Thursday, September 11, 2014


Good Morning, Everyone!

September is already here and for many that means fun times cheering for your favorite football team! War Eagle from our household!
Hope this finds all well and enjoying this last major holiday of summer! Happy Labor Day!
The recipes are seafood appetizers. Enjoy!


When life gets a little rocky, please remember...
Without the rain, there would be no rainbows...
Without the winter, there would be no spring...
Every trial carries within it the potential for triumph..
waiting to be brought forth, by YOU.
                     Linda Lee Elrod

Oysters with Prosecco Granita
Anne Burrell

2 cups Prosecco
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups rock salt for plating (optional)
12 oysters, freshest and your favorite variety or a mix- whatever you like


Combine all of the ingredients, except the oysters, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until all of the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Pour the mixture into a wide flat dish and put it in the freezer. As the mixture begins freeze, drag a fork through it to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process every 15 minutes or so until the mixture is completely frozen. When done it will look like ice shards, kind of slushy but a bit more frozen.

Scrub the outside of the oysters to remove any sand and grit. If using, spread the rock salt out on a serving dish. Shuck the oysters and lay them on the rock salt. Top each oyster with the granita and serve immediately.

This is a flavor explosion in your mouth!!!!!

From one of my foodie friends!

~ Shrimp Scampi Dip ~

One of the best (and easiest) dips I've ever had, baked to absolute creamy, cheesy perfection!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, de-veined and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1/4 cup white wine*
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, 1/4 cup mozzarella and Parmesan.
Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 10-12 minutes.
Serve immediately.


Paula's Smoked Salmon Spread
Paula George Smith

1 lb. flaked smoked salmon (Alaskan Smoked Salmon, preferred)
1 lb. cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. dried dill
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. worcestershire
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish (or more)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
Delish, served with flatbread, crudite tray or "good" crackers to spread it on.


Hot Crab Meat Appetizer

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups flaked, drained crabmeat
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon cream style horseradish
1/4 tsp. salt
several turns of fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup sliced almnds, toasted

Combine all ingredients except for almonds. Mix until well blended; spoon mixture into 9 inch pie plate.
Sprinkle with nuts. Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers or crostini.


Creme a la Maison

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Apricot Wine sauce (recipe follows)

Soften gelatin in cold water; stir over low heat until dissolved. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar,
vanilla & salt; mixing until well blended. Gradually add milk & gelatin, mix thoroughly. Chill until
slightly thickened. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 quart mold;
chill until firm. UN-mold. Serve with:

Apricot Wine Sauce

1 (10 oz.) jar Apricot preserves
1/3 cup dry white wine

Combine ingredients; mix well. Chill

6-8 servings

Bonus Kitchen Tip:

Need cake flour for a recipe?

2 cups cake flour (you can make cake flour by using 2 cups of all-purpose flour,
removing 4 tablespoons of the flour,
adding 4 tablespoons of cornstarch, and sifting)

or: 2 Tablespoons cornstarch per 1 cup of all-purpose flour

Monday, July 28, 2014

Treasures from Becky aka Decolady

I know this is early for my August newsletter but I am writing it to honor my dear friend Becky that left this walk of life on July 29, 2011. It's hard to imagine sometimes that it has been 3 years. Anyone who knew Becky in real life or the cyber world knows what a vibrant, loving, fun-loving person she full of life and embracing each day with passion! Always sharing her love of cooking, gardening, decorating and anything artsy!  She was truly a rare and "Beautiful Gem" .We sure do miss you, Girlfriend, but each of us are SO thankful for having you crossed our pathways in this walk of life!


Paula Smith


Beautiful Gems

Thank You, Great Spirit, for the beautiful gems You've placed in my pathway.
Family, friends, all of nature to brighten my life each day.
Thank You, Great Spirit, for the varied ingredients You've provided to compile life's recipe.
Family, friends, all of nature; unique, yet pertinent, compiled to reveal a life of beauty.
Thank You, Great Spirit, for Your Love and Guidance, that You shower upon us each day.
Family, friends, all of nature; leaving a glimpse of You while crossing my pathway.
                                     Paula 2003

Recipes shared by Becky aka Decolady

Grown Up Mac and Cheese Sep 12, 2008 at 7:45pm
Post by decolady on Sep 12, 2008 at 7:45pm

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while now, but the other people in my household don't care for bleu cheeses. So tonight we had this with some variations (posted below). To start out, we've got the pasta and cheeses:

Now the pasta/cheese mixture is just waiting to be topped with breadcrumbs before putting in the oven:

Here is the Mac & Cheese out of the oven. It got left in a little too long as my Mike and Tori went to fill up our cars due to the gas rationing we have because of Hurricane Ike.

1. I cooked the bacon in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove as I didn't want to have to deal with grease splatters in the oven.

