Chocolate Cobbler!

 "Chocolate Cobbler" is probably one of my all time favorite desserts!  If you have ever had it, you know it is totally sinful and delicious, especially for us chocolate lovers.  Cracker Barrel serves this on their dessert menu, but this dessert has been around for many years.  It goes by several different names actually, but I like the name "Chocolate Cobbler"!   This is what you will need for this decadent dessert:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup self rising flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1  1/2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Place the stick of butter in an 11"x7" or a 9"x9" baking pan and place in the oven just until melted. 
In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 Tbs. cocoa powder, pecans, milk and vanilla together.  Pour over the butter, but do not mix.
In another bowl combine the other 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pan. Do not mix.  
Pour the boiling water evenly over the top.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove and cool just slightly.   This is supposed to still be runny underneath the top to some degree.  Don't over bake it!
Serve while warm with ice cream or....
add whip cream and cherry to go all out!!! 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats!

Zucchini is one thing we usually have more than plenty of in the summers, because it's one thing that just seems to grow and produce here regardless of the weather.  This year seems like it will be no different either.  Therefore, I look for good recipes using this versatile vegetable all of the time.  Zucchini is so good to use in so many various types of recipes, because it just sort of picks up the flavors you put with it, whether sweet or more savory!    This is a savory dish that is great served as a side dish or even as a main dish!   Here is what you will need for this:
3 medium size zucchini
1 pound ground beef or chuck
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced (I used red for the color)
1/3 cup spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
1/2 tsp. Greek seasoning (can substitute seasoned salt)
1/2 tsp. basil
dash of salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
Cut the ends off of the zucchini and then slice lengthwise in half.  Do not peel. With a melon baller or a spoon scoop out the center and leave a 1/2 inch shell.   Dice the pulp you scoop out. 
Brown the ground beef along with the diced zucchini pulp, onion and bell pepper in a skillet.  Add the seasonings and grated Parmesan cheese.  Add the spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.   I just open a jar of spaghetti sauce, use what I need and refrigerate the rest to use for spaghetti or whatever another day in the week.   Add 1/2 of the Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Just fold to blend. 
Fill each shell with the ground beef mixture.  Sprinkle each one with the rest of the Mozzarella and then Cheddar cheese.  Place in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Banana Pudding Icebox Cake!

 This delicious dessert is part banana pudding and part cake!  It's technically a 'poke cake' know the ones where you poke the wholes and then pour a custard or pudding over it so it seeps down into the cake.  What makes this one so special is that the custard part is made from scratch and not an instant pudding mix.  That makes this have that old fashioned banana pudding taste.   I adapted this recipe from one that was in The Taste of the South Magazine in the May/June 2014 issue.   I did change just a few things.  Here is what you will need:
1 (15.25 oz.) white cake mix  (plus the ingredients to prepare the whole egg version)
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 cups whole milk
8 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla
5 to 6 bananas sliced
12 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed (can use sweetened whipped cream)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
Prepare the cake according to the package directions using whole eggs instead of the eggs whites only.  Mix in the 1/2 cup mashed banana and the vanilla.  We also substitute Sprite or 7 Up for the water, but that's optional.  Pour into a 9"x13" baking pan that has been sprayed well with nonstick spray.   Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.   Allow to cool for 25 to 30 minutes.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake.
In a saucepan over medium heat mix the flour, sugars and salt.  Whisk in the milk.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.   Place the egg yolks in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in about a cup of the hot mixture to temper the yolks.  Add the yolk back to the pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens.  This takes about 5 minutes.  Be sure to stir or it will scorch.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. 
 Pour the mixture over the cake.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Remove from refrigerator after it's chilled and slice the bananas and place on top of the custard.  Spread the whipped topping evenly over the top and sprinkle with the toasted pecans. 
Slice and serve!

Blackberry Cake!

I love anything made with fresh blackberries, especially if you can get fresh wild blackberries, which are just so much better than most of the blackberries you buy in the stores nowadays!  This cake can be made with fresh or frozen black berries, but since the blackberries will be getting ripe soon, try to use some good fresh ones if you can!  Here is what you will need for this cake:
3 cup all purpose flour
1  1/2 tsps. baking cocoa
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (12 oz.) bag butterscotch chips
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. half and half cream
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift the flour and all of the other dry ingredients together.
Cream shortening and sugar in a mixer bowl together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Fold in blackberries and their juice.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Fold in raisins and nuts. 
Pour into a tube pan, Bundt pan or a 9"x13" baking pan that has been sprayed well with nonstick baking spray.  
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake tests done in the center.  It will take less baking time if you use the 9"x13" baking pan.
Allow the cake to set for about 15 minutes then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a cake plate.  
Melt the butterscotch chips and butter together in the microwave for about 1 - 2 minutes.  Add the cream and stir until smooth. 
Pour over the cake and allow to run down the sides.  Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Creamed Peas and New Potatoes!

