Y'all can always tell when I've been visiting with Marie Nichols. We have a delicious new recipe. I make a better than average good chocolate pie, if I do say so myself. Marie's is just plain delicious. It holds up better, too. She gave us a recipe for whipped cream that will hold up for a couple of days as well. That'll come in handy during the upcoming holidays. Try it right away though. Call it research.

I loved the spicy potato wedges. I served them with blue cheese dressing and was not disappointed. I think you could serve them with almost anything. It would be no trouble to make up some of the seasonings and keep It in the fridge for a last minute appetizer or side dish.

There's over 3 million mentions of King Ranch Chicken on the internet, and I'm right sure most of them are recipes. However, look no further. Today's has to be the best and easiest one of them all. I admit to making my own changes, but so did three million other cooks. You feel free to make a few of your own.

Like I promised, here's another recipe for make your own mixes. Notice the salt measure is optional. My main purpose in preparing these mixes is to regulate the salt content. Feel free to try (add or omit) different herbs.

Easy Spicy Potato Wedges with dip

(Delicious, too)

4 medium size russet potatoes

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

For the dip:

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup shredded, sharp cheddar

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

1/4 cup finely diced tomatoes, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Spray the foil with Pam. Scrub. Then cut potatoes into thin wedges. Don't peel. In a large bowl, toss potatoes in oil. Sprinkle seasonings over potatoes and toss until well coated. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tender and golden. Turn once.

Whilst the potatoes cook, in a medium bowl, mix sour cream, mayonnaise and cheese. Top with onions, and tomatoes if desired.

King Ranch Chicken

1 tablespoon bacon drippings or oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 ribs of celery, diced

2 tablespoons butter

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon mild or hot chili powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

4-5 cooked chicken breast halves, chopped into bite sized pieces

8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend

1 large bag tortilla chips (reduced salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with Pam. Cover a microwave safe bowl with plastic wrap and microwave onions and celery in the butter until crisp tender. Then, in a large bowl combine all ingredients except cheese and chips. Layer half the chips in the bottom of the prepared pan. Crush gently to flatten. Pour chicken and soup mixture over chips. Layer with chips. Top with cheese.

Bake 40 minutes. Turn heat to broil until cheese is golden. Watch carefully!

Baked Chocolate Pie

Compliments of Marie Nichols

2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts

3 cups sugar

7 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 eggs

1 stick and two tablespoons butter, melted

12 ounces evaporated milk

Pinch of salt

Whisk together sugar, salt and cocoa. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Pour into crusts. Bake until centers are softly firm. Cool completely.

Stabilized whipped cream

2 ounces cream cheese, at warm room temperature.

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and blend well. Add whipping cream. Beat until stiff. Stop before it's butter. Refrigerate until serving time.

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

1/2 cup dry buttermilk

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon dried chives

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt as desired

Combine all and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For dressing:

1/4 cup of the mix

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

Whisk together. Set aside for 30 minutes to blend flavors.

For dip:

1/4 cup mix

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk

Whisk together. Set aside for 30 minutes to blend flavors.

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