Showing posts with label Tried 'n True

World's BEST Spinach Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, July 26, 2023

This is simply the best spinach salad ever.  It's not the classic recipe with hot bacon dressing, the poppyseed dressing just makes this salad. And like many dishes that are truly outstanding there is a bit of prep involved.  But it can be done in stages and the results are spectacular.  Take the time to make homemade croutons, it takes it to a whole new level. Trust me on this one.

~ Jan

Spinach Salad

2 lbs. flat leaf spinach, washed and stems trimmed
2 small red onions, peeled and sliced
8 large mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 large eggs, hard boiled, chilled and peeled
1/2 to 1 lb. crisply cooked bacon, drained and broken into small pieces

Poppy Seed Dressing


1 egg, buy pasteurized eggs as this recipe calls for an uncooked egg.  I've made it countless times with no problems with the eggs
1/4 C.sugar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2/3 C. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. grated onion and any juice from it
2 C corn oil - don't use olive oil because if you put olive oil in the fridge it will congeal
3 Tbs. poppy seeds


Use the food processor for this.

Combine egg, sugar, mustard,vinegar, salt, onion and the juice in food processor @ 1 minute.
With motor running slowly pour in the oil. When all the oil is incorporated turn off, taste and seaso to your liking.
Transfer to a bowl, stir in the poppy seeds and refrigerate, covered til ready to use. 

Homemade Croutons

You can do this in a skillet, I find it easier to just put them on a cookie sheet and bake them

1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1.5" cubes 
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Toss together all ingredients, put on cookie sheet and bake in preheated 375 oven until crisp and brown, flipping with spatula often so that they brown uniformly.  This usually takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Drain on paper towel

When ready to serve, toss all ingredients with dressing and top with croutons and crumbled bacon

Lemon Cherry-O Cream Cheese Pie

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 18, 2022

This is my favorite dessert of all time.  This recipe dates back to the 60's and it's positively scrumptious.  Sometimes. you just can't beat old school and nothing compares to this in our family, it's one of those recipes that spans the generations and we will make forever.  It's timeless and it's just sinfully delicious.

Graham Cracker Crust

Make your own.  It only takes a few minutes and it's so much better than those crumbs you buy in the box or the icky premade crusts you buy at the grocery store.

I make this in the food processor, it's so easy.  No food processor, no worries.  Just put the crumbs in a large baggie and crush with a rolling pin or a glass, then combine with the sugar and melted butter.

1 sleeve of graham crackers broken into pieces
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of melted butter

Combine all and pulse until combined.  Spray pie pan with cooking spray, and pat in the graham cracker crumbs, using a measuring cup to smooth and get close to the edges.  Homemade crumbs are so good, they are more coarse and gives you more graham cracker flavor.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes until it starts to brown.  

Cool before adding filling

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, don't get the low fat, go for it with fully leaded original, it's so much better
1/3 cup lemon juice - can substitute ReaLemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling, chilled


Beat the cream cheese with a mixer on high until fluffy. Fold in the condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla by hand, until blended. Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Top with the pie filling, chill thoroughly before serving in pan covered with aluminum foil.  I always place toothpicks vertically in the pie so that the foil doesn't smash the cherries. 🍒 #cherry #cherrypie #cherrycheesecake #cheesecake #food #foodie #yummy #yummyfood #jancooksrealfood #jancancook #janspicx #foodporn #fruit #dessert #delicious #sweets #pioneerwoman

The Best Peanut Butter Fudge I Ever Ate...

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 06, 2022

I made this recipe for Christmas 2021 and it was so good that I can't make it again.  Seriously, I have no willpower, ZERO willpower, I could eat the entire batch in a day, yes, it's that good!

I've struggled forever, trying to find the perfect peanut butter fudge recipe, and The View From Great Island, a wonderful blog site that I visit often, nailed it.  It's just perfection, don't change a thing, this will be your forever peanut fudge recipe, I promise it will.


