Recipe

Chocolate Trifle in a Jar

Yesterday began my month of Christmas baking and cooking!¬† This is the most wonderful time of the year ūüôā¬† We are all so busy, sometimes it feels good to just stay home and have a day of fun.¬† And fun for me is spending time in my kitchen.

These little trifles are adorable and portable!  Usually a trifle is in a big glass bowl, a formidable and elegant offering.  These individual trifles are perfect for giving or for a party.

I will give you the recipe that I used for my chocolate cake.¬† It’s easy, it’s moist…but if you wanna, you can certainly use a devil’s food cake mix.¬† Entirely your preference!

 

Here’s the recipe I used: One Bowl Chocolate Cake Mix.¬† It’s very moist and tastes good with nearly any frosting you want to top it with ūüôā

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Frosting of your choice
  • Colored sprinkles, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350¬į. Grease a¬†13×9-in. baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients. Stir in eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add water; stir until combined.
  2. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:¬†In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup softened butter until creamy. Beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup baking cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3-4 tablespoons 2% milk to achieve desired consistency.

 

For the trifle itself, I used the recipe I found at Blooming Homestead: Chocolate Trifle

Recipe

Winter Cookery

Winter.¬† Ugh.¬† After Christmas is over, I’m kind of done with it.¬† Recently we had a snow storm that shut down our Southern city for a few days, so I took that time to cook.¬† So, not all bad.¬† I’ve been neglecting that part of my life lately, so was nice to get back to it, even if it was forced.

Snow Cream!

So easy, you don’t need a recipe!¬† Stick a big bowl outside to collect fresh falling snow.¬† When full mix with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.¬† Scoop into a mason jar and garnish with snow if you want to be bougie.

I find myself really stepping up my pasta game in the winter, since it’s heavier and sticks with you in the frigid 40 degree temps of the Carolina tundra.¬† I found this recipe while searching for one to take to a friend who was in need of a casserole and a visit.¬† It was pretty to look at and yummy!

To view the recipe, head over to Very Best Baking

“BEST”-OVER HAM & PESTO PASTA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box (12 oz.)¬†dry¬†tri-color rotini or spiral shaped pasta (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bag (16 oz.)¬†frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot medley
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.)¬†NESTL√Ȭģ CARNATION¬ģ Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.)¬†shredded Italian cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons¬†jarred or refrigerated pesto with basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 oz.)¬†cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

COOK pasta according to package directions, adding frozen vegetables to boiling pasta water for last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain. Return pasta and vegetables to cooking pot.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, pesto and black pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

POUR cheese sauce over pasta and vegetables. Add ham; stir until combined.

Winter is when I’m ready for carbs.¬† These potatoes are simply delicious.¬† Seriously.¬† Not a lot of ingredients, and the hardest thing is slicing the potatoes thinly, but I have a mandolin so that was just plain fun.

Oh, and I forgot to snap a picture of this when it was done.¬† Curses!¬† But here’s the cookbook where I tried the recipe:

Potatoes Dauphinoise

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 medium russet potatoes (2 1/2 lbs)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Scrub and peel potatoes, then cut them into 1/8 inch thick slices.
  2. Combine potatoes, milk, butter, salt and white pepper in a large saucepan.  Bring to simmer over medium heat.  Add the garlic; partially cover pan and simmer until potatoes are almost tender when tested with point of small sharp knife, about 20 minutes.
  3. Pour potatoes with liquid into a buttered 13×9 inch casserole dish.¬† Sprinkle with cheese.¬† Bake until sauce has thickened and cheese is melted and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

 

Recipe

Grab and Go Breakfasts

We’ve all heard the mantra: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.¬† But for me, morning is the busiest time of the day and it seems I’m always just too late to do anything more than grab something as I head out the door.¬† These yummies can be eaten on the fly, so don’t skip breakfast when you can eat it on the fly!

BACON BISCUIT CUPS

INGREDIENTS

      • 2 tablespoons milk
      • 1 large egg
      • 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
      • 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese ( 2 ounces)
      • 1 green onion, chopped
      • 1 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits
      • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

GARNISH

    • sliced green onion

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat cream cheese, milk and egg at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.
  2. Stir in cheese and green onion.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Separate biscuits into 10 portions.
  5. Pat each portion into a 5 inch circle, and press on bottoms and up sides of greased muffin cups, forming a 1/4 inch edge.

