June 19, 2017

White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is . . . divine.  No, seriously, it is.

If you want to make a cake that is relatively easy and very delicious, this one is perfect.

It is a bit rustic looking, but what it lacks in beauty, it more than makes up for in taste.

The blueberries are grown locally and sold locally.  They are so sweet and so delicious.   They make the perfect topping for the cream cheese frosting.


White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box White Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)- softened
1 cup 2% milk
3 eggs

Mix cake mix, butter, milk and eggs together.  Beat for two minutes on high speed.

Divide cake batter evenly into round pans (I used eight-inch pans).  Bake according to package directions.  (I baked mine at 325 degrees F instead of 350 and until just done; so, it was very moist.)  I placed cooled cakes into the refrigerator for awhile before removing them from pans and frosting them.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Half and Half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Whip butter and cream cheese together.  Add Half and Half, vanilla, and salt, and whip to until desired consistency.

Frost between layers and top of cake.  Pile on fresh blueberries.

(p.s. I kept the cake refrigerated.)



June 5, 2017


A couple of weeks ago, we ate at Ya Ya's Euro Bistro in Chesterfield, Missouri.  They serve Baba Ghanoush and warm slices of bread while you're waiting on your meal.

This would be great to serve to friends or family at your next dinner party or get-together!

Wow!  It was delicious.  I, of course, love bread.

Baba Ghanoush is a dip made from roasted eggplant.  It's simple to make.  I made it in my food processor.

A small confession, my hubby is not a fan.  But, hey!  We all like different foods.  No problem.


Baba Ghanoush

2 - 1 pound purple eggplants
1-1/4 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Herb-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
(I made my own)

Slices of Sourdough, French, or Italian bread
(warmed in the oven)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Puncture eggplant with a knife.  Roast eggplant on a baking sheet for one hour.  Cool.  Slice open and remove seed pods.  Scrape flesh off skins and place in a food processor.  Discard the stems and skins.

Add yogurt and garlic and mix until smooth.   Add oils and mix until smooth and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate before serving.

Place a couple of tablespoons onto a small plate in an oval shape.  Drizzle with herb-infused olive oil.  Serve with bread.

(Slightly adapted from the St. Louis Dispatch Recipes)

This makes a lot of dip.  If making for a small group,  I would cut the recipe in half.


May 29, 2017


Do you ever forget about a recipe, and then you are reminded of it years later?

That's what happened for me with this cake made in the crockpot.

Years ago, a friend of mine made dinner for me for my birthday, and dessert was a cake made in the crockpot and served with ice cream.  Yummy.

The recipe was in Southern Living magazine, and it was made with a spice cake mix.

We recently ate a late lunch at Ya Ya's, and had their chocolate souflee, which is very much like a chocolate molten lava cake.  I have had it described to me as such by a server at this restaurant.  It is served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce (which I could always use more of).

You have to order the souflee when you order your lunch because it takes approximately 45 minutes to make.

It is truly my favorite dessert.  I have made it at home with varying degrees of success.  

Hey!  This was good!  (But not as good as the real deal.  No way.)  It is best served while it is warm.


Crockpot Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

1 chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients for preparing cake:  eggs, oil, and water)
1 jar of hot fudge 
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Add chocolate cake mix, the ingredients listed on box for preparing cake, hot fudge, and semi-sweet chocolate chips into a crockpot.  Mix ingredients with a spoon.  Turn crockpot on low and cook for 2 to 5 hours.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.



May 18, 2017


After playing golf on lady's day, I was on my way to the grocery store, and there was a man selling strawberries at the four-way stop in town, which sees a lot of traffic.

I pulled in and bought two quarts of berries and made this Lattice Work Strawberry Pie.

Isn't it pretty and rustic looking?  Just like grandma used to make!

You can see the strawberries peaking out and the juice running through the pie.

This pie was very juicy.  So much so, that I had to eat it with a spoon like strawberry shortcake, but who cares?

