Mandarin Pie #CookoutWeek

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips… this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. 

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

I’ve always been a fan of fruit and chocolate. Separately or together, this combination is pretty great. I can hardly think of a single fruit that doesn’t taste good with a bit of chocolate. Can you? Oranges and chocolate is one of my favorite combos. I love it in these cookies and these muffins, so it should come as no surprise that I also love it in pie form!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The first time I tried this pie was a pretty bad night. Maybe “pretty bad” is a bit of an exaggeration, but over Christmas, both Ben and I got pinkeye. It was pretty much the worst. We were visiting my parents in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina when the dreaded infection struck. My eyes looked awful and vacation went from relaxing to constant laundry, handwashing, and disinfecting. I blame the baby. Haha. 🙂 Maybe I’m still exaggerating about how bad it was, but I wouldn’t wish pinkeye on anyone! The only highlight of the evening I spent at urgent care was this dessert that I got to enjoy afterwards. This pie was graciously shared with our family by my parents’ friends. We each got a slice and I was so sad it was all gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Eventually I got the recipe and the rest is history! I forsee a LOT of mandarin pie in my future!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The goodness of this pie starts off with an Oreo crust. The original recipe suggested a chocolate crust, but I amped it up a bit with some Oreos (or fauxreos, as Ben calls them because in baking, I tend to use the store brand). The crust is then filled with a glorious mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. It’s light and sweet and almost cheesecake-y in texture. Utterly amazing! Fold in some mandarin oranges, spoon into crust, and top with mini chocolate chips and a few decorative mandarin oranges and there you have it! Every bite is filled with chocolatey orange goodness. Since this pie doesn’t require any baking, it’s perfect for summer. This would be a great pie to bring to a cookout, as long as it could be kept cold until serving. Wherever you enjoy this pie, be sure to share it with those you love. 🙂 ❤

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve shared for #CookoutWeek. Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

Tell me: what’s your favorite no-bake dessert for cookouts?

two years ago: Iced Coconut Mocha
three years ago: Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars
four years ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
five years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
six years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Mandarin Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30 minutes plus time to chill
  • Print

from my mom’s friend Karen – addition of the Oreo crust by yours truly

Ingredients:

for Oreo crust (can also substitute your favorite chocolate crust or a storebought one)

  • 25 Oreos
  • 5 tablespoons butter

for pie

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, divided
  • 1 ounce semi sweet chocolate OR a handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Begin by preparing crust. Crush Oreos in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Then melt butter and drizzle into Oreo crumbs. Use a fork to combine, then press into a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

To prepare pie filling, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Transfer half of the pie filling to crust, then top with most of the mandarin oranges. Reserve eight oranges for the pie topping. Cover with remaining filling. Depending on how deep the pie pan is, you may have a little leftover. Top pie with mandarin oranges and mini chocolate chips.

Instead of mini chocolate chips, you can also melt 1 ounce of semi sweet chocolate (a baking square if possible) and drizzle over the pie. Either way tastes great!

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before slicing. Best enjoyed the same day, especially for presentation, but leftovers are also good for ~48 hours.

I haven’t made this, but I think this pie filling would also be amazing as parfaits: Oreo crumbs, pie filling, mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, and repeat. Yum!

Advertisements

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch… no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice…or two…or three of!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

On Halloween, a Dairy Queen opened about five minutes from our house. Dangerous! Before that, we had to drive a decent distance to reach one. Some of the folks in our area were upset, saying the DQ would “ruin” the area with another fast food area. Ruin the area? Ummm, no! Ruin people’s diets, more likely! Haha. Is there anything more delicious than a Blizzard or a dipped cone? I don’t think so… unless it’s this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now I realize that Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake and Dairy Queen don’t really relate to many of you. But for longterm DQ lovers like me, do you remember the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard? I used to get them all the time in college and then they took them off the menu. It was a very sad day. Some stores would make them, and others wouldn’t, which made NO sense to me because it’s just strawberries [that they already have from the sundaes!] and chocolate [like chips/shavings OR that dipped cone topping…yum!]. Yum and yum. It’s so basic, but so good, ya know?

