Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sausage and Peppers Pasta

My old school Italian husband loves sausage and peppers.  I make it on the grill and he eats it piled high on Italian bread or rolls.  He's been craving it.  But, since my ankle surgery, I can't get outside and up the steps to our deck (where the grill lives).  So, I decided to make a pasta dish that has all the flavors he loves, but I can sit in my wheelchair and cook it on the stove top.  It turned out great and he ate two huge platefuls!


2 links Italian sausage (I used sweet, but you can use mild or hot, whatever you like)
2 TBS oil
1 (12 oz) box Penne pasta (I used the smart pasta with extra fiber)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can Italian stewed tomatoes (with basil, oregano and garlic added)
1/2 can water
grated parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  Remove sausage from casings (I cut it all the way down and squeeze the sausage out).  Crumble the sausage into the skillet and brown, stirring occasionally.  Add chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook until softened.

Zip the stewed tomatoes in the blender to make a sauce (not necessary, but my bunch doesn't like big chunks of tomatoes).  Add the tomatoes to the skillet.  Then fill the tomato can half way with water.  Add to the skillet.  Scrape the bottom of the skillet to get up all the sausage bits that stuck to the bottom (big time flavor!).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer.

Let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes.  I cook the pasta while it's simmering.  Don't over cook the pasta, because it will finish cooking once it's mixed with the sauce.

You want the sauce to reduce and thicken up.

Once it has thickened, add the cooked, drained pasta and stir to combine.

Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

So, there you have it.  It's an easy, delicious way to get the flavor of sausage and peppers any time of year and right on your stove top.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Foolproof Fudge

A candy maker I am not.  Dealing with the whole thermometer thing freaks me out.  Plus, what is "hard ball stage" anyway?  Sounds like it should have something to do with baseball.  No?  OK let's move on.  I found a truly foolproof recipe for fudge many years ago and have been making it every Christmas since.  The best part?  No candy making knowledge needed!  It makes a wonderful gift.  Just bag it up in a pretty cellophane bag with some ribbon and voilĂ !  Everyone loves it!  Plus, it's so versatile.  You can add almost anything to it:  nuts, marshmallows, peanut butter chips, chopped up candy bars, etc.  This year I used Oreos!  Nothing wrong with that!

Here's how I did it:

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can condensed milk
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or whatever you choose to use- I used chopped Oreos)

Before you start, line a baking dish with foil, leaving enough hanging over the edges to act as handles.  This will help you remove the fudge from the dish later.  If you want thick fudge, use an 8 inch square dish.  If you want it a little thinner, use a rectangular dish.

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chips with condensed milk and salt, stirring frequently.  Once melted and smooth, remove from heat.  It's important to do that before you continue!  Stir in nuts (or Oreos) and vanilla.

Spread evenly into the foil-lined dish.  Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm.  Lift the fudge out by the foil handles and turn over onto a cutting board.  Carefully peel the foil off.  Cut into small squares.  This is very rich!  So I find small squares work best.  Store covered in the fridge.

Like I said before, you can use whatever you like in place of the nuts.  I do love it with pecans, but I have used mini marshmallow, peanut butter chips (they kind of melt in and give it a marbled effect), chopped up Heath bars, and now Oreos (which was delicious by the way).  I love versatile recipes that will work for anyone.  So, make some fudge!  Maybe you'll think of something new to add to it.  If so, let me know how it turns out.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecans are very southern.  Whether you put them in pies, pralines, or these yummy cookies, pecans make the holidays better.  One of my favorite Christmas memories is sitting at the kitchen table with my daddy while we cracked and shelled pecans.  Later, my mama would use those pecans to bake up something delicious.  It's funny how I remember that clearer than any present I ever got.  I think the older we get, the more we realize what holidays are truly about.

Maybe you can bake up these cookies and some holiday memories, too.


1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar + more for coating cookies
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 TBS vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a mixer, cream the butter for a few minutes.  Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and salt.  Cream until fluffy.  Add pecans and vanilla.  Blend in flour gradually.  Don't over mix.  As soon as the flour is incorporated, shape into small balls (about 1 tablespoonful).  Place on a cold, ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Do not over bake or they will get dry!  Sprinkle some powdered sugar over the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven.  Then, transfer to a rack and let them cool completely.  Put about 1 cup of powdered sugar in a zip bag.  Place cooled cookies in the bag.  Gently roll the cookies in the powdered sugar.  Store at room temperature or in the fridge.

Here's what they look like:

Little snowballs!  So cute!

