Sunday, July 1, 2012

What is Love? Plan Ahead Peanut Butter Pie

I remember once upon a time Cracker Barrel selling frozen peanut butter pie. Does anyone else remember this but me?!? It was delicious and was a rare treat that we were able to indulge in. I love peanut butter and I love chocolate and the combination of the two was a match made in heaven.
It is so stinkin' hot outside here, like it is everywhere else in the world. We have been spending our days at the pool and have been ending our nights with sweet frozen treats. I can't seem to keep enough popsicles on hand right now. When it is this stinkin' hot outside I love gobbling up snow cones and creamy frozen fudgesicles.
This past weekend we had some good friends over for dinner so I decided to create a cold dessert to end our meal. I recently purchased some chocolate cream cheese but have been stumped as to what to do with it. I thought about dipping strawberries on it or topping off a bagel with it but I have been too lazy to actually DO any of those things. So, I decided to combine it with a few other friends. And, they all became BFF's when they met. This frozen pie is lovely treat for a hot summer night but you need to prepare it early enough in the day to freeze up for the night. It is basically the love child of a reeses peanut butter cup and fudgesicle. I promise, this is one for the books!

Plan Ahead Peanut Butter Pie

2 Cups crushed graham crackers (please, don't buy a pre made crust. This is SO worth the extra two seconds it takes to make one!)
6 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all of the above in a bowl. Dump into a pie or tart pan and pat down on the bottom and up one inch of the sides. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and cool.

1 container of Philadelphia Chocolate Cream Cheese
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 Large container cool whip
small handfull of mini chocolate chips
In the bowl of a stand up mixer (or you can use a hand mixer) beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup peanut butter until combined. Pour in the milk and beat until combined. Gently fold in the cool whip and fold until combined. You want to keep as much air in the cool whip as you can. Spread the filling into the cooled crust  and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Take the 1 Tbsp of peanut butter and place it into a small ziplock baggie. Microwave the UNzipped bag for 20 seconds. The peanut butter will losen up. Squeeze the peanut butter into one corner of the bag and snip a tiny corner of the bag off with scissors. Pipe your peanut butter drizzle over the top of the pie. Place the pie into the freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
When ready to serve, remove from the oven about 5 minutes before serving to soften it up a wee bit. Slice into wedges and serve.

Enjoy Y'all!

The Family Secret - Rhodes Rolls Pizza

My Nana has always made the best rolls! They are always a mile high and drenched in butter. When I became of age she let me in on a big secret, a family secret...they were Rhodes. Rhodes rolls, if you are not familiar with them, are availble at your local supermarket in the frozen bread section. Rhodes are frozen roll dough balls that you buy in a bright orange package. You just take them out, place them on a sheet, cover them in plastic and let them rise until they triple in size. We love Rhodes in my house. The salesman could live on bread alone..well, maybe meat soaked bread alone, so we have bread a lot in our house. Rhodes are the perfect addition to Sunday pot roast supper or cozy soup night in the winter. Lately I have been playing more and more with my food, especially my rolls. I have started using Rhodes for everything from meatball sliders to monkey bread. Well, this past week the salesman had a baseball game so I decided to make homemade mini pizzas with the muffins. They LOVE pizza and I thought this would be the perfect way for them to get some hands on time with me in the kitchen. I love watching my little ones observe and explore with me while I dance my way around the kitchen at dinner time. They loved hopping up on the counter and creating their own little masterpieces. One was busy rolling while the other snuck tiny bits of cheese in this mouth. We happened to make meatball pizzas since I had some left over from the night before. These are the perfect meal for a lazy summer night and are great for kids. I also think they are a fun way to clean out your fridge! I will provide you with some basics but you feel free and take the lead at any time.

Rhodes Roll Pizza's

2-3 rolls per person (my six year old ate three!)
1/4 cup grated cheese per person - we did mozerella but you can do any combo of what you have on hand
2 Tbsp of pizza sauce per person (We do a half a can of tomato paste to half a can of tomato sauce ratio then add in our own spices for our pizza sauce. Typically 1/2 tsp garlic salt, dried italian spice blend, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar, dash of cayenne)

Toppings of your choice :
Left over meatballs, grilled chicken, pepperoni, sausage, olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. You need about 3 Tbsp total prt pizza.

