Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moist Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for Mike's birthday. It seemed appropriate for him because it doesn't have anything in it from the refrigerator. And Mike being the survivalist ( oh, sorry, a  prepper ) I thought he would like it! If this recipe was on the internet I probably wouldn't have made it thinking they forgot the eggs or milk. But since it was from the Taste of Home Baking Book, I thought it safer! It turned out good. Actually it was awesome and I'm not a big cake person. It was really moist and the book said it doesn't need frosting. What they should have said was that the cake is so moist it will fall apart when you try and spread frosting on it! I'm no cake decorator but by the time I finished frosting the cake the little bits of cake through out the frosting looked like they were meant to be there! Mike didn't seem to notice. At least he never mentioned it if he did. And knowing Mike, he would have!  I even wrote on it and you could actually read it! Thanks to my mother-in-law for the decorating tips and bags. Helped a lot!

Moist Chocolate Cake
( This cake is so moist it doesn't need frosting. Simply sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top.)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cold water
confectioners' sugar

 In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Using a spoon, make 3 wells in the dry ingredients. Pour oil into one, vinegar into another, and vanilla into the third. Slowly pour water over all. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined (batter will be thin)
Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

 Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spinach and mushroom stuffed tip steak

I saw a few recipes were they stuffed a roast and since I didn't have a roast I decided to roll it up in the steaks I did have.

1 1/2 pounds steak, pounded thin for easy rolling
1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach
7 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pound mushrooms
1 mediums onion, chopped
3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
salt and pepper

Thaw spinach and squeeze out water. In a pan, sauté mushrooms and onion until brown. In a small bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Spoon the stuffing onto the steak, leaving a 1 inch border. Roll from the long edge of the steak and secure with string or toothpicks. Sprinkle salt and pepper over steak. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees, for an hour. Remove from oven and let stand before slicing.

Mushroom Sauce

1/4 cup oil
1 pound mushrooms
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 cup beef stock

In a large skillet, heat the oil on high heat, and sauté the mushrooms,onions, and garlic until softened and starting to brown. De-glaze the pan with the Worcestershire sauce, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add the beef stock. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Spoon over meat before serving.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

White bread dough/cinnamon rolls

This recipe is from my mom. I use this dough a lot. Pizza, bread, cinnamon rolls, cal zones, and I'm going to try it for Long Johns. My mother makes the best cinnamon rolls in the world. But whenever I make them, it's kind of a hit or miss thing. Mostly miss! I made them last month for my in-laws. Half the batch was ok and the other, not so good. In fact, we could have gone outside and played baseball them. I guess I should be happy some of them were edible. I don't have any pictures of cinnamon rolls because I refuse to make them again so soon. Too depressing.
 The bread I have no problem with. I make it about twice a week now for Bella. I don't buy bread too much anymore. I made cal-zones with it once that turned out good. Just have to remember they raise! They came out about the size of a football!  But they tasted good! Tonight I made them again and they turned out the right size.
Good thing Mike is so skinny! Between me having to learn portion sizes and all the junk I make him,( he has a chocolate addition I take advantage of) he should be around 400 pounds by now! I came from a big family so I was use to cooking for a lot of people. About a week after we were married, I decided to make a really nice dinner. I had candles, mood music, and some of his favorite food. Problem was, I made a little too much. So when he came home he wanted to know who was coming over for dinner. When I told him no one, he said " What the heck?! You expects us to eat all this? We could feed the whole block with just this one meal!" He said a few other things but I won't list them all! To this day he still rags me about that! Took me about a year to start making the right amount of food!

White Bread Dough

3 cups hot water
2 packages of active dry yeast (4-1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp salt
7-9 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle in yeast and let set  5-10 minutes. Stir in oil and salt. Stir in 6- 7 cups of flour just enough to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes or until dough doesn't tear easily when stretched. Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with cloth and let rise, in a warm (80-85degrees) draft-free area for an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down. Shape dough into loaves or rolls. Place in greased loaf pans or for rolls, a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

For cinnamon rolls; After the dough rises once, punch down and then place on a lightly floured surface.Cut into four equal portions. Roll out one ball into a rectangle. Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over dough. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into slices. About 1 in. and place on greased baking sheet or in greased muffin tins. Cover and let rise in a warm dry place until doubled in size.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake

