Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Holiday Recipes: Pineapple Bread Pudding and Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

So I am already cooking for Christmas gatherings around my house! The first recipe I have for you today is from my friend Noelie who shared with me her Mom's recipe for Pineapple Bread Pudding. It is a family favorite of theirs, and it is to die for. This would be perfect for a big family Christmas gathering because it makes a HUGE pan of bread pudding and you can prepare it the night before and refrigerate it, and then just pop it in the oven before dinner (or just make it the day of, it takes no time!). I added the vanilla sauce and the coconut and it made the recipe divine. I think next time I make the sauce I will try to make a sauce with coconut milk to make it like a pina colada bread pudding.

Noelie’s Mom’s Pineapple Bread Pudding (Big Pan)

2 loaves of French bread, ripped into chunks
5 eggs
3 (12 oz) cans of evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
2 (15 oz) cans crushed pineapple, undrained
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Large box of instant vanilla pudding mix
Toasted coconut (if desired for garnish)
Vanilla Sauce (recipe follows)

Mix eggs, milk, and sugar together in a large bowl (the biggest bowl you can find!!) Then add vanilla, pudding mix, and pineapple and stir. Stir in bread chunks. Pour into a large (turkey roasting size) pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. Serve warm topped with vanilla sauce and toasted coconut if desired.

For a smaller crowd, cut recipe in half and cook in a 9 x 13 inch pan. You can also make the full recipe and divide into two pans if desired. You can prep the night before and store unbaked in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, and bake just before serving.

Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding (from
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter
½ cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a saucepan combine sugars, butter, and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (5-8 minutes). Stir in vanilla. Serve warm drizzled over the bread pudding.

This next recipe I saw in Southern Living magazine and I am a sucker for gingerbread recipes. I love it and have fond memories of eating it as a child when we went to visit Westville, Georgia (does anyone else remember the gingerbread and lemonade besides me?). This recipe has a twist, it is chocolate gingerbread with chocolate chips. I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon, but that is up to you. I just love the combination of cinnamon with chocolate, it gives it a little something extra. In the magazine they made it in a fancy tree-shaped Bundt pan, but I made mine in a plain, ordinary Bundt pan and it turned out just fine!

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake (from Southern Living December 2011 issue)
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 large eggs
¼ cup molasses
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat 12-cup Bundt pan (can use regular Bundt pan or decorative tree Bundt pan) with nonstick spray (I used Baker’s Joy). Sift together flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in fresh ginger. Reduce speed to medium and beat in eggs, 1 at a time, and then molasses, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until combined, scraping down bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour until or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and cool completely. Before serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar. Is also good warmed up with a dollop of whipped cream!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

So my lastest addiction is PINTEREST!! There are so many awesome recipes on there and I several boards full of recipes!! You have to go check it out if you haven't caught the Pinterest craze yet!

OMG...these are amazing. These are so yummy. The salted caramel buttercream is AMAZING!! I cheated when making it because my stove cooks really hot and I kept burning the after the 3rd attempt I just melted store bought caramels from my pantry into the cream mixture and it turned out PERFECT (so if you are this!).

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Makes ~ 18 cupcakes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream (pinned from this blog:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar

In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable. Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. If your caramel was too hot when added, it will cause your icing to be runny. If this happens refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

This next recipe isn't technically a cheesecake, but it does have a graham cracker crust and a nummy cream cheese it's close enough! I made this for work and everyone loved it. Also, I made it in a springform pan instead of a pie plate and it worked really well. Be sure to set it out to come to room temp before you serve it because when the caramel gets cold it tends to get gooey and make the crust hard to cut through.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie (Recipe from:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup chopped pecans

Apple Filling:
5 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, sliced very thin)
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream Cheese Topping:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and press into a 10-inch pie plate and up the sides. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden in color. Remove pie shell from oven and cool completely. Pour caramel into pie shell and sprinkle with 1 cup of chopped pecans. Refrigerate pie shell while making apple filling.

