Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wacky Cake

Years ago, Doug and I had a friend who was still single and spent lots of time with us. For his birthday, I made dinner and asked him what his favorite cake was. He said, "That chocolate cake... the one that everyone brings to their family reunions." I had no clue but imagined it was this recipe and made it for him. He took one bite and said, "Yep! This is the one!" It's a chocolate cake with a different kick to it. I've never understood why but it truly is the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted and it's the most simple. The lady who gave me the recipe 32 years ago mixed the cake right in her 9x13 pan, needing absolutely no cleanup except the fork she used to mix it with. I use my Bosch kitchen mixer but it taste just the same. Try it. You'll have all of the ingredients. It takes about three minutes to mix and have in the oven. You'll love it! It's every bit as quick and better than any storebought cake mix I've ever tried.

2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda

Mix. Then add:

1 Tbsp. vanilla
3/4 cup oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups cold water

Bake in a 9x13 pan and you don't even have to grease and flour the pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Frost with your favorite frosting. I'll include my favorite peanutbutter-cream cheese frosting for this cake below! Enjoy!

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 - 4 cups powdered sugar

Mix till fluffy! Spread on warm cake. Enjoy!

Jamie's Meatballs

I have to be in the mood for a meatball but I do have a few great meatball recipes. This one came from my good friend, Jamie and is a huge hit at any gathering. You can also freeze these in Ziplock Freezer bags and pull out a few for dinner. Very simple and very tasty... just like most of the recipes I love to share!

Place meatballs in crock pot. (I bought a giant bag at Sam’s Club and used less than half of it.) Combine in bowl then pour over meat:

1 cup catsup
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. liquid hickory smoke ( or not!)
20 oz. crushed pineapple (do not drain)

Cook until heated in crock pot. You can serve them over rice or pasta or potatoes. Or just make a sandwich! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Cookie Salad"

This tasty salad is so odd that it doesn't even sound good, but it's always a hit at any gathering. It's super quick and looks great too! But, best of all, it's nummy!

1 6 oz. pkg instant vanilla pudding
2 c buttermilk (I'll use 2% milk and add 1Tbsp. lemon juice to equal the 2 cups)
1 12 oz cool whip
1 8 oz can drained tidbit pineapple
1 pkg Fudge Striped Cookies (bite-sized chunks)
2-5 bananas, sliced

Sprinkle dry pudding into milk. Fold in cool whip and fruit (gently). Add cookies just before serving and sprinkle a few on top. This can be a great dessert or salad! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Chili

I am not a chili fan. I don't care for it at all, other than Linda's white chili. I'm also not a kidney bean lover. Buddy raved about this recipe months ago. I said, "Thanks!" then put it away because I had no intention of making a dish with kidney beans as the main ingredient. Eeewwwww! So, when Liza and I set a "homemade" lunch date at her job today. She said that she'd bring the main dish, "one of their favorites!" I was thrilled until she opened the Tupperware and I saw the kidney beans. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled the recipe that Buddy had mentioned all those months ago. Not wanting to disappoint Liza's and her enthusiasm, I ate it anyway. AND. OH. MY! I LOVED IT! This was the best chili I've ever tasted! And it's got to be the most simple recipe I've ever heard of! It's sweet. It's spicy. It's just the right blend.

Here's how:

Brown hamburger and onion. Pour in one drained can of kidney beans. Mix 1 part Catalina salad dressing and 1 part salsa. Mix well and heat. Serve over crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos. Sprinkle a little shredded cheese over that if you'd like. That's it!

Liza said that for one can of kidney beans, they used about 2 cups of salsa and 2 cups of Catalina. It was a perfect consistency. I really don't think that the kind of bean would matter but this was so good that it even made kidney beans taste good! I can't wait to make it for dinner myself! It was just too good! Now, Buddy will have something new to tease me about! Try it! Enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pink Cloud Salad

I was looking for something pink to serve with a pork roast dinner and happened onto about fifty variations on this recipe. Here's what I ended up with and it's too simple and most delish!

1 16 ounce Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can cherry pie filling

1 cup coconut

1 cup crushed pecans

1 large can of crushed pineapple (I didn't drain it. It seemed thin until I added the coolwhip and it was perfect! Like a cloud. Imagine that!)

Mix all of the ingredients, folding the cool whip in last. Chill for three hours before serving. I embellished the salad by cutting a V into a strawberry when removing the tops and placed one on the top of each dish. The strawberries look great dipped in sugar just before serving. (the photo was not when I actually served it but I remembered to take a picture when I was cleaning things up after our party! Even on a plain white plate and not fancy table setting, it looks pretty good, eh!? Enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chicken Delight

I got this recipe from Marilyn after she served it for her son's wedding dinner. She'd promised me that I'd be in love and she delivered! WOW! Try to forget the ingredients if you're on a diet and enjoy this tasty dish. Remember that if you eat something this good with someone you love, all the fat and calories just melt away! I served it last night for our siblings party, but we got so involved when everyone arrived that I forgot to take a photo! So, here's what the table looked like. You get to imagine the chicken!

