Friday, December 28, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recently, Matt wanted soup for dinner.  It was a cold, snowy day and I figured that I could make us a homemade soup rather than buying a pre-packaged soup that you just add water to.  We make those soups occasionally but they're so full of sodium! 

I've seen this recipe on Josie's blog before but have just never made it.  I was somewhat intimidated by having to make a roux, but I was successful and am no longer intimidated!  The soup came together in about 30 minutes which makes it a great option for a weeknight meal.  This even included chopping up the carrot and broccoli! 

Overall, we were slightly disappointed by this soup.  I think I would reduce the amount of broccoli next time, probably going with 3-4 cups instead of the recommended 4-5. I used my immersion blender as Josie suggested and it just felt too chunky and I'd prefer a creamier soup.  Or maybe I need to blend it more next time? I'm not sure but I'd definitely make this again. 

It was filling, quick and served with fresh from the oven bread, made a perfect weeknight meal!

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Recipe from: Pink Parsley
Originally from: Annie's Eats

6 tblsp butter, divided
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded (I used a small handful of baby carrots that we had)
4-5 cups small broccoli florets
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 Tblsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half or heavy ream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and carrots to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion powder, red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmering. 

As the broccoli simmers, melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, whisking continuously.  Whisk in the milk and cream and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles.  This will take about 5-7 minutes.  I felt like it would never thicken and just when I was planning to give up, it started to thicken! Remove from the heat, stir in the shredded cheese until its melted and season with salt and pepper. It's going to look so cheesy, gooey and good you're going to have to resist eating it with a spoon!

If you want, use an immersion blender to puree most of the broccoli mixture.  Stir the cheese and milk mixture into the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve warm. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ranch Mushrooms

This is a recipe from my Husband's coworker.  It's not a recipe that I absolutely love, but they are good.  I'm not a lover of mushrooms in plain form.  I'd much rather have my mushrooms sliced and cooked IN a dish than eat them plain.

This is a nice crockpot recipe that you can quick throw together before needing to head out to a party or event, or let cook while you get other dishes prepared for a dinner party or gathering.

Ranch Mushrooms
Recipe from: friend/coworker
2 pkgs whole mushrooms
1/2 stick of butter, cut into tablespoon chunks
1 pkt dry ranch mix

Place the mushrooms, butter pieces and then the ranch dressing into your crockpot.  You can definitely use more mushrooms if you're needing to feed a crowd, just adjust the ingredients accordingly. Cook on low until the mushrooms are fully cooked and butter is melted, approximately 1-2 hrs.

Serve & enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baked Oven Fries

 Baked Oven Fries
Recipe from: Annie's Eats
3 russet potatoes, cut into wedges
5 tblsp vegetable oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat your oven to 475*. Place wedges in large mixing bowl.  Cover with hot water, soaking the wedges for 10-30 minutes.  Put 4 tblsp oil onto heavy, rimmed baking sheet.  Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil.  Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper.  You could even add some additional seasonings if you'd like. (cajun, herbs etc...)

Drain the potatoes onto paper towels.  Wipe out the now empty bowl so that it is dry. Return to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tblsp oil.

Arrange the wedges onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Cover with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the wedges are spotty brown in color, about 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, flip each wedge using a tongs.  Bake for another 5-15 minutes until the wedges are golden brown and crisp.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is a recipe that I've made over and over again.  However, I've just never blogged it.  This is great for tailgating, potlucks, or to just munch on while you're hanging around the house on a Saturday afternoon. 

It's great with celery on the side, chicken in a biscuit crackers or as pictured, with tostito chips! 

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe from: a friend (this recipe is everywhere on the internet and has various ways to prepare it)
1lb shredded, cooked chicken breast
1 (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup Franks Hot sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

This recipe is really flexible because you can make as much or as little as you want.  The measurements can vary depending on how many people you'd like to feed, how spicy you want it or how mild you want it. 

Sometimes I combine everything into a large saucepan and prepare it on the stove.  For this particular day, I softened the cream cheese so that it was really easy to stir, combined it with the chicken, cheese, ranch and hot sauce and put it in a baking dish. I baked it in a 350 oven for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese was melted, and everything was warmed thoroughly.  I took it out of the oven, stirred it and put it back in for another 15 minutes or so.  Also, this particular time I put crushed ritz crackers on top.  That's not necessary and actually next time I would leave them out. 

