Sunday, December 20, 2015

ChristmasTaffy Apple Salad



This treat is great anytime of the year, but it is a nice lighter addition to your holiday dessert table which will balance nicely against all the heavy sweets. This is not necessarily a diet friendly recipe, but it is not so rich and heavy which has come as a welcome relief to our family as we have been bombarded with sweet things here lately!

*This needs to chill thoroughly for best flavor overnight in the fridge, however it is still good chilled for just a few hours if you're like me and can't wait!



YOU WILL NEED:

1/2 cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. lemon juice
1 egg
1 cup pineapple chunks (drain- save juice)
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip (you can use the lite version- both are good)
2 med. red apples
2 med. green apples
2 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts

In pan, heat sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, egg and juice from pineapple until thick after boiling (about 5 minutes).
Cool.
In Large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Toss lightly. Refrigerate overnight (or at least several hours).




Have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

We're making memories...literally.


This post is from 5 years ago... it bears repeating.


It's Christmas Eve morning....most of my baking/cooking is done and treat trays are prepared to give to my neighbors. The house is all decked out and all of my sons will be home for Christmas!

This evening, my next-door neighbors and my family will once again enjoy our holiday tradition of exchanging gag gifts and treats, and my sons will (hopefully) spend the night and we will all enjoy Christmas breakfast together.

I host the big family dinner here (around 30 are expected) and we will eat, and laugh, and hug, and clean up spills and watch the teens and tweens roll their eyes at their parents and us "oldies but goodies"!

This year, we will enjoy an Italian Christmas feast.

Our menu is buffet style and will include Home made Spaghetti and meatballs (Tyler Florence recipe), Mostaciolli w/pepperoni, Fettuccine Alfredo, a big Italian Salad, garlic bread,Italian Cheese Ball, Italian Creme Cake, Italian Pizelle Cookies and a few appetizers, and of course, a vast array of Christmas cookies and candies.

If you scroll down through previous posts, you should find recipes you may want to serve at your feast!

Remember, though, it's not WHAT you serve but WHO you serve that matters!

Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas holiday and I pray for PEACE to all of you. In your hearts and in your home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Crock Pot Ham



Need a simple but DELICIOUS ham recipe for Christmas or Easter but think it will involve too much of your time watching the oven and testing for doneness?

Try this CROCK POT recipe that I found at this wonderful crock pot recipe site.

If you find yourself hosting a large family dinner in your home, this is a perfect recipe that will need no tending to- once it has started the slow cooking.

And it extremely moist. NO MORE DRY HAM!

Only a few ingredients:

7-8 pound bone-in spiral-cut ham

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup all natural maple syrup

2 cups pineapple juice



The Directions.


Use a 6-7 quart slow cooker. Unwrap the ham, and discard flavor packet. Place it into your stoneware, flat-side down. Rub brown sugar on all sides. Pour on maple syrup and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If possible, baste ham with collected juice from the bottom of the crock an hour or so before serving. When cooking is done, remove carefully and let it rest on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Now, how easy is that?

And your house will smell DIVINE!

Vanilla Coffee Punch



Several years ago,  I was asked to coordinate the Open House for our new Home town College, MORTHLAND COLLEGE. This was a celebration of receiving the state board approval to open the college in the fall of 2011. (Something like this happens once every 50-100 years!)

I was asked to make a "nice punch" to serve with gourmet cookies for the guests that would be touring the administrative offices and this recipe was the first that came to mind. I found it at TASTE OF HOME.

Not too sweet, and has an elegant look. DELICIOUS tasting- even if you're not one that loves a cold coffee flavor. Actually, everyone who tasted it was giving it rave reviews! It was being compared to drinks at STARBUCKS, and it also reminds me a bit of my favorite drink at Dairy Queen, a MOO-LATTE (but fancier).

Honestly, I have never received so many compliments on a punch, and several recipe requests.

You must give it a try.

YOU WILL NEED:

* 4 cups brewed vanilla-flavored coffee, cooled
* 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
* Ground cinnamon

Directions

* In a large container, combine the coffee, milk and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Spoon ice cream into a punch bowl; pour coffee mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immediately. Yield: 2-1/2 quarts.
Serves 13

Enjoy!

