Hands down, this recipe is one of the easiest and most-requested desserts I have ever made! My mom made this for us when we were kids, and then it became my signature dessert when I was a teenager. Lol- I would make it all the time! When I went to college, I continued to make it for my college friends- and then on and on. Here I am with teenagers myself, and I am still making it! The good news is that kids can easily learn to make it, too!
Chocolate Chip Pie Recipe
1 Deep Dish Pie Shell
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup self-rising flour
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2- 1 cup chopped pecans
Add slightly beaten egg.
Add flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and pecans.
Pour into unbaked deep-dish pie shell.
Bake at 325 degrees (F) for 50-60 minutes.
Remove from oven and let set.
Serve as is or enjoy with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup!
A few notes…
I put a sheet pan under the pie while it cooks to catch any over spill.
I once tried using 2 regular pie shells instead of one deep-dish pie shell. The pie was thin and not as good as when you use a deep-dish.
I check the pie at 50 mins. and then decide if it needs more minutes added to it. Because our ovens all cook differently, be sure to check it at 50 mins. to decide.
As we are all making the very best of staying home during the Corona Virus Pandemic, some of my mom friends and I shared what we are doing to keep up with the demands of feeding everyone 3 times a day (with snacks in between). I thought you all might be feeling the same and so I wanted to share some of the recipes that my husband and I make that are typically big hits with our kids. They have been helpful to have on hand while we are all gathering around the table several times a day!
One of the most requested by my kids is Baked Cheesy Chicken Burritos. This is a dish that serves several- it works well for serving for dinner and then saving half the dish to serve for lunch the next day. It reheats in the microwave easily- or you can put it in a conventional oven to re-warm.
1. Baked Cheesy Chicken Burritos
3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 package of Monterey Jack shredded cheese (or Mexican Cheese Mix)
2 cups half-and-half
8 Flour Tortillas (8 inch)
In a large pan, melt butter and saute’ onion.
Stir in cream cheese and chicken.
Spray 9×11 casserole dish with Pam.
Put 3-4 tablespoons of chicken mixture in tortillas and roll up tortillas.
Place the rolled tortillas in the casserole dish.
Drizzle half-and-half over the rolled tortillas in the casserole dish.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 45 minutes.
Uncover burritos and sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
To serve, use a knife and go around the outside edges. Cut burritos in half to make 16 servings.
Side items that work well with this dish are homemade salsa, black beans, guacamole, and yellow rice.
2. Sheet Pan Fajitas
This recipe is one of my very favorites to make because it is SO easy to prepare and everyone loves it! This recipe is from Balancing Motherhood, and I always receive messages about how much families enjoy it when I suggest it. The recipe can be found here >> Sheet Pan Fajitas
3. Ron’s Marinara Sauce & Meatballs
My husband has a family friend who owned an Italian restaurant, and he would invite Ron to the kitchen to learn the recipes. Between that experience and having a mom who is a great cook, Ron developed his own love of creating in the kitchen. Mostly, he just likes to eat, and so he makes food he loves. If I’m lucky I will catch him in time to get him to write down how he made something. It took me awhile to get this one on paper, but he finally stopped long enough to write it out for me. Our family loves this meal- and I have to admit…I was never a spaghetti and meatball kind of girl before he converted me! The recipes make enough for 6-8 servings. Here are the recipes in his words…
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine (cheap Chardonnay)
Fresh chopped basil lots of it half cup or more.
2 tsp salt (3 if you love salty stuff)
2 cans 14 oz petite diced tomatoes
26 to 27 oz finely chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand is my fav)
Cook onion for a few minutes in olive oil. Add garlic continue until garlic is barely turning golden. Add wine and cook until reduced about half in volume or near there. Add all other stuff and cook on low while stirring occasionally until you think it’s right for you. 10 or 15 min should do it. Serve with spaghetti, ravioli, manicotti, etc.
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
10 to 15 or so larger fresh basil leaves finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Small sweet onion diced finely
3 large cloves garlic diced finely
Mix the above thoroughly then add 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and mix thoroughly. Form meatballs and cook in cast iron skillet over medium low heat turning every few minutes until done.
