Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No Bake Coconut Pie

Back in the day when I first got married, one of the first things I did was subscribe to the Taste of Home Annual Recipe Books.  Along with my Betty Crocker Cookbook that I'm sure all cooks have a copy of, many of the meals I make today came from there.  Although I no longer subscribe to them, I often read through the stacks of books just to get ideas for new recipes.  Their website is even better!  Check them out sometime :)  The photo and recipe is courtesy Taste of Home!

Coconut anything is something I love very much.  This recipe seems to have everything we all look for in a recipe . . . delicious, quick and easy!  The best of semi-homemade!  It doesn't even need to be baked!!  

As we work on summer plans for projects around the house, quick and easy meals are what I look for.  While we are busy with other stuff, meals should still be awesome!

Would be a quick dessert to take to a party!


    • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
    • 2-3/4 cups cold 2% milk
    • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
    • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
    • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
    • 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
    • Toasted coconut


In a large bowl, whisk the pudding mixes, milk and extract for 2 minutes. 

Fold in whipped topping and coconut.

Pour into the crust. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. 

Chill until serving. 

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Source:  Taste of Home
Originally published as No-Cook Coconut Pie in Taste of Home February/March 1994, p13

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pasta With Roasted Red Peppers and Almonds

Love this fast, delicious and economical pasta meal!  The recipe and photo are courtesy of Real Simple (link after the recipe) . . . one of my favorite websites to find new recipes . . . check it out sometime!

With the cost of groceries rising with every week that passes, The Captain and I were talking about finding recipes that are delicious and stretch the food dollars.

This is one of those recipes!

One thing for sure . . . fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and possibly basil, would be a must when we make this.  Of course other substitutions can be made . . . use what you like, leave out what you don't!  This is the perfect meal for someone with a herb and vegetable garden . . . use what is in your garden.

Seems like this dish would work as a leftover the next day as a cold salad for lunch!  Make extra if this sounds like a good idea for you.

Almonds is an ingredient I have not used in this type of dish in the past, neither are pine nuts, which I am sure would serve as a substitute.  I'm thinking it can be left out all together to stretch those dollars even further.  But then again, I'd love to try something different :)


  • 3/4 pound campanelle or penne 
  • 4 red or orange bell peppers, seeded and cut into quarters 
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives 
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 
  • kosher salt and black pepper 


Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot. 

Meanwhile, heat broiler. Place the peppers on a baking sheet skin-side up and broil until blackened, 8 to 10 minutes. 

Scrape the charred skin from the peppers with a paring knife and wipe clean with paper towels. Cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces. 

Add the peppers, olives, almonds, oil, thyme, 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the pasta and toss to combine (add more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce).

Photo and Recipe Courtesy of Real Simple
By  , May, 2011

Monday, April 28, 2014

Creamy Basil Chicken

Semi-Homemade!  Quick, easy and delicious pasta dish courtesy of Pillsbury.

If you haven't used italian dressing in your cooking, you are in for a very pleasant surprise!  I also love using Progresso Recipe Starters for a quick and delicious meal when I just don't have the time to spend in the kitchen.

Sometimes I have other things to do besides slave away in the kitchen!


    • 2 cups uncooked penne pasta 
    • 1/2 cup Italian dressing 
    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 to 5 oz each), flattened slightly 
    • 1/4 cup white wine 
    • 1 pouch (9 oz) Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ creamy Parmesan basil cooking sauce 


Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. In resealable food-storage plastic bag, place dressing and chicken. Seal bag; refrigerate 15 minutes.

In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Drain chicken, discarding dressing. Add chicken to skillet.

Cook chicken 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F). Stir in wine; cook until most of the wine has evaporated.

Stir in cooking sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Serve over pasta. Top with basil and Parmesan cheese.

  • Source:

Grilled chicken breasts can be used instead.
Crusty whole wheat rolls would make a nice accompaniment to this pasta dish.
You can purchase frozen chicken breasts that are already flattened--usually they are smaller in size than the fresh ones.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cocada . . . Easy Coconut Bark

Reminds me of coconut macaroons!