PEPPERMINT PUNCH



The gorgeous photo and delicious punch was found on tasteofhome.com, so I made it to serve in the teacher's lounge at my school. LOTS of recipe requests for this refreshing and festive punch.

2 liters of lemon-lime soda
1 10 oz. jar of strawberry jelly
2 quarts peppermint ice cream (I used Kroger brand)
candy canes *Optional

Heat jelly in 2 cups of the soda on stove till jelly is melted. Set aside to cool.
When cooled, add to punch bowl, along with ice cream and soda--stir well.

You can place candy canes on the side of the bowl, and/or on the side of the cup it's served in, like I did in this photo.

YUM!

Lisa's Asparagus Rolls



I presented a New Year's Eve presentation on the Local news this morning,(click here to view the segment) and I featured a recipe shared with me by my facebook friend Lisa Laird--she said it was her most requested recipe that she takes often to parties, potlucks, etc.

This is the Perfect Holiday recipe to take to any party and to serve as a light appetizer at your News Year's Eve celebration.

I prepared it the other night for my man, and Big AL gave it two thumbs up! (He ate SEVERAL of them)

ASPARAGUS ROLLS

1 Bunch of Fresh asparagus (thin)
1 block of cream cheese or a small tube of Garlic flavored Cream Cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli salami
sea salt
pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Take one asparagus and bend it, it will snap where it needs to be cut off. Cut the remaining spears in the same place.

2. In a pot of boiling water plunge the asparagus for 1 min (longer if thinker asparagus is used)

3. Immediately place the asparagus into a bowl of ice water to shock it, which stops the cooking process and keeps it bright green

4. Dry the asparagus with a paper towel and season with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese

5. Take a slice of the Salami and spread a thin layer of cream cheese over it



6. Take about 3 asparagus spears and wrap the salami/cream cheese around the spear.

Stack on a platter, chill 15-30 min and serve.
You can also sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Enjoy!

Cheater Version Homemade Cinnamon Rolls



As if you can't tell from the photo, this is one of the MOST DELICIOUS treats I've ever tasted! You will be SHOCKED at the taste, the texture and presentation--it truly tastes like a "from-scratch" recipe...and all it needed was a little help from a friend!

My friend Gail shared this recipe with me last Christmas. She brought the warm pan, fresh from the oven to my home for me to serve to my family for Christmas Eve breakfast.

It was a special time for us. My middle son had just graduated from boot camp and was home on leave. And Gail herself had just learned she had breast cancer, but was still going about her business, doing what she does best...cooking up mouth-watering recipes!

We share a love of food--and feeding those we love--along with many other interests, including writing. (Gail and her husband, Michael are the publishers of GOOD LIVING IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS and GOOD LIVING IN WEST FRANKFORT magazines and I am one of the freelance writers.)

* UPDATE: She is now finished with her treatments and is doing very well. She has a great prognosis and amazing strength! I'm honored to be counted among her close friends.

Okay, before I start tearing up, here's the recipe you MUST try--you can thank us later when you WOW your friends and family!

YOU WILL NEED:

1 frozen Bag of Rhodes cinnamon rolls (12)
3/4 cups nuts-broken
*take out the 2 bags of cream cheese icing that comes with rolls (to use in another recipe later)

Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam.

Melt 1 stick butter and 1 cup to 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Melt in saucepan until it bubbles. Then add broken nuts.

Pour over bottom of a 13x9 pan. Take slices of rolls and lay flat in pan.
Let rise (about 3 hours if frozen-till they meet together)

Bake at 350 degrees till golden on top (20-25 min.)

Run knife around sides, flip upside down.

Serve warm.

Take a bow.

THANK YOU GAIL!

Italian Pizelle Christmas Cookies. (A repost)


-Photo Jordan Murphy-SQUARED VISION PHOTOGRAPHY

I want to introduce you to the best Southern cook I know. This is my mother, Rose.
My son took this photo of us for a Mother's Day Gift 3 year's ago.
She is a 77-year-old homemaker extraordinaire.