1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup creamy peanut butter, I use Jif. Note: I do not recommend using 'natural' peanut butter.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb confectioner's sugar, about 3 1/2 cups


Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Note: you can use a 9×9 pan, or even a loaf pan.

Using a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter and peanut butter together over medium heat. Stir constantly to get the mixture well combined.

Turn the heat down to low and stir in the vanilla and salt.

Fold in the sugar with a silicone spatula or spoon. Make sure to get all the sugar incorporated and the fudge nice and smooth. The low heat will help this process.

When the fudge is smooth transfer to your prepared pan and spread out evenly with an offset spatula.

Let chill for at least 2 hours before slicing into small squares. If you have lined your pan with parchment paper or foil you can gently lift it out for neater slicing.

Fudge can be stored at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. It also freezes well.

#peanutbutter #chocolate #healthyfood #food #breakfast #foodie #healthy #foodporn #yummy  #delicious #homemade #peanutbutterlover #cookies #peanut #banana #foodphotography #protein #dessert #instafood #peanuts #glutenfree #nutbutter #fudge #peanutbutterfudge #candy

Paula Deen's Savannah Red Rice

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 09, 2021

I made after watching Paula make it in a video. It was so good, we loved it and served it with Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and crusty bread. Yes, mashed potatoes, don't judge 😜 corn is good with this, too. This recipe is very similar to jambalaya without all the creole seasoning, I like it so much better than jambalaya. 

1 cup chopped onion - I used a large onion

1 cup chopped bell pepper - I used a whole yellow pepper

2 tablespoons butter

I used 1/2 lb. of garlic kielbasa, cut a thick piece, then cut the piece into 4ths, just use whole ring if you want more meat

1 (14.5 oz) can with juice crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon hot sauce - I used Franks. Don't cut back on the hot sauce, this was just the perfect amount, it wasn't hot, just a little spicy. If you like more heat, just serve hot sauce at the table.

1 small 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup water - next time I will use 1-1/8 cup water because my 8 oz. of tomato sauce didn't measure quite a full cup

1 heaping Tablespoon Chicken Better than Bouillon

salt to taste, I didn't add much salt, maybe 1/4 tsp, the bouillon is salty

pepper to taste

1 cup uncooked Instant Rice

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and bell pepper in butter. Add sausage; heat until mixture is slightly browned. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, tomato sauce, water and bouillon cubes. Season with pepper and salt as needed. Stir in rice. Pour mixture into a greased 9x 12 casserole and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. She leaves it totally uncovered, I covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 15 and it was perfect.

Mrs. Shore's Apple Cake Pudding Cake with Warm Lemon Sauce

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, October 11, 2020

 Mrs. Shore was a friend of a friend, the McGuires, when I was a little girl.  She gave Helen this recipe, she gave it to mother and it became mom's favorite fall dessert.  It's a trip down memory lane, this recipe must be eighty years old.   I thought I had lost it, found it recently and decided to add it here so it won't be forgotten.  Is it as good as I remember? I hope so because some things are best left to childhood, but I'm going to make it and see.  It's actually relatively healthy, no butter except for the sauce

Tomato Basil Soup

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, October 24, 2018


The best of the best, this tomato bisque soup is the only recipe you will ever need.  ~ Jan

1 gallon, serves 10

1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 qt. heavy cream
3 quarts chicken stock quality or broth
1/3 cup sugar or to taste
2 bunches fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper, one dash
2 large cans tomatoes, chopped or crushed

cooking wine or sherry -

Preparation time 1 hr.

chop veggies and saute in olive oil with garlic, about 5 minutes. deglaze pan with wine or sherry. add stock and tomatoes, let reduce about 20 minutes. add cream, let come to boil. puree with emulsion blender or in a food processor in batches. thicken with cornstarch slurry or roux. season and add fresh chopped basil at the end. you may at this point leave the soup with texture to it or strain the solids out for a smooth texture.

