Sunday, August 31, 2014

Potluck Banana Cake




I found this recipe about 5 years ago and have been making it for family gatherings ever since. The coffee-flavored frosting complements the moist banana cake

Potluck Banana Cake

Yield: 12-15 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

COFFEE FROSTING:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk


Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with bananas and sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Dissolve coffee granules in milk; add to butter mixture and beat until smooth. Spread over cake


Friday, August 29, 2014

Cream Cheese Cookie Cups




Need a quick dessert? Try these yummy cookie bites. For a pretty look, use an icing bag to pipe the filling into the cups, then top each with mini M&M's.

Cream Cheese Cookie Cups

MAKES: 12 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 tube (18 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions:
  1. Cut cookie dough in half (save one portion for another use). With floured hands, press about 1 tablespoon of dough onto the bottom and up the sides of 12 ungreased miniature muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, reshape the puffed cookie cups. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Spoon into cookie cups. Store in the refrigerator.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flan Cake (Flan Impossible)





This Flan Cake (Flan Imposible) is a unique alternative for family and friends entertaining. You'll love the layered look and flavors of this inverted cake.

Flan Cake

Ingredients:
  •     Nonstick cooking spray
  •     1 cup granulated sugar
  •     8 large egg yolks
  •     1 can (14 ounces) NESTLÉ LA LECHERA Sweetened Condensed Milk
  •     1 can (12 fluid ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  •     1 package (18.25 ounces) devil's food cake mix

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Move oven rack to lowest position. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a roasting pan half filled with water in the oven.

HEAT sugar in small, heavy-duty saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until dissolved and caramel colored. Quickly pour onto bottom of prepared Bundt pan; swirl around bottom to coat.

MIX egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk in large bowl until well blended.

PREPARE cake mix batter according to package directions.

POUR egg and milk mixture over caramel. Slowly add cake batter over the flan. Place pan in roasting pan in the oven.

BAKE for 50 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove pan from water. Let cool before inverting cake onto a serving dish.

Cook's Tip: For a firmer flan, use 3 large whole eggs in place of egg yolks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Paul's Pumpkin Bars





These are very moist, and so far I haven't found anyone who doesn't love them!

Paul's Pumpkin Bars

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10x15 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting






This is one of my favorite "fancy" cakes for special occasions. Perfect for spring and summer as it is so light and fresh tasting.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting
12 servings

Ingredients:

Frosting:
  •     2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  •     1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •     4 cups powdered sugar
  •     1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
  •     3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream



Cake:
  •     3 cups cake flour
  •     3/4 tsp salt
  •     1/2 tsp baking powder
  •     1/2 tsp baking soda
  •     3 cups sugar
  •     1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •     7 large eggs
  •     2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  •     1 cup sour cream
  •     6 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
  •     2 1/4 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 6 cups), divided



Directions:

Frosting: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in sugar and jam. Beat cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover, and chill until firm enough to spread (about 2 hours)

Cake: Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2 inch high sides. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream, beat 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in three additions, beating to blend in between each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pans on rack about 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides, then turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. Using a large serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place one cake half cut side up on cake plate. Spread 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam over, then 3/4 cups frosting. Top with 3/4 cup sliced berries, arranging in a single layer. Repeat two more times with cake layer, jam, frosting and berries, Top with remaining cake layer cut side down. Spread 2 cups frosting over top and sides of cake to coat completely. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Stir remaining 1/3 cup jam to loosen. Spoon teaspoonfuls on to top and sides of cake, then use back of spoon to swirl jam decoratively into frosting. Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.

* I added a few drops of red food coloring to make the frosting pinker. Also I omitted the jam swirled into frosting on the outside of cake.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chantal's New York Cheesecake





This cake is easy to make, and it's so delicious. Everyone that's tried it has said it tasted just like the ones in a deli! You'll love it!"

Chantal's New York Cheesecake

makes 1 9-inch springform pan
 
Ingredients:
  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Apple Slab Pie





A good choice if the school or church asks you to bring dessert. Kind of like Dutch apple pie..

Apple Slab Pie

makes 1 - 10x15 inch pie

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 8 apples - peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) In a large bowl, combine flour sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix egg yolk and water together and mix into flour until it forms a ball. Roll out to fit the bottom of a 10x15 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons flour, sugar and cinnamon. Pour filling into pie crust and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2/3 cup butter. Cut in the butter until crumbly, then sprinkle over apples.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

Mom's Soft and Moist Zucchini Bread

My mother has been making the yummiest moist Zucchini bread for as long as I can remember. The name sounds like some health food bread meant for those that like to eat all things yucky. Zucchini bread however is nothing like what it sounds. Moist Zucchini bread tastes like a dessert bread. Think Banana bread only better!

We used to have a garden where my mom grew her own Zucchini but she and my dad no longer had time to manage the garden. Now she gets them from grandma. Where the Zucchini comes from is unimportant. Buying from a local farmer will get you the freshest Zucchini, but really its the combination of Zucchini bread ingredients that makes this one a favorite.

I can't tell you how old this zucchini recipe is, I can tell you it's written in a notebook that is older then I am.I can also say that until someone copies and posts this zucchini bread recipe as their own, you won't find this anywhere else. My mom gets many compliments on her homemade zucchini bread and I'm happy to share the recipe here.





