Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BIG announcement!

To my very few but very dear readers,

For a while now, I've been wanting to change the name of my blog. I've never really been happy with this one and felt it didn't really fit the look or vibe I was going for. So, I've created a BRAND NEW blog and will be posting there from now on. Don't worry, I am also going to copy everything over from Mrs. JY to my new blog.

Here it is!

biscuits & honey


I feel like this new name really sums me up. "Biscuits" for my Southern heritage; and "honey" represents my love of pure, simple ingredients. This name change came mostly out of the realization that I really just wanted to blog about food. Mrs. JY started out as more of a lifestyle blog, but it quickly became apparent to me that most of my entries were about food and cooking.

And, since I don't have tons of readers right now, I thought it a good time to make the jump. I hope that those of you who do read will make the jump with me! The future only promises more tales of culinary delights.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Upside Down Chicken Pot Pie & Candy Bar Brownies

This is another really easy, quick weeknight meal that I adapted from a recipe of Jenny's from Picky Palate (love Jenny's blog - you should check it out if you haven't already. It's perfect for winter - total comfort food. It's also a great way to use leftover chicken.

Upside Down Chicken Pot Pie
adapted from Picky Palate

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (I recommend Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (you could also use cream of chicken or cream of celery, whatever you have on hand or whatever is your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic & Herb flavor Mrs. Dash (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or more to taste)

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cook the chicken breast until done, about 30-45 minutes. After the chicken is done, cube or shred it. Lower the heat to 350 degrees.

While the oven is lowering temperature, gently unfold the puff pastry onto a well floured surface and cut it into 9 equal squares. Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While the puff pastry is baking, prepare the chicken gravy. Pour the soup in a medium saucepan, and add the milk, mixed vegetables, chicken, Mrs. Dash, and seasoned salt to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes or so or until the veggies are tender. You can thin out the sauce with more milk to your desired consistency if you like.

To serve, place 2 puff pastry squares in a bowl and ladle the chicken gravy over it. Enjoy your upside down chicken pot pie!

Next, I have a second super easy dessert recipe for you as a bonus!

This is a great brownie recipe if you need something super quick and easy in pinch. And they look and taste fantastic. No one would ever guess you just doctored up a box mix. Everyone loves these!

Candy Bar Brownies

  • 1 box of your favorite family size brownie mix, for a 9x13" pan, prepared according to the directions on the box
  • 3 large size Hershey's Symphony Bars (I like the ones with toffee and almonds)

First, prepare the brownie mix according to box directions. Pour half of the brownie batter into a 9x13" pan. Top the brownie batter with the candy bars (three of the large ones should just fit into your pan). Then, top with the remaining brownie batter. Bake according to box directions. Enjoy!

Coming Up....

This Saturday, I spent the entire day baking and I gave away my holiday boxes on Sunday! They contained Cookies 'n Cream Fudge, Neiman Marcus Cookies, Christmas Rice Krispie Treats, and Swirled Turtle Brownies! I hope the recipients enjoyed them. I'm going to do a big post and share all of my recipes soon.

Also, I just finished planning our Christmas Eve menu! This year, Mr. JY and I will be having our own party and exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve, and we'll be spending Christmas Day with our parents. I've decided to make Beef Wellington, Brussels Sprouts Gratin, Carrot Souffle, Homemade Yeast Rolls, and Homemade Butter! And individual chocolate souffle cakes for dessert! It's going to be so yummy. So be on the lookout for an upcoming post about that.

Oh! And also, I wanted to tell you, I WON the cubicle decorating contest at my office! I will be posting about that tomorrow.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Giada and Ina's Macaroni and Cheese

Here's another recipe to tide you over until I get my holiday recipes up. I think I decided today on the main course for Mr. JY and I's Christmas Eve dinner!

This recipe is my own combination of two great macaroni and cheese recipes from Ina Garten and Giada de Laurentiis, my two favorite Food Network chefs. It's defintely a more "grown up" version. It uses fontina, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses instead of cheddar, and is topped with tomatoes. I love the extra flavor the tomatoes add! Ina's recipe called for gruyere, which I am sure would be fabulous, but at the store I went to gruyere was so expensive it would've cost me $20 for the cheese alone for this recipe, so I used the cheese in Giada's, fontina. I'd never worked with fontina before, and it's creamy and mild. You could, of course, use any cheese you like. I think the first time I made this recipe I just used a shredded Italian cheese blend to save money. Since I was making this for our small group's Christmas dinner, I splurged a little on the cheese.