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now, I haven’t been to my local DQ [I just got chills typing that, you guys…yay!] yet to see if they’ll make me my favorite Blizzard, but right now I have this cake and the world is a-okay. You can make this fresh strawberry cake with fresh or frozen strawberries, making it a great year-round treat. There’s absolutely nothing fake or artificial in this cake, just lots of pure strawberry goodness! If you want more of a pink/red color, you’ll have to use a little food coloring but I was happy with the color of my cake without that. The strawberry cake is light and fluffy, and when combined with the rich chocolate frosting is absolutely heavenly! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did!

one year ago: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
two years ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
three years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
four years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro {A Family Farm in Tuscany}
five years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
six years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Print

for Fresh Strawberry Cake

for Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 24 ounces very ripe strawberries, hulled – or frozen strawberries work too!
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 1/4 milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • red or pink food coloring, if desired

for frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar [plus up to an extra 1/2 cup as needed]
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 8 ounces sour cream

Directions:

If using frozen strawberries [I did!], set in a fine strainer placed over a bowl. Let rest until thawed, tossing occasionally to remove excess juices. Reserve liquid for another use or discard as desired.

If using fresh strawberries, hull and toss with 1-2 teaspoons sugar. Let rest at room temperature for an hour or two, until juicy.

Place strawberries in a food processor and pulse. Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. Use the rest for something else–I stirred mine into plain yogurt. Yum!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round baking pans. Mine are 9 inches. If desired, you can also grease pan, line with parchment circles, then grease and flour again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup strawberry puree, 1/4 cup milk, egg whites, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. While mixer is running on low, add butter. Mix until moist crumbs form.

Add strawberry puree mixture to bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about a minute, then turn off mixture. Scrape sides and stir together by hand for about 30 seconds. Add a drop or two of food coloring if desired–original recipe said that batter won’t get pinker so add food coloring if you want more of a pink/red color!

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops with a rubber spatula, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I usually start checking around 18 minutes and cover with foil if top is browning too much.

When finished, let cake rest in pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile… make that frosting!

In a small bowl, mix 3 cups powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.

Add cocoa mixture to cream cheese concoction in 1/3 cup increments, mixing until fully incorporated. Pour in the chocolate [it helps to melt it in a glass measuring cup with a spout] while mixer is running on low, then add sour cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides as necessary. If desired, add additional powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Frost the cake once cooled–first between the two layers, then on top and sides. Some people use the extra strawberry puree in between the layers but I didn’t do that. Check out original recipe for more details! Enjoy!

P.S. I stored the leftovers in the fridge due to the frosting. It’s great cold!

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken

This delicious, creamy pasta dish comes together in a flash! It’s like a grown-up broccoli & cheese casserole, pasta-fied!

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli + Chicken | thepajamachef.com

I don’t think “pasta-fied” is a word, but I want it to be. This pasta dish is one of my absolute favorite quick dinners… and you gotta make it soon! Promise? It is reminiscent of SO many other dishes that I bet you know and love… those rice/pasta packet side dishes… the ever-classic broccoli & cheese side dish… pesto pasta… mac & cheese… I could go on and on and on, but then I wouldn’t get to the goodness of this dish! Sure, it’s not the healthiest pasta dinner, but it is flavorful and has veggies, protein, and carbs so it’s pretty all-encompassing. And on nights when you have less time than you want, but still want a homemade dinner, meals like this are the BEST.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli + Chicken | thepajamachef.com

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken is fast and flavorful. The creamy sauce is basically pesto + cream cheese + chicken broth [ooooh pesto, how I love thee! Make your own, or use some storebought pesto… it matters not]. The creamy sauce coats your pasta [duh], chicken, and broccoli to make a wonderful all-in-one meal that’s just a bit cheesy and creamy and a whole lot delicious. You can use fresh chicken for this, or even leftover chicken [rotisserie chicken would be SO  yum and SO easy I think]. I used frozen broccoli for ease, but fresh steamed broccoli would be great too. Basically, this recipe is just a guideline. The sauce makes the dish though so keep that in mind. I hope you love it as much as we do! 🙂

one year ago: Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw
two years ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
three years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
four years ago: Chocolate Mousse
five years ago: Pumpkin Granola
six years ago: The Bestest Pizza Sauce Ever [+ Pizza How-To]