 

 

PUFF PASTRY CHERRY BLOSSOMS

INGREDIENTS

    • puff pastry sheet
    • pie filling, of your choice
    • egg wash ( one beaten egg)
    • turbinado sugar
    • glaze
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut your sheet of puff pastry into squares. I cut down the 3 vertical marks that are previously there. I was left with 3 strips. I cut each strip into 3 squares. They are not perfectly square, but that’s o.k! You can make yours larger if you like. Take one of your squares and place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center. Don’t use more than that, or you will have a mess.
  2. Grab two opposite corners and pull up to center and pinch together.
  3. Do the same with the other corners. Now, pinch closed two seams and leave two open.
  4. Lay your cherry blossoms on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. If you don’t have parchment paper, grease your pan lightly.
  6. Brush with egg wash.
  7. Sprinkle sugar over pastry.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees until very golden.
  9. 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Don’t worry if a bit of your filling runs out.
  11. You can take a knife and push it right back inches.
  12. Prepare the glaze while the blossoms are baking . . .Mix confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla.
  13. Make the glaze the consistency you like.
  14. Once the blossoms have finished baking, glaze them while still warm.

The dishes below aren’t mine, and haven’t been tested by me.¬† BUT they sound delicious.¬† I’d love to hear it if¬† you try any of these!

APPLE SANDWICHES WITH ALMOND BUTTER AND GRANOLA

These are great little sandwiches on the run that are packed with protein to keep you full until lunch.  From Garnish with Lemon blog

Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats

The ultimate make-ahead healthy breakfast.¬† Just don’t forget your spoon! This recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen Blog

 

Recipe

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Delicious Avocado Ranch Dressing is a very versatile recipe.  Make a batch, eat it on your salad and then use it up on twists on classic recipes.

AVOCADO-RANCH DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 1 cup ranch dressing
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Cut avocados in half; scoop pulp into a food processor or blender.
  2.  Add 1 cup Ranch dressing and remaining ingredients to food processor. Process until avocado mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Use it up by making:

Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad Sandwich from Spend with Pennies

Another brilliant idea is Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

It would be cool and creamy on these Chili Nachos from Ragu

Recipe

Hogwart’s Haute Cuisine

butterbeerharry

 

Ok, so I’m 49.¬† But I still dream of living amidst the wizards of Hogwart’s halls.¬† Is there anyone in America who has not been charmed by this movie?¬† For a fun Friday night, we catch repeats of the movies on the Family Channel and then make some treats that Harry would love.¬† Our favorite is the Butterbeer!¬† It is creamy and sweet and frothy…and not fat free.¬† But yummy for a treat once in a great while.

butterbeer

Butterbeer

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 4 (12 ounce) bottles cream soda, chilled

directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar with 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C) on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, bring to a gentle boil and turn off the heat after about a minute of cooking.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the butter, salt, vinegar, and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Stir until smooth. Cool mixture to room temperature before using.

  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the remaining cream (1/2 cup) with 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar syrup.

  4. In each glass, mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar syrup with 1/4 cup cream soda. Pour in the rest of the cream soda until it is nearly to the brim of the glass. Top with whipped cream.

  5. Serve immediately!

thStarsDivider

 

Here are some other Harry Potter treats from around the web that I’ve yet to try, but shall presently.

Harry’s Favorite Treacle Tart courtesy of The Traveler’s Lunchbox: Click here for Recipe

Treacle tart

Licorice Wands Courtesy of Pastry Affair:  Click here for the recipe.

Mrs. Weasley’s Rock Cakes courtesy of¬† the barest hint of sweetness¬† ¬†:¬† Click here for recipe

 

Recipe

Desserts to Die for

Lord have mercy, but I have a sweet tooth. ¬†I’m not much of a baker, but when I do, I make sure it has chocolate somewhere in it. ¬†These desserts are some of my best creations ūüôā

I have tried a LOT of Fudge Pies. ¬†Some are too gooey. ¬†Some are too dry. ¬†This one is like Baby Bear’s porridge: just right. ¬†I topped it with Cherry Garcia.

I found the original recipe at Southern Living.  Printer friendly version: Fudge Pie

Fudge Pie

INGREDIENTS

    • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
    • 0.5 (12 ounce) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 (9 inch) frozen unbaked piecrust shell ice cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬į. Microwave first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, whisking at 30-second intervals.
  2. Whisk sugar and flour into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.
  3. Bake at 375¬į for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream.

APPLESAUCE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups oil
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat together eggs, sugar and oil. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  2. Spray bundt pan very well with nonstick spray and flour.
  3. Bake at 300¬įF for one hour, one hour fifteen minutes for a bundt pan.

Buttermilk Pie

Source: Mommy’s Kitchen

  • 1 – 9¬†inch pie crust¬†
  • 1¬†¬† 1/2 – cups¬†sugar
  • 3 – tablespoons¬†flour
  • 1 – cup¬†well shaken¬†buttermilk
  • 1 – tablespoon¬†fresh squeezed¬†lemon¬†juice
  • 2 – tablespoons¬†vanilla¬†extract
  • 2 – large¬†eggs¬†room temperature¬†
  • 1/2 – cup¬†unsalted¬†butter¬†;¬†melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Place the pie crust in a deep dish pie pan and flute the edges.