So easy . . . two ingredients!

Looks like you slaved away in the kitchen :)

Recipe courtesy of Marcella Valladolid
The Food Network
SHOW: The Kitchen
EPISODE: Fresh New Food Ideas


    • Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying baking dish
    • 5 1/2 cups (one 14-ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the coconut and condensed milk in a bowl until well combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Bake until the coconut is completely browned with dark and crispy edges, about 20 minutes.

Cool slightly, then cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken

Doesn't that chicken look awesome?  Reminds me of the yummy rotisserie chicken we buy at the grocery store.

How can you go wrong with 40 garlic cloves, white wine and cognac cooked in the slow cooker until it is about to fall off the bone?  I look forward to making this chicken!

The photo and recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.

    • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth 
    • 3 tablespoons dry white wine 
    • 2 tablespoons cognac 
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter 
    • 1 whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 lb), skin removed, cut into 8 pieces 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
    • 40 cloves garlic (about 4 whole heads), peeled 
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 
    • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, if desired


Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In small bowl, stir broth, wine and cognac; set aside. 

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. 

Sprinkle chicken pieces evenly with salt and pepper. Add to skillet; cook 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Place chicken in slow cooker.

Add garlic to drippings in skillet; cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to brown. 

Stir in broth mixture, scraping skillet to loosen brown particles. Boil 2 minutes or until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup. 

Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with thyme.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest pieces are cut to bone (at least 165°F). Garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms is one of my favorite appetizers to serve at parties.  I like serving a variety of stuffed mushrooms, so I'm always looking for promising recipes.

This recipe is quick and easy, with lots of room for variations.  Isn't everything better with cream cheese?


    • 12 large fresh mushrooms (1 lb.)
    • 4 ounces (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA® Cream Cheese, softened
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 4 slices Oscar Mayer® Bacon, cooked, crumbled
    • 1/2 cup KRAFT® Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


HEAT oven to 350°F.

REMOVE stems from mushrooms; discard or reserve for another use.

MIX remaining ingredients; spoon into mushroom caps. Place, filled-sides up, in shallow baking dish.

BAKE 18 to 20 min. or until heated through. Yield: 12 servings.

  • Originally published as Cheese 'n Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms Provided by Philadelphia® Cream Cheese
    Cheese 'n Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe photo by KRAFT

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crescent Chile Rellenos

The Captain and I love snacky stuff and this recipe looks perfect for the type of snacks we like!  Great for those times we are craving mexican type foods.

I'm always looking for ways to make a new recipe with variations and this one is no different . . . I'm thinking simple ham and cheese finger food!  Great lunch idea with a salad!

Another great recipe from!

  • prep time 25 min
    total time 40 min
    ingredients 7
    servings 3

    • 2 cans (4 oz each) whole green chiles, drained
    • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
    • 4 oz hot pepper-Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 6 strips
    • 4 oz Cheddar cheese, cut into 6 strips
    • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
    • 1 egg, beaten 
    • 3/4 cup taco sauce, if desired


Heat oven to 375°F. Cut each green chile lengthwise along one side; open chiles and pat inside and outside dry with paper towel. Coat all sides of each chile with cornmeal. Place 1 strip of each cheese in each chile; close chile (edges of chiles may not meet over cheese). Set aside.

Unroll dough and separate into 2 long rectangles; press each into 15x5-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Cut each rectangle into 3 squares.

Place 1 cheese-filled chile diagonally on each square. Bring sides of dough up over chile; pinch firmly to seal.

Fold down top; pinch to seal. Firmly pinch bottom point together to seal; place seam side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with egg.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, heat taco sauce. 

Immediately remove rellenos from cookie sheet. Serve warm with warm taco sauce for dipping.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Broccoli, Cheese and Ham Muffins

These muffins are O.M.G. delicious looking!  I can almost guarantee that these are going to be a regular part of our menu once we try them.  I'm already thinking about variations using breakfast sausage, sliced up little smokies, bacon.  Of course I would prefer fresh broccoli!