Per serving, excluding unknown items - 343 calories, 35 grams fat, 90.4% calories from fat, 2grams protein, 6g carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 131 mg cholesterol, 48 mg sodium

Barb's Noodle Ramen Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 29, 2018


What a great salad this is.  My friend Barb gave me this recipe and she thinks it’s far superior to any other Ramen Noodle Salad she’s ever had.  I agree, this is absolutely wonderful!

1 package Chicken Ramen Noodles

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 tsp. sesame oil

1/3 cup sugar (can substitute Splenda)

salt and pepper to taste

1 large head cabbage, chopped - I use a package of coleslaw mix

6 green onions, chopped

Melt butter, add seasoning mix from noodles.  Break up dry noodles and mix with sesame seeds and sliced almonds in skillet and brown.

Let cool.

Mix together soy sauce, oil, white vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper in pint Ball jar and shake to emulsify.  Stir crunchy mixture and sauce into chopped cabbage and onion 20-30 minutes before serving.  Let set at room temperature.


I only stir the crunchy topping into the portion of the salad I’m using.  This coleslaw keeps well in the fridge and I store the crunchy topping separately in a sealed baggie with paper towel to absorb the moisture.  Then I pour the amount I need to serve.  If you mix it all together it gets soggy in the fridge.  

Ryan's Best BBQ Sauce

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 07, 2018


This stuff is Holy Grail, best BBQ sauce EVER!

1  cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Worchestire Sauce

1 Tablespoon Rub

Simmer ingredients to marry flavors


Ryan uses Big Ron’s Original Rub, but any rub works...



Charlie's Margaritas, the BEST ever!

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, July 01, 2018



This is our friend Charlie’s recipe and it’s excellent, these are the best margarita you will ever make!  The ladies in the famiily love this!

1 can limeade concentrate - 12 oz.

3/4 can triple sec

3/4 can tequila

2 caps roses lime juice


Blend all to a slushy consistency - Enjoy!


Marti got this recipe from Hacienda’s bartender. It’s worth a mention but Charlie’s has to be better

1 can limeaide

2 cans lemonade

4 parts tequila

1 part triple sec

Hot Potato Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 10, 2018


I made this so often when the boys were little, lost the recipe and thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I just found it again.

We called it Hot Potato Salad, and made it exactly like this using Velveeta.  It was just SO good.

I was thrilled to find this recipe again and to add it here so I will always have it….


9 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced

1 cup mayonnaise

1 lb Velveeta cheese, diced

1 small onion, chopped



1⁄2 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1⁄2 cup green olives, sliced


Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine potatoes, mayonnaise, cheese, and onion, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Put into greased 9x13 baking dish.

Top with bacon and olives.

Bake 1 hour.


Lemon Drop Cake

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, April 01, 2016


Oh my, there are no words, this was indescribably delightful.  We had it for Easter this year, I tweaked Betty Crocker’s original recipe and it was a huge hit.  It tastes just like a lemon drop.  It’s so moist, but not a heavy cake, it’s very lemony and tart, just the perfect spring dessert.

Here’s my version, I added pudding to the cake mix, extra lemon juice to the poke part of the recipe and used two cans of lemon frosting, with zest on the top.  The two cans of frosting worked so well, it wasn’t too much, but you had enough to spread without having to spread it thinly.

This one is a winner, winner, chicken dinner for sure!  You can all thank me later for the recipe.  ~ Jan

Oh, you sweet talker, Betty Crocker  XXo

1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ lemon cake mix
1 box instant Jello Lemon Pudding
 4 eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil

1 cup powdered sugar, I sift this so it’s smooth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 containers Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy lemon frosting

Lemon drop candies, crushed, if desired - I didn’t use the lemon drop candies, I zested Lemon Rind on top of cake instead


Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 9" pans with foil, letting foil hang 2 inches over 2 opposite sides of pans. Grease or spray bottoms and sides of foil.

Make cake batter as directed above, using Pudding, eggs, water and oil.  Pour into pans. Bake 25 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice. Poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch with long-tined fork or you can use the handle of a small wooden spoon, wiping fork or spoon handle occasionally to reduce sticking. Drizzle and spread lemon mixture over top of cake. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. Remove cakes from pans by lifting with foil; peel away foil.

