Autumn In Tennessee - The Spot Where I Was Engaged

Autumn In Tennessee - The Spot Where I Was Engaged
by Sherri Wear 2008

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cheesy Ham and Spinach "Garbage Bread"

I had never heard the term "garbage bread" in my life until I was reading a post from the blog This young woman explains that garbage bread is "basically a calzone except you wrap the pizza dough so its in layers." I liked the idea of wrapping or rolling the bread, so I set out to come up with a recipe using ingredients I could find in my refrigerator. Please note that it is not necessary to use the fat free or low fat versions of ingredients that I use.  The regular versions will work just fine.  My husband said he really liked this one, so I figure it is a keeper!

 Ingredients for filling:

1 8 oz package of fat-free cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 tsp dried and crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt (not pictured)
1/2 tsp black pepper (not pictured)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (not pictured)
1 tsp hot sauce (more if you like)
1 tsp vinegar of your choice (I prefer rice vinegar)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  I used my hands (as usual) because I like to leave a few chunks of cream cheese here and there throughout the bread. 

Ingredients for garbage bread:

1 roll of refrigerated pizza crust (don't use the thin crust variety)
1  9 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 to 1 1/2 cups diced ham (I got this at Hell*mart ... uh ... I mean Wal*mart)
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
1 TBS finely chopped cilantro
1 TBS of butter or olive oil for coating the cooked bread when it comes out of the oven

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Open pizza dough and shape it into a rectangle on a greased cookie sheet.  Work with it slowly so it doesn't tear.  Allow dough to rest on sheet while you prepare the spinach and the filling.  Microwave the spinach for 5 to 6 minutes.  Drain in a colander.  Squeeze it VERY well between layers of paper towels or a towel.

Spread the filling onto the pizza dough leaving about an inch to 1 1/2 inches of dough around the perimeter with no filling on it.

Place the spinach, Parmesan cheese, ham, mozzarella cheese, and cilantro on top of the filling.

Fold in the edges of the dough that do not contain the filling as shown in the above photo.

Roll the dough "jelly roll style" as shown in the above photo.  Press the seam closed and make sure that the seam is on the bottom when baking.

Place the prepared and filled dough in the center of the cookie sheet, and place the cookie sheet in the center of your preheated oven.  Cook at 375 degrees for for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Remove from oven and brush the top with 1 TBS of butter or olive oil.  Let the bread rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pina Colada Sheet Cake

This cake is missing the rum, but it still has a whole lot of flavor!  I can't make everything healthy, but I try to take as much sugar as possible out of my desserts so that my husband is able to enjoy them without worrying that his blood sugar will shoot through the roof.  I think this is one of those recipes that I will have to cut into very small pieces!

Ingredients for cake:

1 box of Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix
1   15 1/4 oz can of pineapple (chunks or crushed) in it's own juice
1/3 container of Bacardi frozen pina colada mix

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Place the pineapple and its juices in the blender and puree until there are no large chunks of fruit remaining.  To blender, add 1/3 of the frozen pina colada mix and pulse the blender a few times until the mix and pineapple are well blended.  Pour the cake mix into a large bowl and pour in the contents of the blender.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute or until the batter is creamy.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Ingredients for "drizzle:"

1 14 oz can of sweetened and condensed milk
2/3 (the rest of the) container of Bacardi frozen pina colada mix
1 tsp coconut flavoring
1 tsp butter flavoring

While cake is baking, wash the blender.  Then, pour in the sweetened and condensed milk, pina colada mix, coconut flavoring, and butter flavoring.  Puree for 30 seconds.

When cake has finished baking, remove from oven and use the end of a wooden spoon to make holes in the cake. 

The drizzle will run into the holes and make the cake very moist.  While the cake is still very warm,  pour the sweetened and condensed milk mixture from the blender over the top of the cake. 

Leave the cake on the counter for 15 minutes to cool.  Then place the cake in the refrigerator for 45 minutes before adding the topping.

Ingredients for topping:

1  8 oz package of reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup of Splenda artificial sweetener
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1  8 oz container of sugar free Cool Whip

While cake is cooling in the refrigerator, beat together the softened cream cheese, Splenda, and vanilla flavoring.  Fold in the Cool Whip.  Spread this topping over the entire sheet cake.  Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.  It is even better if it stays in the refrigerator for an entire day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pink Lemonade Pie

I based this recipe on a pie I found at .  His pie looks FANTABULOUS, but I had to take out a little fat and sugar to make it a little more diabetic friendly.  It still has quite a lot of taste.  Our 14-year-old neighbor, Dominick, said it was awesome, and he had no idea it was lower fat and sugar than it should have been.  Always trust a teenage boy when it comes to tasting food.  :-)

Ingredients for crust:

1 1/2 cups of  graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup of Splenda
1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix the ingredients in a bowl using your hands to melt the coconut oil.  Next, press into a deep dish pie plate.  You may bake this at 350 for ten minutes if you like, but it isn't necessary.  I never bake mine.

