Nothing Fancy, Just Good Food

Month: June 2014

Hot Pepper Jack Corn Dip & Independence Day Pie Wow! It’s been such a busy weekend, I haven’t had ANY time to cook or blog!! This is a good and a bad thing. Bad because I’ve been missing cooking; good because I’ve been selling houses!! When I graduated from high school, I never thought that I would be in real estate. I had a 10 year plan when I was a senior in high school: go to community college for two years, state college for business administration for two years, get a management job at a restaurant after college, open my own steakhouse by the age of 30. I was still all for my 10 year plan up until about two weeks after I graduated from Mississippi State. That is the point that I realized that I could only get a waitressing job and that I didn’t want to feel like I was wasting my $20000+ degree on a waitressing job. That’s when I went to work with my dad, who owned a construction company at the time. I was a secretary in his office and to me, I was making big bucks. That led to flipping houses which led to getting my real estate license. And now, I’m LOVING my job! Enough about me though! I know ya’ll are wondering about the food! So, this weekend was a busy real estate weekend for me; but it was also my niece Addison’s 10th birthday party! I wanted to make something special but I just didn’t have much time! In between appointments I managed to throw together a Hot Pepper Jack Corn dip that everyone absolutely loves! If I do say so myself! 🙂 This corn dip originated as a Pioneer Woman recipe. You can find her recipe here:  but I changed it up a little! I LOVED using fresh corn in this but you can also use canned or frozen corn. I just love the crunch, size, and flavor of fresh! This can be changed any way you like but this is the recipe that seems to work for my family!

Hot Pepper Jack Corn Dip:

5 ears corn; if you use canned it’ll probably be about 3 cans, drained of course;

1/2 lg or 1 small Vidalia onion chopped;

2 cloves garlic;

1 tbsp. diced, pickled, jalapenos OR 2 chopped and de-seeded fresh jalapenos;

1/2 green bell pepper;

1/2 cup mayonnaise, (I like Blue Plate or Hellman’s);

1/2 cup sour cream;

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened;

1 16 oz. block pepper jack cheese, grated;

8 oz cheddar cheese;

1/2 stick butter;

1 tsp. garlic powder;

Salt to taste.

First, shuck and wash the corn, keep in mind that the silk will stick to it. So, you want to pay careful attention to washing it, unless you like your dip with strands of silk in it… people may think it’s hair! Haha, stand the ears up, holding the top with your finger tips, using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob. You’ll have to be careful until you get used to it and if you notice that there’s still some of the kernel left on the cob, once you get done with the big kernels you can scrape the leftover kernels with edge of the blade. Remember, a dull knife is much more dangerous that a sharp knife. With dull knives, you have to use more force to cut so you’re more likely to cut yourself! Sharpen those knives folks!! Now, put the corn in a large mixing bowl and dice the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeno if you’re using fresh. Add that to the corn along with the mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, half the pepper jack cheese, half the cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and salt. Stir it up until everything is nicely incorporated. You may want to chop the cream cheese into chunks! Cut the butter into small, thin pats and place them in the bottom of baking dish. Pour the corn mixture on top of the butter; top with the other half of the pepper jack cheese and the other half of the cheddar cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. You can serve this with whatever you want but I like Frito scoops or tortilla chips!

corn dip

This can be a little spicy but it’s so delicious! The kids around my house have differing opinions on spicy foods; but, all of them devoured this! Considering it not only has mayonnaise but also vegetables in it, I consider that a success!! When I got done with work and my niece’s birthday party was over, I realized that I had all this fresh fruit that needed to be used so I pulled the stuff out for this next recipe. It’s s going to be kind of long. If you remember, in a previous post, I mentioned that I get a lot of my ideas and recipes from other recipes that I’ve seen. This is one of them. My mom has this obsession with Barry’s Fish House in Florence. Her favorite dessert is the Peanut Butter Chocolate pie there. One day, she was talking about how badly she wanted it so I decided that I would try to mimic it. This obviously isn’t that recipe; BUT, looking for something similar, I found an old recipe for fruit dip that my mamaw had. As I was looking over her recipe, I realized that if I tweaked it a little it would make a great filling for a pie with a fruit compote on top. I started with a graham cracker crust and made my way up! Here’s what I came up with! Independence Day Pie: Graham Cracker Crust-

9 oz graham crackers, I used Honey Graham cracker sticks;

1/2 cup pecans, chopped;

1/2 cup brown sugar;

1/2 cup granulated sugar;

1 tsp. cinnamon;

1 stick butter.

