Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Lemon IceBox Cake

This no-bake lemon icebox cake is light, refreshing layers of lemon pudding, cool whip, and graham crackers then is topped with lemon zest for the perfect summer dessert!

Icebox cakes are so simple to make and are always a crowd pleaser when brought to summer get-togethers or BBQs.

Ingredients

  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Cool Whip
  • 3 cups milk
  • Zest of ½ of a lemon
  • ½ of a lemon juice
  • 1 (16 ounce) package graham crackers

Lemon Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Zest of ½ of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix together the pudding mixes, zest of lemon, lemon juice, Cool Whip, and milk.

In a 9 x 13 inch pan, place a single layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan (you may need to break a few graham crackers so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered).

Spread half of the pudding mixture evenly over the graham crackers. 

Place another single layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding and then layer the second half of the pudding on top of those crackers.

Place one more single layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding.

Mix together ingredients for the lemon frosting and spread over all.

Cover and place in the fridge for about 4 hours.

This cake is even better the next day.

On the Side, Recipes

Slow Cooked Mexican Corn

This Mexican Street Corn recipe (also known as Esquites) is packed with fresh flavors and cotija cheese! It’s slow cooked for 3 hours in cheesy cream sauce, and zesty seasonings that make it insanely delicious. The perfect side for any barbecue or summer get-together!

Sides in the slow cooker are also a great way to save space in the oven and keep your house cool during the summer.

Fresh or Frozen Corn? Well, there are benefits to each. You can get frozen any time of the year. Fresh is, well, fresh. Either will work for this dish.

Ingredients 

  • 6-7 ears of corn shucked and broken in half
  • 13.66 oz. can light coconut milk or low fat milk
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice approximately 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup cotija cheese, crumbles
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro 

Instructions:

Add the corn to the slow cooker. You can arrange them nicely to get them to fit better.

Pour coconut milk, lime juice, and seasonings in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.

Pour  the coconut milk mixture over the corn.

Drizzle over the honey and ½ cup of the cheese. Cut up the butter into pieces and add to the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time. (4 hours for frozen corn)

To serve, sprinkle with remaining paprika, cheese and cilantro

.

Enjoy!

Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Peach & Blueberry Cake

After picking blueberries and peaches at Southern Hill Farms this weekend, I was inspired to make this delicious and beautiful Peach and Blueberry Cake!

This cake screams summer fruit! And you can easily switch out the fruit and make it a year-round dessert.

The combination of the peaches and blueberries is amazing. The natural sugars in the fruit enhance the flavor. The crust is almost biscuit-like and has a rich buttery flavor. 

Enjoy the summer weekend and this scrumptious summer cake!

Check out Southern Hills Farm!

INGREDIENTS

For pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½  tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 lb firm-ripe large peaches (about 4), halved lengthwise, pitted, and each half cut lengthwise into fourths
  • 1 cup blueberries (1/2 pint)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Make pastry:

Pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add egg and vanilla and pulse just until dough clumps and begins to form a ball, about 15 pulses.

Press dough onto bottom and evenly (about 1/4 inch thick) all the way up side of springform pan with floured fingertips. Chill pastry in pan until firm, about 10 minutes.

Make filling while pastry chills:

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Generously butter the inside of your springform pan.

Grind 2 tablespoons sugar with flour and cornstarch in a food processor until combined, then transfer to a large bowl. 

Add peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice and sprinkle 6 tablespoons over the top, toss to coat. 

Spoon filling into pastry and bake, loosely covered with a sheet of foil and cover the bottom of the pan with foil, until filling is bubbling in center and crust is golden, about 1 3/4 hours.

Transfer cake in pan to a rack and cool, uncovered, 20 minutes, then carefully remove side of pan.

Cool cake to barely warm or room temperature, then cut into thick wedges with a sharp knife before serving.

Tip:

I recommend using light-colored metal pans for baking. Dark metal pans, including nonstick, will cause your baked goods to brown more quickly. If you don’t have a light-colored pan, wrap the bottom of your pan with foil and lower the heat to 350 degrees F. 

On the Side, Recipes, Small Bites

Fresh Herb Ricotta Cheese Bread

A no yeast bread that is super quick to prepare! 

Ready in less than an hour, this Herbed Ricotta Cheese Bread is sure to become a favorite!

This quick bread is loaded with fresh herbs, ricotta cheese, and a dash of smoked paprika. 

