Mounds Cake!

If you are a Mounds Candy Bar lover, this cake is for you!  It's the perfect combination of chocolate and coconut!   It's also a really decadent looking cake, but it's so easy to make, because it does start with a cake mix.  This is a great cake for a holiday  or special celebration, because it looks like you fussed!  Here is what you will need for this cake:
1 box chocolate cake mix, any type you prefer (plus the ingredients called for to make it)
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
30 large marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla
14 oz. bag of shredded, sweetened coconut
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. butter
Bake the cake according to package directions.  Cool completely and then slice each layer in half to make a 4 layer cake
Place the milk and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Add the marshmallows, coconut, and vanilla.   Cook until it boils stirring frequently.  
Spread the mixture between the layers and stack the cake on a cake plate. 
For the ganache frosting, heat the cream just to a simmer in a saucepan or in the microwave.
Place the chocolate chips in a glass heatproof bowl.  Pour the cream over the chips and allow them to soften.  Whisk in the butter until it's nice and smooth.   If it's too thick add another tablespoon of butter.  It should be a good consistency, not too thin, but not too thick.   
Frost the top and sides of the cake!

Cashew Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry!

I love just about any type of stir fry, because they come together quickly and they are really versatile.  Whatever you have on hand, you can incorporate it into the dish and make it work!  For example, for this stir fry, I had some boneless pork loin chops I needed to use up and some bell peppers and fresh mushrooms, so this was perfect for that!    Of course, I did 'southernize' this stir fry a bit by  adding bacon, which you all know makes anything better!   
Here is what you will need:
5-6 slices of bacon
3-4 boneless pork loin chops, sliced crosswise in thin strips
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
3 Tbs. vegetable or canola oil
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 large sweet onion, sliced and separated in rings
1 large bell pepper, sliced in thin strips (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow bell pepper for color, use what you have)
2 cups fresh mushroom slices
1/2 large green cabbage head, shredded
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce (I use Kikkoman)
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. cornstarch
pinch or red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup cashews
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
soy sauce to taste
Fry the bacon in a deep, rounded skillet or wok.  Remove to a plate when it is crisp.  Add the oil to the bacon drippings and heat to a medium high heat.   
 Add the pork strips and stir fry until completely cooked through.   Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. 
Move the pork to the edges of the pan and add the garlic, onion rings, bell pepper strips, and mushroom slices along with the butter.   Stir fry until the onion and other vegetables are just starting to get tender.  Add the shredded cabbage and continue to stir fry at medium high heat, mixing the vegetables and pork all together. 
In a separate bowl, mix the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar.  Pour over the cabbage and pork and toss.  Cook until the cabbage is crisp tender or to your liking! 
Mix the cold water with the cornstarch.  Make a well in the center of the pan and add this mixture, toss to coat.  This will thicken the sauce.  
Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and cashews and toss again.   Add additional salt and pepper to taste, because of the saltiness of the teriyaki sauce and soy sauce, you might not need much salt. 
Right before serving sprinkle with the crisp bacon.  Add soy sauce to each serving as desired! 
This is good served with rice!

Rolo Cookies!

I originally saw these cookies on Pinterest and they looked like something I needed to make.  They are easy and are so good when they are warm right out of the oven.  I love anything with chocolate and caramel .  They had to be  a winner.  I am glad I make these recipes before I post them though.  The original recipe I saw was a little on the dry side, even after I modified it.  I have taken the first recipe I made and have completely revamped it.  "Revamped"...I like that word!  This recipe is absolutely a winner!   These cookies are so soft and moist and yummy.  You know if it's chocolate and caramel I am all in!    Here is what you need:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box chocolate cake mix (whatever you like)
1 bag Rolo candies
1 cup powdered sugar
This is what Rolo candies looks like for those who may not be familiar!  Someone out there will ask!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla together.   Mix in the cake mix until all is blended.  Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.  
While the dough is chilling unwrap the candies.  It might not take the whole bag, so just unwrap about half of them.  This is a good one to get the kids involved in so they can do this tedious unwrapping chore!  If they know warm cookies are the reward, they will be more than glad to help.
When the dough has chilled, scoop out enough to wrap around the Rolo and cover it. 

Roll in a ball and roll in the powdered sugar.   Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or my favorite nonstick Reynold's Wrap foil.  Place in the oven and bake for 12-13 minutes.  Don't over bake these or they will be dry and the caramel will seep out.
Allow to cook just slightly on the cookie sheet and then sprinkle with a little more of the powdered sugar. 
These are so moist and delicious and they stay soft after they are cool, which I like! 