Some friends came to visit today so I decided to make this while they were here so I didn't eat it all! I don't know if this was a failure or not. Obviously something wasn't right. At first I thought I didn't cook it long enough. But according to the directions it should take 45 to 50 minutes to bake. I left it in longer then that. The only cheesecake I have made was baked in a water bath and they look dull when done. Apparently, cooked out of water they don't do that. So it said, to tell when it's done, the outside will puff up slightly and the middle will jiggle when you tap the side with a spoon. The first time I looked at it, about 55 minutes, the outside was puffy but the whole thing was jiggly so I left it in longer. When I checked it again ( about 20 - 25 minutes later) it was still really jiggly but the outside was starting to brown a lot. I didn't want to burn it or over cook it so I took it out. This is where I think it went wrong. There was a glaze that went on the top and then went back in the oven. There was a crack in the top of the cheesecake after it cooled a little, so when I put the glaze on the cheesecake it went into the crack. After I took it out of the oven again and let it cool for an hour it looked fine. So I finished it and gave it to my guests. When Mike cut into it, the middle just fell. Here I was, so proud of my pretty cake and it wasn't even cooked through. It didn't stop them from eating it though! They said it was just a custard filled cheesecake! Now watch them call in a few days, yelling at me for giving them food poisoning! Hopefully it was just the glaze soaking into the middle that made it that way! Or it could be because I didn't refrigerate it over night before eating it.

Bella didn't seem to care!

The longer it set out the more gooey it got!

Strawberry Cheesecake
The Taste of Home Baking Book

  3/4 cups ground pecans ( I didn't use these)
  3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  3 Tbsp butter, melted
  4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese,softened
  1-1/4 cups sugar
  1 Tbsp lemon juice
  2 tsp vanilla extract
  4 eggs, lightly beaten
  2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  1/4 cup sugar
  1 tsp vanilla extract
  2 Tbsp cornstarch
  1/4 cup water
  1 jar (12 ounces) strawberry jelly
  3Tbsp orange juice
  1 quart
  whole fresh strawberries

In a bowl, combine the pecans and cracker crumbs; stir in butter. Press into the bottom of a greased 10- in. springform pan; set aside. ( The bottom of a glass works good for pressing onto the pan.)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla; beat well. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spoon over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from the oven; let stand for 15 minutes ( leave oven on). For the topping, combine all the ingredients; spoon around edge of cheesecake. Carefully spread over filling. Bake 5 minutes longer. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.

Several hours before serving, prepare glaze. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; add jelly. Bring to a boil over med-high heat cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until jelly is melted and glaze is thickened. Remove from heat; stir in orange juice. Cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, remove sides of pan. Arrange strawberries on the top of cheesecake with pointed ends up. Spoon glaze over berries, allowing some to drip down sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Banana and chocolate muffins

My sister-in-law gave me a gift card for Barnes and Noble and with it I bought more cookbooks. One of them had this recipe in it. It's called 1001 Cupcakes and Other Tempting Treats. For some reason I can't seem to make cupcakes that turn out. So I thought I would try to make muffins and see how that worked. Turns out I'm not as terrible with muffins as I am with cupcakes. You would think they are about the same thing. Well, at least I didn't botch these!
I think they would have been better with more banana and if I had used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Next time I will find out. They had a recipe for frosting for them but I never made it. Mike and Bella didn't seem to miss it! 

Banana and Chocolate Muffins

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 ripe bananas
8 Tbsp butter, softened 
heaping 1/2 cup of sugar (moderately sized, round mound, or heap)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 Tbsp sour cream
heaping 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Line 12- hole muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Place the bananas in a separate bowl and mash with fork.
 Place the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the mashed bananas and sour cream. Fold in the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the paper liners.
 Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


8 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp chocolate curls or chocolate strands

 Place the butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Sift the confectioners' sugar and mix together well. Spread frosting on top of each muffin and sprinkle with chocolate before serving.

The Best Spagetti Sauce

I got this recipe from a friend, CVS ( not the store).  Before I always used canned spaghetti sauce.  .84c a can was worth not making it. Until he came over and made this!! Now I use it in everything. Spaghetti, lasagna, chicken Parmesan, pizza, anything you would use tomato sauce in. There is just one thing I do differently and that is add sausage seasoning to the ground beef. The best seasoning I have ever had I can only find in Florida. I can't find it in any of the stores around here. The brand is Legg's  and one package seasons 25 pounds of meat. So I just dump it into a jar and measure out what I need.

Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound of ground beef
2 3/4 tsp sausage seasoning
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 4oz can of mushrooms, do not drain  ( I use stems and pieces)
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 14.5oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
1 can of water ( I use the tomato sauce can)
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp basil
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp vegetable oil

Mix sausage seasoning with ground beef. In  a sauce pan, over med-high heat, brown meat. Do not drain. In a separate pan, with oil, cook onion and green pepper until slightly brown. Add to meat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least half an hour. Stirring occasionally.