Ingredients for crust and completed crust

Ingredients for pie filling:

1   8 oz. package of fat free cream cheese, softened
1  14 oz can of fat free sweetened and condensed milk
3/4 cup of Minute Maid pink lemonade concentrate (unfrozen w/ no water added)
2 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
8 to 10 drops of red food coloring
1/2 container of sugar free Cool Whip

Ingredients for pie filling and topping

Use a hand mixer to beat together the softened cream cheese and the sweetened and condensed milk until the mixture is very smooth.  Add the lemonade concentrate and lemon juice and beat well.  Add the food coloring and continue to beat until the color is well distributed throughout the mixture.  Fold in half of the Cool Whip.  Pour mixture into the prepared pie crust and top with the remainder of the Cool Whip.  Freeze until firm.  Enjoy!

Uncut completed pie

Pico de Gallo

My husband competes in BBQ competitions here in Tennessee and in my home state of Georgia.  Because he has a competition coming up in Thomaston, Georgia in April, he decided to do a little practicing now.  The local Kroger's grocery store claimed to have beef briskets, but, when he got them home and opened them, he had 6 huge pieces of flank steak.  I won't go into the details of trying to return this meat.  It ended with us having two new briskets and 12 pieces of this flank steak.  After reading creative ways to cook this steak (and giving some of it to our church's secretary), he decided to marinate and grill it to create fajitas.  Well, what is a fajita without a good helping of pico de gallo?!?!?!  I was now on a quest to create a small portion of pico de gallo that would compliment my honey and teriyaki marinated steak.  I think I succeeded!

According to Wikipedia, "In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], rooster's beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lime juice and/or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or firm fruit, such as mango."

I didn't really like the sound of some of this, so, like Sinatra, I did it my way!


3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1/3 of a large sweet onion
1 or 2 medium jalapeño peppers
Juice of one medium lime
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp rice vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
r 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dried oregano
2 packets of Splenda

Peel and chop the three tomatoes. Place in a colander and allow juices to drain while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Finely chop the onion and place in a bowl. Remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeño, then finely chop the peppers. Add the peppers to the onion. Chop the cilantro leaves and add to the bowl. Next, add lime juice, vinegar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and Splenda. Finally, add the chopped tomatoes and stir all the ingredients well. This can be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Our pico de gallo topped steak fajitas ... YUM!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Pinkies" With Sprinkles

I just read a recipe called Cake Batter Blondies at  It  looked so good that I decided I wanted to make it.  Guess what.  I didn't have many of the ingredients.  I decided to try what I had and make it festive for my son's Awana Cubbies class tonight at church.  Since yesterday was the first day of spring, I thought I would make them a nice springy pink color.  Of course, my son informed me that pink was for girls AFTER I had colored the batter.  Oh well ... there are many sweet little ladies in his class. 

I wasn't sure whether to call these brownies or blondies. Since they are neither brown nor blond, I settled on "Pinkies." I hope you enjoy them.


  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 8 drops of red or pink food coloring

Jackson combining the cake mix and sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a metal bowl, combine the cake mix and the sprinkles. 

Jackson adding the beaten egg

Stir in the oil and the egg.  Add the food coloring.  "Add the milk slowly just until the batter is combined – you want it to remain as dense as possible." []

The batter is very thick!
Spread batter (I say spread because the batter is too think to pour.) into an 8x8 baking pan. 

The center will appear gooey, but it will set during the cooling period.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting.  According to the girlmeetslife blogger, the results are decadent!  I can't even think of a word to describe how wonderful they taste.   :-) I can't believe this is cake mix! I hope y'all enjoy these as much as I just did. 

Tip:  You MUST eat one while they are still warm!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pineapple De-Lite

Happy spring, everyone!  I'm making another low-fat dessert with a little less sugar.  It's really difficult to make something that is at least semi-healthy when it comes to desserts.  I decided I'd try to put a "good for you" ingredient in the crust, so I ended up using whole grain cereal.  It truly has a good taste, and, so far, it is keeping its "crunch factor."  I am pretty sure that this crust would work with butter if you don't have coconut oil.  I prefer coconut oil because the taste goes well with so many citrus and tropical fruit flavors.


3/4 cup of crushed whole grain cereal (I used Grape Nut Flakes)
3/4 cup crushed pretzels
4 packets of Splenda
2 TBS coconut oil

Mix the cereal, pretzels, Splenda, and coconut oil in a bowl using your hands.  It's just easier to use your hands to "squish" it all together.  The coconut oil will melt from the touch of your hands and hold the ingredients together.   Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.  Place the dish in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  The coconut oil will become solid again in the cold temperatures and harden the crust.  Voila!  A no-bake semi-healthy crust.


