A Fresh, Beautiful, Sinful & Sweet…Homemade Strawberry Cake!

Fresh Strawberries. Is there a fruit much better than fresh Strawberries? No…no there isn’t. Unless it’s Peach Season. And then…there is no better fruit than Peaches. Well…until Watermelon Season…and then…well you get my point. I am a lover of all fruit. But as of right now…my favorite fruit is Strawberries!

After my latest trip to Pepper Place Farmer’s Market I saw SO much produce that I just wanted to take it all! But I since I couldn’t…I knew I wasn’t going to leave without one of the BEAUTIFUL buckets of Strawberries that seemed to stare at me with every turn. And since Memorial Day cookouts will be in full force this weekend, I decided that I should indulge in something other than my Updated, Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie (click the link if you missed it, because it’s a “can’t miss”). And trust me…that was a tough decision to make. So what could possibly come close to that goodness?? AHHHH….A Fresh, Beautiful, Sinful & Sweet…Homemade Strawberry Cake! YES!

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Everything is fresh in this cake. No boxed cake mixes (even though you totally could), no over-sweetened frozen strawberries and no food coloring. I really don’t see the need for food coloring. But again…you could totally add it. So here is how this recipe starts.

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Homemade Strawberry Cake

This first step is really a taste preference. I didn’t use any of that frozen strawberry mixture that is loaded with sugar. Instead, I pureed my fresh strawberries with a tablespoon of sugar and juice of half a lemon. You don’t HAVE to add the sugar OR the lemon. But I tasted (or maybe had a small snack of) a few of the strawberries and wanted them just a TAD sweeter…and thought the lemon would just add a nice kick! So if you want to just puree them by themselves…that is just fine for this recipe!

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Now that this done & out of the way…preheat your oven to 325 Degrees. Then sift together the dry ingredients in a mixer or a mixing bowl. The flour (I use White Lily), baking powder, lemon zest, salt & sugar.

Strawberry Cake Mix

Strawberry Cake Mix

Next add the wet ingredients and start mixing. The oil & vanilla first…then add the eggs & whites one at a time until the batter is mixed. Careful not to over mix. Then finally fold in your strawberry puree until just incorporated. [If you want to add the food coloring for a cake that is brighter pink color…here is where you would do that. Just mix in couple of drops of red food coloring at a time until the cake is the color you want it. Remember…a little goes a long way.] Now, back to the important stuff. Time to pour this mixture evenly into 2 separate 9″ pie pans that have been greased with Pam Cooking Spray. Then bake for 30-35 minutes.

Strawberry Cake BEFORE the Oven

Strawberry Cake BEFORE the Oven

Now for the icing…Cream Cheese. Strawberry Cream Cheese. Just saying those three words makes smile. Or want to grab a shot of insulin. ūüôā And this icing is just your classic Strawberry Cream Cheese that everyone’s Grandmother has made. With just a little lemon zest added. You beat the butter & cream cheese together until creamy. Then add the strawberry puree & vanilla. Once this is mixed…start adding the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time until the frosting is the consistency you like it. Then store in the fridge until ready to frost your cake.

Cream Cheese Icing

Cream Cheese Icing

Once the cakes are done…let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely before trying to start adding the frosting. But once they are cool…get to it!

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Cakes are Ready for the Icing!

Here is where you can get creative. Just make sure to put the icing in between each of the cakes, the sides and the top! If you want to make designs or make it smooth…it’s whatever you want to do! And for garnish…I’ve added Strawberries, Blueberries, Mint, Coconut…anything that I already have on hand to make it look pretty! So many different options for you to make this cake fit your occasion.

So here is my very plain…but ever so delicious…work of non-art.

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

But WOW…doesn’t that still look awfully yummy! Once I finish this post…I may just have another piece!

Let me know what you think! Be sure to send me some pics, leave me a comment or message me on Facebook or Twitter! And be sure to share the blog with your friends to sign up via email! Hope you Enjoy!

