Meringue Cake with Fresh Fruit

Meringue Cake with Fresh Fruit


This meringue cake with fresh fruit is such a treat that you may catch yourself making it all of the time! You’ll be in and out of the kitchen in no time, and you can bake it ahead of time. It’s so easy that I almost feel guilty sharing it. After all, you start with a cake mix.

This cake is simply a white cake mix, topped with meringue and nuts and served with fresh fruit.  I like peaches or strawberries, and I don’t even use additional sugar on the fruit.  The dessert is simple enough to serve on a weeknight, but it’s delicious enough to serve to guest.

Meringue Cake with Fresh Fruit
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1¼ c. granulated sugar
  • ¾ c. chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or almonds)
  • Chopped fresh fruit
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, set aside.
  2. Prepare cake mix according to directions on box. Spread into prepared pans and set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add sugar, beating thoroughly. Spread meringue over cake batter. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes or until center tests done. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Cut into wedges and serve with fresh fruit.




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Mozzarella, Basil Pesto, and Peperonata Panini

Mozzarella, Basil Pesto, and Peperonata Panini

I have gone cookbook crazy as of late. I must have bought a dozen while on a recent trip to Florida with Greg. They were used, from the thrift stores, but new to me. I love finding regional cookbooks. Cookbooks that churches or organizations have made. I seem to find the best recipes when I look through them. They typically have tried and true recipes that people from the community take pride in sharing.

I found this recipe in one of my new treasures. It’s simple and delicious. If you do not own a panini press, grill your sandwich as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.


Mozzarella, Basil Pesto, and Peperonata Panini
Serves: 4
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • ¾ c. Basil Pesto (I used Classico Traditional Basil Pesto)
  • 1 c. Peperonata (recipe follows)
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat panini press.
  2. Slice off the domed top of the ciabatta rolls and reserve for another use. The rolls should be about 1-inch thick. Split the rolls horizontally.
  3. Spread the top halves of the rolls with Basil Pesto, covering them completely. Spread the bottom halves of the rolls with a thin layer of Peperonata. Lay the sliced mozzarella over the Peperonata in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper before covering the panini with the top halves of the ciabatta.
  4. Grill the sandwiches for 4 minutes until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has slightly melted. Cut in half and serve immediately.

  • 4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except the salt in a bowl and toss to completely coat the diced peppers. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, stirring with a spatula every 5 minutes or so, until the peppers are soft. Transfer to a bowl, pouring any olive oil/vinegar mixture in as well. Cool to room temperature. Use the same day or refrigerate up to 3 days.
  3. Stir and season with salt to taste just before serving.

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Asparagus Roll Ups



It’s July, and my mind has been on Christmas. So much so, that I started my Christmas shopping list last week. In recent years, it has become very short which makes it even more important that the gifts I buy are perfect. Because it’s “Christmas in July” at my house, I am sharing an excellent recipe that I tried for the first time at my families First Annual Bolton Ladies Ugly Christmas Sweater party back in December. My cousin, Nancy, brought these fabulous asparagus roll-ups to our afternoon tea menu and they were the hit of the party.

Nancy’s recipe was like so many that has been handed down through the years, no measurements. This recipe has the measurements that I used but feel free to adjust, as you like. I prefer using freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Also, roasting the asparagus was not part of the original recipe so you would be okay skipping this step if you like. I ran out of wheat bread and used a few pieces of white bread pieces, which also tasted good.


Asparagus Roll Ups
  • 1 bunch fresh small asparagus spears
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 4-oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 - 3 tbsp. Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon (original)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 16 slices whole wheat bread or honey wheat bread
  • ¼ c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Trim tough ends of asparagus and discard. Place asparagus on baking sheet and drizzle with a small olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in oven and roast until bring green and crisp-tender. (about 7 minutes) Remove from oven and cool completely. When cool, blot with a paper towel to remove most of olive oil. Lower oven temperature to 400°F.
  2. With an electric mixer blend cream cheese and blue cheese together. Stir in dill and bacon, set aside.
  3. Stack about 4 pieces of bread and remove crust with a serrated knife. Repeat with remaining slices of bread. With a rolling pin, flatten each slice of bread.
  4. Spread bread with a small amount of the cream cheese mixture, to cover one side. Place 3 to 4 asparagus spears, tips pointed out on the same end, on the cream cheese mixture, close to one edge. Roll up, starting with the asparagus side of the bread. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Freeze unbaked roll-ups in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator, and bake as directed.