I'm going to be featuring many of her best recipes that she has passed along to me and I'm here to tell you- if I put her name in the title of a recipe...you need to make it. Her food is ALWAYS delicious! Not necessarily the healthiest dishes, but THE BEST recipes.
This is where moderation is key.

Some are pretty simple, but no matter the time it or technique it takes to put one of her dishes on the table, it's ALWAYS worth it.

My Mom was a stay at home mother while my brother and sister and I were growing up. She cooked 3 times each day- DELICIOUS Homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We rarely ate out.

She loves to cook with lots of real butter, full fat chicken broth and cheesy sauces!


But I'm starting off with a traditional Italian pizelle cookie that we make together annually. It's actually not a fattening as most cookie recipes. It's beautiful, crispy and on the lighter-tasting side. This recipe was passed down from her late mother-in-law, my grandmother Amelia, a wonderful Italian cook.



First, you must have one of these. A Pizelle cookie maker.



But don't dispair if you do not own one. These cookies can also be made on a cookie sheet for the same great flavor, they just won't be as pretty.


You will need:
6 eggs
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 cups flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. anise oil


Beat eggs and sugar well. Add melted cooled butter. Add anise oil, then dry ingredients. Mix well with a mixer on med. speed. till smooth.




With floured hands, roll dogh in ball (2-3 heaping teaspoonfuls). Place dough slightly off center - just a tiny bit back- close lid and cook for about one minute.

*It is okay to open lid to see if they are done- it will not affect the cookie to check a few times.




They should be slightly golden brown.



They lift very easily off the griddle with spatula.



Cool on flat surface, then start stacking them.








These are delicious served just as they are.

They are also great sprinkled with powdered sugar (especially at Christmas time- they'll look like a big snowflake cookie!)

You can also shape them to make a waffle cone for ice cream, but you need the proper form for this. You can form it to the bottom of a cup, let it cool that way, then it will be a perfect cup to fill with ice cream, drizzled with chocolate...yummmmm.

*Remember to take my cookie challenge and share the wealth!

Bread Pudding (a repost)



A wonderful memorable recipe passed down from one generation to another is a deliciously moist bread pudding shared by my friend Nancy Wilburn, an Elementary School teacher who has been making her mother's recipe for many years. "When I make this dish, I always think of my Mother [the late Vertis Vaughn]. She would take it to all the church functions."



Not only is this recipe enjoyed during the Wilburn family holidays, it has been a special request for potlucks, church socials and was also most one of the most requested dishes by the West Frankfort athletes for their sports banquets.

Nancy recently prepared this dish for me and I can honestly say that it is THE BEST bread pudding recipe I've ever tasted! Extremely moist, without being soggy.A subtle blend of mild flavors. This would make a perfect Christmas Brunch entree, or breakfast or dessert, an afternoon snack, midnight snack...you get the idea. This is comfort food at its best!

BREAD PUDDING

1 loaf of white bread
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 cups milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 stick Parkay Margarine1/2 cup raisins (optional)

VANILLA SAUCE

1 cup sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
1 stick Parkay Margarine
1 Tbs. vanilla

Break bread into pieces and put into a buttered (or psrayed) 9x13 pan. Add raisins on top (if desired). Beat eggs, then add sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour over bread in pan. Take spoon and push bread into milk mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon over top and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. (place on top of cookie sheet to avoid spill over). *This will rise while baking, but will fall after removed from oven.

Sauce directions:
Mix sugar and cornstarch in 2 qt. pan. Gradually add boiling water. Cook until sauce is thickened. Remove from stove. Add butter and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Pour sauce over baked pudding and add cinnamon on top if desired.



Thank you, Nancy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies!


Simple and so good- these are great to add to your cookie sampler platter for Christmas.

It's always good to have a box of cake mix handy for those unexpected times when cookies are needed.

I make them with and without nuts, with and without powdered sugar--and they're always a hit.


1 box devil's food cake mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. water
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cake mix, eggs, water and shortening until well blended. Stir in nuts. Shape into small balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 48 cookies.