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Strawberry Puree

2 lb Fresh Strawberries
1/2 Lemon, Juiced (optional)
1 tbsp Granulated Sugar (optional)

1. Slice the green tops off of the strawberries.
2. Place Strawberries, Lemon Juice & Sugar in a Blender and Puree. Keep a Chunky Consistency in the Puree.
3. Set aside.

Cake

2-9″ Pie Pans Greased with Non-Stick Vegetable Spray
3 c. All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Lemon Zested & Juiced
1 1/2 c. Fresh Strawberry Puree
1 tbsp Salt
2 c. Sugar
1 c. Vegetable Oil
2 Whole Eggs
4 Egg Whites
1 tbsp Vanilla
**3-4 drops Red Food Coloring (Optional)

1. Preheat Oven to 325 Degrees.
2. Sift together dry ingredients into a mixer or mixing bowl. Flour, Baking Powder, Salt & Lemon Zest.
3. Mix in vegetable oil then the vanilla.
4. Mix in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
5. Mix in strawberry puree (and optional food coloring) until incorporated.
6. Pour mixture evenly into the greased baking pans.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake. Careful not to overcook.
8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pans and let completely cool. Preferably on a wire rack.
9. Decorate with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing making sure frosting is smooth between both cakes, sides & top.
10. Garnish with whole strawberries, blueberries, coconut, mint, etc.
11. Store in Refrigerator.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

1 8oz Block of Cream Cheese, Softened (not low fat)
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 Lemon Zested
1/2 c. Strawberry Puree
4-5 c. Confectioners Sugar

1. Beat cream cheese & butter together until creamy.
2. Mix in Zest, Extract & Puree. Continue to mix on medium speed
3. Slowly mix in Confectioners Sugar a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
4. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

I Can’t Grill–But Here’s a Fabulous Roasted (or Grilled) Potato Salad!

It is finally May here in the South. And May usually means sunny days, warmer temps (humidity), flowers blooming…and barbecue’s! The smell of food cooking on a grill makes me SO happy. Charcoal Grills, Gas Grills, Big Green Eggs, Big Blue Eggs, Polka Dot Eggs…doesn’t matter to me what kind it is…as long as it’s grilled!!!

And now I have a confession to make. I can’t grill. Well…I can. Sometimes. Maybe. Confused yet? Yeah, me too.

To explain…I can grill vegetables and beef VERY, very well. And other things…let’s just put in the category of “needs work”. The recipes are always super delicious, though! It’s just that the EXECUTION needs some fine tuning. I have a terrible tendency to get distracted & then turn around to a massive flame of fire that gives new meaning to “char” grilled pork chops. And so luckily for you…this isn’t a post about grilled pork chops! But rather a roasted (or grilled) potato salad! One that I can honestly say I have perfected on the grill…AND in the oven. Because it’s just that good. But being able to grill this in the summer…yummmmmmm!!!!! I first found a similar recipe from Jeri Ryan in an issue of Food & Wine several years ago. And I’ve just made it my own over time with a ridiculous amount of compliments.

Char Grilled or Roasted Potato Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese

Char Grilled or Roasted Potato Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese

Now…just an FYI…I’ve made the post pics about roasting the potato salad since not everyone has a grill. But if you do…then grill it. It’s by far the best way to make this! I’ll explain those few MINOR differences in the recipe card. So here are the ingredients to start….

Grilled Potato Salad Ingredients

Grilled Potato Salad Ingredients

Oven Roasted:

First thing you will need to do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You’ll want to make sure to wash your potatoes really well and the slice them into bite size pieces. Keep them as close to the same size as possible so that they cook evenly. Next slice the onion into pieces, keeping these evenly sliced as well. Spread both on an aluminum foil wrapped sheet pan & mix with the oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Set Aside.

Roasted Potatoes & Onions

Roasted Potatoes & Onions

If you haven’t seen my post on how I cook bacon…then click HERE to see. Because this is your next step.I used Wright’s Applewood Smoked for this one. Once you have both of your sheet trays full of the bacon & potatoes…then put them in the oven to bake.

