Kiepe enjoys cooking with people

Kiepe enjoys cooking with people


For Rachel Kiepe, making her family happy with food is her favorite part of cooking. 

“I love cooking for my husband, kids, and grandkids, and seeing them like my food,” Kiepe said. 

“I didn’t think I was the greatest cook, but my kids will ask for food a lot. My four-year-old grandson loves chicken on the bone and pork chops, and I have to do a lot of extra fried drumsticks because he loves them so much.”

Kiepe was born and raised in Memphis but moved to Philadelphia about 25 years ago. Outside of cooking, she is the president of the Neshoba County Republican Women and enjoys spending time with her husband Chris, her children, Annaliese, Alexis, Andrew and Deidre, and her eight grandchildren. 

“My mother-in-law, Mary Kiepe, was one of the largest private caterers in Memphis, and her business was called The Merry Cook,” Kiepe said. “I remember being around a lot of cooking then. I started cooking around 50 years ago. My mother would have me cook and I always liked it.”

These days, Kiepe enjoys making traditional American recipes, but likes to experiment with stir-fry dishes, Thai food, and oriental cooking. 

“I like to make things I can do in one pan,” Kiepe said. “I do a lot of stir-frying and other foods I can put in a baking dish. I am also famous for my canasta cake. It’s a devil’s food cake with a cream filling and chocolate ganache frosting that’s poured on with pecans. My husband asked for it for his birthday a while back and it was also Elvis’ favorite cake.”

Kiepe said being the wife of a pastor gives her the gift of hospitality, and she loves cooking and the presentation of it all. 

She noted that the Republican Women’s group is putting on a Kentucky Derby party on May 6 where she and other club members will show off unique original dishes along with other Kentucky Derby activities. 

“We are dressing up in Kentucky Derby attire and we’ll have Derby food such as the Derby Pie, Bourbon Balls, Hot Kentucky Browns, pork loin, and more,” Kiepe said. “There will be a lot of food and fun.” 


Box of your favorite chocolate cake mix 

For the filling: 

2 1/2 tablespoons flour 

1/2 cup milk 

1/2 cup shortening 

1/2 cup sugar 

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 

For the chocolate icing: 

1 stick butter 

1 cup chopped pecans 

3/4 box confectioners sugar 

2 tablespoons cocoa 

6 tablespoons Coca-Cola

To make the canasta cake, bake your favorite chocolate cake. When baked and cool, cut into layers and fill with white cream filling and frost with chocolate icing.  

To make the filling, gradually add milk to the flour in a small saucepan. Heat over low flame until it forms a thick paste. Cool. Put shortening, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Add cooled paste. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy for three to five minutes. Add vanilla (this can be used as a filling for layer cakes or frosting). 

To make the icing, combine butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola. Heat until the mixture boils and mix well. Spread on cooled cake. 


2 packages refrigerated pie crusts 

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans 

48 pecan halves for pie toppings 

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

1 cup dark corn syrup 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 

1/4 cup bourbon (can use water if preferred) 

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 

2 teaspoons cornmeal 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut out circles of pie crust dough with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter and place in a muffin pan. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly in the bottom of each mini pie shell. Set aside. 

To make the pie filling, bring corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar and bourbon to a boil and whisk for three minutes. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, cornmeal, vanilla and salt. Add a quarter of the hot mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Then, transfer the egg mixture to a saucepan and whisk constantly. 

Divide the mixture among prepared pie crusts and fill them to around two-thirds full. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. 


1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls 

3 tablespoons mayonnaise 

12 slices deli turkey, folded into quarters 

12 sliced cooked bacon, cut into halves 

1 jar diced pimientos, drained, or 2 plum tomatoes, cut into 12 slices 

6 slices Gruyere cheese, halved 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1/2 cup butter, cubed 

2 tablespoons brown sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Without separating the rolls, cut the package in half horizontally and arrange the bottom halves into a greased 11x7 inch baking pan. Spread mayonnaise evenly across the bottom halves. Top with turkey, bacon, pimentos, Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Replace top halves of the rolls. 

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, and cook and stir until tender for around 1-2 minutes. Whisk in brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Cook and stir until the sugar is dissolved and drizzle mixture over sandwiches. 

Cover and bake for 25 minutes, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

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