O balls....a 3 ingredient recipe! (a repost)


An Ever so simple recipe to make with the kids! Delicious and makes 75! Let the kiddos give them as gifts!

My co-worker, Sally, served these in the Lounge at school a couple of years ago, and I had forgotten how simple and delicious they were. Now they are back on my Christmas list of fun treats to make. (You can also make them with the MINT Oreas, and the Peanut butter flavored ones)

A great recipe to make with the kids.

WARNING! These are very rich!


YOU WILL NEED:

1 package Oreo cookies(1 lb. 4 oz.)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
20 ounces almond bark,melted




Directions:

Crush 1 pkg. Oreo cookies. Mix with softened cream cheese. Roll into balls; chill. Dip in 18-20 oz. melted almond bark to coat.

*You can also crush Oreo's in food processor and add in cream cheese cubes to mix. * chill this mixture before rolling into balls.

*You can drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cranberry Pineapple "muffins" (a repost)



I found this little tangy tart sweet in a magazine, which sent me to Kraftfoods.com for the recipe.

I love the presentation. It's perfect to serve on your Holiday table- SO festive!. A tasty side to any chicken, turkey or pork recipe. The Thanksgiving turkey or the Christmas Ham would love it as a sidekick!

When I served it, it was delicious and a big hit, however, I did not have luck removing them from the liners, but I still thought they were very pretty presented in the foil muffin liners. It can also be made in a large glass baking dish.




1 can (20 oz.) DOLE Crushed Pineapple, in juice
2 pkg. (3 oz. each) JELL-O Raspberry Flavor Gelatin
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
2/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
1 DOLE Apple, chopped


DRAIN pineapple, reserving juice. Add enough water to juice to measure 2-1/2 cups; pour into saucepan. Bring to boil. Add to gelatin mixes in large bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.

STIR in pineapple, cranberry sauce, nuts and apples. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

REFRIGERATE 2-1/2 hours or until firm. Remove desserts from liners before serving.


You may also prepare these by using JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin or JELL-O Raspberry Flavor Sugar Free Gelatin.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mocha Mix ( a repost)


My good friend Debbie gave me this recipe many years ago, and I always save it for our first REAL snow (you know, the kind that sticks and cancels school and shuts down businesses).

But it's also perfect for a cozy evening at home, when I curl up on the sofa and read a good book, and of course, it is perfect for gift-giving and when entertaining friends.


Debbie's beautiful Mother, Lynn, passed away from breast cancer, and this recipe makes me think of her. So when you make yourself a cup, drink up...in honor of Lynn, who fought a courageous battle and has left behind a wonderful family.

Lynn was a stay at home mother whose life revolved around her family. So, in her memory, make a batch for your bunch to warm up their bodies after a cold day outdoors, and give them a hug to warm their souls!

YOU WILL NEED:
2 cups Swiss Miss powdered Mocha
2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
1 c. instant coffee granules
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sugar

Blend all till well mixed. Store in covered jar. Use 2 tsp. mix per cup of boiling water.

Stir well, top with marshmallows.
*If you'll notice in the photo, I sprinkled some little "snowflakes" I had leftover from some Christmas baking supplies I had on hand. I love the touch it added.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Apple "Cobbler"



This delicious dessert always brings lots of compliments when I take it to gatherings and has been requested several times for family birthday dinners.  It is very versatile-- the apple filling can be exchanged for cherry, or blueberry or peach. Apple is my favorite, though, and a perfect dessert to serve in the fall.

It starts with a secret ingredient that no one will know about unless you choose to tell them.

The "crust" is actually a flour tortilla! But the delicious filling and special sauce poured over it makes this dessert absolutely delicious!

Give it a try!

You will need:

1 pkg. of 8-10 lg. flour tortillas
4 oz. softened cream cheese

2 cans apple (or other choice) pie filling

SAUCE:

1 1/2 stick butter (NOT margarine)
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 tsp. vanilla (or use almond extract if using cherry pie filling)



1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or  slivered almonds if using cherry)
Equal parts cinnamon/sugar sprinkle for topping (omit if using cherry)


"Butter" each tortilla with the cream cheese. Put pie filling 3 Tablespoonsful on one end of tortilla and rollup, enchilada style.