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Pork Chops!

This slow cooker recipe for "Creamy Italian Pork Chops" is so easy and so good you will not believe it!  It's also very versatile.  You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of the pork chops if you prefer.  This is good served over egg noodles (or any pasta you have on hand), mashed potatoes, or rice!   Add a salad or a vegetable and bread and dinner is served!   The meat literally can be cut with a fork it's so tender!   Here is what you will need for this:

6-8 boneless pork loin chops (or boneless chicken breasts)
pepper to taste
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1  (7 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
1 (10  3/4 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
1 (10  3/4 oz.) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup water
parsley for garnish (optional)

Spray a large slow cooker (5 to 6 quarts) with nonstick spray.  Lay the pork chops (or chicken in the bottom).  Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.    Sprinkle with the dry Italian seasoning mix.  Place the mushroom slices even over the top of the meat.

In a bowl mix the soups and cream cheese.  If you are watching your sodium, use the low sodium soups and it will work fine.  Pour evenly over the meat and mushrooms.  Pour the cup of water around the edges of the meat. 

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  When done, stir the gravy around to mix it well.  You can break the meat into smaller bite size servings or serve as they are.    If I am serving this over pasta, I will usually cut the meat smaller, but if I am serving with mashed potatoes or rice on the side, I leave it as is.    Its' so tender it will just about fall part.   

This makes plenty of gravy without adding anything to it and the consistency is just right!

I served these with mashed potatoes, but rice or pasta is great also! I sprinkle with a little parsley for color, but it's not necessary really!

Ten Great Super Bowl Party Recipes!

Super Bowl is coming up and it has to be one of the biggest snacking days of the year!   Whether you are hosting a Super Bowl Party or you are going to a party you are taking an appetizer or snack food to, here are ten great recipes to choose from.  They are easy and relatively inexpensive and they will serve a crowd!  If it's a big crowd, just double the recipe!  All of these can be prepped ahead of time, which is key to a good party!  Nobody wants to be in the kitchen all day and miss the fun and time spent with your guests!  If you are taking an appetizer to a party, these all travel well also!  Click on the title of each recipe under the picture to go to the actual post and recipe! 


Easy Peasy Cobbler Cake!

This is one of the easiest recipes you will ever make.  There is no mixing, beating or stirring and very little measuring!   It's so easy it makes a perfect recipe to get the children involved in.  They can do this one, pretty much by themselves, with the exception of taking it in and out of the oven.   Some call this a "Dump Cake", but my family advised me to call it something a little more appetizing for you all!   The word "dump" has so many connotations in our language and none of them are really appetizing!   Therefore, I have made it one of my easy peasy recipes!   This is a cake that has a cobbler like consistency and it's absolutely delicious with a scoop of ice cream on it!   Here is what you will need for this:
1  (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, do not drain
1 (21 oz.) can of cherry pie filling (can use whatever other flavor you like also)
1 (18.5 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter (2 sticks) cut in thin slices, about 12 pats each stick
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with nonstick spray.
Pour the crushed pineapple in the bottom.  Do not drain it.
Spoon the pie filling evenly over the pineapple.
Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the pie filling.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Cover the cake mix with the pats of butter.
Sprinkle with the chopped nuts. 
Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

This is best served warm with ice cream!

Mama's Macaroni and Tomatoes...My Comfort Food!

"Macaroni and Tomatoes" is a dish that my mother has been making all of my life.  It just says comfort food to me!  Every year, when my mother asks what I want her to cook for my birthday dinner, I always say macaroni and tomatoes or breaded tomatoes, which I also love.  Nobody makes either dish that tastes exactly like Mama's does.  You know those recipes that only your mother or grandmother make to taste just that certain way and even though they might be good, they are just not the same as theirs.  This is one of those dishes for me.
Several of you have written and asked me about a recipe for Macaroni and Tomatoes and sort of like the Southern Goulash, I used to think we were the only family that ate it, but I have learned a lot of you grew up with it also.  It seems like such a simple thing to prepare, but to get it right, there are a few key ingredients.  It also might seem like a dish, kids wouldn't eat, but we have some children in our family that will eat all of this you can make and set in front of them, and it's not nearly as fattening as macaroni and cheese! Mama usually served it with pinto beans and cornbread, which was really good! 
 Here is what you need for this old fashioned recipe:
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1  (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups V-8 juice
1 tsp. bacon drippings
1 Tbs. butter
2 tsp. sugar
black pepper to taste
Place the macaroni in 2 cups salted boiling water and cook until the pasta is  just starting to soften.  Add the tomatoes,  V-8 juice, bacon drippings, butter, sugar and black pepper to taste.  Cook just until the pasta is done and has absorbed some of the juices.  Don't leave the bacon drippings out, that is one of the keys to the flavor! 
You can add cheese to this or sprinkle with Parmesan, but this is one dish I don't like to add cheese to!  I know it's hard to believe, but it's true!

