Monday, September 21, 2009

You'll Never Guess What's in This Pie

I'm bringing back an earlier post to link to Love the Pie at Tidy Mom--thanks for visiting!

We have a saying in my family, dating from when my grandmother was alive. "You'll neeevvver guess...(who I saw today; what I had for lunch; who called me;) (fill in the the blank).

Well, I made a new pie this weekend--one I've never eaten or seen before, and had never even heard of it until recently. I was a bit skeptical about it, right up until I smelled it and tasted it.

And you'll neeevvvver guess what's in it.....

Navy beans!

You read that right. And it's a sweet pie; light and custard-y and smelling of the best fall and holiday spices. And guess what else I found? Navy beans aren't the only beans you can make into pies. I found recipes for pinto beans pies and Great Northern bean pies, too. Some of them are made similar to pecan pie, with beans substituting for nuts; others are made of mashed beans; but if navy bean pie is any indication of what the others will taste like, I can't wait to try them, too!

My first task in my journey to bean pie was finding navy beans with a minimum of seasonings. Believe me, for a sweet pie you don't want beans flavored with salt pork or bacon. I thought I was going to have to cook dry beans, but I finally found a canned variety that had only salt and water as an added ingredient. Even so I drained and rinsed them well before I used them.

  • 1 c cooked navy beans
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 c sugar
  • crust for a single crust pie
I started with my favorite pie crust--Pillsbury Ready Crust, found in the refrigerated section--let it sit out for about 15 minutes it will unroll better, then place in your pie dish.

Place the beans, butter (the recipe didn't say melted, so I just cut mine in small chunks), eggs, milk, and seasonings in the blender and blend.

The recipe I used then stated to pour into a mixing bowl before adding the sugar, but I didn't see the point of dirtying up another dish, so I just added it to the mixture in the blender and blended it all together for a few seconds, then hit pulse once or twice or three times for good measure.

Pour into your uncooked pie crust. At this point, it smells (and tastes!) a little like eggnog--and what's not to like about that??
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. I set my timer first for about 50 minutes--it was beautifully browned and pretty by then, but I could tell the middle wasn't set, so it for me it did take pretty much the whole hour to bake.

Doesn't it look pretty? And trust me, it smells so good---it shouts fall and holidays and all the good smells of baking, all rolled into one.
I did wait for it to cool well before cutting into it, but it was hard!
If I had never tried this for myself, I don't know if I would have ever believed it, but now that I've smelled and tasted of navy bean pie, I think I'll try some of the others, too!

For more recipes, please see the links at:

Tasty Tuesday
at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
at Blessed with Grace

Tuesday at the Table
at All the Small Stuff

Foodie Friday
at Desgins by Gollum

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pistachio Fluff

Did you know that are just about as many different ways to make Pistachio fluff as there are folks who make it? I've had Pistachio Fluff on the brain ever since I had so many comments about it on my Pretty in Pink fruit salad post, so I decided to make that delectable dish known variably as "Pistachio Fluff", "Watergate Salad" and simply "that green stuff".

Back in the "olden days" of the 70's, different versions of this were all the rage. Some made it with cottage cheese, similar to the Pretty in Pink salad, some made it with miniature marshmallows, some topped theirs with chopped nuts; I've even seen it put in a pie crust. In my family, we made a very simple version, and that's the one I decided to re-create this week.

  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 pkg Pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 container Cool Whip or other whipped topping

Pour the drained pineapple into a medium sized mixing bowl, top with dry Pistachio pudding mix

Mix the pineapple and pudding mix together until it turns this lovely(!) shade of green

Add cool whip and stir until well blended

When you finish, it should look something like this.

At this point, it will taste like a mouth full of SWEET and not much else. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. The mixture will "set" slightly and the flavors will develop until it tastes like a mouth full of sweet, refreshing goodness.

I had forgotten how good this is--I took some to my mom and dad, and we decided we need to revive this one from the annals of family food traditions.