This is one of my FAVORITE parts of cooking! Take something hard: a can of soup, a glass, a tenderizing hammer, a steak sauce bottle ( I couldn’t find anything else), put the graham crackers in a well sealed bag with no air, and beat the mess out of ’em! Crush those babies up, get all that aggression out, just smush ’em to pieces!! Sigh don’t you feel better? Less agitated? Like, all the stress from the work week has just slid out of your body and into oblivion? I know I sure do! 🙂 Put the crackers, pecans, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix it well. Melt that butter in the microwave and pour it in the bowl with cracker mixture.

graham crackers

Now, put the crackers into the bottom of a pie dish… This will make either one thick crust or two really thin ones. I made one thick one and made a little extra filling; because I had some extra fresh pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries. But that’s a story for later! Once the crust is pushed into the bottom of the dish or dishes, bake them at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes… I know… that’s really specific, but nobody likes a gummy and burnt graham cracker crust! Pull it out and let it cool completely before you put this delicious, velvety, filling in there!

crust baked Strawberry filling:

12 oz cream cheese, softened;

1/4 cup sour cream;

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream;

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk;

2 cups confectioner’s sugar;

2 tbsp. Strawberry instant Jell-O mix.

Whip cream cheese, sour cream, whipping cream, and sweetened condensed milk together. Add confectioners sugar and Jell-O and  mix until the mixture will stand at a stiff peak. This means that if you pull the mixer or a spoon out of it, the mixture will stand up in a point. I know these measurements seem weird; don’t hold yourself to these! I used double of everything; but, I also had a lot left over. I didn’t mind because it makes a great fruit dip, as I said earlier, it is a variation of my Mamaw’s Fruit Dip recipe. But you may not want that leftover, so I tried to cut it in half for ya’ll. Also, I’ve made this without using the Strawberry instant Jell-O mix and it’s just as good! I just used blueberries with the strawberries as the topping so I wanted to add a little kick of strawberry flavor to the filling! You can leave it out if you want! Try it both ways and let me know which one ya’ll like better!!

cream filling 1

While the crust is cooling, put this mixture in the freezer or refrigerator and start on the compote. Traditionally, a compote is just fruit cooked in sugar. It’s very similar to a jam or jelly, just not as sweet and it doesn’t take as long to cook. The reason I decided to call this Independence Day Pie is because without the Strawberry Jell-O in the filling, it’s white, the strawberries are red, and the blueberries are blue. It just looked Independence Day-ey to me… Yes, I know day-ey is not a word… I tend to make up my own words! 🙂 Strawberry/Blueberry Compote:

1 cup or 8 medium sized strawberries, washed;

1 cup blueberries, washed;

1 lime;

1/2 cup sugar.

Slice the strawberries and add them and the blueberries to a small to medium sized sauce pan with the sugar. Take the lime and roll it on the counter for a minute, then slice it in half, and squeeze all the juice out of it; really dig in there getting all the juices out of the lime. I turn each half inside out, scraping the sides. It’s okay if you get the pulp in the mixture. The reason you roll the lime is because it breaks open some of the different segments of the lime before you cut it; sort of like pre-juicing it! Now that it’s all in the pan, mix it together, smash some of those blueberries, and put over medium heat. You have to keep an eye on this so it doesn’t burn!! Bring it to a boil for about 5 minutes; then remove from heat and let cool completely.

fruit cooking  fruit boiling

Now that everything is mixed and cooled, it’s time for us to assemble the whole thing! Pour the Strawberry filling into the graham cracker crust.

pie before

Top with the compote.

pie after slice of pie

Now, you can go ahead and cut into it but I like to refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to an hour! This just makes everything gel and honestly, I think it tastes better! But, that’s just me! So, I’ve been telling you all about this filling and how it can be used for a fruit dip too. My nephews love fruit, so I just quartered the rest of my strawberries, chopped up some fresh pineapple, added the blueberries, and let them go to town! This would also be good with apples and grapes but if you use a fruit like apples that bruise after cutting, make sure to add a dash of lime or lemon juice so they won’t bruise! Dip into the mixture and enjoy!


I hope ya’ll enjoyed this post! Even if it was a long one! Let me know how ya’ll like it and don’t forget to sign up for emails to alert you about my new posts! Thanks ya’ll!