2. In place of
4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
3 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 oz blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
I used
4 oz Hoop Cheddar cheese, grated
3 oz Gouda cheese, grated
2 oz Sage Derby cheese, crumbled

3. For the pasta I subbed the one in the photo. I'd gotten it a while back at a gourmet food store and thought it was time to use it.

4. We did not have any white bread, so the crumbs were made from whole wheat.

5. Because of using the Sage Derby cheese, I chose not to add nutmeg and I used some fresh sage instead of basil in the breadcrumb mixture.

My review of the recipe as I made it.
I was wondering if the Sage Derby would turn the mixture green, but that did not happen. And I baked this in a shamrock Fiesta pedestal bowl, instead of individual bakers. All that worked out really well. All of us thought this recipe tasted too salty. And I have to say, this is the first of Ina's recipes where that has ever happened to me. Like Ina, I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, which by volume has less sodium than other salts. I attribute the excess saltiness to the cheeses I used. DD nor I really cared for the addition of bacon, but we lean toward being vegetarian.

Bottom line, I would definitely make this again with the cheeses and pasta I used tonight, but I would leave out the bacon and the salt. All in all, a keeper recipe.


Green Goddess Shrimp Avocado Salad
serves 2
This recipe originally came from Southern California Cooking from The Cottage.. I changed it a little from the one in the book. It is a wonderful summer meal. Mike and I love it and it's a regular on our menu.

Romaine lettuce, enough to give a good base to the salad in 2 soup plates (I like to pick from the garden, and usually get less than one head)
24-36 medium shrimp, cooked & peeled
1 avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Green Goddess Dressing* see recipe below
lemon wedges, to serve

Tear romaine and line the two salad bowls with a good layer. Sprinkle tomatoes over the lettuce. Arrange avocado slices around the edges of the bowl and place shrimp in the centre. Save 6 shrimp for garnish. Dollop dressing on top of shrimp and artfully place 3 shrimp on top of dressing in each bowl. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream (I use lowfat.)
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (I use Hellmann's light.)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 small onion (I like red or Vidalia onion.)
1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 or 2 tsp anchovy paste
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh tarragon
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

Put all together in food processor and blend till smooth.

Tomatoes Provençal
Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay of Hilltop Herb Farm in Texas used to do herb classes and seminars. Some 25ish years ago they did a one day cooking school in Huntsville that I attended. This is one of the recipes they prepared. I went home and made it for supper that night and it's been one of our favourites ever since. The recipe can be found in their book, Southern Herb Growing. Sadly Madalene Hill passed away recently, but she left a wonderful legacy.

4 firm, ripe tomatoes
1 sweet onion (I use Vidalia)
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped lemon thyme
salt & freshly ground black pepper
extra sprigs of lemon thyme for garnish

Trim tomatoes on both ends, then cut into 1/2" slices. Cut onion into 1/4" slices. Arrange on serving plate alternating tomato and onion. Sprinkle the vinegar over, then the lemon thyme, salt and pepper. Chill before serving and garnish with sprigs of lemon thyme.

They note: If you don't have a sweet onion, slice the onion and soak it for at least an hour in sugar water (1 Tbsp sugar to 1/2 cup water). Other thymes may be substituted for the lemon thyme.

My notes:
1. As tomatoes & onions vary greatly in size, I adjust the number to match each other.
2. I've used different wine vinegars, depending what I have on hand. The only thing I would note, is that champagne vinegar seems a little mild for this dish.
3. While any thymes can be used, I really like the flavour of the lemon. If I only have plain thyme, I will also sprinkle on a little lemon zest.
4. Mike loves leftovers on turkey sandwiches.


Tomato Caramelised Onion Tart(s)
This recipe originally came from Sara Moulton's show, Cooking Live. I have made this recipe many times over the years and it is always a hit. It can be served at brunch, as an appetizer, as a side, or for a vegetarian main dish. I also like that it is great either warm or at room temperature. Makes it easy if you need to take food somewhere (potluck, funeral, etc.). During the summer when I have fresh heirloom tomatoes, I like to alternate colours of the tomato slices. They look beautiful that way. You can make one large tart or individual tarts. It's really versatile. Most often I make it in my rectangular tart pan. ~ Becky

Tart Dough:
2 sticks butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 2/3 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup ice water, or as needed

Caramelised onion:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil

Melted butter
Finely ground cornmeal
8 medium-sized round tomatoes
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large egg white, for egg wash
Basil, sliced thinly, plus extra for garnish

Make tart dough: Put in the work bowl of a food processor, the flour, butter, salt and sugar. Pulse quickly until the butter is the size of peas. Add very cold, ice water in a small stream until the dough just comes together. Empty the work bowl out onto waxed paper and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready for use.

Make caramelised onion: In a skillet heat the olive oil until hot and cook the onions, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove from heat and let cool, set aside.

