Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tropical Toasted Coconut Banana Cream Pie

I love coconut and I love bananas so I thought I'd try combining the two when making a custard pie. It worked and it worked like a charm. The crunch of the coconut and the delicate taste of the bananas blend beautifully giving a tropical taste and feel combining two old standards into a pie that you will make again - I promise! If you really want to cut down on the work you can use a cooked vanilla pudding for the filling but it's worth the effort to make the custard filling from scratch.

  • 1 large or 2 small bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cream of coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted
  • one deep dish refrigerated pie crust

Place pie crust in 9" pie plate folding edges of pie crust under, and flute. Prick crust with a fork and line the dough with a piece of foil, and arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until the edge is lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, slice banana(s) and arrange on the bottom of the baked and cooled pie crust.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add about 1/3 cup hot custard to beaten eggs; stir constantly with a whisk. Return egg mixture to pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove mixture from heat; stir in cream of coconut and extracts. Spoon mixture into the prepared crust that has been lined with the banana(s). Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap; chill until set (about 2 hours).

Remove plastic wrap, and spread whipped topping evenly over filling. Sprinkle with coconut.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

♥Deep Dish Fresh Blueberry Sour Cream Pie♥

My son, Jeff, just l♥ves this pie! Whenever there is a special occasion, instead of cake, this is what he wants his mom to make and I'm more than happy to oblige. I don't know if it's the addition of the sour cream or the crunchy, yummy topping that makes this so special...but, my gosh, it sure is
  • 1 unbaked deep dish pie crust, homemade or refrigerated
  • 3 pints blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds or pecans

Roll crust, then transfer to a deep dish glass pie plate. Crimp edges or decorate with fork prines. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes while oven preheats to 400F. Cover crust with foil, fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until sides set, about 12 minutes. Remove foil.

Wash berries, drain well in a colander.

Whisk egg in a large bowl, add remaining filling ingredients and combine well. Stir in berries. Pour into partially baked crust. Bake again until filling is just set, about 25 minutes. (Cover edges of pie crust with foil to prevent over-browning.)

Melt butter in a small bowl. Stir in remaining topping ingredients. Drop in small dollops evenly across partially baked pie. Bake until topping browns slightly, about 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature to serve.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

♥Two Cheese Garden Tomato Tart♥

  • 1 refrigerated ready made pie crust
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Press refrigerated pie crust on bottom and up sides of a square 9-inch tart pan. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes or until pie crust is lightly browned; set aside.

Cut off pointed end of garlic bulb; place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle with olive oil. Fold foil to seal.

Bake garlic at 425° for 30 minutes; cool. Squeeze pulp from garlic cloves into bottom of baked pie crust.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over the garlic.

Slice tomatoes, and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Place on folded paper towels, and let stand 10 minutes. Arrange tomato slices over shredded cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until tart is lightly browned.

This is one of those quick, fun and good recipes that is made even better when you pick fresh tomatoes right from your garden! Another of my favorites for those times when I don't want a heavy meal, especially when the summer sun has done its best to push the thermometer to record highs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Orange Rosemary Baked Chicken

This is one of those very easy chicken recipes that leave your guests feeling special that you did a little extra just for them! When I make this chicken, I usually serve brown rice and freshly cooked asparagus as sides. A nice summer salad and fresh fruit for dessert and you're all set!

1 whole chicken
6-8 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 & 1/2 onions
1/2 orange
1 stick butter - room temperature

1 cup orange juice - pulp free, if possible
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
good pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp honey
flour water - to thicken (one part flour to two parts water)

Preheat oven to 350. Clean & pat dry your chicken & season the cavity well with salt & pepper. Into cavity insert 1/2 onion, 1/2 orange & a few sprigs of rosemary. Tie legs together with kitchen string or silicone bands.

In a small bowl add butter & season with salt & pepper. Add 2 -3 sprigs of rosemary that have been finely chopped. Mix together well. Using a paring knife, remove the skin from the breast meat. Careful not to tear the skin. Insert herb butter underneath skin, pushing & massaging butter as far down as it will go. Take your whole onion and slice it thickly. Place the slices onto your roasting pan. These will act as a trivet/bed for your chicken. Place chicken on top of onion slices. Tuck wings under. Massage any extra herb butter onto the outside of the chicken. Season outside of chicken with salt & pepper. Place into oven and cook for about two hours. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes and then drizzle your glaze on top!

While the chicken is resting make the glaze. To a sauce pan, add your orange juice, whole sprig of rosemary, honey & cayenne pepper. Stir well & cook over low-medium heat. Season with salt. Gradually whisk in your flour water to thicken sauce. Continue until sauce has reduced down by half. Remove rosemary sprig & ladle glaze over top of chicken. Garnish with any remaining sprigs of rosemary & orange slices.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cool and Creamy Strawberry Chocolate Fondue with a hint of Cinnamon


3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate chips
1 container (8 ounces) cool whip
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place chocolate morsels and half of the whipped topping in bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 1 minute or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring after each 20-second interval. Fold in remaining whipped topping, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Cover; refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving with strawberries!

This is fun and quick and easy and impressive! A perfect compliment to a BBQ, picnic by the pool or as a little something to whip up when guests pop by during the summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

♥Mocha Cream Chocolate Mousse for that special guy on Father's Day♥

These are good, really good! The little ones don't like the coffee taste so if I'm baking for them, I use chocolate milk! Perfect substitution! If you don't have serving pieces as shown in the photo individual au gratin dishes work just as well. Make your coffee loving dad or grand-dad something special to end the meal on his big day. He's gonna l♥ve it!