I've also heard of adding some chopped celery when you combine all of the ingredients.  It's really good and adds a nice little crunch.  Plus, who doesn't love celery with buffalo chicken/chicken wings! :-) 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Coconut Chicken with Orange Marmalade Sauce

Chicken is such an easy and fairly cheap protein.  It makes for a great, quick weeknight meal but can be so boring at times. 

I was happy to find this recipe on a blog that I love reading, Good Thymes and Good Food.  I love that her recipes are always easy and I usually have the ingredients on hand.  I also love that she's expecting her second child around the same time that I'm due so I know that her recipes aren't too labor intensive and she likely plans her meals and preps her food while doing a million other 'Mom things' during the day/evening. 

This recipe was really good.  I don't love coconut but will eat it if its baked (desserts or used in a breading such as this). The one thing that really bummed me out was how soggy the bottom of the chicken got while baking.  I don't know if it was because I used milk instead of egg for my egg coating.  We were out of eggs and I figured milk would be a fine substitute. 

I also did not have the apricot preserves that it called for and only had orange marmalade available.  It worked, but I would definitely try this recipe again using apricot preserves to see if it's better or different. 

Coconut Chicken with Orange Marmalade Sauce
Recipe from: Good Thymes and Good Food 

1 egg
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup apricot preserves (or an apricot blend such as peach-apricot)
2 tblsp dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil.

In a medium, shallow dish, lightly beat the egg.  In another medium, shallow dish stir together the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Taking one piece of chicken at a time, dip into the egg and then into the coconut mixture. Pat the coconut mixture onto the chicken to make sure that it sticks. Place dipped chicken breast onto the baking sheet.  Continue with the remaining pieces of chicken.

Drizzle the melted butter over the chicken pieces.  Bake in your preheated oven 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If the chicken does not brown, place under the broil for a couple of minutes but be sure to watch it carefully!  I did not put mine under the broiler and you can see that some bits of coconut got a little dark!

For the sauce mixture, combine the preserves and the dijon mustard. Serve the sauce at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Venison Stroganoff

This year, my Husband got his first deer while out hunting with my Dad.  He was pretty excited since it was his first deer ever.  We shared the meat with my Parents and have a supply of venison in our freezer.  He's made some jerky with it already which was so good. 

This was a really good meal and it came together rather quickly.  My Husband put it in the crockpot today while he was home from work, we took a quick nap after I came home and then ate dinner.  

Venison Stroganoff
1-2lbs of venison roast, cubed into bite size pieces
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Prepared egg noodles

Line bottom of crockpot with chopped onions.  Add the chopped venison roast.  Add 1/4 cup chicken stock. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove from crockpot.  Add meat to a medium sized saucepan.  Turn to medium-high heat and add two cans of cream of mushroom soup. Stir to combine the soup and venison meat.  Let cook at medium-high heat until well combined and no lumps are present, about 10 minutes.

Serve over prepared egg noodles.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pumpkin Roll

I was in charge of bringing a dessert to my Husband's Grandma's for Thanksgiving last Saturday.  I was going to make a cheesecake but didn't have all of the ingredients on hand and didn't want to make a trip to the store. Not to mention, by the time I read the recipe I realized that I wouldn't have had enough time to bake the cheesecake.

This looked incredibly daunting to make but I had all of the ingredients, needed to bring a dessert and didn't have a back up plan.  It's not as intimidating as it looks, I promise.  I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of the final product, but I didn't. This isn't even that great of a picture.  When I make it again, I'll be sure to get some better pictures.

I'm actually going to bring two of these to my Mom and Dad's house for Thanksgiving on Thursday.  If you need a quick and easy dessert to bring somewhere this Thanksgiving, I'd definitely recommend this recipe.  The cake is light and moist, the filling is creamy and smooth and together, they provide a very decadent dessert.

Libby's Pumpkin Roll
Recipe from: Libby's
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin

For the filling:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tblsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tblsp whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375*.  Grease a 15x10 jelly roll pan, line with wax paper and then grease and flour the waxed paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with the 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Set aside.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until combined and thick. Beat the pumpkin into the egg and sugar mixture.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Mix until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake at 375* for 13-15 minutes. The top of the cake should spring back when touched lightly.

