The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It

Punkin Rolls

Easy and cute and delish all in the shape of a pumpkin. What more do you need?

Thaw one pan of Parker House rolls and set out a box of cream cheese to soften. Remove the rolls whole from the pan-do not separate them into individual rolls. On a cutting board, cut the rolls in half horizontally around the rolls just like you would when you split a cake. Set the top aside.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350.  While the oven is warming, melt two tablespoons of butter in a small oven-proof pan in the preheating oven.  Place the pan of butter in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, add a bag of walnuts to the pan along with two tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of cinnamon.  Nutmeg might also be nice.  Place the walnut mixture in the oven for five minutes or so.

Replace the bottom layer of rolls in the original roll pan and cover them with the 8 oz. box of softened cream cheese. Liberally cover the cream cheese with store-bought or homemade pumpkin butter. I used half a small jar.  Layer on top of that the warm and sugary walnuts. Replace the top rolls so that the tops match the bottoms.

Bake at 350 for fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven, butter the tops if your like, and place a sprig or two of celery leaves along with a small, clean stick for a pumpkin stem and leaves.
Serve warm and gooey and cute all over.


Ollie’s Cheesecake
October 4, 2011, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , , ,

Foodie Friends, it is a great day.  The sun is shining.  The weather is cool.  The leaves are starting to turn.  Fall break is almost here.  It can’t get much better.

Or maybe it can.  Try this recipe and see.

Recently as part of a fundraiser at school, a student of mine won the opportunity to have a special lunch with three of her closest friends.  She could have had any pizza, drink, and dessert she wanted.   She, being the smart girl that she is, chose cheese pizza, Dr. Pepper, and the recipe I am sharing with you today made by me. 

Somebody give that smart girl an A.

The recipe today is one of my all-time favorites. I first had it at a church dinner.  At that dinner, I might have embarrassed myself by tracking down the maker of this wonder and interrogating her until she told me the recipe.    

It was worth it. 

This recipe is simple and scrumptious.  It travels well and needs no fork or spoon.  It is pretty as long as you allow it to cool before you cut into it.  Otherwise, it will ooze and make a huge mess.  After just a few bites, people will want to know the name of this awesome yet simple dish. 

The name? Ollie’s Cheesecake.  It’s named for my student who asked for it as part of her special lunch. 

The recipe:

2 boxes of cream cheese, softened

1 cup of sugar

1 T good vanilla

2 tubes of crescent rolls, regular or seamless

1 stick of butter, melted

¼ cup or more of cinnamon sugar

 In a sprayed jelly roll pan, evenly unroll one tube of crescent rolls to cover the bottom.  In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the first crescent roll all the way to the sides.  Top that evenly with the other tube of crescent rolls.  Pour the melted butter over the whole shebang.  Roll the butter evenly around and ooh and aah as you do.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly (again) over the top.  I like a little more sugar than cinnamon my cinnamon sugar, so I sprinkle some extra sugar on top too.  You don’t want too much here; just enough for a nice slightly crunchy layer.  Too much cinnamon is not good. 

 Bake all of this at 350 for thirty minutes.  It will poof beautifully.  When it is ready to remove, allow it to cool for a while, but don’t wait too long.  You’ll want a bite while it is still warm.

A Little Campfire Love in a Brownie Pan: S’mores Brownies
September 25, 2011, 6:08 pm
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We are brownie lovers.  I have never met a bad brownie.  They are so gooey and good and chocolatey and gooey.  And Gooey.  Even Mr. Picky will eat a brownie. 

Recently, all I had was a box of plain brownie mix, and company was coming over.  I needed to impress.  I wanted to do something snazzy.  I experimented.    

I made the brownies as it calls for on the package.  Then, I broke apart a chocolate bar on top while the brownies were still warm.  Mmmm.  

That would have been good enough, but I never know when to stop.  On top of that, I layered marshmallows.  Finally, I crushed graham cracker crumbs and sprinkled them on top of everything else for a little S’more delight.  All that then went until the broiler for a few minutes too long.  Luckily, I like my marshmallows well done. 

Unfortunately, my guests apparently did not. 

Too bad for them.  They were so good, gooey, and chocolatey even if they weren’t pretty. 

And I do mean the brownies, not the guests.

Chocolate Chess Pie
September 23, 2011, 5:23 pm
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The miracle of miracles about a chocolate chess pie is how impressive it is, yet it is so easy.  As my sister always says, you always have the stuff on hand to make a chess pie.  I agree.

This recipe makes one full pie.  You’re gonna want to use a sturdy cookie sheet under your pie plate, because this will fill the pie shell all the way to the tippy-top. 

The recipe:

3 T. cocoa

1 ½ c. sugar

2 eggs

1 can evaporated milk

½ stick butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pie shell

Chocolate Chess Pie

Mix the cocoa and the sugar.  Add the eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla.  Beat well.  Really well.  You don’t want this to separate.  Pour the mixture into a pie shell.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until set.  Cool then cut.

Thick Enough to Knock You Over: Shrimp and Corn Chowder

It never fails that when I set out to make a potato-based soup, it always gets too thick.  Yet, I am  stubborn so I still make the dang yet delicious stuff. 