Ricotta is a fresh, soft, Italian cheese with a small curd and a light, mild, slightly sweet flavor. In the United States, it is most commonly known as an ingredient in lasagna. I honestly love ricotta even just by itself. For this recipe, I decided to use ricotta instead of heavy cream or milk, the ricotta gives the bread a light texture that practically melts in your mouth!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
  • ½ cup green onions or scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • smoked paprika

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. 

Grate butter into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until the consistency of coarse meal.

Stir in scallions and fresh herbs. 

Add ricotta cheese, then add milk and stir until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. 

Knead 2 to 3 times, then pat dough into a 9-inch rectangle. 

Transfer bread to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops liberally with egg wash. Sprinkle top with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

On the Side, Recipes

Sautéed Cabbage

This Easy Sautéed Cabbage recipe is perfect for a quick side dish for any meal but especially on St. Patrick’s Day!  It’s a rustic side dish with tender, caramelized cabbage flavored with garlic, and Guinness. If you think you don’t like cabbage you need to try it this way!

Serve with my Slow Cooked Guinness Corned beef and Irish Cheddar & Garlic Soda bread

Ingredients

  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce 
  • ¼ cup Guinness 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

Instructions 

Heat a large 12-inch skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter- about 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add half of the cabbage, stir and cook until it begins to wilt and reduce in volume, about 2 minutes. 

Add the remaining cabbage and stir until wilted, 2 minutes. Continue to cook for 8 minutes, stirring every minute to allow lightly even browning.

Add the Guiness, Worcester sauce and vinegar, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the salt and pepper, stir and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste. 

On the Side, Recipes

Creamed Spinach

Most of us have heard of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. But how many of us know the founder’s unique history?

In 1965, single mother Ruth Fertel realized she needed to earn more money to send her sons off to college. She found a restaurant for sale in a New Orleans newspaper called Chris’ Steak House. She quickly learned that Chris’ steak house originally opened on her birthdate, and she took that as a sign of good luck to move forward with the sale. 

Shortly after Fertel purchased the establishment, a fire forced her to change the original location and she renamed the restaurant, “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.”

Though she had no restaurant experience, Ruth’s Chris became a huge success. Fertel opened her first franchise in 1977 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Today, there are more than 80 locations in the U.S. and overseas.

This delicious creamed spinach recipe is inspired by the dish served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It has just a hint of cayenne pepper to give it that Louisiana zing!

Ingredients

  • 1 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions

Cook the spinach as directed on the package. Drain and squeeze all the liquid from the spinach when it is done. 

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 

Add the flour to the melted butter and stir until smooth. Cook for 2 minutes. 

Add the cream and heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Whisk often so that the sauce does not burn.

Add the cheese, spinach, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring often. 

Serve hot.

Cookies, Recipes

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

A soft and chewy, chocolate cookie topped a chocolate mint drizzle and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. 

Chocolate and peppermint is a popular combo, especially during the holiday months. This is another recipe that I created for my brother. He loves chocolate and peppermint! I basically took my red velvet cookie recipe that I adapted from Paula Deen, and just switched out cake box mix and the topping!

These chocolate cookies are soft, chewy, and a bit fudgy in the center. I love the addition of the peppermint flavor because it really awakens the cookie. Crushed peppermint candies make a festive, crunchy topping for these festive cookies. They are the perfect holiday cookie and  will get you in the holiday spirit ASAP. Perfect for cookie exchanges, holiday gatherings or alongside a cup of iced cold milk. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 (18 oz) box moist chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (8 oz) package room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick room temperature butter

Chocolate Drizzle 

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  • 2 large candy canes, crushed

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. 

Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. 

Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls. 

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. 

The cookies will remain soft and gooey. 

Cool completely 

Melt semi sweet chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave, just be careful to stir frequently so chocolate doesn’t burn) until it’s smooth.

Add peppermint extract and whisk together. 

Drizzle a dollop of semi-sweet chocolate over each cookie.

Sprinkle a few pieces of crushed candy cane on top of the chocolate cookie centers while the chocolate is still warm. Let chocolate set for 30 minutes to an hour.

Recipes

Chicken Pot Pie with a Twist

I love getting a rotisserie chicken from Publix and turning it into something even more delicious!

In the recipe you can use that leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving or grab a rotisserie chicken. 

Pot pies are the ultimate casserole, there’s nothing more comforting and satisfying than a creamy pot pie gravy with a crispy, buttery outer crust. It’s the perfect treat on a cold day. Even if it can’t be eaten all at once, it’s just as good as leftovers.