This dinner comes together quickly and can be eaten “deconstructed” to suit the tastes of our sometimes-picky families. Our kids gobble this one up and I am always happy to serve something that cooks quickly and is enjoyed by everyone!
3 Salmon Fillets
4-6 pieces of bacon
Lettuce of your choice
Tomato (4-6 slices)
Bread such as brioche or white bun (sliced)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup white wine
Place bacon in pan and cook until desired crispness.
Remove bacon from pan and set aside on plate with a paper towel to absorb oil.
Using same pan, cook salmon fillets in oil left from cooking the bacon. Depending on thickness of salmon fillets, cook about 3 mins. on each side.
Remove salmon from pan and set aside.
Add white wine to same pan and simmer- let reduce to about half its volume.
Remove wine mixture from pan and pour into a shallow bowl.
Add mayonnaise and capers to wine mixture and stir. Use as a sauce for the Salmon BLTs.
Spread mayonnaise mixture on bread.
Assemble salmon with bacon, lettuce, and tomato on bread.
5. “Grammy Soup”
This soup is named after my husband’s step-mom. She made this for us several times when our kids were born, and it was a life-saver for many meals! It is a simple recipe but so filling and satisfying! It has become a go-to for our family. We like to serve it with Pepperidge Farm 3-Cheese Bread (freezer section).
46 oz. tomato juice
32 oz. beef broth (or chicken broth)
ground beef (1.5-2 lbs)
4-6 carrots chopped
4-5 stalks celery chopped
small sweet onion chopped
barley (follow directions on box for 1 cup barley)
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 can white beans (or other favorite beans such as kidney or pinto)
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute’ chopped onion for a few minutes.
Add tomato juice and broth to onion. Add in carrots and celery and let simmer. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
In a separate medium pot, (while the veggies are cooking) cook barley as directed on box.
In a separate pan, brown meat and dispose of grease (remembering not to put grease down the drain).
When ground beef and barley are cooked, carefully add to soup mixture.
I love a big bowl of soup and often joke that I could live off of soup and dessert. I am sharing five of my favorites with you today- especially because it has been perfect weather for a big bowl of soup lately.
This first soup is one that my friend Nancy served for lunch one day when our kids were toddlers. The kids loved it and so it became a go-to for me. A funny little side note…my niece always thought my sister was saying “Santa Face Soup” and so now my sister makes this each Christmas Eve. 🙂
1. SANTA FE SOUP
Santa Fe Soup Ingredients
1 pound of ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pkg. Dry ranch style dressing mix (original)
1 pkg. Taco seasoning mix
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can Rotel tomatoes with lime juice, undrained
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 cup water
Brown ground beef and onion in large pot; drain, add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours. Better if prepared the day before serving.
Garnish with dollop of sour cream or sprinkle with shredded Mexican blend cheese. Serve with Mexican corn bread or tortilla chips.
Makes about 4-5 quarts. Freezes very well.
MEXICAN CORN BREAD
Mexican Corn Bread Ingredients
1 package corn bread mix (such as Jiffy)
1 (8 ounce) can cream style corn
1 (3 ounce) can chopped green chilies *
½ cup shredded cheese (Monterrey Jack, Cheddar or Mexican Blend)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Stir only until ingredients are moist.
Pour into greased (use Pam) 8 inch baking pan. (I use mini-muffin pan) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. (Mini-muffins take about 15 min.)
* Most chopped green chili cans are 4 ounce; so I measure about half way between ¼ cup and ½ cup in a liquid measuring cup.
My husband likes soup, but I can tell that he often wants bread to go with it. I switch it up on which bread I put with it, but this Mexican Corn Bread and the frozen Pepperidge Farm 3-Cheese baguette are our typical choices.
2. SAUSAGE AND SPINACH TORTELLINI SOUP
Another friend, Heather, made this soup for me one day (they know I love trying new soups!). I think I sent this recipe out in my newsletter, but I thought it would be nice to have it all in one place. This is one of those recipes that I would have skipped right over because of the sausage. I’m so glad Heather didn’t! It is really good- and my kids love the sausage and tortellini in it. I am linking you to the recipe here >> SAUSAGE AND SPINACH TORTELLINI SOUP Again, I typically serve Pepperidge Farm’s 3-Cheese Bread (from the freezer section) with this soup.