3 chicken breasts, halved or the equivalent of chicken tenders- enough to cover a 9 x 13 pan
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (can use mushroom...I like chicken better)
1 cup mayonnaise
1- 2 tsp. curry
Mix the soup, mayonnaise and curry together and spread over chicken. Bake, uncovered for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I actually like to slow cook this in the oven for several hours (or for three hours at 295 degrees. The chicken is so moist and practically falls apart.

Then, 20 minutes before serving, mix:
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. herb seasoned bread crumbs

Sprinkle on top after the chicken is baked- then drizzle 1 stick of melted butter over the top. Bake 20 minutes longer. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Reese’s Cookies

These cookies are divine. There's no other way to describe them!

1 ½ cups butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 large instant vanilla pudding mix
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ t. baking soda
Mini- Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (about 48)

Cream butter, sugars and eggs. Mix dry ingredients and add to creamed ingredients. Spoon by teaspoons into mini-muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full. Bake at 350̊ for 9 - 12 minutes. Bake until edges are light brown. Remove from oven, press unwrapped Reeses into baked cookie. Enjoy!

Pretzel Salad

I've been craving this salad for weeks. There's no reason that I can't make it all year long but it's become the "special" treat at our home. I make it on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and in the past few years, it's become Liza's request for a birthday cake. (We are into non-traditional birthday cakes at our home!) Kelly has returned home after several years and now, she has informed me that I need to make up for lost time and lost Pretzel Salads by making one for her each time that I make one for the family. This sweet and salty treat is very different at first mention, but will fast become a favorite!

3 cups crushed pretzels

1 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

Toss into 9x13 pan. Place in oven on low heat until butter is melted. Toss again until sugar is evenly coating the pretzels.

2 - 8oz. Softened Cream Cheese

1 large can crushed pineapple (well drained)

1 small container of cool whip

Mix in bowl til smooth and creamy. Spread over the cooled pretzel crust, making sure to spread the the edges of the cream cheese to the very edge of the pan. (As in, seal the cream cheese mixture to the edges because if the next layer leaks through to the pretzel layer, the pretzels end up soggy.)

2 small pkgs. Or 1 large Raspberry or Strawberry Jello (I prefer Strawberry!)

1 package of frozen or two cups of fresh berries

Make Jello as box directs. After it is partially set, fold in the berries. Pour over the top of the salad. Chill until Jello is set. Plate-licking good! Enjoy!

Weanie Bean Delight

Doug's brother is a great gardener and an even better cook! This is my most favorite of all his recipes! It's quick and simple and oh, so good! Especially on a busy day! Toss everything in the crockpot and anticipate a tasty dinner all day long!

Cut up a bag of Little Smokies into different size chunks. Fry them until brown. Saute a chopped onion and 2-3 peppers, for color. (Red and yellow peppers add some kick!) Add them and the following to crock pot:

1 large can Pork and Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 Kidney Beans
1 can of Pinto Beans
1 can Black-eyed Peas
Half bottle honey barbeque sauce
1 cup (half a 16oz can) crushed pineapple (I use the whole can)
small can tomato sauce
can of corn (I use frozen)
½ cup brown sugar (I add more, don’t tell my husband, Mr. Nutrition)
1 tbsp. Basil

Simmer til serve. (I'm not a big fan of kidney beans, so I just use another kind. Any beans will do the trick, but the different beans make it more colorful.) Serve with cheese and crackers and you've got one tasty meal! Enjoy!

Porcupine Grill Salad

This is my new favorite salad. My friend, Marilyn took me to the Porcupine Grill over my birthday celebration and I was in love! She just happened to have the recipe for the dressing. I've made the salad a few times since and everyone loves it! I do not use the Tex-Mex pecans, I use regular ones, although the spicy ones were great! Try it! You'll love it!

1/2 cup honey
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
½ tsp. sesame oil
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

mixed dark greens
purple onions (I use green onions
Mandarin oranges, drained
tex-mix pecans (or toasted almonds work well too)
blue cheese or feta. (everything’s betta with feta)

Mix the dressing and chill. Mix the salad and toss the dressing on the salad just before serving. I only use about half of the dressing for my salad so that we can have it again the next night! Enjoy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Onion Brie Pizza

This was an interesting new addition to our Super Bowl food. I got this recipe from my good friend, Marilyn. I happened to have all of the ingredients in the house that were needed (well, actually, I made my own whole wheat roll dough) but it worked for me! Doug loved it! Mom loved it! But, the babes didn't even try it. If you love sauteed onions, you'll love this. Next time, I'm adding a couple of cups of fresh mushrooms to the sautee!

6 medium sweet onions, thinkly sliced
1/c cup butter
1 package hot roll mix
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sliced almonds

In a large skillet, cook onion slices in butter over medium low heat for 25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the hot roll mix according to package directions, using the warm water and oil. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let stand for five minutes.

Roll the dough out to a greased 14" pizza pan. Top with the caramelized onions, Brie and almosnds. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Let stand for ten minutes before cutting. Enjoy!