Sweet Treats

Recipe—Banana Cream Pie Dip

Banana cream pie is one of my top 5 favorite desserts, maybe top 3. It was pretty much the only late night craving I had throughout my pregnancy with my son. Maybe it is because it reminds me of the banana shakes my dad used to make me as a kid. That was kind of our thing. Friday nights watching M*A*S*H and drinking banana shakes. That. Was. The. Life!

This dip has everything I love about banana cream pie but in one very addicting easy to make dip. It is perfect for parties or just a random dessert. If you have been following me for a while now you may know I have a thing for dessert dips. I’ve posted recipes for Cannoli Dip, Sweat Cream Dip with Strawberries, Sweet Cherry Chip Dip, Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip, and Toffee Apple Dip

Dessert dips are so quick and easy to make. So many people are intimidated by overly complex desserts but when all you have to do is mix a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, these really are foolproof. 

INGREDIENTS

3.4 oz box instant banana cream pudding
2 c milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c powdered sugar
2 c Cool Whip, divided
Nilla wafers or graham crackers for serving

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl, beat together the pudding powder and milk until well combined and set aside. 
  • In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer and beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Fold the pudding mixture and 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip into the cream cheese mixture and stir until it is creamy.
  • Transfer the finished mixture to a serving dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of Cool Whip. 
  • Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for 30 minutes or more. 
  • Sprinkle with a few crushed wafers or graham cracker crumbs.
  • Serve with a side of Nilla Wafers or graham crackers.

If you like this recipe, then I highly recommend you check out these other awesome dessert dip recipes!

Cannoli Dip

Cannoli Dip

Cherry Chip Dip

Toffee Apple Dip

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream

The other day as we were driving into our subdivision, we spotted a little pop-up fruit stand with the most vibrant red strawberries on the side of the road. They were so fresh and ripe that you could smell the sweet strawberry aroma from over 10 feet away. It literally just drew me in. 

It was the first really warm weekend of the year so making some homemade strawberry ice cream just seemed obvious. Fresh churned old fashioned strawberry ice cream is just an iconic summer treat and the key is ripe fresh strawberries. The kind that you can only find in the warmer months and that are a deep red throughout.

Now the trick to getting a really good creamy strawberry ice cream, is to make it with an egg/custard base. Strawberries have so much juice in them that your ice cream can take on an icy texture if you just use milk and cream. So, this recipe may be a bit more work than others, but it is so worth it. The final product will be so creamy and decadent. Absolutely worth it!

So as the weather really starts to warm up as summer creeps in, and you start seeing your market and fruit stands flooded with ripe strawberries, make sure to keep this recipe in mind. It is the perfect dessert to make this summer.

Note: This recipe requires that you make a custard egg mixture over the stove that needs to be completely chilled before being placed in the ice cream maker. The steps below guide you to put the custard in the fridge for 4–5 hours. However, if you don’t have the time, you can place the bowl of warm custard in a second large bowl filled with ice water and stir frequently. This will allow your mixture to cool within 30–40 minutes. Just make sure to keep it well stocked with ice.

INGREDIENTS
4 large egg yolks
3/4 c sugar, divided
1/4 c  brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c heavy cream
1 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 c strawberries, sliced 
1 tbsp lemon juice 

STEPS

  • In large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, brown sugar, and salt until it is nice and smooth and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan combine the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla and heat over medium heat until it begins to simmer. 
  • Remove the pot from heat and VERY slowly add the egg mixture to the pot while whisking the entire time. (By slowly mixing in the egg mixture and whisking continuously you are tempering the eggs but not cooking them.) 
  • Return the saucepan with the creamy egg mixture to the stove and heat through over medium heat.
  • Stir the mixture frequently until it just starts the slightly thicken. You do not want to overdo it or the eggs will begin to cook/scramble.
  • Once the custard mixture is done, transfer it to a large metal or glass bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and place it in the fridge for 4­–5 hours until it is well chilled. 
  • When you are ready to start making the ice cream, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl.
  • Using a metal masher, break up the strawberries until they are really saturated in their juices.
  • Add the mashed strawberries to the custard mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Pour the final ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to your device’s directions. 
  • Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and store in the freezer. 
  • If you like this recipe, make sure to also check out my recipe for Blackberry Ice Cream, another favorite in our house. 
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Lemon Italian Ice

If you think a cold glass of lemonade is refreshing on a hot summer day, wait until you try this frozen treat, Lemon Italian Ice! There is no comparison. This is better, hands down. Your kiddos will think so too.

My son and I make this during the summer and it is the most refreshing thing I have probably ever had. The lemon mixture with fresh zest is just the perfect amount of tart and sweet and it is crazy how light and fluffy it is! Absolute heaven! 

I absolutely love how easy this recipe is to make. So easy that my 11-year-old does most of the work. I pretty much just zest the lemons and he does the rest. Plus, it is basically 4 ingredients. Fresh lemons, sugar, salt, and water. So simple and relatively healthy compared to other frozen treats.

So as the weather warms up and you are looking for creative ways to cool off, give this a try. It is sure to do the trick!