 


Mom's Soft and Moist Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loafs

Ingredients:
  •     3 Beaten Eggs
  •     2 Cups Sugar
  •     2 Cups Wesson Oil (vegetable oil)
  •     2 Tsps Vanilla
  •     2 Cups Grated Zucchini
  •     3 Cups Flour
  •     1 Tsp Baking Soda
  •     1 Tsp Salt
  •     1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  •     3 Tsp Cinnamon
  •     Add nuts and/or raisins if desired

Directions:

Use a potato peeler to remove outer layer of Zucchini. Cut Zucchini into 1 inch chunks for grating. Use a food processor to grate zucchini into small slivers. Add grated Zucchini and all other ingredients into a bowl. Use a mixer until well blended. Pour into greased and floured bread pan. Bake about 1 hour at 350 degree's. Use a toothpick to determine if bread is fully cooked. Remove from oven. Once cooled, flip bread onto Saran wrap to finish cooling.

How my mom keeps her zucchini bread moist and fresh tasting for months: When bread is fully cooled, wrap in foil if eating within the week or place into food saver bags and seal. Can be frozen for up to 6 months. Do not leave out or place in a plastic bag. Always use foil for Zucchini bread that will be eaten within the week, or food saver bags sealed for freezing.

Top With Whipped Butter

Whipped or Softened unsalted butter makes the best topping. Do not spread on until ready to eat.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

When I found this recipe on Recipezaar, I thought it looked yummy.
Then when I saw it has almost 500 five-star ratings, I knew I had to try it!

The method is kinda kooky.
The cooking temp is strange.
The ingredients are super-simple.
This cake is impossibly moist.


And.. it is one of the BESTEST cakes I've ever made!

Follow the directions, even though they make ya say. "huh?"
You'll be glad you did!

Oh! and it's best the next day!
So, make it early!

Even those who hate banana bread will love this simple cake!
It's NOT the same thing!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing


Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/8 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups icing (or powdered) sugar

Garnish (optional):

  • chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 275°.
  2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
  7. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  8. Stir in banana mixture.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake. in preheated 275 F. degree oven.
  10. Check it in about one hour, Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (it took my bunt 1 hour and 15 min)
  11. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.
  12. For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  13. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  14. Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.
  15. Spread on cooled cake.
  16. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if desired.
  17. ENJOY!
**Tip** I like my cream cheese icing better than this recipe, so next time, I'll use mine.
It's wonderful served chilled or room temperature!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake





A friend made this for the dessert at a work gathering and OH MY GAH! It was DIVINE! Never before have I ever wanted to just stick my face in any one food but I do believe this would be it!


Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers: 1 bag)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
  • 32 ounces (4 blocks) low fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, low fat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi sweet)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes (DO NOT open the oven door when you lower the temperature. Trust you oven, and KNOW that your cheesecake is not burning after 15 minutes). Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
*Lowering the temperature and letting it cook for a little longer allows it to cook all the way through without browning it or making too many cracks in the top. Turning off the oven and letting the cake sit inside with the door cracked is a great trick to continue cooking it, but it won’t brown or burn.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, heat the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat. Once the chocolate has melted and is stirred in, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool. Allow it too cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools. But you will still be able to pour it onto the cheesecake. Carefully pour the ganache into the middle of the cheesecake and spread it to the outside, leaving about 1/4 of an inch space from the edge. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Whipped Cream Mousse Frosting



A friend of mine requested a light whipped cream mousse-like frosting for her Mother's Day cake. This is what I came up with. If you are looking for a white frosting use clear vanilla and white chocolate pudding. It does require refrigeration..,,

Whipped Cream Mousse Frosting

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups frozen whipped topping (such as Cool Whip®), thawed

Directions:

  1. Beat the whipping cream, instant pudding mix, milk, and vanilla extract together with an electric hand mixer in a large bowl until soft peaks start to form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the mixture will form soft mounds rather than a sharp peak.
  2. Fold the whipped topping into the whipping cream mixture to evenly mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Easy Cherry Turnovers





These sweet little breakfast pastries are not only easy to make, but they're the perfect blend of buttery pastry dough, tart cherries and sweet, creamy glaze. Enjoy!

Recipe >> Easy Cherry Turnovers @ lemon-sugar.com

Perfect New York Cheesecake





Cheesecake is my husband’s favorite, but I’ve always been scared away by horror stories of falling and cracking. Well, his birthday is this week, and I finally screwed up the courage to try it. All the great reviews said this recipe would work, so I used it, and my cheesecake turned out perfectly! It’s golden, smooth, and stunning. It is chilling, and we’ll serve it tomorrow. I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

Recipe >> Perfect New York Cheesecake @ lifemadesimplebakes.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert





I've made this many times and am always asked for the recipe!! I use one box of cheesecake instant pudding and one box of french vanilla, mixed together. Make sure you put the final layer of graham crackers on top (between the last layer of pudding and the chocolate layer) - last time I got lazy and tried to pour the chocolate (warmed canned frosting) on top of a pudding layer - impossible to spread! haha This stuff is fantastic, though - and I'll have to try the homemade chocolate part!

