Kentucky Derby Bars!

There is a pie that has become quite famous associated with the Kentucky Derby called a "Derby Pie"!  These bars are very similar to that pie except in a bar form.  These are a delicious chocolate chip and pecan bar that are good served with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream or just by themselves!   Here is what you will need for these:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1  1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
pinch of salt
3/4 cups butter, softened (1  1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. bourbon (can substitute vanilla)
1  1/2 cups chocolate chips
1  1/2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the powdered sugar, salt and flour in a mixing bowl.   Cut in the cold butter until combined. 
Press into a 13"x9" baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.   Bake for 10 to 13 minutes.
In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add in the eggs and beat.  Add the flour, salt and bourbon and mix.  Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.  Pour over the crust.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.
Cut in squares and serve or
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

BBQ Chicken Chop Salad!

This "BBQ Chicken Chop Salad" can be served as a side salad or it's definitely hearty enough for a main course salad.   It's really good in the warm months when you might want something a little lighter.  You can prepare the BBQ chicken in the oven or if the weather is nice and you want to keep the heat out of the house, just cook it on the grill.  You can also use leftover BBQ chicken if have it. 
Here is what you will need for this salad:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
black pepper
garlic powder
3/4 cup barbeque sauce, divided
6 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped in bite size pieces
1 bunch green onions, chopped including the green blades
1/2 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato seeded and diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 cup corn niblets (frozen or canned)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese 
2 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips 
5-6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Brush with 1/2 of the barbeque sauce.  Place in a 375 degree oven for 35 -40 minutes or until done or cook on the grill.  Set aside while you prepare the salad. 
In a large salad bowl, place the chopped Romaine lettuce.  Next layer the green onions, bell pepper, tomato, mushrooms, eggs, and corn niblets.   Sprinkle with the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  You can just use a cheddar/Monterrey Jack blend also.   Sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips and then sprinkle the bacon over the top. 
Dice the BBQ chicken in bit size pieces and place on top of the salad.  Drizzle with the ranch dressing and the remaining barbeque sauce. 
It's ready to serve!

Cheesecake Brownies!

1 Family Size pkg. brownie mix, plus ingredients called for (for the 9"x13" pan)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbs. butter, softened
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz.) can milk chocolate frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare brownie mix as directed on the package.  Spread into a 9"x13" baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick baking spray.
In a large mixing bow, beat the cream cheese, butter and cornstarch until its fluffy.  Beat in the sweetened condensed milk.   Beat in the egg and the vanilla until smooth.    Pour the cheesecake mixture evenly over the brownie batter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is just starting to brown.   Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
Spread with the frosting.  Cut into bars and serve!

Sour Cream Rolls!

1 (8 oz.) container of sour cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 (1/4 oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 large eggs
4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbs. butter
Cook first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.   Cool to 105 to 115 degrees.
Combine the yeast and 1/2 cup warm water in a glass bowl or measuring cup.  Let stand for 5 minutes. 
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast mixture, sour cream mixture, eggs and flour.  Blend well but don't over knead it.
Chill, covered for 8 hours.
Divide the dough into fourths and roll each portion into a ball.   Roll each ball to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.   
With a 2 1/2 inch or 3 inch round cutter, cut the dough.   Brush each piece with the other 2 Tbs. melted butter.   Make a crease across each round with a knife and fold in half.   Press edges to seal. 
Place the rolls on a baking sheet that has been greased with the sides slightly touching.    Cover loosely and set in a warm place.  Allow to rise until the rolls have doubled in size or usually about an hour.   
Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until just starting to brown.
Serve hot from the oven with additional butter!

Strawberry Delight!

This is really an easy strawberry dessert that makes a nice presentation and is really rather light since the base is an angel food cake.  You can bake your own angel food cake or for an even easier dessert, use one you buy already baked.   Here is what you will need for this:
1 Angel Food Cake mix, prepared
8 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbs. milk
8 oz. frozen whipped topping
1 pint whole fresh strawberries, halved
1 (16 oz.) pkg. strawberry glaze  (usually found in the produce department  with the strawberries)
Prepare the cake as directed and cool or use an already baked angel food cake.   With a serrated knife, cut the cake in half across to make two layers.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and milk until smooth.  Spread between the layers and stack on a cake plate.  Spread the remaining mixture on top and around the sides of the cake.    Place in the refrigerator and chill for a couple of hours or overnight.
Frost the cake all over with the whipped topping.   Cap the strawberries and slice them in half.  Arrange on top and around the sides of the cake.   Drizzle with the strawberry glaze. 
The finished cake will look like this!
 Slice and serve!  Wasn't that easy?