Notes: 

  • The trick to making this is to work quickly when you are processing the frozen cubes and keep the fluffy ice from melting. We had a container ready to go in the freezer and as soon as I emptied each batch from the blender to the container, it went back into the freezer. This really kept it light and fluffy and it never froze together. 
  • To get 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice, you will probably need between 8–10 lemons.
  • This makes a pretty decent sized batch so you can easily get 6–8 servings out of it. 

INGREDIENTS
grated zest from 2 lemons
1 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c water

GARNISHES (optional)
fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar, salt, and water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  • Put 6–8 ice cubes at a time into a food processor or blender and pulse until all the cubes are broken up and you have a fluffy mixture.
  • Immediately transfer the “fluffy ice” to serving dishes OR a freezer safe container to be enjoyed later.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining cubes.
  • Garnish your Italian ice with some fresh raspberries and mint sprigs.
  • Store the leftover Italian ice in the freezer in a tightly covered container. 
  • To serve later, remove the Italian ice from the freezer and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes to help soften it up for scooping. 
Dinners, Soups

Recipe—Keto White Chicken Chili

Okay, you may be thinking, “Why is this Diva posting a chili recipe as the weather is warming up? Isn’t chili a cool weather dish?” Here is my response, this is probably one of the best keto meals I have ever had, and the flavors are so good that I absolutely eat this any time. Plus, it is just so easy to make, and in my opinion, an easy one pot recipe is welcome year-round.

I have been “doing keto” since June 2020 and am down 33 lbs. Yay me! Now don’t worry, this blog is not suddenly turning keto. I am just all about offering variety to my followers and I could not keep this recipe to myself, it is just too good! If you are a long time follower, you know my blog is anything but a keto or diet blog.

Now even if you aren’t on a ketogenic diet, you can absolutely enjoy this recipe as is, or what I do for my husband and son who are full on carbivores (I just made that up), is split the cooked chili into two batches after it is all cooked. One keto batch for me, and one carb loaded version for them. I have integrated carbs two different ways for them. One time I added a can of white cannellini beans to their chili and another time I served this over a bowl of cooked rice. Both of those options were very well received.

Hope you love this recipe as much as I do because it is definitely one of my new favorite “go tos”.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
1 1/2 c chicken broth
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c heavy cream
4.5-ounce can diced green chiles, drained

GARNISHES
avocado
cilantro
cotija cheese, crumbled

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add the ground chicken breaking it apart as it cooks.
  • Season the meat with cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and continue cooking until it is almost cooked through.
  • Add the butter, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeño to the pot.
  • Sauté until all the veggies are cooked through and tender, about 5–10 minutes.
  • Add the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and then add the cream cheese, heavy cream, and green chiles.
  • Continue simmering for another 15 minutes stirring every once in a while, making sure that the cream cheese melts and is nicely integrated.
  • Garnish with avocado, cilantro, and crumbled cotija cheese.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Classic Whoopie Pies

There is something so fun about whoopie pies. That creamy marshmallow filling sandwiched between two fluffy chocolate cakes. Yes, please! 

The other day I saw an article about the history of whoopie pies and it is too cute not to share. According to legend, Amish wives would take leftover cake batter and make the tiny cakes. Husbands and kids would then find the little “pies” in their lunch boxes the next day and would exclaim “Whoopee!” Cute right? That would probably be my reaction if I found one of these in my lunch too.

They may seem complicated but actually are super easy to make. You basically make cookies out of cake batter and just bake them for a few minutes, let them cool, and then fill them with gooey goodness. Oh, and then add a glass of milk or a good stout. 

Notes: 

  • This recipe makes about 10–12 assembled pies. 
  • You can put the marshmallow filling between the cakes just by scooping it on, or I like to use a piping bag with a large tip to get really smooth edges. You can have fun using decorative piping tips too. 
  • Store uneaten whoopie pies in an airtight container in the fridge for best results. Then allow them to come to room temperature for about 10–15 minutes. This will allow the cake to soften back up. My husband and son actually like to keep them in the freezer and they eat them frozen so they are like a super indulgent ice cream sandwich. 

CAKE INGREDIENTS
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c whole milk
2 tsp vanilla

MARSHMALLOW FILLING INGREDIENTS
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c marshmallow creme/fluff

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º. 
  • Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Stir together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  • In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla extract until well integrated.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined. 
  • Scoop large equal sized spoonfuls of batter onto the lined baking sheet keeping them a couple of inches apart.
  • Bake the “cakes” for about 6–7 minutes. Make sure they are puffed up and looked cook through but don’t overcook them.
  • Using a spatula, immediately transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
  • Prepare the marshmallow filling by beating together all the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until nice and smooth. Gradually add the marshmallow creme until it is mixed in. (If the frosting doesn’t seem thick enough, add in a bit more powdered sugar a little at a time. You want it to be about the consistency of frosting.)
  • Take one of the cakes, turn it upside down, and put a nice sized dollop of the marshmallow filling in the center of the underside of the cake. (If your filling is squishing out from the weight of the cake on top, you can place the filling in the fridge for about 30 minutes. The butter chilling will help to thicken it up.)
  • Place a matching cake flat side down on top of the filling and push it down to spread the filling evenly from edge to edge. I like my filling to be about 1/2” thick.
  • Repeat until all the pies are complete!

If you like this recipe, check out my recipe for Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies which are made with a cream cheese marshmallow filling.