July 14, 2016

chocolate peanut butter dream pie

Y'all. I don't even know what to say about this pie. I've sat here thinking about how to start telling you about this dreamy, creamy goodness. And I can only come up with two things. And both may convince you to make this pie.
1. I am always one to choose fruit dessert over chocolate dessert. Hands down. No questions asked. No looking back. And I made four of these pies in four days.
2. I'm convinced that my picture is blurry because I was shaking with uncontrollable joy at getting to cut into my fourth pie in four days. 

note: I didn't eat all four pies.
note: I totally could have though.
note: They're. that. good.

Watch the episode and see me make this pie on Cooking Today by clicking HERE! 

Makes one 9” pie
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
8oz carton cool whip, thawed
1-2 cups chopped chocolate peanut butter cups
¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons coconut oil

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and unsalted butter with a fork until crumbs are moist. Pour crumbs into a 9” pie dish (not a deep pie dish, just a regular one) and press into the bottom and up the sides. Refrigerate crumb crust while you prepare the filling so it firms up a little.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the peanut butter and softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar and vanilla. On low speed, stir in the carton of thawed cool whip. Carefully spread the peanut butter filling into the chilled crumb crust. Cover the top with chopped peanut butter cups.

In a small microwaveable bowl or glass measuring cup, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil for 20 seconds at a time until smooth, stirring between each interval. Using a small spoon, drizzle melted chocolate all over the top of the pie. Chill for at least an hour or more before serving. It. Is. Rich. So you may get 10-12 pieces out of one pie! Have cold milk on hand! Delicious!

July 12, 2016

easy no churn strawberry ice cream

Lord have mercy. We're in the throes of Summer in the South, and our air went out. Not the kind of "out" where you just add a little sumpthin to it and it cools again in no time. I mean OUT. Like, NEW SYSTEM out. Like WAITING FOR THREE DAYS FOR A NEW ONE TO BE INSTALLED out. 

So I have done all the things that every good Southerner does when it's as hot inside as it is outside.
-I closed every blind and pulled every drape.
-I've sat in utter darkness as not to generate one ounce of heat from one little light bulb. (Although I did burn a candle for ambience. Candles are real spirit-lifters in my book.)
-I flat out shut the door in a delivery man's face because there was no standing with the door wide open while I went for a pen to sign his paper. I used my best manners when I did it.
-I've sipped through a gallon of sweet tea all by myself.
-I went to Walmart and bought a fan called The Blizzard that has been by my side moving the air. Everywhere I go. I may or may not have talked to my fan like Tom Hanks talked to Wilson, his beloved volleyball, in Castaway.
-And I made no churn strawberry ice cream. And I ate it for lunch.

Y'all. It's hot in here. I needed a treat. I couldn't for the LIFE of me imagine turning on the oven or stove top flame. But I could sure use my blender and my mixer and have homemade ice cream by morning. You gotta do what you gotta do. I mean, I'm talking to oscillating fans, people.

So here's the recipe for you. It's rich and sweet. It's a little icy and a little creamy. And it hits the spot when you're hot! Y'all enjoy, and stay cool wherever you are. 

makes 1 9x5 loaf pan which is I'm-not-even-sure-how-many bowls

16oz fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla + 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a blender or food processor, pulse the berries until they are about halfway pureed but still have some chunks. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and pulse again until the mixture comes together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla for several minutes on medium high speed. Whip until the cream has thickened and has medium peaks. Gently fold the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream, and spoon into a metal 9x5 loaf pan. (You can use just about anything that is freezer safe.) Cover and freeze overnight, and eat it for lunch the next day when you're hot.

July 05, 2016

green chili and lime chicken fajitas

When Sam and I were dating, we'd go out to eat and share Fajitas for Two at any restaurant that would offer it on the menu. We. Love. Fajitas. Mmmm, with yummy queso and guacamole! Ugh, we can eat ourselves sick on fajitas and queso! After we got married, we decided we wanted to learn how to make reallly good fajitas at home. So we worked on a recipe doing a little of this and a little of that. We tried different skillets, different marinades, different seasonings. And after a few years of trying a few variations, we've landed. I made us finally write it down so we'd know every time what we did that made them so good! Then I even had him as a guest on my cooking show so we could make these for y'all step by step! WATCH THE EPISODE HERE. They require a little bit of chopping, but very little skill. Worth every single second!

Two equipment notes real quick! In order to get a good caramelization on your veggies, you need a cast iron skillet. Go find one at a flea market, get your Grannie's, or run to Euna Mae's and get a double-handled big boy like I have here! It's dreamy, gang. And also, grill the chicken on an outdoor grill. We tried to do chicken inside, but the flavor from the grill and those charred grill marks is unbeatable! Spoon out the queso, and let's get going!