To assemble tarts: The tart can be made in 8 individual pie pans, two smaller tart pans, or one large tart pan. The pan(s) should be brushed with melted butter and liberally sprinkled with corn meal.

Divide dough into equal pieces if using more than one pan. Keep unused dough in the refrigerator (must be kept cold). Roll out the dough into shape suitable for pan. This is a rustic-style tart, so the edges don't have to be perfect. Make the dough large enough so the edges of the dough will fold over the top of the tart an inch or so. Crust will be thick; you don't want it too thin or the tomatoes will bleed through bottom. Place crust in tin. Repeat until all are done and place tins on baking sheets.

Preheat oven on to 375°F. Brush bottoms of dough shell with mustard. In the following order place into shell: cheddar cheese, caramelised onion, sliced tomato, salt and pepper, basil, and olive oil. If using more than one tin, divide ingredients equally between them. Fold in the tops of extra dough around the tomatoes and brush dough with egg whites. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Right before serving, garnish with more slivered basil if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1. This same dough is also suitable for fruit tarts. I've made used it with plums, blueberries and peaches.
2. Dough can be placed in tins ahead of time and frozen.

Country Cornbread
Many people think it is sacrilege to put any flour into cornbread. This is my family recipe and we have always added a little.

1 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil and milk. Pour into a 6" hot iron skillet which has been well oiled after heating. Bake at 425ºF for 15-20 minutes.

1. I normally double this recipe and bake in a 9" iron skillet.
2. This recipe is easy to vary by adding some grated cheese, chopped chiles, etc.

Mike’s Fresh Blueberry Pie
A few years ago Mike was wanting a blueberry pie. Now I never had blueberry pie, but he described to me the ones his Mom used to make. I made this one up for him and he said it looked and tasted like a deluxe version of the ones his Mom made. I had never made a baked blueberry pie before, but it has become a regular menu item. Most of the time I use a solid top crust, but will sometimes make a lattice if time permits.

6-7 cups fresh blueberries
½-1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest (just according to how much you like lemon - I use the whole tsp.)
1½ cups sugar
4 Tbsp + 1½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 recipe for a 10” double crust pie (this is the size pie pan I have)
3 Tbsp butter
cream or half-n-half
sugar (granulated or roughly crushed cubes)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place the blueberries and lemon zest in a large bowl.

In another bowl, mix 1½ cups sugar, cornstarch, salt, & cinnamon. Fold into blueberries.

Roll out half of the dough to make bottom crust and line the pie plate. Pour berry mixture into crust and dot with butter. Either roll out the remaining pastry to make a solid top crust or cut in strips and make a lattice top. Crimp & flute edges. If using a solid top crust, pierce in a few places to allow steam to escape.

Brush pastry with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie on lower shelf in oven for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Good Morning Everyone!

Happy July from a hot and muggy Alabama! Hope this finds all doing well and enjoying their summer.
Sadly, this past month, we lost a dear friend that will SO miss being a part of the upcoming football season. God's Speed, Dearest Betty.

This month's recipes are just some simple dips, salsas, appetizers and desserts.

Paula Smith
Reflecting Independence
by Paula George
June 26, 2006

As Independence Day approaches, many thoughts and memories travel through my
mind and heart.

Thoughts of the freedoms, others have sacrificed home and lives for bringing us
to this point in time.

Families divided, others brought closer as they faced enemies seeking to destroy
these freedoms.

Goodbyes said as loved ones shipped to foreign lands, never to return, yet;
giving their lives to protect their homeland.

Unfortunate the divisions in our own homeland, families divided, others
reunited...infiltrated within by...

Outsiders...taking advantage of our freedoms and government, unwilling to accept
our land according to the laws it was founded upon.

Only taking of the opportunities...unwilling to become an intricate part of the
Independence we have because of lives sacrificed.

Reflections still remain that I have the opportunity to live in "freedom" and I
am a "citizen" of the "Land of Independence".

Reflections of those who serve in our military forces...those near and
far...those past and present...those willing to sacrifice home and family to
protect our freedom and homeland..."Reflecting Independence".


Applebee's Spicy Queso Blanco

1 tablespoon refined coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
1 small onion, divided
1 medium roasted poblano pepper, seeded, de-veined, and minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into chunks
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, divided
1 Roma tomato, de-seeded and diced

Cut onion in half and mince one half. Set aside.

Warm oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of minced
poblano and grate 1/2 onion into pan. Stir to coat and cook for 3-5
minutes until tender. Add cream and bring to a bubble. Add cheese a
little at a time, stir until cheese is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon

To create a simple pico de gallo: Combine chopped onion, tomato,
1/2 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining poblano in a bowl.

Pour queso blanco into a medium size serving bowl (2 1/2 cup or
larger). Top with pico de gallo. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 Cups


Blueberry Salsa
per Grit Magazine

1 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 green onions, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
A pinch of sugar
A dash of hot sauce (optional for additional heat)

In medium bowl, combine ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Salsa will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Yields approximately 1 cup.