In a large (12-inch) skilet over medium heat, melt butter and add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add apples and stir. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until apples are softened and tender. Let cool for 10 minutes and pour into pie shell. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, using a hand-held mixer on low speed, combine cream cheese and sugar for about 1 minute until smooth. Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla and beat for 1 minute or until fully blended. Pour over apple filling in pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes until an inserted knife comes out clean. Remove pie from oven and let cool. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Let stand outside the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Top with whipped cream, caramel and pecans, and swirl with a knife. Slice and serve.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homemade Candy!: Rolo Turtles and Butterfinger Bites

Who doesn't like homemade candy? Better yet...who doesn' t like really easy homemade candy? Here are two recipes that I have made for ages and everyone goes nuts over them. They could not be any simpler. The Rolo Turtles were my grandmother's favorite candy to make before she died and she brought them to every gathering we had! So Halloween is coming up and maybe you guys can make some of these candies for parties or office gatherings (not for passing out for Trick-or-Treat...I'm pretty sure the parents will just throw it away...LOL).

Rolo Turtles

Ingredients (use as many of each as you want candies):
Square pretzels
Pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pecan halves in the oven for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place pretzels on cookie sheet. Top each pretzel with an unwrapped rolo. Place in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until rolos are soft enough to smash down with a pecan half. Remove from oven and place a pecan half on top of each rolo and push down to form the candies. Allow to dry completely (can place in fridge to firm up more quickly if desired.)

Butterfinger Bites

Creamy Peanut Butter
Chocolate Alomond Bark (can use vanilla Almond Bark if desired)
Make mini sandwichs using two Cheez-its and peanut butter in between (make as many as desired). Melt chocolate almond bark in the microwave. Dip each Cheez-it sandwich into the melted chocolate until completely covered (I find using a fork works best so the excess chocolate can drip off) and place on wax paper to dry.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bubble Up Enchiladas

So part of my (hopefully) more frequent posting is my new weekly meal planning. I have started to plan out my weekly meals the weekend before and I gather my recipes and ingredients and make a shopping list for the things I need to pick up for the week ahead. This is really aimed to get me out of the cooking rut that I've been in for awhile and I'm now looking forward to cooking dinner every day instead of trying to think of what I have thawed out and trying to make it into something like usual.

For my first meal...I have finally given into the hype and made Bubble Up Enchiladas. I've seen these all over the internet and knowing our love of enchiladas I figured what the heck. In these "enchiladas", refrigerated biscuits replace the tortillas and it is made into a casserole using typical enchilada flavors. Overall this was really good and quick. I did use reduced fat biscuits, cheese, and lean hamburger meat...but you can do it however you like.

Bubble Up Enchiladas (adapted from and

1 pound ground hamburger (or turkey if you prefer)
1 can refrigerated biscuits (I used Reduced Fat Grands)
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
1 1/4 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Brown hamburger meat and drain. Stir in enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Cut each piece of biscuit dough into 4 pieces, stir into hamburger mixture. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, pour mixture into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Pull out casserole and top with cheese, bake an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with salsa and sour cream!

Two Recent Cakes: Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake and Lemonade Cake

I have been falling down on taking pictures of my stuff lately for you guys due to temporarily misplacing my camera...but it is now safe and sound and I can take pics again! Also (lucky for you guys) Pinterest has totally revived my cooking spirit so hopefully I will be posting a lot more often now since I am seeing all of these amazing recipes that I must try!

So recently I have made two cakes and they were both delish. The Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake is perfect for fall and you must try it NOW! The cream cheese swirl and praline frosting are what make this cake special. The Lemonade Cake may seem a bit summery but who cares? It is totally delicious and another doctored up cake can you beat that? And you don't have to zest or juice any lemons in the making of this is made with frozen lemonade concentrate! Can't be good right...wrong! I said the same thing but it is one of the best lemon cakes I've ever had.

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake (from Southern Living Magazine Sept 2011 Issue)

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons all-pupose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add eggm flour, and vanilla; beat until just blended.

Apple Cake Batter:
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups of peeled and finely chopped Gala apples

Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a shallow pan for 8-10 minutes or untit toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups of flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans. Spoon 2/3 of apple mixture into a greased and floured (or use Baker's Joy) 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon cream cheese filling mixture over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through the apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over the filling. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

Praline Frosting:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Bring brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth and stir until mixture begins to cool and thicken slightly. Drizzle over cooled cake. Can add chopped pecans for garnish if desired

Lemonade Cake (from

1 lemon boxed cake mix
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemonade from concentrate

2 tablespoons lemonade from concentrate
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water

1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3 tablespoons lemonade from concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2-8" round cake pans with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat all of the ingredients for the cake batter together on low for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake according to package directions until cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about an hour, do not remove. When the cakes are cool, level them out so that they are flat on top. Poke holes in the cake using a fork.