7 ounces Oreo cookies (about 17)
4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup hot brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/2 cup boiling water
2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (1 Tbsp.)
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
1 large block semisweet chocolate (8 oz.)

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind cookies in a food processor. Mix in butter and press evenly into a 9-inch pie pan or 4 (5-inch) mini pans. Chill for 15 minutes. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Make filling: In a bowl, mix espresso, 1/2 cup boiling water and 1/3 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle gelatin over mixture; stir until dissolved. Chill until slightly thickened but not set, about 1 hour.

In a bowl, whip 1 cup cream until thickened. Add 1/3 cup sugar and cocoa; beat until soft peaks form. Fold in espresso mixture. Pour filling into crust; smooth top. Chill until set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Before serving, whip 1 cup cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Spread on pie. Using a peeler, shave chocolate curls onto pie. If you don't want to fuss with the chocolate curls, I've used chocolate jimmies in a pinch with just a light powdering of instant Swiss Mocha coffee.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oven baked Parmesan Zucchini Fingers with Pepper Sauce

If you garden or if you have a friend that has a summer garden, you know all too well, that zucchini multiplies faster than a rabbit in the spring! Another thing you can count on is BBQs at the neighbor's place, your backyard or a picnic with friends.

Crunchy, salty items are a hit at any party, and these oven-fried zucchini sticks fit the bill. The Spanish-style sauce is great on anything from chips to sandwiches to grilled seafood. These are so good that you'll find the little one's going back for more!


3 medium red bell peppers
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked almonds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large garlic clove


3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten until frothy
cooking spray

1. Preheat broiler.

2. To prepare sauce, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place pepper halves and tomatoes, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten bell peppers with your hands. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop, setting liquid aside.

3. Combine bell peppers, liquid, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. Cut 1 zucchini in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges. Repeat this with remaining zucchini. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dip zucchini in eggs; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat zucchini with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with sauce.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Easy Peasy 'n Quick Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey, chicken, or ham
  • 12 ounces thin spaghetti, cooked
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded baby Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup crushed garlic-and-onion seasoned croutons
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Whisk together soup and milk in large mixing bowl; whisk in Alfredo sauce. Stir in chopped turkey, next 4 ingredients, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour into a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch baking dish.

Stir together remaining Parmesan cheese, crushed croutons, and paprika; sprinkle evenly over casserole.

Bake, covered, at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Casserole may be assembled and frozen up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight; bake, covered, at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. If you prefer a smaller casserole, use 2 (11- x 7-inch) baking dishes. Proceed as directed.

My favorite grocery store recently has turkey breasts on sale. When I can find them at a good price in the summer, I usually buy a couple, one to cook immediately and one for the freezer. I l♥ve the easy variety they provide: sandwiches, salad, in casseroles, soups.

This is my favorite recipe when I've got turkey on hand and a group of people to feed!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Easy Peasy Cream Puffs~Good for your brain, good for your tummy!

These little stinkers are so easy to make. I used to be intimidated by cream puffs thinking that there was some sort of a magic potion you had to drink to make them in your kitchen. That couldn't be further from the truth. And these, well, the addition of instant pudding makes an easy job even easier to do!

Top with chocolate sauce...or, I've been known to add fresh fruit either on the side of gently folded into the filling...YUM! Imagine a drizzle of strawberry syrup with fresh berries gently folded in the cream.

Scientists tell us that stretching ourselves beyond the familiar is what keeps our brains supple. How about making a cream puff? Good for your brain...good for your tummy!


  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs


  1. Mix together vanilla instant pudding mix, cream and milk. Cover and refrigerate to set.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
  5. When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rhubarb 'n Raspberries, a winning pie combination

Strawberry/Rhubarb Pie recipes are fairly common and I do l♥ve strawberries. But, the Queen of Berries is the raspberry in my book. I l♥ve them. I l♥ve them plain. I l♥ve them fancy. I l♥ve them covered in cream. I l♥ve them wherever they want to plunk down their little, berry behinds.

This recipe is one that I've carried with me for years. Although I don't make it often because fresh raspberries are in season for such a short time where I live, I try to make it at least once a year. This is a pie for sharing with a good friend and a cup of tea or coffee. It's so good, you just can't keep it all for yourself!


  • 2 tablespoons uncooked quick-cooking tapioca
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (about 24 ounces)
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 6 stalks)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (this makes it easy 'n quick)
  • cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place tapioca in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Combine tapioca, raspberries, and next 5 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a bowl; toss well. Let raspberry mixture stand 10 minutes; stir to combine.

3. Roll 1 (9-inch) dough portion into an 11-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray, draping excess dough over edges. Spoon raspberry mixture and any remaining liquid into dough. Fold edges under; flute. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

4. While pie bakes, place flour and remaining ingredients in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

5. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.

6. Sprinkle topping evenly over pie. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is thick and bubbly. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chicken a la King on the Half Shell

These are SO easy and quick to make. All I do is add a summer salad and fresh fruit for dessert! If you have left-overs, they keep very well!


1 package (10 ounces) Puff Pastry Shells
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (all I do is boil a chicken breast with a little onion and celery earlier in the day)

Bake, cool and remove the "tops" of the pastry shells according to the package directions.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender.

Stir the soup, milk and peas and carrots in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve in the pastry shells.