Jiffy Corn Casserole (also known as Spoonbread)


I got this recipe years ago from a package of Jiffy corn muffin mix. It’s really yummy! I’ve altered it a little from the original over the years. Corn Casserole, or Spoonbread as it’s also known, makes a great side dish to serve with your Thanksgiving meal or any time of year actually. It’s wonderful with barbecued meat or chicken. It’s really easy to make and tastes oh-so-delicious! When I take it to potlucks, it gets gobbled up pretty quick. You could also add ½ to ¾ cup of sugar for a sweet corn casserole. The kids sure love it that way!

JIFFY CORN CASSEROLE aka SPOONBREAD

  • 1 box (8.5 oz.) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (14 oz.) cream-style corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 11×7-inch casserole dish.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, corn kernels, creamed corn, sour cream, eggs, and corn muffin mix.
  3. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until center is firm.
  5. Remove from oven and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

NOTE:

  • You can omit the eggs if you like. The eggs make the dish a little lighter but it turns out perfectly fine without them.
  • This casserole can be made a day ahead. Prepare the recipe up to Step 3, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, take the casserole out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to bring it closer to room temperature, then continue with Step 4.
  • You could also make this recipe with a larger box (15 or 16 ozs.) of cornbread mix such as Krusteaz or Marie Callender’s. Follow the same recipe but bake it in a 9×13 inch casserole instead.

Hot Artichoke Dip

Hot Artichoke Dip | Pinky's Pantry
The first time I tried artichoke dip was at a restaurant in San Francisco. It was to die for. They served it with thin, crispy tortilla chips. The dip was warm, cheesy, gooey, in short, everything you want in a dip. One bite and I was a fan for life.

This dip is easy to prepare. If you have a food processor, you could throw everything except the artichoke hearts in there and get it all blended together. Then add the artichoke hearts last and pulse them a few times so they’re chopped but not mush. Scrape it all into your gratin dish and bake.

HOT ARTICHOKE DIP

  • 1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (14 ozs.) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Beat in mayonnaise until well combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir together well.
  5. Transfer mixture to a pie plate or shallow gratin dish.
  6. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and top is golden brown.
  7. Serve hot with bread, crackers, tortilla chips, or veggies.

Crescent Breakfast Wreath

Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
Everybody knows Pillsbury’s famous Taco Crescent Ring. Well, this is a play on that recipe but made into a yummy breakfast dish. I just love crescent roll dough, don’t you? It’s so versatile and you can do so much with it from sweet desserts to savory meals. This recipe is really easy to put together and is great for a breakfast or brunch shindig.

CRESCENT BREAKFAST WREATH

  • 1 can (8-ozs.) crescent roll dough
  • breakfast meat:  ½ lb. bulk breakfast sausage, browned; or ½ lb. ham, chopped; or 8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1 cup frozen hash browns
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, monterey jack, or any kind you like)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. (I didn’t have any so I used waxed paper.)
  2. Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into eight triangles.
  3. Arrange triangles in a circle on prepared cookie sheet with the short ends of the triangles towards the center and overlapping a little, and the long ends pointing outwards to form a sun shape.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  4. Fry the onions, bell pepper, and hash browns in a large frying pan until potatoes begin to brown.
  5. Remove from heat, add cooked meat to hash brown mixture and stir together well.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  6. Scramble the eggs in a skillet until eggs are almost cooked but still moist.
  7. Stir scrambled eggs into hash brown mixture.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  8. Spoon filling over overlapping portion of crescent rolls, using your hands to help press and shape the filling into a ring.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Pull points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough in center to form a ring.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  10. Carefully sprinkle cheese over top of ring.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  11. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crescent rolls are golden brown.
  12. Cool slightly to allow filling to set.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry
  13. Slice into wedges and serve.
    Crescent Breakfast Wreath | Pinky's Pantry

NOTE:  To transfer the wreath to a serving platter, carefully run a spatula between the ring and the parchment paper to separate them, then slide the wreath onto the platter.

Holiday Sausage and Wild Rice

Sausage and Wild Rice | Pinky's Pantry
This recipe makes a great side dish to serve during the holidays or any time of year really. I got the original recipe from Rosemary, one of the nurses at my office who’s retired now. I’ve changed it up just a smidge to make it more appealing to my family, but the basic recipe is the same. If you want to serve it during other times of the year, you can omit the cranberries and still have a great side dish to go with a roast or some chicken. If you ask me, though, I think this dish is really perfect for Thanksgiving and is wonderful on a plate next to some turkey smothered with gravy and a pile of green beans. Yum! I can’t wait to serve this at our Thanksgiving dinner this year!