Immediately loosen the cake and turn onto the prepared towel. Give it a minute or two to start to cool off and then start removing the paper. I immediately started removing the paper as soon as I flipped the cake onto the towel but was having trouble.  I let it cool a little bit and the paper came off much easier.  The paper did not come off super smoothly, but it wasn't completely ruined either.

Roll up the cake and towel together.  Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools, mix up your filling.  Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, softened butter and vanilla together in a stand mixer until smooth. The original recipe doesn't call for whipping cream, but I added it because I was concerned that the filling was going to be too thick and not very light.  I'm very happy that I decided to add the whipping cream.

Carefully unroll the cake.  Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cooled cake. Re-roll the cake.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Before serving, sprinkle the outside of the roll with the powdered sugar.

Note: I chose to cut off the ends of the cake because they were jagged and not very nice looking.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I first saw these pancakes when I first joined Pinterest.

They were such a good treat to have on a casual, Saturday morning. We actually haven't made them since we originally made them awhile ago.  Definitely not something that you'd want to indulge in too often but they're so worth it!

These were a little more time consuming than regular pancakes but odds are, if you're spending time to make pancakes, you probably have a little extra time to spare.

You can make the pancake batter from scratch or use a prepared pancake mix like Bisquick if you're in a hurry.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Recipe from: Recipe Girl

Cinnamon Fillings:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted 
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

The first step is to prepare the cinnamon filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside. 

Next, you'll want to prepare the cream cheese glaze. In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes. {You could probably do this in the microwave too. I didn't try it but I'm sure you could softened the cream cheese, stir it together by itself, then add the melted butter and the rest of the ingredients.}

Finally, prepare the pancake batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened.  You'll have a few small lumps, which is fine. 

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. (I used a griddle so that all the pancakes were done at the same time)  Using a small measuring cup (I think I used 1/3 cup or something similar) scoop the batter onto the skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium low. 

When the pancakes begin to form bubbles, swirl your cinnamon filling into a circular pattern onto the pancake.  Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes or until the bubbles begin popping on the top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. 

Gently, but quickly flip the pancake over.  Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the other side is golden brown as well. 

Right before serving the pancakes, drizzle with some of the cream cheese glaze. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gender Reveal Cupcakes!!

This was the most fun I've had making cupcakes in a LONG time.  My Chiropractor and his Wife are expecting their first child in March.  I'm due in January and it's been so fun to have someone else to chat about pregnancy with.  Granted, I see more of him than I do of her but ... it's still fun.  She and I have had very, very similar pregnancies.  We've both felt great, mild nausea, no morning sickness.

Recently, she messaged me on Facebook and asked if I could make them a dozen cupcakes for a gender reveal dinner that they were having with his Family.  I was elated!  I've seen this on Pinterest before but had never thought I'd do something like this.

{Side note: I now wish we would have done something fun like this when we found out we were having a Girl.  The way the ultrasound tech told us was pretty lackluster and looking back on it, it's probably just a ho-hum, every day experience for her. Having a little more excitement around it would have been fun! Maybe for the next kiddo.}

She sent me the Pinterest link for the cupcake that she liked.  It was a simple chocolate cupcake with what looked like a chocolate ganache on top and then a question mark on top of the cupcake piped in a white frosting.  I knew right away what I wanted the cupcakes to look like and I couldn't wait to practice before the big day!

They had their 20wk ultrasound and her Husband found out what they were having and she decided to wait for the cupcakes.  He text me early afternoon after their appointment and told me which cupcakes to give her. I was so excited I could hardly stand to sit at work the rest of the afternoon.  I was so nervous on the drive home that I'd either a.) spill the beans or b.) give her the wrong dozen cupcakes.  {Even though I had labeled them for myself with a post-it note}

I know a few people who are pregnant right now who are due after me.  It would be so fun to make these again or to even make a gender reveal cake.

I realized today that I put the second row, far right cupcake in the carrier crooked and I really am fighting some OCD urges with wanting it to be fixed! 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Filling and Ganache
Recipe from: Hershey's 
Makes approximately 30 cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extraxt
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350.  Place cupcake liners in each well of a cupcake pan.

Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Stir in your boiling water.  Mix until the water is combined thoroughly.  The batter will be very thin.  This is ok. 

Pour batter into prepared, lined cupcake pan, filling each liner about 2/3 full.  Bake 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream Filling
3 sticks butter at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract dash of salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the butter and powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and salt.  Mix until combined.  Gradually add the milk and beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.  You may not need all of the milk.  Add a tablespoon at a time until it becomes the consistency you desire.

