Have you ever been in the mood to just experiment and play a little? One time I was in one of my favorite grocery stores and the bananas were very ripe and very cheap, and I thought they would be perfect for a good banana pudding. I knew that I had several boxes of pistachio pudding at home, so I thought, “Why not?” Right beside the bananas were boxes of miniature vanilla wafers, so I tossed a box into my cart and I was all set. When I got home I assembled the pudding dessert, and not only was it attractive, but it tasted delicious. Pistachio has a taste of almond to me, and that flavor combined with the bananas and the vanilla wafers and sour cream was just right I thought—a fun variation on an old favorite.

There are some good “secret” recipes today! Enjoy them!

Stay in touch, send in a recipe, and happy cooking!

Peach French Toast From Beth Anthony of Pikeville, TN

Richard’s Note: This recipe was passed along to me by Beth Anthony, a friend of mine, who, along with her husband Sid, used to operates the beautiful Victoriana Bed and Breakfast in Pikeville, Tennessee. I love the recipe because it is one of those fix-breakfast-before-you-go-to-bed dishes!

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 Tbs. water

1 (29 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained

12 slices day-old French bread, 3/4-inch thick

5 eggs

1 & 1/2 cups milk

1 Tbs. vanilla

Ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, bring brown sugar, butter and water to a boil. Cool slightly until slightly thickened. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with slices of peaches. Arrange bread over the peaches. In a bowl whisk the eggs, milk and the vanilla together and slowly pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Cover and bake for 20 minutes at 350° and then uncover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more until the bread is golden brown. This is especially good served with a bit of whipped cream.

Pistachio Banana Pudding

Richard’s Note: This makes a pretty dessert and the combination of flavors was very good. I will make it again!

2 envelopes Pistachio pudding, made according to directions

Sliced bananas

Vanilla wafers

1/2 cup sour cream, optional

Mix the pudding according to package directions, adding in sour cream if desired. In a pretty bowl, layer the cookies, the bananas, and the pudding. Keep making layers until you have used up the ingredients, ending with the pudding. Place more vanilla wafers around the edge of the bowl and further garnish with crumbled vanilla wafers sprinkled over the top.

Chocolate Mousse with Fruit

A delicious recipe from Germany!

8 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate

1/3 cup boiling water

2 eggs, separated

2 Tbs. sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1 lb. strawberries

2 kiwis

1 Tbs. powdered sugar

Dash of salt

Break the chocolate into pieces in a bowl and add the one-third cup boiling water. Place the bowl in a saucepan with hot water. Stir the chocolate until it is melted. Set aside. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy (approximately two to three minutes). Pour in the melted chocolate and stir well. Slowly add the whipping cream and stir until thoroughly blended. Wash the beaters and beat the egg whites with a dash of salt until stiff. Pour the chocolate mixture over it and mix well. Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours or longer. To serve: wash and hull the strawberries and peel and slice the kiwis. Place a few slices of Kiwis and some strawberries on a plate. Take a large spoon or ice cream scoop, dip it into hot water, scoop out the mouse and turn over on the plate with the fruit. Lightly sprinkle some powdered sugar of the top and serve. Makes six servings

Hashbrown Casserole

Note: This casserole is quick and easy, and it tastes delicious! Don’t plan on any leftovers!

1 bag hash browns, shredded

1 stick butter, melted

1 or 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups sour cream

1 grated onion

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and bake for one hour at 350°.

Banana Split Brownie Pizza

1 pkg. brownie mix

2/3 cup sugar

Banana slices

Strawberry slices

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup nuts chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Mix brownie mix as directed on package and bake in pizza pan. Cool. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies and top with fruit and nuts. Melt chocolate and butter together. Drizzle over fruit.

Pull-A-Parts

4 tubes of buttermilk biscuits

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vanilla ice cream

1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 cup sugar, mixed

Quarter biscuits and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Put in 9x13 greased pan. Heat margarine, sugars and ice cream until hot. Pour over biscuits and bake at 400° for 20 minutes.

Cucumbers with Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

4 cups sliced cucumbers

In a bowl combine the first four ingredients. Add cucumbers. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

Broccoli Salad

1 bunch raw broccoli heads

1 bunch raw cauliflower heads

1/2 cup onion, chopped

Mix together and chill.

Dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

Mix together, toss with the above ingredients, and serve on a lettuce leaf. (Optional: six to eight slices of bacon, fried, drained, and crumbled.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cook in water and set aside:

2 heads broccoli

1/2 cup water

Combine in saucepan and cook:

6 Tbs. butter

6 Tbs. flour

1 pint milk

1 pint half & half

1 bay leaf

1 & 1/2 tsp. herb salt

2 vegetable cubes

Chop broccoli into soup mixture. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated Garnish with sliced olives.

Cheese Topped Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans

1 cup water

1/4 cup onion soup mix

3 Tbs. butter

1/3 cup slivered almonds

3 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. paprika

Cut beans in 1-inch pieces. Place in saucepan. Combine the cup of water and the onion soup mix in the saucepan with the beans. Bring to boiling and then simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain the beans. Turn into a serving dish and stir in the butter until melted. Combine the almonds, paprika and cheese and sprinkle over the beans.

Scalloped Potatoes

Richard’s Note: This recipe sounds good to me and is definitely on my list to try!

5 to 6 raw potatoes, sliced

1 can mushroom soup

1 can milk

1/4 cup black olives, sliced

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup cheese, shredded

Combine and place in uncovered casserole. Bake at 350° until potatoes are tender.

Posh Squash

Cook two pounds of squash in a small amount of boiling salted water until just tender, four to five minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Blend together:

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup mayonnaise

1 small onion finely chopped

1/4 cup green pepper, chopped

1/4 tsp. thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine egg mixture with drained squash and season with salt and pepper. Place mixture into a greased 2 & 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with three-fourth cup grated parmesan cheese and dot with one tablespoon butter. Bake uncovered until puffed and lightly browned.

Apple Candy Pie

Note: Just reading this recipe is enough to make your mouth water!

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Oven temperature: 400 F

Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl. Toss lightly to mix and spoon into a prepared pastry shell:

6 cups tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 Tbs. flour

1/2 tsp. mace

1/4 tsp. salt

Next:

Dot with two tablespoons butter and sprinkle with two tablespoons lemon juice. Cover pie with top crust. Bake until the apples are done and the crust is golden and the juice bubbles up. Remove from oven.

Finish:

4 Tbs. butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 Tbs. cream

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Stir the sugar and the cream into the melted butter. Heat slowly to boiling and remove from heat. Add the pecans. Spread over the pie and return to oven. Bake until bubbly and crust is glazed.