Southern Pecan Pie

I’ll be honest. I was hesitant on sharing this recipe, because I’m not a fan of pecans. Especially in a pie. But, I’m a dang food blogger! I can’t just share things I enjoy. If that were the case, I’d just have you eating Lucky Charms. I love them! Anyway, I stopped being selfish. Here’s the Best Pecan Pie recipe on Beyonce’s internet!

Caramel Dream

This filling is so delectable! I will say, Pecan Pie is one of the easiest pies to make. I didn’t even need my electric mixer! And this decadent, rich filling is magical. I use a mixture of light brown sugar and granulated sugar. In the past, I’ve had overly sweet Pecan Pie. To the point that it makes your teeth hurt. I definitely wanted to avoid that in my recipe. I feel that this is the ideal balance of sweetness! The dark corn syrup delicately adds to the mixture of sweet and silky.

Crusty!

I don’t think I will EVER make a decent looking pie crust. I can not crimp the edges properly. Probably because I have these nails. The nails aren’t going anywhere. So, ugly crust it is! You can use the pie crust from the grocery store. Or my homemade recipe. It’s here on the site.https://coopcancook.com/pie-crust/ I don’t pre-bake the crust. I don’t think it’s necessary here. The crust bakes along with the filling beautifully.

Bake Ahead!

I highly recommend baking this pie one day ahead of the date you plan to serve it! Those flavors wed overnight. And the honeymoon is phenomenal. I went too far. Sorry. Just make it ahead and thank me NOW.

Southern Pecan Pie

A simple take on a classic sweet, holiday treat.
Servings 9 slices

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 TBS pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 TBS salted butter melted
  • 1 1/4 cups pecan halves roughly chopped
  • 9 inch unbaked pie crust
  • Extra pecan halves for topping optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars together well.
  3. Add in the corn syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and melted butter.
  4. Whisk together well.
  5. Pour the roughly chopped pecans into the pie crust.
  6. Pour the filling on top of the pecans evenly.
  7. Top with extra pecan halves if desired.
  8. Bake for 45-55 mins or until pie is set.
  9. Cool on a wired rack.
  10. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Make at least one day ahead of serving for the best flavor!

The BEST Cranberry Sauce!

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I’m quite embarrassed at how long it took me to fall in love with cranberry sauce. I remember grimacing at that cylindrical mold my mom placed amongst our Thanksgiving spread. For the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why my family liked the stuff. I was well into my 20’s when I finally decided to give the stuff a chance. I visited a restaurant that boasted its “homemade cranberry sauce”. Yeah, okay. Long story longer, I loaded my spoon up with dressing and quickly dipped it into this infamous sauce. Yep. Hooked. And now I’ll get you hooked on my HOMEMADE cranberry sauce recipe!

Why do cranberries have to look so good? The color alone rams me into the holiday spirit! If this is your first time making cranberry sauce, prepare to be amazed. I never imagined it being this easy! 
Back to the berries. Rinse them well. They may be some bad ones in bunch. So, be sure to investigate, scoop them out, and trash them. Nothing like a mouthful of rotten berry taste. Don’t do that.

Suga, Suga

Not much to see here. I don’t want overly sweet sauce with my turkey. You need to preserve a little bit of that cranberry tang to balance out the flavor. I use mainly granulated sugar. But, I can’t help but to drop a little brown sugar on there. You know it’s worth it. 


SWEETS NEED SALT! Can’t stress this point enough! Omitting the salt leaves a void in the taste. Have you ever eaten a dessert and thought, “It’s good. But, something is missing.” It’s the damn salt! Salted butter exists for a reason, folks. Don’t be afraid to add a pinch of salt to your sweets. That’s why your tastes buds cry tears of joy when a drop of syrup from your pancakes falls on a piece of your bacon. Am I right? 

Water or Juice?

Now, what do you think? I’m choosing juice every time! Cranberry sauce is so adventurous. You can add pretty much any flavored juice to it and it’s like, “Yeah. I’m with it!” Love that for it. Pineapple juice makes all things tastier. It’s my favorite, so I’ll always choose it first. You’ll be glad I did when you try this recipe. 


However, oranges are besties with cranberries. They’re so compatible. They just get each other, you know? Make sure you do the squeezing! There’s nothing like fresh OJ! I like to add orange zest to it as well. My family doesn’t favor it, so I just add it to my portion before serving. If your family has better taste than mine, include the zest during the cooking portion of this recipe. 

Make it Ahead

This is one dish you can prepare one week before serving and forget about it. Chill it well before serving. After cooking, make sure it cools completely before transferring it into a container and popping it into the fridge.

The Best Cranberry Sauce!