Roasted Potatoes & Oven Cooked Bacon

Roasted Potatoes & Bacon

The bacon will be done first. I always put it on the top rack. Bake about 20 minutes so it will be a little crispy for texture. Drain well on paper towels, then chop into pieces. The potatoes should bake for about 30-35 minutes or until tender. You can broil the potatoes for the last 5 minutes to add a little “crispiness” to them if you want.

Roasted Potatoes, Onions & Bacon

Roasted Potatoes, Onions & Bacon

Blot the potatoes & onions with a paper towel just in case there is an excess oil you want to take off. In a bowl, toss together with the bacon and more salt & pepper to taste (if needed). Mix your sour cream, lemon, Duke’s mayo & blue cheese in a separate bowl so you can spoon in as little or as much as you need (I don’t like mine TOO saucy). Then fold into the potato mixture. Make sure to stir gently while the potatoes & onions are warm so they soak in all of that yummy flavor!

Char Grilled or Roasted Potato Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese

Char Grilled or Roasted Potato Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese

Top it with some sliced green onions, a little fresh grated parmesan cheese or parsley and serve warm or room temperature!

Make sure to leave me a comment below on what you think! Share with your friends on FB & Twitter, sign up for more updates via email at the bottom of the blog…and most importantly…ENJOY!!!

Roasted Potato & Onion Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Jeri Ryan, Food & Wine July 2006

3-4 lbs Baking Potatoes Chopped into Quarters
1-2 Large Red Onions, Chopped into Quarters
1 pkg Thick Cut Bacon (Preferably Wright’s Applewood Smoked)
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 c. Low-fat Sour Cream
1/2 c. Low-fat Duke’s Mayo
3-4 oz Low-fat Blue Cheese
Juice of Half a Lemon
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice potatoes into pieces about 1/4″ thick. Keeping pieces as close to the same size as possible.
3. Slice red onion into pieces about 1/4″ wide. Keeping pieces as close to the same size as possible.
4. Spread potatoes & onion onto an aluminum foil lined sheet tray. Toss, just to coat, with the oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
5. Layer bacon on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray to roast at the same time as the potato mixture.
6. Place both in the oven. Bacon should roast for about 20 minutes or until crispy for texture. Drain well on paper towels then tear or chop into pieces.
7. Potatoes should cook for about 30-35 minutes until tender. Broil for the last 5 minutes if you want to add extra crispiness to the potatoes. Blot to remove any excess oil.
8. In a bowl, toss together the bacon, potatoes & onions.
9. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, sour cream, lemon & blue cheese.
10. Fold in blue cheese sauce into the warm potato mixture. Use as little or as much as you like, not to over sauce the potatoes. Add in any salt or pepper to taste if needed.
11. Top with fresh parm, green onions or parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Potato & Onion Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Jeri Ryan, Food & Wine July 2006

3-4 lbs Baking Potatoes Chopped into Quarters
1-2 Large Red Onions, Chopped into Quarters
1 pkg Thick Cut Bacon (Preferably Wright’s Applewood Smoked)
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 c. Low-fat Sour Cream
1/2 c. Low-fat Duke’s Mayo
3-4 oz Low-fat Blue Cheese
Juice of Half a Lemon
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Preheat grill to med-high heat.
2. Slice potatoes into pieces about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.
3. Bring potatoes to a boil in a salted pot of water. Once boiling, cook for about 5 minutes until starting to become tender. Then drain.
4. Slice Red Onion into pieces about 1/2″ wide.
5. Layer bacon on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray to roast.
6. Bacon should roast for about 20 minutes or until crispy for texture while the potatoes are cooking. Drain well on paper towels then tear or chop into pieces.
7. Toss, just to coat, the potatoes & onions together with the oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Grill either directly on the grates or using a grill pan. Just make sure you are able to get the “char” & smoke flavor on both the potatoes & onions.
8. Grill until potatoes & onions are charred & tender (5-7 minutes).
9. In a large bowl, toss together the bacon, potatoes & onions.
10. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, sour cream, lemon & blue cheese.
11. Fold in blue cheese sauce into the warm potato mixture. Use as little or as much as you like, not to over sauce the potatoes. Add any salt or pepper to taste if needed.
12. Top with fresh parm, green onions or parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Better Late than Never…Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Let There Be Cake!