Vegetarians can easily convert it into a vegetarian meal by leaving out the meat.

They come together quick and easy, thanks in part to the use of Bisquick.  I'm a huge advocate of Bisquick, although I love to cook from scratch.  I am NEVER without a box or two in my pantry.  Why go through more work if  you don't have to?  I use convenience foods as much as I can as long as they are high quality and economical.  I'm not being paid to say this . . . just a big fan of the product :)  

I'm very anxious to try this recipe!


    • 1 bag (12 oz) Green Giant™ Steamers™ frozen broccoli & cheese sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup diced cooked ham
    • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (2 oz)


Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.

Cook broccoli as directed on bag.

In large bowl, stir together Bisquick mix, milk, oil and egg. Stir in broccoli, ham and cheese just until well mixed. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Serve warm.

Expert Tips

Wrap and refrigerate any leftover muffins. Unwrap and reheat 1 at a time on microwavable plate 15 to 30 seconds or until warm.

Ham and Cheddar Torta

Very impressive looking torta that would be a great choice for any meal!

I would vary the ingredients depending on the meal.  For example, my breakfast torta would not include beans and broccoli.  However, I would include fresh mushrooms, and maybe two more eggs.  Seems worthy of experimentation!

The beans and italian dressing sounds a little funky, but may turn out to be one of my favorite new recipes, so I am going to try it at least once.  Seems like a hearty lunch or dinner meal that can also be varied to include chicken instead of ham or vary the vegetables.

Love the idea of baking it in a springform pan!


    • 1 1/3 cups Original Bisquick® mix
    • 1 can (15 oz) Progresso® cannellini beans, drained, rinsed and mashed
    • 1/3 cup Italian dressing
    • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
    • 1 box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen cut broccoli, thawed, drained
    • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 
    • (4 oz) 1 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons Original Bisquick® mix 3 eggs, slightly beaten


Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, stir together 1 1/3 cups Bisquick mix, the beans and dressing. Spread in bottom and 2 inches up side of ungreased 9x3-inch springform pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set.

Layer ham, broccoli and cheese over crust. In small bowl, stir milk, 2 tablespoons Bisquick mix and the eggs until blended; pour over cheese.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Loosen edge of torta from side of pan; remove side of pan.

Expert Tips

Bake the crust the day before and store covered in the refrigerator. Or make the torta completely the day before, store covered in the refrigerator and reheat loosely covered in 375°F oven 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scalloped and Mashed Potato Gratin

The Captain and I have been into comfort food since we have been a bit under the weather.  As I was checking out Sandra Lee's website since I was looking for something quick and easy to cook, this semi-homemade potato casserole jumped out at me.

What I really like is the addition of onion soup mix for flavor.  I've used it in dips and slow cooking meat with great results.

As usual, I would use the recipe as a guide since I don't usually like frozen potato products (except for tater tots) and I would use real bacon.  Of course, the convenience foods are what make it semi-homemade, but I'd rather make it more economical and tasty.

Start to Finish: 35 minutes
Cook: 6 servings


    • Nonstick cooking spray, Pam®
    • 1 bag (24-ounce) frozen cut red potatoes, Ore-Ida® Steam n’ Mash®
    • 1⁄3 cup evaporated milk, Carnation®
    • 1 tablespoon onion soup mix, Lipton®
    • 3 tablespoons butter 
    • 11⁄2 cups shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend, Sargento®
    • 1⁄2 cup frozen chopped onions, Ore-Ida®
    • 1⁄4 cup real bacon pieces, Hormel®
    • 1 cup heavy cream 
    • Dash ground nutmeg, McCormick®
    • Salt and ground black pepper 
    • 1⁄4 cup bread crumbs, Progresso®
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika, McCormick®


    Preheat oven to 350ºF. 