Place your frozen dough package in the fridge the morning that you want to make your pizzas so that the bread can thaw but not rise. 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
I was able to fit five on one cookie sheet at a time.
Use a tiny bit of flour and dust your clean work surface to roll out your dough. Roll out a roll, one at a time, until they dough is about the size of a small saucer, or a wee bit larger. Place on either a pizza stone or cookie sheet (don't spray with Pam). Top off with sauce, cheese and topping. I like to do a sprinkle of parmesan and garlic salt on top right before I bake.

I love Ceaser salad with my pizza!
Bake in the oven for about 6-9 minutes until golden and bubbly. Gobble gobble.

Enjoy Y'all!

Hot Drums with Patriotic Potatoes

I have drums on my brain. I have been dreaming and drawing drums the last two weeks and will continue to for the next two. I am so honored to announce that I, yes moi, am making the birthday cake for a drummer by the name of Ringo. Have you heard of him? From the Beattles, you ask? Yes, that's the one! It's a super long story but it is an honor I am so excited about. I never would have dreamed that my client base for my cake business would include a Beattle and Elvis. This is about as exciting as it gets around here friends. I promise I will post pictures when all is said and done but until that day comes I have decided to sink my teeth into another kind of drum. A hot drum.
A couple of weeks ago some dear friends asked us to dinner. It was a lovely night full of good laughs and finger lickin' good food. Our friends made some hot chicken drums that are basically hot wings but on a chicken drum. They were delicious. I have been dreaming about them, and the other kind, since that night so I decided to make some of my own. There is nothing to them really but they are oh so heavenly. I use to hate hot wings. It is one of those weird things where one day I decided I was going to like them. So I did. And I have had some good ones and some okay ones. For me, the spicier the better. I want my teeth to sweat when I eat a wing. My favorite part is being able to dunk the wing over and over into creamy blue cheese and not think anything of it. Does life get better than that? Well, I decided I would pair up these babies with some blue cheese roasted red potatoes. These are a perfect treat to a hot summer night. Be sure you sip on some house wine of the south.

Hot Drums with Patriot Potatoes

Chicken Drums (Plan for 2.5 per person)
1 cup of Texas Pete (you can do Louisiana too but I stick with my roots on this one)

Dump all of the above in a bag and let it marinate for at least 24 hours and up to 48. Promise, the flavor is NOT THERE unless you have at least 24 hours for these babies to get all happy. When you are ready to cook you can either grill or roast. To grill, preheat the grill to about 400 degrees. Cook these babies for about 30-35 minutes, turning in between until juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
If roasting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roast for 25-28 minutes until skin is looking crisped and juices run clear when pierced, turning in between cooking. If you want the skin to crisp up more, turn the oven to broil for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Broil them and turn a few times to get the skin crispy all around. Don't take your eyes off of them because they can burn up super fast under the broiler.

Meanwhile, start your potatoes. I used a beautiful medley of mixed baby potatoes that were Yukon gold, red and purple. They were so great! If you can only find one small potato you can go with either Yukon gold or red. I usually estimate about 3 mini potatoes per person or 2 medium size.

Red white and Blue Potatoes
1 lb of mixed baby potatoes, rinsed and gross spots removed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp Dill, Garlic Power, Onion Powder, Paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne

Cut your potatoes in quarters if they are small or cubes if they are a bit larger. You want the sizes to be very similar so they cook evenly. Throw the potatoes directly on to your cookie sheet. Add the other ingredients and toss to coat. Cook in 425 degree (same as the chicken so you have to make them!) oven for 18-20 minutes until fork tender.

1 green onion thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

Place your cooked potatoes into your serving bowl and throw in the onions, parsley and blue cheese (feel free to add more) and gently toss. The blue cheese is going to get all warm and melty and heavenly.

Serve potatoes with drum sticks and a side of either ranch or blue cheese for extra dipping.

Enjoy Y'all!