Place in a buttered 9X13 dish. Continue until all are rolled up and placed in dish (some may need to go across bottom).

Place dollops of remaining pie filling on top, then sprinkle nuts over.

Set aside.Bring to a boil, the sauce and immediately pour over top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes (or until brown on top. and most of sauce has been absorbed).

This is delicious served warm with some vanilla ice cream on top, or top with whipped cream....drizzle with caramel sauce....even served at room temp or cold!

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Honeyed Soy Pork Chops

 
 SO when your youngest son grows up into a fine man, and you have a special dinner for his birthday and ask him what he wants served, if he answers "pork chops", make these. They were a big hit to the pork loving people at the table. A little different than regular ole pork chops. Easy to  prepare, too.

You will brown them in the skillet, then bake in the oven, They are very juicy! People will smile.



You will need:

* 1/2 cup honey                                  

                  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Orange Knots


 
Here's a simple, but different treat for breakfast or brunch that takes only 30 minutes, start to finish!
And I think they look so pretty lined up altogether on a serving tray.

Try it! I think you like it!


1 16 oz. can refrigerated biscuits
3 T. butter, melted
2 T. granulated sugar
1 T. orange zest
Glaze:
½ c. powdered sugar
1 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. orange zest

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread butter on baking sheet.

 Mix granulated sugar 1 T. of orange zest together in a shallow bowl.

Cut each biscuit in half. Roll each biscuit into a rope. Tie each rope in a loose knot. Tuck the ends underneath the knot. Place on  baking sheet.

Brush tops of knots with melted butter. Dip buttered tops in orange sugar mixture.

Bake about 10 minutes. Watch carefully so the sugar doesn’t burn.

While knots are baking make an orange glaze.

 Mix powdered sugar, orange juice and remaining orange zest together.

While knots are still warm brush them with orange glaze.

Let cool for about 2-3 minutes. Serve.

You can store Orange Knots in an airtight container and serve the next day. They are best warmed in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.

* I found this recipe at http://www.ellaclaireinspired.com/30-minute-orange-knots/

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Taffy Apple Salad

 
This treat is great anytime of the year, and it is a nice lighter addition to your dessert table which will balance nicely against all the heavy sweets as the holidays approach.  This is not necessarily a diet friendly recipe, but it is not rich or heavy. Tastes very similar to a taffy apple.

*This needs to chill thoroughly for best flavor overnight in the fridge, however it is still good chilled for just a few hours if you're like me and can't wait!



YOU WILL NEED:

1/2 cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. lemon juice
1 egg
1 cup pineapple chunks (drain- save juice)
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip (you can use the lite version- both are good)
2 med. red apples
2 med. green apples
2 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts

In pan, heat sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, egg and juice from pineapple until thick after boiling (about 5 minutes).
Cool.
In Large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Toss lightly. Refrigerate overnight (or at least several hours).



Pumpkin Dessert



Here's a great addition to your fall repertoire of pumpkin recipes.  Tastes much like Pumpkin pie, but is an easy dessert to feed a larger bunch. Crunchy, cake-like but creamy also. Textures you will love! Your house will smell amazing too.






Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:

* 1- 15 ounce can pumpkin
* 1 can  sweetened condensed milk
* 3 eggs
* 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
*1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon cloves*
* 1/2 cup sugar


* 1- 18.25 ounce yellow cake mix
* 1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
* 1 cup butter, melted

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9x13 pan. Completely combine 1st set of ingredients. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with cake mix. Gently pat down with spoon. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 1 hour. Cool and cut in squares.



And here are some pics from one I made with no nuts




Top with a dollop of Whipped cream and Enjoy!



Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Father's Day treat! Double Your Pleasure: A&W Root Beer Float & Root Beer Float cake


I put this together for one of my cooking segments I did on our local morning news shows last year.

I shared simple ideas that kids could make for Father's Day. I found the free printable tags online (sorry, I no longer have the link), but I think kids could make it themselves.