Sausage Pinwheels!

These "Sausage Pinwheels" are tasty little treats that are very versatile.  You can serve them for a party appetizer, along side soups, or even as a quick breakfast!   They have three ingredients and couldn't be easier!   Here is what you will need:
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (1lb.) roll of breakfast sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the crescent roll dough on a sheet of foil or wax paper.  I like to use Reynold's nonstick foil.  I know you all get tired of hearing me say that, but it's one of the best things invented in the cooking world in recent   Press the seams of rolls together where they are perforated.
Lay the raw sausage evenly over the dough.   You can just pinch it off in pieces to do this.   Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the sausage.  
Starting on the long end of the dough, roll into a tight roll forming a pinwheel shape.  If any falls out, just tuck it back in.  Using the foil or wax paper to roll it and wrap the roll in, seal the ends by folding the paper or foil over.   Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.  Sometimes if I am short on time, I just put the roll in the freezer for about an hour and it works fine also.
With a sharp knife, slice in 1/2 inch pieces and lay on a cookie sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray or I just use another sheet of nonstick foil.   Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Serve immediately!  These are also good reheated if you have leftovers!

Jalapeno Popper Dip!

If you love the taste of jalapeno poppers, you will definitely love this dip.  Actually, even if you wouldn't normally eat a jalapeno popper, like my husband, you will like this dip.  I didn't think he would eat it, since anything with jalapeno doesn't usually fly with him, but I withheld the name until he tried and he had to admit he liked it.   The other good thing about this dip is that it's so much easier to prepare than the actual poppers are and it serves more people for a party!  This will make an excellent Super Bowl dip! 
There are recipes for this all over Pinterest and food blogs it seems, but every one is a little different.  Mine is a mixture of my own preferences.   Here is what you will need:
2 (8 oz. ) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar/Monterrey Jack blend
1/3 cup pickled jalapeno rings, chopped fine (can use fresh jalapeno, but I prefer the pickled in this)
1/3 cup green onion, chopped including some of the green blades
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional according to how much heat you like)
7-8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
4 Tbs. butter, melted
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
Blend the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the shredded cheddar, jalapenos, green onion, garlic powder, and Tabasco if using.  
Spread this mixture in a deep pie plate or quiche type dish.
Sprinkle the cooked bacon over the top.
Combine the melted butter, crushed Ritz crackers, and the other 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the top.  Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. 
Serve hot with crackers or tortilla chips!  We like it with Frito Scoops!

Lemon Chess Pie!

Chess Pie is about as southern as pie gets!  The history of where Chess Pie got it's name is debatable, but it's a pie that has been around for many, many years.  In my part of the country, Chess Pie was probably made much more than even Pecan Pie back in the day, due to the fact that pecans do not grow in our area and were not as readily available.   Some say Chess Pie and Pecan Pie taste the same, but they do not taste all that similar to me.  Pecan Pie is more syrupy and Chess Pie is more of a custard like consistency. 
There are variations on the flavors of Chess Pie and this Lemon Chess Pie is one of those variations.  I like the addition of the lemon, because the tartness of the lemon cuts the sugar somewhat in this very rich pie.   Here is what you will need for this "Lemon Chess Pie":
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie shell
1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (you will need about 2 fresh lemons)
2 Tbs. lemon zest
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1Tbs. flour
2 Tbs. cornmeal
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup half and half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugar.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Place the unbaked pie shell on a cookie sheet.  Pour the mixture in the shell and carefully place in the oven on the center rack.  
Bake for 45-50 minutes.  The top will brown, but do not overbrown it.   The thin brown crust on top is typical for a Chess Pie.  Allow to cool before slicing!  
Serve plain or...
with a dollop of whipped cream!  Delicious!