3. THE ULTIMATE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
If your family prefers something a little less daring and a lot more familiar, I recommend this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Taste of Home. I made it recently and it was a really big hit with my kids. Empty bowls all around the table!
BUTTERY BISQUICK MUFFINS
I used to make these in college for my friends and they were always a hit. Now, I’m not saying these are healthy, but they surely are always gone quickly. They are so simple!
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)
Mix together all ingredients. Pour into ungreased muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 15-20 mins.
4. WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI
2-3 cans of Great Northern Beans (drained)
1 onion chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
6 cups chicken broth
5 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
12 oz. Mexican Blend shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Saute’ onion in hot oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat until clear and tender.
Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook for 2 mins., stirring constatly.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 mins.
Add in chopped chicken, beans, 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper.
Stir well, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat.
Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Before serving, stir in cilantro.
Ladle into bowls and top each serving with remaining cheese. Garnish with cilantro.
I would love to know what you want to try first- and which ones you like best! I am a crazy for soups and so I like a variety of kinds. If you ever have a favorite you would like to share, please send me an email or leave a comment in the comment section.
Ivy Odom brings an energy and enthusiasm to Southern Living’s YouTube Channel called, “Hey Y’all!” that is undeniably fun and fresh! I had a chance to sit down with Ivy for a chat recently, and I am excited to share more about her with you all!
I met up with Ivy in Birmingham, AL where she lives and works. Ivy is originally from a small town in South Georgia (Moultrie) and went to the University of Georgia in Athens. She now works at her dream job as a recipe tester/developer at Southern Living Magazine. I loved finding out more about Ivy’s path to fulfilling that dream…here she is, below, showing me her Southern Living Test Kitchen.
Ivy says, when she was younger, she wanted to be a Home Economics teacher. As a student at UGA, Ivy decided on Consumer Journalism for her major and Spanish for her minor. While in college, Ivy sought out a mentor that could help guide her on her career path. Not only did Ivy find a mentor in Rebecca Lang, but she also found a friend for life. Rebecca’s guidance, coupled with Ivy’s ambition, set Ivy on her way to reaching her goal of working at Southern Living. Below, you can see Ivy as an intern with Rebecca…a sidenote about Ivy’s connection to Rebecca is that Ivy reached out to Rebecca after Googling, and Rebecca loved the drive that Ivy showed in doing so.
After finishing college and then completing culinary school (graduated top of her class!), Ivy began as an intern for the Southern Living test kitchen. At one point, Ivy was given the opportunity to bake anything she wanted. She didn’t go small! Clearly not one to shy away from an excellent chance to let her skills shine, Ivy made an 18-Layer Chocolate Cake! 18 layers is an incredible feat. 🙂 Ivy told me the story of how her Great-Grandmother used to make this cake for Ivy’s mom and uncle- increasing the number of layers with each birthday. It became a family birthday tradition and Ivy shared it with Southern Living. The video of Ivy making the recipe quickly became the most viewed video of that year on the Southern Living YouTube Channel. Way to make a career entrance, Ivy!
Ivy has such an endearing quality about her- she draws you in with her charm and grace. And, she continues to impress you the more you get to know her. What stands out to me so strongly is Ivy’s love of learning and her intelligence and curiosity. I was surprised to learn that Ivy has also passed the level one course of sommelier training. When I asked more about her training, Ivy told me that she loves wine and being an informed consumer! What I found fascinating was Ivy’s description of how much she learned from wine and its connection to art, science, geography, climate, and history.
I asked Ivy that if she could prepare a southern meal for someone who had never been to the south, what would she choose to make. Her menu did not disappoint! I love the thought that she put into what she would want to serve as to give the best “first impression” of the south. No wonder she is an excellent representative of the south’s finest! Here is Ivy’s menu…now if we could only have her cook it for us!