Recipe >> No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert @ thekitchenismyplayground.com

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Best Lemon Bars




I made these last night and they came out perfect! I’ve been searching for a recipe that’s just right, not too sweet/lemony. One change I made to the recipe was to skip the drizzle on top and just dust with powdered sugar. It’s a little more forgiving when you cut them, hides the rough edges..

Recipe >> The Best Lemon Bars @ yourhomebasedmom.com

Triple Chocolate Cake Mousse





I have made this chocolate cake. It turned out great. I find that it is a cross between browney and chocolate cake. That is what I like about this cake. I have made this chocolate cake several time. Sometimes I called it a chocolate cake (when I want to cut it up in three layers and fill it up with either mousse or butter cream) and sometimes I called it browney, when I want to serve it just the way it is. Cutting it in squares and dusting cocoa powder over it.

This recipe makes enough mousse for about eight 2″-diameter cakes, give or take, depending on the size of your molds. Make sure you have enough freezer space available to accommodate a sheet pan with ring molds.

The whole recipe must be made at least 6 hours before you plan to serve because the mousse needs a chance to set up, but if you like, you can make each step of this recipe on different days to break up the labor, and just keep it in the freezer until serving day.

There will be plenty of cake and chocolate sauce left, which can both be wrapped well and frozen, or enjoyed as a cake sundae by cutting the cake into squares, topping with a scoop of ice cream, and drizzling with chocolate sauce.

Recipe >> Triple Chocolate Cake Mousse @ pastrypal.com

Gram's Galumpki





My mom made these at least once a month throughout my childhood. The only difference  was she used tomato juice and thinly sliced onion on top. Special memories, :)


Gram's Galumpki

  • 1 or 2 heads of cabbage ( you will need 12-16 large leaves)
  • 1 lb ground beef (80% lean or so)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (cooked five minutes short of specified time)
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tomato soup (1 or 2 small cans) or 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fresh thyme leaves (several sprigs, 1 - 2 teaspoons)

Cut the core from the head of cabbage and wash well. Fill a large saucepan or pot (I use a 4 quart saucepot) with about 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add ½ teaspoon salt and the head of cabbage, core side down. Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the outer cabbage leaves are tender and flexible but not mushy.

Carefully remove the head of cabbage from the pot. Run under cold water until it can comfortably be handled. Gently separate the leaves. If you get to the point where the leaves are still crisp return the remaining portion to the boiling water to cook a little longer. Repeat until you have enough cooked leaves for the number of cabbage rolls you want to make (12 -16 large leaves). Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, cooked rice, onion, egg, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Mix thoroughly. (I reach in and use clean hands to squish the mixture together.)

If using the tomato sauce mixture instead of canned tomato soup, stir together the tomato sauce, lemon juice and minced garlic in a small bowl.

Prepare a baking dish by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. (I use a 7 x 11 inch rectangular baking dish but this does not usually hold all of the rolls. Any baking dish can be used but cooking time may vary depending on how the rolls are arranged.) Cover the bottom of the dish with half of the tomato soup or tomato sauce mixture. Set the rest of the soup or sauce aside for the topping.

Place cabbage leaves on a cutting board one by one and, with a sharp knife, trim much of the thickness from the central ridge of the cabbage leaf starting at the core end and cutting toward the outer edge. This will flatten the ridge making it flush with the leaf and easier to roll.


Place ¼ cup of the meat mixture near the lower core edge of the cabbage leaf. Fold the lower edge up over the meat mixture. Then fold in each side of the leaf toward the middle. Roll the leaf tucking in the sides as you go. Squeeze the rolled cabbage leaf in your fist to shape the bundle and place it seam side down in a rectangular baking dish. Repeat until all of the meat mixture has been used.

Cover the cabbage rolls with the remaining tomato soup or sauce. Scatter thyme leaves over all. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover. Bake another 15 minutes or until ground beef is done through.

Rustic Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Tart






I love chocolate, but I also love desserts like this one. Lemon curd and raspberries sound delicious! My mom and I worked together to make a delicious treat to grandparents’ house to share with the family. I chose this dessert because I wanted to make something fresh and fruity. It’s a danish-like dessert with a lightly lemony cheesecake filling topped with raspberries and raspberry jam.

Recipe >> Rustic Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Tart @ Susi's Kochen Und Backen Adventures

Cream Cheese Apple Coffee Cake



As the mornings start to get a little colder and fall begins to really get into full swing, I find myself craving coffee and baked goods in the morning. For me this usually ends up meaning baked oatmeal or this week this lovely apple coffee cake. I debated what exactly to call it. It definitely isn’t a cake since it’s not overly sweet, but it’s not really a bread either, and it has a yummy cinnamon sugar topping so I ended up with coffee cake. And the batter is made with cream cheese and apple sauce which add lots of moisture without adding fat from butter or oil. It’s a delicious little bite of fall.

Recipe >> Cream Cheese Apple Coffee Cake @ yammiesnoshery.com

DIY Chocolate Chip Danish





I’ve wanted to make a Danish-style pastry for months now, but I kept putting it off. I don’t know why. I finally did it and now I’m wondering why I didn’t do it sooner! Because I started with a Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet, they are so easy to make. It takes 30 minutes from fridge to tummy, tops! How’s that for a quick treat? It takes longer to go to the store and buy a Danish!