One of the many wonderful things about where I live is we have an abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables.

I love going to the many Farmer's Markets in southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.

When Cudjoe was a boy, his parents planted and sold strawberries.  They farmed approximately one acre of strawberries.  He had to cultivate, fertilize and put straw on them.  

His dad was a fruit broker, and they had farmhands pick and pack the berries, and then they were shipped to the Chicago Market.

I'm always a little sad that strawberry season is a rather short season here.

But, boy, do we enjoy them while they last!


Strawberry Pie

1 quart of strawberries, capped, cut in half and rinsed in a colander
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 refrigerated pie crusts

1 egg, beaten
sugar for sprinkling on top of pie

Place one of the pie crusts in the bottom of a glass pie plate.  Prick bottom and sides with a  fork.

Stir together strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon juice.  Let this set for 10 minutes.

Pour into pie shell.  Cut second pie crust into strips and make a lattice work on top of the pie.

Brush the beaten egg on top of pie crust strips and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes more.



May 11, 2017

M & M Cookies

Wow, were these cookies good!!  Every time I shop for groceries at Schnuck's, I always take an M & M Cookie home with me.  I don't know why, but I never make them.

I chill my dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour before scooping them with a cookie scoop and baking them.

Most of the time, I keep the dough in a bowl with an airtight lid and bake a few at a time.  Just enough for us to have.  The dough stays in the refrigerator for three or four days.

Cudjoe had bought a large bag of M & M's, and because I had all the ingredients in the house, I got the idea to make these cookies.

They were so good, I decided to share the recipe with you.

Easy, peasy, Lemon Squeezy.


M & M Cookies

2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 cup of butter (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of M & M's

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.  Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs one at a time.   Mix in vanilla.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients on low speed until just incorporated.  Stir in M & M's.

Refrigerate dough for at least one hour.  Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.



May 1, 2017


In 1996, I bought a cookbook from a friend whose son was graduating from high school.  It was a compilation of recipes from great home cooks and was sold as a fundraiser for the Class of '96.

The name of the cookbook is Ballard Memorial High School, Project Graduation "96".   

This recipe for Maple Bacon was one of the recipes that my friend contributed to the cookbook.

I had looked at this recipe several times over the years, but I had never made it.  But guess what??  I finally did, and I am glad I did.  It was sooo good!!

It makes a 9 x 13 pan, which makes it great to make and take, or if you are having breakfast or brunch for a group, it is the perfect size.


Maple Bacon

1-1/2 cups Bisquick
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
8 slices of bacon, crumbled

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Canola Oil.  In a mixing bowl mix Bisquick, 1/2 of cheese, milk, syrup, eggs, and sugar with a fork until small lumps remain.  Pour into pan and bake uncovered 10 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon on top and then return to oven and bake until cheese is melted.  Serve with warm maple syrup.

(The original recipe calls for 12 - 15 slices of bacon; however, I only used 8.)

(I also think you could make this with any pancake mix, and I will probably try that the next time I make it.)



April 24, 2017


People are happy when I show up with this for dessert.  It is highly requested and a crowd pleaser.

Also, it is very easy to make.  No actual cooking, just mixing.  

And yes, I was having a glass of Chardonnay while making this banana pudding.  We had dinner for four recently, and there was exactly one glass left in  the bottle.  The wine tasted quite delicious "paired" with the pudding I scraped and ate from the bowl!

Here's something, though, I can take or leave bananas.  I will eat them once in awhile; and I will hardly ever eat one by itself.

I just sort of eat around the bananas because the cookies and pudding are wonderful!!

If you want something delicious, easy, and you like bananas, this banana pudding is just right for you.


Banana Pudding

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
8-ounce carton of Cool Whip (thawed)
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
1 Cup of Water
Vanilla Wafers
2 bananas

In a stand mixer using, paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer), mix milk, Cool Whip, instant pudding, and 1 cup of water until well-incorporated and thickened.

In a glass dish, layer wafers, pudding, and bananas; repeat, topping with a layer of cookies.   

