  Whatever the heck that is.

I must say, though…not bad, my friends. Not bad.

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup
Adapted from Cooking Classy

1 head cauliflower
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 T butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped or shredded
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Heaping 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk (I used 1 cup fat-free half-and-half)
10 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded

Break apart the cauliflower into florets, trimming the hard part of the stem off and discarding.  Spread the florets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until it is tender and has some brown edges.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pot. Add the celery, carrots and onion. Sauté for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir, cooking for a minute. Add the salt & pepper.  Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from the heat and add the roasted cauliflower, milk & cheddar. Stir to combine and to melt the cheese.

You can puree this soup for a finer texture. I used a hand blender and pulsed just a few times to break up some of the chunks but I didn't want it pureed into a smooth texture. It is also good just the way it is!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Green Chile Egg Puff

I had to take an egg casserole to MOPS last week. I needed something different.

So I consulted my friend Pinterest.  And this is what I found.


I made it. I took it to my friends. I liked it. They liked it.

I'll make it again.

You already know my philosophy regarding any recipe containing a pound of cheese.

I'm too tired to say anything else right now.

Green Chile Egg Puff
Adapted from Smell Good Kitchen

12 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
1/2 stick (4 T) butter, melted & cooled
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (this is 4 cups shredded; I have also used a combo of Pepper Jack/regular Monterey Jack)
8 oz. can chopped green chiles

Crack the eggs in a large bowl.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.  Pour into a greased 9x13 casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes until set when you jiggle the dish.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hot Corn Dip

This is Pioneer Woman's invention.  I just made it and added my own little twists to it to make it a little spicier.


People can't stop eating this dip.  Myself included.  It's creamy, spicy, sweet from the onions and peppers and cheesy.

And you eat it with chips. Maybe you should make it for the Super Bowl.

If you're into that kind of thing.

Hot Corn Dip
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 T butter
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 4 oz. cans chopped green chiles
16 oz. frozen corn
8 oz. jalapeño cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

In a medium skillet over high heat (I like to use an iron skillet for this), melt the butter and saute the onion and both peppers.  You want the veggies to get nice and caramelized with flavor - it really makes a difference in the dip.  Add the garlic and green chiles and cook for another minute.  Add the corn and stir until thawed.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and Monterey jack cheese.  Pour into a greased 8x8 casserole dish and top with the Pepper Jack.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until bubbly.  Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos scoops.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Amaretto Pound Cake

I made this last month for our annual cousin gathering.  Yesterday my cousin reminded me that I still hadn't posted the recipe...

So here ya go.


My hairdresser was sweet enough to share this recipe with me a few years ago, and I love it.  She said it's an old Southern Living recipe that she's been making for years, and she passed it along to me.

The cake is simple to make and unbelievably moist.  I must say that my cousins loved it.

Amaretto Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
3/4 cup amaretto liqueur
1/4 tsp almond extract

6 T amaretto liqueur
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix together ingredients for cake.  Mix for about a minute until completely combined.  Pour into a well-greased bunt pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few crumbs sticking to it.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients.  Use a toothpick (or the tines of a fork) to poke holes in the cake while it's still in the pan.  Pour the glaze on top.  Let the cake sit for 2 hours in the pan before inverting on a cake stand.  Cool completely before slicing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spinach Italian Chicken Pasta

Well it's only been 2 months since my last post!  It's been about that long since I made something good for dinner.

You think I'm joking.  I have, however, done other things.  I'm not sure exactly what, but surely I've done something in the last two months.

Anyway.  This pasta.  For dinner.  Like, tonight.


It was awesome.  My husband said it should be on the menu at an Italian restaurant.  My kids scarfed it down. (This is actually news because my kids do not love food mixed together.  As in, they want food to stay with its own kind.  As in, they love spinach, tomatoes, chicken, pasta and cheese, but don't let it touch.  Sometimes I go with this.  Sometimes I tell them to get over it and eat dinner and say thank you mama for dinner.)