Black-eyed Pea Croquettes

Unusual, but surprisingly tasty!



2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons season salt


Slightly mash black-eyed peas in large bowl.
Stir in remaining ingredients, except oil, until well blended.
In a large deep skillet on medium-high heat the oil.
Drop bean mixture into oil by 1/4-cupfuls (I use an ice cream scoop), flattening slightly.
Cook croquettes, 7 minutes, turning once or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
Keep warm while cooking remaining croquettes.

for the mango chutney

    1 tablespoon oil
    2 spring onions, or 1 small regular onion
    1 ripe mango
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1-2 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and sliced
    dash of salt and pepper
    pinch cinnamon
    pinch allspice
    pinch cardamom
    pinch coriander powder

Mango Jalapeno Chutney
To make the mango chutney:

    Slice the spring onions in small rings.
    saute in a small sauce pan with the oil
    Peel the mango and de-seed.
    Cut the mango in small pieces and add to the onions.
    Add the vinegar, sugar and spices.
    De-seed and chop the jalapeno in small pieces.
    Add the jalapeno pieces to the cooking mango chutney.
    Keep at a low simmer until the liquid has cooked off and it is a well blended mixture.
    Season to taste with additional seasonings or salt and pepper.


Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta w/HOney Glazed Apricots


    1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)
    2 tablespoons cold water
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
    One 17.6-ounce tub of Greek yogurt, such as Fage Total brand (2 cups)
    1 cup dried apricots
    1 cup semi-dry white wine,
    1/4 cup honey

    In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water; let stand until softened, 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Off the heat,
stir in the gelatin until melted. In a bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth.
Gradually whisk in the vanilla cream; remove the vanilla bean.
Pour the mixture into six 1/2-cup ramekins and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, simmer the apricots in the white wine over moderately low heat
until the apricots are plump and the wine has reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the honey and simmer the syrup until thickened, about 5 minutes; let cool.
    Run a knife around the inside of each ramekin. Set a plate on each ramekin and
invert each panna cotta onto a plate; you may have to tap and shake the ramekins to loosen the panna cottas.
Slice the apricots and spoon them on top of the panna cottas. Drizzle with some of the honey syrup and serve.


Momma's Chocolate Pie
from my kitchen

Made this with Stevia last night for Rick and he said it was perfect!

1 9" deep dish pie pastry, baked until golden

5 egg yolks
1-1/2 cups Stevia
1/2 cup dry cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups milk (I used skim)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. butter

In heavy saucepan, whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes and whisk in egg yolks. Continue cooking and whisking over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and extract. Pour into baked pie shell. Prepare meringue, spread over and bake in 350 oven until top is golden.


5 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup Stevia

Beat egg whites, extract and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add Stevia and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie filling, sealing to edges of crust. Bake until golden.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

JUNE 2014 Newsletter

Food For Thought:
 "I Wish For You"
I wish for you,
Moments of peace, serenity, and commitment;
Filling the depths of your heart & soul.
I wish for you,
Days of health, wealth, and happiness;
Growing daily as you travel life's pathway.
I wish for you,
Years of life, love and laughter;
Seeking the pathway to make you whole.
I wish for you,
A lifetime of giving, receiving and knowing
Blessings overflowing at completion of each day.
                       Paula 2003


Food For Nourishment:

Angel Hair Shrimp Scampi
8 oz. dry angel hair pasta
1 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
set aside
1-1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup seeded and diced Roma
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Minced zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted
water according to package directions; drain.
Crisp prosciutto in a sauté pan over medium
heat, then transfer to a plate.
Sauté shrimp, garlic, and pepper flakes in 2
Tbsp. oil for 2 minutes; remove shrimp from
the pan.
Deglaze pan with wine and lemon juice,
scraping up any browned bits, and cook until
reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, scallions, rosemary, and zest;
cook 1 minute. Return shrimp to pan and
cook until firm, 1–2 minutes. Add pasta and
parsley and toss to combine; season with salt
and black pepper.
Divide pasta, shrimp, and sauce among
serving plates; drizzle with olive oil. Garnish
each serving with prosciutto.
Per serving: 455 cal; 11g total fat (1g sat); 220mg chol;
Grilled Lemon-Herb shrimp
Paula George

2-3 lbs. Peeled/De-Veined Shrimp with Tail On (I used 16-20 count)
2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (will use 2 tsp. next time)
1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. koher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (next time I'll use 1/2 tsp.)
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 cup EVOO
Mix all ingredients for marinade. Add shrimp. Cover and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes.
Place in grill basket. Grill over hot coals, 4 minutes per side.
Serve with garlic butter for dipping.