Isabella loves it too!



Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate Éclairs

This recipe was also from The Taste of Home Baking Book. I remember when I was a kid and we would get doughnuts on Saturday morning! I thought that the Long Johns my mom would get were the same as Éclairs. I was wrong!   Éclairs are a choux pastry. Pastry dough. There isn't a raising agent in it. It contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs and it has a high moisture content to create steam during cooking to puff the pastry. (Thank you Wikipedia!)  Long Johns do have yeast and are usually fried. A doughnut!
The éclairs turned out really good.  But what I really wanted was a Long John. I haven't really looked for a recipe for them yet but Mike (my husband) seems to think that the dough I make for bread and pizza would work. I'm going to try it one of these days and see.
These aren't hard to make but I have learned to make the filling before I put the pastries in the oven or wait until after they are done. Only because with the filling you have to stand at the stove and stir. You can't let it go. My mom told me you can do it in the microwave instead of on the stove but she didn't tell me that until afterwards! They didn't turn out as pretty as the picture in the cookbook but they tasted good. Guess that's all that matters!
Chocolate éclairs
 I'm sorry, I completely forgot the recipe!!!

Chocolate Éclairs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2-1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp butter
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large saucepan, bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Insert a 3/4-in. round tip into a pastry bag or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; add batter. Pipe into 12 strips (about 3 inches long) 3 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack. Immediately cut a slit in each fir a stream of steam to escape; cool.

For filling, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan; gradually stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup hot filling into the egg yolks; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool.

For frosting, melt the butter and milk in a separate pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa and confectioners' sugar.
Split éclairs lengthwise and pipe in the filling. Spread the frosting over the top of the éclairs.

Garlic cream cheese filled chicken breast

I didn't get this recipe from a cookbook. I just took a lot of little things from other recipes and put it into one. It turned out pretty good. I cooked it a little too long because the cream cheese oozed out of it and made it look like the chicken wasn't done. Isabella ate a whole breast and half of mine! Probably the cream cheese! Makes everything better!
The potatoes I just sliced and coated them in oil and garlic powder. I usually don't make fries because every time I did I messed with them so much that they would just fall apart. But I read something on the Internet, I think it was food network, and they said not to touch them for the first 30 minutes. After 30 minutes then flip them and cook on the other side for 5 more minutes. Works really good. They didn't fall apart this time!

Garlic Cream cheese filling

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced 
 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, butterflied
8 slices of turkey bacon
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and garlic. Divide the mixture into 4 balls. 
Place 1 cream cheese ball in the center of each butterflied chicken breast half. Fold the chicken over the cream cheese, wrap with 2 slices of bacon, and secure with toothpicks or tie with string. Pour the butter over the chicken.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. 

Garlic Oven Fries

3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp of vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Leaving peel on, cut the potatoes into 6 lengthwise to make long wedges, about 3/4-inch to 1-inch wide. Combine the potatoes, oil, and salt on the baking sheet and toss to combine. (1 less bowl to wash) Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, so a cut side is in contact with the pan, but evenly spaced so the potatoes aren't touching each other. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and cook for 5 minutes more.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Double Orange Scones

My mother-in-law bought me The Taste of Home Baking Book, where I found a recipe for these scones. My mom told me about these pumpkin scones she made and wanted me to try them.  I don't like pumpkin too much so I decided to make these instead. I have never made or eaten scones before so I didn't know what to expect. Whether they turned out like they should or not they tasted really good! The sugar they have you sprinkle over the top helps a lot. And the orange butter made them even better. Next time I think I'll try it with regular oranges instead of the mandarin. That way I don't have to find something to do with the rest of the orange I took the peel from. The recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour, but I didn't use the wheat. Not because I don't like it, I just didn't have it!
Add caption

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped mandarin oranges, well drained
additional sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp orange marmalade

In a small bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, orange peel, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. combine egg and milk; add to crumb mixture. Stir in oranges just until moistened.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently 10 times. Pat into a 6-in. circle; sprinkle with additional sugar. Cut into eight wedges; separate wedges and place 1 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on wire rack.
For orange butter, beat butter and marmalade in a small mixing bowl until fluffy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I'm starting this blog to try and keep track of my recipes. What I like and don't like and where I got the recipe from. And for you,mom! So you have a place to come and get the recipes that I keep forgetting to send to you. But if anyone has comments or wants to share recipes I would love to hear them. Trying to figure out what to cook is one of my biggest problems so any ideas would be great.