Budget Bytes

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounce small pasta, like bow ties
  • 8 ounces frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced [or 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken – rotisserie chicken would be great here!]
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed [I always use 1/3 less fat]
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping, optional

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is nearly cooked, add frozen broccoli to the water with the pasta. Cook for a minute, then drain pasta and broccoli together.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet set over medium heat, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add sliced chicken and season with black pepper. Stir frequently, and cook for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through [no pink]. If you are using pre-cooked chicken, simply heat chicken in pan over medium-low heat until hot. You can add a little olive oil or water if you would like to keep it moist.

Then, add pesto and chicken broth to cooked chicken. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cream cheese gradually, constantly stirring to allow the sauce to thicken. Fold in cooked and drained pasta and broccoli. Stir well to combine, and serve!

Pasta is best fresh, but heats up well. You can top it with a little Parmesan cheese too… extra cheese never hurt anyone! 🙂

SRC: Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm!

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm! #secretrecipeclub

This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to The Avid Appetite, a fun blog written by Rachel. Rachel lives in Jersey City with her family and shares her love of family, fun, and food through her wonderful blog that she’s maintained for 5+ years. So many of her recipes sounded so delicious that it was hard to just pick one! After checking out my options, I narrowed it down to Pepperjack Pimento Cheese Dip, her favorite Iced Coffee recipe, Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges, and Berry Baked Oatmeal… and my final pick, Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I wish I had time to try everything!

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm! #secretrecipeclub These buffalo chicken lettuce wraps certainly hit the spot! They were the perfect blend of spicy, creamy, cheesy, and cool. We enjoyed them during Selection Sunday last week [go Hoosiers!], but they’d be equally good during any sporting event, party, or get together. To be honest, buffalo chicken isn’t always my favorite–some versions are too spicy, and most versions are too messy–but this recipe may make me a diehard fan. 🙂 If you like buffalo chicken, you’ll love this recipe!

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm! #secretrecipeclub

I changed a few things with Rachel’s original recipe–namely, using feta cheese and ranch dressing in place of bleu cheese and bleu cheese dressing, but the heart of the recipe is still there. If you’re a bleu cheese fan, knock yourself out, haha. I also added celery on top for some crunch! Yum! Thanks, Rachel, for this tasty treat!

one year ago: French Toast Casserole
two years ago: Tasty Mexican Lentils

three years ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
four years ago: Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola
five years ago: Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Servings: 8 as an appetizer, 4 as a meal
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Print

from The Avid Appetite

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts or 4-5 chicken thighs – I used bone in, skin on chicken thighs but boneless skinless would work too
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil, if using boneless skinless chicken
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s red hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta or bleu cheese
  • 1 head Boston or iceberg lettuce, washed and dried, then separated into individual leaves
  • 1/3 cup ranch or bleu cheese dressing
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken on a large baking sheet lined with foil. [If using boneless skinless chicken, brush chicken with olive oil.] Sprinkle chicken with pepper, paprika, and thyme. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes to cool, then remove skin and bones and chop into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, place cream cheese, hot sauce, and feta in a large mixing bowl. Stir together and add chicken. Transfer mixture to an oven safe baking dish to heat through, or place in a skillet set over low heat. Cook until cheese has melted, about 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, spoon buffalo chicken into prepared lettuce leaves. Drizzle with ranch dressing and top with celery.

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out all the other recipes made by my SRC friends this week at the link below!

Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake #FreshTastyValentines

Brighten up your Valentine’s Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! It’s even frosted too!