DIY Chocolate Chip Danish


Ingredients:
  • 1 can Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven at 350°F. Line 17x12-inch cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or silicone nonstick baking mat.

Unroll dough onto lined cookie sheet; press dough into about 16x10-inch rectangle. With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut 1 1/2-inch-long slanted cuts 1 inch apart along both long sides of rectangle, leaving center of dough uncut. Make sure you have the same amount of cut strips on both sides.


In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread mixture on uncut center of dough. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cream cheese mixture.

Braid dough by crossing strips over filling, alternating from side to side. At end, trim off any overhanging dough.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes or just until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to bread board, serving platter or cooling rack. Cut into slices to serve. Best served the same day.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites




I just made these to take to a potluck lunch and I’m afraid there aren’t going to be any left for me to take in a moment! They are addicting! I brushed them with butter and skipped the cheese sauce, but I’m sure it’s yummy too!.. So this recipe isn’t any big secret; in fact, it’s probably the most widely adored one out there but if you haven’t made it yet, you need to get.on.it

Recipe >> Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites @ twopeasandtheirpod.com

Christmas Tree Cupcakes





These are fabulous! Switched it up a bit and filled the cones with very frozen ice cream before finishing them quickly. Stored in the fridge one by one as they were done. Served in an ice cream sundae boat surrounded with cherries and blueberries. Kids went crazy for them..

Recipe >> Christmas Tree Cupcakes @ justataste.com

Easy Homemade Bread Recipe

An Easy Homemade Bread Recipe: A little background

My family is full of really fantastic cooks. My stepmom, my mother-in-law, my sisters--all fantastic. My brother is so fantastic that he makes his living cooking. Me? I am more like fantastically frightful.

My roommate in graduate school had to show me how to cut up an onion. Graduate school--As in, I was 22 years old and paying all of my bills before I ever chopped a vegetable.

Soon after I married Daniel, I tried to make something called "Broccoli Brag," and it was so terrible that I knew I had to get serious about learning how to cook. I did what any young Southern girl would do in my position: I bought a 2-year subscription to Southern Living and made as many recipes as I could.




Although not quite fantastic, I've improved tremendously, and the recipe I'm most proud of is this homemade bread. It's simple--just 5 ingredients, and not as time consuming as you might think. You don't need a bread machine, and you don't need to babysit it.

The total time from start to finish is about 2.5 hours, but the actual hands-on time is only 15-20 minutes.  I've made it twice a week for 10 months, around work schedules, toddler schedules, and travel schedules. I got the original idea here and tweaked the recipe over time to use less ingredients and less dishes, a win-win in the Thompson household.

5 Simple Ingredients: (Tips for those like me in italics.)

  • 2 Cups of Warm Water (I boil mine first in the electric kettle and then let it cool off a bit.)
  • 2/3 Cup Honey (Local and Raw if you can get it.)
  • 1 3/4 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast (I use the kind in the jar and store in the frig.)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 6 Cups Bread Flour


5 Easy Steps:


1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together warm water and honey until honey is dissolved. Add yeast, and cover with a towel.

2. In about 10-20 minutes, your mixture should look like the picture above. (I would describe it as delightfully frothy.) Mix in your salt, and then add the bread flour one cup at a time. (I use the whisk for the first three cups and then switch to a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for the last three cups. For the very last cup, I don't even stir.)

(Take any rings off between Steps 2 and 3. I learned this the hard way. Keep them on the counter that is farthest away from the garbage disposal. I also learned this the hard way.)


3. Add a little extra flour to your hands and knead the dough, about 5 minutes. (Maybe this will get me in trouble with the baking police, but I knead the dough right in the large mixing bowl. It keeps my counter cleaner.) Place kneaded dough in a large, greased bowl and cover with towel.


4. After an hour, your dough should have risen significantly. (Here comes the best part!) Punch the dough (Don't hold back! Get out all your frustration!) and then knead again for a couple of minutes. Divide into two lightly-greased loaf pans and cover with your towel once more.

5. After allowing the dough to rise for 30 minutes in the loaf pans, bake in a preheated oven at 325 for 30-35 minutes. (For my oven, it's about 33 minutes. A lot of bread recipes use an oven at 350. I find 325 works better for honey.)

Super yummy. Super ingredients. Super easy to make.

Perfect Chicken




Pinterest is fantastic as I am sure that you all know! I saw this recipe for the perfect chicken and have made it several times. I use it for everything:  soups, salads, pasta, plain, etc... It cooks perfectly every time,,

Perfect Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 2-4 boneless chicken breasts with or without rib meat
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/2 t. salt


Directions:

Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in a small bowl (I use my old 1/4 cup). Coat the chicken breasts in the seasoning, rubbing in to coat. Pour olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven, and heat to med-high. When nice and hot, add chicken to the pan (in batches if necessary). Cook 2-3 min per side. If any chicken has been removed, add it back to the Dutch oven. Place uncovered Dutch oven in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes or until juices run clear. Let sit on a plate 5-10 minutes before cutting, shredding, or eating.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Bake





I tried this for dinner last night and LOVED it! I used different bacon and different ranch but it was still amazing! Next time I will make it a little different though. FIRST, I would cut a few slits in my chicken for the ranch to seep through and cook within. SECOND, I would bake the bacon separate (because I like my bacon a little more on the crispy side). & THIRD, I would add the bacon to the chicken at the point you add the cheese. But overall this was delicious and I will be making it again in the near future!