Valentine’s Day. ¬†The Day of Love. ¬†The Day of Flowers. The. Day. Of. CHOCOLATE. ¬†Yes…I believe that chocolate is the most important part of this day . ¬†And I am not an avid chocolate lover! ¬†But on Valentine’s Day?!?! ¬†I’m like a kid in a candy shop–a chocolate candy shop! ¬†Turtles, Truffles, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Chocolate Covered Everything and BIG Heart Shaped Random Chocolate Boxes that are so much fun to taste!!! ¬†I basically get my chocolate fix for the entire year in ONE day! ¬†Whoop!

So this Valentine’s Day, I have decided to add to my one day love of chocolate and make a cake! ¬†A flourless, ooey, gooey, chocolatey, yummy cake!!!

Chocolate Espresso Cake

No Flour Chocolate Espresso Cake

So you’ll need semi-sweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli), eggs, unsalted butter (Land O ‘Lakes), espresso powder, salt, sugar, pure vanilla extract and a parchment lined springform pan. ¬†VERY simple ingredients!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get a pot of simmering water going on the stove. ¬†Go ahead and line your springform pan with parchment on the bottom, lightly butter it and set aside. ¬†Next…separate your eggs. ¬†You’ll need egg whites in a standing mixer bowl. ¬†And your yolks in another bowl. ¬†For the yolks, add 1/2 of your sugar, your vanilla and salt. ¬†Beat this mixture (about 3 minutes) until they are thick and creamy and kind of pale yellow in color.

Now get the chocolate and butter melted and mixed together in the double boiler. ¬†All I do is get the water to a soft boil, cut the temp down to a simmer, place one of my Pyrex bowls on top of the pot and drop in the chocolate & butter and mix it until smooth! ¬†Really Simple…and it doesn’t take long to melt…and it doesn’t stick to the Pyrex!

Can I Just Lick This Bowl?

Can I Just Lick This Bowl?

Now…once this is melted, set aside for just a minute or two. ¬†Next, ¬†get those egg whites beaten with the mixer so you have some stiff peaks. ¬†I usually put my KitchenAid Mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes…then add the rest of my sugar and turn it on high until I get this beauty below. ¬†Stiff Peaks. ¬†Isn’t that a beautiful sight?

Those are Some Stiff Peaks!

Those are Some Stiff Peaks!

Now you need to incorporate the chocolate to the yolks. ¬†Do this a little at a time. ¬†Since the mixture is still a little warm…you don’t want a scrambled egg chocolate cake! ¬†That doesn’t really say “I Love You” (To. Anyone). ¬†By adding the chocolate a little at a time, you temper the eggs so they don’t scramble. ¬†Add a few scoops of the chocolate and beat the mixture for about a minute. ¬†Then continue this process until all of the chocolate is added. ¬†Take this mixture and fold it into the egg whites with a spatula. ¬†Don’t over mix! ¬†You don’t want to lose the air from those beautiful egg whites! ¬†Just fold until the mixture looks mixed together. ¬†Then pour into your pan, place in the oven…and WAIT. ¬†Sigh….

And Now You Wait

And Now You Wait

Bake this for 40 minutes. ¬†Or until it’s spongy. ¬†But seriously…it won’t be much longer than 40 minutes unless you are in the mountains. ¬†Once it’s done, let it REST. ¬†Cool that beautiful cake down. ¬†Don’t touch it! It’s going to crack and fall. ¬†It’s SUPPOSED to. ¬†But make sure it is cool before you remove the springform pan.

And Presto!!! ¬†I add a little chocolate sauce, raspberries, strawberries, a little Amish jam heated up with water, whipped cream, ice cream. ¬†Or JUST. BY. ITSELF. ¬†Whatever you feel like adding! ¬†It’s rich. ¬†So you don’t need much of anything!!! ¬†It really is an ooey, gooey, chocolatey, yummy cake!

I'm Not Sure It Can Get Much Better

I’m Not Sure It Can Get Much Better

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, Y’ALL! ¬†Let me know what you think! ¬†Enjoy!

