beef tenderloin 002

Greg and I recently celebrated 28 years of marriage, and for 28 years he has had the mindset that grilling a steak is the only way to go. That is until I prepared filets in my cast iron skillet using this recipe. Now he’s addicted! In fact, he brought home filets last weekend and asked me to cook them this way.

These steaks are perfection! I’m talking WON-DER-FUL!!! They will impress even the biggest steak critic, and this recipe is super easy!

One additional note, the 12-inch skillet recommended in the recipe is essential. I do not own a 12-inch cast iron skillet, so I used my 10-inch. It was perfect the first time I cooked them because I only prepared two. However, I cooked four the second time I fixed them. They tasted fine but in my 10-inch skillet they did not brown and crust over in the oven as they should have. I think I’ll add 12-inch cast iron skillet to my Christmas list!

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  • 4 (8 to 10 oz. each) beef tenderloin filets, cut 2½-inches thick
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked peppercorns
  1. Remove filets from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot and almost smoking. Pat the filets dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add steaks to the skillet. Cook, without disturbing, for 3 to 3½ minutes. Turn steaks and place skillet in the preheated oven. Bake until meat thermometer read 125°F for medium rare (12 - 15 minutes), or until desired doneness.
  4. Remove steaks from skillet; cover loosely with foil and let stand about 5 minutes.
Turn steaks only once during cooking.


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Toasted Cumin and Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese



Thanksgiving is over and since I’m not out shopping on Black Friday I thought I would post my first Christmas recipe. I love everything about the Christmas season! I love the decorating, the Christmas music, the wonderful smells, and all of the scrumptious food that is only served this time of the year. Much of what I do during the holiday season is centered around traditions. Traditions that my parents or grandparents started. Traditions that Greg and I started with our kids when they were small. They all bring wonderful feelings of nostalgia and nostalgia is a big part of my Christmas.

This is a delicious and different appetizer that includes whole cumin seeds. I’m not sure if it was because I am located in a very remote area, but the whole cumin seeds were difficult for me to find. I finally found them at The Fresh Market. I served these with crackers, but I think they would be great with little warm or toasted baguette slices.

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Toasted Cumin and Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese
  • 1 lg. head garlic
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. whole assorted peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus whole leave for garnish
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 8-oz. cream cheese, chilled
  • assorted crackers
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Cut top third off of the head of garlic; rub with 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil. Loosely wrap in foil; roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, crack peppercorns and set aside.
  3. In a small, dry frying pan, over medium heat, toast cumin seeds, swirling pan often until seeds are fragrant and toasted, about 3 minutes, set aside to cool.
  4. Squeeze garlic from each clove into a medium bowl. Add crushed peppercorns, cumin, chopped cilantro, salt, red pepper, and remaining extra virgin olive oil; mix well.
  5. Roll cream cheese into balls, 1 tsp. each. Drop into spice mixture. Cover and marinate for several hours at room temperature.
  6. Keep covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks, bring to room temperature before serving.


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Coconut-Pecan German Chocolate Pie

German Chocolate Pie


For all of you lovers of german chocolate cake here is a wonderful pie recipe, just in time for Thanksgiving, with the same great flavors.  It’s deliciously rich chocolate layer is wonderfully creamy and the coconut pecan topping tastes exactly like that wonderful frosting on the cakes we love so!

This recipe was in a recent email from Taste of Home titled Top 10 Pie Recipes.  I just had to give it a try before Thanksgiving!  I have been keeping this pie in the refrigerator but be sure to take it out and bring to room temperature before serving.

I would like to wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank YOU for taking time out of your busy schedule to check out my blog and/or my newspaper article.  With so much wrong in the world I pray that your world is right this Thanksgiving day.  I pray for blessing of family, friendship, and peace.

