Delicious Debut: Recipes from “The Help”

Recipes from the movie The Help have made Lee Ann Flemming a star in her own right.  Her theatrical debut comes as a movie food stylist for The Help.  Chocolate pies, tea cakes, and deviled eggs  are not an ordinary claim to fame in the movie biz, but seeing your work on the big screen is nice work if you can get it.

The Help poster

The highly anticipated movie of the summer, The Help, stars her chocolate chess pie with a dollop of Cool Whip recipe.  Lee Ann Flemming made every pie in the movie, eaten or not.  It must be tough to see your hard work go to the cutting room garbage can, not to mention that baking being done in the exhaustive heat of unforgiving Mississippi temps.  You kiss a lot of frogs to get to the prince, and bake a lot of pies to get the perfect shot.  I think Lee Ann’s role as chocolate pie baker extraordinaire will be measured in the sweet success of her recipe and her Hollywood culinary debut.

Minny The Help

The Help-Facebook



1 ½ cups sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

¼ cup butter, melted

2 eggs, slightly beaten

¼ teaspoon salt

1 (5 ½-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½  package of rolled pie crust (found in the dairy case)


Let pie crust come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Flour surface and unroll crust; place to fit in a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edges by using your index finger to make a “V”. Prick bottom and sides with a fork and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, cocoa and butter in a mixing bowl; mix well. Add eggs and beat with a mixer (or by hand) for 3 minutes. Add salt, milk and vanilla. Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until pastry edges are brown and filling is slightly set in the middle.  Cool completely before serving.  May be refrigerated or served at room temperature.  Top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream before serving.

The Help-Facebook



1 cup sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup oil

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 ½ cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup powdered sugar


In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, butter, oil and eggs. Cream well; add vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, soda, baking powder, and cream of tartar. Add to the creamed mixture; mixing well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until edges of the cookies are brown. While teacakes are still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

dinner table Jessica Chastain

The Help-Facebook

Deviled Eggs


6 eggs

½ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish


Pimiento stuffed green olives, cut in half


Place eggs in a single layer in a medium saucepan.  Add enough cold water to cover the eggs.  Bring to a rapid boil over high heat; remove from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Drain hot water and replace with cold water; peeling when cool to the touch.  Halve eggs lengthwise and remove yolks.  Set whites aside.  Place yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Add mayonnaise,mustard and sweet pickle relish; mix well.  Stuff egg white halves with filling and garnish with paprika and olive halves. Refrigerate immediately.


Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes Recipe And Family Traditions

A revered old fashioned Southern tea cakes recipe and family traditions leads the topic of conversation this afternoon in the Places In The Home kitchen.


tra·di·tion \trə-ˈdi-shən\
a :  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)


b :  a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable

2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction


3:  cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions


4:  characteristic manner, method, or style <in the best liberal tradition>


Places In The Home defines tradition as decor memories, recipes, and/or generational practices from your past bringing about complete and utter joy deemed repeat worthy.



I find it fascinating to read the traditions of fellow internet friends from far and near.  I’ll never forget walking into my first cousin’s home for the first time after he was a married father of two (you know, as adults).  I no more stepped into the house and made eye contact with him when he shouted out to me with pointed hand and question, “Hey, does Santa Claus leave the gifts under the tree wrapped or unwrapped?”

christmas-gifts-under-tree  Pinterest

Ah.  The great wrapped vs. unwrapped debate.  His wife comes from a long line of Santa Claus wraps.  In our family, Christmas Eve was for wrapped gift exchanging, and Christmas morning was reserved for the unwrapped Santa Claus extravaganza.  It seems silly, the great debate over wrapped or unwrapped Santa Claus, but who am I to argue with tradition?


“Down I Go”

The only heat this summer I remotely can handle is that of the oven.  It’s too hot to be outside if you don’t have to be, but when you have to be it zaps the life out of ya!  The summertime tradition passed down in our family is a simple piece of advice- cook early, stay cool late.  I do make an exception at any time of day for old fashioned Southern tea cakes.

This old fashioned Southern tea cakes recipe and family traditions favorite has been handed down through the years, and it means the world to me on many levels.  I like what a tea cake signifies.  A simple, classic and unpretentious taste of home.  I like to think that’s how I roll.  Speaking of rolling- these tasty babies require a roll out. I swear the goodness is in the roll.  Here is the aged, index card recipe from which I have baked many a tea cake.