No Flour Chocolate Espresso Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Credit: Simple Southern Living

5 Large Eggs Separated
5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter Plus a Tbsp for greasing the pan
5 oz of Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate
2 Tbsp Espresso Powder
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup of Sugar Divided in Half
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees.
2. Separate Whites and Yolks of Eggs into 2 Bowls.  
3. Melt Chocolate and Butter in a Double Boiler until Smooth, then Set Aside for a Couple of Minutes. 4. Beat the Egg Whites on Medium for 3-4 Minutes until Soft Peaks Form.  
5. Then Add 1/2 cup of Sugar to Whites and Beat on High until you have Stiff Peaks. ¬†Don’t Over Mix.
6. Then Beat Yolks with 1/2 cup of Sugar, Vanilla, Salt & Espresso Powder Until Thick & Creamy. About 3 Minutes.  
7. Add Chocolate Mixture a Few Scoops at a Time then Beat so that Eggs are Tempered in the Mixture and NOT Scrambled.  
8. Continue to Repeat until all Chocolate is Incorporated and Mixed Well.
9. Fold in Chocolate Mixture to the Egg Whites.  Be Careful Not to Over Mix so that the Air is Gone from the Egg Whites.  
10. Once the Mixture is Combined Well, Pour into the Greased Springform Pan.  
11. Bake for 40 Minutes or until Cake is Spongy.  
12. Remove from Heat and Cool Completely Before Removing the Springform.  
13. Serve with Chocolate Sauce, Ice Cream, Whipped Cream or By Itself!

Leftover Chicken? No problem! Buffalo Chicken Sliders, it is!

Being from the South…we shut the cities down for a single snowflake. ¬†But Ice Storms? ¬†Forget it. ¬†Especially ones named “Pax” or “Leon”. ¬†Where do they come up with these names anyway?!?! ¬†Leon stranded a lot of people on the roads for a few days. ¬†So no one was going to take any chances with Pax! ¬†The grocery stores were empty 2 days before “Pax” was set to strike!! ¬†Bread, Milk, Eggs, Beer, Wine, Sweets, Jerky (depending on your priorities, of course)…mostly gone. ¬†And I was no different! ¬†I bought lots of chicken and ground beef and bread. ¬†Made sense at the time with my gas oven. ¬†Plan for a blizzard. Or being snowed in until March. 3 feet of Ice. Stranded Cars. ¬†No Power for weeks. See…I think I’m convincing you of my logic.

So the dilemma once none of that happened. ¬†All of this food and little snow. ¬†Or Ice. ¬†I decided I could freeze most of it. ¬†Or just put it in my bunker (I kid, I kid). ¬†But what to do with that yummy, non-freezable Rotisserie chicken I purchased? ¬†Let’s make some sliders! ¬†Buffalo Sliders! ¬†Buffalo Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw and Swiss or Provolone! ¬†Score! Finally…my previous logic began to make sense. ¬†*wink, wink*

So here is what you need. A Rotisserie chicken, slider buns, your favorite buffalo sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce), blue cheese dressing, broccoli slaw, carrots, spray butter & swiss or provolone cheese. ¬†Very, Very simple!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients

Now…just shred up that Rotisserie. ¬†Every bit of it! ¬†Don’t waste a single shred of that chicken! And add a little salt & pepper to taste. ¬†Then heat up about half a bottle of your favorite wing sauce with a tbsp of butter until it’s well mixed. ¬†Or don’t add the butter. ¬†Your call. ¬†You don’t have to heat up the sauce if you don’t add the butter…one less step. Mix the chicken with the buffalo sauce, a couple of tablespoons at a time. ¬†Use as little or as much as you like to your taste and then set aside. ¬†Next for the broccoli slaw. I purchase¬†this in the produce section. It’s just like shredded cabbage slaw! I make homemade blue cheese (let me know and I’ll post the recipe). ¬†It’s too easy not to. ¬†But if you don’t have it and don’t want to make it, then just buy yourself a jar of GOOD blue cheese dressing like Naturally Fresh Blue Cheese. ¬†And just mix a couple of tablespoons to the broccoli & carrot mixture! ¬†Simple and Easy.