    Lightly spray a 11⁄2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.

    Microwave potatoes according to package directions. In a bowl, mash half the potatoes with the milk, soup mix, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. 

    Spread mashed potatoes evenly into prepared baking dish. 

    Sprinkle 1⁄2 cup of the cheese, half the onions, and half the bacon on the mashed potatoes. 

    Add half the remaining unmashed potatoes to the dish in an even layer. Repeat layering cheese, onions, and bacon. Top with remaining unmashed potatoes.

    In a small saucepan, heat the cream, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste over medium heat to just under a boil; pour over potatoes. 

    Sprinkle remaining 1⁄2 cup of cheese on top. In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs and paprika. 

    Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter; stir into the bread crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of casserole. 

    Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbling and browned.

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Chicken and Vegetable Alfredo Casserole

    Great variety of vegetables and lots of room for variation is what this recipe offers.

    The crunchy topping has grabbed by attention for use in other recipes.

    There are some variation suggestions at the end of the recipe, one is to experiment with alfredo sauce flavors, which I highly recommend!  

    My favorite is roasted red pepper alfredo sauce that is so flavorful and delicious, it does not taste like it came out of a jar . . . and it really does not matter what brand you use.  Another thing I like to do with the roasted red pepper sauce is include some cut roasted red pepper, either fresh or the ones that come in a jar (which is a great item to keep in the pantry to perk up many dishes).

    As with all recipes, this semi-homemade recipe can be adapted to fresh vegetables or the combination of vegetables that you prefer.  Recipes are just a guide!


      • 1 bag (19 oz) Green Giant® frozen broccoli & carrots with garlic & herbs 
      • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
      • 1/3 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces 
      • 1 egg, slightly beaten 
      • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken 
      • 1 jar (16 oz) four-cheese Alfredo pasta sauce 
      • 1 can (15.25 oz) Green Giant® whole kernel sweet corn, drained


    Heat oven to 375°F. In large microwavable bowl, microwave broccoli & carrot mixture as directed on package, using minimum cook time.

    Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix flour, Parmesan cheese, butter and egg with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Set aside.

    To hot vegetables in large bowl, add chicken, pasta sauce and corn. Stir gently to combine. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole or 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate. Sprinkle with crumbly mixture.

    Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

    Tips from Pillsbury:

    Two cans (5 oz each) tuna in water, drained and flaked, can be used in place of the chicken.

    Alfredo sauce comes in different flavor varieties. Experiment to find your favorite.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Can't get enough strawberries!!

    When you live in strawberry country, you can buy tons of strawberries for a ridiculously inexpensive price. Especially if you go to the farm and pick them yourself.

    My favorite way to have strawberries is cooked on the stove with simple syrup poured over hot biscuits topped with whipped cream.  I haven't been very adventurous since it is one of my favorite things.

    The Captain loves to bake some puff pastry and top it with the same strawberry syrup, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with more syrup over the ice cream.  Yeah, it is over the top!

    How about this Vanilla Cake with
     Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting?

    Talk about some strawberry love!!
    Click here for the recipe.

    Love the article from chocolatechocolateandmore with enough recipes to keep me experimenting for a long time! A treat for strawberry lovers!

    Click here to go to the article

    Click here to go to other strawberry articles

    15 Best Strawberry recipes from Swanky Recipes . . . click here

    Creamy Cheesy Ham Chowder

    This creamy and cheesy chowder is great for giving leftover ham new life on the dinner table.

    It also makes use of leftover vegetables . . . don't be confined to the vegetables listed on the recipe, use what you have on hand!

    TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 20 min.
    MAKES 10 servings


      • 10 bacon strips, diced
      • 1 large onion, chopped
      • 1 cup diced carrots
      • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • 3 cups milk
      • 1-1/2 cups water
      • 2-1/2 cups cubed potatoes
      • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
      • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
      • Pepper to taste
      • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
      • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham


    In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. In the drippings, saute onion and carrots until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add milk and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

    Add the potatoes, corn, bouillon and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cheese and ham; heat until cheese is melted. Stir in bacon. 

