Grandmother source of Leone’s influence

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Alexis Leone grew up in Philadelphia. She grew up with parents, Chris and Rachel Kiepe, and her siblings Annaliese Johnson and Andrew Kiepe. Leone graduated from Neshoba Central in 2009 and got her bachelor's at Mississippi State University in University Studies. Leone works at C-spire here in Philadelphia. She has worked there for four years as a Sales-account service representative. 

Leone is married to Patrick Leone, who works on the riverboat, and is gone for 28 days and then home for two weeks. Together the couple has a blended family. They have four children. When Leone’s husband is home, the family enjoys spending quality time together by watching movies and enjoying each other's company. The family also attends church on Sundays at the Sanctuary. 

Leone’s hobbies include binge-watching her favorite television show. Leone is also really into make-up, which she considered her favorite hobby. Leone is passionate about being a mother, and she loves spending time with her children. Leone loves being a wife to Patrick and going on adventures with him when he is home. Leone considered them homebodies mostly, but they always find something to entertain them and their children. 

During Thanksgiving, her father, Chris Kiepe, became sick with COVID-19. Chris Kiepe has been in the hospital since November. 

“He went into multi-organ failure from COVID. And was intubated and put on the ventilator,” said Leone. 

The family has put a fundraiser on Facebook, so the house is safe when their father does come. Before Chris got sick, he was renovating his home. The money from this fundraiser will help the family finish these renovations. 

Leone’s grandmother is her cooking influence. Her grandmother owned her own catering business in Memphis. And during the Summer, when Leone was smaller, she would help grandma and get extra money for helping her. 

Leone’s children love when she cooks spaghetti, and her husband loves the seafood bisque she makes. When he is home, though, Patrick Leone is the chef and makes the meals for the family. Leone’s favorite part of cooking is eating her finished meal, and her least favorite part of cooking is cleaning, but she tries to clean as she goes.

OLD MEMPHIS CAKE

Cake:

1 Duncan Hines Devils Food cake mix

1 1/4 cups strong coffee

4 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Buttercream filling:

3 lbs confectioner's sugar

3/4 cups shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt dissolved in 2 TBS warm water

Water (as needed to thin icing for spreading or piping)                                             

Glaze:

1/4 cup Hershey's Especially Dark unsweetened Cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter

1 to 1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 pounds confectioner's sugar

Pinch salt

Pecans (for garnish)

Directions

Cake: Mix ingredients and pour into 2 8-inch or 9-inch round prepared cake pans. Bake on 350 degrees until center springs back when touched (box says 26-31 minutes for 8-inch, 24-29 minutes for 9-inch). Remove from pan to rack and cool. Cut in half horizontally to make four layers.

Buttercream: Combine ingredients and whip until fluffy. Pipe or spread a layer of icing onto each layer of cake, including the top, stacking as you go.

Glaze: Combine the cocoa and butter in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until cocoa is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Glaze should coat the spoon and form a crust after sitting for about 5 minutes. Make sure glaze is still pourable but not so hot it melts the buttercream icing.

Pour over cake, spreading if necessary, but keeping a smooth finish. Garnish with dollops of buttercream dotted with pecans.

Note: This recipe was adapted for a full size cake from 16 mini-cakes. Keep this in mind when pouring the icing.

BEEF AND CHEESE MANICOTTI

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 

1 pound ground beef 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

14 (8-ounce) manicotti 

1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta 

3 cups shredded mozzarella 

1 cup grated Parmesan 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves 

2 garlic cloves minced 

3 cups marinara sauce 

2 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces 

• Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.

• Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

• Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

• Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

SWEET AND SAVORY BROCCOLI SALAD

Salad: 

½ pound bacon 

3 heads broccoli, or more to taste, chopped 

1 red onion diced 

¾ cup raisins 

¾ cup chopped salted cashews 

Dressing: 

1 cup mayonnaise 

½ cup brown sugar 

2 tablespoons 

Cook bacon in a large skillet and over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on paper towels and crumble once cooled. Mix bacon, broccoli, red onion, raisins, and cashews together in a large bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar together in a separate bowl; drizzle over the broccoli mixture in small amounts, tossing the salad between additions to coat somewhat evenly.


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