Capital Grille Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella
■1 pound large fresh mozzarella balls
■15 paper thin slices prosciutto
■10 ounces large or cherry heirloom tomatoes (mix of yellow and red)
■1 teaspoon kosher salt
■1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
■6 slices pain rustique bread, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices on the bias (see note)
■1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot clarified butter (divided)
■1/2 cup finely grated Grana Padano cheese (see note)
■1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
■3/4 ounce chiffonade cut basil leaves plus 3 sprigs fresh basil for
■2 tablespoons 12-year-old balsamic vinegar
■Slice the balls of mozzarella cheese into about 1/2-inch-thick slices weighing about 1 1/4 ounces each.
■Individually wrap the slices of mozzarella with slices of prosciutto, making certain to completely cover the cheese.
■Place the wrapped mozzarella on parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
■Core tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Halve or quarter smaller heirlooms tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Let tomatoes rest.
■Brush slices of bread on both sides with the 1/4 cup hot clarified butter and sprinkle both sides liberally with the grated cheese. Press cheese gently into the bread. Toast in a panini press over medium-high heat or in a hot sauté pan that has been coated with clarified butter, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on each side. This will take 1 to 2 minutes per side. If using a skillet, cook slices in batches; do not crowd pan.
■Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
■Place remaining 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a hot skillet. Gently set pieces of wrapped mozzarella in the skillet and sauté 2 minutes per side or until exterior is crisp. Place seared mozzarella balls on a cookie sheet then transfer to oven. Cook until cheese starts to melt and is hot, about 5 minutes.
■Meanwhile toss tomatoes with olive oil, the chiffonade of basil and the balsamic.
■To assemble: Mound a spoonful of the tomato salad in the centers of three large, warmed dinner plates. Arrange the grilled mozzarella, leaning it against the tomato salad, around the front and side edges of the plate. Lean two croutons on the backside of the plates. Place a sprig of basil in the center of the tomatoes and serve immediately.
Notes: Pain rustique has a thick crust similar to Italian bread.
Grana Padano cheese is available specialty food stores.
Parmigiano-Reggiano could be substituted.
Source: Jeff Beale, executive chef, The Capital Grille, Wisconsin
Penne Rustica
from my kitchen!
4 links Andouille sausage links, sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips
3 cups McKenzie's frozen seasoning blend
1/2 lb. 21-25 shrimp, deveined, tail on
1 tsp. Mediterranean spiced sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine, such as cabernet, merlot
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, organo and garlic
8 oz. penne pasta, cooked aldente and drained
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, divided into 6 portions
Season chicken strips with the Mediterranean spiced sea salt. In large saute pan, saute sausage and chicken over med high heat until chicken is cooked through. Add seasoning blend, red & black peppers. Saute 5 minutes. Deglaze with wine. Cooking down for a couple of minutes. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and add drained pasta, add 1/2 lb. raw shrimp with tail on.Stir and simmer additional 5 minutes.
Pour into serving bowl and top with dollops of mozzarella, cover with plastic and allow mozzarella to melt. Serve.

Printed from COOKS.COM

5 tbsp. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
Cook 3 minutes. Let cool and add:
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
Beat until right consistency and spread.
Southern Jam Cake
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
    3 cups sifted flour
    1 teaspoon soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup raisins or chopped dates, optional
    1 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 cup blackberry jam
    1 cup buttermilk
Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, and spices.
Sift a little of the flour mixture over the nuts and raisins or dates.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and blackberry jam. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Beat until smooth after each addition. Fold in nuts and raisins or dates.
Pour into three 9-inch layer cake pans and bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.
Spread a buttercream, cream cheese or the No-fail frosting above...between layers and on top of cake.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

MAY 2014 Newsletter

Afternoon Everyone,

It is a beautiful afternoon in Alabama, sunshine is abundant! So nice after all the storms last week...prayers continued for those that were affected by the storms.
This month's recipes include a variety of salads. Enjoy!


Paula aka mecookin

This is one of my favorite writings and always comes to mind when spring arrives.

Cleaning Cupboards & My Heart

Today while cleaning cupboards
With organized houswifly art
I suddenly decided
To clean the cupboards of my heart.
I threw out negative criticism
To the trashpile-to the fire!
I added extra cups of appreciation
And worthwhile thoughts that will inspire.
I threw out constant condemnation
Which says, you're wrong, I'm right!
I put in an extra measure of consideration
For all folks, red, yellow, black, & white.
Yes, out went constant complaining
Grumbling about those trivial things
I put in smiles and laughter,
To ease the tensions each day brings.
Friends, let's all clean our cupboards,
With help from Creator above
Throw out pride and hatred, too.
Replaced with humility and love..Paula 2003

Caramelized Pears & Salad

5 pears, unpeeled and cored
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 cup pure Maple syrup...
1/4 cup Dark Rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend or 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
zest of one Naval orange
juice of one Naval orange
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Stand cored pears in crockpot, I used my small 2-1/2 qt. crockpot.
Combine next 6 ingredients and pour over. Sprinkle with orange zest.
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Remove pears. Whisk together orange juice, rum and cornstarch.
Add to liquid and cook for 10 minutes on high until thickened. Spoon over pears and cool to room temp.