And on the inside:

The pecan flavor really shines through.  Plus, the sweetness of the sugar on the outside is perfect.

This yields about 20 or so depending on how big you make them. The recipe is really easy to double if you want to make more.

For a variation you could use almonds instead of pecans with almond extract.  They would taste like little wedding cakes!

So, bake up some memories this Christmas.  They'll be delicious!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!  You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!  Remember that commercial? Reese's peanut butter cups.  I love those bad boys!  Well here is an easy, no-bake (yeah, I said no-bake) recipe that tastes a lot like the famous candy.  This is the perfect thing to bring to a pot luck or holiday party because who doesn't love the taste of chocolate and peanut butter?!


22 vanilla wafers, ground finely
1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

First off, you need the vanilla wafers ground very finely.  I use a food processor but of you don't have one, put them in a zip bag and beat them with a small pot.  Secondly, let your butter sit out on the counter for about an hour so it can soften up.  Otherwise it will be very difficult to mix into the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine ground wafers, 3/4 cup peanut butter, softened butter and powdered sugar.  Use an electric mixer to mix until well blended.  Press onto the bottom of a baking dish until flattened and smooth.  If you want thick bars, use an 8 inch square pan.  If you want thinner bars, use a 9x13 pan.

Melt chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  You may need to microwave another few seconds to get it completely smooth.  Spread over the peanut butter layer.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Cut into bars.

These are so good!  But be forewarned, they are addictive!

For a fun variation:  use 1/4 cup Nutella (instead of the extra peanut butter) with the chocolate chips to make the top layer. Hazelnut heaven!

Also, rather than bars you can make cups using pretty mini cupcake liners.  Instead of pressing the dough into a baking dish, roll into little balls and press into lined mini muffin cups, then cover with melted chocolate.  Refrigerate as above.  Cute little nuggets!  Put some in a cellophane bag with a bow and you've got a great gift to give anyone with a sweet tooth!  So, basically anyone.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I just had ankle surgery.  Again.  So I have to stay off my feet for a while.  Since I can't cook I thought I'd share a recipe my daughter made the other day.  It's a tried and true favorite of mine.  I got the recipe in college from a friend of a friend who worked in a restaurant.  I've tinkered with it over the years and this version is pretty perfect.  With the holidays approaching, you'll want this recipe.  Trust me.  Every time I bring this to a party, there's nothing left.  People devour it!  Here's how it's done:


1 (10 oz) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 small (6 oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayo
1 1/2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 TBS lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Drain the thawed spinach well.  I put it in a clean dish towel and squeeze it dry.  Drain and chop the artichoke hearts.  Combine the spinach and artichokes with the remaining ingredients.  Spoon into a lightly greased baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve warm with crackers or tortilla chips.

Easy and so delicious!  A great recipe to have on hand.  Perfect for parties or just snacking in front of the T.V.  And if you're lucky enough to have someone to make it for you like I did, well that's all the better!  Enjoy!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cajun Pasta

The reason this blog is called Hot Southern Mess is because I am definitely a mess!  I have been dealing with continuing issues with this ankle and have to go through yet another surgery (this will be my 6th on this ankle).  So, I won't be blogging for a while.  Since I won't be blogging or cooking for a while, I thought I'd better leave you with something good.  Here goes:

*Note:  I have a picky husband & son so I saute the shrimp separately and then add it on top of the pasta for those who want it.  If you don't deal with picky eaters, you can saute it in the same skillet after you add the garlic (just be careful not to overcook it!)


1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
1/2 lb. small shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced  (+ 1 more if you are sauteeing shrimp separately)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 TBS canola oil  (more if you are sauteeing shrimp separately)
1 TBS butter  (more if you are sauteeing shrimp separately)
1 cup chicken broth  (more if you are sauteeing shrimp separately)
1/2 cup half & half (or heavy cream)
Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce
Cajun seasoning (Tony's)
1 lb penne pasta

Cook pasta to al dente.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and butter.  Season chicken with Tony's then brown in the skillet.  Once browned, remove to a plate and set aside.  Add onion, celery and bell pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add garlic.  Saute for 2 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic.  Add chicken back to the skillet.  Add a good splash of Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of hot sauce (depending on how hot you like it).  Add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then lower heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes to let flavors concentrate.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet add 1 TBS canola oil and a cracked garlic clove.  Heat on medium heat, stirring garlic until brown.  This infuses the oil with garlic flavor.  Then discard garlic clove.  Add 1 TBS butter.  Once melted, add shrimp (seasoned with Cajun seasoning) and a little chicken broth (a big splash).  Saute until pink (about 5 minutes).  Do not overcook!  Set shrimp aside while you finish the chicken.