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Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

old fashioned sugar cookies


I was recently reminded that I had never shared my mother’s sugar cookie recipe on NJSD. I received pictures of these two cuties making mama’s cookies, and I knew I needed to share this recipe with you!

old fashioned sugar cookies 2

My mother is and will always be the most wonderful cook I know. She passed on the love of creating something delicious in the kitchen for family and friends to me. Mama is an amazing lady with many wonderful qualities. Anyone that knows her knows that she has a heart of gold. She is kind to everyone and never meets a stranger. When I was growing up, she made all of my friends feel at home when they were at our house. I think my friends enjoyed spending time at our house to see my mama rather than me. She is in every sense of the words an “elegant southern lady”. She lost my daddy over 12 years ago, and if there were ever two “soulmates” in this world, they were. Since losing my dad, she has been thrown a few curve balls but has shown incredible strength. She is my hero, and I am so thankful that God chose to give me such an amazing role model. I love you, mama!!


Mama made these cookies many times when I was growing up. My cousin said that she made them often when her daughter was small, so I’m guesstimating that this recipe must be 40+ years old. This recipe makes about two dozen cookies that are not overly sweet. Mama always pressed the cookies slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ½ c. vegetable shortening
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, soda, and cream of tartar, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and shortening. Add sugars and mix well. Mix in the egg and vanilla until combined. Slowly add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  4. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on if you like them light golden brown or a little darker.





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Breakfast Stuffed Baked Potatoes

breakfast stuffed potato 1

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day despite the fact that I am not a huge fan of eggs. A typical breakfast for me is a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt with fruit and granola. However, if I could have biscuits and gravy, French toast, or cheese grits every morning, I would be in breakfast heaven! Another favorite of mine is breakfast for dinner! It was always a treat to have breakfast for dinner when I was growing up and it hasn’t changed.

This delicious breakfast stuffed baked potato is amazing! To save time, cook a couple of extra potatoes for dinner, then store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve this up for breakfast. I made Kelsey Nixon’s Stuffed Potato Skin Skillet Hash with Fried Eggs with a few minor changes. Her recipe suggests a homemade maple sausage, but I substituted country sausage. She served her potatoes with a chive sour cream, but I wanted gravy. Use the vegetables that you prefer in your hash. I chose a few family favorites, red bell peppers, Vidalia onions, and mushrooms.


Breakfast Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Serves: 4
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. pork country sausage
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 lg. eggs
  • 1 c. grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (2.75-oz.) pkg. Southeastern Mills Peppered Gravy Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Scrub potatoes clean, bake in oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Set potatoes aside to cool. Once cooled, cut the potatoes in half and gently scrape out 1 to 2 tablespoons of flesh, creating a bowl. Place the potato skins on a baking sheet. Drizzle the potatoes liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crispy, about 10 minutes, and set aside.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sausage. Brown the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once the sausage has started to brown, add in the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove hash with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Remove pan from heat to cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy as directed on package.
  5. Add the butter to a large nonstick skillet and place over medium-low heat until the butter melts and begins to foam. Gently crack the eggs into the skillet, being sure to crack them as close to the surface of the pan as possible. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper. For sunny-side up eggs with runny yolks, cook the eggs for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Drain the hash pan and wipe with out with a paper-towel. Add hash back to the pan and stir in the cheese.
  7. To assemble, take a heaping spoonful of gravy and spoon it over the bottom of a potato skin. Divide the sausage mixture evenly among the potatoes. Top each with an egg and another spoonful of gravy.





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