1  14 oz can of fat free sweetened and condensed milk
1/2 of a 6 oz can of pineapple juice with no sugar added
1 small container of fat-free vanilla or pineapple yogurt
3/4 tub of sugar free Cool Whip
10 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, beat together the sweetened and condensed milk with the pineapple juice until it becomes thicker and creamy.  Stir in the yogurt and food coloring.  Fold in the Cool Whip.  Stir gently to combine well.  Pour over your crust in the baking dish. 

Use the remainder of the Cool Whip to cover the top of the dessert, or get fancy and decorate with it! Freeze for at least three hours.  Remove from freezer for 10 minutes prior to slicing. Enjoy! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Creamy Hamburger and Mushroom Calzone

This was a last minute supper thrown together with what I could find in the refrigerator and pantry.  I tried to use healthier low-fat and fat-free ingredients until I got to the cheese.  I simply will not make do with low-fat cheese.  I'd rather just use less of the good stuff.

  • 1 lb. 93/7 lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (I used a sweet red pepper because I had it on hand.
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry ranch dressing mix
  • 4 oz fat-free cream cheese
  • 2/3 can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough (not the thin crust variety)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

1.  Brown the ground beef in a skillet on medium high heat.  When the beef is almost ready, add the onions, mushrooms, and peppers to the skillet and cook until the vegetables are tender.

2.  Add the basil and ranch dressing mix.  Stir well.  Add the cream cheese and stir until it melts.  Stir in the cream of mushroom soup.  Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.

3.  Roll out the prepared pizza dough onto a greased cookie sheet.  Pour the contents of the skillet along the center of the dough.

4. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese along the center of the ground beef mixture.

5.  Roll the ends in on top of the meat about 2 inches.  Then, fold each side to completely cover the meat/mushroom/cheese filling.  Cut a few 3 inch long slits in the top of the calzone.

6.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Spread mozzarella cheese along center of the baked calzone.  Return the calzone to oven until the cheese melts.

7.  Remove from oven and let it "rest" for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with sour cream or green onion dip.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Buffalo Chicken "Lite" Bites

I got the idea for this recipe from Pinterest.  The original recipe can be found at Sweet Pea's Kitchen  I tried to make it a little more healthy, and I am pleased to say that the results were very good.  I hope you enjoy it!


3 cups of cooked and shredded boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Franks hot wing sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing
4 oz of fat-free cream cheese
1 1/2 cups of shredded 2% milk sharp cheddar cheese (I'm not ready for fat-free cheese.)
1/4 cup of finely chopped green onions
1 cup of four
4 egg whites
1 whole egg
4 cups crushed corn flakes


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, hot sauce, ranch dressing, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and green onions.  I found out very quickly that it is easier to do this with your hands.  Just make sure you wash all the hot sauce from your fingers when you are finished!
  • Roll chicken into 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls if you are planning on using these as appetizers.  I used them as dinner, so I made larger, oblong shapes (about 2 1/2 inches long) with my chicken mixture.  Place on a baking sheet until ready to "dip and roll."

  • Place the flour in a plate. 
  • Place the egg and egg whites in a bowl and beat thoroughly.  I added salt and pepper.
  • Place the crushed corn flakes in a separate plate.

  • Dip each chicken bite into the flour and coat well.
  • Then dip each floured chicken bite into the beaten eggs.
  • Next, roll the floured and "egged" chicken bites in the crushed corn flakes.
  • Place on a separate greased baking sheet.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite blue cheese or ranch dip and sliced vegetables.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick and Easy Shamrock Pie

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!  I hope you feel the luck of the Irish and the blessings from God today!  I won't be making any traditional Irish foods for the holiday, so I decided to at least make a green dessert for my family to enjoy.  My maiden name IS Fenley, so I MUST have a little Irish in me somewhere.

For the Crust:

1 package of low or reduced fat graham crackers, finely crumbled
   (Most boxes contain 3 individually wrapped packages)
2 heaping TBS of coconut oil
2 packs of artificial sweetener like Sweet -n- Low

Use hands or a food processor to crumble the graham crackers.  Add 2 packs of artificial sweetener and stir well.  Add coconut oil to crumbs and combine well.  I used my hands because it helped the coconut oil melt.

Carefully press the cracker crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a deep dish pie plate.

