Jack's Pizza

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 19, 2023

Pizza doesn't get better than this!  Many, many years ago we had a neighbor named Jack and he made the BEST pizza!  He perfected his dough and gave me the recipe.  This is Chicago style, decadent pizza and it's beyond delicious.  It's a bit of work, making homemade crust, but so worth the effort and the Cuisinart simplifies things.  Don't be tempted to buy a premade crust for a shortcut, the crust is what makes the pizza so good.

This recipe make 2 pizzas

Pizza Dough

4 cups bread flour

1 pkg. yeast

1.3 cups warm water

2.5 tbs. oil

1 tsp. salt

.5 tsp. sugar

Put the warm water with a 1/2 teaspoon on sugar in the Cuisinart, add one package of Red Star yeast sprinkled on top and let it set for 10 minutes until it starts to form bubbles. The sugar activates the yeast. Once it's active and bubbles, add the flour, salt and oil. Using dough hook, let it spin until all the dough doesn't cling to the sides and it forms a smooth ball, about 8-10 minute.

Dump into an oiled bowl and let it set until doubles. Punch down and you are ready to roll out. 

Sauce for 1 pizza:

8 oz. can tomato paste, thinned with a bit of water

pinch of sugar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. oregano

add additional spices to taste, Italian seasoning is a good option

If making sausage pizza, brown sausage lightly


Roll out crust in a circle, I use a pizza stone which I sprinkle with cornmeal

Add tomato sauce, preferred meat, sautéed sausage or pepperoni, mushrooms and raw veggies, if desired, then top all with parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, take out of oven and add mozzarella, the amount you add depends on how much cheese you like, I usually add 1/2 to 3/4 a lb. of cheese per pizza.  Bake an additional 10-15 minute or until edges are brown.

Seriously Yummy Thanksgiving Recipes

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, September 23, 2023

It's never too early to start planning your Thanksgiving menu.  

I went into my archives and found this post from 2008.  I had asked my friends for their favorite Thanksgiving dishes, the ones they make for family and friends.

So many good recipes, after you click on the link below, just hover over the name of what you're interested in, click and it will link to the recipe.  Nothing like planning ahead...


~ Jan

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

The Ultimate Summer Wedge Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 04, 2023

Here you have it, folks—a summer salad that's bursting with flavors and textures. The combination of lettuce,  crispy bacon, and blue cheese creates a harmony of tastes that will make your taste buds sing with delight. I also like to change it a bit by adding nuts and apples.  Whip up this salad for your next backyard barbecue, potluck, or a refreshing weeknight dinner. It's the perfect way to celebrate summer's bounty and savor the sunny season. So, go ahead, grab your salad bowl, and enjoy this scrumptious creation. Happy summer salad-ing


Iceberg lettuce - if you're not a fan of wedge salad, just chop your own it's so much fresher than bagged

.5 lb. of thick sliced bacon

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries - totally optional

1 large smith apple, chopped.  Honeycrisp never disappoint, again optional

Chopped egg (optional

1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, and the final optional ingredient, just to mix it up a bit

I like lots of blue cheese on this, but cheddar works too if you aren't a fan of blue cheese

I'm going to give you two options for dressing, of course Blue Cheese Dressing is the classic, but if you don't care for it, the Sweet Balsamic is ahhh-mazing...

Classic Blue Cheese Dressing

4 ounces blue cheese crumbles

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon parsley chopped

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl add the blue cheese crumbles and buttermilk. Mash the crumbles with a fork.

Add in the sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and whisk. Add in more buttermilk if you want a thinner consistency.

Sweet Balsamic Dressing

1/2 cup canola oil*

1/3 cup sugar or more to taste

4 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard (I actually prefer a squeeze of yellow or Grey Poupon mustard)

Few twists of fresh cracked pepper, always use fresh cracked, the flavor just zings


Put all of the ingredients in a jar, put on the lid and shake until blended. 

*I use canola oil instead of olive oil so that I can refrigerate what I have left.  Olive oil congeals in the fridge, canola oil doesn't.

I added OXO links.  I'm really loving this smaller size salad spinner this summer.  Why?  Because you can wash your lettuce, spin it dry and put the whole container in the fridge.  Works for me and I'm such a fan of OXO products, they never disappoint...

















