Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chocolate Sour Cream Poundcake

Yay! I finally used the cupcake cake pan that my baby sis sent me for my birthday!

My experience with cake molds is that you need a firm cake. I looked for a chocolate pound cake recipe online thinking it would go over well with my son. I found a recipe by Paula Deen, full of butter of course, and I figured that would be a winner recipe (she knows her fatty foods!)

I decided not to frost the cupcake. It really isn't needed. I think I might make some pudding for a filling.

Winner winner chicken dinner! James loves the cake. He was so excited to see the "biggest cupcake ever"! The cake wasn't as firm as I thought, but very fluffy and chocolate-y. The outside of the cake became slightly crisp, which worked well for it to hold its shape.

The cake pan was smaller than the recipe so I tried to put the rest of the batter in small loaf pans. I guess I should have greased and floured those pans too. DOH. Well, the scraps made for a good taste test and small snack for James.

I caught James trying to sneak a taste of the cupcake. And he just begged me to let him have the cupcake before dinner :)


Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Sour Cream Poundcake.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Boiled Apple Cider and Baked Cider Donuts


I guess the donut doesn't really matter to me because its covered in cinnamon sugar... but this donut was GOOD. I had made boiled cider a few days before and finally I got around to doing something with it. Boiled cider is basically apple cider reduced down to a syrup. It took a few hours and my house smelled wonderful. It was no problem whatsoever to make!

I guess the boiled cider syrup is also good on pancakes. I really need to find more uses for this stuff. It is delicious.

This is a basic baked donut recipe but for the addition of the boiled cider. I probably could have added a bit more for flavor, but the donut was nice and delicious. Even James had one! Or two. Or three?

I finally discovered how to make the donuts look PERFECT. Turn them upside down! The bottom side is perfectly formed by the donut pan, so then the presentation is nice. I mean, if that sort of thing matters to you. These donuts were inhaled pretty quickly so it didn't matter much besides for this picture!

Baked donuts are the way to go! You don't even miss the fried/sugary ones!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Boiled Cider.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Baked Cider Donuts.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hearty Tuna Casserole

This is one of those recipes that should come out more often but I have to be in a mood to have tuna, so it doesn't get made often. It is easy, pretty healthy, and kid/husband friendly.

Well, my kid doesn't eat it but I can see "normal" kids eating it!

I don't like using "cream of" soups at all so this recipe always appealed to me because you're making your own mix of spices and cream/sauce. It also includes vegetables, which is a good thing.

I don't remember where I got the original recipe because it has been quite a few years since I started making this, but I did find it online. I have made one major change which makes this an even easier recipe to make. Instead of a fresh tomato I use one can of chopped tomatoes with green chiles. It keeps the casserole "m" (moist) and it adds a bit of spice. I add the can of tomatoes on top of it all, before baking.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Hearty Tuna Casserole.


Pumpkin Pie Fudge

I had never made fudge!


I made this fudge for my friend Jessica, a fellow pumpkin lover. We had a Secret Santa exchange and I was thrilled to draw her name. She's the best-est!

I bought these pretty little bowls at Target and filled them up with probably 1 1/2 pounds of fudge.

The fudge was very sweet and full of a wonderful pumpkin flavor. I didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy fudge is to make. Evaporated milk, white chocolate, marshmallow fluff, walnuts, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, sugar, etc. I didn't have a good thermometer so I did some guesswork on when it was done. I'm glad it turned out well :)

I froze a bit of the fudge and some of it made it on to my Christmas cookie platters a week later. Yay!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Pumpkin Pie Fudge.


Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars



For a cookie exchange I made these bars. They were a hit! I had several people ask for the recipe. I think that's a good sign that they were liked!

I had one person tell me that they reminded them of a Twix bar. Yes, I see that too!

The bars were not difficult. I think they took a long time though. Each layer needed to be made separately, and allowing for cooling time before adding the next layer.

The shortbread was flakey and buttery. The caramel was firm but soft and chewy. The chocolate was smooth and added a bit of hard texture, kind of keeping all the layers together.

I will definitely make these again!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars.


Christmas Treats

In early December I started putting together some holiday treats, namely for my baby sis Kiki and my bro-in-law Berto. They are in California and I knew they wouldn't be here for later treats. I was also experimenting on them- could treats be mailed? Would they make it??