Recipe from: Annie's Eats
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat, add the chocolate chips, cover and let sit for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, if the chips aren't completely melted, return to medium heat and stir frequently until all the chips are melted.  Stir in the vanilla extract until combined and the chocolate mixture is smooth.  Cool the glaze until it is lukewarm at which point if you were to pour a spoonful back into the rest of the glaze it would mound slightly. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches

I participated in another Recipe Swap on the online cooking forum that I frequent.  This time the theme was Breakfast.  I was assigned Sarah's blog again, A Taste of Home Cooking.

Both Matt and I are breakfast people.  We can't skip breakfast.  Most of the time, I wake up starving each morning.  Especially now that I'm pregnant, there is no way I can skip breakfast.  When I do eat breakfast, it has to be something somewhat hearty.  I can't just eat yogurt or fruit.  I need some protein in there too.

These breakfast sandwiches were perfect.  They could easily be a weekday morning breakfast or a made from scratch, weekend breakfast. I was really skeptical of the cream cheese and raspberry jam aspect of this recipe. The salty, sweet, creamy components of this sandwich really make it one of a kind.  Better than any fast food breakfast sandwich!  I tried it both with an over easy egg and a fried egg.  I much prefer the over easy egg sandwich.  It adds an additional flavor!

You could definitely prepare these for a large crowd as well.  People could top their sandwiches with our without the cream cheese and raspberry jam, you could offer bacon in addition to or instead of sausage ... the possibilities are endless!

Since it makes 8 breakfast sandwiches, I plan on preparing them and keeping them in the refrigerator so we can grab, heat and go during the week.  I'm hoping microwaving it doesn't ruin the cream cheese/raspberry layer.  We'll see!  I'll be sure to report back.

Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches
From: A Taste of Home Cooking

1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 package breakfast sausage patties
8 eggs
Cream Cheese
Raspberry Jam or Jelly

Prepare the biscuits per the package instructions.

Fry your sausage so that it's cooked through.  Wipe out your skillet and use it to make your eggs.  You could do a scrambled egg, fried egg, over-easy egg, whichever you prefer.

When your biscuits are done, sausage is cooked and eggs are cooked, you're ready to assemble!

Cut each biscuit in half.  Spread cream cheese (however much you prefer) onto each biscuit half. Spread some raspberry jelly on top of the cream cheese.  Again, use however much you like.  I used a small amount of each. Then, place your sausage patty on one half of the biscuit. I cut my sausage patties in half, lengthwise so that they covered more of the biscuit.  Then, place your egg on top and lastly, the other half of the biscuit.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I really love the Fall season.  The crisp air, the falling leaves, the scent of apple baked goods, soups simmering on the stove; I love it all.

I am happy to inaugurate my Fall baking season with this recipe.  Although it looks complicated, it's really easy and comes together quickly.  Not to mention, it makes quite a bit!  My Husband and I shared one piece and then I sent the rest of the 9x13 pan with him to work. I know that I'll be making these again this Fall for sure.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 sticks butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used 1 1/2 apples which yielded about 4 cups of chopped apples which I think was perfect.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar

Streusel Topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 stick butter, softened


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar.  Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Press evenly into a 9x13 pan.  The mixture is very moist so it worked best for me that I just used my clean hands to press it into the pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is a golden brown.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth.  Then, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Pour this over the warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together the apples, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cream cheese mixture.

For the streusel topping, mix together the flour, brown sugar and quick cooking oats. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until it resembles a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until the filling is set.

Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Makes 16 servings.

If [and that's a big IF] there are leftovers, I'd store them in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Raisin & Almond Granola

My Husband and I both really enjoy yogurt for breakfasts.  We usually just buy the individual servings of Yoplait but recently I just bought a large tub of Dannon yogurt and are going to make our own individual servings.  It's about the same cost, if not a little cheaper.

I decided that I wanted to make some granola to go with our yogurt.  I've made this recipe in the past so I looked it up again and now I'm finally blogging it!  I bought some grapes when I did some grocery shopping so I'll make my own yogurt, granola and grape parfait for breakfasts!  I made two batches of this recipe and it almost filled this cookie jar.

Raisin & Almond Granola
Recipe from: Ellie Krieger

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped, unsalted almonds
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients.  Mix well so that the syrup has coated everything.  Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Be sure to stir occasionally.