This macaroni and cheese is best the next day, so its a great make ahead dish. Make it the night before and just warm it in the oven before serving.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures (got in too much of a hurry), but I will be glad to share my recipe with you!

Giada & Ina's Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from two recipes courtesy Ina Garten & Giada de Laurentiis

  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 12 ounces of your favorite pasta (I used corkscrews)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups grated Fontina cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley)
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

First, spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Remember it's going in the oven later, so it should still have a bite to it. After the pasta is done cooking, drain well. Do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to your baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter. If it looks a little dry, add a little olive oil. Set aside. Slice the tomato into thin slices and set aside.

Next, top the noodles with the tomatoes, the remaining cheese, then the breadcrumbs. Put into the oven for 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are brown and cheese is bubbly. Let it sit on the counter for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.

Hint: If during baking your breadcrumbs become too brown, cover the mac and cheese with foil.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not Yo Mama's Banana Puddin'

Here's a recipe I made a while back to tide you over until my holiday entries. This would be a great, easy recipe to take to your next holiday party.

This is Paula Deen's Not Yo Mama's Banana Puddin'. I first saw Paula make this on tv a few years ago, and I was appalled. Paula Deen is supposed to be the queen of Southern cuisine, and here she was making a Southern dessert staple -banana pudding - with packaged vanilla pudding mix, shortbread cookies instead of Nilla wafers, and cream cheese? I'd grown up on my Mema's recipe, the traditional one, which contains a homemade custard pudding cooked on the stove. I turned my little nose up at this recipe and refused to make it, until my good friend Sarah (yes, the same Sarah that I baked the chocolate cake for) convinced me otherwise. I decided to give it a shot. And, boy, was Sarah right on! Traditional or not, this stuff is amazingly delicious! Even if you don't care all that much for bananas, you'll love this banana pudding.

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding
recipe courtesy Paula Deen


  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies (you may want to get three, I felt I ran out of cookies)
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 5oz box instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 140z can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz container Cool Whip, or equal amount homemade whipped cream

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

It seems as if I am always making entries like this, but I wanted to say that I'm still alive and apologize for not posting in a while! As you all know, December is just a crazy busy month and, honestly, I haven't done much cooking so far! Mostly, I've been whipping up simple, quick dinners for me and Mr. JY and that's about it. Nothing at all blog worthy. Please don't tell the foodie police, but we ate Velveeta Shells and Cheese that I doctored up the other night for dinner!

Also consuming a lot of my free time is my office's cubicle decorating contest. I know, I know. What a nerd I am! I've been decorating mine like a gingerbread house and I'm going all out. I am defintely going to post pictures here when it's done. The judging is next week.

I'm also a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding this Saturday, so I've been preparing for that and I'm totally excited! This is my first time being in a wedding (besides my own).

Stay tuned, though, because I've got some exciting things coming up! First off, I am planning on doing some holiday gift baking next week - so be on the lookout for that. Easy, foolproof, yet impressive recipes! I am planning on doing 2 types of candy, 1 cookie, and maybe a brownie.

Also, at the end of the month I'll be posting about my very first Daring Bakers challenge and boy is it a doozy! But I can't wait to tackle that one.

Also, I've been planning the menu for Mr. JY and I's Christmas Eve dinner. We visit family on Christmas day, but I am doing our own very special dinner just for us. Any ideas for me?

Thanks for reading and I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just About Perfect Chocolate Cake

photo courtesy my lovely friend Sarah (yes we have the same name), the birthday girl

I made this classic chocolate cake for my friend Sarah's birthday Saturday (also the day of the Iron Bowl..... ROLL TIDE!). It's from Tyler Florence's cookbook Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen. This was actually the first cake recipe I ever made from scratch when I made it for my dad's birthday a few years ago.

It's a very classic chocolate cake, moist, with a nice, rich chocolate flavor. There is a frosting recipe to go with it, but my attempt fell flat - it came out much too thin to use as a frosting, more like a glaze, and I ended up going with Betty Crocker instead.

