Sunday, January 25, 2009


I'm learning a bit about entertaining. In the past, I've always felt like I had to put on the best dinner in the world. And of course that means making everything from scratch. Don't get me wrong, I love that. But, it's a ton of work, and sometimes you just don't feel like you have it in you. Typically, I would just suck it up and move forward, pounding out the gourmet, every bit homemade kind of stuff. Usually, I'm exhausted by the time dinner is served and definitely not in the mood to socialize and truly be the hostess with the mostess.

So, when confronted with this situation recently, I took the easy way out and it felt great. The best part, it was delicious! My family came up for the day a couple of weekends ago, and I hosted a little dinner for everyone. We had spaghetti with chicken sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and carrots, and a simple and minimal cream sauce (a recipe I recently enjoyed at Mallory's) and then served it with fresh parsley and Parmesan. Salad, bread. Easy. So, usually dessert is my thing. I love thinking up what to make and can't wait to see everyone enjoying it. I had wanted to make a banana cream pie but due to time constraints and a lack of energy, I got on Google, a road that leads to oh-so-many of my wonderful recipe discoveries, and found a special recipe for banana pudding. I knew it would be a major crowd-pleaser from the second I saw that it came from Miss Paula Deen.

This is such a simple and fabulous recipe. I have to confess that I loved instant Jello Pudding as a kid and I have no problem whipping it out from time to time. Of course I know how to make puddings from scratch and generally find them to be much better, but every now and then there is nothing like whisking for two minutes and voila. I always read through several recipes before making my choice, I look for unusual ingredients or techniques that might make a dish new or a little more exciting than what people might expect or have tried. There were two things in this recipe that instantly caught my attention, the use of cream cheese and the Chessman Cookies.

This pudding really 'Ain't Yo Momma's Banana Puddin'. It's really, really good. Too good. My husband and I ate way, way too much of it. After serving seven, there was still half of a casserole dish left over... I couldn't bring myself to buy *Cool Whip so I whipped up quite stiffly and unsweetened, the better part of two pints of cream. I would only use 1 and a half pints next time. I would also make this in advance, if you let it set up overnight it is much easier to cut and will really hold its shape. This recipe is super easy and will definitely make everyone around your table happy. I adore the way it looks. The Pepperidge Farm cookies really dress it up. The picture below is from Food Network.

Not Yo' Momma's Banana Pudding
adapted from Paula Deen

serves 12-14

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6- 8 bananas, sliced, tossed in lemon juice
2 C milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container *frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount *sweetened whipped cream (this is where I used real cream, whipped, and unsweetened, you really don't want the added sugar, the recipe doesn't need it...)

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.


aaron said...

These look devine. totally trying them next week. Thanks friend!

tina said...

whoops friend, that was me - not Aaron! :) hehe.