Berries on a Cloud

If you haven’t quite decided which dessert to serve on Easter, take a look at this.  This would be the perfect finishing touch to your Easter dinner!
I first tried this last summer at a friends house.  Unable to get the original recipe I started searching for something similar and was thrilled when I found this version.  I seem to like every dessert I try, but this may be the most scrumptious dessert I’ve ever had.  The meringue is truly like a cloud in your mouth.  The filling is similar to cheesecake, but lighter, and it is just perfect with the meringue.  Then, as if that is not heavenly enough, adding the fresh fruit, lemon zest, and a splash of lemon juice to the pie filling takes it over the top!  This is the perfect spring/summer dessert!
You can substitute cherry pie filling if you prefer.  You can also add fresh blueberries or fresh raspberries instead of the strawberries, or add all three!  I hope you’ll give this delicious dessert a try, it is sure to impress!
Berries on a Cloud
 
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Ingredients
  • Meringue
  • 6 egg whites
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1¾ c. sugar
  • Filling
  • 2 (3-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. whipping cream
  • 2 c. miniature marshmallows
  • Berry Topping
  • 1 (21-oz.) can blueberry pie filling
  • 2 c. fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 275°. Grease bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in 1¾ c. sugar, 1 tbsp. at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Spread in pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour. Turn off oven; leave meringue in oven with door closed for 12 hours.
  4. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 c. sugar, and vanilla until smooth. In a chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream and marshmallows into cream cheese mixture. Spread evenly over meringue. Refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix all topping ingredients until well blended. Spoon over individual servings of dessert. Store in refrigerator.
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Fresh Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic

You know by now that I’m as southern as they come, and proud of it.  I was raised on “cooked to death” green beans and I still love them to this day, especially at mama’s house!

These days it seems that I have so much going on that sides are an afterthought.  I need something fast and simple that the family will eat.  My kids prefer steamed green beans and my Steamed Green Beans recipe is one of my favorites.  I make them at least twice a month.  However, I like to change it up sometimes too.  This is a easy and delicious way to do that.

Greg has a firm belief that bacon makes everything better.  I must agree, it takes these green beans to another level.  Add the garlic for extra flavor, with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper and you have a winner!

Fresh Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic
 
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Ingredients
  • 24-oz. fresh green beans
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Blanch the beans in a large pot of salted, boiling water for about 4 minutes, or until they are crisp tender. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside to dry.
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds, stirring. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
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South Carolina Chicken Bog

South Carolina Chicken Bog, I had never heard of it until a few days ago.  Michelle, a friend from Florida, was telling me about it.  I met Michelle when she was Savannah’s 3rd grade teacher and I helped her out after the birth of her second son.  Her family became very special to me and I will always treasure our families connection.  She has lived in South Carolina on more than one occasion and found David, the love of her life, while she was there.  Everything I know about this dish, which is very little, I have learned over the past few days.

Michelle tells me that this is a dish traditionally served with South Carolina Barbecue.  She was kind enough to share the recipe, which came from the grandmother of a friend in South Carolina.  I wasn’t able to wait for the barbecue though, I had to make it right away.  This is one time that my impatience paid off.  We had a fabulous dinner at home Sunday night after a long weekend out of town.

I read that Chicken Bog is categorized as a “stew”.  I don’t want to upset anyone from South Carolina, but for the sake of describing this dish to those of you unfamiliar with it, here’s my take.  My bog wasn’t as wet as a stew but also, it wasn’t as dry as a jambalaya.  It just fell somewhere in the middle, the perfect balance of wet rice with chicken and sausage.  I used half of a roaster so I may have had a little more chicken than the typical bog but it was delicious.  If you are looking for something fast and delicious for dinner give this wonderful Chicken Bog a try!

 

South Carolina Chicken Bog
 
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Ingredients
  • half of a chicken
  • water to cover
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Polish sausage, cut into ¼" slices
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. long grain rice
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and boil until chicken is done. Remove chicken from broth and let cool. Remove the chicken from the bones and set aside. Strain the broth into a bowl. Skim the fat from the top and reserve 2 c. of the broth.
  2. In the same Dutch oven melt 1 tbsp. butter. Sauté the onion and sausage in batches, removing each batch before starting another.
  3. Add the chicken, sausage and onion back to the Dutch oven. Add the rice, chicken broth, and soup mix. Stir to mix, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low. Cook until rice has cooked, about 20 minutes.
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Frozen S’mores Bombs

When I found this recipe I was so excited about making it with my friend’s daughter, Katy.  She and her family were planning a visit to the farm a while back but the trip had to be postponed.  As of today, the trip still has not been rescheduled.   When I recently had a sweet craving I decided to give this recipe a try since I had all of the ingredients on hand.  Wow, were they delicious and so easy!  Just what I needed to calm the beast within that craves sweets.  If you have small children at home this would be a great recipe to get them involved in.  Not only am I looking forward to seeing Katy when she visits the farm, but I’m looking forward to having another Frozen S’mores Bomb!!

 

Frozen S'mores Bombs
 
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Ingredients
  • 12 wooden picks
  • 12 marshmallows
  • ½ c. milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp. shortening
  • ½ c. graham cracker crumbs or other finely crumbled cookie crumbs
  • ⅔ c. toffee bits
  • wax paper
Instructions
  1. Insert pointed end of each wooden pick into flat side of each marshmallow.
  2. Combine morsels and shortening in a small microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave at high for 1 minute or until melted; stir until smooth. Dip marshmallows into melted chocolate, coating sides and bottoms completely. Quickly dip bottom of each marshmallow into cracker crumbs; roll sides in toffee bits.
  3. Place coated marshmallows on wax paper lined jelly roll pan; freeze 20 minutes. Drizzle with any remaining chocolate, if desired. Freeze until ready to serve. Store in freezer in a zip-top plastic freezer bag up to 1 week.
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Chocolate Coffee Cake

Weekend breakfasts are my favorite meals.  Weekday morning are hectic with everybody rushing to get ready and go their separate ways.  Other than a “get up” or a “good-bye”, few words are spoken during that time.  When the kids were small we sat down for dinner together most evenings, but with Wesley’s class and work schedule and Savannah’s senior schedule, things have changed a bit.  I’m sure, as teenagers, they are fine with no family meals.  However, knowing they will both be out of the house soon, I try to take advantage of any time I can get.  Weekends are slower and we can usually sit down and actually have a conversation.

This is usually the time for Greg’s cooking skills to shine.  After all, he is the omelet king at our house.  However, occasionally, I am in charge and I prefer carb filled treats.  French toast, pancakes, or coffee cakes are among my favorites.

Here is a coffee cake with a twist…it has chocolate!  I think this coffee cake gets better with time.  You could actually bake this cake a day or two ahead of time and store it in an airtight container. This is great for the weekend because the cook can sleep late too!

 

Chocolate Coffee Cake
 
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Ingredients
  • For the Chocolate Chip Crumble:
  • 1½ all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 tbsp. butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans
  • ¾ c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For the cake:
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2¼ c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. granulated sugar (but can use 1⅓ c. if you prefer a little sweeter)
  • 3 lg. eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. sour cream
  • Powdered sugar, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with baking spray and set aside.
  2. For the crumble: Mix the flour, sugars, and salt in a large bowl. Work in the butter until the mixture comes together like a dough. Work in the pecans and chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed. Refrigerate.
  3. For the cake: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Toss the chocolate chips with a tablespoon of the sifted mixture.
  4. With an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar in three additions, creaming for 1 minute after each. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well to incorporate. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Scrape the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the crumble mixture over the cake. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve, if desired.
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