Now for your assembly line.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Assembly Line, Ready!

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up later).  Put the bottom of your slider buns down first.  I always use Publix Deli Sliders.  You can use Hawaiian Rolls, Hamburger Buns or whatever you like. Next add the cheese.  I added half a slice of swiss on one half and provolone on the other half.

This is how they will come together….

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Coming Together!

Next spoon on the chicken, then the slaw and another small slice of cheese if you wish!  I totally wish for extra cheese!  Once you have each slider assembled, then spray the tops of each bun with a couple of dashes of no calorie spray butter.  Bake on 350 degrees until cheese is melted and buns are lightly browned!  About 10-15 minutes!

And that’s it. ¬†Use that leftover chicken you have from these snow days…or make these for your next tailgate…or your next picnic! ¬†Or just a fun night with the kids! ¬†These are sure to be a crowd pleaser for any occasion!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Take THAT Winter Storm Pax!!!

Let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Broccoli, Carrot, Blue Cheese Slaw

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit: Simple Southern Living

1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw
1 Bag of Shredded Carrots
1 Bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
12 Slider Buns
6 Provolone Cheese & Swiss Cheese Slices
Blue Cheese Dressing
Spray Butter

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
2. Shred the Rotisserie Chicken into pieces then salt & pepper to taste.
3. Mix the Wing Sauce into the chicken until coated & set aside.
4. Mix half of the Broccoli Slaw with 1/4 of the Shredded Carrots.
5. Add a couple of tablespoons of the blue cheese dressing into the slaw mixture.  Set aside.
6. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and align the bottoms of the slider buns evenly.
7. Layer half a slice of cheese, then chicken, slaw & more cheese if desired.
8. Place the tops of the buns on each and spray a couple of times with no calorie butter spray.
9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through, cheese is melted and buns are golden brown.

Easy, Cheesy Black Eyed Pea & Artichoke Dip–YES, please!

This dip is so yummy. ¬†And so easy. ¬†And so YUMMY! ¬†And so EASY! It seems like an unlikely marriage…black eyed peas and artichokes? ¬†What? ¬†Who thought of this? ¬†I wish I could take credit. ¬†I wish I could GIVE credit!! ¬†I actually found this recipe years ago in one of the Junior League of the Shoals Cookbooks after tasting this loveliness at one of my BFF’s Wedding Showers. ¬†And I’ve been hooked ever since. ¬†I always have this in my pantry ready to make for parties, weddings, unexpected guests…or most importantly…just for me!

Here is my latest and greatest spin on a classic.

That's a Happy Chip

That’s a Happy Chip

To start…grab up your ingredients. Light Sour Cream, Light Mayo, Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), Minced Onions, Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Dressing Mix (isn’t everything better with Ranch?), Grated Parm, Shredded Mozzarella, Canned Black Eyed Peas & Canned Artichoke Hearts.

First step is to mix up the first 6 ingredients in a mixing bowl. ¬†Whoa…this is going to be complicated, I can tell.

First 6 Ingredients

First 6 Ingredients

Next…wash and drain the peas and artichoke hearts really, really well. ¬†Shall we say that watery dip…is. not. so. good. ¬†NOT that I would know anything about that. ¬†Clearly.

See how those are going to be drained REALLY, REALLY well?

See how those are going to be drained REALLY, REALLY well?

Gosh…now the REALLY hard part. ¬†Dump the drained peas and artichokes into the bowl with the first 6 ingredients. Combine it all, shred the artichoke hearts as you mix, ¬†pour it in a baking pan, top it with the mozzarella and more parm. ¬†Bake it for 30-35 minutes on 350 degrees or until lightly brown, bubbly, gooey, cheesy, yummy…sigh…I’m ready to eat!!

Perfection

Perfection

Dig in! ¬†What are you waiting for?!?!?! ¬†Serve it with pita chips, tortilla chips, Fritos (my personal, all-time fave), eat it with a fork, eat it with a spoon. ¬†What EVER you feel like doing! ¬†I topped this with a little dried parsley. ¬†But chives would work too, *note to self*. ¬†Or add some spinach to it! ¬†Or sausage! ¬†Or Shredded Chicken! There are so many ingredients to have fun with! ¬†It’s just so Yummy!! ¬†And so Easy!! ¬†I think you get the idea.

