Southern Tomato Pie Italian Style

My Tomato Pie started out as a typical Southern Tomato Pie with a twist. I am not a fan of pie crust so my daughter in love, Danielle suggested I use biscuits. Great! Even more southern. However when I start creating with tomatoes and cheese, somehow basil jumped in the pie. Than I felt like I needed to add caramelized onions and that’s when this southern pie, went Italian. A match made in heaven.

Form a pie crust with raw biscuit halves.

Ingredients:

1can of butter flakey biscuits in the can, separate each biscuit in half

3-4 jumbo tomatoes, really big tomatoes, sliced

1 teaspoon of salt

Enough basil leaves to cover tomatoes

1 small onion, sliced, separate rings and cut in half

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon of Olive oil

2 a Tablespoons of granulated sugar

Parmesan cheese shreds, about a cup to cover tomato layer

1 cup mayonnaise

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Bake about 8 minutes and mash biscuits down to create room to fill pie crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a deep dish pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place biscuits that you have separated in half in pie pan to form a pie crust on the bottom of pie pan and the sides of the pie pan. Bake about 8 minutes. Your biscuit crust will come out puffy. Use a Tablespoon to smash the biscuits down on the bottom and sides of pan. This will create room to fill your pie crust.

Blot tomatoes to remove excess liquid.

First layer.

Second layer.

The beginning of sweetness.

Perfection!

Looking tasty!

First layer topped with Parmesan shreds.

Place sliced tomatoes in a colander. Line the bottom and sides keeping tomatoes separate. Sprinkle with salt and let them drain the liquid a minimum of an hour. This can be done ahead and the night before if you prefer. After an hour place tomatoes on paper towels and blot excess liquid from tomatoes. This is important so your crust is not soggy.

To caramelize the onions, melt butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add onion slices and once onions start getting translucent, add 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Cook on low heat and watch them, the onions go from sweet caramelization to burned quickly. Set aside.

Place a layer of tomatoes on the bottom of the pie crust.

Add basil leaves to cover the tomatoes. Next add the caramelized onions and top with Parmesan shreds.

Top Parmesan shreds with the next layer of tomatoes.

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise and 2 cups of grated Mozzerella cheese. Spread over the top of the tomatoes and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let set 10 minutes and serve warm. Enjoy!

Nothing puts a smile on my face seeing my girl loving my food. ❤️
One sweet baby face.

Peaches And Cream French Toast Casserole

This is an overnight casserole. You must make this the night before. While your oven is preheating in the morning, let casserole sit on the counter. It will bake better if the dish and contents are not ice cold out of the fridge.

Brioche and cream cheese

Ingredients:

8 eggs

2 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 loaf of Brioche bread, day old and cubed

4 ounces of cream cheese, cubed

6-8 peaches, sliced (enough to cover the top of of the casserole

Fruit fresh (found in the canning department of your grocery store)

Powdered sugar for garnish

Syrup if desired

Brioche, cream cheese and egg mixture
Ready to go in the fridge till morning

In a blender, purée eggs, heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Set aside. ***

Butter a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Place cubed brioche bread in the bottom of the casserole dish. Place cubed cream cheese inside and outside of the brioche cubes. Toss sliced peaches liberally in Fruit Fresh. (This will keep them from browning). Pour egg mixture over the bread and cheese in the casserole dish. Place peaches on top of the casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Baked and ready to eat.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until custard is set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and pour on the syrup if desired.

***This is not a sweet breakfast casserole. If you are looking for sweet, add some sugar to the egg mixture and definitely garnish with powdered sugar.

Crockpot Olive Garden Chicken

My grilled Olive Garden Chicken is a huge success on my blog. So when it’s too hot to grill, to rainy or you run out if propane, make my Olive Garden Chicken in the crockpot. use frozen or thawed chicken breasts, cook, shred the chicken and serve over pasta or rice. Easy and so delicious.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed or frozen

16 ounces or more of Olive Garden Salad Dressing

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (dry kind you shake on)

Plus an additional 1/4 cup to sprinkle on when done

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

8 ounces cream cheese, cubed

Spaghetti or rice

1/2 cup pasta water

Parmesan Shreds, optional

Spray crockpot (slow cooker) with non stick cooking spray. Add chicken breasts to the crockpot. Pour the dressing over the chicken. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the chicken. Place cubed cream cheese in the crockpot. I used frozen chicken and I set my timer on high for 4 hours. if you are cooking on low, cook for 5 to 6 hours. Right before your chicken is done, prepare the pasta or the rice. Remove the chicken when done and shred it. Place back in the crockpot and add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water to the mix. Add black pepper and sprinkle on more Parmesan cheese. Serve with a Caesar Salad and garlic bread for a delicious dinner. Enjoy!