These "Creamed Peas and New Potatoes" is a familiar dish with many of us who grew up in the South.  Maybe they eat the in the North also, I don't really know, but I do know that so many of you Southerners have mentioned them.  Any time I post the salmon patties, I always get comments about creamed peas.   It seems that every southern mama decided creamed peas just go with salmon patties and they do go well together.  I think most children don't really love the green peas, but I was odd I guess, because I always did.  My mother almost always dressed them up with a cream sauce or even took them to another level when she added just a little cheese to the sauce.  I will discuss that further in the recipe. 
We were lucky enough to have fresh green peas for this dish, but you can use frozen peas or canned peas also.  Here is what you will need:
1 lb. small new potatoes, peeled and quartered or halved if very small
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups fresh shelled green peas (or 2 10 oz. bags frozen peas or 2 (15 oz.) cans green peas, drained)
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
2 cups half and half cream (could use whole milk)
fresh dill for garnish
***1 cup diced Velveeta cheese (optional ingredient)
Place the potatoes in a sauce pan with enough water to just cover.  Add salt to water.  Bring to a boil and the simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the peas and simmer for an additional 15 -20 minutes.   The fresh peas won't take long.   If you are using frozen or canned peas, just cook about 5 minutes.  Just make sure your potatoes are tender.  Drain most of the water when they are done.
In a microwave proof bowl melt the butter.  Add the flour, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth.  Microwave for just about 30 seconds.   Whisk in the half and half cream and microwave for about 3 minutes.   These times will vary according to the wattage of your own microwave.  Whisk well until the sauce is thick and smooth.   You can also do this on the stovetop, just be sure to stir constantly to keep it from sticking.
If you want to make the Cheesy Peas, add the cubed Velveeta to the white sauce and microwave for another minute.  Whisk until melted and smooth. 
Pour the sauce over the peas and potatoes and toss to coat. 
You can garnish with a  little fresh dill!  These are really good with Salmon Patties! 

Three Bean Pasta Salad!

I love a good three bean salad.  It's something my father and I share in common.  I am not sure why they appeal to me so much, but it's something I can make and keep in the fridge to snack on all week long or eat for a light lunch!  I also love a good pasta salad, I had this idea of combining the two and the results were really quite good! This is perfect to take to potlucks, cookouts or church suppers!  It's really best made the night before, because it gives the flavors time to marinade in the fridge!    Here is what you will need for this salad:
2 cups uncooked pasta ( I used mini penne, but bowtie, elbow or rotini would be great also)
2 (15 oz.) cans of three bean salad or any three bean salad you prefer (do not drain)
1/2 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 (15 oz.) can of small or medium ripe olives, drained
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 cup Mozzarella cheese cubed
1 envelope Italian dressing mix (I used Good Seasons)
1/4 cup vinegar
3 Tbs. water
1/2 cup olive oil (can use canola or vegetable)
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Greek seasoning (can use Seasoned salt)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Cook the pasta according to package directions in salted water just to al dente.  Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well. 
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, three bean salad, bell pepper, ripe olives, green onions, diced ham, and cubed Mozzarella cheese.
Prepare the dressing according to the directions on the envelope also whisking in the additional sugar, Greek seasoning or seasoned salt and black pepper. 
Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat it all well.  Place a tight fitting lid on the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve!   This is really best made the night before to allow it to marinade and mix the flavors. 
Toss well before serving!  

Japanese Fruit Pie!

Don't let the name of this pie fool you, because it is definitely a southern pie and not very exotic at all.   Why is this absolutely delicious pie, called a "Japanese Fruit Pie" you ask?  According to all of the information I can find, no one really knows, but the theory is that it was made way back in colonial days and folks thought that coconuts came from Japan.   I don't really know why, but so many southern recipes have names that have really nothing to do with the countries we attach to Italian Cream Cake for example.   The southern version has nothing to do with Italy.
What I will tell you about this pie is that it is wonderful and it's also very easy to make!  If you have not ever tried it, you really should!  It will become a favorite!  It has a similar flavor it a less sweet Chess Pie.   Here is what you will need:
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 unbaked (9 inch) pie shell
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Beat egg yolks, sugar and butter with mixer until well blended.  Mix in vanilla and vinegar.   Stir in pecans, coconut, and raisins. 
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff, then fold into the rest of the pie mixture.  
Spoon into the pie shell.  Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet and place in the 300 degree oven for 1 hour. 
Remove and allow to cool. 
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!  This pie is so good!