The perfect mix of sweet and tart to complement your holiday dressing, stuffing, and turkey. Fresh fruit and bright flavors combine for the ideal cranberry sauce!
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

Optional:

  • 1 tsp bourbon
  • Orange zest

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the cranberries
  2. Discard any damaged or rotten berries
  3. In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and juices together well.
  4. Bring to a boil while stirring
  5. Add the cranberries
  6. Return to a boil
  7. Lower the heat
  8. Simmer for 10 mins; stir occasionally
  9. Remove from the heat
  10. Optional: stir in the bourbon and orange zest
  11. Allow sauce to cool at room temperature
  12. Refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving
  13. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Notes:
Sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week in an air tight container.

Creamy Spaghetti and Cheese Recipe

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A Classic, Southern Side Dish!

My family will always choose Spaghetti and Cheese over Macaroni and Cheese. It’s literally a no brainer in my household. I grew up having spaghetti instead of mac and cheese as a side dish. Very rarely would my mom or aunts use elbow macaroni. We still refer to the spaghetti and cheese as “mac and cheese”. I know. Makes no sense, right? Just trust me and this recipe.

I use thin spaghetti. I’ve never enjoyed the regular sized spaghetti. Not quite sure why. But, you may use any size you prefer. 

Since, this dish requires very little ingredients, it can easily lack flavor. I avoid this in my recipe by boiling the pasta in water with chicken bouillon powder added. That simple addition makes a big statement in taste.

Here’s where the debate comes into play. Which cheese should you use?? I will argue with anyone that the American cheese from the deli of your supermarket is the best in this dish! Some will say it’s Velveeta. My mom would say it’s whatever sliced cheese you have in the refrigerator! Just don’t complicate this stuff. It’s simple, it’s classic, and it goes with almost anything! If you pull up to a cookout in Louisiana, you better believe you’ll see a pan of Spaghetti and Cheese or “Cheese Spaghetti”. 


Cheese matters. But, it’s the milk for me! Evaporated milk is the best dairy to use in this recipe! It pairs perfectly with that processed “cheese”. Yeah. I know it’s not real. And I don’t care! Follow me. Anyway, don’t mess around and grab that sweetened condensed milk! It’ll break my heart. 

Whatever you do, DO NOT ADD SALT BEFORE THE CHEESE MELTS! Don’t play yourself! That cheese is salty. The chicken bouillon you use in the water is salty. You need the cheese to melt before gauging how much salt should be added. The onion powder is important, too. It just brings that little extra “something” to it, ya know? 


Alright, I think I’ve covered it all. Nope. I’m lying. This is major. KEEP THE HEAT LOW! Listen, my baby. If you scorch this stuff, you gotta trash it. You may not burn the pasta. But, you will have definitely torched the taste! Just keep the fire low and stir continuously while the cheese melts. 

Now, go ahead and start cooking. Make sure you call your Auntie and tell her Coop’s Spaghetti and Cheese is better than hers. We still love her though. Hey, Auntie!! 

Happy Cooking,

B. Coop

Creamy Spaghetti and Cheese Recipe

An easy variation of mac and cheese that will be you new favorite side dish! Very few ingredients are needed for this quick pasta recipe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin or regular spaghetti
  • 1 TBS chicken bouillon powder
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1-2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 1/2 to 1 lb American cheese sliced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil
  2. Stir in the chicken bouillon powder
  3. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package’s instructions until al dente.
  4. Drain. Do not rinse.
  5. Return the spaghetti to the pot.
  6. Stir in the better.
  7. Add in the milk and cheese. Use as much or as little as you’d like.*
  8. Heat on a medium low setting.
  9. Stir until cheese has melted.
  10. Sprinkle in the onion powder.
  11. Taste.
  12. Add salt and white pepper as desired.
  13. Stir well.
  14. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Start will one 12 oz can of evaporated milk. Add more milk as needed to reach your desired consistency.

Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

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Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

Delicious and flavorful Baked Ziti recipe that your family will love! Simple ingredients and dynamic flavors combine to make this recipe an instant favorite.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 16 ounces ziti
  • 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup merlot optional
  • 1 bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 fresh basil leaves chiffonade
  • 1 TBS oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded or grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Brown ground beef and sausage
  3. Drain off the fat
  4. Add in the onions, Bell peppers, and garlic and stir for 3 mins.
  5. Pour in the merlot.
  6. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, oregano, fennel seeds, and half of the basil.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Stir, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  10. Prepare ziti according to package instructions
  11. Drain and mix with the sauce.
  12. Spray a 9×13 baking dish or lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  13. Pour half of the ziti and sauce mixture into the pan.
  14. Add half of the ricotta on top of the pasta and spread it out evenly.
  15. In a separate bowl, toss the mozzarella and parmesan together.
  16. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture on top of the pasta.
  17. Pour in the rest of the pasta/sauce mix
  18. Then, add the rest of the ricotta in dollops.
  19. Sprinkle the remain cheese on top evenly.
  20. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
  21. Garnish with the remaining chiffonade basil.
  22. Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  23. Enjoy!