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Coconut-Pecan German Chocolate Pie
Serves: 8
  • 1 9-inch pie shell, baked and cooled
  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  1. In a small bowl, mix flour and salt; cut in lard until crumbly. Gradually add ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a ⅛-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to ½ in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice.
  3. Bake 11-13 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Remove foil and weights; bake 6-8 minutes longer or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
  4. In a microwave, melt chocolates in a large bowl; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk in milk, egg yolks and vanilla; stir in pecans. Pour into crust. Bake 16-19 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens and a thermometer reads 160°, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla; cool 10 minutes.
  7. Pour over filling; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate 4 hours or until cold.


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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce 2

Today is mine and Greg’s wedding anniversary.  Yep, 28 years with the man I love.  😍 Because social media has made me skeptical about sharing “too much”, I will not go on and on about what an incredible husband Greg is and how we have this whole marriage thing figured out.  He is a great man, but I still get mad at him sometimes.  We have made it 28 years, but that doesn’t mean we have all the answers.  I love Greg more today than I did 28 years ago.  I’m proud of the life we’ve built, the home we have, the kids we’ve almost raised.  I would do it again a million times.

Thanksgiving day can be stressful.  Spending time with family and friends is nice, but preparing for the feast is a job.  The list of things to do can be daunting. Make a menu, clean the house, do the shopping, and then there’s the cooking.  As I prepare for Thanksgiving, or any big meal, I like to make a schedule and check it off as I go.  I learned from Greg’s grandmother, years ago, to do as much in advance as possible.  Many groceries can be purchased weeks in advance.  I  make my cornbread dressing a few weeks ahead of time and freeze it.  Vegetables can be chopped, and cheese can be grated the day before, and this delicious cranberry sauce can be made several days in advance.

I’m a whole berry cranberry sauce kind of gal but if you aren’t you can add the cooked cranberry sauce to a food processor and pulse a few times.  This cranberry sauce is so tasty and much better than anything you’ll find in a can.  It’s fast and easy to prepare.  Then, all that’s left to do is refrigerate and forget it until Thanksgiving day, if you can. I tend to do a “taste test” once or twice a day…you know, just to make sure it’s not spoiling.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 (12-oz.) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • ½ c. water
  • ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ c. peach schnapps
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  1. Rinse the cranberries, picking through them to remove any stems or bruised cranberries.
  2. Add cranberries to a large saucepan. Add sugar, water, orange juice, peach schnapps, lemon juice, and the orange and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally until cranberries start to pop and sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, cool, then refrigerate.




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Dark Chocolate Toffee Brownie Shooters

Dark Chocolate Brownie Shooter

Dessert is always tempting but after a big Thanksgiving meal who needs or even wants a big slice or cake or pie? These little shooters are not only the perfect size but they are adorable!

Dark Chocolate Toffee Brownie Shooters are so decadent that you’ll never believe just how easy they are to prepare. They start with a brownie mix, and the chocolate mousse could not be simpler to make. Top with whipped topping just before serving and garnish with a mint leaf if desired.



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Dark Chocolate Toffee Brownie Shooters
  • 1 (18-oz.) pkg. triple chocolate brownie mix
  • 3 tbsp. Kahlua, optional
  • 3 (3.5-oz.) Ghirardelli dark chocolate with toffee bits and caramelized almonds candy bars, chopped 1½ c. whipping cream, divided
  • caramel topping
  • can of nondairy whipped topping
  1. Bake brownies according to package directions. If desired, poke holes in the baked brownies with a straw and pour Kahula over brownies, allowing it to seep into holes. Cool completely in pan.
  2. Microwave chocolate and ¼ cup whipping cream in a large microwave-safe bowl at high for 1 to 1½ minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring after 1 minute. Let stand 45 minutes or until almost cool.
  3. Beat remaining 1¼ cups whipping cream at high-speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form; gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Crumble brownies into bit size pieces. Layer brownies, caramel topping, and chocolate mousse into shot glasses. Top with whipped topping.
  5. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.


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