Cheesy Bean Dip!

This recipe takes bean dip and kicks it up to a whole new level.  I love bean dip, you know the kind you buy in the can, but this is the ultimate in bean dip.  It's also simple to make.  You can make this the day before and refrigerate it, then bake it right before you serve it also!   Here is what you will need: 
1 (16 oz.) can of refried beans
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cups sour cream
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
dash of hot sauce to taste (I used Tabasco sauce)
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese, divided
Mix the refried beans, cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Mix in the taco seasoning mix and the hot sauce to your taste.   Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese.   Pour into an oven proof dish.  A deep pie plate works well for this or a shallow casserole dish.  
Sprinkle the top with the rest of the shredded cheese.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is just stared to brown and it's hot and bubbly.
Serve with tortilla chips or Frito scoops!
I like to garnish with a few jalapeno rings or a dollop of sour cream!

Tropical Snowballs!

This is an old recipe we have put a little different twist on by using sugar cookies for the base!  Some of you might remember this from your mother or grandmother making them back in the day!  They are delicious little individual cookie desserts that would be perfect for a special occasion, such as a wedding or baby shower!  These are also great for holidays and are equally good both in summer and winter months!   Since this is a cold dessert, I think it's really best in the summer.   Here is what you will need for these:
1 pkg. or roll of refrigerated sugar cookies, baked and cooled
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, do not drain
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
12 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
maraschino cherries
Cream together the butter and sugar.  Mix in the pineapple, instant pudding mix and nuts.  Stir well and refrigerate for about 2 hours. 
With a large cookie scoop, place a scoop on each cookie.  This mixture will make about 12 the size shown in the picture or you can make 24 mini sized ones! 
Frost each one with the whipped topping, spreading it to the edges to seal.
Sprinkle each one with coconut and top with a cherry!  Refrigerate until ready to serve!
Not only do these make a pretty presentation, they are delicious also!

Hummingbird Poke Cake!

I am not sure when 'poke' cakes made their first appearance, maybe in the early 1970's or late 1960's?  Whenever it was, they enjoyed a time of popularity for several years and helped increase the sales of gelatin and instant pudding mixes.   Then, they sort of waxed and waned until they weren't so popular for a time, like so many recipes do.   However, with the popularity and rise of food blogs, Pinterest and such, they have made a comeback.   This cake, has the flavors associated with the classic southern  Hummingbird Cake!   This is a much easier cake to make, but it's still very tasty! 
Here is what you will need for this cake:
1 pkg. yellow cake mix, plus the ingredients called for to make it
1  1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided
1 (3 oz.) pkg. banana cream instant pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package in a 9"x13" baking pan,  adding half of the chopped nuts or 3/4 cup.  
In a mixing bowl, mix the pudding mix and milk until it starts to slightly thicken (about 2 minutes).   Add the crushed pineapple to the pudding and mix. 
With the handle of a wooden spoon a wooden pick, poke holes in the cake at 1" intervals.  
Pour the pudding mix over the cake and spread evenly.
Beat the cream cheese until fluffy with an electric mixer.   Beat in the confectioner's sugar and vanilla.  Stir in the frozen whipped topping just until incorporated.
Spread evenly over the cake to frost.  Sprinkle the top with the rest of the chopped nuts.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight it even better!  

Shari's Parmesan Zucchini Bites!

I love anything that uses zucchini in it and we always seem to have tons of fresh zucchini each summer to use from the garden.  This is a recipe my sister, Shari,  made while she was visiting this past week and we all loved it!   It's a really tasty way to use some of that fresh zucchini!   Here is what you will need:
1  1/2 cups, shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 cup crushed buttery crackers (Ritz, Townhouse or Club)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
Blanche the grated zucchini and carrot in about and inch of boiling water for about 2 minutes.  Drain well and squeeze out all of the excess water.
In a mixing bowl mix all ingredients together except the Panko bread crumbs.   Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
With a small cookie scoop or by the tablespoon, scoop out the mixture and form into a ball.  Place the Panko bread crumbs in a shallow pie plate or dish.  Dip each ball in the bread crumbs and coat.
Place the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Place the Panko breaded zucchini balls in the pan and lightly mash each one   Do not mash too much though.   Cook until brown on each side.   Remove to a paper towel lined plate.  
We served these with a horseradish dipping sauce, but they are great just plain also!