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Banana Cream Puffs


Can I just tell you how happy these little Puffs of love made me this morning? WICKED HAPPY!! These are super simple too make but, literally look like they took hours on end to make. Traditionally you would use a “vanilla” base for this recipe but, because I’m a huge banana cream pie fan, I had decided to make my Puffs taste just like THAT!!  Creamy, delicious and let me tell you, there’s NO way you could just eat one!! Pop’em till ya drop. ūüėĄ 

Puffs:

1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
4 eggs

Banana cream filling: 
1 package instant banana pudding mix
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions:
Bring water and butter to boil in a medium pan. Once boiling, remove from stove and add flour and salt. Stir till mixture forms a large ball. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Start your mixture on med high speed and add all 4 eggs at the same time. Mix till smooth. Scoop mixture into a piping bag   (you could also use a plastic food storage bag and just cut the tip off) making sure to squeeze all of the air out of the piping bag. Pipe out each puff on a large parchment covered baking sheet making a swirl ( make your puffs about medium meatball size) . Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 30 mins till slightly golden brown. Cool puffs for about 20 mins before filling. 

Banana cream filling: 
Add pudding mix  and milk and mix on low speed till smooth. Add whipping cream and mix on high for about 2 minutes till cream forms stiff peaks. Cut the tops off each puff and remove the insides. Fill each puff to the top with cream and place the tops back on. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hr and serve. 

Note: If desired, Drizzle melted chocolate and dust some powder sugar on tops of puffs. 

Cooking time: approx 30 mins

Prep time: approx 15 mins
Makes 2 dozen puffs. 

Bacon and Sausage Mac and Cheese stuffed Reds. 

Holy COW, these right here are probably one of the best stuffed pepper recipes I have ever created. Bacon and sausage Mac and CHEESE stuffed peppers!! Let me tell y’all something.. The flavor of these beautiful red bell peps running through this dish is a sure fire WINNER!! INSANE… This is such a fantastic combo I can’t believe I had t come up with it SOONER???? 

6 cups cups Sharp White cheddar ( 4 cups for cheese sauce and 2 cups for melting on tops of peppers 
6 red bell peppers cut lengthwise with seeds and ribs removed
1 lb Cavatappi pasta
12 slices of bacon diced
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage 
3 cups cream
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons Flour 
2 teaspoons dry mustard 
2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves grated 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Cut peppers lengthwise and remove ribs and seeds. Lay each half on a large baking sheet, salt and pepper each half and put to the side. 

In a large skillet, heat on med high heat. Add diced bacon and render till “almost” crisp. Add in ground sausage and cook till bacon has completely rendered and sausage has browned, add bacon as sausage mixture to a paper towel covered plate to remove the excess grease. 

Bring a large pot to a boil making sure to salt your water liberally before dropping your pasta. While your bring your water to a boil, grab another medium sized pot and melt butter and grate in garlic on med heat. Once butter is bubbling, whisk in your flour one tablespoon at a time. Cook your whisked in flour for about a 30 secs to cook out your flour. Add in cream and reduce heat to med low. Once mixture has thickened and coats the back of your wooden spoon, whisk in your cheese and stir in a figure eight motion. Add in dry mustard, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and check for seasoning. 

Drain pasta and add to back to pot. Pour in Cheese sauce and add cooked bacon, sausage and combine. Fill each pepper half with mixture and top with some extra cheese. Once all peppers are stuffed, cover peppers with tin foil and place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 25-30 mins. This helps peppers to soften without over cooking. Remove tinfoil and turn oven to broil. Broil peppers “just” till the Cheese is golden brown on top ( about 3-4 mins) 
Remove and enjoy. 

Cooking time total: approx 35 mins
Serves 6-12 peeps 

Lemony Italian Christmas cookies

These cookie literally are a childhood staple for the holidays for me. My mom made these by the dozens for Christmas every year and they literally were and still are my favorite cookie to eat around the holiday or basically ANYTIME! Not only are they super fun and easy to make, but even more fun to eat. 

Emma always offering help when it comes to cookie making. 


Ingredients: 

4 eggs ( room temp)

3 1/2 cups flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup granulated sugar 

1 stick butter ( room temp)

Zest of 1 lemon

Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar ( sifted)  

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice ( usually 
2 squeezed lemons) 

1 tablespoons vanilla
Cookie directions: 

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest on medium speed till creamy. Add eggs slowly, one at a time. Once mixed, Sift dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half of dry ingredients to wet and mix. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the other half of dry ingredients. 

Once combined. Place a piece of parchment paper on your counter top. Add about a cup of flour and spread over the top of parchment. Scoop out cookie dough onto flour. Pat flour on your hand before kneading your dough to form a ball . Keep patting more flour on your hands when needed so dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Make a ball ( make dough balls a little smaller than you would a regular sized meatball) and roll the into into a 1 inch log. Twist each log to form a spiral and lay each on on a large parchment covered cookie sheet spreading apart each cookie about an inch. Bake for 10-12 mins at a preheated 350 oven. Remove and cool. 

Icing: 

Directions: mix all ingredients in a medium bowl till smooth and glossy. 
Dip each “cooled” cookie into icing mixture and lay each one on another piece of parchment paper, sprinkle non-pareils over tops of cookies. Let icing set for 45 mins or refrigerate till icing is firm ( 10 mins) 

Yields about 2 dozen

Cooking time: 10-12 mins

Pepperoni and Mozz Garlic bread. 