On serving plate, place 1 cake, rounded side down; trim if necessary so layer rests flat. Spread with half of frosting. Top with second cake, rounded side up. Frost top of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with lemon drop candies. Store covered.

The World’s BEST Banana Nut Cake, SERIOUSLY!!!!

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 16, 2012


I made this last weekend when the family was home and it was a huge hit.  I found the recipe on AllRecipes and it had 1000 positive reviews.  I read all the tweaks, and ended up making the recipe pretty much like the original, except I baked it at 300°instead of 275°, and I added pecans to the batter as well.  It took about an hour and twenty minutes to bake in my oven.  This is a heavy, dense cake, reminiscent of banana nut bread, but better! I wish I would have weighed it, I would guestimate 7 lbs.  The consistency reminded me of our much loved Elsah’s Landing Hawaiian Carrot Cake, another winner that I’ve made for my family for the past twenty-five years. You can read the recipe for the Carrot Cake by clicking here.

I did put the cake immediately in the freezer for 45 minutes as the recipe told me to do, but then I frosted it, covered it and left it at room temperature so that it would moisten.  I would refrigerate this after 24 hours, since it has cream cheese in the frosting, but I think it’s best served if you bring the sliced pieces back to room temperature before serving, so that the frosting is creamy.  This cake improves with time, every day it gets more moist.

This is such a great recipe, going into my Tried ‘n True Hall of Fame it’s so good.  I did use buttermilk, some people didn’t, and I used the entire recipe for frosting as we like a lot of icing.


1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
I added a cup of chopped pecans to the batter, you can toast pecans if you like for a richer flavor


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 275°. – I baked this at 300°
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan, I sprayed with Pam
In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.  I had 5 bananas, very ripe, that’s the secret, you want your bananas turning black, they have the best flavor.  I used all of mine, I didn’t measure, I just used them.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  I sift all of these ingredients together.

Using a mixer, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.

Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
Stir in banana mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  This is not long enough, even at 300° it took mine an hour and twenty minutes to bake and I have an accurate oven.

Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.

For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.

Spread on cooled cake.

Sprinkle chopped pecans over top of the frosting, if desired, or you can mix the chopped nuts in with the cream cheese frosting. 

You’re going to love this cake, it is totally awesome.


Portillo’s Chopped Salad, an AMAZING recipe…

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 01, 2012


My friend Barb, told me about how awesome Portillo’s Chopped Salad is.  Portillo’s is a Chicago institution, a hot dog stand that was started in 1963 by Dick Portillo’s in a small trailer with no running water, and has now grown to 47 locations.  Their chopped salad is famous, and rightly so.  Oh, what a great summer recipe this is for all of you…  The recipe is widely available online, this is how Barb makes hers…

Portillo’s Chopped Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce
1 – 2 heads Romaine lettuce, depending on size
1 small head red cabbage, minced or 1 bag sliced red cabbage, chopped
1 small red onion, finely minced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2  c. ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (Amish Blue Cheese from Sam’s is awesome)

Vinaigrette dressing, bottled or homemade

Wash and dry the lettuces. Finely chop until the lettuce is in small pieces, this is the secret, you want this to be finely chopped, not large chunks.

Put in large salad bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except dressing, and toss to combine well.

Serve dressing along side the salad or pour on and combine just before serving.


Barb uses a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, I’ve also read that Marzetti’s Sweet Italian Dressing is a dead ringer, Commenters also say that Aldi’s Grandesse House Salad Dressing tastes really similar.  I also found a homemade recipe with positive reviews  if you would like to try it.

This Italian Dressing is from  the Chicago Sun-Times. It is similar to the dressing found on salads at Portillo's and Maggiano's restaurants.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.