Let me know how it turns out! Enjoy!

Kicked Up Black Eyed Pea & Artichoke Dip

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Adapted from Junior League of the Shoals–The Art of Cooking

2 cans Black Eyed Peas (Washed & Drained Well)
2 cans Artichoke Hearts (Washed & Drained Well)
2 pkgs of Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Dressing Mix
3 tbsp Sriracha (Or more or less to taste)
1 c Light Duke’s Mayo
1 c Light Sour Cream
1/2 c Minced Onions
1/2 c Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c Grated Parmesan Cheese (for topping)
2 c 2% Shredded Mozzarella
Dried Parsley, Thyme or Fresh Chopped Chives
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.  
2. Wash and Drain Well the Peas & Artichoke hearts.  Set Aside.  
3. Combine the Mayo, Sour Cream, Sriracha, 1/2 c Parm, Minced Onions & Ranch Dressing Packets.  Mix well.
4. Fold Peas & Artichokes into the Mixture, Combine Well & Shred the Artichoke Hearts While you Mix.  
5. Pour Mixture into a 9×11 Baking Dish. ¬†
6. Top with Mozzarella and Additional Parm.  
7. Bake for 30-35 Minutes or Until Bubbly and Cheese is Lightly Browned.  
8. Top with Dried Parsley, Thyme or Fresh Chopped Chives.

Super Bowl Party! Or Just a Reason to Get Together….

Ahhh the Super Bowl. ¬†That Sunday every year where 2 NFL teams duke it out for the Championship and 364 days of bragging rights. ¬†Or for me…that Sunday every year to attend our friend Phil’s annual cookout, watch the best commercials of the year, and of course the half-time show (I think I’m a Bruno Mars fan now)!

I love potluck parties like this one. ¬†You get to try a lot of different yummy dishes, meet the people making¬†those yummy dishes and most importantly just snack and snack and snack to your heart’s content! ¬†This year I decided to take a couple of my “old faithful” appetizers and mix up the recipes just a bit!

Puff Pastry Sliders…who doesn’t love anything wrapped up in Puff Pastry?? ¬†And who doesn’t love all kinds of yummy sliders?? Hence…Puff Pastry Sliders. ¬†There are several “staple” items I always have in my kitchen. ¬†Ground Beef is one of them. ¬†Puff Pastry is another. ¬†Always. ¬†My BFF Lucy over at Lucysinspired,¬†kids me about my Puff Pastry stash. ¬†But it’s just so versatile for all dishes! ¬†And I love it. ¬†And everyone else loves it. ¬†And what if there was a Puff Pastry shortage? ¬†I would totally be ready.¬†

So here is where I started…and most of this is just pantry items that I already had on hand. ¬†My inspiration for these came from the Pepperidge Farm Website a few years ago and continue making it my own. ¬†Because I love all things Pepperidge Farm. ¬†And if you didn’t already know…I love Puff Pastry.

Puff Pastry Slider Ingredients

Puff Pastry Slider Ingredients

Puff Pastry, Ground Beef or Chuck, Cheese–Any that your prefer, Shallot, Salt, Pepper, Egg White.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the Puff Pastry and let it thaw for 40 minutes before trying to use it…(Very important step here–Trust me when I say frozen Puff doesn’t work). ¬†Start by seasoning the ground beef with salt and pepper. ¬†This time I also added garlic powder, Worcestershire and a little low sodium Dales Sauce. ¬†Then finally dice up or shred a medium shallot to the mix. ¬†Make sure not to overwork the meat! ¬†We aren’t making meatloaf. ¬†Remember…Puff Pastry Sliders.

Next…pat out the sliders into small patties like below. ¬†You want 12 of them. ¬†Fry them for a couple of minutes on each side just until brown. ¬†Don’t fully cook them because they will get more cooking time in the oven. ¬†About 3-4 minutes on each side depending on how thick you make them. ¬†If you use lean ground beef, then make sure to add a little olive oil so they don’t stick to the pan. ¬†Once these are done, set them on paper towels to drain any excess grease. ¬†(We don’t want soggy Puff Pastry later-Trust me again on this).