I'm told that a gingerbread lost his head. RIP little dude. And one of the stockings broke.

Zeus and Zorro are Kiki's furbabies.


Next time I will bubble wrap each cookie! I kid!

I also made homemade Cracker Jacks. I love Cracker Jacks. Why doesn't anyone ever buy me Cracker Jacks?

I made a few Eiffel Towers for giggles. It was a challenge to get the icing thin enough for details. I did the best I knew how.

I think they were pretty for my first attempt!


I gave an Eiffel Tower to my friend Jess, at work. She also has a love of Paris and Eiffel Towers :)


Skillet Apple Crisp

I made this deliciousness for Thanksgiving. I was happy to bring leftovers home and enjoy it more and more. My sister sent me this recipe, from Cook's Illustrated. I had to follow the revised instructions since I didn't bake the apple crisp in the cast iron skillet as directed.

I did cook the apples on the stovetop and then transfer the mixture to a 9x13 pan, finishing it off in the oven. I had also never used Golden Delicious apples. I found them to hold their slice well. A great apple crisp apple! Those CI cooks know what they're doing.

I don't think I'm a pecan (or any kind of nut) fan until I love them in a recipe like this. The pecans really, really made the dessert. The topping is out of this world good. It's so good that we've baked apples since this recipe and made small amounts of the topping to bake along with it. SO GOOD.


My sister sent me the recipe, via email, but I found a cooking blog with the recipe.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Skillet Apple Crisp.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Quick Chicken Parmesan


I have a new subscription to Eating Well magazine. I've been drawn to the magazine every time I've seen it at Borders or grocery stores. I finally decided to buy it when I also bought a gift subscription for my friend's wedding shower. I've received a few issues now but this is the first recipe I've made from the magazine.

I do agree that this is a quick version of Chicken Parmesan but all together the recipe probably took a leisurely half an hour. If I had been ultra-efficient I suppose I could have whipped this up in 20 minutes. You know, there is a skill in that. There is a skill in multi-tasking in the kitchen. See, while the pasta water came to a boil I should have been chopping and prepping the ingredients. I think I waited until the big pot of water was at a boil before I started assembling everything else.

So this was quite good. Jim really liked the crunch of the panko crumbs (tossed in olive oil). I appreciated the tomato sauce because I used my first carton of chopped tomatoes. A carton, not a can. "They" say that cartons or jars of tomatoes are better for you because you aren't using cans that are lined in BPA. Ugh, so much to worry about!

This recipe tastes exactly the way you think. A light tomato sauce with onions and garlic, sauteed chicken, melted cheese, and toasted breadcrumbs. (The entire pan is broiled for a minute or two to toast the breadcrumb mix. Yum.)



Click here for the stolen recipe for Quick Chicken Parmesan.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Thai Ground Turkey with Basil and Chiles


I really appreciated this recipe! I've been craving rice lately and I love these flavors- it reminds me of Big Bowl's Spicy Basil Chicken. Jim and I both agreed that the spice was just right, or maybe I could bring it down a notch so we could notice the other flavors because there is a lot going on here!

Ginger, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, chiles, peanuts, basil, lime, Sriracha, peanuts, green onions, mmmmmmmm.

I'm sure ground turkey is not Thai. It makes for a lighter, healthier meal so I didn't mind it at all. Jim suggested shrimp for next time. We also agreed on more sauce.

I spilled all over the recipe so I'm going to need to print out a new copy. I really, really need to. This recipe is a keeper. (I discovered that if I don't have recipes printed out and organized in my binder, I don't repeat them.)

Click here for the stolen recipe for Thai Ground Turkey with Basil and Chiles.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

I've fallen out of blogging. I've been cooking but everything's been on repeat.

I felt like baking today though! I also wanted to make a little something for a gift.

I had to revise the original recipe because I couldn't find chocolate graham crackers at both stores I went to today. I could have used Oreos but I didn't feel like dirtying my food processor. Graham cracker crumbs come nice and easy in a box, all ready.

The first piece is always messy looking, so just picture these a bit neater and precise. And then imagine that piece inhaled, because that's what I did with a glass of milk.

Do you know why I often make cupcakes and not other impressive desserts? You can taste test cupcakes! You can't taste test a 3 layer cake! Bars are also my friend. We can cut into them, enjoy a taste, and then I can cut up the rest and put them on a pretty plate.