Poppyseed Chicken & Roasted Broccoli

Hey ya’ll! I am so excited about tonight’s post! Poppyseed Chicken has been one of my favorite, FAVORITE, dishes since I was a little kid. The crazy thing is, I only remember having it like once or twice. Probably because I have 2 sisters, 1 brother, and we ALWAYS had company when I was growing up, so my mom hardly ever made it. Why is that a factor? Because, while Poppyseed Chicken is super easy and fast, it takes a lot to feed a large group. But that’s just a testimony to how good it is!! Now, before I start getting into all the details, I want to tell ya’ll why I haven’t been putting amounts in some of recipes on the seasonings. I like things heavily seasoned, I’ve never had any complaints about it not being good; BUT, I know my family and I like things a little more salty, a little more peppery, and a little more spicy so I like to leave the seasonings “to taste.” If ya’ll have questions about how much, don’t be afraid to comment or email me at or find me on Facebook! So, where was I? Ahhh, Poppyseed Chicken… what can I say about Poppyseed Chicken? It’s… well, in a word, delectable! In my About Page, I talk about how my mamaw and my mom taught me to cook and how food and cooking isn’t about eating to survive, it’s about comfort and love and family. Most of my recipes have a story and most of my recipes are a variation from something I got out of our church cookbook from almost 20 years ago! My dad was a preacher in Union, Mississippi at Erin Lucern Congregational Methodist Church. My mom, being the preacher’s wife, was on almost every committee, one being the fundraising committee. One year, they got all the members of the church and all the members family members to bring their best recipes in; they published them in a cookbook and we have been using that cookbook ever since. The binding has come off, pages are sticking out, there are grease stains all over the thing, and hidden somewhere in the depths is a variation of this wondrous recipe that I’m about to share with ya’ll. So, please read, run to the grocery store, fire up the oven, and get to cooking because you and whoever you share this with will LOVE this recipe! AND, it’s an easy clean up so EVEN better!

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole:


3 large, boneless, skinless, chicken breasts,

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened,

1 8 oz pkg sour cream,

1 8 oz can cream of chicken soup,

2 tablespoons poppy seeds,

Garlic salt, onion powder, lemon pepper, white pepper, and Tony Chachere’s, all to taste.

First, boil the chicken breasts until fully cooked. You can use bone in chicken, I just think boneless and skinless is easier. I get annoyed with deboning! My mamaw and my mama have always swore by bone in chicken breasts, for the flavor; but I think in a recipe like this, it’s pointless. So, once the chicken is fully cooked, drain the water off, but keep the boiler nearby, you’ll need it later! Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and shape into a heart! Haha, I’m just kidding! 🙂


After you dice the chicken, put it back into the pot you boiled it in. Now, add the cream cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup ( I told you it was creamy), garlic salt, onion powder, lemon pepper, white pepper, Tony Chachere’s, and poppy seeds. Let all of that simmer on the stove for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, and getting all that creamy goodness well incorporated while you make the topping!


2 sleeves of Ritz crackers,

1 stick of butter,

Garlic salt, Tony Chachere’s, and pepper.

Now, I use Ritz Crackers with a Hint of Salt, because I add these seasonings. Even though I like stuff salty, it’s a little too salty, even for me if I use the regular Ritz. You can also use Whole Wheat, but it HAS to be RITZ or it just doesn’t taste the same… maybe I’m just biased! 🙂 Crush the crackers up and sprinkle a little of each of the seasonings into the cracker crumbs.


Now, melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds and pour it over the top of the crackers. Stir it all together and sneak a little taste of it because, YUMMY!!

The chicken mixture, should be stirred one more time, and it’s ready to go! Put a little butter or PAM into the bottom of a baking dish and pour the hot chicken mixture over into the baking dish.

before baking

Top with the cracker mixture and put into a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Ya’ll be prepared for some CLEAN plates! And be prepared that it wont go far! This should feed about 4 or 5 people. I like serving this with either corn, English peas, or broccoli. Speaking of which, I’m going to blow your mind with a recipe for broccoli. I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re probably thinking, “Who can’t cook broccoli?” Honestly, I couldn’t, until I started doing this. I found the technique on Pinterest and decided to try it out. This is also a good technique for fresh carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, and even green beans. I’ve used frozen veggies and onions as well; I just like fresh when I can get it! Every now and then, I mix in a little parmesan cheese too! And, a little secret for ya’ll, even my 8 and 10 year old nephews LOVE it when I make these veggies!

site de rencontre style tinder Roasted Broccoli:

3 heads of broccoli,

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil,

Garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Chop the florets off the broccoli and place them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the top, sprinkle in the seasonings, stir a little bit, and put in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. broccoli broc 2


