Friday, February 27, 2009

Pepper and Eggs


Sometimes simple is best. This is a dish that my grandma used to prepare when I was little and it was something she usually had for lunch. She sometimes added potatoes to this. On Long Island a pepper and egg hero is fairly common to order in a pizzeria. Down here in Virginia, not so common. They also don't call them heros. They call them subs but God knows what the difference is. Anyone know? Whenever I go back to Long Island to visit family this is always on the top of my list to eat, along with, of course, Italian cookies....rainbows to be exact! Anyhow, when I am not certain what to eat for dinner and don't really feel like cooking this is the dish I whip up for myself. My son does not care for it and my husband does not like scrambled eggs, so that nixes that. Sometimes I will make it on a HERO (I prefer that term to sub), sometimes just plain....either way it's one of my favorites. Here is my simple version of it....

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs, with a splash of milk
1 large green pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium skillet and add one pepper, cut up into slices
Cook for several minutes until pepper strips are soft
Add eggs mixed with milk and mix well with whisk
Salt and pepper to taste..

Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Best Marinara Sauce Yet and Awards!!!



I cannot believe that this is my 100th Post!!! Did I really post 100 times? Oh my....I can't believe it. It sounds like so much but really I don't feel like it is at all!
First off I would like to thank Pamela of Cookies With Boys and Katherine of Smoky Mountain Cafe for some wonderful awards. I would like to share both of these with all my fellow bloggers who enjoy visiting my site. Thank you both so much for these awards. I am always soooo happy to receive them!!!

Today's recipe is for a marinara sauce. Where is the picture? My brain went on "vacation" while I made this and I forgot to take of picture of it. If it wasn't a really good sauce I wouldn't even bother posting it. But it was excellent. I rarely try different tomato sauces since I have been making the same one for years that my grandma used to make but I wanted to try a plain marinara, something without any meat and this really hit the spot. I found it over at allrecipes. I've been finding quite a few really good recipes there lately! Enjoy!

2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons fresh parsely, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup white wine

In a food processor place tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine. (I also always add a pinch of sugar to counter the acidity from the tomatoes.)

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

Friday, February 20, 2009

Too Much Chocolate Cake



Too Much Chocolate Cake? I don't know who gave this cake that name but as far as I am concerned there could never be too much chocolate cake! I LOVE chocolate cake....Other cakes may come and go but chocolate cake and I are partners for life! I could never give up chocolate cake - ever. Especially a cake this good. This is an excellent cake, and the bonus is that it is a cake mix recipe. I love those because they are pretty foolproof and have a great texture and to me lots of fun to make. I found the recipe on allrecipes. It has been given 5 stars from over 1,000 reviews. Those are the recipes I always try. The only suggestion that I might make is to use mini chocolate chips instead of the regular size ones. Mine didn't melt much into the cake and it would have been even better if they had. I just added some confectioners' sugar to give it a finished look but you don't really need to do that. It tastes great just plain. All you really need to do is cut yourself a slice and enoy it!!!! One of these days I am going to post a picture of my very favorite chocolate cake in all the world! (I think I am starting to sound obsessed here with chocolate cake...)

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

(I used 2/3 cup oil and 1/3 cup whole milk to cut down a little on the oil)

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least one hour before inverting onto a plate. If desired, dust cake with confectioners' sugar.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Enchiladas



This is a great enchilada recipe that I found on Recipezaar. The homemade sauce is far superior to any store bought one and also pretty simple to make. I would NOT want to know the calorie content of this one though!! The only thing I changed was omitting the olives. I love black olives but didn't have any. When I think of black olives I always remember when my cousins and I were at our grandparents house every Sunday for spaghetti and meatballs. My grandma always had a dish filled with pitted black olives and my cousins and I would put one on the tip of each finger (hey, we were creative!) and eat them! I am happy to say that I have outgrown that trait.....

