Italian No Bake Cake

A delicious and cool no bake sweet treat makes this the perfect dessert as spring draws to a close and summer starts to heat up.

What you need:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 8ox can crushed pineapple with juice

30 to 40 Nilla wafers

1 8 oz cool whip, thawed

1 to 1/12 cups coconut (The original recipe called for 2 full cups but I thought it was a little much.)

1 jar maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry

What you’ll do:

Mix together sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice, stir in crushed pineapple and set aside.

Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with Nilla wafers.

Spread the pineapple mixture on top of the cookies.

Add another layer of wafers.

Cover with a layer of cool whip.

Sprinkle with desired amount of coconut.

Top with cherries.

Allow to refrigerate overnight (or at least for 4 or more hours) so that the Nilla wafers soak up all that yummy pineapplely goodness.

It really is a simple dessert but very refreshing! My mother shared the recipe with me years ago and I’m not sure she even knows where she got it from but it sure is yummy so do give it a go and enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts and Gnocchi

Brussels sprouts. You either love them or hate them. I’m not sure if I ever enjoyed them as a child but I know I hated cabbage growing up so I cannot imagine that I would have liked them. Thankfully my taste buds have refined and matured with time and I like both nowadays.

For the longest time my go to recipe for the sprouts involved bacon and apples and it all being roasted together. Good stuff. Like, really good stuff. But then I came across this recipe and because we also enjoy gnocchi I knew I would have to give it a go.

And let me tell you, this New York Times recipe does not disappoint! It is a hit every time I make it with it’s balance of sweet heat.

What you’ll need:
1 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (18oz) package shelf stable gnocchi
6 TBS butter
1/2 tsp honey
shaved parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

What you’ll do:
In a large pan heat 3 TBS olive oil
Add Brussel sprouts cut side down and season with salt and pepper
Cook undisturbed, 3-5 minutes, until sprouts are nicely browned
Add the red pepper flakes and stir, continue to cook until tender
(And more olive oil if necessary while they cook)
Move them to a bowl and set aside
Heat 1 TBS of olive oil in pan
Break up gnocchi and add to pan, cook covered until golden brown on one side (3-5 minutes)
Add in butter and honey
Stir until the butter is foamy and golden brown
Add the Brussels sprouts back into the pan of gnocchi, cooking until warmed through
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

My people like meat so I love this as a one pan side dish for everything from chicken to steak although the original recipe billed it as a meatless meal. It’s so tasty I could do that.






Cookie Dough Dip

Sometimes you need a dessert recipe that is uncomplicated and a little outside of the box. You want something sweet but you’re not really in the mood for cookies or cakes. This is the recipe you want in those times. It is hands down the preferred sweet dip in my house and it is always well received so I decided to share the recipe here.

What you’ll need:
1/2 cup of butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
graham crackers

What you’ll do:
Melt butter and whisk in brown sugar, stirring well until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.
While mixture is cooling, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar together until smooth.
Add in the nectar of the gods brown sugar and butter combo and blend until combined.
Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Sprinkle a few chips on top for garnish and serve with graham crackers.

I tried regular chocolate chips once and it totally changed the texture of the dip and not in a good way. Other than that it is a foolproof delicious and easy little treat.

Enjoy!

Magoo Stew (Sausage & Gnocchi Soup)

Dear goodness, it has been a hot minute since I have posted a recipe! But if you’re going to break a silence then this is the recipe to do it with. You can go hear to read a bit more about the name otherwise don your kitchen mittens and get cooking…this is the perfect meal for a blustery winter’s day.

What you’ll need:

One tube ground sausage
1/2 small vidalia onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 package shelf stable gnocchi
2 cups fresh spinach
Spices ~
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 fennel seed, crushed
Parmesan cheese for garnish

What you’ll do:

In a large dutch oven or stock pot brown sausage and stir in red pepper flakes, set aside
Add chopped onion and garlic to pot and cook until tender
Pour in chicken stock, add tomatoes and sausage
Add remaining seasoning and bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes
Drop in gnocchi and cook until they float to the top
Stir in the heavy whipping cream
Remove from heat
Toss in spinach

Serve with a garnish of grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!