These cheesecake bars are not overly sweet. The peanut butter is subtle. The chocolate glaze is a nice crackle of sweetness on top. So yes, they are good!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update: Grilled Corn Salad

I've blogged about a corn salad. I love it. I've made it several, several times since but it wasn't until just today that I've made a few changes.

I make half the amount now. Duh. It was just way too much for two people.

AND I added an ingredient that we've discovered that Jim really loves. Cotija cheese. It's a salty, crumbly Mexican cheese that my big sister introduced us to. The recipe has always stated that Cotija or Feta cheese were optional. I guess I just chose to NOT include it. Silly me.

I hope it makes a huge difference! It is getting happy in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner. I go back to work and I'm making a few things ahead of time so I don't get overwhelmed by being a Super(Working)Mom.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pesto Turkey Burgers


MMMMMM pesto. It's really just a burger. Jazzed up with some pesto and grilled onions but it was nice to follow a recipe and learn from it. I really just need to get in my kitchen and throw my favorite foods into some ground turkey or beef and create!

This was good but I wish I had had some extra pesto to smear in each of the burgers. I didn't have enough for the recipe and the smearing.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Pesto Turkey Burgers.


Sweet and Sour Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onions

How thrilling that this is a "Light" recipe! Especially when our other stand-by sweet and sour recipe is VERY heavy :)

We've made this twice. It passed my Dear Husband's taste test. The second time I made it I even decreased the sugar slightly and it was still good with him.

The sauce is easy to whip up, it includes pineapple (lovely), and it's "light". Yay!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Sweet and Sour Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onions.


Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

I made this for the 4th of July. It is exactly what you think! Lots of green onion, chives, bacon, and potatoes in a creamy dressing. I did under-salt, as I tend to do, but that was easily remedied at the table.

How can you go wrong with bacon?

Click here for the stolen recipe for Bacon Ranch Potato Salad.


More Roasted Chickens

I'm still consulting my Kitchen Counter Cooking School book for roasted chicken ideas. It is just lovely to roast a chicken, feed my family a dinner, and then have leftovers for freezing. So many possibilities for cooked, cubed chicken.

Pesto-rama: slather chicken with 1/4 cup pesto. I used more. Roast as usual. 425 degrees, 1 hour for a 3 lb chicken. Allow 10 minutes for each half pound. Baste every half an hour.

Italian Herb Oil: 3 T olive oil, 2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese, 2 garlic cloves chopped, 2 T finely chopped herbs such as thyme, oregano, parsley or basil (or 2-3 tsp dried herbs)

I used a combination of thyme, oregano, and Italian parsley. The parsley was store-bought. I used fresh herbs from my pots!


I'm hoping to get my husband on board with these chickens when I go back to work in the fall. He works from home and it would be lovely if he could put a chicken in the oven at 4ish so I could just come home and do the sides!

My Day In (Food) Pictures


I made pesto. I had basil that was begging to be picked!

I froze some herbs. The mint goes in ice cube trays with water, but the rosemary, thyme, and oregano get frozen in either baggies or glass jars for cooking in the future.

Laundry soap. I know this isn't food related but I use my food processor! The food processor grates the Fels Naptha soap bar and then I grind it all together with the borax and baking soda to a fine powder. We use 1 T per load. I made four batches, each good for 40 washes. Pennies per load!

Part of James' lunch. When we were at LegoLand he didn't like his Uncrustable sandwich (those over-processed PB&J packaged sandwiches) even though I know he likes all the components of a PB&J. I decided to make my own using my mini pie crust press. These will be good for his lunch box!

Trail mix. I had coconut, peanuts, craisins, and chocolate chips that were from other recipes so I decided to just mix them with some almonds for a snack mix. Nothing fancy. No recipe needed.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Craisin Cookies.

I made the rub for the pork shoulder roast. SO FRAGRANT! Pulled pork in the crockpot tomorrow!

And I tried a silly Pinterest idea. This was supposed to be better than Easy Mac! NOT. It was basically cooking a small amount of pasta in the microwave and then mixing in cheese and milk. It didn't even come close to Mac&Cheese. It was clumpy, hardened mess. I should know better than to believe stranger's recipes. I am sticking to my favorite bloggers!


It was a nice way to spend a cloudy, kinda rainy day as James was content with his Legos.