Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reese's Peanut Butter cake

Wow, school is crazy! I am sitting here with a bunch of backed up posts and hope to get a couple more out this week.
This cake was pretty much amazing. It was rich and definitely tasted like peanut butter. Since Reese's Peanut Butter cups are the hubs favorite candy, I made this cake for the hubs on Valentines day and boy did he eat!
I was impressed how easy it was to make this cake and how visually appealing (I thought) it turned out.
I followed the recipe exactly so I am just going to link it back to the original. Enjoy!

Reese's Peanut Butter cake
Source: Annie's Eats

Monday, February 22, 2010

Donut Muffins

I started out the Valentine's Day menu with these delights to tide us over and prepare for a large supper. These were easy and quick but lacked the donut taste I was looking for. They were very good, so don't get me wrong, but I think that because they are baked they lacked that extra goodness.

Donut Muffins
Source Mac&Cheese

3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup super fine sugar or powdered sugar

Lightly grease a muffin tin with vegetable spray
Combine sugar and egg until light in color. Add vegetable oil, milk and vanilla to sugar mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pour into liquid mixture and stir.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in muffin pan for 10 minutes or so and remove from pan. Dab tops of muffins with butter and roll in sugar.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Peach Crunch Cake

Believe it or not, I can control myself around chocolate. Yes, I think it is one of God's gifts to man but it is also something that I can take a couple bites of a set aside. Now fruit desserts on the other hand, are a major weak spot. One of my all time favorite desserts, besides cheesecake of course, is my Grandma L's apple bars! Amazing! A pan of those little devils never last long. The other day I had a mouth watering craving for a fruit dessert and came across Bakerella's recipe for Peach Crunch cake. I made it, ate it, gave some away and polished off the dish by the weekend. Ouch! Like I said, bars, cookies and cakes can get stale but I planed my day around when I would get to have another piece of this amazing treat. I anticipate myself making this several more times and probably for a couple pot lucks...served warm...oh my goodness, I am struggling not to make this again right now!
Enjoy, I dare to say that you will not regret making this!

Peach Crunch Cake
Source: Bakerella

24.5 ounce jar of sliced peaches in light syrup (The jar I found was a little bigger and used it all. Still good)
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) cut into tablespoons or smaller
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place ingredient in a 9x13 and layer ingredients in order as listed above, starting with the peaches.
Cook for 40 minutes
Can serve warm or cold and with or without ice cream. But believe me, warm with ice cream...ahhh...did you hear my stomach growl?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crock Pot Taco Soup

The hubs has been working out of town during the week and with my crazy school schedule, I have found myself rarely making time for supper or having anything more substantial than cereal. I took this as a time to make something for myself, something that he wouldn't normally eat. The recipe I decided on was Crock Pot Taco Soup and I'm pretty dang glad I did. I was quite happy with the way this turned out and I couldn't have asked for an easier recipe.

Crock Pot Taco Soup
Source: Adapted from AYearOfSlowCooking

2 cans of kidney beans
2 cans of pinto beans
2 cans of corn
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 can tomatoes and chile's
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 lb browned ground hamburger
1/4 tsp garlic salt
shredded cheese, sour cream and black olives to garnish

1) Brown meat, drain fat and pour into crock pot
2) Sprinkle seasoning packets and garlic salt on top of meat
3) Drain and rinse the beans and add
4) Add the entire contents of the corn and tomato cans
5) Stir, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5.

Wilton Cake Class, Course 1, Class 2

Three friends and myself recently began the Wilton cake decorating course. After receiving a set of decorating tips for Christmas and not being able to manipulate them, I knew a course would be my best chance for success! Class 1 we learned what supplies we needed, a demonstration of how to frost a cake and a quick preview of some of the things we are going to learn in the following sessions. For Class 2, we got to bring a cake to decorate! I began the night before by attempting to make a rainbow cake. I was SO excited for this cake! However, just like so many other recipes I try, I always manage to fail once before succeeding, hence the picture below.
My rainbow cakes ;(

I believe that I did not cook them long enough because they FELL apart when I tried to remove the pan and place on the wax paper. Up side, (there always has to be an upside, right?) they tasted really good and when I have more time I plan to attempt again. At that point I will list the recipe!

Onto plan B at ten o'clock at night...I made another cake. Just a basic cake mix, Devil's food. When I get a little better at decorating, I plan to make a cake from scratch, but at this point in the semester and in the middle of the week, it just wasn't happening.

The class was a blast and can't wait for the next one. I do have to miss class 3 though as I will be out of town for an internship, but I plan to have one of my friends show me what they did in class and I will try to post that cake later.