For the filling:

1 can fat free sweetened and condensed milk
The juice of three large limes
The zest of one lime
1 single serving container of fat free key lime pie yogurt
2/3 tub of sugar free Cool Whip
Green food coloring

1 extra lime for garnish

Zest one of the limes you will be juicing.  Set zest aside.  Juice the three large limes.  Set juice aside.  Empty the sweetened and condensed milk into a large metal or glass bowl.  Add the lime juice and beat until the mixture becomes thicker and creamy.  Stir in the lime zest and yogurt.  Add 5 drops of green food coloring and stir well. Fold in 2/3 of the tub of Cool Whip.  When all ingredients are combined well, carefully spoon it into the graham cracker pie crust.  Smooth the top evenly.

I then took the remaining 1/3 tub of Cool Whip and placed it in an icing bag with a large star tip.  I placed Cool Whip stars around the perimeter of the pie filling.  I sprayed a shamrock cookie cutter with Pam cooking spray and placed it in the middle of the pie.  Then, I filled the cookie cutter with the rest of the whipped topping, carefully pressing it into all areas of the cutter.  The cooking spray allowed me to lift the cookie cutter from the pie without removing any of the Cool Whip.  I then sliced the extra lime, cut those slices into fourths, and placed them around the pie for garnish.

Refrigerate the pie for at least one hour before serving.  Enjoy!! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Lemon Glaze

This recipe was given to me by Mrs. Betty Jean Adams from my hometown of Thomaston, Georgia.  I have made only small changes to the original recipe, so I am still giving her all of the credit for it.  It is my favorite pound cake recipe that I have ever tasted in my 42 years on this earth.  I first tasted it in December 2003 after my Paw Paw's death (because it is a Georgia tradition to bring lots of good food when someone passes away).  And let me tell you, no one in The South puts on a funeral spread like the Hayes/Ellington family in west central Georgia.

  • 3 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 1  8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 6 eggs brought to room temperature and then separated
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract

Bring butter, cream cheese, and eggs to room temperature. (I usually set my first three ingredients on the counter several hours prior to beginning the cake.) Sift cake flour three times (Yes, I said THREE times).  Cream butter with cream cheese with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.  Add sugar and beat well.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until well blended.  Add sifted flour gradually, continuing to mix well until all flour is incorporated.  Stir in vanilla and lemon flavoring.  In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk to beat egg whites to stiff peaks.  Fold egg whites into the cake batter.  Spoon into a well-greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 350 F for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the cake tests done with a knife or toothpick.

Ingredients for lemon glaze:
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon white corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon softened butter
  • dash of salt

Combine all ingredients and beat well (use medium high setting if using an electric mixer) to blend.  Drizzle over top of cake.  This icing adds flavor and helps to retain moisture.

Shepherd's Pie

I haven't cooked in a couple of days because my husband has been working the night shift.  Also, my sweet mother-in-law has been diagnosed with shingles, so she hasn't felt like going out to eat.  We have been stuck eating carry-out and leftovers for the past couple of days.  With time on my hands, I decided to look through some of my recipes.  I came across a recipe from last year's Vacation Bible School's cooking class that has become a favorite.  I can't believe I forgot to include it on my blog.  The pictures I am including are from Beech Grove Baptist Church's 2011 Vacation Bible School.  The recipe I'm sharing has several additions that you won't see in the pictures of the little ladies preparing the pie last summer.  Things typed in red are my additions to Mrs. Lynn's original recipe.

Ingredients for meat layer:

1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 tsp. onion powder
Mrs. Lynn shows the girls how to drain the ground beef.

1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 medium onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
1 TBS Vinegar
1 TBS Sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. horseradish
1 TBS Soy sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme

Brown ground beef.  Add onion and bell pepper and continue to cook until tender.  While meat is cooking add onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Drain excess fat and return meat and vegetables to pan.   Stir in ketchup, vinegar, sugar, mustard, horseradish, soy sauce, and thyme.  Spread the meat mixture in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Ingredients for potato layer:

6 medium or 8 small potatoes
1 stick of butter 
(I just put a pat of butter and mix in 1/2 to 3/4 cup buttermilk)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black or white pepper

Here are my precious girls preparing the potatoes. 

Wash and peel potatoes.  Cut into cubes or slices and place in a large boiler.  Cover potatoes with water.  Bring to a boil, and continue boiling until potatoes are very soft.  Drain potatoes.  Add one stick of butter to hot potatoes. (Or use a pat of butter and the buttermilk I mentioned)  Mash potatoes with a fork or potato masher.  Add salt and pepper.  Use electric mixer to whip potatoes until they are smooth.  (Mrs. Lynn says the secret ingredient is to mix in a spoonful of mayonnaise.)  Spread the potatoes evenly over the top of the ground beef mixture in the casserole dish.

Miss Hannah let the little ladies' group add the cheese
and make the buttered toast.

Remaining ingredients:
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
I use 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of cheddar.
Top the mashed potato layer with the two cups of cheese.  Place in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.  Serve with buttered toast and a salad.

... and here are all our ladies with their delicious creations...