3 butter lettuce leaves per serving
1 caramelized pear per serving
1 oz. crumbled bleu cheese per serving
1 Tbsp. toasted walnuts per serving
2 Tbsp. sauce per serving
Place lettuce on salad plate. Set pear in middle of lettuce.
Sprinkle with bleu cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with sauce and serve.


Another Chicken Salad
Paula George

3 cups chicken, shredded (leftover from the chicken savoy)
1 cup sliced red grapes
1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise ( I prefer Duke's)
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Delicious for sandwiches or with crackers for a salad plate.

As printed: Cooking Club of America magazine Spring 2012
As a managing chef at a restaurant, Paula loves to introduce new recipes to her customers.
In this hearty entree salad, which she makes for family and friends,
Paula included two of her favorite salad add-ins, avocados & hard-cooked eggs.
And she altered the traditional Caesar dressing. "I experimented to create one that didn't contain raw eggs,"
she says. '

Chicken-Avocado-Egg Caesar Salad
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovies
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1.4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken
4 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
2 avocadoes, diced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup homestyle croutons
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Pulse all dressing ingredients except oil in food processor until combined. Add oil; pulse until blended.
2. Combine all salad ingredients except croutons and cheese in large bowl. Toss with half of the dressing
(about 6 Tablespoons). Top with croutons and 1 cup cheese; pass remaining dressing separately.

Hope you enjoy!

Fresh Broccoli Salad

2 heads fresh broccoli
1 red onion
1/2 pound bacon
3/4 cup raisins or craisins (I prefer craisins)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Cool and crumble.
Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-size slices. Combine with the bacon, raisins, your favorite nuts and mix well.
To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, let chill and serve.


4     pounds seedless green grapes
1     (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1     (8 ounce) container sour cream
½     cup white sugar
1     teaspoon vanilla extract
4     ounces chopped pecans
2     tablespoons brown sugar

Wash and dry grapes. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla.
Add grapes and mix until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans,
mix again and refrigerate until serving.
Lima Bean Salad:

from Kay Burlingame

1 pound of cooked lima beans,
1 small red onion,
1 cup mayo,
2 teaspoons grated white horseradish,
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce,
2 T. lemon juice,
1/2 t. salt,
dash of Tabasco sauce,
1 teaspoon crumbled fresh rosemary,
3 slices bacon, crisp-fried and crumbled.
Mix all together and gently fold in and coat lima beans.
Chill overnight (may use fresh or frozen beans) 8 servings


Mary Green Leeth Nat'l Bank  circa 1980

2 packages (10 oz.) chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
5 boiled eggs, grated
1 medium onion grated
Combine above ingredients. Prepare dressing and add to spinach mixture. Chill
before serving.
1-1/4 cups Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
few drops of Tabasco
2 teaspoons vinegar

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

APRIL 2014 NEWSLETTER ....Remembering Regina

They say, "April showers bring forth May flowers"...this also makes me think of this month's newsletter that I write dedicating it to a dear online friend that left this walk of life recently. Posting over the years in various groups forms bonds and friendships...some are enhanced by actually having privilege to meet and others are still lasting friendships that grow with time.

Although I never met Regina, I have come to know and love her throughout the years. She was always counting the days to spring after the harsh winters. She and Hank made frequent stops for ice cream that she always shared with us. Regina's avatar was a little cooking angel.

Will always cherish your online friendship, Regina. God's Speed!
Paula aka mecookin

Angel Kisses

Steady fall the drops, glistening against my window pane.
The dropping of Angel tears as they cleanse the air, across the tops of the fresh bloomed flowers.
Steady fall the drops in the early morning rain.
Blossoms seem to smile as the morning begins to fair.
Thankful for the kiss of Angel tears left by morning showers.
                   Paula   1999

RECIPES: Regina McCarthy Furman aka ibu-ubu

This is a very moist bread -- I usually double the recipe and make one tube pan and two loaves, or two tube pans.


1 Table. Baking Powder
1 Teas. Soda
1 Teas. Salt
2 Tables. Melted Margarine
2 Eggs
2 Cups Buttermilk
1 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Currants

Mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be a little lumpy. I always double this recipe and make two in tube pans, or four loaf pans. Grease and lightly flour pans. Bake at 350 Degrees for approximately one hour (in loaf pans check after 45 minutes)

Edited to add: If using a dark tube pan, bread will cook up faster and should be checked after 45 minutes.

per ibu-ubu Regina McCarthy Furman

This was my introduction to Whoopie Pies that Ginny O'C (RIP)introduced to me years ago and when I had a family it was a monthly staple on our table at dessert time. It comes from the Boston Globe 1963 version of the Bride's Cookbook. I wrote it exactly as written from the book. *I use canola oil -- don't even know if they still sell Wesson Oil :P.