If desired use store bought pie crust. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla., eggs and melted butter.

Bake the pie crust for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the pie crust from the oven and pour the filling into the warm crust. Return the pie to the oven and bake until warmed, about 10 minutes.

Then without opening the door , reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until set, about 40 minutes. If the crust begin to brown to quickly add foil around the crust edges.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

servings: 6-8

 

Recipe

Shrimp Cakes

Tonight the kids went to dinner with their dad, so I took that opportunity to make myself something only I would eat (in this house): SHRIMP CAKES!

They were so good, and a different texture than crab cakes.¬† Next time I’m going to make them in tiny bite size nuggets for an appetizer.

SHRIMP CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb¬†large shrimp, peel, deveined, chopped
  • 1¬†1‚ĀĄ2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup¬†Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 cup¬†panko breadcrumbs
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 cup¬†red onion, minced
  • 1 stalk¬†celery, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 teaspoons¬†brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon¬†black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon¬†garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†onion powder
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • FOR THE HOT MAYONNAISE
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup¬†Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 pinch¬†black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Peel, devein, and finely chop shrimp, leaving a few chunks.
  • In a large bowl add crushed crackers, minced vegetables, all the spices, mayonnaise and mustard, mix well.
  • Fold in shrimp and panko bread crumbs.
  • Form into 4 patties or you could make appetizer size if desired.
  • Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a little butter in a skillet over medium heat, add patties in brown for about 4-5 minutes per side until nice and golden brown.
  • Patties can also be placed under the broiler and cooked for about 8 minutes per side.
  • Drain on paper napkin.
  • To prepare hot mayo, mix all ingredients together and serve on top of patties.
Recipe

Swanky Sandwiches

We’ve all been there.¬† Wanting to make supper, needing it to be quick but not a tired old sandwich.¬† Get ready for the swanky sammie.

This delicious creation comes from Blue Apron.  It came together quickly and had a satisfying crunch when we bit into it.  Yum!

PESTO CHICKEN PANINIS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1‚ĀĄ2 lbs¬†chicken breasts, chopped
  • 4 sandwich buns
  • 1‚ĀĄ3 cup¬†basil pesto
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 4 ounces¬†fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons¬†gheeor 2 tablespoonsbutter
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 15 ounces¬†tomato sauce

DIRECTIONS

  • Halve the rolls.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat the ghee on medium-high until melted. Add the seasoned chicken in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Turn off the heat.
  • While the chicken cooks, in a small pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the tomato sauce (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Assemble the paninis using the halved rolls, pesto, cooked chicken, mozzarella (tearing into small pieces before adding), and the pecorino; season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan used to cook the chicken. In the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the paninis. Place a heavy-bottomed pot (or pan) on top and press down. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is lightly browned (if the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil before flipping). Carefully transfer to a cutting board and halve on an angle.
Recipe

Healthy but Yummy

I’m such a foodie.¬† I’m a foodie that desperately wants to eat healthier.¬† But I find that some healthy recipes just aren’t great tasting.¬† Feels like I’m settling.¬† These recipes don’t make me feel that way.

HEALTHY ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS

Source: Apple of my Eye

  1.    
  2.  
Recipe

Argentine Dinner

My brother-in-law is from Argentina, close to Mendoza.¬† He makes some amazing chimichurri sauce that we eat on steak or Argentine sausages when we have a cookout at their home.¬† Always a fun time, and he was the inspiration for tonight’s dinner.

Key West Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Potatoes and salad with grilled naan

Key West Flank Steak

  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Key lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 Key limes, halved
  • 1 beef flank steak (1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a small bowl, combine onion, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and 2 tablespoons oil until blended. Pour 1 cup marinade into a large bowl or shallow dish. Add lime halves. Rub steak with remaining oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add to bowl; turn to coat. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.
  2. Drain steak, discarding marinade and limes in bowl. Place reserved marinade in a food processor; process until chopped chopped.
  3. Grill steak, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135¬į; medium, 140¬į), 6-8 minutes per side. Baste occasionally with reserved marinade. Let stand 10 minutes before thinly slicing steak across the grain.

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

PREPARATION

Puree all ingredients in processor. Transfer to bowl. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Source: Epicurious

 

Bacon and Pancetta Potatoes

4 thick-cut slices bacon, roughly chopped

2 (1/4-inch thick) slices pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon and pancetta are brown and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and pancetta pieces to paper towels to drain. Add the potatoes and garlic to the pan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are golden and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the thyme, cooked bacon and cooked pancetta to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl and serve immediately.

Source: Giada DeLaurentis

Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (combination of parsley, chives, chervil, savory, dill or celery leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

directions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.