Recipe >> Bacon Ranch Chicken Bake @ thepinningmama.com

Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas



Tried them and worked out great! Replaced the olive oil with coconut oil and added a little vanilla extract instead of sugar. Once I had them in the bowl I added chopped walnuts and raisins. Awesome power breakfast!

Recipe >> Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas @ Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls Recipe





I just made these for part of a care package a bunch of moms make for our boys. Just a note…I was having a bit of a sticky issue when making the balls, but if anyone else has a problem you can just solve it by using some powdered sugar on your hands…like dipping your cookie cutters in flour…same effect. I know the boys will love these!

Recipe >> Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls Recipe @ momfabulous.com

Strawberry Shortcake Stuffed Golden Oreo Truffles





Strawberries are my favorite – so juicy, sweet and gorgeous! They do create a delightful and summery dessert! I love the regular Oreos (black) they are so good and vegan-friendly! What a great idea to use them in truffles, I imagine they taste like strawberry shortcakes!

Recipe >> Strawberry Shortcake Stuffed Golden Oreo Truffles @ lifemadesweeter.com

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Crunchy Granola Bars

It's a simple recipe that uses ingredients I almost always have on hand. To ensure that these bars are super crunchy, the recipe calls for toasting the oats with oil before forming the bars. I think this is the key step. One of the most difficult parts about making homemade granola bars is cooking them enough so that they get dried out all the way through, but not so long that they start over cooking. Toasting the oats first means that the bars start out dry and crispy, so they don't need to cook as long and start overcooking.

After toasting the oats, all you have to do is pour the liquid ingredients over them, mix it up, and press it in a lined pan. Press down to squish all of the granola together into an even layer, and bake. Nothing to it. I like these bars the best with almonds, but when I made my last batch I was out of almonds, so I just added an extra cup of oats and they turned out just fine. So if you don't have any nuts around, or don't like nuts, just leave them out!

Another key step to making the perfect granola bars is cutting them while they are still warm from the oven, before they harden up and become impossible to cut nicely. I have found that letting the pan rest for 10 minutes works best for me. After these 10 minutes I grab my trusty pastry scraper and cut up the bars (I like cutting the pan into 45 bars, 9X5). Then just let them cool the rest of the way and you have the perfect granola bar.

To be honest, while these bars are delicious, they do not taste like the Nature Valley crunchy granola bars. I still love my Oats and Honey granola bars, but they will definitely just be for emergencies from now on!





Crunchy Granola Bars

Ingredients:
  •     7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  •     1/2 cup vegetable oil
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     1 1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, walnuts or peanuts
  •     3/4 cup honey
  •     3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  •     1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  •     2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)


Directions:

 Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and set the temperature to 375 degrees.

Line an 18 x 13 inch rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil.

Combine the oats, oil and salt in a large bowl and mix until the oats are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until pale gold, 20-25 minutes. Remove the oats and lower the oven temp to 300 degrees.

Place the nuts in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Or just chop coarsely with a big sharp knife.
Combine the honey and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon (if using).

Combine the oats, nuts, and honey mixture in a large bowl and stir with a large rubber spatula until the oats are thoroughly coated with the honey mixture. Spray the baking sheet (still with foil sling) with non-stick spray then transfer the granola mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Spray a large metal spatula or a square dish with non-stick spray and firmly press the mixture into the pan. Make a flat, tight, and even layer. Bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes.

Cool in the baking sheet, on a wire rack, for 10-15 minutes before cutting into bars, I used a pastry scraper to cut.  Cut the bars all the way through and then allow the granola bars to completely cool. Do not wait longer than 15 minutes before cutting the bars. They harden up significantly as they cool. Any longer and you’ll have a very hard time cutting thru them.

The bars can be stored, covered for up to 2 weeks.

Simple Homemade Sausage Patties




Assembling pork sausages is a snap and, as always, if you use best-quality ingredients, it's hard to beat homemade.From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).

Simple Homemade Sausage Patties

Ingredients:
  •     1 pound ground pork
  •     1 garlic clove, minced
  •     1 tablespoon dried sage, crumbled
  •     3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  •     1/2 teaspoon dried fennel, crushed
  •     Pinch of ground nutmeg
  •     1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  •     1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •     1 large egg white
  •     2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Directions:

Mix together the pork, garlic, sage, thyme, fennel, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the egg white and combine thoroughly. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes.

To easily form the sausage patties, rinse your hands in cold water. Divide the mixture into eighths and shape each portion into a 2 1/2-inch disk. Patties can be made to this point and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.

Heat a skillet over high heat, and then swirl in the oil. Fry the sausages on both sides until completely cooked through and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Drain and serve immediately with pancakes, waffles or eggs. Sausage patties can be fully cooled, wrapped, and frozen for microwave reheating.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole





This creamy casserole can be made a day ahead, refrigerated and then baked just before dinner. Using frozen vegetables makes this dish a cinch.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Italian Seasoning , divided
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, cubed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning in small bowl. Set aside. Cut up any large broccoli or cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with crumb mixture.