HOLIDAY SAUSAGE AND WILD RICE

  • 1 cup brown rice (2 cups when cooked)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 boxes (4.3 oz. each) long grain and wild rice blend (like Rice-a-Roni)
  • ½ cup pine nuts (can substitute slivered almonds)
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 ozs. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bag (9.6 ozs.) turkey sausage crumbles (can use pork sausage)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook brown rice in rice cooker or stove top. To the cooking water, add the bay leaf, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. In another pot, prepare wild rice blend according to package directions.
  3. Place pine nuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 375ºF oven, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Melt butter or margarine in a large stock pot.
  5. Sauté onions and mushrooms in melted butter until onions become translucent.
  6. Add sausage crumbles to pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Stir in cooked brown rice, cooked wild rice, toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, and frozen peas.
  8. Continue cooking until peas are heated through.
  9. Transfer to a casserole dish.
  10. Serve warm garnished with chopped parsley, if desired.

Halloween Fondant Ghosts

Fondant Ghost1 | Pinky's Pantry
To add to the treats I was making for the kids this Halloween, I decided to make some fondant ghosts. You can make your own homemade fondant like I did, or buy ready-made fondant. Obviously, homemade marshmallow fondant tastes a hundred times better than the store bought kind, but it can be a pain to make so it’s entirely up to you. The ghost bodies underneath the fondant are made by stacking chocolate candies that you “glue” together with melted chocolate chips. Whether you choose to make your own fondant or buy the ready-made kind, assembling these ghosts is definitely easy and fun to do! They look adorable on your Halloween table, too.

HALLOWEEN FONDANT GHOSTS

  • 1 recipe marshmallow fondant (or you can buy ready-made white fondant)
  • 1 bag Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 box Whoppers malted milk balls
  • 2-3 tbsp. chocolate chips, to use as “glue”
  • powdered sugar or cornstarch, for dusting
  • 1 tube of black ready-to-use decorating icing
  1. Heat chocolate chips in microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted.
  2. Smear a little melted chocolate on top of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and press a second cup on top of it. This is your ghost’s body.
    Fondant Ghost2 | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Next, smear a little dollop of melted chocolate on a Whopper and press it onto your peanut butter cup stack. This is your ghost’s head.
  4. Knead the fondant till it’s soft and pliable.
  5. Dust work surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch.
  6. Pull off a piece of fondant and cover the rest with a damp towel. I like to work with fondant in small batches to keep the big piece of fondant from drying out.
    Fondant Ghost3| Pinky's Pantry
  7. Roll out the piece of fondant you pulled to a little less than a quarter inch thick.
  8. Cut out 4½-inch circles from the fondant.
    Fondant Ghost4 | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Break off another piece of fondant, roll, and cut out more circles.
  10. Repeat till you have the number of circles you need for however many ghosts you’re making.
  11. Drape a fondant circle over a chocolate stack, arranging it so it drapes in nice folds.
    Fondant Ghost5 | Pinky's Pantry
  12. Pipe two eyes with black decorating icing. If desired, you could add an “O” shaped mouth as well.
    Fondant Ghost6 | Pinky's Pantry
  13. These ghosts can be served as is, or use them as cupcake toppers or to decorate a cake.
    Fondant Ghost7 | Pinky's Pantry

Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
I decided to make some marshmallow pops for the kids this Halloween. I’d seen a picture somewhere of cupcakes decorated with a Frankenstein head which gave me the inspiration for these Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops. They were fun to make. Just plan on giving yourself a little time to let the corn syrup dry after you roll the sugar onto the marshmallows and to let the icing dry after you pipe on the hair and faces. If you can start making these a day or two before you want to hand them out, all the better.