Whoopies Pies

This is quick and easy to make. Good for snack. We love 'em for picnics.

2 cups unsifted flour
1 teas. soda
1/4 teas. salt
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup salad oil (I use Wesson)*
1 teas vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Mix together first five ingredients. Then add remaining ingredients. Beat all together. Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet. Leave room for spreading. Bake in 350* oven for 12 minutes. Put together with filling.


1 stick margarine
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 heaping tablespoons marshmallow fluff
1 teas vanilla

Beat together and spread as filling between cookies. From The Beachcomber

Saco Chocolate Chunks used to be sold in our supermarkets but about ten years ago I could not find them anywhere. I send for a case of them to Wisconsin every year because I notice the difference but whatever you use, these cookies disappear very quickly.


2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening (I use Butter Flavored Crisco)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
12 oz. Saco real semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Set aside. In large bowl combine butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in Saco real semi-sweet chocolate chunks and nuts with wooden spoon nd mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes. Remove to rack and cool completely. Makes approximately 36-48 cookies.

Pasta Fagioli from Boston Globe Jan 21, 2012 at 5:30am
Quote like
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Post by ibi-ubu on Jan 21, 2012 at 5:30am
• One large onion, diced
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 bunch swiss chard leaves, chopped
• 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
• 1 14 oz can cannelini beans, drained
• 1 14 oz can kidney beans, drained
• 1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
• 1 tsp red chili flakes
• 10 sprigs thyme leaves
• Parmesan rind if you have one
• 1 1/2 cups of small pasta
• Olive oil
• Salt & pepper
• Grated Parmesan cheese

1- Heat some oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium high heat. When hot, add in the onions celery and carrots. Cook about a few minutes, then add garlic and some salt and pepper. The cook until onions are translucent, maybe another 5-7 minutes.
2- Add tomatoes and beans. Cook for a few minutes, then add the Parmesan rind, chili flakes, thyme and the broth (use your judgement so there's not too much or too little broth in proportion to the veggies -- remember the pasta is going to soak up a lot of broth later on).
3- Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer. Cook from 30 minutes, up to 2 hours -- depending on how much time you have. The longer the better, but it will be ready to eat in about 30. Add more chili and salt and pepper to taste.
4- About ten minutes before you are ready to serve, add in the chard (or any other greens you are using). Cook the pasta separately, not in the soup, and then add once it's done.
5- Add some grated Parmesan and serve.
6- EAT.
7- Bring leftovers to work.
8- Eat again. And again.

MY NOTES: The rind from the cheese really makes this dish different from other Pasta Fagioli recipes -- adds flavor and lots of it. I used spinach instead of swiss chard; dried thyme instead of fresh; and pretty much followed the recipe as written after that. We all loved it -- very unusual in my family.

Brigham’s Hot Fudge Sauce

1/2 cup butter
5 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (I used semisweet chocolate)
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
I can evaporated milk tall size
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan. Add sugar and evaporated milk.
Cook over low heat for 10 minutes (maybe longer) (more like twenty minutes for me) until thick.
Add vanilla. Serve warm. Reheats well, stirring often in the micro at half power.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


 I Awaken

I Awaken each Morning Surrounded by Your Love,
Refreshed by Your Love Stirring Within My Heart,
Contentment of being Given Another Restful Evening Lying next to You.
I Awaken each Morning Anticipating another Day Together,
Renewed within My Heart, Being Able to Touch You Lying next to Me,
Knowing the Our Heavenly Father brought US Together as One,
and Filled with Overflowing Love for You, As We Lie Together.
I Awaken Each Morning Knowing What it Holds,
Another Day Together in Life's Pathway,
Another Chance to be Together, Grow Together, and Love Together,
Striving to be the Best US can be.
I Lie down Each Night Surrounded by Your Love,
Refreshed in Knowing We've had Another Day Together,
Another Day Loving Each Other in Life's Pathway,
Striving to the the Best US can be.
Only to Awaken each Morning Surrounded by Your Love.............    Paula 2001


I saw this easy, healthy recipe and had to try it. I'm glad I did! 
My family says I can make this again, and I don't mind if I do!
Cabbage is a super food with lots of nutrients! Among many other health benefits,
it is known for healing stomach ulcers and preventing cancer --especially colon cancer.
It is a very alkaline forming food. Eat it often!