My family is obsessed with this recipe. It is quick ,  super easy and is way better than any store bought garlic bread.  Once this thing hits the table ( or top of the stove at my house) it’s gone with in secs. Tons of pepperoni, gooey mozzarella and ohhhhh, who could forget that wonderful garlic aroma?? Yum…
1 loaf of pheasant, ciabatta or Tuscan pane ( any crusty bread will work) 

3 cups sliced pepperoni

3 cups shredded mozzarella 

3 tablespoons granulated garlic powder

Salt and pepper 

4 drizzles of olive oil 

Dry basil, oregano or parsley 

Directions:

Preheat oven at 375 

Place loaf on top of a medium baking sheet. Make 6 slices going across bread loaf, but, not cutting all the way down to the bottom.  Stuff all of your shredded mozzarella and sliced pepperoni into creases of bread. Stuff the bread as much as you can( over stuffing is quite alright) . Once stuffed, drizzle olive oil all over the top.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and dry basil on top.  Bake for about 20 mins till golden brown and Cheese is melted. Remove and cool for about 5 mins before handling. 

Cooking time: approx 20 mins 

Serves 3-4 peeps 

Creamy Pumpkin Pappardelle with spicy sausage and peas 


This is such a great fall dish!! I like to think of it as a somewhat sweet and salty combo even though there is no sugar adding going on in this pasta dish. You could most certainly use any cut of pasta for this recipe but, I choose “Pappardelle” because it’s thick and really holds the sauce beautifully. Like I have stated previously, fall is my most favorite time of the year and this recipe really reflects my fall love. 

1 lb Pappardelle 

1 can Pumpkin purée

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 tsp nutmeg 

5 spicy Italian sausage links ( casings removed) 

2 cups frozen peas

Salt and pepper

First brown your sausages cutting and removing the casings and adding to a hot skillet. Break sausage apart using a wooden spoon till brown. Set aside. 

Boil pasta as directed making sure to salt the water heavily before dropping pasta. 

While pasta is boiling, melt butter on medium high, once bubbling, whisk in flour gradually till combined making sure to cook the flour out for about 15 secs. Now, whisk in you cream and keep whisking till sauce has thickened. Once sauce has thickened, whisk in your pumpkin pur√©e and nutmeg. Turn heat off and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Drain pasta and add back to you pasta pot. Pour in your pumpkin sauce, sausage and frozen peas. Cook on med low for about 3-4 till peas are cooked through. 

Cooking time: about 20 mins

Serves 4-6 peeps

Pancake battered Sausage Polpette

These little cuties are not only super simple to make but, a great little breakfast dish to make with the kiddies in your life. My girls absolutely love to help me make these for breakfast, especially when they’re sprinkled with powdered sugar and dipped in some warm maple syrup or your favorite fruit preserves. I have used both sweet and spicy Italian sausage to make this dish and it’s always a hit.  Sweet and savory is what it’s all about in my household and this breakfast dish is totally where it’s at!!!! 

Ingredients: 

8 sweet or spicy Italian sausage links 

1 1/2 cups prepared pancake batter 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon brown sugar

4 cups vegetable oil

Directions: 

Preheat oven at 375

Remove casing from sausage and add the sausage meat to a bowl, mix together and roll sausage into meatball sized balls. Put into a 375 degree oven and cook for about 8 mins.  Remove and cool for about 10 mins just so they’re cool enough to dip into pancake batter. 

Fill a medium pot about half way with veggie oil. Heat veggie oil till your thermometer reads at 350

Make pancake battered as directed ( 2 cups pancake mix to 1 1/2 cups water. Mix in cinnamon and brown sugar. Dip each ball into batter and put into hot oil ( frying only about 4 at a time) Each one should take about  1 to 1 1/2 mins to cook on all sides till golden brown . Remove and place on a paper towel covered plate to drain off excess oil.  Dust some powdered sugar and heat up your favorite maple syrup or fruit preserves if desired for dipping. 

Cooking time: about 20 mins

Serves 4 peeps

KF,EDF

Cheez-it Crusted Fried Chicken Tenders. 


When I was kid my favorite snack in the world was a big ole box of Cheez-it’s. Still as an adult, it’s till my ultimate go-to snack as well as my own children. Tonight we feast on Cheez-it Crusted Chicken tenders . Super moist, crunchy and yes my friends, OH SO CHEEZZZY!!!

4-5 cups finely Crushed Cheez-its 

2 lbs Chicken tenders (about 16 tenders) 

4 cups flour

6 beaten eggs 

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

Salt and pepper all sides of your tenders. Make a breading station salting and adding pepper to both flour and eggs.  Coat all chicken tender pieces in Flour, banging off excess, then egg and lastly crushed cheez-its making sure to really coat each piece fully. 

Using a frying thermometer,  Heat oil in a cast iron skillet till your thermometer reads 335 degrees.  Fry chicken in batches about 4-5 at a time for about 5 mins flipping once in between. Place each fried tender on paper towel covered cooling rack to drip off the excess grease making sure to salt and pepper each batch as they come out of oil. Let tenders sit for about 5 mins before serving. 

Cooking time: 5 mins

Prep time: about 10 mins

Serves 4 peeps