Add the half & half and the parsley to the skillet with the chicken and stir.  Taste the sauce to see if it needs salt/pepper.  If you feel you need more liquid in your sauce, you can add a little of the pasta water.  Toss with the hot pasta.  Let sit for a few minutes so the pasta can absorb the sauce.  Stir before serving with or without shrimp on top.

I've been making a version of this dish since I was a teenager.  It's evolved over the years, of course.  But it still brings back memories of a time in my life when I was footloose and fancy free.  Let's hope my surgeon doesn't cut my foot loose next week!  (sorry, bad joke)  I have found that it helps tremendously to laugh your way through these things!  So, wish me luck as I recover and please say a little prayer that I'll be up and cooking again real soon!  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Alex's Apple Crisp

My sweet neighbor brought us a bag of apples the other day.  My first thought?  Apple crisp!  So, today when my daughter, Alex, and I were home alone (the husband and son were gone to a baseball tournament) I asked her if she wanted to help me make one.  She offered to make the apple crisp all by herself.  Who am I to argue?  Especially when she offered to do the dishes too!  What a sweet kid!  How'd I get so lucky?  Here's how she did it:


5 medium apples
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease an 8 inch square baking dish.  Peel the apples and slice into thin slices.  To keep them from turning brown, put them in a bowl of cold water with some lemon juice added. (or you can use a bowl of lemon-lime soda)

Spread the apples in the baking dish.

In a big bowl, stir brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until well mixed.  

Sprinkle this mixture over the apples.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Let cool for a bit before serving.

Alex did a great job on this apple crisp!  It was warm and gooey and spiced just right.  It made the entire house smell phenomenal, too!  Easy, delicious and perfect for Fall!  Give it a try, I know you'll like it!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baked Chicken Taquitos

I needed to go grocery shopping but didn't have time.  When suppertime rolled around I thought about just giving the kids a bowl of cereal and calling it a day.  But then I felt bad.  So I raided the pantry, then the fridge and threw this recipe together.  It's true what they say, necessity really is the mother of invention.  These taquitos were easy, delicious and made with stuff I always keep around.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
1 can refried beans
1/2 cup salsa
Pepper jack cheese (or cheddar or jack-whatever you have)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup oil
Red pepper flakes
Chili powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
*you can use taco seasoning instead of all the spices if you want

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Place chicken breasts in a large pot.  Cover with water (just enough to cover the chicken).  Add a little red pepper flakes and salt to the water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken to a plate and let cool for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, mix refried beans and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 1-2 minutes until warm.  Season to taste with chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic powder.  Set aside.  Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.  Shred chicken.  Take a tortilla and spread a little of the bean mixture down the center.  Top with some chicken, then pepper jack, then Velveeta.  I like to use both because the Velveeta melts really well and the pepper jack has a great kick.  But use whatever you have.

Roll the tortilla and place it seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat.  This should make 8.

Once you've made all 8 taquitos, crack a clove of garlic and put it in a microwave safe mug with the 1/4 cup oil.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  This infuses the oil with garlic flavor.  Brush the tops of the tortillas with the garlic oil.  Then sprinkle on a little chili powder, salt and pepper.  

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until light golden brown and crisp on top.

I served these with salsa and sour cream for dipping.  The family approved (and were happy not to get cereal for supper).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken

Hello everyone!  I have been doing some maintenance on my blog and found that, by far, the most popular posts are about crockpot recipes.  Makes sense.  People are busy and want easy-to-make dishes that are ready and waiting at dinner time.  So, I'll share another one.  Bonus, this one is not only delicious, but low-fat, too!  Woo-hoo!  Plus, it's really easy.  With just a few ingredients, you'll make something the whole family will love.


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce (I love Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 cup chicken broth
1 small onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, quartered
salt/pepper to taste (or seasoned salt)

Season the chicken with salt/pepper.  Put it in the crockpot.

Place celery and onion on top of the chicken.  Whisk BBQ sauce and broth together well and pour on top of chicken.

Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours.  (I have not tried this on low, but you could probably cook it on low for 6-7 hours)

After 3 1/2 hours on high, remove the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks.

Discard the onion and celery (or eat it if you'd like).  Then, place the shredded chicken back into the sauce in the crockpot and stir well.

Let sit a few minutes before serving on buns.

This is even better the next day!  And you will be surprised how much meat you get from 2 chicken breasts!