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes


3 1/4  cups all purpose flour; sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2  tsp. salt

1/2  cup butter or shortening

1 cup sugar

1 unbeaten egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup thick sour cream or buttermilk


Sift flour once before measuring.  Combine flour, soda, and salt together. In separate bowl, cream together butter or shortening, sugar, egg, vanilla, and  nutmeg.   Mix on high speed for two(2) minutes.  Add sour cream or milk  and mix until blended.  Next, add dry sifted flour mixture to wet ingredients and hand stir until all ingredients are blended together and reach the consistency of biscuit dough.

If a softer tea cake is desired, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to dry ingredients.

 tea cakes recipe and family traditions

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough on lightly floured board to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out in round shapes with cookie cutter or good old dependable jelly glass.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.   Makes 2½ dozen tea cakes.


I’m thinking iced tea and a Tea Cake is what’s for dinner tonight.  I know it is not the ideal dinner, and the calorie count is probably not the desired way to keep the figure slim and trim, but the kitchen will be cool and the old fashioned Southern tea cakes recipe and family traditions memory will warm the heart.








Places In The Home Pepper Steak Recipe

This recipe for Pepper Steak is a house favorite.  A pepper steak recipe is nothing new, but a time saving one does become a cook’s friend.  I like this version because it is both a time saver and crowd pleaser.  I’ll take a shortcut in my recipes if taste is not compromised.  This recipe is a prime example- I use powder options (garlic,onion) in lieu of dicing, mincing, and slicing.


Chopped onions and garlic in a jar is an excellent option, but when the freezer/fridge is void of these grab the powders.  Let me share the Places In The Home pepper steak recipe with you.


Places In The Home Pepper Steak


1  2lb. package round or cube steak

2-3  tablespoons vegetable or olive oil  thinly coating bottom of  skillet  for browning steak

3 large bell peppers washed, seeded, and sliced

1½ ~ 2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. black pepper or to personal taste

1 ½ ~ 2 tsp. garlic powder or minced

1 ½ tsp. onion powder

dash Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. hot sauce, optional

¾ tsp. basil

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 large can tomato sauce

½ cup water


Add oil to skillet and heat on medium high to high.   Add steak to heated skillet and brown on both sides.  While in the browning process add salt, pepper, garlic and onion to the meat.

When meat is lightly browned, add the sliced peppers. Cook the meat and peppers until browning is complete. Reduce heat to medium.  Pour tomato sauce followed by the water into skillet, stirring to blend all ingredients well.


Next, add Worcestershire sauce, optional hot sauce, nutmeg and basil. Stir well and cover with lid propped up on one side allowing steam to escape.


Reduce to medium low and cook until steak is tender.


Company Peas Recipe

My Company Peas recipe continues to be one of my absolute favorites.  The first “company” meal I prepared as a new bride thirty one years ago marked the premier of this recipe.  It is still bringing in rave reviews from family, friends and company.




Company Peas


2 cans very young small sweet peas, drained

1 can cream of mushroom soup

8 oz. Kraft cheez whiz

½ – ¾ tsp. garlic powder (according to personal taste)

¼ – ½ tsp. black or white powder (according to personal preference)

salt to taste

1 can tiny shrimp, drained


In a large saucepan, mix peas and mushroom soup together over medium heat.  When heated through, add cheez whiz, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir well and reduce heat to medium low.  Once the Cheez Whiz is melted, add the drained shrimp.

Allow shrimp to completely heat through over medium low to low heat, stirring to prevent cream ingredients from scorching, sticking or burning.



Green Tomatoes In Phyllo Baskets At The Places In The Home Cafe

Creativity is in full force in the test kitchen at The Places In The Home cafe.   A culinary brainstorming session with my brother resulted in this green tomatoes in phyllo baskets recipe.


The recipes is a work in progress and phyllo patience, but it was met with glowing reviews from the family.

Green Tomatoes In Phyllo Baskets


6-8 green tomatoes

1  roll phyllo pastry sheets,  thawed

8 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1 8 oz. box Tony Chachere’s Creole Dirty Rice dinner mix 0r favorite brand flavored rice mix

½ lb. ground beef

½ lb. medium or hot ground pork sausage

1 tsp. basil

salt & pepper or creole seasoning to taste

8 oz. shredded cheese of your choice

1 tsp. parsley flakes

1 tsp. paprika

1 Pyrex baking dish

aluminum baking pan

6-8 cup muffin pan

sauce pan or microwavable bowl

sauce brush


Remove phyllo pastry sheets from freezer and allow to thaw according to package directions (two hours at room temperature for quick thaw, overnight in refrigerator for following day use).

Wash and scoop out the inside of  tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in a square Pyrex dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper or creole seasoning to personal taste.  Place Pyrex dish into a deep baking pan.