I added a previous post about root beer.....that includes a ROOT BEER FLOAT CAKE.

 If Dad loves root beer, this would be a great treat for him!  ENJOY!







Unlike the majority of society, I'm neither a Coke or Pepsi girl. I prefer Sprite or Root Beer. But actually, I prefer a Root Beer Float if I'm gonna' bother drinking soda!

In my small town, we had an A&W restaurant, complete with car hops, when I was growing up. The drive-in restaurant is still there today, although it is awaiting its new opening under new ownership (HURRY!!!!)  Mike's Drive-In will still serve the beloved A&W Root Beer and the RB Floats in a frosty mug! People travel for miles to enjoy this treat that takes us all back to a simpler time.

This time last year,  Big AL went for a little getaway to celebrate our  anniversary and part of our trip included "Antiquing" In Historic Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I found an old A&W mug to serve my float and I couldn't wait to bring it home, wash it up and enjoy my float in a frosty mug-all proper like.

I made it, took the photo, and then before I could lick my lips, Big AL took it and woofed it all down!

His response when he laid the empty mug back on the counter? "Man, that was good!"

All you need is:

1 A&W mug (yeah, it makes ALL the difference)
2 scoops FRENCH VANILLA Ice Cream (I used Blue Bunny)
And enough A&W Root Beer to spill over the top of the mug so you can lick it off the side when no one is watching!

Rinse mug and freeze till frosted!
Put in ice cream.
Pour on Root Beer.
Serve with a spoon and a straw.
Hide it in another room till you're ready to share!

And now for the cake:



Root Beer Float Cake

You will need:

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1-3/4 cups cold root beer, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 envelope whipped topping mix


Directions:


In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, 1-1/4 cups root beer, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 minutes. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, combine the whipped topping mix and remaining root beer. Beat until soft peaks form. Frost cake. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.

*I found this recipe in my Taste of Home Cookbook.

*This cake has a mild root beer flavor, not at all overwhelming.
You can also use your own icing recipe and add a little root beer to it.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The $10,000 Caribbean Grill



This fancy schmancy grilled cheese recipe won the Teflon $10,000 prize for "the best grilled cheese in America" back in '04. I made it and my family loved it! Thank you ,ASHLEY BERMAN for creating such a tasty sandwich we all can enjoy.

This is not a beginner recipe, but not difficult. Give it a try!

Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwich in America sponsored by DuPont(TM) Teflon(R).

Ingredients For Mango Salsa:

•1/2 mango, 1/4 inch diced
•2 tbsp red onion, 1/4 inch diced
•1/4 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch diced
•1 tbsp fresh lime juice
•pinch of sugar
•1/2 tsp kosher salt
•freshly ground black pepper
•For Sandwich:
•3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
•1 tbsp curry powder
•8 slices fresh Italian bread
•8 slices (8 oz) Swiss cheese
•1/4 cup honey mustard

Preparation:

In a small bowl, mix together all of the salsa ingredients. Set aside. (Note: this can be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.) Makes about 1½ cups.

In a small bowl, mix the butter and curry together. Spread 2 tbsp of the butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread on your work surface, buttered side down. Spread the mustard on the bread. Place about 2 tbsp of the mango salsa on the bread followed by the cheese. (You may need to fold the cheese slices to fit the bread.) Place the remaining 4 bread slices on top, buttered side up.





Add the remaining curry butter to a Teflon-coated non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches if necessary) and cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Uncover and turn the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing very firmly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Turn once more, press with a spatula, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from pan and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut diagonally and serve with extra salsa on the side (or on top of the sandwich).


Enjoy!

Friday, May 8, 2015

3-Ingredient Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Sauce ( with video)



Remember this one? Beautiful isn't it? It was part of a FAST AND FURIOUS FRIDAY supper, but I thought it deserved a post of its own.

EASY PEASY if you must come up with a last minute dessert to take to someone- or if you just want a sweet ending to a meal that's not too heavy.