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

Easy shrimp fried rice that will rival your favorite restaurant. Garlic and sake shrimp bring bold flavor!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 4 cups cooked rice refrigerated for at least 4 hours
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 2-3 TBS sake optional
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 diced sweet onion
  • 3 large eggs whisked
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 TBS mirin or cooking sherry
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil
  • Green onion for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat 1-2 TBS vegetable oil on a wok or pan
  2. Then add the shrimp to the wok
  3. Season the shrimp with onion powder and 1 tsp salt.
  4. Pour in the sake and sauté the shrimp until they are just about cooked.
  5. Add in the minced garlic and sauté for 30 secs.
  6. Remove the shrimp from the wok; set aside.
  7. In the same wok, add in the butter and sesame oil
  8. Allow the butter to melt
  9. Add the onions and sauté until lightly browned
  10. Pour in the rice and stir everything together
  11. Push the rice to one side of the wok freeing up a space on the opposite side.
  12. Pour 1 TBS vegetable oil into the open side of the wok.
  13. Add the eggs and scramble them.
  14. When the eggs are almost cooked, stir them into the rice.
  15. Add the chicken bouillon powder, soy sauce, garlic powder, oyster sauce, and mirin.
  16. Salt and white pepper to taste.
  17. When the rice is hot, stir in the shrimp.
  18. Continue to cook on a medium low heat setting until the shrimp are completely cooked.
  19. Garnish with finely chopped green onions.
  20. Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

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The movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” has always been a favorite of mine. I remember how much I wanted to taste those fried green tomatoes Idgie made in her restaurant. It’s only right that I share my version of this southern classic with you.

It’s important to grab firm tomatoes. That guarantees freshness and prevents the tomatoes from being too mushy after frying. Green tomatoes are tart. I like to add a bit of granulated sugar to reduce that tang.

To ensure that the breading sticks to the tomatoes, we have to salt the slices and place them on paper towels. Allow them to rest. You’ll see all of that water soak onto the paper towels. This will give us crispier fried green tomatoes.

Serve them as a snack or appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce. Or top them with my Crawfish Alfredo or my Crawfish Étouffée. Trust me on this. Just do it.

Happy Cooking,

B. Coop

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Cajun style, crispy fried green tomatoes that can be served as a snack with your favorite dipping sauce or topped with a creamy, crawfish Alfredo or etouffee.
Prep Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized green tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning or seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices
  2. Sprinkle them with salt
  3. Place the tomato slices between two paper towels and allow them to sit for 20 mins
  4. Create a breading station by pouring the flour into a shallow deep
  5. Season the flour with the Cajun seasoning and sugar
  6. In another dish, whisk the eggs, milk, and hot sauce together until slightly frothy.
  7. Pour the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, onion and garlic powders into a third dish; mix well.
  8. Dredge each tomato slice into the flour, egg/milk, then the breadcrumbs/cornmeal.
  9. In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil.
  10. Fry the tomato slices for 2-3 minutes per side or until they are golden brown.
  11. Drain on a wired rack.
  12. Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Chicken Crispers

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My family loves this one, particular restaurant. Me, not so much. But, the chicken tender thingy’s aren’t so bad. I appreciate that the chicken is thin and tendon less. The honey chipotle sauce is great, too. But, I’ve always wondered what they would taste like with sweet chili sauce. So, I had to find out. And, well, you’re welcome.

Sweet Chili Chicken Crispers

Restaurant inspired crunchy and moist chicken strips doused in a sweet and tangy sweet chili sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 TBS Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Accent seasoning optional
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 eggs
  • 2 TBS milk
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Slice chicken breasts into strips 1 inch in width.
  2. Pat dry well with paper towels
  3. In a small bowl, combine all seasonings and powders. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle half of the seasoning blend evenly on the chicken.
  5. Toss to coat
  6. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and remaining seasoning blend.
  7. In a separate dish, whisk together eggs and milk.
  8. Dredge each chicken strip into the flour mixture, gently squeezing the flour into the to coat. Shake off the excess flour.
  9. Then, dredge each strip in the egg and milk mixture.
  10. Repeat step #8.
  11. Place chicken strips on a wired rack until the oil is hot.
  12. Deep fry the strips in peanut oil heated to 350°F for 5-7 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the strips registers at least 165°F.
  13. Place the strips on a wired rack to drain.
  14. Pour the sweet chili sauce into a large bowl.
  15. Add the chicken strips into the bowl and gently toss them in the sauce to coat.
  16. Place the strips back on a wired rack.
  17. Broil the strips for 2 minutes to help the sauce stick. (Optional)
  18. Enjoy!