My family gave me the thumbs up on this one.  My son says when everyone is quiet at the table it means the food is good (too busy eating to talk).  Tonight, only the sound of napkins wiping mouths.  It's a keeper!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blackened Catfish (and what to do with the leftovers)

I grew up on the river.  Literally.  My front yard was a river and my back yard was a swamp (our house was on stilts).  I know, I know, typical Louisiana stereotype, but true.  It was a great childhood.  We played outside constantly and went fishing everyday.  My Daddy would catch it, then clean it and my Mama would cook it for supper that night.  That's fresh seafood!  Once you've had fish that fresh, it's hard to eat anything else.  However, not everyone has access to just-caught seafood.  So, if you're buying it from the store just make sure you follow a few simple rules to be sure you're getting fresh fish.   If you are buying a whole fish, look at his eyes.  They should be bright and clear, not dull and gray.  The skin should be shiny and metallic-looking, not spotty or discolored.  If you are buying fillets and they have the skin still attached, the skin should be shiny just as a whole fish.  If there's no skin on the fillet, the flesh should look vibrant, not dull or discolored.  If there is liquid on the fish, it should be clear, not milky.  Milky means it is starting to rot.  And above all, the fish should not stink!  Fish should not smell fishy.  It should smell like fresh water or the ocean.

Catfish is my favorite fish.  It's a white, flaky fish that can be fried, baked, grilled, put in a court bullion (that's a red gravy made with fish), etc.  Very versatile and delicious.  Plus, it's what I ate the most of growing up so it reminds me of home.  Here's my favorite way to cook it:


4 catfish fillets
1 TBS butter
1 TBS canola oil
2 TBS paprika
1 TBS Cajun seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Mix together paprika, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and kosher salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Here's what it looks like:

Use a paper towel or two to dry the fish well.  This is very important!  If the fish is wet, it will steam in the skillet instead of blackening.  

Sprinkle the seasoning all over the fillets.  Then flip them over and season the back side.  You may not use all of the seasoning.  Just be sure they are seasoned well.

A cast iron skillet is ideal for this recipe.  It retains heat and will blacken the fish perfectly.  If you don't have one, go buy one.  You'll love it.  But if you must, you can use a regular heavy-bottomed skillet.  Make sure you preheat the skillet and get it smoking hot.  Seriously, you want the skillet on medium-high to high heat for at least 5-10 minutes.  Then, add the oil and butter (the butter gives flavor, the oil keeps the butter from burning).  It will melt right away.  Then, add your fillets.  Once they are in the skillet, don't touch them or try to move them around.  And don't crowd the pan!  I do two at a time because I don't want the temperature of the skillet to go down.

Let them sear for 5 minutes or so (depends on the size of the fillets, mine were pretty big).  You will notice the edges starting to turn white.  Then, using a large spatula, carefully flip the fish over so it can sear on the other side.

You can see in the above photo how the pan will smoke a little.  That's what you want.  There's a fine line between blackened and burnt.  Be careful not to cross that line!

Once the second side has seared for about 2-3 minutes, lower the heat to medium or medium-low.  Cook the fish a few more minutes (again, it depends on the size of the fillets) until done on the inside.  It will be white and flaky on the inside when done.

This recipe is so good!  If you have any leftovers, I have a great way to use it up.  If you like crab cakes, try this:


2 cooked catfish fillets
1/2 cup crushed cracker crumbs
1 TBS mayonnaise
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 egg, beaten
Cajun seasoning to taste
canola oil

In a big bowl, mix egg, cracker crumbs, mayo, mustard, and Cajun seasoning.  Shred the left over fish with a fork.  Add the fish to the bowl and gently mix everything together.  Form into small cakes or patties.  Set aside.

Heat a skillet (cast iron is best) over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom.  Once it is hot, add the catfish cakes.  Cook until browned on each side, about 5 minutes or so.  Remove and drain on paper towels.


2 TBS mayonnaise
1 TBS ketchup
splash of lemon juice
splash of worcestershire sauce
black pepper, to taste
Cajun seasoning, to taste
hot sauce, to taste

Mix everything together, seasoning to taste.  This makes a small amount, but it's very easy to scale it up if you need more.

So, there you have it.  My favorite way to eat catfish and my favorite way to eat leftovers!  I hope you try this and love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Crockpot Lentil Soup

I gotta be honest.  I had never tasted lentils until my Mother-in-law made lentil soup for dinner one night.  They just weren't a part of my Mama's cooking repertoire.  But, I did eat a lot of black eyed peas growing up (one of my favorites).  You know what?  They kind of hit the same flavor notes.  Very similar tastes.  I really liked them.  Plus, when I looked at the nutritional value of lentils, I liked them even more.  They are low in fat and calories, full of fiber and a great source of protein!  Good for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.  Hint:  I use chicken broth in my recipe.  But, you can make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth or water.


