Sunday, January 31, 2010

Condensed Milk Pound Cake

Well we've had quite a bit more snow here and this is definitely not any fun. I guess the Farmer's Almanac was right - we are having a hard winter. But really...enough is enough. Now I know why when people get older they move to warmer climates. I'm at the point where I don't even care about the change of seasons anymore...just give me warm weather every day!!!! At least the schools here are closed tomorrow due to teacher's conferences so they don't have to use up another snow day. Would you believe they are already forecasting that we may have more snow next weekend????? I don't even want to think about that. I'll tell you this though - I will be better prepared for whatever it is I decide to bake....I had no eggs or sugar this weekend! That's right. How in the world do you run out of sugar? That to me is like running out of salt.....doesn't happen often. Of course I had already started 2 recipes and wasted a ton of ingredients before I realized I was out of both. Not pretty....since I was already pissed about the snow!!!!

Anyhow this cake was made last week before the snow hit and it was out of this world good!!! I love pound cakes so it doesn't take much for me to swoon over a good one but this one was really, really good. I found this over at Engineer Baker. I'd never heard of a pound cake using sweetened condensed milk before so this really intrigued me. It was one of those recipes that just screamed out "make me now!" I, of course, promptly obeyed....hope you give it a try! (Please note that this cake is made in a food processor - never made a pound cake in one before but it came out perfect!).

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan and set aside.

Sift together flour and baking powder and set aside.

Put the sugar in a food processor and add the butter and salt and process until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl occassionally. Add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated, about 15 times, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add the sifted dry ingredients and pulse until no traces of flour remain, about 10 times. Add the eggs and pulse just until combined, about 5 times. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla extract and finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the eggs.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until the top is dark, golden brown and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. (Mine took 1 hour, 10 minutes.) Cool completely in the loaf pan on a rack, then unmold.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Delicious Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie has to be one of my favorite meals. Years ago when I had first gotten out of school and was working in Manhattan I had chicken pot pie at least once a week for dinner. Though not the kind you are thinking of! One of my favorite foods back then was Swanson's Chicken Pot Pie that I used to pick up after work at the store and heat up in the oven. Of course it was a frozen dinner but I just loved them. Now that my cooking skills are somewhat improved I make this dish from scratch. I found this recipe at Recipezaar. It is delicious and so simple to make. The only change I added was a few shakes of Mrs. Dash seasonings and I used a store bought pie crust. That makes life a lot easier! My husband and son both enjoyed this. The original recipe states is makes 6 - 8 servings but the three of us ate the whole thing!!! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
1 cup potato, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
2 pie crusts (either store bought or your own recipe) I used only one pie crust for this
several shakes of Mrs. Dash seasoning (my own addition)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes. Add flour to sauteed vegetable mixture, stirring well. Cooke one minute stirring constantly. Combine broth and half and half. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Stir in salt and pepper and Mrs Dash. Add chicken and stir well. Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cake Cookies

These are by far the easiest cookies I have ever made and they are so versatile too! They are very soft and have more of a texture of a soft brownie. My husband loved these cookies. I found the recipe over at Abby Sweets. You can also try different cake mixes for different flavors!

1 box cake mix, any flavor - (I used Devil's Food, of course!)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 (8 ounce) Cool Whip, thawed

2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together cake mix, egg and Cool Whip until combined. This will be thick, but not so thick that you cannot roll it into balls.

Put the powdered sugar into a shallow bowl.

Once you mix the dough, put the scoops of dough (large teaspoon size) into the powdered sugar and roll it to coat. You can shape these once they are rolled in the powdered sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 - 10 minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bobby's Goulash

My husband had this dish waiting for me when I came home from Richmond this weekend. He is a great cook (seriously - I wish I could cook as good as he does)! This is not your typical goulash or at least not how I remember goulash growing up. I remember (not fondly) it being made with stew meat and a dark, dark gravy over boiled potatoes. Not fun...I didn't like that type of goulash then and will not even go near it now. So when my husband said he was making goulash, my childhood goulash came to mind. I have never even made it - that is now much I can't stand it!!!! Imagine my surprise when I saw this gorgeous dish! Not only does it look good and not like your average goulash, it tastes terrific. Even our youngest son liked it! It also makes whole lot. My husband had served this with cheese and sour cream on the side but I don't think it needs that. Not at all. I just enjoyed a plain bowl of this. Bread and salad on the side would be good but that is all it really needs. Try this for something different, simple and very, very tasty. Of course the recipe comes from Bobby, Paula Deen's son and my husband is a huge Paula Deen fan (I think I've mentioned this several times now)!