Ivy Odom’s Ideal Southern Meal
Ivy said she would take cues from a traditional southern New Year’s Day meal and make a few changes to offer a warm welcome to anyone visiting the south for the first time…
Fried Catfish with Remoulade
Field Peas mixed with chopped tomatoes and chopped raw Vidalia onion
Lacy Cornbread (fried in a cast iron skillet)
And for dessert~
Ivy Odom’s Favorite Cream Cheese Pound Cake
One block of cream cheese (room temperature)
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups Swan’s Down cake flour
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter, 2 eggs in electric mixer until well blended. As batter is mixing, add in another cup of both four and sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 stick of butter.
Add in the last of the flour, sugar, butter, and eggs once the second round is mixed in well.
Finally, add in the cream cheese and lemon extract and beat until smooth. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and place in cool oven. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, or until fork placed in center comes out clean.
In the photo above, Ivy posed in front of the cameras and equipment they use to film Hey Y’all. I asked Ivy about the production of the episodes and she says she always likes the first take because it feels the most genuine to her. The producers and editors often like the last take because it is more practiced. The final version is usually a mix of them all. I always enjoy watching each episode and seeing the variety of topics that Ivy covers. It is especially fun to see Southern Living embracing YouTube as a source to bring content to its readers. Ivy is the perfect ambassador! In fact, a few days before Ivy and I met, she was on Good Morning America sharing recipe ideas for the Super Bowl and Ivy was outstanding! I was so proud of how well she represented all of us southern ladies (I brought her this champagne bottle as a congratulatory gift)!
Ivy talked about her southern upbringing being such a great springboard for life- from the traditions of her family to her appreciation of her always-encouraging parents. Ivy says she has always been the girl who enjoys setting pretty tables, serving delicious meals, and providing a warm atmosphere for friends and family- all thanks to the examples set before her. One of the sweetest things Ivy told me was that her grandmother gifts her a piece of silver each year at Christmas so that she will eventually have a complete set- what a thoughtful gift and heirloom. I love the strong family ties and values of southern (and all) families.
I had fun asking Ivy a few rapid-fire questions about her likes and dislikes.
Any foods you don’t like? Cantaloupe and Cauliflower
Favorite place to go to relax? The beach
Favorite beach? St. George Island
Favorite chocolate for baking? Ghirardelli
Cocktail parties or cookouts? Cocktail parties
Favorite apron? Hedley & Bennett
Travel essential? Earring organizer from Amazon
Snapchat or TikTok? TikTok
Favorite season? Summer
Favorite holiday? Easter
Red wine or Rose’- Red
Favorite hostess gift to give- Tea towel
Favorite party favor? Flower arrangement in something to keep like a teacup
Favorite party theme? Casual Girls’ Night with Wine and a Movie
As the mom of a teenage girl, I love the example Ivy provides to my daughter and her peers. I feel grateful to Ivy for being the epitome of southern grace combined with determination, eagerness, confidence, wit, and intelligence. I could just hug her for representing all of those values to the teens out there who are searching for young role models. I asked Ivy what message she would give to girls younger than she, and this is what she had to say~
“Girl power is a lot more powerful than you think. Be willing to fight for yourself. Be fearless but with grace. Show kindness and humility. Don’t act better than others.” ~Ivy Odom
And, with that, I think you can see why I am so excited to share Ivy on my website. I can’t wait to cheer Ivy on as she continues on her path- she reaches high and I look forward to watching her soar!
A champagne brunch is such a simple and beautiful way to celebrate or entertain. I am going to show you the basics of setting up an area for serving champagne (and a non-alcoholic version, too). I will also share one of my favorite champagne cocktails in case you prefer to take it up a notch.
For starters, use a silver or gold/brass ice bucket as a focal point for the champagne drink station. Here, I used a vintage brass loving cup / trophy cup ice bucket. I think it is always interesting to use a unique serving piece in the center. You can also use a garden planter or cache pot to hold several bottles of champagne at a time. Another striking alternative is to group several (at least 3) coordinating single ice buckets as the focal point and elevate them so that they are different heights.