While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks

Pioneer Woman’s Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 05, 2012


Pioneer Woman’s Peanut Butter Sheet Cake is truly wonderful, it’s a new family favorite at our house.  It’s the same basic recipe as our Texas Sheet cake that I’ve made for years, with peanut butter substituted for the chocolate.  I did tweak it a bit, and here are the results.



2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2 sticks Butter
1 cup Water
1 cup Peanut Butter (I use Jif Extra Crunchy)
½ cups Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 whole Eggs

Icing Ingredients:

1 stick Butter
½ cups Peanut Butter
6 teaspoons Milk (this wasn’t enough milk, start with this amount and add more, a teaspoon at a time until you get the right consistency, it took me a few more teaspoons to make it smooth)
1 pound box Powdered Sugar (Sift this so that you get smooth frosting)


Mix sugar, baking soda, flour and salt in a large bowl and sit aside.

In a saucepan combine butter, water and peanut butter and bring to a boil.  Pour over flour mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk so that it doesn’t lump.

Temper the wet ingredients by first adding the milk, then lightly beat two eggs and add them to the mixture with the vanilla.

The original recipe tells you to bake this in a 10x15 cookie sheet with sides or a jelly roll pan for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Our family loves thick cake so I bake it in a 9 x 13 pan, in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.  I would never bake a cake at 400 degrees, that’s just too hot.   If I baked this in jelly roll pan, I would still bake at 350 degrees and test after 20 minutes to see if it was done.

Icing Preparation:

Bring the butter, peanut butter and 6 teaspoons of milk to a boil in a saucepan.  Whisk in the sifted powdered sugar, and add additional milk, a teaspoon at a time until the icing is a creamy consistency.  Immediately pour the warm frosting over cooled cake.

Notes:  This cake is much better the 2nd day, even better the 3rd day, as it gets more moist as it ages in the covered cake pan.  I think I am going to make it using 1.5 cups of peanut butter in the cake batter next time to get a more intense peanut flavor, and hope that adding the extra half cup of peanut butter doesn’t mess with the consistency.

This would be amazing if you topped the icing with chopped peanuts or even better with chopped Reese Cups.  This is such a great recipe, it’s going into my Tried ‘n True Hall of Fame.

Campbell’s Soup Frosted Meatloaf

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 29, 2012


A few years ago, my friend Veronica and I went to lunch at Red Geranium Restaurant in New Harmony, Indiana.

We were both dieting, as usual, and we ordered some silly rabbit food, and then we both positively salivated when the ladies at the next table were served thick pie shaped wedges of this wonderful meatloaf frosted with mashed potatoes.  We were just drooling!

Veronica was able to obtain the recipe from a friend, but now that dish is no longer on the menu and we have both regretted not eating it.  But we are going to make it, and when we do, we’re going to enjoy every delicious morsel of it and take pictures to document that we finally got to taste it.

The moral of this story, if you’re out with a girlfriend, forget the calories, if you really want something, just eat it!

~ jan

Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten's Wonderful Lemon Bars

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 04, 2012

Insanely good, decadently delicious, these are seriously the best lemon bars I’ve ever eaten. If I could give these bars twenty stars, I would! I made these last week for my daughter-in-law, who loves anything lemon. She adored them, my girlfriends visited, they adored them, we were all moaning with every bite. Not for the faint of heart, these lemon bars are intensey lemon flavored. They actually tasted like a lemon meringue pie without the meringue, they were so custardy inside.  Easy to make, too, my personal tweaks at the end of the recipe.  I will never look further than this for a lemon bar recipe, these are perfection. Thank you Ina Garten, what a National Treasure you are.


For the crust:
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crustand bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Source: FoodNetwork

And now for my tweaks -


I made a saddle of parchment paper (I sprayed the parchment with Pam just to be on the safe side) and put it in my 9x13 pan before patting in the crust. Putting a bit of additional flour on your hands really helps press them into the pan easily.

After I baked the lemon bars for the minimum time (just until they slightly jiggled but not brown, the tops were pale, with just a bit of browning around the edges) I put them in the refrigerator overnight. I didn’t cut them, I didn’t dust them with confectioner’s sugar, I just cooled them and put them in the fridge.