Bake 40 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.

Golden Corral Rolls





Golden Corral Rolls

Yields 24 rolls

Ingredients:
  •     1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (reg size)
  •     1⁄4 cup water, very warm
  •     1⁄3 cup sugar
  •     1⁄4 cup butter or 1⁄4 cup margarine
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     1 cup milk, scalding hot
  •     1 egg, lightly beaten
  •     4 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  •     2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine, for brushing rolls, melted


Directions:
  1.     Sprinkle the yeast over very warm water in a large bowl. (Very warm water should feel comfortably warm when dropped on wrist or between 105-110°F on a candy thermometer) Stir until yeast dissolves.
  2.     Add sugar, the 1/4 cup butter or margarine and salt to hot milk and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter or margarine is melted. Cool mixture to 105-115°F.
  3.     Add milk mixture to yeast, then beat in egg. Beat in 4 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a soft dough. Use some of the remaining 1/2 cup of the flour to dust a pastry cloth.
  4.     Knead the dough lightly for 5 minutes, working in the remaining flour (use it for flouring the pastry cloth and your hands).
  5.     Place dough in a warm buttered bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6.     Punch dough down and knead 4 to 5 minutes on a lightly floured pastry cloth. Dough will be sticky, but use as little flour as possible for flouring your hands and the pastry cloth, otherwise the rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be.
  7.     Pinch off small chunks of dough and shape into round rolls about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inches in diameter. Place in neat rows, not quite touching, in a well-buttered 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan.
  8.     Cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter or margarine, then bake in a moderately hot oven (375°F) 18 to 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm with plenty of butter.

Classic Carrot Cake

Classic Carrot Cake with hints of cinnamon and clove made super moist by pineapple as a secret ingredient.  Carrot Cake is fast becoming the most requested cake for wedding cakes because of it's tasty universal appeal.  And with Carrots as the main ingredient you could even say it is healthy.  Well, almost.  When you ice it with my amazing Cream Cheese Icing you will have an incredible combination of flavors that are both classic and proof you are Cooking The Amazing.





Classic Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
  •  2 c   All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 c   Sugar
  • 1/4 c   Brown Sugar, packed (dark or light)
  • 1  1/2 t   Baking Soda
  • 1 t   Baking Powder
  • 1 t  Salt
  • 4 t  Cinnamon
  • 1/4 t  Nutmeg
  • 1/8 t  Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 t  Ground Ginger
  • 2 c  Finely Grated Peeled Carrot, packed
  • 1 c  Coconut Flakes, sweetened
  • 1 c  Raisins (Optional)
  • 1 can 8 oz  Crushed Pineapple, drained
  •        (reserve 1 T of drained Pineapple juice)
  • 1 1/2 c  Walnuts or Pecans, chopped small pieces
  • 1 c  Vegetable Oil
  • 2 t  Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T  Finely Grated Fresh Orange Zest
  • 3  Eggs, extra large
  • Pam non stick Cooking Spray

Total Prep and cooking time approx. 1 1/4 hr.
Total Cooling and Icing time approx. 2 1/2 hrs


Directions:

  1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.     Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by spraying with Vegetable non-stick spray (like Pam Spray) and line with a parchment paper round on the bottom then spray the top of the parchment.  Or spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with Vegetable non stick spray (like Pam Spray) or use 20 jumbo Cupcake liners in a Muffin tin without using Pam spray.
  3.     In a large bowl whisk well:  Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, all Spices.
  4.     Peel then Grate approx 5-6 medium Carrots to yield 2 cups packed.  Grate Carrots finely to no more than 1/4 inch pieces.  Or process in a food processor until finely grated but not mush.  It is important that you peel the Carrots before grating.  You do not want the tough skins in your cake.
  5.     In a medium bowl or KitchenAid bowl add Carrots, Grated Fresh Orange Peel, Drained Pineapple, Raisins (optional), Coconut Flakes, Walnuts or Pecans and mix well with a big spoon.
  6.     To this mixture add the Vegetable Oil, Vanilla Extract and Eggs one at a time mixing in well then add 1 T of the reserved Pineapple juice and mix well.  Scrape down bowl often.
  7.     Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or Kitchen Aid for  about 1 minute until well mixed.  Do not over mix.
  8.     Pour divided into prepared (as above) 9 inch cake pans, or 9 X 13 pan, or approximately 20 Cupcake liners filled 3/4 full or a 9 X 13 baking sheet sprayed with Pam but no parchment paper needed.
  9.     Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins for Cupcakes,  35-40 minutes for 9 inch layer cakes and 45-50 mins for 9 X 13 in the center of the oven.  Half way through cooking rotate the pans for even cooking.  A toothpick will come out clean when done.  All ovens vary in timing so check at lowest time first and if not done put back in oven and recheck in 2- 3 minutes.
  10.     Allow to cool completely in pan for 1-2 hrs. before removing to ice with Cream Cheese Icing.  Recipe below.  Place 1/4 of icing between the two layers and when placing the top cake layer on, put the flat side of the cake (the bottom when it was in the cake pan) facing up for a flat top which makes a more attractive cake and easier to ice.