Enchilada Sauce

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup flour
2 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 tsps beef bouillon granules

Enchiladas

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup oil
1 dozen corn tortillas
6 ounces sliced olives
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated (I used a Mexi Blend)

In skillet, put in shortening and melt, add flour and cook JUST until lightly browned (be careful not to cook too long).
Add seasonings making a paste.
Add water gradually then add tomato sauce and add beef granules.
Cook until thick, stirring constantly.
In separate skillet cook ground beef and onions until done; drain.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Place 1/2 cup oil in pan and heat.
Heat the tortillas in oil, one by one.
Dipp the tortillas in sauce.
Add 2 or 3 tablespoons ground beef mixture to each tortilla and sprinkle with olives on each and also sprinkle with a little cheese.
In a 9x13 pan spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom.
Roll up enchiladas and place in pan.
Cover enchiladas with sauce and cheese and sprinkle with olives.
Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lemon Cake


This is an Ina Garten recipe that was inspired by Donna of My Tasty Treasures. When I saw this on her blog I knew I HAD to make it. You can get the recipe from Donna's site or you can get it here below. Donna has some great step by step pictures of making this cake on her site. Someday, when this 51 year old brain can figure out how in the world to post more than one picture after each paragraph, I too shall try that...I'm serious. I cannot figure that out. Katherine from Smoky Mountain Cafe took pity on me when I mentioned this a while ago and left me instructions on my blog comments on how to do this. Do you think I figured it out then....no. I'm beginning to feel very stupid here.

Anyhow, moving along.......the cake is very, very good. It has a sweet lemon taste to it so it is not too tart at all. I really enjoyed it. This makes two loaves. I froze one. I will most definitely be making this again and again....Thanks Donna!

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature (I used large)
1/3 cup grated lemon zest, (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used whole milk, with 1 tbs lemon juice)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

GLAZE

2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2 inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I use a hand held mixer) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

M&M Cookie Bars



Oh are these good! When I saw these over at Shelby's food blog The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch I knew that I HAD to make them. Unfortunately I have been snacking on them ever since I cut them up this afternoon and that is not always a good thing. My hips and thighs are agreeing with me! These are really simple and tasty and soooo good. Sometimes simple is just the best!

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups M&M's

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with non stick pray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In another large bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar stirring until evenly distributed. Allow to cool, slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. When combined, add M&M's. Spread batter into pan.

Bake 24 - 26 minutes until shiny and golden brown on top. Try not to overbake or this will be dry. A cake tester will mostly likely not come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Louisiana Crunch Cake


This is a cake that my husband asked me to make. He loves the Louisiana Crunch Cake that Entenmann's makes and found a recipe on the interent for me to try. He thought it would be like Entenmann's. Wrong!!! I don't know what an original Louisiana Crunch cake is like but both Entenmann's and this one are good - but different. Mine had a very crunchy topping (maybe that's why it is called crunch cake????). Entenmann's has a topping that is much softer, almost like a coffee cake. I have to say I really enjoyed this cake. The cake itself is very much like a pound cake with a crunchy topping. If you like pound cake and coffee cakes you will love this cake. Give it a try....I don't think it will disappoint. I would make this again and again....(Source for this cake is unknown)


Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups sweet butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup whole milk
Fine dry bread crumbs, as needed

Glaze:
1/3 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup ground coconut
1/8 cup ground almonds
1/8 cup ground cashewsI omitted these and used 1/4 cups almonds instead)

Heat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 or 10 inch tube or Bundt pan generously with cooking spray and dust with breadcrumbs. Shake out excess crumbs and set aside.

Glaze: Melt butter in small saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup. Heat and stir until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, cashews, almonds and vanilla extracts. Spread bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.

Cake: Sift flour and baking powder together into medium bowl; set aside.

In a mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix well.

Spread evenly over topping in prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack; remove pan an cool completely.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Awards!




I've received awards from two fellow bloggers and I am so thrilled! They are from Donna at My Tasty Treasures and from Ralonda at Ralonda's Ramblings. Both of these are wonderful blogs and I hope you will all check them out. I am passing these awards on now to 10 other bloggers......