Disney’s Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana French Toast

This is not a copycat recipe but a recipe from Disney’s PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland. I would like to thank my sweet friend Elizabeth Sausville for finding this recipe and sharing it with me. When I first read the recipe, I thought it would be more like bread pudding but I changed my mind after I ate it. Definitely breakfast. And don’t make the powdered sugar and chocolate syrup optional, use both! I used my Copycat Saunder’s Milk Chocolate Hot Fudge syrup on this recipe. Delish. Decadent. Fabulous.

Ingredients:

Peanut butter, eggs, chocolate milk, cinnamon and salt

8 thick slices of day old challah bread, 1 loaf will do

2 ripe bananas, I used 3 because my bananas were on the small-medium size

1/4 cup chocolate chips, I used milk chocolate, I used 1/2 cup

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

6 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup chocolate milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate syrup and powdered sugar, optional (not optional in my opinion!)

Mix gently until bread has absorbed the egg mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Golden brown, right out of the oven.

Cut bread into one inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices and add to bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.

Combine peanut butter, eggs, chocolate milk, cinnamon and salt in a blender. Process until smooth.

Warm right from the oven.

Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. Stir gently until bread cubes have absorbed the egg mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40* minutes or until top is golden brown. I baked mine for 40 minutes, next time it will only be 35 minutes.

With powdered sugar.

Before serving, drizzle with chocolate syrup and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!

With powdered sugar and chocolate topping. Highly recommended!

Copycat Sanders Milk Chocolate Hot Fudge

I have been in love with Sanders Milk Chocolate Hot Fudge Dessert Topping since I moved to Michigan in 1974. The love affair continues to this day as I continue to mail order this dessert topping. In January of 2020, I celebrated my birthday at Outback and had the Chocolate Fondue Flight. A new dessert on their menu. As soon as I dipped my fork in the chocolate, I thought it tasted just like Sanders. I asked the very nice manager if I could buy the boomerang for my new recipe. It was a yes and here is the Copycat Sanders Milk Chocolate Dessert Topping and my Copycat Chocolate Flight Fondue from Outback Steakhouse.

Ingredients:

2 11 ounce bags of caramels

1/2 cup half and half

1 12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

Peel caramels and place in a large bowl. Microwave for one and a half minutes. This will soften the caramels. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water, creating a double boiler. Melt the caramels, stirring occasionally until they are smooth in consistency. Once caramels are smooth, slowly add half and half and stir to incorporate the liquid into the caramels.

Next add the milk chocolate chips. My chips had melted in my move but they were still fine to use in the recipe. Stir until chocolate has completely melted into the caramel mixture. Once that is done, remove from heat and add the vanilla. Store in jars or air tight containers in the refrigerator. Microwave at 30 second intervals to re-warm, stirring between the intervals. This topping is great over ice cream, fruit, on a spoon 😉, or whatever you like dessert topping on. You will not want to buy the jar stuff at the grocery store anymore. Enjoy!

For my Chocolate Flight Fondue, I used brownie bites (from homemade brownies), fresh pineapple, sliced bananas and strawberries. Any fruit is great dipped in chocolate. Outback used strawberries, pineapple, brownie and pound cake. They also had a cup of whip cream which I omitted from mine. Nothing against whip cream, I prefer another option for dipping.

World’s Best Reuben Sandwich

I love Reuben Sandwiches but I admit, I am very picky about my Reubens. First, one must start out with great tasting corned beef. The biggest crime committed to Reubens is soggy bread. I am going to give you a recipe for great flavored corned beef and tell you how to make the sandwich to perfection.

Corned Beef from package with pickling spices included from the meat package.
Beer makes this recipe.
Corned beef, beer, bouillon cubes and additional pickling spice.
Cook on low 8 hours

Ingredients:

1 corned beef with pickling package

2 beef Bouillon cubes

2-3 Tablespoons of Pickling Spice

Beer, use enough to cover corned beef or a mixture of water and beer to cover corned beef

Place corned beef in crockpot/slow cooker fat side up. Sprinkle original seasoning packet of pickling spices on meat. Add beef bouillon cubes, the additional 2-3 Tablespoons of pickling spices and enough beer, or beer/water combination to cover the corned beef. Set crockpot on low and cook for 8 hours. At this time you can add your vegetables, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. I chose to roast my vegetables as my corned beef cooked.