Three Bean Salad

It’s August and you know what that means. The dog days of summer are upon us. Schools are getting back in session and we are all about trying to squeeze the last bit of summer fun with beach trips, pool parties, and barbeques.

This is the perfect addition to your summer grill plans. Crisp and cool it’s a delicious side that can compliment burgers to chicken. Simple and easily put together too!

What you’ll need:
1 can 15oz black beans, drained
1 can 15oz red kidney beans, drained
1 can 15oz cannellini beans, drained
1 medium celery stick, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped

The dressing:
3 TBS olive oil
2 TBS apple cider vinegar*
2 garlic cloves, minced
Smidge of cayenne pepper

What you’ll do:
Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl, stirring until well mixed
In a small jar or mixing bowl combine dressing ingredients
Stir or shake until well mixed and everything is living in harmony together
Pour over bean mixture
Stir until everything is well coated
Refrigerate until ready to serve


*We like a bit of tang to ours but the original recipe called for just 1 TBS apple cider vinegar so you may want to start there and taste before adding more.

Enjoy!





Mayo Free Potato Salad

I know, I know. Can it really be called potato salad if it does not have mayonnaise in it? Can I even serve it in the south without mayo?

I don’t really have a good answer for those questions but I do know good eats when it’s on the table and this my friend, is good eats.

The original recipe calls for it to be eaten warm, which incidentally is how I prefer my good ol’ fashioned potato salad, but this one tastes even better to me cold after the flavors have had time to mix and mingle and pronounce their intentions.

My husband loves this and it has become our barbecue side of choice.

Two things before I share the recipe:
Firstly, the first few times I made it I didn’t have the white wine and it was still good enough to make it onto the make-it-again list. But the white wine takes a homerun and knocks it out of the park in a grand slam kinda way.
Secondly, the last time I made it the grocery store was running a bogo on bags of fingerling potatoes so I used them and not only did they up the pretty factor the creamy texture and flavor were spot on! (Of course the time that I made this and took pictures was not this time 😦 )

What you’ll need:
2 lbs potatoes of choice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, (you may add more if potatoes look a little dry)
1 TBSP Dijon style mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine, (Cooking wine will do but as they say, if you won’t drink it why would you cook with it?)
1/2 cup minced onion
Kosher salt, to taste
Coarse ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley

What you’ll do:
Quarter or halve potatoes into about 1 inch chunks and boil* until tender
While potatoes cook mix the remaining ingredients together
Add warm potatoes to dressing and gently toss until potatoes are well coated
Serve right away or allow to chill

Seriously, it is delicious either way so enjoy!

*Chicken broth and salt. I never boil anything in plain water because I like the extra boost of flavor I get from the broth.




Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese.

So basic and simple…noodles and cheese. Not complicated is it? But boy, oh boy, it is the good stuff, don’t you think?

I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur or anything but I am comfortable saying I know a good macaroni and cheese when I eat one and let me tell you, I cannot make it any other way now. You might have other mac and cheese recipes. They might even be good mac and cheese recipes. Maybe even really good ones. But you ought to try this one. Just because, umm, it is delicious!

I do have a cheat shortcut that makes this even easier to make and I think a little bit cheaper. Instead of buying various blocks of cheese I came across this nifty little cheese blend that is supposedly for salads. Since it has the three main cheeses my people like this was a no brainer for me. Besides being cheaper it also saves me some time because I am not having to grate the cheese. Total win.


What you’ll need:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheese of choice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 box ridged jumbo elbow noodles, cooked

What you’ll do:
Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
In a large pot melt butter.
Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.
Reduce heat and add all the other ingredients but the cheese.
Continue to stir until it starts bubble.
Reduce heat to low and add in cheese.
Stir until the cheese is completely melted.
Add the noodles and stir until everything is nicely incorporated.