Crispy Baked Potato Wedges Recipe

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Potato wedges are so unappreciated. They are really a bomb side dish! And they are too easy to make. My recipe tastes exactly like the ones my family gets from a local restaurant. They are baked, but you wouldn’t believe it by taste alone. I’ll show you how I make crispy potato wedges in your oven!

Crispy Baked Potato Wedges Recipe

Cajun spiced, crunchy potato wedges prepared in the oven. Simple ingredients, big flavor!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4-6 Yukon gold or russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning or sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Rinse and scrub the potatoes; Pat dry
  3. Cut potatoes into wedges lengthwise
  4. Place the potato wedges into a bowl of cold water for 20 mins
  5. Pat the wedges dry with a paper towel
  6. Toss the wedges in the olive oil
  7. Then, sprinkle on all of the spices.
  8. Toss to coat well.
  9. Place the wedges in a single layer onto a parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 40-45 mins flipping each wedge over halfway through the baking time.
  11. Enjoy!

Macaroni Salad Recipe

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For years, I was afraid to even look at the macaroni salad I saw in deli’s and on buffet spreads. I honestly don’t remember when I actually decided to give it a try. But, I’m so glad I did! It’s amazing! I chuckled while developing this recipe. Because I never imagined I’d eat this stuff let alone create a whole recipe for it. But, hey, here we are.

Fresh is definitely best when it comes to salads. Pick the best bell peppers and herbs you can find for this one. Your taste buds will thank you. I also use quality mayonnaise as well.

Macaroni Salad Recipe

An easy to prepare, deli style macaroni salad with fresh ingredients and lots of flavor. The perfect summertime side dish.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Rest Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBS white vinegar
  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp creole mustard
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 1/4 of a red onion finely diced
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • Chiffonade basil 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese cubed optional
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. n a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, white vinegar, Dijon mustard, granulated sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder to make the dressing.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Season with the sea salt to taste.
  4. Add the celery, red onions, bell peppers, and parsley to the dressing; stir well to combine.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions.
  7. Allow macaroni to drain completely; do NOT rinse.
  8. Stir the macaroni to keep it from sticking together and help it cool to room temperature.
  9. When the macaroni has cooled, add it to the refrigerated dressing and veggies.
  10. Toss well to combine.
  11. Seal the bowl again with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hrs or overnight.
  12. Remove the macaroni salad from the fridge and taste.
  13. Adjust salt as needed.
  14. Add in the Monterey Jack cheese and basil.
  15. Stir well.
  16. Enjoy!

The Best Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole is my favorite dip ever! I love the simplicity of it. You have to use the freshest ingredients to ensure that the taste is right. I learned the process from a local restaurant and I wanted to share it with my Cookies.

To stay as authentic as possible, I use a molcajete for this recipe. It’s a mortar and pestle. This renders the most flavor into your guacamole. It’s the absolute best tool to use to grind up spices and ingredients. I highly recommend incorporating this into your kitchen equipment.

When choosing avocados for your guacamole, make sure that it’s ripe. Give a gentle squeeze. If it gives a bit, it’s ready to use. Ripe avocados have a creamy flesh which are delightful in this recipe.

I prefer a chunky textured guacamole. So, I use the pestle to mash the avocados instead of grinding it up into a paste. But, the consistency is totally up to you. Make it as chunky or as creamy as you desire.

Watery guacamole is a huge no-no! Be sure to seed and pat the tomatoes dry before dicing and adding them to the mix. Be sure to check out my method in the tutorial.

Grab your tortillas or pita chips and enjoy!

Happy Eating,

B. Coop

The Best Guacamole Recipe

A restaurant quality guacamole recipe made with all fresh ingredients that’s ready to serve in under 20 minutes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño diced
  • 2 TBS fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 2 Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
  • Kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a Molcajete:
  2. In a molcajete bowl, add in half of the onions, half of the jalapeños, half of the cilantro, all of the garlic, and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  3. Use the pestle to grind the ingredients into a paste.
  4. Cut, peel, and pit the avocados and add them into the molcajete bowl.
  5. Smash the avocado with the pestle, combining it with the paste until the desired consistency is reached. Be sure to leave chunks of avocado.
  6. Add in the rest of the onions, jalapeños, cilantro, tomatoes, and lime juice.
  7. Gently fold everything together.
  8. Taste and add more salt as needed.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. Using a regular mixing bowl:
  11. Cut, peel, and pit the avocados and add them to your bowl.
  12. Use a fork to smash up the avocados to your desired consistency.
  13. Add all remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  14. Salt to taste.
  15. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Notes: To keep the guacamole from turning brown, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Be sure to pat the wrap onto the surface of the guacamole to push all of the air out. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.