You will need:

1 Angel food cake (purchased- or your own recipe- but come on, that wouldn't be as easy!)
1 container  Fresh berries, mashed, with a little sugar added (to taste-- 1/8 1/2 cup)
Drizzle over top of cake.
You may also top with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

This is simple and delicious. Not too sweet and really, for those counting your fat and calories, it's not too bad.

Any extra sauce is wonderful served over vanilla ice cream, French toast or pancakes, or serve with pie crusts.

Enjoy!

CLICK on the link below to watch me prepare this and share a few extra tips about Strawberries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywmTsuw1oE4&feature=share







Thursday, May 7, 2015

Easy Chocolate Bundt Cake


When I make a trip to the grocery store, I always purchase a box of cake mix when they are on sale.

Devil's Food is my flavor of choice, because it is so versatile, and HELLO, ummmm, it's chocolate!

I can whip together a simple yet elegant looking dessert just by using a bundt pan instead of a regular cake pan, and I can make the recipe according to the directions on box, or add a few of my own simple extras to make it seem as if it were from scratch.

Adding an extra egg, or replacing softened butter for the oil are two common changes I make that make a big difference in taste.

Adding sour cream or buttermilk for liquids and adding a dry instant pudding mix-- all of these add to the moistness of a cake.

Here is a tweaked version of the recipe on the box- extra moist and always delicious.
Perfect when unexpected guests arrive, and nice enough to serve your Valentine,

1 Devils Food cake mix
1 (4 1/2 oz.)chocolate pudding mix (instant)
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. semi chocolate chips
4 eggs (extra lg.)
Powdered sugar
Chocolate frosting

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Put in greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Invert and while still warm, spread chocolate frosting on top, and it will drizzle down sides nicely. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

CLICK ON THIS VIDEO and watch me explain a few tips to make a ho-hum dessert really special.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2bhQ-hebpI&feature=youtu.be



 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

BEST Ever Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting






I love surprises. And I love Banana Cake. I was pleasantly surprised when I made this banana cake that stands out from the rest hands down!

What sets it apart? Well, a few things...It is a dense cake but EXTREMELY moist--- through and through! It's sweet, but not too sweet in that "great-now-my-teeth-hurt" sort of way I often taste with desserts (not that I would ever let that stop me from devouring  a good dessert).



This was a treat all around. Beautiful to the eye---I topped my frosting with sliced bananas, walnut pieces and drizzled caramel sauce.

It was the perfect texture-- no crunchy parts-- even the ends of the cake  were moist and the frosting was so smooth and tasty.

It was a bit time-consuming to make, but it was worth EVERY minute of prep time.

Something else that set it apart was the baking/cooling method:  It bakes in only a 275 degree oven (rather than 350 degrees), for an hour (or more depending on your oven).

THEN, instead of cooling on a rack, the cake STAYS in the baking dish and IMMEDIATELY goes into the freezer for 45 minutes to cool, then frost.

These steps (lower temp/longer baking time and immediate freezing) are KEY to getting the perfect texture and moistness, so don't change it up!

I took this to a ladies meeting at church where there were many desserts to choose from. My dish was returned with one piece, which I ate cold, for breakfast this morning. And I think it was even BETTER today!

Okay, time for you to quit reading, and start baking!

YOU WILL NEED:

Original recipe makes 1 - 9x13 inch pan                    
3/4 cup butter

2 1/8 cups white sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I made my own with  reg. milk and 1 1/2 T. white vinegar--then let sit for 5 min.)                                                   

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (use VERY RIPE--the blacker, the better) 

                
1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
1/2 cup walnut pieces
 
one banana, sliced (dip slices in pineapple juice to keep from turning brown)
 
Smucker's Caramel Ice Cream Topping (for drizzle)
 
DIRECTIONS:
 
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
 
In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
 
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (My oven took 1 hour 10 min.) Remove from oven and place directly into freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.
 
For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake.
 
Top with banana slices, walnut pieces and drizzle with caramel sauce.
 
Store any leftovers in fridge.
 
I found this recipe, Banana Cake IV, on allrecipes.com, and made a few adaptions to the topping on frosting.
 
ENJOY!