Enjoy!




Fruit Nachos

Such a delicious and perfectly simple summer snack! This one is a crowd pleaser and such an easy way to get your kids in the kitchen and happy about eating a little healthier.

What you’ll need:
Flour tortillas
Melted butter
Cinnamon and sugar
Assorted fruit, chopped (We like strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi)
Redi whip
Chocolate syrup


What you’ll do:

Using a pizza cutter slice tortillas into triangles
Brush with melted butter
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar
Broil on top rack of oven for two to three minutes (Do NOT walk away because they will burn fast)
Allow to cool for five minutes before arranging on your serving tray
Sprinkle with chopped fruit
Add dollops of whipped cream
Drizzle with chocolate
Gobble them up and enjoy!


By no means is this THE healthiest snack around but it is better than cookies and cake. It is also fun and different so a total win win.




Sourdough Lemon Blueberry Muffins

These muffins were so much fun to bake but honestly, I think it was because I might have geeked out a little bit photographing the process. Maybe. Okay, I definitely did. But the light was so pretty and the colors were too and bonus, they taste delicious!

A small disclaimer here at the beginning…notice the name of the muffins? Yeah, you gotta have some sourdough starter on hand to make them. I have some starter that was given to me a couple of years ago and this is the first time I have ventured outside of regular loaves of bread and cinnamon rolls. I am by no means a sourdough guru however but a quick pinterest search pulls up a bajillion recipes. Here is a picture of the start of a starter that is like the one I use. It is made with instant potato flakes and if I have kept it alive all this time you can too! (If you guys are interested I will be happy to share my bread recipe that I make from my starter.)

Now back to the lemon blueberry muffins! I think I should share a picture now, don’t you?


What you’ll need:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest*
1/4 cup sourdough starter
1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

What you’ll do:

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries.
Mix until well combined but be careful to not overmix as it can dry out your muffins.
Gently fold in blueberries.
Scoop mixture into a well greased or paper lined muffin tin.
(Batter makes up about six nice sized muffins.)
You can add a few more blueberries on top and a little bit of sugar.
We topped ours with a little sugar and some lemon zest.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, testing for doneness.
Conitune baking until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly and serve!


*I would definitely use more lemon zest and probably squeeze some fresh juice into the batter next time. I like a good twang when I’m eating anything lemony.

One other note, you can make this dairy free by using almond milk.

I think I will try them again with cranberry and orange adn see how they turn out. That is another favorite flavor combination!

Let me know how you like them if you try the recipe!



Better Than Oreos

I’m just going to be very upfront about this dessert, y’all.

There is nothing subtle or elegant about it.

It is a sugar bomb waiting to explode deliciously on your tastebuds and will not just linger on your hips but will probably plant a flag and stake a claim.

It is like a drunken frat boy took the pantry challenge and all he found were oreos, sweetened condensed milk, and a cake mix. And then he also remembered he had a container of cool whip and some butter in the fridge and said, “Gnarly dude, I am going to make a dessert!”

But somehow it works into this it tastes so good I hate myself for eating it but I can’t stop guilty pleasure.

What you’ll need:

1 package of Oreos
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8oz tube of cool whip
1 chocolate fudge cake mix
1 1/2 sticks of butter, thinly sliced

What you’ll do:

Layer the cookies in the bottom of a 9×13 pan
Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cookies
Spread the cool whip on top of the cookies and milk layers
Sprinkle chocolate cake mix over the cool whip
Place thin slices of butter on top of the cake mix until covered
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes*
Take out of the oven and allow to cool and serve

*The original video recipe I saw on Facebook says 45 minutes. If I make this again (and I probably will for the right party) I will reduce the time to 30 minutes and check to see how jiggly it is. In the video it is a gooey glob of sweetness being spooned up but mine turned out more like some kind of crazy yummy bars that struck the perfect balance of chewy and gooey.

I would love to know if you try this and how it turns out!