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

Winter is made for citrus, is it not? Or citrus is made for winter… no matter how you put it, citrus brings warmth and energy to otherwise dull, cold, dreary days. I know a lot of people associate citrus flavors–lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit–with summer [lemonade sure helps there!] but I’ve always been in the winter=citrus camp. In junior high and high school, we sold citrus fruits in the winter to raise money for orchestra [yup, I was an orch-dork! #Violin #ThenViola]. And, how many classic books talk about children reaching into their stockings on Christmas and being THRILLED to receive an orange? Yup. Winter=citrus. So it was only fitting that my snow day baking last week involved this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake.

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

This cake reminds me, a little bit, of a classic lemon cake… tangy and sweet all at once, but remixed with the unique floral notes of a grapefruit so you know it’s something special! Since grapefruits have a certain degree of tartness to them, you definitely need the sugar and cinnamon in this recipe to balance out the flavors. This cake uses all of the grapefruit–zest AND juice–to make the grapefruit flavor really stand out.

Brighten up your Valentine's Day celebration with this refreshing Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake! You won't want to miss the grapefruit cream cheese frosting! :) #FreshTastyValentines

At first, I wasn’t sure if this would be a good recipe to contribute as part of #FreshTastyValentines [read all about it here–and be sure to enter the giveaway!]. After all, it’s a snack cake–made in a sheet pan–and doesn’t look all that fancy. But then I realized that Ben and I don’t really do fancy. Cozy nights at home are our thing. We’ve been together for eight years, married for nearly seven of them. I’m sure once baby boy comes in May we will look forward to date nights out more than we currently do, but for now, sheet cake in the fridge [that we can snack on all week] is perfectly fine with us! Plus, grapefruit is pink soooo it’s festive enough, right? Another point that tipped the scale towards “recipe for #FreshTastyValentines” was the fact that I used one of our sponsor goodies in the making of this recipe! Duh, better include it. 🙂

KitchenIQ is one of our fabulous sponsors, and generously sent the bloggers involved in this event a Strawberry Tool [can’t wait to find some good looking strawberries to test out this strawberry slicer!!] and a wonderful Better Zester! This zester was wonderfully easy to use and was so sharp that it hardly took any effort to zest a whole grapefruit. Love it! Thanks for your support in #FreshTastyValentines, KitchenIQ! You can find Kitchen IQ on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest… and be sure to enter the giveaway by February 8, 2016 for a chance to win some of their great products. 🙂 I hope you win so you can make this festive grapefruit-walnut snack cake! The grapefruit cream cheese frosting is NOT to be missed. Enjoy!

one year ago: Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas
two years ago: Chili Relleno Casserole
three years ago: Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip
four years ago: Fried Eggs on Pesto Parmesan Toast
five years ago: Mini Meatloaf

Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake

  • Servings: 18
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

from a magazine… I think Southern Living 🙂

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 1 Ruby Red grapefruit – zest and juice, divided
  • 1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for grapefruit cream cheese frosting

  • 1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened [I used the 1/3 less fat variety – Neufchâtel]
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • reserved grapefruit zest and juice [from cake, above]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12-16 ounces powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Begin by zesting and juicing the grapefruit. You’ll need 3 tablespoons zest [this was about 3/4 of the grapefruit zested for me] and 10 tablespoons of juice [the whole grapefruit–I was actually a wee bit short so I added about a teaspoon or two of water and zested the whole grapefruit to make up for it].

In a small bowl, stir together 8 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the melted butter and 1/2 cup water. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add butter mixture, 2 tablespoons zest, walnuts, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan, then bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. [Original recipe suggested 20-25 minutes bake time; mine took a full 30.]

Cool completely before frosting, at least 1 hour.

When ready to frost, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add vanilla, 1 tablespoon zest, and 2 tablespoons juice and beat for 30 seconds to blend. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached, beating on low until blended. Frost cooled cake and enjoy! Store covered in the refrigerator.

Be sure to check out all of the other recipes that are part of #FreshTastyValentines today at the linky below! 🙂

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Better Zester! and Strawberry Tool from Kitchen IQ for my participation in #FreshTastyValentines. However, I was not required to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to KitchenIQ for their sponsorship of this event!