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey

2 large onions, chopped

3 cups water

1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce

2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (this will taste stronger on day 1, milder the next day)

3 bay leaves

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows

1 tablespoon seasoned salt

2 cups dried elbow macaroni

In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

House Seasoning

1 cup salt

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Pasta and Parmesan Cheese

I found this recipe over at Donna's site. Not only is it easy and delicious but there is very little clean up. That means alot if you've been working all day and just want to relax and don't want a ton of pots to clean. She has several dishes like this on her site and they are all kid and time friendly!!!! We all enjoyed one turned their nose up at it. It's very nice when everyone is happy with their dinner! I cooked this before I started letting my husband and son pick out the dinner menu once a week. So far that's been going well and I'll be posting more about that in the near future. I'll let you know what we all picked for our weekly choices!!!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend. They are calling (once again) for a chance of snow/sleet/freezing rain here. Why on the weekend? Why not during the week already! Let's keep our fingers crossed we only get rain!

2 - 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut up into 1 inch pieces

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I omitted these since my son doesn't care for anything spicy)

12 ounces pasta

4 1/4 cups water

2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

4 - 5 cups broccoli florets

1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped

3/4 cup heavey cream

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Chop onion, mince garlic & cut broccoli florets into big chunks. Coarsely chop sun dried tomatoes.

Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch squares, season with salt and pepper.

In a non stick skillet coated in oil, cook chicken for several minutes until nicely browned. Transfer to a bowl. Add more oil and add onion and salt. Cook until softened. Stir in garlic, oregano and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant.

Toss in pasta, 3 cups water and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until liquid is thick and syrupy, about 12 minutes. Add broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and remaining 1 1/4 cup water and cook broccoli until it turns bright green and almost tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, fresh grated cheese and chicken. Cook until thickened and cooked through, about 2 -3 minutes. Top with fresh cheese to serve.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fannie Farmer's Classic Macaroni and Cheese

I made this last week at my youngest son's request. He told me that I cook only what dad likes or I like all the time so I told him that from now on we would start something new - one night each week he could pick the menu for dinner, one night his dad would and one night I would. I think that will be fun and it's definitely fair! It's so hard to cook something everyone likes so I'm hoping this will make things more "fair!" I found this at Recipeszaar. I picked this because it was an older mac and cheese recipe and I love trying old recipes. I think I used a little too much flour and also had a store brand cheese on hand. The recipe comes with a warning to use only good quality cheese. Your mac and cheese will only be as good as the cheese you use. This is very true. I will make this again, without a doubt, using a top quality cheese. My son loved it and I also enjoyed it. My husband did not care for it...said it tasted pasty, which is why I said I must have used too much flour. It was still pretty good and I will use this recipe from now on (even though there is a good ten minutes of constant stirring).

1 (8 ounce) package macaroni

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 cup cream (I used heavy cream)

1/2 teaspoon salt

fresh ground pepper, to taste

2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded- good quality)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.

Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).

Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.

Add shredded cheese little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Turn off flame. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

This is one of those recipes that I made a while back and never got around to posting. Don't know why it's taken me this long to post it because these cookies are really good! Kids will love them and they are easy to make. I found the recipe over at Cate's blog called Sweetnicks. She has some great recipes on her site and her kids are just adorable.

The past few days I am trying to use up lots of stuff that I have in my pantry. Cans of pumpkin, jars of jams, you name it. I have a habit of buying things for a specific recipe and then if I don't make that recipe right away another one will interest me and there sit the ingredients that I bought for the original one I had in mind! So I am trying to use up what I have on hand. Hope you enjoy these cookies!

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter bups, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup and Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread

I made this soup last week and just love it! I am always glad when I find a new slow cooker recipe that turns out well. I used a mild taco seasoning mix that I thought was perfect but my husband and son still found it a bit too spicy. So if you don't like your soup too spicy you might want to tone this down. I like spicy food and did not find this really spicy. The buttermilk corn bread was terrific with this dish too. I am a major fan of corn bread and this one was so good! I found both of these recipes on Allrecipes.

I just heard the temperature may actually hit 50 degrees here on Thursday and I feel like jumping for joy!!! It's just been too cold for me. Anybody out there tuning into American Idol tonight? I love American Idol and am looking forward to watching it!

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

1 oniopn, chopped

1 (16 ounce) can chili beans

1 (15 ounce) can black beans

1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle or can beer

2 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix

3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

shredded Cheddar cheese, (optional)

sour cream (optional)

crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Place onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat and cook for 5 hours.

Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Grandmother's Buttermillk Cornbread

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan.

Melt butter in large skillet (I melted in microwave and placed in mixing bowl). Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour battle into the prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Orange and Thyme Chicken Thighs

I'm back from my weekend in Richmond and have some pictures that I'll be posting on my Picture Post later this week. Right now I'm thankful that the weather will be taking a turn and getting warmer by the end of the week. I'm not counting on not seeing any more snow though since it's only the beginning of January but I am glad for any weather at the moment that doesn't include the word snow in it!