1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small cabbage, chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add the ground beef and onion and cook, stirring, until ground beef is no longer pink and onion is tender.
Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, and salt.
Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender. Yield: Serves 6 to 8

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South Pacific Casserole

from luv2cook

"me" This recipe was given to me by a girlfriends Mom in the late 60's. You can make a lot or
divide it or make a little.
Bake 350 for about 1 hour with foil on
It starts with 1 boiled chicken...I now just use a rotisserie chicken cut up bite size.
1 pkg of corn tortillas torn...if you buy a large pkg of tortillas heat the leftovers in foil for the bread
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 3oz. can of evaporated milk
1 can of green chilies
fresh or canned mushrooms chopped...I think this can be optional
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
I also add either garlic powder or fresh clove of garlic minced, 1 tsp of cumin, good pinch of
cayenne pepper and black pepper
grated cheddar cheese

In a large casserole dish, 9x13, spray Pam on the bottom, layer torn tortillas over the bottom.
Mix soup, milk, chilies, onions, mushrooms and spices in a large bowl and add the diced chicken.
Pour this carefully over the tortillas and top with another layer of torn tortillas. Top with
grated cheese. Back then it was just a simple cheddar but of course you could mix it with pepper jack
or just use pepper jack. Also you could use the Colby Jack mixture you buy in the stores. You could also
add frozen corn (thawed) and black olives. But its a week nite casserole so I usually go simple.
Serve with a little salsa when you plate the casserole and a tossed salad. Tonight I'm making creamed
corn for a side...we love creamed corn from corn out of our garden last year.

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Mexican Cheesecake

Some of you will recall I went to a holiday party at my niece's and this was brought by one of the attendees.
It looked gorgeous and was one of the hits of the party.

2/3 cup crushed tortilla chips
2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 cup cottage cheese
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 1/2 oz can chopped green chilies, drained
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce

8 oz sour cream
8 oz onion dip

bell pepper
diced tomatoes
sliced or chopped olives
chopped green onions

Combine chips and butter. Press into bottom of a 9" springform pan and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Process cottage cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to mixing bowl along with cream cheese. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in the cheddar cheese, chilies, and Tabasco sauce. Pour this mixture into the crust. Bake at 350°F for one hour.

Combine sour cream and onion dip. Spread mixture over hot cheesecake and return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Using a knife, go around the sides of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. Cool completely before removing the rim. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Move cheesecake to serving dish. Garnish and serve with tortilla chips.

Readers' notes say to double the amount of tortilla chip and butter crust. Also spray pan with Pam. Can use 2 cans of green chiles also.

In Becky's picture, she garnished with a red pepper top in the center, surrounded by rings of chopped green onions, diced tomatoes, and chopped black olives.

I made this today and made a small testing one and it is delicious. The flavors are subtle and creamy. It will be great when garnished as Becky did it.


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Chile Rellenos Casserole

2 eggs
1 C evap skim milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 C Bisquick
8 oz. shredded Jack cheese
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans chopped green chiles (I used 1 C of the fresh roasted, chopped)

Mix eggs and batter ingreds. Add cheeses and chiles.
 Cooking spray a 9-inch square baking pan, pour in, bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
Let stand for ~5 minutes before cutting.

Chiles Rellenos Casserole

1 cup half and half
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 cans of whole green chiles, 4 ounces each
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 can tomato sauce, 8 ounces

Preheat oven to 375º. Grease 9 x 9 inch casserole dish.

Rinse chiles to remove seeds. Drain on paper towels.

Layer chiles on bottom of casserole dish. Top with mixture of cheeses, reserving 1/2 cup for top.
Whisk together half and half, eggs, flour, salt and cumin. Pour over cheese.
 Drizzle top with tomato sauce and sprinkle with reserved cheese.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, till browned and cooked in center. Cool a few minutes before slicing.

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Brigham’s Hot Fudge Sauce
from Regina McCarthy Furman

1/2 cup butter
5 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (I used semisweet chocolate)
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
I can evaporated milk tall size 12 oz.
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan. Add sugar and evaporated milk.
Cook over low heat for 10 minutes (maybe longer) (more like twenty minutes for me) until thick.
Add vanilla. Serve warm. Reheats well, stirring often in the micro at half power.

My note: A warm brownie topped with vanilla bean ice cream & Brigham's Hot Fudge Sauce is a delightful dessert!

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Caramel Apple Dump cake recipe with 4 ingredients ~


•2 cans of apple pie filling (you can also use cherry, blueberry, etc.)
•1 box of yellow cake mix
•2 sticks of butter, melted (1 cup)
•1/2 cup caramel sauce (like you would put on ice cream)
•1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
•1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
•Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
1.In a greased 9x13 dish, mix apple pie filling and caramel sauce.
2.You may add in the 1/2 tsp cinnamon if desired.
3.Spread evenly in pan.
4.Pour dry cake mix directly on top of the pie filing and spread evenly.
5.Top with melted butter and pecans (optional).
6.Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and apple filling is bubbly around the edges.
7.Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.