For the glaze, combine the powered sugar, lemonade, and water in a medium bowl, stir until smooth. Pour equally over the top of the cake layers (still in the cake pans). Cover and let sit for at least an hour, but overnight in the fridge is best (cover with plastic wrap).

For the frosting, Cream butter and cream cheese together until combined. With mixer on low, add the lemonade and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar and then beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

When ready to frost, remove the cakes from the refrigerator and loosen around the edges with a butter knife so that the cakes will release easily from the pans. Stack and frost as desired.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Recipe: Shoyu Chicken

So this is a recipe that my co-worker gave me and it is super delicious and easy. I served it over rice and the hubby said it was a keeper.  I think that this would work just fine cooking about 6 hours total on low or maybe 4 hours on high. Depending on the shape of your crock pot (wide vs tall) you may need to increase the amount of soy sauce/sugar/water, just do so in equal proportions. The whole trick is that there should be enough liquid to submerge the chicken. And...if you don't have a crock pot I'm sure this would be equally great simmered on the stove!
Shoyu Chicken
8 bone-in chicken thighs (I used skinless, but I also used some breasts in there too and they were great)
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 inches of ginger root, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 green onions, chopped

Mix together all ingredients except chicken in a large crock pot. Place chicken in mixture and bring to a bubble on high heat. Turn crock pot down to low and continue to cook for about 3 hours. Chicken will be easy to pull apart and falling off the bone when done. Remove ginger pieces before serving.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cake Mix Shortcuts: Rocky Road Cookies and Chai Latte Cupcakes

Even though I like to make most of my baked stuff from scratch, sometimes cake mix just comes in handy to make something quick and easy. It is also very easy to doctor up to make it something more than your average cake mix cake.
So for the Rocky Road Cookies, I had a box of devil's food cake mix and decided to make some cookies out of it because I wanted something quick. I found a basic cake mix cookie recipe and decided to add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and pecans to mimic rocky road ice cream. Definantly line your cookie sheet with parchment paper as the marshmallow does tend to "goo" out of the cookies a little bit and will stick to the pan if the cookies are directly on it.

Rocky Road Cookies

1 package devil's food cake mix
1 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix together cake mix, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips, marshmallows, and pecans. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet and press down lightly with your hand to slightly flatten each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

I made the Chai Latte Cupcakes because they were made to taste like one of my favorite drinks, a chai tea latte. If you don't know what that is, it is a traditional tea from India that has flavors like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom and is steeped in milk. It is like Christmas in a cup and I LOVE it!! The original recipe called for the use of powdered chai tea, but I used 3 teabags steeped in the water that the recipe called for and it gave a great chai flavor. These are a simple, fast cupcake that is basically a doctored cake mix and doctored canned vanilla frosting. Sorry I thought I took a picture of them but I guess I forgot too!!

Chai Latte Cupcakes (Adapted from Betty
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 1/2 cups of water
3 Chai tea bags (can substitute 1 pkg of instant Chai Tea Mix if desired)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 container vanilla frosting
1 cup white chocolate chips
Cinnamon, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Heat water in the microwave for 1 min, 40 sec. Put tea bags in water to steep, set aside to cool. Once tea mixture is room temperature, mix together cake mix, tea mixture, vegetable oil, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners (should make 23-24). Bake for 18-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cupcake center comes out clean and tops spring back. Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. In a glass bowl, heat the white chocolate chips at 30 second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth and then cool 5 minutes before stirring in the vanilla frosting until blended. Frost completely cool cupcakes with frosting then sprinkle lightly with cinnamon to garnish.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hummingbird Cake

This is a "Southern Living" recipe that is listed as the most requested recipe in "Southern Living" history. It may sound like a strange combination, but it is a delicious moist, dense cake. I'm not sure where it got its name but it could be from the sweetness of the cake. And does not contain actual hummingbirds!!