1 lb dried lentils
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups water
Salt/pepper to taste

Spread the lentils out on a cookie sheet and look through them for any debris.  Rinse them well and drain.  Place chopped onions, carrots and celery in the crockpot.

Add the lentils.  Then, add the chicken broth and water.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on high 3 1/2 hours or on low 6-7 hours, until everything is tender.

This soup is easy, yummy and so good for you!  Win, win, win!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inside Out Chocolate Covered Pretzels

If you don't like chocolate covered pretzels, something might be wrong with you.  Seriously, you should get that checked.  What's not to love?  Salty, sweet, seriously delicious.  I used to make them all the time.  But it's a lot of work tempering the chocolate and dipping the pretzels, letting them dry, etc.  So when I saw this on Pinterest, I was intrigued.  Could I get my chocolate covered pretzel fix so quickly and easily?  Let's find out, shall we?


Square pretzels
Hershey's Kisses

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Lay out square pretzels in a single layer on sheet.

Unwrap the Kisses and place one on top of each pretzel.

Place sheet in oven for two minutes only.  Any longer and the Kisses will melt through the pretzel and that's not what you want.  Remove from oven and let sit for one minute more to continue the melting process.  They won't look melted, just shiny.

Place another pretzel on top of each Kiss and press down lightly.

Let the pretzels cool.  You can place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes or just let them sit at room temperature, but that will take a bit longer.  Either way, these turn out great!  I do recommend that if you refrigerate them, let them sit a few minutes at room temp before eating.  You want the chocolate to be soft, not cold and hard from the fridge.You can use any flavor of Hershey's Kisses.  I like dark chocolate, my kids like milk chocolate.  But, the white chocolate Hugs are pretty good, too.  Imagine how cute the red, white and green Christmas Kisses would be!  Great gift idea!

So there you go, a fast, really easy way to get that sweet /salty fix.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fruit for Dessert?

Fruit for dessert?  Really?  I know what you're thinking, but these desserts are great.  It's not like getting a box of raisins in your trick-or-treat bag, I promise.

The first recipe is for my son.  He loved this Disney cartoon about Johnny Appleseed.  So, I thought I'd try to make a version of the cake named for the man himself.  Bonus:  It's really easy!


1 box spice cake mix
1 can apple pie filling
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together with a mixer until well combined.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You can see the big chunks of apple in the cake.  It comes out so moist and delicious!  Tastes like Autumn!
If desired,you can top it with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

The next fruit recipe is more summery.  But, I'll eat it anytime of year (shocker).


1 pie crust
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a handful of fresh blueberries
a few fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lay pie crust flat onto a baking stone (cookie sheet will work).  If it's the refrigerated kind you unfold, it should just lay flat.  If it's a frozen one, make sure you thaw it, then roll it (or press it) flat onto the stone.

 Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle this evenly over the pie crust.

Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

Let cool.  Meanwhile, mix softened cream cheese with powdered sugar and the zest from the lemon (use a mixer to incorporate air into the mixture).  Set aside.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over sliced strawberries and blueberries.  When the crust has cooled, spread cream cheese mixture over it.  Top with berries.

Easy, pretty and yummy to boot!  Cut into wedges to serve. (You can use any fruit that's in season.  Fresher is better)

The last fruit dessert is cobbler.  I've blogged (bragged) before about my Mama's peach cobbler.  It is simply delicious.  But I decided to put my own spin on it and make a cherry cobbler.


1 stick butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  I like to use a cast iron skillet for this, but if you don't have one just use a square or round baking dish.  I cut up the butter a put it in the skillet.  Put the skillet in the oven while it preheats.  This will melt the butter.  But, you can just melt the butter in the microwave and pour it into your dish.  Either way.  While the butter is melting, make the batter.  In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Pour in milk and vanilla.  Stir just until the lumps disappear.  Do not over mix or your cobbler will be tough!  Pour the batter over the melted butter in the skillet.  Dollop spoonfuls of the cherry pie filling over the batter.  Try to distribute it evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  The middle will still be a bit juicy but it will set up as the cobbler cools.

I like to serve this with a dollop of whipped cream.  It's also really good with vanilla ice cream!

So, there you go.  Delicious desserts made with fruit that are super easy to make.  Seems like a win win to me.  Enjoy!