Decadent Strawberry Cheesecake

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, May 12, 2023

Are you ready to indulge in a decadent dessert that will satisfy all your sweet cravings? Look no further than a delicious strawberry cheesecake. This creamy, velvety dessert is a classic favorite for a reason, with its rich flavor and smooth texture that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a delicious treat to enjoy with friends and family, a decadent strawberry cheesecake is the perfect choice.

Graham Cracker Crust

 1 sleeve graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter - melted
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cheesecake Filling

 4 large pkgs, Philadelphia cream cheese softened 
1 1/2 cups of sugar
 2/3 cup whole milk
1 pint sour cream (16 oz)
4 eggs (beat in one at a time)
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla

Strawberry Topping

1 ½ lbs strawberries
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar - adjust as needed, taste for sweetness
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of your 10" springform pan with a parchment paper round for easy removal. Then, double wrap the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.


Use a food processor to make graham cracker crumbs. Alternatively, crush them in a resealable bag using a rolling pin or kitchen mallet. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter, sugar, and salt. It should resemble wet sand and hold its shape when pressed. Add the crumbs to the pan and firmly pat down to get an even layer on the bottom and sides.

I use a KitchenAid stand-up mixer to cream the cream cheese and sugar. Add remaining ingredients one at a time until blended. Pour into springform pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees AND place an oblong pan of water about 1/3 full on rack beneath rack for cheesecake. Prevents cheesecake from cracking.

Place cheesecake on the above rack. I bake in our gas oven for 50 minutes. 


Remove cheesecake from the oven and place on a rack. After about 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake to prevent from sticking or cracking when cooling.


Once cake is completely cooled pour the strawberry topping on top* cover the cheesecake with foil and place in refrigerator overnight. Remove springform and enjoy.

Note:  Cheesecake is never good the first day, always refrigerate it overnight for best results.

* If you prefer, make the topping, and put it in the fridge in a jar.  Then spoon it over each slice of cheesecake as you serve it.

#strawberrycheesecake #cheesecake #strawberry #dessert #cake #foodporn #yum #delicious #foodie #sweet #homemade #baking #foodphotography #cheesecakelover #strawberryseason #summerdesserts #foodstagram #instafood #foodgasm #foodblogger #foodlover #foodpics

Ann Landers World Famous Lemon Meringue Pie

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, May 12, 2023
This is a the kind of pie, when you take one bite, you say ahhhhhhh, and your eyes roll back in your head. I've shared this before, DEFINITELY worth repeating for the lemon pie lovers that read this blog. Go ahead, just take an hour and make this. It's SO good warm or room temperature or chilled if there is any left. 

 Try it, you know you want to.  You won't be disappointed, pinky swear you won't. ~ Jan 


1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch 
2 cups water 
1/3 cup lemon juice 
3 egg yolks 
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract 
2 teaspoons vinegar 
3 tablespoons butter

Never-Fail Meringue:

1 tablespoon cornstarch 
2 tablespoons cold water 
1/2 cup boiling water 
3 egg whites
 6 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 pinch salt

1. Bake prepared pie crust according to provided directions. Of course homemade is best and I love the vintage Crisco recipe, but Trader Joes makes a wonderful frozen crust.  You must let it come to room temperature before putting in your pie pan or it will break into pieces.  It's worth the effort, though, Trader Joes crust is the best I've found, but of course Pillsbury works, too.

2. To make filling, mix sugar and cornstarch together in the top of a double boiler. Add the two cups of water. Combine egg yolks with lemon juice and beat until well mixed.

3. Add to the rest of the sugar mixture. Cook over boiling water until thick — about 25 minutes which will eliminate any starchy taste.

4. Add the lemon extract, butter and vinegar, and stir thoroughly.

5. Pour mixture into deep 9-inch pie shell, and let cool.

5. To make meringue, blend cornstarch and cold water in a saucepan.

6. Add boiling water, and cook, stirring until clear and thickened.

7. Let stand until COMPLETELY cold.

8. With electric beater at high speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until stiff but not dry. Turn mixer to low speed; add salt and vanilla.

9. Gradually beat in cold cornstarch mixture. Turn mixer again to high, and beat well.

10. Spread meringue over cooled pie filling.

11. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

If you want a sky-high meringue, like the ones you see in bakeries, just use 6 egg whites (save yolks for another recipe), and double the sugar....I just use the same amount of cornstarch/water mixture when I use 6 egg whites.