The next morning I lifted the edges of the parchment paper, they came out with just a little bit of a tug, I put them on a cutting board, and I put another cutting board on top and flipped them, then it was simple to peel off the parchment paper. It didn’t stick at all, thanks to the Pam. I then flipped them again so they were upright, cut them into large squares, took the cutting board, put it over the sink, used a strainer and dusted the squares heavily with confectioner’s sugar. I used a lot of powdered sugar.

I read all of Ina’s reviews before I made these, and decided to make her original recipe. There was a bit of confusion about the size of the pan, in the following video she says 9x12, but the website says 9x13, I used 9x13 and they were fine. But since I like all things thick, I might consider just the next size smaller pan the next time I make these.  But then again, these were pretty darned perfect...

A few of the reviewers complained that the filling tasted floury. I tasted one corner when they were warm, and I could detect a faint flour taste, but the secret lies with overnight chilling. This allows the flavors to marry, and trust me, you don’t taste flour, you taste lemon! Utterly delightful, yummy, fresh lemon. I think they are best cold, too. I learned from my elderly neighbor, who loves cold cake and bars, that things straight from the fridge do have a delightfully fresh, cool taste.

The bar in this picture was the last one, and it was a couple of days old by the time I photographed it, so I just gave it a fresh dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

I’ve made lemon bars many times, but never with results like this. I think in the past I always dusted with the sugar too soon and it soaked into the bars, and I never refrigerated them. But, oh what a difference a day in the refrigerator makes...

Give these bars a try the next time you want a WOW Dessert! OH WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW!!!!!!!!!

Here’s Ina’s original video, watch this and it will make everything oh so simple.


The BEST ever Teriyaki Marinade

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 03, 2012


This stuff is nectar of the gods! I used this marinade for chicken, and pork, you are looking at the pork chops in the picture, I used my FoodSaver to pull a vacuum on this, so that I didn’t have to marinade for hours.

I tweak the recipe a bit, using Splenda instead of sugar, and I increase the garlic powder and add onion powder. Sometimes I substitute pineapple juice for water, it’s a very forgiving recipe.


1 cup soy sauce

1 cup water (can substitute pineapple juice)

3/4 cup white sugar (I use 3/4 cup granular Splenda

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup dried onion flakes (I use 2 teaspoons onion powder)

2 teaspoons garlic powder (I increase this to a tablespoon)

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I omit the ginger, I’m not a fan.

Mix all together, stores well in the fridge. So simple, and so good.


The World's Best Beef Stew

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 30, 2012


This stew is so good and so hearty, it’s simple comfort food at it’s best. I’ve made this same recipe for more years than I care to remember, and it always turns out perfectly.

2 lbs. stew meat

1 large onion, diced

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 box beef broth

16 oz. bag of baby carrots, cut in half on the diagonal

4-5 large cubed potatoes, preferably yukon gold

1 bag frozen peas

salt and pepper

optional: a bottle of red wine instead of the beef broth (cabernet sauvignon works well)

Put the stew meat, onion, crushed tomatoes, and beef broth in a large oven proof casserole, salt and pepper to taste. You can brown the beef if you like, I usually don’t. Bake, covered, in a preheated 350° oven for two and a half hours.

Put on top of stove, add carrots and simmer fifteen minutes. Then add cubed potatoes and simmer an additional 20-30 minutes, checking for doneness so they don’t get mushy. At the end of cooking time, pour in the bag of peas, turn off the heat, taste to correct seasonings and sit aside. So easy to make and better the next day.

Optional: We like stew made with red wine, so I sometimes substitute the wine for the beef broth.

Note: When you take the stew out of the oven, if you need more liquid, add another cup or so of beef broth before you add the carrots. Mine is usually thick enough that I don’t need to add a thickening agent, but if you want your liquid thicker, after the veggies are cooked, mix up a slurry of 1/4 cup cornstarch in 1/2 cup water, and add it until you get the consistency you like.