The broccoli shrinks A LOT, so I know 3 heads of broccoli sounds like a lot but once you chop off the florets it doesn’t seem like as much. I mix fresh and frozen sometimes and if I can’t find fresh I do buy it out of the bag, already chopped up. When I do it with carrots, I take fresh carrots, peel them, and I leave them whole. Also, one head of cauliflower yields nearly as much as two heads of broccoli. Sometimes, I’ll do one head of cauliflower and two heads of broccoli to change it up a bit.

photo 4 photo 5

These are my two little no eating vegetable nephews, DEVOURING, this broccoli. They could barely wait until I got it out of the oven before digging in! And this was their second helping of it too! Now you know that has to be some good broccoli!! Hope ya’ll enjoy!!







So, I have a confession to make… I love the Real Housewives of New Jersey, specifically Caroline Manzo… She reminds me a lot of me, 20 years from now! On one of the last episodes I saw, poor Caroline and her family trying to make some Southern food… They were making cornbread and gravy from a box and I thought to myself… “My Papaw would tan my hide if he ever saw me using a box to make cornbread; he would tan it twice if he caught me making cornbread in anything but a well seasoned, piping hot, cast-iron skillet.” But this isn’t a post about cornbread, soooo back to my original point! Caroline and her family were talking and one of her kids wondered if Southern people used a box to make cornbread and gravy. Caroline then said, “I bet they don’t, but I bet they open a jar of red pasta sauce and call it Italian!” This made me realize two dreams… One, I want to learn how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch and two, I want to teach Caroline Manzo to make cornbread and gravy the RIGHT way! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to succeed in either of those dreams. However, since it’s tomato canning season I’m hoping to learn both canning tomatoes and making spaghetti sauce from scratch with said canned tomatoes. Until then, I’m happy to tell ya’ll how I make due with the jarred version. 😉 First of all, you can use pretty much any sauce, but I like Prego Roasted Garlic. Second of all, I have a big family and on most nights there are at least five people eating, so this recipe will feed at least 5 hungry people! You can change it however you like! So, the recipe is as follows:

1 package spaghetti noodles, I like the thin ones but you can use whatever kind you like,

1 1/2 to 2 lbs ground round hamburger meat,

1 jar pasta sauce,

1 can crushed tomatoes,

1 can tomato paste,

2 tbs pesto (I use jarred Classico brand),

1 small onion,

1/2 green bell pepper,

3 cloves of fresh garlic,

Oregano (fresh or dried),

Basil (fresh or dried),

Garlic powder,

Tony Chachere’s.

I know that seems like a lot but it’s not as much you think! First things first, chop the onions and bell pepper. Now, you may know this but just in case you don’t, when chopping the garlic, take the dull edge of the knife, push down on the blade with the heel of your hand, and crush the garlic; then peel it and chop it. Crushing the garlic allows the flavors to “activate” sort of. Now, put the sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, pesto, onions, garlic, and bell peppers all in the pot and mix it together. Put it on medium to high heat and allow it to simmer while you brown the hamburger meat. I like to use ground round, it’s 80/20 so it’s a little leaner, it’s definitely not as greasy. I also like to use ground turkey and for fun sometimes I throw in a little Jimmy Dean sausage too. Deer meat is awesome in it too! Whatever you like ;). Drain the meat and add it to the sauce. Now, add the spices, and let it all simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. I like to let it simmer for as long as possible so all the flavors can marry and it’ll pack a PUNCH of deliciousness. You won’t know what you did before this; if I do say so myself. 🙂

So, a lot of people think there is only one way to serve spaghetti; but, I’m here to tell ya’ll there are two other little known ways to serve it. One, you can take the noodles, the sauce, some parmesan shavings, and some monterey jack cheese, mix it all together in a big bowl, pour it in a baking dish, top it with a little more cheese, and bake it at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melty. Ooey, gooey, goodness!! And the other way, newly discovered by me, is to use the recipe for the Olga Noodles that I posted last night! Just get a bowl of the Olga Noodles, pour some sauce on top, and enjoy! I know it sounds a little different, but it actually works really well.  This is the picture I promised ya’ll yesterday of these delicious Olga Noodles!

photo 2


Try it out and let me know what ya’ll think! And, I’ll keep ya’ll posted on my tomato canning and homemade spaghetti sauce dreams! Hope to hear from ya’ll soon!

Starting out easy!