Sunshine Salad!

This is a really easy gelatin salad that makes a pretty presentation for Spring and Summer events!  The great thing about this is that it takes just a few ingredients and anyone can do it!  The salad itself is also light and very tasty!   This is what you will need:
1 cup boiling water
3 oz. pkg. orange gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1 cup shredded carrots
4 oranges, unpeeled and sliced
1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced
Pour boiling water over the orange gelatin in a bowl.  Stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Add the cold water and stir.   Stir in the salt and crushed pineapple.   Refrigerate just until it starts to thicken, but has not set up completely.   This takes around 1-2 hours.   
Once it starts to thicken, stir in the shredded carrots.   Pour into a round mold or bowl.   Refrigerate until completely set, several hours or overnight.  
Unmold onto a large plate or platter!  Arrange the orange slices and pineapple slices alternately around the gelatin salad! 
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve!  If you are serving a large crowd, double the gelatin salad recipe and pour into a deeper mold or bowl!   This will serve 4-6 people!

Lemon Fluff Salad!

This "Lemon Fluff Salad" is a really light and pretty gelatin salad that is perfect for Spring and a holiday like Easter.  Like so many things we call a 'salad' in the South, this can be served as a light dessert on the dessert buffet or along with a meal.    For those who are watching their diets, this is lighter than a most desserts and will still make you feel like you had something sweet!   Here is what you need for this "salad":
1 (3 oz.) lemon gelatin
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple
2 bananas sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. flour
1 egg beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping
1 cup pecans, chopped
Prepare the gelatin as the package directs.   Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice.  Add the drained pineapple and sliced bananas to the gelatin. 
Pour into a 11"x7" dish or a 9"x9" dish.  Place in the refrigerator and chill until set.
Combine sugar and flour in a saucepan.   Add in egg and reserved pineapple juice. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Set aside to cool.  Once cooled fold the cooled mixture into the frozen whipped topping.  Spread over the gelatin layer. 
Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
Chill until ready to serve.  Cut in squares to serve!

Butterscotch Blondies!

I love anything butterscotch and I also love Blondies, so I knew these "Butterscotch Blondies" would be a winner.  They are also so easy to make!  These are delicious with a big glass of milk or a good cup of coffee. 
Here is what you will need:
6 oz. butterscotch chips
6 oz. white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
4 eggs
2 cups self rising flour***
2 tsp. vanilla
1 or 2 Tbs. shortening or butter
6 oz. chocolate chips
***If you do not have self rising flour, substitute all purpose flour, 1 Tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, butter and vegetable oil in a saucepan over low heat and heat until chips melt.  Stir to blend.  Or you can do this in the microwave 1 minute at a time until chips melt.    Stir in the brown and white sugars and stir. 
Add the eggs and stir.  Add the flour and mix just until well combined.  Stir in the vanilla.
Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with nonstick baking spray.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.   Remove and allow to cool.
Melt the chocolate chips with the tablespoon of shortening or butter and stir.  Drizzle over the cooled bars in the pan.
Cut in bars and serve! 

Pineapple Poke Cake!

This "Pineapple Poke Cake" is one of the best cakes I have eaten lately and you know I have to eat a lot of cake with what I do!  It's  a rough job, but somebody has to do!    This is a really easy cake to make and the results are so moist and yummy.  This tastes a whole lot like a pineapple upside down cake!   Here is what you will need to make this:
1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, drained and reserve juice
1 box yellow cake mix (2 layer size)
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 Tbs. vanilla flavoring, divided
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.  The type with flour works best.
Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, eggs, pudding mix, oil and 3/4 cup of the pineapple juice for 2 minutes.
Add 1 Tbs. vanilla flavoring to the batter and mix.
Fold in the crushed pineapple and mix.  Pour into the prepared Bundt pan. 
Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until  a pick inserted comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven and with a skewer or large fork poke holes in the cake. 
Mix the remaining pineapple juice, 1 cup powdered sugar, melted butter and the remaining 1 Tablespoon vanilla flavoring.  Pour this mixture over the cake while it's still hot and remains in the pan.   If this starts to pool, poke a few more holes in the cake.  Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 1 hour while it soaks up all of the soaking liquid.  
 Invert onto a cake plate.  Mix the 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tbs. milk until smooth and drizzle over the cake. 
Slice and serve!  This cake won't last long!

Smothered Chicken!

