Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chocolate Cake with really good Vanilla Frosting

This is my old standby chocolate cake recipe with a yummy hostess filling-ish vanilla frosting on top. The cake is super easy to make, and you can't tell it is from a mix. The frosting on the other hand, is a little trickier. I got the recipe from Tasty Kitchen. It is worth making, but you have to follow the steps exactly, because it is easy to screw up.

Chocolate Cake
1 devils food cake mix
1/2 c. each of water and oil
4 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
Mix it altogether, pour into a greased and floured pan and bake according to what it says on the box. (These make great cupcakes too). Let cool before frosting.

Frosting
5 T. flour
1 c. milk
2 sticks butter
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
Put the flour in a small sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the milk. Go so slowly that it is a paste at first. Put the pan on the stove and heat it up on medium heat, whisking frequently or the flour will burn on the bottom of the pan. When it is thick, take it off the heat. Let it cool completely. Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add in the cold flour mixture. Beat until just creamy. Be careful not to beat too long or it will separate.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hummingbird Cake

This is a pecan, banana, pineapple cake that is very moist and dense. It is covered in tangy cream cheese frosting to off-set the sweetness of the cake. This recipe makes enough that you could bake it in a jelly roll pan as a sheet cake to serve more people. If you want to do that, double the frosting recipe.

Hummingbird Cake
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
4 eggs
1 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
bunch of bananas mashed
1 c. chopped pecans
Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. With a wire wisk, add in the eggs, oil and vanilla. Then add in the pineapple, bananas and pecans. Just mix until fully combined. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for around 45 to 50 minutes until the middle is set. Frost with cream cheese frosting when cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. of cream cheese
1 stick of margarine
1 t. vanilla
1 box of powdered sugar
1/2 c. pecans
Beat the cream cheese and the margarine. Then beat in the vanilla and the powdered sugar. Stir in the pecans then frost the cake.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad and Paula Deen's Banana Pudding

This cucumber salad is very refreshing. Everything you need to make it is at the farmer's market right now (or in your garden if you have one). Also, I know it is rare to find this on my blog, but it is actually a healthy recipe.
 
Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad
2 large cucumbers
1 container of plain yogurt
5 large radishes
1 t. lemon juice
2 t. salt
3 T. fresh dill
Peel and thinly slice the cucumbers. Then put them in a strainer and let the juices drain off of them for a half hour or so. Pat dry with a paper towel. Thinly slice the radishes. In a medium sized bowl, mix the yogurt, dill, salt and lemon juice. Add in the cucumbers and radishes. Mix well. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

----
I have been wanting to try this next recipe for awhile now, but I haven't had an excuse to. I normally love any Paula Deen recipe, and this is no exception.

Paula Deen's Banana Pudding
5 oz. instant French vanilla pudding
2 c. milk
can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese
container of cool whip
2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies
5 or 6 bananas
Lightly butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Lay the cookies out in a layer across the bottom. Slice the bananas and layer on the cookies. Mix the milk and the pudding. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese and the condensed milk. Fold in the cool whip. Fold the pudding into cream cheese mixture. Spread over the bananas. Put another layer of cookies on top. Refridgerate. Best if made a day ahead of time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Caramel Pecan Bars

Sorry for the photo quality- I had to take it with my phone because I brought these to work. If you are tired of chocolate (I don't know if that is possible) then these are for you. They are perfect with a cup of coffee.

Caramel Pecan Bars
1/2 of 32 oz. bag of brown sugar (sorry I don't know how many cups that is)
2 T. crisco
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
bag of Kraft caramel bits
1 c. chopped pecans
Beat the brown sugar and the crisco until fully combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stop the mixer. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until just combined. Then stir in the caramel bits and pecans. Spread into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool before cutting.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Italian Hoagies

These sandwiches are good. We like to dip them in Creamy Italian dressing.

Italian Hoagies
hoagie buns
pepperonis
thin sliced turkey
shredded mozzarella cheese
lettuce
tomato
onion
butter
garlic
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a fryng pan. Add in some minced garlic (amount according to taste- I add a 1/2 a teaspoon). Toast the inside of the hoagie bun in the frying pan. Repeat with the other buns. Lay out the hoagie halves on a cookie sheet with the toasted side up. Cover with shredded mozzarella. Cover one side of the hoagie with pepperoni. Lay turkey on the other side. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted (around 10 minutes at 350. Top with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Banana Bread

This is a recipe to use when you discover you've totally forgotten a whole bunch of bananas and they are so brown you are almost ready to throw them out. I did not put nuts in it (because of my weirdos who don't like nuts), but if I could have, I would have added a half a cup of chopped walnuts.
Banana Bread
1 stick butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
5 really ripe bananas
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
Beat the butter and sugar until really creamy. Then beat in the eggs. Then the vanilla and the bananas. Stop the mixer. Add in the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir by hand until just combined. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes. Let cool awhile before cutting.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brownies Extraordinaire

These are very chocolaty and rich. They were also very easy to make. I think you could do all kinds of variations on this. I want to try a dark chocolate mix with York peppermint patties; or marshmallows, peanuts and chocolate chips for rocky road; or carmellos and pecans in the brownie mix.
Brownies Extraordinaire
2 boxes of brownie mix, plus whatever the mix calls for (eggs, oil, etc.)
Hershey's Candy bars or Symphony bars (enough to make a layer across your pan- varies based on size of bars. Because I have nut haters, I use one giant Symphony bar with almonds, then used 4 regular size Hershey's)
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Prepare one of the mixes and pour in the bottom. Lay the chocolate bars on top. Prepare the second mix. Pour on top of the candy bars and make sure they are completely covered. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Let cool completely before cutting.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Black Bean/Corn/Cilantro Dip and Turkey Bacon Focaccia Sandwiches

I know everyone has a recipe for some kind of black bean corn dip. This one is different because it has feta cheese in it. If you like the normal dip, you will love this one. I think it is better.
Black Bean Dip
2 cups corn
1 can of black beans, rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes
bunch of green onions, chopped
handful of chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
4 ounces of feta
1/3 cup olive oil
zest and juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium sized bowl, mix the oil, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice and zest. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the avocado) and toss. Let it marinate in the refrigerator. When you get ready to serve it toss in the avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.

Next I was missing Free State Brewery this week and decided to try to recreate my favorite sandwich from there. I think it turned out pretty good.
Turkey Bacon Focaccia Sandwich
1 Focaccia bread
1 pkg pepper bacon
shaved turkey
1 avocado, sliced
6 slices white cheddar cheese
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 t. dried chives
1/2 t. minced garlic
lettuce
Cook the bacon. Mix the mayo, chives and garlic in a small bowl. Slice the focaccia in half and then quarter or sixths, depending on how big it is. Spread the chive mayo on the bread. Then layer the rest of the toppings on the sandwich.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fast Cream Cheese Danish Braid

I had an extra loaf of frozen bread dough in my freezer and have been wanting to try this for awhile. It worked great. You could make this any flavor. If you are in a hurry, you could use fruit preserves or a can of pie filling.

Fast Cream Cheese Danish Braid
1 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed out
1 tub of cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Roll out the bread dough in a rectangle shape. Mix the rest of the ingredients together, reserving about a tablespoon of the egg. Spread the cream cheese down the center of the dough. Make slits every inch down the sides of the rectangle (leaving the cream cheese in the middle). Take each piece of the braid that you made by cutting slits on the sides of the cream cheese and bring them to the middle in a faux braid. When you get done, mix the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush on the top of the braid. Bake for around 25-30 minutes (until brown).