Really, the last time I served potato soup at a party, it turned out more like mashed potatoes than soup.  My friends ate it heartily but with a fork.  Embarrassing. 

I still wanted to try this recipe, though.  It turned out a little thick, of course, but still tasty and very pretty.  I made it for our book club, and it was a moderate hit. 

I’ll make it again this fall on some cool, clear day. We will eat it while wearing sweaters. And plaid. Maybe on a blanket or tailgate.    And probably with a fork. 


Shrimp and Corn Chow-dah


5 or 6 slices of bacon

1 onion, chopped

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces

1 cup chicken stock

2 stalks of celery

1 can of whole kernel corn

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined. I leave the tail on.  If they are large, slice them in half.

½ c. heavy cream


Leftover crusty bread, sliced into cubes for croutons

  1.  Cook the bacon in a large pot until crisp.  Allow to cool on a paper towel and then crumble.
  2.  In the same pot, cook your onion with salt and pepper for five minutes.  If you don’t like crunchy celery, add it now too.
  3. Meanwhile, in a skillet melt one tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the crusty bread and toss.  Add salt and an herb if you want such as rosemary.  Toast for three minutes. 
  4. To the onion with or without the celery, add the potatoes, chicken stock, and 2 ½ cups of water.  Boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender-about fifteen minutes. Add the celery if you haven’t already, plus the shrimp and cream.  Simmer for about five minutes more.  Top with bacon, your homemade croutons, and parsley for looks. 

    Homemade Croutons


How To Get A Man: Chicken Pot Pie
August 24, 2011, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , ,

Proposal on a Plate

Getting a man is really simple, you single ladies out there.  It is not rocket science.  You rope a man in and keep him with good food.  That’s exactly what I did. 

And, honey, all you need is a few simple ingredients-chicken, cream of mushroom soup, Veg-All, sour cream, pie crust.  Keep it simple.  Most men don’t understand complicated food. 

That’s what I did a little over fourteen years ago.  I saw him.  I fed him.  I kept him for good.   I’ve been feeding him ever since.   When I want to remind him that I love him as much as I did then, I make him this dish.

Here are the steps:

1.  In a crock pot, slow cook three chicken breasts along with a half cup of water, salt, and pepper for around four hours.  Keep an eye on them, as you don’t want them to over cook or dry out. 

2.  Remove the chicken from the crock pot and allow to cool.  Reserve a half cup of the chicken broth from your crock pot chicken just in case things start to look a little thick. 

3.  Cut your chicken into bite-size pieces when it is cool enough.  I like to cut long strips then shred my chicken so it is not in weird bite-size squares.  In a large bowl,  combine your chicken with one can of cream of mushroom soup,  one can of Veg-All, one good dollop of sour cream, and some pepper.  If this looks a little too thick, add in a little of your reserved broth. 

4.  Pour your mixture into a baking dish.  I use a medium size glass bowl because everything  fits just right.  Cover it all with your pie crust.  Get fancy if you want-cut a whole in the shape of your man’s favorite team, his initials, or a heart.  Aww.  Maybe he will notice. 

5.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until it bubbles around the sides.  While it is baking, go fix yourself up. 

6.  Serve this to your man or prospective man while it is piping hot.  Then, tell him it was nothing, and you do stuff like this all the time.   Hum “Put a Ring on It.”  Prepare your left hand ring finger for immediate invasion of the diamond kind. 


Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
August 16, 2011, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , ,

Many, many moons ago at a friend’s kid’s birthday party, I had this cake for the first time.  It was delightfully chocolatey and thick.  On that day, it was shaped like a train.  I’ve had it again since then shaped like a dragon, a football, and a rocket.  The girl’s got cake shaping talent, let me tell you.

She also has this awesome, easy recipe that when prepared and served warm has the power to balance the budget and make peace in a warring world. 

Yep, it’s good. 

She is such a good friend and person that she shared this recipe.  Honestly, I don’t know that I would have.  There are some recipes, my friends, that you shall never see on this blog as I will take them to my grave. 

Not only am I opinionated, but I am also a recipe snob.

The Calm Before the Chocolate

But, I have shared this recipe and cake plenty of times.  I make it for dinners and potlucks and sick friends and Relay for Life fundraisers.  Mine is always in the plain shape of a Bundt pan.  It still always goes over well.  On this occasion, I am making it for my parents.  They have watched my kids for me while I have gone back to work.  They watch the kids; they get this cake. 

If only everything could be paid for in randomly shaped chocolate cake. 

We eat it pretty much straight out of the oven and then nuked in the microwave after that.  It is fine cool, but the chocolate chips won’t have that oozey, warm chocolate glow about them that makes one want to hug a stranger. 

Ready for the Oven

Drop what you are doing and go forth.  Make this cake:

One box of Duncan Hines Butter Golden

One large box of chocolate instant pudding mix

½ c. sugar

¾ c. water

¾ c. vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1 c. sour cream

¾ c. chocolate chips

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 325.  Grease a Bundt pan.  Stir together the cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar.  Add the water, oil, eggs, and sour cream.  Mix until well blended.  Add the chocolate chips and stir.  Pour into the Bundt pan.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Cool for five then turn it out onto a plate.  Cool for five more and dust with powdered sugar.  Dig in.   

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

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