Secondly, use a serving tray that gives the occasion an extra-special feel. Here I used one of my favorite silver trays and loaded it with simple champagne flutes. The metallic and glass complement each other nicely and play off of each other with a little bit of shimmer. To create a fun, celebratory vibe, add in a playful sign or saying such as the “Press for Champagne” button below…
You could incorporate the playful message through printed napkins, or a garland/banner that fits nicely on the drink area.
On the tray, use a loving cup to serve raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Remember to add a spoon so that the guests can add the berries to their champagne glasses. Above, I also added simple pink candy melts in a silver loving cup to add an unexpected treat that also was a pretty shade of pink! 🙂
I surrounded the champagne and tray of glasses with flowers. Parker Kennedy Living and I put together several loving cup container ideas, and I used those to dress up the champagne bar. I kept it simple by setting up the champagne on the sideboard in our dining room- it has an easy flow of traffic and is large enough to serve more than one person at a time. The loving cups full of flowers give it a beautiful feel- and is a perfect way to brighten up a winter day.
Continuing with the loving cup theme, I set up a hot tea service (see my favorite tea here) on my bar cart beside the champagne bar. It is always a thoughtful gesture to serve non-alcoholic options, even at a champagne brunch! The silver urn serving piece holds the hot water and makes a great centerpiece.
Around the urn, I added all of the essentials for hot tea- the tea itself, honey sticks, sugar…
Remember to offer several teacups and saucers for the guests to serve themselves- along with a spoon for stirring. Colorful macarons add another bright spot to a wintry day and pair nicely with tea.
As you can see, I also placed a pretty bottle of water on the serving cart and glasses are housed below. Simply add cocktail napkins and flowers, and you are all set!
Setting up a bar cart / drink station for a champagne brunch doesn’t have to be difficult or elaborate. If you elevate the simple necessities and use items from around your home, you can design a beautiful setting for drinks in no time. One last little tip… remember to add a tea towel or bar towel to your drink station. It will help with accidental spills (which always happen) and will make your guests feel more comfortable to have a towel close by if needed when dealing with drinks. That way, no one has to embarrass themselves over a spill that needs a lot of attention. See below for my suggestions for champagne cocktails and favorite teas…
Champagne Brunch Cocktail
This is a simple way to add a little something special to your already special champagne!
My aunt and uncle had a huge pecan tree in their yard- which was always nice for those of us who love pecans! Even better, my aunt would take those pecans and make a really simple but delicious pecan candy for us.
My kids and their cousins always loved climbing the tree, picking the pecans, and using the fancy rolling pecan picker that completely fascinated them. We all loved it that the kids would enjoy playing outside and picking what felt like a million pecans! The payment for their work was often chocolate pecan candy.
This recipe is easy and makes a perfect candy for gifting or for serving. I hope you enjoy this simple treat that my aunt always made for us!
Chocolate Pecan Candy Recipe
1 lb. (16 oz.) coarsely chopped pecans
2 cups of Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I use half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (optional)
Coarse Sea Salt
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Spread pecan pieces evenly across baking sheet.
Slice butter and add pats of butter scattered around the pecans.
Heat oven to 250 degrees (F).
Place pecans and butter in oven and toast for 5 minutes.
Using a spatula, turn pecans and the melted butter, being sure to coat the pecans.
Bake for 5 minutes and then carefully stir pecans, turning them so that they are evenly toasted.
Repeat this step until pecans are toasted- this takes about 20 minutes total. Watch pecans carefully, as ovens vary, and remember to turn the pecans every 5 minutes.
After pecans are toasted, remove from oven and let cool.
After pecans have cooled enough to handle, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. I typically melt chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.
(Optional step) If you prefer, add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed. The oil helps the chocolate have a smoother finish, but I usually leave out this step.
Stir toasted pecans and melted chocolate together in bowl and mix until pecans are well-coated.
Using a tablespoon, spoon out individual servings of the pecan mixture onto waxed paper.
Sprinkle salt onto the candy. I usually leave some unsalted for those who prefer no salt (such as my children).
Transfer to a serving dish or box/bag for gifting.