Also, having the right piping tips makes easy work of piping Frank’s hair and face. I used a “grass” tip to do the hair and a fine round tip to pipe his eyes and mouth. I also found this bottle of Wilton bug sprinkles at my local grocery store which I thought would be perfect to use for Frank’s bolts. If you can’t find the same bug sprinkles, you can use candy coated licorice which will be just as cute.
Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry

FRANKENSTEIN MARSHMALLOW POPS

  • 1 bag marshmallows
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • green decorating sugar
  • store bought green, black, and red icing
  • Wilton bug sprinkles, for bolts (or could subsitute black candy coated licorice)
  • lollipop sticks
  1. Lightly brush bottom and sides of a marshmallow with corn syrup. No need to brush the top of the marshmallow because it will be covered with icing “hair.”
  2. Press the bottom and roll the sides in green sugar until well coated.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Set aside to dry for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Once dry, stab a lollipop stick into the sugar-coated bottom of each marshmallow.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Cut some green Rips candy into small strips to use for Frankenstein’s brow.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's PantryFrankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  6. Glue the brow to the top of each marshmallow with green icing.
  7. Using a grass piping tip, pipe hair onto the top of each marshmallow by squeezing a little icing out, then stopping and pulling straight up.
  8. Switch to a small round decorating tip and pipe eyes and a mouth with black icing.
  9. Change to red icing and pipe a little scar on Frank’s cheek.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  10. Push a little bug sprinkle into each side of the marshmallow for bolts.

    Bug Sprinkles | Pinky's Pantry

    These are the Wilton bug sprinkles I found that I thought would make perfect “bolts.”

Yogurt Cream and Berry Parfaits

Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's PantryYesterday was the 4th of July. We went over to my sister Helen’s house for a barbecue. My aunt Miriam and her beau were coming over, as well as my uncle Manny, his lovely wife Melissa, and their two beautiful daughters, Sierra and Aspen. We hadn’t seen them in years so we were all looking forward to the festivities. Manny’s my uncle but he’s younger than I am. His sister, Miriam, is my age. How, you ask? Well, my grandfather was married three times and had a total of 13 children. My Mom was child #2 by his first wife. Manny and Miriam are children #11 and 12 by his third wife. Hence the huge generation gap, and that explains why I have an aunt and uncle my age and younger.

Anyway, I wanted to make something red-white-and-blue to take to the barbecue for dessert so decided that yogurt cream parfaits would be good. They’re refreshingly cool on a hot summer day. I put them in mini champagne flutes and thought they looked absolutely adorable.
Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's Pantry
I whipped up 30 of the little confections the day before the barbecue and had them chilling in the fridge all neatly lined up on a wooden tray like patriotic little soldiers. When we were finally ready to leave for Helen’s house the next day, I painstakingly pulled the tray out of the fridge and walked ever so slowly towards the front door, carefully balancing the tray in my two hands. I have no idea how but to my utter distress, right when I reached the door, one of the little flutes began to teeter precariously on the tray. I watched in horror as almost in slow motion, it toppled over and hit the one next to it and one by one they all began toppling over like dominoes! I screamed as I juggled the tray in a futile effort to stop the disaster which only served to make matters worse! Some of the desserts crashed to the floor while others flung their contents onto my chest and down to my feet. Nooooooo!!!

Old Goat comes running over and sees me standing there in the middle of a huge mess of red, white and blue, with yogurt cream splashed on my nose and running down my pretty blue blouse. “What are you doing?” he asked perplexed as he took the tray from my stunned hands. I took one look at him and burst into tears as I ran upstairs to our bedroom. All my hard work of the day before, gone in about 5 seconds!

I washed up and changed my shirt, then went back downstairs to find that my sweet Old Goat had mopped up the floor, and with the help of No. 1’s girlfriend, was trying to salvage and wipe clean the flutes that had just tipped over but remained safely on the tray. So, long story short, they managed to rescue about a dozen of the 30 desserts. They looked a little worse for wear, but we brought them to Helen’s house anyway.
Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's Pantry

YOGURT CREAM & BERRY PARFAITS

  • 1 cup plain, honey, or vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. or ¼ cup sugar
  • strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
  • blueberries, washed and dried
  • extra sugar (optional)
  1. Chop strawberries into small pieces. If strawberries aren’t sweet, sprinkle a little extra sugar over them, toss together and set aside.
  2. Place greek yogurt and whipping cream in bowl of electric mixer.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Add sugar and beat until well combined.
  5. In little flutes or parfait glasses, layer yogurt cream, strawberries, more yogurt cream, blueberries, and end with yogurt cream.
  6. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

NOTE:  If desired, you can garnish the top of each parfait with a blueberry, a small strawberry, some finely chopped almonds, or a sprinkling of granola.

