NOURISH:  to sustain with food;  to strengthen or

NOURISH:  to sustain with food;  to strengthen or build up

My heart’s desire is that this site, whether this food blog or its companion blog “Outside of the Box” will find its way to your stomach and your spirit and in some way, nourish you.

My food is meant to comfort, just like your grandma’s food would do.  It’s home-cooked, usually from scratch, that feeds my family and now, maybe yours!

My words are my story.  Our stories are meant to nourish each other.

Welcome…

Chocolate Layer Dessert

Newest addition to my assortment of layered desserts is this beauty.

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It has become requested by my husband who appreciates its lightness and not-overly-sweet-ness.   It feeds plenty of folks and has layer upon layer of goodness to please just about anyone.  Oh, and it’s super easy to make since there isn’t even a need to turn the oven on.

Finely chop all but about 4 of the chocolate sandwich cookies in a 1 lb. package (I use my food processor).  Drizzle in 1/2 c. of melted butter and press this loveliness into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.

Next, whip 1 cups (1/2 pint) of heavy whipping cream until it reaches soft peaks.*  Gently fold in 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.

Mix together 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1–8 oz. softened block of cream cheese.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture, and spread it over the cookie crust.

Mix together 1 large box of chocolate pudding with 2 3/4 c. milk.  Or, if you have more time and want to send this over the top, make this homemade chocolate pudding and use half of the resulting pudding-deliciousness.

Pour the pudding over the top of the whipped cream/cream cheese layer.

Now, make one more small batch of whipped cream by whipping 1 cup (1/2 pint) to soft peaks adding in 3 T. powdered sugar at the end.

Smooth this over the top of the first layers.  Crumble your few remaining cookies with your hands over the top of the dessert and refrigerate several hours before serving.

Now, let me say here that I liked this a lot more when it was partially frozen–tastes like ice cream!  So, if you think that sounds better, give it good 2 hours or so in the freezer before serving.

chocolate dessert

There it is!  A fluffy, not-ridiculously-sweet, chocolatey dessert for you to love!

Chocolate Layer Dessert Grocery List:

1 lb. package chocolate sandwich cookies

1/2 c. butter

1 pt. heavy whipping cream–divided

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1–8 oz. block cream cheese

1 c. + 3 T. powdered sugar

1 large box chocolate pudding (or ingredients for Homemade Chocolate Pudding)

2 3/4 c. milk

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*To make your own whipped cream, a mixer is the best option.  Using a cold mixing bowl and preferably a whip attachment, pour very cold heavy whipping cream in and begin mixing on medium speed for a couple minutes or until it begins to thicken just a bit.  Turn the speed up gradually to prevent the cream from splattering all over your kitchen to eventually make it all the way to high speed.  After several minutes, the cream will thicken to soft peaks–which look like the whipped cream you have been expecting.  Don’t beat too long or you will end up with butter and whey!  When you are able to pull the whip up and soft peaks remain, add in any powdered sugar you’d like to sweeten it.  Generally, I use 3 T. of powdered sugar per pint of cream.  I also usually add in 1/2-1 tsp. of vanilla per pint for flavor.  Keep it chilled.  It may lose volume over time in the fridge, so it’s definitely best to whip it just before serving.

 

 

 

 

Change Your Life Potatoes

The best food compliment I have ever gotten was, “Alison, that just changed my life.” Brian, if you’re reading this, I still aspire to that standard of compliments whenever I cook or bake anything.

I’ve mentioned before my family’s love for ham dinner. So, yesterday, I made them (and myself, of course) happy campers and had everyone over for ham dinner.
Please note that when you read those two magical words (ham dinner) you have to hear angel voices in the background and say those words with special emphasis. It’s that big of a deal.
With ham dinner, I make these potatoes every single time.

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For this meal, my daughter brought cheese stuffed yeast rolls, I made roasted broccoli, corn, and the best caramel apples any of us have ever had in our lives. (Special thanks to pinterest for the most amazing homemade caramel recipe ever).

I digress…

On to the potatoes.

Begin by putting 8 slices of bacon in a skillet to fry up to nice and crisp. When it’s done put it on paper towel to drain to wait for its shining moment.
While the bacon is frying, peel and chop a 5 lb. bag o’ potatoes into smallish pieces.

Pop ‘em in a big pot and cover them with water. I add in about a teaspoon of kosher salt to speed up the boiling and flavor the potatoes on the inside where it counts.

Bring it to a boil and then lower the temperature and let them simmer for at least 20 minutes or until very tender.
Remove from the heat, drain and drop in an 8 oz. block of cream cheese and 1/2 c. butter, letting the heat of the potatoes melt them to whippability (new word I just made up).

Now, add in 1 cup of sour cream,
I used my mixer to whip this whole thing until it’s almost lump free. A few lumps prove they are homemade, ya know.
Now for more good stuff…

Add in 2 cups of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, (skip the bagged stuff and grate–it’s soooo soft and good, guys!)

And four of those beautiful pieces of meat candy broken into pieces.
At this point, I add almost a full teaspoon of pepper and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Definitely season to your taste, though!

Put this amazingness into a lightly buttered 9×13 (or equivalent) dish and top with another half of a cup of freshly grated cheddar.

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This can be refrigerated to bake later or you can go ahead and put it into a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. When it’s finished top with the four remaining chopped up bacon pieces and serve.

(If I would’ve had fresh chives in the house, I would definitely have added those to the top, but rarely does that happen and no one missed them.)

And be prepared to make it again very soon. It’s that good.

ham dinner 1

Change Your Life Potatoes Grocery List

8 slices of bacon
5 lbs. of russet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
2 tsp. salt (divided)
1 tsp. pepper
Green onions (chives) optional