    Originally published as Cheesy Ham Chowder in 
    Quick Cooking September/October 2000, p7

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Seafood Pasta Chowder

    © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

    This is one of those recipes that calls for spoiling yourself and making this a special meal.  Of course you can also serve it for a casual lunch.  But it can be made very special.  

    First of all, there is something about having this chowder out of a bread bowl that makes you feel spoiled.  I also like to garnish the top with larger shrimp.

    However you choose to serve it,  the chowder aims to please!


      • 1/2 cup uncooked miniature pasta bow-ties or shells 
      • 5 tablespoons butter 
      • 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms 
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
      • 1 clove garlic, minced 
      • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
      • 2 cups fish stock (clam juice can be used if it is your preference) 
      • 2 cups half-and-half 
      • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 
      • 1 teaspoon dill 
      • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg 
      • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, amount depends on your heat preference 
      • 1 cup canned fresh crab meat 
      • 8 ounces shrimp (whatever size you prefer . . . we prefer bigger shrimp and sometimes use more than 8 ounces depending on our budget) 
      • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, green tops included 


    Cook pasta in salted water in a large pot. Drain and rinse.

    While pasta is cooking . . . 
    Saute mushrooms on low heat in 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot. Salt and cook about 3 minutes, until they have cooked down a bit.
    Saute an additional minute after adding garlic, making sure the garlic does not brown.
    Stir in 2 tablespoons butter until melted. 
    Add flour into the mixture, stirring constantly and cook for 2 minutes. 
    Continue stirring and add the fish stock, then the milk. Heat until thickened.
    Add paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne, stir in crab and shrimp.  
    Cook only until heated through! 
    Add drained pasta and green onions. 
    Taste and season accordingly, if necessary.

    Awesome when served in a bread bowl, but make sure to enjoy with some hot crusty bread.

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    Photo credit © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, recipe adapted from

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Southern Banana Pudding

    Lost in my recipe notebook that got thrown away by mistake years ago was the most delicious banana pudding I have ever had.  It was a cooked pudding and I think it had sweetened condensed milk in it.  The original recipe came from a magazine advertisement.  I know it is somewhere in my recipe files as a duplicate, but to this day I have not found it.  So . . . I have been searching for a cooked banana pudding that sounds familiar.  The only puddings that have sweetened condensed milk also include instant pudding, which I know is not it.

    When I found this recipe on the Food Network website, it made me very happy even though I know for sure it is not the recipe.  Mine did not have meringue (I really hate that stuff).  So I will give it a try, adapting the topping to one of a whipped cream nature.

    Both the Captain and I love banana pudding and have not been happy with any of the recipes we have found so far.  Hopefully . . . this one is a keeper. 

    If you are interested in making homemade vanilla wafers to make your banana pudding extra special, click here for the recipe.


    3 cups whole milk
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    Kosher salt
    4 large eggs, separated, yolks lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    3 ripe medium bananas (about 1 pound), thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 1/2 cups)
    50 vanilla wafers, such as Nilla Wafers (about half a box)
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


    Heat 2 1/2 cups of the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until steaming.

    Whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup milk.

    Whisk half of the hot milk into the egg mixture until smooth, and then gradually whisk the egg-milk mixture into the milk in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it has thickened to a puddinglike consistency, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.

    Layer a third of the pudding, half the banana slices and half the vanilla wafers in a 9-inch square baking dish. Layer with half the remaining pudding, all the remaining banana slices and all the remaining wafers. Top with the last of the pudding. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the pudding surface, and refrigerate overnight to soften the cookies.

    Position a rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bring the egg whites to room temperature. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high, and slowly sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar a tablespoon at a time, whipping for 15 seconds after each addition, until glossy firm peaks form. Spread the meringue on top of the pudding with an offset spatula so it reaches the edges of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.

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