1. Amanda at Amanda's Cookin'

2. Lynn at Cookiebakerlynn

3. Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

4. Pamela at Cookies with Boys

5. Pam at For the Love of Cooking

6. Susan at Food Blogga

7. Dianne at Diannes Dishes

8. Ashlee at A Year in the Kitchen

9. All the ladies at Mennonite Girls Can Cook


10. Abby at Abby Sweets

All of these bloggers are such an inspiration to me. Thank you so much Donna and Ralonda for the awards!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weekend Dog Blogging - Bosco



This is my big boy Bosco. He really is my middle son's dog, but I call him mine! Bosco was born on Christmas day. His mom is a pitbull but we don't know what breed or who the dad even is! We think it may have been a hound dog of some type since he does resemble a hound. Bosco is probably the sweetest of all the dogs. He wouldn't hurt a fly even though Poncho irritates him all the time. If I am playing with Bosco, Poncho will come over and bark at me and even try to nip at Bosco. My big boy does nothing. One swipe of his paw and it would be all over for Poncho, but Bosco is harmless. The only time Bosco has ever upset me was when he came up to me outside with a "prize" in his mouth for me. I almost fell over.....he had found a rabbit's nest and had a baby rabbit in his mouth. He didn't want to harm the rabbit, he just wanted to show me what he had for me. All I can remember is starting to yell and scream and my son came running out of the house. That is one of the reasons I suspect his dad is a hound!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Coca Cola Cake


This is definitely a fun cake to make and eat. I've tried several of the "soda" cakes and they are all pretty good. This particular cake has several variations. It is not the original recipe from the Coca Cola site but from another site called Recipe Gold Mine. I will definitely try the one from the Coca Cola site in the future. This is similar to a chocolate cake with a little kick! But you don't taste the cola. It's great for a crowd and goes a long way.....

2 1/3 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup Coca Cola
2/3 cup butter or margarine
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Stir flour, sugar and baking soda, then set aside.

Bring coca cola, butter and cocoa powder to a boil over medium heat. Add hot mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Add remaining ingredients, except marshmallows. Stir until combined. Gently stir in marshmallows. They will float to the top. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 350 F.

Transfer cake to wire rack. Immediately spread Cocoa Topping over cake. Thoroughly cool cake on rack.

Cocoa Topping
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Coca Cola
2 1/2 cups confections sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (I omitted this)

Bring butter, cocoa powder and Coca Cola to boiling. Add remaining ingredients.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cajun Chicken Pasta


I made this dish one night last week for dinner. It was very good and pretty simple. The only thing I would definitely change and would also advise you to omit would be the lemon pepper. I don't know what it was about the lemon pepper, but as soon as I added it and the aroma it gave off, I knew it did not belong in this dish. Everything else was fine. I did ease up on the cajun seasoning since my son is not a fan of spicy food, but next time I will add the total amount the recipe calls for (he can have something else for dinner - I like spicy!). I found this on the aol web site quite a while back. It had been in my "To Cook" folder for about a year!
4 ounces linguine pasta (I used a bit more)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used large ones)
2 tsp cajun seasoning
2 tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4 fresh mushrooms (I used a small carton)
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup heavy cream (I used half&half)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp lemon pepper (I omitted this and I highly recommend NOT using it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions (al dente); drain.
Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and place with cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until almost tender - 5 - 7 minutes.
Add red pepper, green pepper, mushrooms and green onion. Saute and stir or about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat.
Add the cream, basil, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Heat through. Add the chicken for another minute or two. Add the cooked linguine, toss and heat through. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekend Dog Blogging - Poncho






Here is a picture of my "littlest boy".....Poncho! He is a very tiny male chihuahua. Word of caution---do NOT let the small size fool you! He is packed with personality and punch! Poncho is 3 years old. He absolutely loves people and will let you know he is there the moment you enter the house. He will greet you barking as if to say "Look at me, here I am!" Whenever we have company I call Poncho the "musical dog" because he is passed from lap to lap and loves it. One thing about him though that is not pleasant at times - he does NOT like other dogs except the ones he lives with. God forbid, we go on a walk and see other dogs. He will bark and carry on and if he gets near the dog he will attack. I kid you not. The bigger the dog the bigger the fight in this little monster. He absolutely loves Selena but will nip at my other dog Bosco who is a pit bull mix. He only nips at Bosco when he is jealous of him....of course poor Bosco does nothing in return. Would you believe that when I have had to board him at our vet when we go on vacation they have to put Poncho in a crate with a sign on it that reads "Dog Aggressive." Too funny....this little squirt doesn't realize how small he really is. I guess he thinks he is a "big dog." Next week I will blog about my Bosco who really is a "big dog.!"