Hummingbird Cake (from Southern Living Magazine)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas (about 4 bananas)
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat, stir with a spoon). Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup of pecans, and bananas. Pour batter into three greased and floured (or use baker's joy) 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove cake layers from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top of cake. Store in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softenend
1/2 cup butter, softenend
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Food: Jalapeno Popper Dip, Creamy Cole Slaw, Creamy Rice Casserole, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jalapeno Popper Dip (from Our Best Recipes)

2 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1/2-1 (4 oz) can diced jalapeno peppers, drained (1/2 for milder dip, whole can for spicier dip)
8 oz bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of bacon for top of dip. Combine cream cheese, mayo, parmesan, garlic, green chilies, jalapenos, and bacon. Sprinkle top with reserved bacon. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dip is bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Creamy Rice Casserole (adapted from Delta Kappa Gamma Cookbook)
1 (10 oz) bag yellow rice mix
1 (5 oz) bag yellow rice mix
1 large (15.25 oz) can corn
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare rice according to package directions. Stir in corn, chilies, butter, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream. Spread in a a greased casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until bubbly.

Creamy Cole Slaw (adapted from Bobby Flay)

1 bag angel hair slaw (or regular if you prefer)
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon white sugar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the slaw and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion powder, sugar, vinegar, mustard powder, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add to cabbage mixture and mix well; taste for seasoning (can add more salt, pepper, or sugar).

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies (from

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 oz) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven until cookies are golden brown.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fruity Desserts: Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Triple Strawberry Cupcakes, and Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Decided to go with a fruit theme for this entry since it seems to be the theme of all my latest desserts. Everyone pretty much loved all of these desserts so enjoy!

Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (from

4 eggs
1/2 cup butter
 1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (20 oz) can sliced pineapple
10 maraschino cherries, halved
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt 1/2 cup butter over very low heat. Remove from heat and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over pan. Arrange pinapple slices to cover bottom of skillet. Distrubute cherries in centers of pinapples and around them if desired; set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Separate the eggs into two bowls. In a large bowl, beat eggs whites just until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar gradually, beating well after each addition until stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. With a wire whisk or rubber spatula, using an over-and-under motion, gently fold egg yolks and flour mixture into whites until blended. Fold in 1 tablespoon of melted butter and almond extract. Spread batter evenly over the pinapple in the skillet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Loosen the edges of the cake with a table knife. Cool cake in the skillet for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate. Good served warm or at room temperature.

Triple Strawberry Cupcakes
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package (3 oz) strawberry Jello mix
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners; set aside. Place the cake mix, Jello mix, strawberries, milk, oil, and eggs into a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing on low speed for 2 minutes more. Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 of the way full and place pans in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes are lightly golden brown around edges and spring back when lightly touched. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes and them remove them to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup very finely chopped strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer until combined. Add 3 cups powdered sugar,strawberries, and vanilla blending until well incorporated. Turn mixer up to medium speed and blend until fluffy. Can add additional 1/2 cup of sugar for desired spreading consistency.

*this is not the exact frosting recipe I used but I kinda created mine and have no idea of the proportions; this one looks pretty close and I'm going to test it later this week and will update if I make any changes*

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake (from

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from 2 lemons
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, beat well. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan (or spray with Baker's Joy). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and then turn the temperature down to 325 degrees and bake for another 55 minutes or until a cake tested comes out clean. If cake begins to brown too much on top before it is baked through, lightly cover the pan with aluminum foil. This will prevent further browning and allow the cake to get done in the center.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Breakfast Goodies: Breakfast Casserole and Sweetheart Cherry Cheese Danish

Decided to surprise my crew at work with breakfast one morning when we were having "down-time" on our computer system. These were both yummy and easy to make. The best part is that it can be prepped the night before and the danish can stay in the fridge until time to serve and the casserole can be popped in the oven while you are getting ready in the morning and be done in time for breakfast!

Breakfast Casserole
1 pound breakfast sausage (we like to use "hot")
6 slices of white bread, torn into pieces
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Brown sausage, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Line the bottom of a greased 13x9 baking dish with bread pieces. Sprinkle sausage over bread and top with cheese. Combine milk, eggs, salt, pepper, and dry mustard beating well. Pour over the ingredients in the casserole dish. Can be covered and refrigerated overnight at this point if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Sweetheart Cherry Cheese Danish
2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup sugar; plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling (or is equally delicious with blueberry!)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Roll out and press 1 package crescent roll dough into the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan (pinch and seal perforations). In a small mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Spread cream cheese mixture over the crescent roll dough in the pan. Spoon pie filling over cream cheese layer evenly. Roll out the other can of crescent roll dough to fit over the top of the layers (pinching and sealing perforations). Combine melted butter, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and almonds in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the dish. Bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. This is best eaten when cooled to room temperature or out of the fridge (not hot!).