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Sunday, February 6, 2022

Happy 15th Anniversairy, TWFD! Plus Gram’s Homemade Hot Fudge Recipe & Week 737 Weekly Menu

This Week for Dinner is officially FIFTEEN YEARS OLD. Happy 15th birthday, Blog! To celebrate I have a gift for you all: Gram Maynard’s Homemade Hot Fudge Recipe. This recipe was a big part of the beginning of this journey…

15 year anniversary - This Week for Dinner

When I started the blog 15 years ago, I only had one child, blogs weren’t a thing, and I had an old iMac Nate found at work to use in the kitchen (I truly had no idea why I would use a computer in the kitchen). My good camera was a film camera, so I used a point-and-shoot digital camera for the blog (please do not judge the early photography on the blog, it’s mortifying). The blog began with a list of dinners I made on a regular basis and a few weekly menus to share with my brother, who was still in college. 

Then I noticed a curious thing – people were actually visiting the blog. I decided to design a logo, spruced up my free Blogger blog, and asked friends to share the link with other friends. I promised those who shared a copy of Gram Maynard’s homemade hot fudge recipe. They were asked to not publish the recipe anywhere. It was our little secret. 

Fast forward to today. I have three children (the youngest of which is TEN), I’m a professional food writer and photographer, I am now an excellent recipe writer, I received all kinds of work over the years through the blog, I met all kinds of people and had crazy amazing experiences, I started a podcast, and I am still posting my weekly dinner menu. Most importantly, you are still here sharing your menus and cooking right alongside with me. I’ve experienced ups and downs personally and, through it all, my family still had to eat. I may not have always been cooking because, well, life. But every week the community on this blog kept the food game going. I have been oh so grateful.

So…thank you. And to show my thanks, I am finally publicly sharing Gram’s homemade hot fudge recipe! She was such a giver, it’s what she would have wanted anyway. To be honest, it’s good for you I waited 15 years because it’s written much better than it was back when I was secretly emailing it to friends. 

Homemade Hot Fudge Recipe

Funny enough, I cannot find my DSLR camera charger, so today’s photographs are done with the modern version of a point-and-shoot, my iPhone. I will probably come back and reshoot this recipe once that damn battery is charged because, man, there’s nothing like a real camera.

While today is a celebration of 15 years as well as decadent chocolate, I am of course posting my weekly menu! You know the drill…share your menu in the comments below! 

A note on this recipe: Gram had a few “ors” throughout the recipe, where you could kind of choose which ingredients you wanted to use. I have settled on my choice of ingredients and am sharing my version of the recipe. Also, the heating instructions in the recipe are important for texture, so take your time and follow the directions. This truly is my favorite hot fudge sauce ever. Nothing else ever compares. (Thank you, Gram. I miss you every day.)

Gram Maynard's Homemade Hot Fudge
Homemade recipe for hot fudge from Barbara "Gram" Maynard, one of the best humans to walk this planet. We miss you, Gram.
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a heavy-bottomed small or medium pot, melt butter and baking chocolate over medium-low heat.
  2. Keeping the heat at medium-low, whisk in the sugar and evaporated milk. Sift the cocoa powder into the pot and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Raise heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking almost constantly.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high and whisk constantly until mixture is boiling and sugar is completely dissolved, which will take ~ 2-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Let cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Mix in salt and vanilla.
  7. Serve over ice cream, bread pudding, fresh strawberries, or whatever you like rich amazing chocolate served on.
Store in the refrigerator.
Makes around 3 cups.


Week 737 Weekly Dinner Menu from This Week for Dinner




  • Rigatoni with Italian Sausage in a Creamy Tomato Sauce


  • Leftovers



  • Takeout night


Looking forward to seeing your dinner plans for the week! As always, thank you for sharing and for being here!


  1. 1
    Nikki CB

    Amazing! Congrats! And thanks for the recipe. Sounds delicious.

    And I haven’t meal planned yet but will! 😉

  2. 2

    Happy birthday, blog! I don’t know where I stumbled across it, but I’ve been reading off and on for years, more regularly now that I plan meals for my own household. Thanks for sharing!

    Our menus for this week are:

    Sunday: Waffle tacos with sausage and pepper jelly syrup (A riff on Jeff Mauro’s recipe)

    Monday/Wednesday: Orange chicken and brown rice

    Tuesday/Thursday: Instant Pot beef roast tacos

    Friday/Saturday: TBD

  3. 3
    Hillary O.

    Happy birthday to my all-time favorite blog. You have so much to be proud of Jane. Well done, and a huge congratulations! I hope you celebrate with a big Flying Jacob dinner.

  4. Happy anniversary!! I too don’t remember how I stumbled across your blog…but I found it late at night when my THIRTEEN year old was a wee baby who didn’t ever sleep. Now I’m a militant menu planner with a blog to catalog the meals my family loves. Oh, and Uncle Tony’s pizza crust is still my go-to recipe for Friday night pizzas. 🙂

    Sunday: Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin with egg noodles (ATK Meal Prep recipe)

    Monday: Bagel dogs and Spicy Corn & Tomato Soup (ATK Meal Prep recipe)

    Tuesday: Ground beef tacos (ATK Meal Prep recipe)

    Wednesday: Chicken Curry with Tomatoes and Ginger (ATK Meal Prep recipe)

    Thursday: Chicken and Leek Dumpling Soup (encore from last week)

    Friday: French bread pizzas

    Saturday: My wine-tasting birthday party!!