Roast Turkey

Roast Turkey | Pinky's Pantry
These are general instructions for how I make my roast turkey. I learned the method of first cooking at a very high heat before lowering the oven temp from Alton Brown. I don’t usually stuff my turkey. I prefer to serve the “stuffing” on the side. I guess that means it should actually be called “dressing.” But I do brine my turkey every year. I’ve found that brining adds a lot of flavor and keeps the turkey moist. These instructions are for an unstuffed turkey. Brining is completely up to you. The directions will work for both brined or unbrined turkeys. The only thing that will change is how long it takes to cook.

ROAST TURKEY

  • 14-16 lb. turkey, thawed if frozen
  • butter, softened
  • aromatics:
    – 1 onion, peeled and quartered
    – 2 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
    – 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
    – 2 lemons, cut in quarters
    – 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
    – 6 fresh sage leaves
  1. Place oven rack on lowest position and preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Rinse turkey under cold water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, on V-rack in roasting pan.
  4. Cut a long piece of foil and fold it in half making a double thickness big enough to cover the turkey’s breast. Mold foil to breast making a sort of shield. Set foil shield aside.
  5. Fold wings behind turkey’s back.
  6. Stuff cavity loosely with the aromatics. Don’t pack it tight.
  7. Tie drumsticks loosely together with kitchen string to secure them together. You could also leave them untrussed if you like but it’s not as pretty.
  8. Rub turkey skin all over with softened butter.
  9. Pour a little over 1/4 inch of water into bottom of pan so drippings don’t burn.
  10. Roast at 500° for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove turkey from oven and lower heat to 325°F.
  12. Spray inside of foil shield you made with cooking spray and lay lightly over turkey breast. Insert a thermometer through foil into thickest part of breast. Return turkey to oven and bake at 325° until internal temperature of breast reaches 165°F. Ideally, the thickest part of the thigh should reach 175°F.
  13. If the liquid at the bottom of the pan starts drying up while roasting, just add some more water.
  14. When turkey is done, transfer to a carving board, tent with foil, and allow to rest about 30 minutes.
  15. Make gravy with the drippings from the roasting pan.
  16. Carve turkey and serve.

NOTE:  The general rule of thumb for roasting a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. But certain factors like whether your turkey is brined, whether it’s unstuffed, and whether the legs are left untrussed, will make your turkey cook faster. Brined turkeys cook 20-30 minutes faster than un-brined ones. So use the 13-minute-per-pound rule as a starting point to give you a general idea of how long your turkey could take to bake, but I would still recommend using a thermometer for best results.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Cranberry Orange Sauce | Pinky's Pantry
This is a super easy cranberry sauce made with fresh squeezed orange juice. The citrus juice gives it a nice bright flavor. You can cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to make so much sauce. I have a big family so two bags of cranberries suits us just fine. Cranberries have a natural pectin that is released when they burst and which thickens the sauce naturally. If the sauce becomes too thick as it cools, just stir in a little more orange juice or water till it reaches the consistency you like.

CRANBERRY ORANGE SAUCE

  • 2 bags (12 ozs. each) fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar (you can add more or less sugar to your taste)
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • juice from 2 oranges (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and cranberries have burst, about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour the cranberry sauce into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap against the sauce. This will prevent a skin from forming on top.
  4. Let cool to room temperature; then refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

NOTE:  If you prefer a sauce with a smoother texture, transfer the cranberry mixture to a food processor or blender after cooking, and pulse until sauce is to desired texture.

Shrimp Mousse

Shrimp Mousse | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old recipe of my Mom’s. She made it all the time for get-togethers or when we were expecting company. It’s very addictive and you’ll find yourself heading back to the appetizer table again and again for just a little bit more.

It always reminds me of my mother-in-law whom I miss terribly. She absolutely loved this mousse! When the party was over, you just knew any leftover shrimp mousse was hers. She would spread it on toast and eat shrimp mousse sandwiches for breakfast, lunch or a snack the next day. I have to say, I picked up that habit from her and on the rare occasion that we actually have leftover shrimp mousse, I find myself having a shrimp mousse sandwich for lunch the day after.

SHRIMP MOUSSE

  • 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 box (8 ozs.) cream cheese
  • 1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lb. cooked small shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk green onion, green and white part, finely minced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely minced (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the Knox gelatin in 2 tbsp. cold water and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream cheese and celery soup over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat, add in the gelatin, and stir until well-blended.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Pour into an oiled mold and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.
  6. Unmold and serve with crackers.

NOTE:  You can easily turn this into “Crab Mousse” by substituting 1 pound crabmeat for the shrimp. I’ve also made it into “Seafood Mousse” by making it with ½ lb. shrimp and ½ lb. crab.