The cake recipe, however, is fantastic. For now, it is my go-to chocolate cake recipe. I'd like to try some variations, like maybe using coffee or buttermilk in place of the water in the recipe, but this cake is also delicious just the way it is. I wish I'd taken a picture of the inside; it was light, fluffy, and almost had a reddish tinge to it, like Red Velvet Cake. It's the perfect cake for a birthday or for any time. What's your favorite type of cake to have on your birthday?

Triple Chocolate Threat

adapted from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen by Tyler Florence

serves 8-12

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Prepare 2 round 9" cake pans by coating the hottom and sides very well with cooking spray and flour (or use Baker's Joy like I did and save yourself a step). Line the pans with parchment paper by tracing around the edge of them and cutting out a circle that will fit perfectly in the bottom of your pan. Then, spray the tops of the parchment. This will ensure your cakes come out.

3) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

4) In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and beat for 3 minutes to incorporate.

5) Beat in each egg on at a time and then add vanilla extract until well blended.

6) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 3 minutes.

7) Gradually add in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the ice water. Beat for 1 minute after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the cake's structure. Mix until the batter is smooth.

8) Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it equally, and smoothing out the top. The pans should be two thirds full.

9) Place the pans on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and/or the cake springs back when touched.

10) Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack until completely cool. This is a very important step! Do not attempt to take the cakes out of the pan while they're still even remotely warm, as you risk this very light cake falling apart.

11) Once cool, turn them out and remove the parchment paper. Frost with your favorite frosting of choice!

I would post Tyler's frosting recipe here, but it didn't turn out well for me and I didn't care for it all that much. I used Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate frosting, but you could use your favorite buttercream recipe or whatever blows your skirt up. I decorated my cake easily by pressing handfuls of mini chocolate chips onto the sides.

Make this for a friend or family member's next birthday.... they'll love you for it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bridal Shower

Okay, so I remember I promised that I would post this glorious and beautiful post filled with pictures and amazing recipes from the bridal shower that I threw this past Saturday.

Unfortunately, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures when the party was over and all of the food was half eaten!

But, I thought I'd post anyway. I really liked my menu and thought it worked out really well for a casual mid afternoon shower. This one was actually an "Around the House" theme, where each guest was assigned a room to buy for. We ate, played a couple of games, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was a great way to spend an afternoon!

Most of my menu comes from chefs from FoodNetwork.com, with one original recipe inspired by a restaurant in Chattanooga, TN.

Bridal Shower Menu

And lastly, here is the one recipe I made up. It's inspired by an amazing sandwich I ate at a restaurant in Chattanooga, TN called River Street Deli. Or River City Deli. Or something like that. I know exactly where it is, though. It's owned by a New Yorker and it's just one of those simple, amazing hole in the wall places. You might think this is an odd combination at first, but its great!

Mini Open Faced Ham, Cheddar, and Green Apple Sandwiches


  • 10 slices of Pepperidge Farm Very Thin white bread
  • 1/4 c. apple butter (approximate)
  • 1 large or 2 small Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package Sargento sliced Medium Cheddar cheese (or any deli sliced cheddar cheese)
  • 1 package good quality deli ham or proscuitto

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the crusts off your bread slices, and then half them. Put all of the bread slices on a cookie sheet, and spray with a little bit of cooking spray. Put them in the oven until just toasted. This took about 5 minutes for me, but check them often. You want them to be barely browned.

Next, core and slice your granny smith apple into very thin slices. I didn't peel mine because I liked the color. I also put mine in a bowl of cold water and lemon juice after slicing so they wouldn't turn brown.

After slicing your apples, you'll want to slice up your cheese into rectangles that fit perfectly on top of your bread slices. Make 20 cheese rectangles and you can nibble on the scraps.

After the cheese is done, you're ready to assemble your appetizer. Spread each bread slice with a thin layer of the apple butter. Top with a slice of cheese, a slice of apple, and then with the ham or proscuitto. I just layed the ham prettily atop the apple, but if you have proscuitto you can wrap it around the sandwich. Just experiment and see what looks good.

Arrange on a tray and wrap with plastic wrap until guests arrive so the cheese won't dry out around the edges. I would make this one the day of so its fresh.