I got the idea from a recipe on Pinterest, naturally.  But I deviated from the original a bit.  I thought it might be a bit dry if I baked it, so I just served it as a "skillet."  As Sunny Anderson would say, it's a "one pan plan, man."

There's only one picture of this meal.  If I described what was going on under my feet while I made this skillet and snapped this one lone picture, you'd be impressed that I cooked anything.

At least, I was impressed that I cooked anything last night.  It's WILD here!

Spinach Italian Chicken Pasta
Adapted from Key Ingredient

8 oz. penne pasta, cooked and drained (this is about 2 cups uncooked)
1 onion, chopped
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
8 oz. chive & onion cream cheese
15 oz. Italian-style diced tomatoes
2-3 cups cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup milk
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups shredded)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook the penne in salted boiling water (always heavily salt your pasta water!).  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet.  Saute the onion over medium-high heat for several minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and spinach.  Stir until the spinach is thawed.  Add the cream cheese and stir until creamy and melty. Add the tomatoes, chicken and milk.  Turn the heat to low.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in half of the cheese and the cooked pasta.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and cover.  When the cheese is melted, it's ready!

*If using raw chicken, just saute it with the onion and proceed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sloppy Joes

I saw Pioneer Woman at the Kentucky Proud Food Show on Saturday in Rupp Arena!  It was awesome.


She's so...normal.  And that's why she's been so successful.  She's a normal mom that makes really good food for her really large family.  And she lives on the largest cattle ranch in Oklahoma.


It was so fun to see her in person!  She didn't make these sloppy joes on Saturday but she did make her Pots de Creme (which I will be trying in the near future!).

But these sloppy joes were on my mind since I just saw her on Saturday. And this is basically her recipe, so I thought I'd share it with you.


Just brown some ground beef (sometimes I use half ground turkey, half ground chuck) with onions and green pepper (I used bell peppers from my dad's garden), add a whole bunch of spices and ketsup and let it simmer.

And by all means, serve it on slider buns with yellow mustard and pickles.  And if you're my kid, you get cantaloupe and green beans to go with it.


Deliciously yummy.  Here ya go.

Sloppy Joes (PW Style)
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 lbs ground chuck (can also use 1/2 ground turkey and half ground chuck)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups ketsup
2 T tomato paste
1 cup water
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
A few dashes of hot sauce (I go easy so my kids will eat it!)
1 T dijon mustard
1 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Add the chuck, onion and bell pepper to a large pan and cook, stirring it to break up the beef.  Drain the fat.  Add the garlic and remaining ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Serve on buns.  This freezes really well and the leftovers are even better the second time around.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chocolate Sheet Cake

This is a recipe from my childhood.  This chocolate sheet cake was my birthday cake every year.  And I do mean every year. I love it.


Lots of people have this recipe (or a version of it), but this is really the best version out there.  It combines butter and oil for the best flavor/moistness combo.


It's seriously the most moist delicious chocolate cake I've ever had.


One more thing: leftovers in the morning with coffee.  Awesome.


Chocolate Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
4 T cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Icing:
1 stick butter
3 T cocoa powder
5 T milk
1 pound powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar.

In a pot on medium heat, bring to a boil the butter, 4 T cocoa powder, water and oil.  Whisk to combine.  As soon as it boils, pour it into the flour/sugar mixture and combine slightly - don't completely incorporate it but just enough so that the mixture is just warm (not hot).

Add the soda, buttermilk, eggs & vanilla and mix completely.

Pour onto a greased 10x15 cookie sheet/baking pan) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until just set in the middle.  A toothpick inserted in the middle should have just a few crumbs sticking to it.

While the cake bakes, make the icing.  In a pot over medium heat, bring to a boil the butter, cocoa & milk.  As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat with a hand mixer or a whisk until it is smooth.

When the cake comes out of the oven, cool for just a couple of minutes before adding the icing.  The icing will set up and harden slightly as it cools.  Cool completely and serve!