World’s Best Reuben Sandwich

Ingredients:

Rye bread

Thousand Island Dressing

Swiss Cheese, enough for bottom bread and top bread

Corned Beef

Sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry

Butter for bread

Bottom bread with Thousand Island Dressing
Swiss Cheese over the Thousand Island dressing
Thinly sliced corned beef
Squeezed, drained and dry sauerkraut
Swiss Cheese over sauerkraut
Grilled to perfection

I sprayed my griddle with nonstick spray. I lightly buttered my rye bread (greasy bread is not allowed on my sandwich!). I spread a light layer of Thousand Island dressing on the bread. You can easily add a side cup of dressing for dipping if desired. 😊 I put the buttered bread in the pan and quickly made the layers of Swiss Cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut *, more Swiss Cheese and finally topping it with the top slice of bread that also had Thousand Island dressing and butter on the outer side of the bread. Grill on each side to light brown. The bread should be crunchy, not soggy, the cheese melted and ooey gooey, the corned beef warm and full of flavor. Now that is a perfect World’s Best Reuben.

*This is the secret to the World’s Best Reuben. After draining the sauerkraut, use a cloth or several paper towels and squeeze out the liquid in the sauerkraut. The object is to get the sauerkraut dry. It still has the same great taste and flavor, but it will not make your bread soggy.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe sent to me by Tee Karis, my sweet Bestie.

Mom’s Dump Cake

Dump Cakes have been around since 1980. This is an easy vintage recipe. A blast from my past. I really think I had this before 1980 but I won’t argue with Google. The recipe first appeared on a brochure from Betty Crocker. The name suits the recipe, just dump in the 5 ingredients and bake. No mixing required. Many of you grew up eating this yummy recipe for dessert. You youngsters that have never had this, you have an easy delicious treat in store for you. This literally take a few minutes to assemble and the outcome is so tasty. Your house will smell amazing. It’s called a cake but it’s kind of like an easy cobbler. There are many versions of dump cakes, this was the original. Sometimes retro/vintage recipes are the best to take you back in time enjoying sweet times with your family and loved ones.

Ingredients:

1 can of cherry pie filling, I used the kind that has more fruit

1 can of crushed pineapple in juice

1 box of yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1 cup of pecans, chopped

1 cup of coconut, optional*

1 stick of butter, melted

Vanilla ice cream, never an option for me. A must have!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Spread can of cherry pie filling on the bottom of the casserole dish.

Pour crushed pineapple on top of pie filling and spread to cover the cherries.

Sprinkle the cake mix on top of the pineapple.

Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of cake mix.

Pour melted butter over the nuts.

Bake for one hour. Serve immediately and top with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

*My Mom would add coconut to her recipe but my Dad isn’t fond of coconut so I did not add it to this.

Copycat Chic Fil A Frosted Coffee

Last fall, I fell in love with Chic Fil A’s Frosted Caramel Coffee. That beverage disappeared off of their menu and was replaced with their Frosted Coffee. Yay! Don’t worry, I will tell you how to make both.

Ingredients:

Vanilla Ice Cream (preferred but frozen yogurt could be used) You will want a 3 to 1 ice cream ratio over your cold brew coffee

3/4 cup Cold Brew Coffee, unsweet

Blend to incorporate in your blender. Pour in a glass and enjoy!

Add a pump or two of caramel coffee syrup to the ice cream, cold brew in the blender to make Frosted Caramel Coffee.

To make Caramel Coffee Frosted, add a pump or two of caramel coffee syrup. I love both flavors.

Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

My family loves baked ziti and I was craving comfort casserole. This recipe feeds many so cut in half or make 2 portions and freeze one. Make it meatless and leave the sausage out.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of ground italian sausage, I used sweet

1 package of chopped peppers, I purchased these in the produce department

1 cup onion, chopped

1 16 ounce box of ziti

2 jars of your favorite marinara (spaghetti) sauce, use what you need. I had about a half a jar leftover

1 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the dry kind that you shake out)

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

3 eggs

1 package/container Parmesan shreds (grated)

2 pounds grated mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, brown sausage with peppers and onions. While your sausage is cooking, you can boil the ziti noodles. Cook according to package directions. Drain grease from sausage and drain pasta. Put pasta in a bowl and toss with a small amount of marinara sauce. Set both aside.

In a medium size bowl, add ricotta, eggs, dry Parmesan and parsley and mix thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

I used a large 9 x 15 casserole dish, prepare with nonstick cooking spray. Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of casserole dish.

Layer half of your ziti in the bottom of your pan. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture and top ricotta with the sausage and peppers.

Top sausage and peppers with marinara sauce and grated Parmesan.

Add half of your mozzarella cheese on top of the Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers. Bake 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serve with a salad, garlic bread and glass of vino. Manga! Enjoy!