My big purchase this weekend was a lightweight steam cleaner for wooden floors. Where have I been that I didn't even know they existed??? I have hardwood floors in my house and let me tell you they can get soooo filthy...especially with dogs in the house. Some coworkers last week were talking about steam cleaners for their floors and I (of course) had no clue they even had them for wooden floors, let alone lightweight ones. My life has just gotten a lot easier and my floors a lot cleaner to say the least!!!! I wonder if it's something maybe about being in my early 50's (oh God, no) that I feel at times that I live in a vacuum.....and every once in a while I learn something new and a light goes on. Who knows...I better stop now before I go on about how the face in the mirror no longer matches how I feel in the inside....or how when I pull the skin back a bit I look like me again....!!!!!! Yes, I can be vain and if I had the money and wasn't so scared I'd get a facelift in a heartbeat!!! On that note........

Here is a recipe for chicken that I made recently. It was very, very good and very tangy. I found it on Dinners for a Year and Beyond. I recently blogged about a pasta dish I found at her site that was one of her top ten. So is this one. I served this with a side of white rice. Very simple to make and tasty.

10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

olive oil



3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

3 cups orange juice

2 teaspoons thyme, dried

scant 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat over to 375 degrees F. Place chicken thighs on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan and saute onions for about 8 minutes. After onions have sauteed, place chicken in preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add orang juice and thyme to sauteed onions and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until reduced to about 1/2 cup stirring occasionally. When orange juice mixture has reduced to 1/2 cup, add maple syrup, soy sauce, pepper and salt. Continue to boil for about 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove chicken from oven and brush with a generous amount of the sauce. Return to oven and continue roasting for about 10 - 15 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from oven and serve with remaining sauce.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Classic Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

This was the cake that I made for Christmas day (along with tons of cookies of course!). The cake was full of flavor, very good for a basic yellow cake but I did have a problem getting them out of their pans. I did not grease the side so it was really my own fault. My daughter in law raved about the cake and believe me, that girl and cook and bake. To me, the frosting was the star of this cake. I absolutely loved the milk chocolate frosting. Normally I like a very dark, deep chocolate frosting but this was delicious and so easy. This recipe comes from the Dec 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.

They are calling for snow here again tonight. Ugh! It's supposed to only be light though - maybe 1 - 3 inches, which is nothing compared to what we were recently bombarded with. But it will probably be enough to close the schools. The schools here in Virginia close at the drop of the first snowflake. Probably for the best really, since most people here don't have a clue how to drive when it snows. Anyhow, if you are looking to make a tasty cake, give this one a try. Just grease the bottom and side of the pans really well!

Classic Yellow Cake

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting pans

1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat two 9 inch round baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour and discard excess (You can also use a 13 x 9 x 2 in pan).

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl.

With an electric mixer set on medium, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

On low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Spread batter into prepared pans, dividing equally.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 to 43 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan edges and turn cakes out to cool completely on racks. Once cooled, spread with Milk Chocolate Frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

4 bars (1.55 ounces each) milk chocolate, broken up (I used Hershey's)

1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar

6 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

Place chocolate in a small saucepan. Melt over medium-low heat, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Combine 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar, the milk, butter, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute. Add melted chocolate and beat until smooth.

Gradually beat in remaining sugar until good spreading consistency. (I did not use the whole box).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Picture Post #1

Cate over at Sweetnicks has given me a great idea. She is posting a picture every day on her blog. Not just of her recipes but from her life and what's going on. I think it's such a good idea that I've decided to have a picture post once a week. I think it will be fun. I know that I really enjoy when other bloggers post pictures from their vacations, holidays, etc. I especially love seeing pictures on blogs that I visit often. Even though the internet is a virtual world, it kind of gives the feeling that you know that person, at least a little bit!

I've tried moving these pictures around a bit but no luck. I wanted to post captions under them but as usual, I'm having a problem doing that. Anyhow, one of the pictures is of my youngest son opening his Christmas gifts at his grandma's house with his cousin, the other one is me with my precious little granddaughter Farah (aka Butterball) and the other picture is of my stepdad being a real sport. Zach decided to make him a balloon "hat" and he was a real sport by letting me take his picture with the hat on!!!!! Hope you enjoy them! I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spicy Shrimp, Sausage and Spinach Fettuccine

I'm back from the beach and ready for the new year to begin. I haven't really even cooked anything yet! I have some recipes that I made at the end of last year and I will post of one them now. This is a really good one. I love pasta with almost anything and it's even better when there is shrimp involved. I found this over at Dinners for a Year and Beyond. This recipe was listed as one of her top ones of the year and I certainly agree. It is delicious. The spinach is perfect with this and the corn is a really nice touch. I hope all you pasta lovers out there try this because you will love it. It's also very easy and that is always a plus.

1 pound fettuccine
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 links of hot Italian sausage, removed from casing, about 1/4 pound
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 pounds of large shrimp (21-25/pound), peeled and deveined
4 large handfuls of baby spinach, about 4 cups loosely packed
1 cup corn
1/2 cup pasta water
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving

Cook fettuccine in a large pot of water according to package directions.
Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add the sausage
in small pieces and the garlic and cook until the sausage is cooked and browned.

Add shrimp to the pan and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until lightly wilted. Add corn and pasta water to saute pan and scrape up any bits cooked on to the bottom of the pan. Add pasta and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a serving bowl and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve with extra cheese.