My first decorated cake!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cheesy Sausage Penne

I have been on this cookbook buying spree. Despite having oodles of recipes saved to my google reader, I keep finding magazines with good looking food. The latest one I picked up was Taste of Home's Casseroles, Slow cookers and soups. Initially paging through, I came across at least five different recipes I wanted to try. The first one I made was this little delight. I was a little hesitant at first because you don't mix in the cream cheese/sour cream combination. However, after you dish up and stir it around a little, yum! Now, I thought this was pretty tasty and when one of my best friend J (shown below)was over, I decided to pawn some off on her, so we had it for supper. She was shocked by how good it was and more impressed by how easy it was! I'm winning them over one at a time....

Cheese Sausage Penne
Source: Taste of Home's Casseroles, Slow Cookers and Soups

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 package (16 ounces) uncooked penne pasta
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

*I used fat free cream cheese and sour cream and it tasted great!

1) In a large skillet, cook the sausage and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat' cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2) cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and onions.
3) In a greased shallow 3-qt baking dish, layer half of the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half of the cream cheese mixture; sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.
4) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Miss J and I; one of the greatest friends a girl could have ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Turtle Cake

Happy Valentines Day!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful day full of love and appreciation for their significant other! In our household, we celebrated last night with dinner, a movie and exchanged gifts! The hubs scored HUGE brownie points because he got me a kitchen torch and the cutest apron decked out in pink polka dots, rhinestone buckle and embroidered, "Domestic Diva."

I got him a movie and baked a cake. Wow, that boy is hard to buy for!

This Valentine's Day was our eighth 'love day' together! It does not seem like we have been together that long...yet I can barely remember my life before him. Valentine's Day is always one of my favorite holidays because it brings with the lowest amount of stress. I know some people feel that it is a Hallmark holiday, and to each their own, but I don't think it's a bad idea to have an extra day each year to tell each other how much you love them!
Today we celebrated by me cooking a meal, funny how that has become my idea of a good time. We rented movies and I enjoyed listening to the hubs laughing at them as I was in the kitchen. I made us a full meal of turkey, ice cream potatoes, cream cheese corn and homemade buns. It was my first attempt with a turkey and let's just say, "it was falling off the bones."

For dessert I made, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cake, which I will post in a few days because that is the hubs favorite candy!

Now onto the actual post!

I know that this breaks one of the biggest rules in the cooking world but I LOVE box cake mixes. Maybe it because of my minimal skills, poor attention or limited patience but I have yet to make a cake from scratch that I like as much as a cake mix. Eek! I know, I will probably be banished to some far away cooking island, left with only a spear and my imagination, being forced to create a Wilson-like friend to speak to for the rest of my days. Horrible, I know. In time, I do hope to enjoy made-from-scratch cakes more than I do mixes but until that day I found a nifty little cookbook by Miss Betty herself titled, "Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook." The entire book is filled with bars, pies, cookies and cakes that have some sort of mix as their base. I think the recipes are amazing and perfect for a quick fix!

Chocolate Turtle Cake
Source: Betty Crocker's, Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook

1 package Devils food cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 bag (14 ounces) caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 bag (6 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 9x13 in pan.
2) Make cake mix according to box using water, oil and eggs. Pour half the mixture into the pan. Bake 25 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, heat caramels and milk in 1 quart saucepan over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted. Pour and spread caramel over warm cake in pan. Sprinkle with pecans and chocolate chips. Spread with remaining batter.
4) Bake 30 minutes. Run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Cook completely, about 1 hour. Serve with ice cream. Store at room temperature.
5) To reheat, place piece of cake in microwave for 10-20 seconds and serve with ice cream.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Boston Cream Pie cupcakes

My husband has amazing control when it comes to food. He is blessed with amazing metabolism, an active job and the ability to say no when it comes to sweets. The last time I made BostonCreamPie, I talked him into trying a piece, just a piece to get a taste. Over the next two days, at least twice a day he'd say, "Can we have some pie?" Despite my love of this cake, I couldn't keep up with him! He was heading out of town for a couple days due to work and about half the cake was left. For the sake of my own thighs, I knew I did NOT want to be left home with this cake. So I told him, "Eat what you want tonight because I am throwing whatever is left." Little did I know that he took that as, "I need to eat every last bite!" I don't think I have ever seen him eat so much and his tummy ache later proved to him that it probably wasn't the best idea.

Ever since his overdose, I have been searching for more recipes, preferably in a cupcake form to help him not eat to much! I came across this one and I honestly don't think you could find an easier recipe. I am in love!

Boston Cream Pie cupcakes

1 butter yellow cake mix
1 3 0z box French Vanilla instant pudding
1 cup half and half
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powered sugar
1 1/2 cup chocolate ganache, I used thisone

Prepare yellow cupcakes according to the box.
While baking, prepare the vanilla custard filling by combining the instant pudding mix and the half and half in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer using the whip attachment, combine cream, vanilla and powered sugar and whip at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the pudding mixture to the whipped cream until it is full incorporated.