#lemonpie #annlanders #dearabby #famouslemonpie #lemonmeringuepie #worldsbestpie #awardwinningpie #yummy #homemade #foodie #jancooksrealfood #jancancook #janspicx #crisco #traderjoes #easterdessert #inagarten

Pineapple Cough Syrup

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 17, 2023

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Tis the season, cough, cough, hack, hack. If only there was an all natural cough syrup that actually worked.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food bloggers, The View from Great Island, who writes wonderful content.

It's soothing, refreshing, and the enzymes from the pineapple, the healing properties of ginger and the calming effects of honey will help chase away that nasty cough.  And did I mention that it actually tastes good, unlike the chemical laden cough syrups we buy from the pharmacy.

* 4 cups, approximately 4 slices, of fresh pineapple, peel removed, but core intact. 
* 2 Tbsp honey
* 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, you can omit this but it gives it extra zip
* a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
* juice of 2 lemons

Blend all ingredients in your blender and store in the refrigerator.  It keeps for up to two weeks,  just use as needed.

Feel better soon ~ Jan

Skillet Apple Pie

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 15, 2023
Print Friendly and PDF This pie is adapted by a recipe from Trisha Yearwood. It's so easy, goes together in minutes, but her recipe didn't have enough apples, so I doubled it to two cans and simmered them a bit before putting in the pie shell and baking it. Seriously yummy with little effort. 

 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick) 
1/2 cup light brown sugar 
2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts, such as Pillsbury 
Two 21-ounce cans apple pie filling, simmered for a few minutes
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar 1 tablespoon for melted butter for top. 


Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Then add the brown sugar and melt them together on medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add the apple pie filling, remove from the heat and set aside while preparing the crust.  

Unroll the crusts and put one in the bottom of the black iron skillet.  Pour the apple pie filling over the crust and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar. Use the second pie crust to cover the filling. Brush the top with the 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, then evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar on top. 

Cut vents in the middle of the pie. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 11, 2023

Who says you don't have time to make soup?  Just dump, heat and eat.  It doesn't get easier than this and it's really good soup.  Bonus points for being under 200 calories per serving, too without the optional toppings...

Servings: 8


1 can petite diced tomatoes, 15 ounces (if you want more kick swap this out for a 15 ounce can of Rotel Tomatoes)

1 bag frozen corn, 15 ounces

1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained,  15 ounces

1 can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained, 15 ounces

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup 10 ¾ ounce

1 can Chicken, I don't drain mine, I put in the broth) 12 ounces

1 can Green Enchilada Sauce 10 ounces

1 can Chicken Broth 15 ounces

1 Packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning

Optional Toppings:

Green Onions

Grated Mexican Cheese

Sliced Olives 

Diced Avocado 

Sour Cream

Tortilla Strips

Lime Wedges

In a large pot add the diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, pinto beans, cream of chicken, chicken breast, green enchilada sauce, chicken broth, and taco seasoning.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes and serve with desired toppings.

You can also put this in the slow cooker for a couple of hours on low

Nashville HOT Honey Chicken

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 08, 2023

Hot chicken  is an institution here in Nashville and here's a great variation with the addition of hot honey.  Hot honey, if you've never had it is amazing.  This recipe is baked not fried, it's easy and more calorie friendly...


6 cups Panko Crumbs, you can substitute cornflake crumbs or bread crumbs, but nothing beats the crunch of Panko in my opinion
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons paprika,  smoked paprika is best
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot Sauce, there are so many other hot sauces out there you just can't beat  Frank's 
2 pounds chicken, I prefer boneless breasts, some people like thighs


There are options here.  Go slow, taste and if you need more heat add it.  It's much easier to add heat than it is to take it away.

1/2 cup honey
2-3 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, go easy with this it gets hot really fast
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the crumbs, parmesan, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. Pulse this mixture until you have the desired crumb consistency

Beat the eggs in a bowl, take a deep breath and add the hot sauce and chicken, and toss well to coat.

Dredge the chicken through the crumbs, I prefer doing this in a plastic zip lock bag so you get everything coated.. Place on the prepared baking sheet. You can do a double dip if you want more coating, just repeat the process,  dip the chicken back through the eggs, then the crumbs.  You may need more crumbs if you double dip.  Place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is crisp and reads an internal degrees of 160 with a probe thermometer.

While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. In a sauce pot, warm together the honey, hot sauce, cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder, plus a pinch of salt.

Taste once, taste twice, and taste once again for preferred heat.

Drizzle the warm sauce over the chicken.   If it cools and gets thick before you drizzle, just warm a bit.