Ground Beef Slider Patties

Ground Beef Slider Patties

While these are cooling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grab your thawed Puff Pastry, some flour and a rolling pin.  Lightly flour a clean surface and flour that rolling pin.  You just want to roll out each sheet of the Puff Pastry a little into a rectangle shape.  Not too much.  Just a little.  You are going to want 6 sliders for each of the sheets.

Pimento Cheese, Bacon Cheddar, Pepper Jack & Cheddar Sliders

Pimento Cheese, Bacon Cheddar, Pepper Jack & Cheddar Sliders

Now get creative! ¬†Place 6 patties on the Puff Pastry. ¬†Top these with any ingredients you like! ¬†I had some left over bacon, cheeses, pimento cheese and caramelized onions that I used. ¬†You can make taco sliders, BBQ¬†sliders, plain sliders…whatever you like! ¬†I made bacon cheese, pimento cheese, pepper jack & sharp cheddar and my favorite…blue cheese & caramelized onion.

Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Sliders

Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Sliders

Completely Perfect Puff Pastry Slider Pockets

Completely Perfect Puff Pastry Slider Pockets

Now take your egg white and whisk it until just a little frothy so it’s easy to brush on the pastry and set aside. ¬†Grab a knife or a pizza cutter and cut the Puff Pastry into 6 even squares so you can fold these up. ¬†Take each corner of the Puff Pastry and fold it to the middle of the sliders. ¬†You can make pockets and seal them up or just leave a little opening where the edges meet for presentation. ¬†Totally up to you. ¬†If you are using Pimento Cheese…make sure they are sealed and firm so the excess grease doesn’t drain out and make the pastry open up.

Take each of the sliders and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. ¬†Take your egg white and brush the Puff Pastry so it will turn out nice and golden brown. ¬†They don’t have to look perfect (Unlike mine…they are all even. ¬†Clearly all perfect little packages). ¬†Now pop these in the oven according to the Puff Pastry directions! ¬†Or watch them and take them out when they are golden brown and not over cooked and dry. ¬†No one likes dry Puff Pastry.

Golden Brown Slider Yumminess

Golden Brown Slider Yumminess

And Tah-Dah!! ¬†Puff Pastry Sliders. ¬†Sure to wow a crowd and make everyone think you spent hours and hours on their potluck party dish! ¬†Don’t correct them. ¬†Tell them it took forever to make. ¬†Just gives you more to talk about at the party! ¬†And the meaning of Tah-Dah in the Urban Dictionary is “be impressed” or “aren’t I just amazing“. ¬†If you are bringing these to my potluck parties, then I would say “Why yes…yes you are”! Enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

Puff Pastry Sliders

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Simple Southern Living & Pepperidge Farm

1 1/3 lbs of Ground Beef or Chuck
1 pkg of Thawed Puff Pastry (2 rolls in the package)
1 Diced or Shredded Medium Shallot
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Low Sodium Dale’s Sauce
10 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp Ground Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Egg White
Flour for Rolling the Pastry
Toppings of Your Choice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. ¬†Mix Ground Beef, Shallot, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, Dale’s & Worcestershire together. ¬†Be sure not to over mix. ¬†
2. Pat out into 12 small patties, slider size and fry just until pink in the middle but browned on each side. About 3-4 minutes per side according to thickness.  Drain well on paper towels.
3. Roll out Puff Pastry onto a lightly floured surface so it doesn’t stick. ¬†
4. Place 6 patties onto each puff pastry and top with toppings of your choice.  No condiments or lettuce though.  
5. Take a knife or a pizza cutter and cut the pastry into equal squares around the sliders. ¬†Fold the corners to the middle of the slider to make a “package” or a “pocket”. ¬†
6. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush the tops and corners with the egg white and bake until golden brown according to the directions on the Puff Pastry package.  

These can be served hot or at room temperature and great for any occasion.