Feeds about 6

3 chicken breasts, pounded and flattened a little on the thick end

For the marinade:
⅔ cup canola oil
¼ cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, mashed
Juice of 2 limes
2 small cans diced green chilies
For the rub/seasoning:
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon season salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon salt

1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
Flour or corn tortillas
Shredded monterey jack cheese
Sour cream
Lime for squeezing over fajitas

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the marinade. Put chicken in a zip top bag and pour marinade over. Massage into meat. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or as long as four hours. Don’t marinate overnight or the lime juice in the marinade will break down the texture of the meat. Mix dry rub together in a small bowl. Remove chicken from marinade, allow marinade to drain off, and generously season both sides of chicken breasts with dry rub mix, reserving about a teaspoon for the vegetables. Grill for 7 minutes on each side. Remove from grill onto a rimmed baking sheet, and cover with foil. Covered chicken can stay warm in a 200 degree oven until time to slice and serve.

While chicken is grilling, preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with just a little oil drizzled in the bottom. Saute onions and peppers until tender with a little color. Season with 1 tsp of seasoning/rub mix plus a few good pinches of salt. As vegetables finish up, cut chicken into thin slices, and add to the skillet with the hot onions and pepper. Squeeze a lime over the skillet, and splash with a few tablespoons of water to get that restaurant sizzle! Serve with warmed tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

June 06, 2016

grilled black bean and chicken burritos

If I know two things at all, I know these two things. 1) We are busy. 2) We love Mexican food. So combine those two things, and you've got a recipe for these grilled black bean and chicken burritos!  It's a quick weeknight recipe that is a crowd-pleaser. YAY! The hero of this dish is rotisserie chicken that can be picked up and pulled apart in a snap. Then these burritos are filled with gooey, melted cheese, a warm sweet-and-spicy black bean salsa, and super seasoned chicken. Load 'em up, grill 'em up, slice 'em and serve 'em! Your people are gonna love them! 

Watch the online episode HERE with step-by-step instructions and fun!

feeds about 6

1 family-sized or two small rotisserie chickens, meat pulled and shredded
¼ cup water
1 can of Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 scant teaspoon cumin
1 scant teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium yellow onion
1 14oz can black beans, drained a little
½-1 cup frozen corn
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Package of soft taco-sized flour tortillas
Sliced avocado
Halved grape tomatoes
Sour cream

In a pot over medium-low heat, mix together and heat chicken, water, half of the juice from the Rotel can (keep the rest!), lime juice, chili, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir and taste for seasoning, adding more as you’d like.

Meanwhile, slice onion and saute in a little oil until tender and golden.

In another pot over medium heat, mix together black beans, corn, the rest of the Rotel can, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Down the center of one flour tortilla, layer chicken mixture, black bean mixture (use a slotted spoon to drain off liquid), then top with shredded monterey jack cheese. Fold each side in like a burrito and grill in a preheated non-stick skillet drizzled with a little oil. Weight the burrito with another skillet or heavy spatula while it cooks on both sides. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining tortillas and fillings. Garnish with avocado, tomatoes, sour cream, and cilantro!

April 17, 2016

creamy bacon spinach ravioli

Oh my word. This pasta ranks in the top 5 things that I make in my kitchen. Without question! It's easy, creamy, smokey, rich, and AMAZING! And it's a cinch to make! Top this pasta with a pretty variety of heirloom tomatoes and you've got yourself a show stopper, y'all! Click HERE to watch the online episode loaded with tips and techniques!  

1 package fresh cheese-filled ravioli (or filling of your choice)
6 strips of bacon, cut into pieces and sauteed until crisp (fat reserved)
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
4 Tbls unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup chicken stock
¾-1 cup grated parmesan
1 package fresh spinach, not frozen - approximately 4 cups
Fresh grape tomatoes, halved or small heirloom tomatoes, cubed
Salt & Pepper
Extra parmesan to grate over the pasta at the end!

 Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and have it ready to go when it’s time to boil the ravioli (which boils very quickly.) So be ready! Saute bacon in a deep saute pan or braiser, remove to a paper towel-lined tray to drain, reserve fat. Saute sliced shallots in reserved fat until tender. Stir in garlic and saute until fragrant. Add butter and stir until melted. Str in heavy cream and the chicken stock that have been warming on the stove. Whisk so the liquids are combined. Bring to a low simmer, stir in the parmesan until melted. Taste for seasoning. Salt and pepper as needed. Add ravioli to boiling water and cook according to package instructions - do not overcook or the filling will seep out! In the few minutes that the pasta is cooking, stir in fresh spinach to the cream sauce, cover with a lid, allowing to wilt; stir into the cream sauce. Using a slotted spoon or pasta strainer, carefully transfer the cooked ravioli into the cream mixture. Stir carefully into the sauce. Spoon into warmed shallow dishes and top with crumbled bacon, sliced tomatoes, and additional parmesan cheese.