Prepare a hot- water bath by bringing a pan of water to a light simmer on top of stove; carefully pour hot water into a baking pan halfway up the sides of Pyrex dish.

Cover with aluminum foil or inverted cookie sheet to promote a slight softening.

If tomatoes are too soft they will become difficult to wrap.

Brown ground beef  and ground pork sausage together.  Add basil.   Drain and add meats to packaged rice mix; prepare as directed. When fully cooked allow to cool.

Remove Pyrex dish filled with softened tomatoes from hot-water bath.  Melt butter and place to side for use with phyllo dough.

Fill each tomato with cooked rice and meat.  Top each tomato with shredded cheese to individual taste.

We Louisianians are big on flavor, seasoning and heat.

I adjusted the spice of the recipe to a  medium spice content.

Tone it down or turn it up to your please your taste buds.

Prepare phyllo sheets according to instructions.  I used two layers of dough per tomato.

Very important to work only with needed dough keeping a damp towel over the remaining layers until ready to use.  It makes it easier to handle and reduces tearing.

Lightly brush the edges of each layer of dough with melted butter.  Place stuffed tomato in center of dough.

“Wrap” tomato by bring dough corners to center and twisting.


Place wrapped tomatoes in ungreased muffin pan.

Lightly brush dough wrapped tomatoes once again with remaining melted butter.

Sprinkle with paprika and parsley flakes.

Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.










Paris. Cajun. Canada. French Onion Soup Recipe

When it comes to selecting a French onion soup recipe,  I find I am beginning to feel like the character Albert in The Birdcage.


Albert, brilliantly played by Nathan Lane, convincingly explains his mispronunciation of Armand’s surname in a context I find myself relating to.


“Oh yes… Coldeman.

The “d” is silent in America. It’s Cole D’Isle au Man, or Cole of the Isle of Man, in France, where Armand’s chateau is, Cold-e-man in Greece where Armand’s work is, and finally the vulgar Coleman in Florida where Armand’s home is, so actually, we don’t know where we are until we hear our last name pronounced!


copper weathervanePolished Copper Weathervane

I feel his exaggerated pain, and let me tell you why.  We live in Louisiana where we are heavily influenced by Creole and Cajun French.

Our son attends university in Canada where we are influenced by Quebecois French.

Actually, we don’t know where we are until we taste the food,  the “who cares where we are as long as it is French” food!


French onion soup

Tonight’s menu will allow me to exercise my multilingual culinary skills.

You’re  definitely speaking my language when you’re  talking French Onion Soup.

I know where to go for the best French onion soup from coast to coast.

My son’s friend holds the title in Canada.

I have my own recipe met, mastered and magnifique.

Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas both serve a fantastic French onion soup.

I know the latter is a chain, but one taste of the French onion soup and you’ll understand!

I would love to be on the Las Vegas strip right now watching the Fountains of Bellagio while enjoying French onion soup goodness.

Since I’m not, I’ll bring a pinch of Paris, a dash of Creole, and a smidgen of Canada to the Places In The Home family table.

French Onion Soup


2  Tablespoon butter

2  teaspoons olive oil

6  medium onions thinly sliced

1  teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 bay leaves

½ cup white white or sherry

2 quarts (8 cups) low sodium beef broth

French bread baguette

8 slices Gruyère cheese


For Creole Seasoning


1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic


Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over a medium- high heat.  Add sliced onions and bay leaves to the pan, saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle sugar and Creole seasoning over onions, stir to incorporate.


Cook onions and company for 30 minutes or until softened and reaching a caramelized stage.  Add sherry and bay leaves to onions.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.   Turn heat back up to medium-high and add beef broth.

Allowing broth to heat through, reduce to simmer, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes in order for ingredients to marry and live happily ever after.

Remove bay leaves.



Slice French bread baguette and place on a baking sheet.

Place under broiler until slices reach a light golden brown.


Place crocks, ramekins, or oven proof bowls on a large cookie sheet.  Fill each with 1 cup soup.

Place one slice French bread in each bowl and top with 1 cheese slice.  Broil on high until cheese is melted and browned.

Serves 8.


Directions for Creole Seasoning

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

The Paris influence is this wonderful soup, and to that I say merci beaucoup.

The Creole influence is the addition of the Creole seasoning.

We put it on everything here in Louisiana.

Give a try, shâ.

The Canadian influence?

That’s the best part!

Our son is home to enjoy this dish with us tonight!

Bienvenue, Bon Appétit and C’est si bon!

Love your style!