For my first post, I figured I would break ya’ll in the easy way and post about two things that I’ve cooked so many times that I could probably cook it in my sleep! The first dish is something I call Olga Noodles. My family has a Mexican lady that comes to clean the house about once a week and every now and then she’ll cook for us. The first time she cooked she made us these unbelievably good noodles. I mean, I could have eaten a whole pot of them all by myself; they were creamy, buttery, and garlicky (my fave!). Of course, she doesn’t speak a lick of English, so, while I’m raving about how amazing these noodles are, she has no clue what I’m talking on and on about. Finally, I talked to her granddaughter who told me that it was just spaghetti noodles, butter, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and “Mexican cream”. I got her to show me what in the world “Mexican Cream” was and I set off to learn how to make it and realized that it was SO simple and easy, that I wondered why I’d never thought of it before. Obviously, it was because I had never been introduced to the wonder that is “Mexican cream.” What Olga’s granddaughter called “Mexican cream” is Nestle Crema or Table Cream. It’s like a lighter condensed milk and it’s used in a lot of low carb cooking. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing low carb or healthy about this recipe; I just found out that that’s what this is used for and found it quite amusing since I use it in the least healthy way possible. 😉 ANYWAY, the recipe is as follows:

1 package spaghetti noodles,

1 can Nestle Cream, found in the ethnic cuisine aisle in a can similar to sweetened condensed milk,

1 stick butter, yes a whole stick, I know, devilish,



Garlic salt, all to taste.

Cook the noodles as you normally would and drain them, while they’re still hot, add the stick of butter, salt, pepper, and garlic salt as you like. I like a lot of garlic and a lot of pepper! Then shake up the crema really well, pop the top, and add a little at a time, mixing as you go, until the whole can is incorporated into the noodles. Taste and make sure you don’t want more of anything and then fix yourself a big ole bowl of deliciousness because ya’ll, it will not take long for these heavenly noodles to disappear. You can add some grilled chicken or steak or ham or whatever you want. You can use it as a sort of pasta sauce, similar to alfredo, whatever! It’s your meal! I’ll post a picture of my finished product tomorrow… all this talking about it has made me insanely hungry for some!


Now! The dessert portion of our night together! I love to bake and for the Super Bowl one year I decided I wanted Homemade, from Scratch, chocolatey, caramely (is that a word), crunchy brownies! Sooooo, I got in the kitchen and went to work!! This is the outcome!

Turtle Brownies:

Brownie Portion-

1 cup butter

1 package semi sweet or milk chocolate, chocolate chips

2 cups sugar

5 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1  cup all-purpose flour

Melt butter and chocolate together; I don’t care how ya do it! I like simple and easy so I stick it in the microwave for about 40 seconds while I move on to the next step, which is: cream sugar, beaten eggs, and vanilla together. Then add the two mixtures together! Stir in the flour. Here is the tricky part… You can get some Pam and spray it on a baking dish if you want, I’m not one to judge, it’s easy and it’s fast; but, I like to take a little butter, half a stick or so, put it in the baking dish, and stick it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes. Once the butter melts, take the dish out, and spread the butter around, making sure you get all the corners and the whole bottom of the dish covered. Pour in the brownie mixture, spread evenly, and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes; depending on your oven. They will be moist, chewy, and delicious all on their own; BUT, I take it just a little step further. Which brings me to my recipe for caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce portion-  This is what you’ll need. I use Kraft Caramels, but you can use any kind of soft caramel candy.

1 bag of Kraft Caramels, about 15 candies, unwrapped of course,

1/2 cup light brown sugar,

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream,

1 stick of butter,

1/2 cup of light Karo syrup,

2 tbs lime juice.

Kraft Caramels package

These babies are fabulous!

Now you take the stick of butter, let it melt in a sauce pan on medium heat; once it’s melted, take it off the burner, slowly incorporate the heavy whipping cream into the hot butter, stirring as you pour so the cream doesn’t curdle. Once that’s fully incorporated, put the brown sugar, the Karo syrup, and lime juice in and stir quickly. Then add the caramels and let them melt. Now, this can be made without the brown sugar, the Karo, and the lime juice; but, it helps the caramel not to get too hard. You can also make it with more brown sugar, and maybe a little more butter and take out the caramel candies but I think it adds more of a creamy texture. When you have it done,  you’ve stirred all you can stir, and you’ve pulled the brownies out of the oven; you can top the brownies with this deliciousness and kick it up one more notch with some toasted pecans. Just a few chopped pecans, a little butter, a little salt, and throw it in the oven for about 10 minutes on 350 degrees. You’ll be the belle of the ball with both of these dishes!!turtle brownies






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