    • how is it possible that these little babies are teenagers now? it’s insane. I am SO grateful that you still post your menus here and how nuts your own blog is up to #576!

      oh, that uncle tony’s pizza crust recipe. I can’t even remember my friend’s name who’s uncle is tony, but I remember the first time she served me pizza! 🙂 So grateful for that night, and look how many other people it’s helped!

    • also, happy birthday! sounds like the perfect celebration!

  5. 5
    Kim from PA

    Happy 15th!!!

    I remember finding your blog while searching for Thanksgiving recipes. You got me hooked on creating weekly menus & shopping once a week. Even when I don’t really feel like making dinner, I now have a plan and the ingredients and that gets me motivated. We are always happy about 30 minutes later when a good meal is prepared & ready to be enjoyed.

    Thank you!

    Sun: Slow cooker white bean stew, crusty bread
    Mon: Sweet potato soup, turkey, pecan, & cranberry salad
    Tue: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, carrots
    Wed: Tacos
    Thu: Halibut, baked sweet potatoes, peas
    Fri: Shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta, salad
    Sat: Leftovers

    • I love that you found me looking for thanksgiving recipes, that makes me so happy for some reason. It is unbelievable how having the menu (and ingredients) on hand can just really get you over the “I don’t want to cook” hump on a weeknight. It’s so much better having a homemade dinner, I am really appreciating it more than ever after the last year and a half of craziness. thank you for being such a regluarl menu poster, I appreciate it SO much!

  6. 6
    Greg H.

    Congratulations, Jane! I’ve gotten so many great ideas for meals from all of the people on this blog.

    Sun: takeout — a belated Chinese New Year dinner
    Mon: takeout tamales from a new Mexican bakery nearby, with Mexican-style rice and steamed artichokes
    Tues: Char siu pork made from scratch stir-fried with tofu and vegetables
    Wed: Shrimp and grits (restocked with grits from an artisan mill in North Carolina)
    Thurs: leftovers
    Fri: Grilled pork ribs and roasted artichokes
    Sat: leftovers

    • thank you, greg! and we have gotten so many AMAZING ideas from you! I always tell nate that you guys eat very very well! 🙂 it’s very inspiring! thank you for posting week after week, it is so so great.

  7. 7
    Phyllis Wallin

    Congratulations my girl! Fifteen years goes oh so quickly…


  8. 8

    Congratulations on 15 years

    Pork Roast, Scalloped Potatoes, Pasta and Sauce, Corn on the Cob
    Meatloaf, Yellow Rice, Black eye Peas/Carrots
    Hamburgers, Mac & Cheese
    Turkey and Gravy on Rice
    Western Beef and Corn Pie
    Raviolis, Tomato sauce, Garlic bread?

  9. 9

    Happy 15!
    I’ve also been reading since very early when you only had one kiddo. Your blackened chicken is still one of my go-tos when I need a quick and flavorful chicken to top something off. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks, Suzy! Love that you’ve been around so long! I remember photographing that recipe, such a delicious one and you’re right, that chicken is great for so many things! Anyway, thank you!!

  10. 10
    ellen patton

    Congrats on 15 years!!!!! And thanks for the recipe!

  11. 11

    Jane–Happy 15 years! I’ve been coming for a long time, I don’t know how I found your blog, but I know my 16 year old was still little :).

    Monday: Guandules con Coco with Chicken and Roasted Broccoli

    Tuesday: Hoisin Pork and Vegetable Rice Bowl and Roasted Cauliflower

    Wednesday: Baked Cheeseburger Tacos with Fresh Salsa and Guacamole

    Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Tenders with Oven Fries and Fresh Veggies

    Friday: Baked Salmon with Honey Mustard Pecan Panko Crust and Salad

    Saturday: Lasagna and Salad and Garlic Bread

    Sunday: Coq au Vin and Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

    • LOVE that you’ve also been here for so long. all of you long-time readers and posters are the most wonderful people, I appreciate you!! Thank you for posting menu after menu, vicki, so grateful!

  12. 12

    Jane, FABULOUS accomplishment!!!
    Yours was my first & only blog for YEARS!!!
    So fun to follow the adventures , & the family I have loveD since your beginning!!! ( & Nate since he was 3 )
    Everything you do is SO well done!!!
    Wishing you MANY more years of great explores, food & otherwise!!!

  13. 13

    Monday- lamb nachos with leftover lamb from the weekend
    Tuesday – our usual Monday dinner! Salmon, zucchini, rice and salad
    Wednesday- spicy chicken rigatoni and salad
    Thursday- leftovers
    Friday- take out hoagies
    Saturday- ravioli and salad

    Congratulations on 15 years! I’ve been following your blog since you had just one little one!

    • oh my goodness, you have been here right from the very start!!! I appreciate your menus posted each week, nancy, and seeing your name is truly familiar and makes me so happy!

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