When the cupcakes have cooled, place the tip of the pasty bag inside each cupcake and pipe in filling, being careful not to overfill, as it will crack the cupcakes.

When all cupcakes have been filled, prepare your ganache. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the ganache. Place glazed cupcakes on a cooking rack to dry.

Drain and pat dry maraschino cherries. While the cupcakes are slightly wet from the glaze, place a cherry on top to garnish and cover the hole created from filling.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mini Ham and Cheese sandwiches

These were pretty dang tasty. Initially, I was intimidated to try these little devils but when I was planning our weekly menu last week, I decided to take the plunge. However, when I returned from the store and was looking at 24 buns, I realized that it was WAY to much for the hubs and I. Sounds like party time to me, right? So, I decided to serve this as girls night and they were great. I was unable to find the Hawaiian rolls and had to go with some larger buns, so I can only imagine how amazing they would be with the smaller bun! I think the marinade would soak in even better and really soften the whole bun.

Mini Ham and Cheese sandwiches
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tbsp grated dried onions
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp honey mustard
2 (12 ounce) packages Hawaiian rolls
1 pound cooked ham slices
12 ounces sliced swiss cheese

In saucepan, mix butter, poppy seeds, onion, Worcestershire sauce and mustard, stir until blended and melted. Pour 1/2 of mixture into bottom of baking dish.

Place ham and cheese onto sandwiches. Arrange rolls in single layer in baking dish, spreading them around to soak up the sauce in pan. Pour rest of sauce over tops of sandwiches, cover dish and refrigerate up to 24 hours for sauce to soak in.

Preheat oven in 350 degrees, bake rolls for 10-12 minutes or until rolls are lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rolls

So, I picked up a tub of Ricotta cheese. Then I didn't know what to do with it. It was almost like a Christmas miracle that this recipe came across my google reader because it was delicious. A warning though, it truly is a cheese filled delight and 1 will, more than likely, be plenty for a hungry adult. I followed the recipe exactly except the hubs is afraid of eating anything green so I left the spinach out. If I made it again, I would add it because I feel that it would break up the immense cheese flavor! I reduced the recipe by half for the two of us and that is the recipe I am posting below.

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rolls
Source: JennandFood

6oz. chicken breast, poached and shredded
6 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 lasagna noodles, cooked according to the package

4 tablespoons
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
shake of dried oregano

Grease 8x8 in pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, ricotta and Parmesan cheese. Spread the mixture down the center of each noodle, leaving an inch and a half at each end. Roll each noodle and place in pan.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the Parmesan cheese, garlic and oregano.

Pour the sauce over each noodle. Top with the 2 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fruit Bruschetta

I have had this recipe starred on my google reader for weeks now just waiting for the perfect time to make it. I am so glad I tried these! The other night I hosted a Thursday night/Fun night will some of my classmates as we don't have classes on Fridays. My best friend Jenna was looking for something she could bring and I was so excited to help her make this! Since we were making this for a crowd and I got an adorable fruit and veggie tray for Christmas, we decided to have a, "Build your own Bruschetta." The fruit you choose to use is up to you! We used our favorites and what was available. It was also my first experience with Greek Yogurt, which will be a great new favorite.

Build your own Fruit Bruschetta
Source: Annie'sEats

Sliced bread rounds, we used french bread
cinnamon and sugar
Plain Greek yogurt

Wash and slice fruits. Turn oven on to broil and place rack on top level. Lay bread rounds on cookie sheet. Butter bread rounds and lightly cover with cinnamon and sugar. Place in oven and cook until toasted (could take seconds to 1-2 mins). Remove from oven, top with thin layer of Greek yogurt and serve with fruits.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Vodka Punch

I have been MIA for the past week due to crazy-ness with school and a spur of the moment decision to head to our hometown after hearing of a family friends house burning down. I do have several recipes ready to be written over this next week so hopefully I will be MIA, no more!
On a more positive note, FOOD! I have to once again apologize for a bad picture but this punch was taken to a party with my classmates so I didn't get to stir and pour before we left. Don't worry though, I had my fair share at the party and it was amazing! This recipe originated from my best friend Jenna's mother who knows how to make a good drink. This was such an easy recipe and tasted like heaven.

Vodka Punch
Source: Jenna's mom, a.k.a. Shelia

1 can frozen orange juice concentrate-thawed
1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate- thawed
48 oz cranberry juice
1 packet of cranberry jello
2 cups water
1 liter vodka- cranberry flavored was good but plain works just as good
2 liter bottle of red berry 7-up
Find a large bowl.
Combine 2 cans on concentrate, cranberry juice and vodka. Prepare jello as instructed on the box but do not let harden. Pour hot, liquid Jello mixture into bowl. Stir completely. Let freeze for at least 24 hours, in a snowbank if you have one ;)
To serve: Pour glass 3/4 full of slush and fill to top with 7-up. Enjoy with caution!