It doesn't make all that much compared to the pink one, that may be one reason why many add the cottage cheese and mini-marshmallows. I like the cottage cheese in the pink one, and may try it in this one, too, but it's good just the way it is, and would super simple to double or even triple to take to a church dinner or family gathering.

I guarantee anyone old enough to remember the 70's will remember it, and anyone not old enough to remember it will like it anyway.

This post will be linked to:

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace

Until next time...Good cooking, and good eating!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cornbread Made from "Scratch"

Until recently I could count on one hand the number of times I had made cornbread from scratch. Corn-kits or Jiffy mixes were just too good and too easy to bother doing anything else. Not too long ago, though, I spotted some home ground cornmeal at Backhome Collections, a local thrift store/flea-market. It was from a local place called "My Aching Back Mill"--don't you love the name? I've always heard that home-ground meal was the best kind to use, so I decided if I was going to make the plunge to making cornbread from "scratch", I may as well use the best corn meal.

So I bought this home ground meal, but I still didn't have a clue about how to go about turning it into cornbread.

I finally pestered my mother into writing down her guesstimate of how she makes her homemade cornbread. She doesn't really measure, she scoops with a coffee cup and uses a teaspoon and soup spoon from her flatware to do the baking powder, salt, and sugar. (I was reading another blog (I can't remember which one, I'm sorry!) where they shared their family cornbread recipe, and their aunt/grandmother/whoever they got the recipe from did it the same way!) So I took her proportions and tweaked it just a bit with some trial and error and this is what I came up with.

  • 2 c homeground cornmeal

  • 3/4 c self-rising flour

  • 2 t baking powder

  • 2 t salt

  • 4 T sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 c milk

  • 2 t cooking oil

Pour the oil into a seasoned iron skillet-mine is marked 8in--the bottom diameter is 8 inches, the top 10 inches. Put your skillet into the oven while it's pre-heating to 425 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix together dry ingredients, then eggs. Add a cup of milk, then add the additional milk 1/4 cup at the time, stirring until you get to the desired consistency.

Take the iron skillet out of the oven, and turn so that the oil coats the bottom. Pour any excess oil into the cornbread batter and mix in; then pour the batter into the hot pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the top is browned and it's firm to the touch.

Despite the amount of sugar, this is not a sweet cornbread--the sugar just adds a little something extra to the flavors, though. I made this last night with a big pot of 10-bean soup and rice and it was so good, and not that many more steps than using a mix.

This will definitely be a keeper!
For links to more recipes, join me at:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, and at
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Penne For Your Thoughts!

I was racking my brain for something quick and easy to make for my husband and me for dinner one this week, when I thought of this--no recipe really, but it's so easy to do, tastes good, and is something just a bit different from the pasta and sauce that I usually do.


  • sausage of your choice--smoked, Italian, whatever your family likes--I used Rabideaux's smoked beef and pork sausage

  • marinara or spaghetti sauce of your choice--I used a jar of Ragu, jazzed up with some extra seasoning

  • pasta of your choice--I used penne rigata

The first step was to put on a pot of water to boil, and get the pasta cooking.

While I was was waiting for the water to boil, I sliced up some smoked beef & pork sausage.
When I'm using sausage in a recipe like this, or in jambalaya or gumbo something similar, I usually cover it with some water and par-boil just a couple of minutes to cook out a little of the fat--this time I just browned it a little and then drained it on some paper towels and wiped out the frying pan.

I put the sausage back in the pan, and poured on spaghetti/marinara sauce. I have to confess--most of the time I use Ragu, and then add an envelope of spaghetti seasoning a bit of water to dissolve the extra seasoning. You could certainly use your scratch sauce instead. Bring this to bubble, put the lid on, and let it simmer for a while.

Meanwhile, back at the pasta pot--once it's done to your family's taste, drain and serve with the sausage marinara, and top with a little grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve with garlic bread or yeast rolls or bread sticks. Add a salad if you must(!)

So what kind of quick and easy meals have you been making for your family lately?

This post is shared at:

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

Until next time--good cooking, and good eating!