Serve to family and friends!!



April 18, 2017


Easter weekend brought family for dinner for us on two separate days.  So I did a lot of cooking.  

And, of course, I want to share with you, dear readers, my desserts!

Wow, was the weather beautiful Saturday, and then yesterday, with a golf outing planned, wouldn't you know, it rained!!  We had been looking forward to playing golf together all week!  

This Chocolate Chip Cheesecake is a family favorite.  It is made with a graham cracker and chocolate base, a cheesecake filling with mini chocolate chips stirred in the batter and finished off with miniature chocolate chips on top.  

I don't make it often because it is really rich, and a little goes a long way.

I made this Buttertop Coffee Cake for breakfast on Saturday.  It was also our dessert, so kind of a two-for-one deal. 

With Chicken Parmesan, home cut french fries and broccoli on Saturday; and steaks on the grill, hash brown casserole, and a blue cheese wedge salad yesterday, topped off with these desserts; today,  my hubby and I will go back to a more sane way of eating.


Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake


1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 - 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of Hershey's Mini Chips, Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, cocoa, sugar, and butter.  Press evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, beating until smooth.  (Be sure to scrape up cream cheese from the bottom of the bowl with a spatula).  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  In a small bowl, toss 1/2 cup of mini chips with flour to coat; stir into cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle remaining chips evenly over top. Wrap aluminum foil around the bottom of the pan.  Place in a larger pan and pour water in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Turn oven off.  Allow to cool in oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven.  Cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate. 

Happy Baking!!

April 15, 2017


I recently started following thecooksinthekitchen on Instagram, which lead me to her blog, and one of the first posts I read was a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with olive oil, dark chocolate, and sea salt.

I am forever on the search for the very best chocolate chip cookie recipe because chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookie, and (probably) my favorite dessert.

What I really liked about these cookies is you could taste the fruitiness of the olive oil paired with the saltiness of the sea salt and the richness of the dark chocolate.  These chocolate chip cookies are delicious!

  I  love the flavor and aroma of olive oil, and when I saw these cookies were made with olive oil, I was very intrigued. 

I did change the recipe slightly.  Recipes are more of a guide and don't have to be strictly followed.  If you would like to try this lovely recipe, you can find it at thecooksinthekitchen.

Happy Baking!!

March 29, 2017


In the 80's, back in my hometown, I belonged to Delta Omicron Sorority, which was a Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.  
There were three chapters in Beta Sigma Phi, and each year, our chapter would be asked to prepare a meal and serve it at Holiday House, which was held Thanksgiving Day through the first week of December.

This is the Magnolia Manor which is located in Cairo, Illinois.  During the holidays, it is decorated for Christmas, and is truly magnificent.

Each room is decorated in a particular theme, and the decorations are (or at least they used to be) for sale, as a means for keeping the Magnolia Manor up and running.

Beta Sigma Phi would prepare the meal for one of the luncheons, and members would also serve and work in the kitchen.

The menu we fixed was Parmesan Crusted Baked Chicken, Hash Brown Casserole, Green Beans, and a Dinner Roll.  A dessert was also served.

So . . . this hash brown casserole recipe has been around for a long time and can be found in many, many cookbooks. 

It is easy and delicious.  Instead of cornflakes on top, I used French Fried Onions, and for the first time ever, Cudjoe actually said he liked it!  I love potatoes, and this has always been a favorite of mine.


Hash Brown Casserole

1 32-ounce package of frozen hash browns, thawed; 1 can, cream of chicken soup; 1 8-ounce carton of sour cream; 1 8-ounce package of cheddar cheese; 1 teaspoon of pepper; 1/2 stick of butter, melted; French's Crispy Fried Onions (2.8 oz container).

Stir hash browns, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pepper, and melted butter together in a large bowl.  Spread into a 13 x 9 casserole dish.   Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.  Sprinkle Crispy Fried Onions on top of casserole and bake another 10 minutes.