Smothered Chicken is one of my son, Bo's favorite dishes.  Of course, he hasn't met much in the way of chicken that he didn't like.  He is a chicken eatin' boy and always has been!  This is a simple thing to prepare and doesn't take all day, but it does require  a little prep time.   Here is what you will need:
6 boneless chicken breasts
12 pieces of bacon
6 slices Swiss or Provolone cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/ 4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup barbeque sauce of your choice
seasoned salt
black pepper
garlic powder
Cook the bacon in skillet until is is just almost done, but not completely crisp.  Remove from pan.  Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.  Brown chicken breasts in the bacon drippings in the skillet on each side.   Do not cook through, just brown for about 5 minutes. 
Remove chicken to a baking dish you have sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour a little soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce on each breast.  Brush each chicken breast with barbeque sauce.  Use about 1/2 of the barbeque sauce and save the other half.  Place 2 strips of bacon on each piece of chicken.  Wrap the dish tightly with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.  
Remove foil and brush each piece with more barbeque sauce to your taste. Place a slice of cheese on each breast and then sprinkle with some of the cheddar cheese.   You can just use the Swiss or Provolone cheese, but the color of the cheddar makes the dish prettier.  Turn the oven up to 425 degrees and place back in the oven until the cheese melts and bubbles, about 10 minutes or so.  Don't let it stay in too long or the cheese will melt and disappear.  
This is really good served with The Holiday Potato Puff or Easy Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes.  You can use any barbeque sauce, but my recipe for My Homemade Barbeque Sauce works really well!




Banana Cream Cheese Coffee Cake!

I love coffee cakes, especially those that are cinnamony and have nuts!   I also love bananas and things like banana bread.  This is sort of a blend of both.   It smells so good baking and right out of the oven it's to die for.   This is great with a good cup of coffee for an afternoon pick me up or even for a breakfast cake!   Here is what you will need for this:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, oil and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and mix after each addition.   Mix in bananas and vanilla.
Sift all dry ingredients together.  and add to the wet mixture.   Mix well.   Pour into a 9"x13" baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  
Mix the nuts with the 2 Tbs. melted butter, the sugar and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake.  
Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. 
Cut in squares and serve!

Carrot Raisin Salad!

 If you are a fan of  the carrot salad at Chick-fil-A, you have to try this recipe.  It's the closest I have found to it.  Also, if you are trying to offer a bit healthier alternatives, this is full of good for you ingredients!  
I think this "Carrot Raisin Salad" will be really great for Easter or for other Springtime events you might be hosting!  This is really good as a side with sandwiches, like  Mama's Pimento Cheese  or Mama's Pecan Chicken Salad!
Here is what you will need for this:
3 cups shredded carrots
1 stalk celery, diced small (optional)
1 (8 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, slightly drained
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix the shredded carrots, celery, crushed pineapple and raisins in a mixing bowl.   In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice, sugar and salt
Pour over the carrot mixture and toss to mix.   Chill until ready to serve!


Cheesy English Muffin Appetizers!

This is a little quick and easy appetizer that you can whip up at a moments notice, because usually all of these ingredients are on hand.  The only thing you might not have are the English Muffins, but I always keep some frozen to have in a pinch.  This is a good way to use up English Muffins that are just a little past their freshest also. 
If you cut each one in quarters they make a great party appetizer or serve them whole with pasta dishes and soups.  They also make a good after school snack for the kids!  This recipe is very adaptable and I will give you some variations that are really good also!  Here is what you will need to make these:
1 (12 oz.) pkg. English Muffins, split in half
2 Tbs. butter, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1  1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup green onion, chopped (include the green blades)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
dash black pepper
dash hot sauce (optional)
1/3 cup real bacon bits or crisp cooked finely diced bacon
Variations:   add 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1 tsp. basil or 1 tsp. oregano. If you are serving with spaghetti or other Italian pastas, you can also substitute chopped pepperoni for the bacon.  
Add 1 cup flaked crab meat and these become even more special and they are great served with clam chowder!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, mix the butter and mayonnaise until smooth.   Stir in all of the other ingredients.  Lay the English Muffins halves on a cookie sheet.   Evenly divide and spread the mixture over the tops of each muffin half.  
Place in the oven on the highest rack and bake for about 20 -25 minutes or until bubbly and just starting to brown.
Cut in fourths if serving for an appetizer!
Or serve whole alongside pasta dishes or soups! 

Ten Perfect Cakes for Easter!

There is nothing better for a holiday or celebration than a big beautiful cake!  The other desserts might taste wonderful, but the stacked cake will get all of the admiration!  Here is a collection of ten yummy and pretty cakes that I think are just perfect for the Easter holiday.  They range in difficulty for every level of baker, from those who are fairly new to it all right up to those who have been doing it for years!   Make your Easter special with one of these great cakes!