 This cake is super moist and fragile so handle with care when removing from pans and icing.  If it breaks the icing will hide any imperfections.

TIP:  Add 1 cup of golden raisins or chopped dried cherries or apricots for a twist on tradition.

TIP:  Black Walnuts will give this cake the most flavor.  Sprinkle the top of the cake with Walnuts or Pecans as a tasty garnish.


CREAM CHEESE ICING


Here is the recipe.

  • 2 sticks Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (2 bars)
  • 3 c Powdered Sugar
  • 4 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 t Almond Extract
  • 1 small pinch Salt (very small pinch)


Total Prep Time: 7 minutes (except time to soften butter and cream cheese.)


  1.     Allow Butter and Cream Cheese to sit out until at room temperature and softened.
  2.     In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.
  3.     Cream the Butter with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Then add the Cream Cheese and cream for 2 minutes or so more until well mixed.
  4.     1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.
  5.     Add Salt, Vanilla and Almond Extracts and mix well.  Taste and add more Powdered Sugar to be more sweet or more Cream Cheese to suit your taste.
  6.     Keep Cream Cheese Icing at room temperature for the best consistency to ice Cakes.
  7.     Refrigerate unused icing. To use again, bring to room temperature then mix with a hand mixer for about 1 minute before using.
    OPTION: For those that like a very strong Cream Cheese taste add another 4 oz. of Cream Cheese for a more intense flavor.

Vanilla Slice






Vanilla Slice

Ingredients-:
  •     3 packets (9g each) vanilla sugar
  •     8 oz whipping cream + 1 stabilizer
  •     150 g / 5 ¼ oz corn starch
  •     2 sheets of puff pastry
  •     8 egg yolks
  •     200 g / 7 oz sugar
  •     1,5 l / 6 1/3 cups milk


Directions:

Let the puff pastry sheets thaw, the roll them out on a lightly floured surface, and bake according to directions on a jelly roll pan. Let them cool, and then cut out the shape according to the size of the square pan you will use. I used 9 inch x 13 inch. Once you cut them to the shape of the pan, cut one sheet into squares (I made 12); that will be the top of the cake.

For Cream: Mix egg yolks with sugar, until frothy. Add a cup of milk (out of the 6 1/3 cups), and corn starch, and mix well. Set the reminder of milk with vanilla sugar added, to boil, and when it comes to a boil, slowly mix in the yolk mixture, and stir constantly for a minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and let cool completely. When cooled, add the whipped whipping cream, whipped with a stabilizer.

Now put the whole sheet on the bottom of the pan, and spread the filling over it. Arrange the cut out sheet on top. Refrigerate for few hours before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.
Instead of the top sheet of puff pastry, you can put whipped cream, and so on. Suit yourself,, n enjoy ;)

Broiled Lobster Tails




Here is a fancy way to bring a little "surf" to any "turf" dinner!  It's pretty easy too...

You will need:

  • 2 lobster tails (around 8 ounces each)
  • paprika (a few pinches)
  • butter (a couple tbsp's)
  • olive oil (a few tbsp's)
  • kosher salt & pepper

*Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.



These little guys were frozen - let them fully thaw before doing anything.  Also, make sure you use quality seafood - I'm sorry, but don't get frozen lobster tails from a box.
I recommend http://www.lobsterplace.com/ (favorite place and super fresh!)



Use a pair of good scissors to cut the shell as seen above.



It takes a little work to pull the meat away from the shell - use your finger tips.



Once the meat is pulled away, let it back on top of the shell.  This makes it look nice (think Red Lobster commercials - you can have your own "lobster-fest" at home now).  Rub the meat all over with olive oil.



Lay the tails on a cooling rack set on top of a pan.
Sprinkle a light dusting of paprika on each and also salt and pepper.

Bake them at 400 degree for about 15 minutes.  I took these ones out and ran a chunk butter over the meat till it melted.  Set the oven to broil and return for about two minutes.

Throw it on a plate with a veggie and some meat (extra melted butter for dipping too) - there's your fancy Surf 'n Turf meal!  A little chopped parsley adds some more green to the plate!

The Best Fruit Dip Ever




I made this dip for my son’s birthday party this weekend. I made 1 vanilla and 1 chocolate. I should have thought the chocolate through, using plain yogurt, 2 pudding packets would have made the taste better. but even as it was it was delish!! I will definitely make it again!!

Recipe >>  The Best Fruit Dip Ever @ layersofhappiness.com

Hawaiian Cheese Cake Bars


Hawaiian Cheese Cake Bars

Serves: should make 12-16 pieces depending on how large you slice your bars


Ingredients:
  • 2 c
  • flour
  • 1 c
  • sugar
  • 1 c
  • butter, room temperature


THE FILLING:
  • 16 oz
  • cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16 oz crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 c flaked coconut
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted


Directions:

1. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup butter. Pat mixture into ungreased 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 oven for 14-19 minutes. Cool slightly.
2. Mix together cream cheese, 4 TBS sugar, milk and eggs. Fold in vanilla, and drained pineapple. Spread over baked crust.
3. Combine coconut and 2 TBS melted butter. Sprinkle over pineapple layer filling. Bake 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Cookies n' Creme Cupcakes




Milk's favorite cookie, in cupcake form. These cupcakes are the best chocolate cupcake recipe I've ever made, with a whole oreo cookie baked into the bottom, all topped off with a swirl of buttercream frosting that tastes just like my favorite cookies n' creme ice cream. The frosting was so delicious (my go-to buttercream recipe with cookie crumbs in it), I did  could have eaten half of it with a spoon! Plus, the oreo surprise in the bottom is so much fun (because who doesn't love oreos?). The cookie stays firm and crunchy, which makes it interesting to eat against the soft, moist cake, but it gives the whole thing a really lovely crunch.