This pot pie is made with rotisserie chicken, hearty winter vegetables (2 kinds of potatoes), a white wine sauce and topped with buttery puff pastry. I love using hearty root vegetables in the winter, feel free to swap in any of your favorites! The white wine sauce is the secret! It takes a classic comfort dish up a notch!

So, it’s time to preheat the oven, grab a bottle of Scout & Cellar TANGOTANGO Sauvignon Blanc, pour 1 cup in a measuring cup (for the sauce) and enjoy the rest of the bottle as you cook! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pint mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup of dry white wine (such as Scout & Cellar TANGOTANGO Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced gold Yukon potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced baby purple potatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, cubed 
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheeses, shredded 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper 
  • ½ cup of half & half
  • 1 package/sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • Italian parsley, chopped (for topping)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make the filling: In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet heat to medium heat and add in butter. Once butter has melted add in diced onion, cook until translucent (3-5 mins). 

Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add carrots for another 3 minutes. 

Add in thyme, garlic, flour, salt, and cracked pepper and stir until pasty, cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add in chicken broth, and wine to the mixture. Bring mixture to a simmer (5-10) minutes. Sauce will have thickened. Mix sauce with potatoes and chicken, cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and stir. 

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are fork tender. 

Remove the casserole from the oven and top with 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry (I cut the pastry in circles with a circle cookie/biscuit cutter or you can just lay the sheet on top). Sprinkle the puff pastry with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Continue to bake the casserole according to pastry package directions (mine took about 25 minutes) until the pastry is flaky and golden.

Let the casserole cool for 5-10 minutes and top with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.

On the Side, Recipes

Cauliflower Stuffing

Here’s a healthier stuffing for those of you looking to cut out some carbs this Thanksgiving!

It has all the stuffing flavors just instead of bread, I used cauliflower!

Cauliflower has stood in for carbs plenty of other times, so why not with stuffing? Of course you need to like roasted cauliflower to enjoy it, but it still has all the things you want in great stuffing.

It has the same spices and delicious add-ins that you’d expect, it’s nice and soft, and it totally has that comfort food factor. It’s actually so easy to make that I will definitely make it outside of the holiday season. Believe it or not, it’s simple enough even for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter unsalted
  • 1 Lb Breakfast Sausage casings removed
  • 1 Large Onion finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Fennel Bulb finely chopped
  • 4 Celery Stalks finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine dry
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Sage finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ cup Grated Fontinella cheese or Parmesan cheese 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Chop cauliflower into florets and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower softens and begins to brown slightly.

While the cauliflower bakes, cook the sausage.

Add the sausage to a large skillet. 

Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook until no longer pink. 

Place sausage on a paper towel-lined plate.

Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel but leave some of the grease and bits. 

Add butter to the skillet and melt, stirring constantly so it doesn’t brown. 

Add chopped onions, garlic, fennel, and celery. Sprinkle it with salt and  pepper. Cook in butter until they’re soft and lightly browned (around 10 minutes). 

Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil. 

Cook until no wine is left — about 5 minutes. 

Add cheese, parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

In a casserole dish, combine sausage, cauliflower, and veggies and stir to combine. 

Place them in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. If you want the tops a little crispy, turn the broiler on for 5 minutes.

Blogs, Pasta, Recipes

Creamy Spinach Orzo

I love orzo! I much rather have orzo than rice any day! 

Since orzo is so quick-cooking, it’s a perfect choice for a one-pot dinner. It cooks up fast in a simmering pot of broth and milk, and the starch from the pasta actually helps to thicken the creamy sauce. 

There’s little work required, besides stirring in a few big handfuls of baby spinach and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. This orzo is an amazing blank-canvas recipe, it’s easy to tweak, you can add cherry tomatoes, peppers, or even shredded chicken. Seriously the possibilities are endless! Get creative! 

You can serve this creamy orzo as either a light main dish or a side dish. We served it alongside my Lemon Parmesan Chicken but totally could have eaten it as the main dish- it’s that good! 

Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Spinach Orzo

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried orzo pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 

Add the garlic and orzo, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the broth and milk and bring to a boil. 

Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed and has formed a creamy sauce, about 10 minutes. 

(If the orzo isn’t completely, you can add another splash or two of broth to the pot and continue to simmer until it has.)

Stir in the spinach and Parmesan until the spinach has just wilted and the cheese melts, about 1 minute. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with additional cheese.