 

Cookies n' Creme Cupcakes

Makes 15 cupcakes
 
Ingredients

Cupcakes:
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 15 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached

Oreo Buttercream:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup I Can't Belive It's Not Butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 16 Oreos, finely crushed (I used my food processor)


Directions:
  1.     Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Twist Oreos in half and set aside the extra cookies for later. Place the side with cream filling in the bottom of each cupcake liner, cream-side facing up.
  2.     Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl and pour the hot coffee over the mixture. Whisk until smooth and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, 20-30 minutes.
  3.     Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4.     Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth.
  5.     Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, 17-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6.     For the frosting, cream butter, vanilla and milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy. Mix in crushed oreos until well combined. Frost cupcakes! (I garnished mine with fun sized mini oreos!)

White Almond Wedding Cake





A secret ingredient of sour cream makes this cake so moist, dense, and delicious! I use this recipe for my kids' birthdays, but it's a favorite for wedding cakes, too! This recipe can easily be doubled..

White Almond Wedding Cake

makes 1 -11x13 inch cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour an 11x13 inch cake pan.
  2. Stir together the white cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Pour in the water, sour cream, vegetable oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg whites, and beat with an electric mix on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain, 4 minutes.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.



Brown Sugar Poundcakes with Brown Butter Icing




These are incredibly delicious, especially the glaze topping. I think next I might try the glaze with a lighter British fairy cake mixture instead of the American poundcake, which is denser than I'm used to in a bun. The only thing I did different was I added a few drops of Almond extract to the glaze. They were sooo good!


Recipe >> Brown sugar poundcakes with brown butter icing @ kitchentrialanderror.blogspot.com

Pioneer Woman Perfect Salmon

I love seafood. If it came out of the ocean, I love it. Lobster, mussels, oysters, crab fish, sushi, I love it all and then some.

I love to cook salmon but I have never perfected the recipe for flaky moist perfect salmon (until now!) I got this recipe from Ree Drummond of the Pioneer Woman- one of my favorite cooking show and blogs.

Most of the salmon I have eaten/made is too underdone or dried out and bland. But not tonight ! Tonight's salmon was moist flaky juicy flavorful and so so simple to make.

Put your salmon on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper. Put the salmon in a cold oven turn onto 400 degrees and set the timer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes you will have perfect flaky delicious salmon.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes




Pineapple, warm butter, gooey brown sugar and cherries are the delicious flavors that make up a pineapple-upside down cake. Now you can have all those amazing tastes in a cupcake. And you can eat the whole thing yourself. How great is that!?

Recipe >> Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes @ bettycrocker.com

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pineapple Sunshine Cake



This cake has quickly become a family and work favorite. It's light and refreshing!.. This is a lovely cake and one that I am proud to have made. :-) I can see why it was suggested as a good cake for a baby shower.. the frosting is soooo heavenly. I did make my frosting with real whipping cream as I don't care for cool whip whipped topping... and I didn't add any sugar just the pudding mix and the pineapple with it's juice and it was plenty sweet. I too found that the cake refrigerates well.. it's quite tasty today.. the day after the party. Mine was not dry at all, but I kept a very careful eye on it and did not rely only on the timer to know it was done. Oh and I was feeling anxious as I was putting all the pineapple and the juice into the bowl with my whipped cream til I realized that the pudding mix would absorb the juice just fine and that the recommendation to make the frosting and refrigerate it for awhile to let it set up was a very good idea. So, I did that and frosted the cake just before serving it. It was a big hit. I know that I can make this cake anytime and my family and friends will happily eat it up.

Recipe >> Pineapple Sunshine Cake @ belleofthekitchen.com

Billionaire Bars





So easy and so good!
1) The butter separated from the caramel mixture after about 5 mins, but patience and a whisk brought it back by the time 15 mins rolled around.
2) I used a pan with a removable bottom. After I baked the shortbread on a jelly roll pan, I laid it on a cooling rack and then used the bottom of the pan to cut out exactly what size I needed for the pan. I saved the excess as cookies and they’re soo good with milk!
3) The white chocolate seized on me (I heated it too fast) so I added a teaspoon of Crisco and it loosened back up. (That’s a good trick for cake pops too!)
4) Made an oops and added the vanilla before taking it off the heat. It didn’t seem to make a difference other than giving the filling a darker caramel color. The pictures above show a very light filling. Mine actually looks like caramel.
All in all, it turned out phenomenally and I can’t wait to see how my coworkers like it!

Recipe >> Billionaire Bars @ chelsweets.com