The original recipe says that this should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  I plan on going through this pretty frequently so I'm not worried about it going bad.  I'm going to store it in the jar shown in the picture, on my counter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Whenever we go out to eat or even if we buy frozen appetizers from the grocery store, we usually enjoy some jalapeno poppers. Usually, they're pretty good.  Although, sometimes you'll get those duds that are a little soggy or have no flavor.

I enjoy jalapeno flavor but I don't always enjoy very much spice. This dish was perfect for me because you definitely got the flavor of jalapenos but it wasn't overwhelming.  You can keep some of the seeds in the jalapenos if you'd like to kick up the flavor a little bit.

This chicken has been on my radar for awhile now and we finally had the jalapenos on hand thanks to my Mom and Dad's plentiful garden.  This meal came together rather quickly but felt like it was more labor intensive than it was The chicken breasts that we had were very thick so I probably should have doubled the filling.

I took some leftovers for lunch the following day and it was good but dry.  I am pretty sure that's because I warmed it in the microwave.  I think leftovers warmed in the oven would be very good.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken
Adapted From: Elly Says Opa! 
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp taco seasoning
2 egg
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
3 chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the breadcrumbs (I was hoping this would toast them a little, but I don't think it did.  Next time, I might use the panko breadcrumbs Elly's recipe suggests).

Add the taco seasoning to the breadcrumbs and place in a shallow dish.

In a separate shallow bowl or dish, lightly beat the eggs.  In another shallow bowl or dish combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapenos.

Using a small knife, cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast or horizontally slice the chicken through the center, until it is almost butterflied. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and then divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between each chicken breast's pocket. I used a pampered chef scoop and that worked really well.  One thing I would recommend is to warm the cream cheese slightly so that it's more easily spread on the chicken breasts.

Dip the chicken pieces one at a time, first into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to coat the chicken completely.  Place the chicken onto your prepared baking sheet and cook for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cheesy Green Beans

This is a recipe from my Grandma.  I remember she would always make these when we were up visiting at her house and they were most definitely at each Holiday meal.  As Grandma has gotten older, she's not cooked as much and usually Holiday meals are now at my Mom's house.  We were visiting her recently when she made lunch for us and these beans were on the menu.  I love green beans to begin with, but these were nothing short of nostalgic.

Some people might shrug their shoulders or turn their nose since these are made using canned beans and processed cheese slices.  I, however, will continue to make them and share them with my kids.

They look like a pile of mush, and not very appetizing in this picture, but trust me.  They're good! 

Cheesy Green Beans
From: Grandma 

Can of french cut green beans (as many cans as you'd like to serve)
Pasteurized american cheese slices (such as Kraft
a couple tablespoons of butter

Prepare the beans on the stove-top as directed.  Drain the water.  Put your beans back in the pot you used to cook them.  Keep the stove on warm-low. Tear your cheese slices into small pieces and place in the beans.  Add one tablespoon of butter.  Mix the cheese & butter into the beans.  Stir the cheese around in the beans until it and the butter melt.  Add more butter if you think it's necessary until you reach a creamy consistency.  The beans should not be runny. 

When you've got the consistency that you want, transfer to a serving dish and serve! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicken Mandarin Salad

I first had this salad when Matt and I were dating and I was at his house for dinner.  It's SO good.  His Mom makes it pretty often and I can see why! It's a lengthy recipe but SO worth it.  Please don't hesitate to make this salad, despite it's long list of ingredients, it's pretty easy to make!

We made this for dinner on one of the nights that we were having a 90* heat wave.  It was nice to have a cold, refreshing salad for dinner.

This recipe is featured in a family cookbook that Matt's family made to raise funds when his Grandpa was diagnosed with Leukemia. In the front of the cookbook, they have a page dedicating the book to his Grandpa, Dallan Walter.

The second paragraph says "In our homes today, as always, life is centered around the kitchen.  It is with this thought in mind that we have compiled these recipes.  Some of the recipes are treasured family keepsakes and some are new; however, they all reflect the love of good cooking."

The picture on the bottom is of a cabin, the woods and a fish jumping out of a lake.  All things that Dallan treasured. I love the stories that Matt would tell me of his Grandpa. They'd spend time up north, Grandpa would take them fishing, Grandpa would tell them stories, overall, Grandpa was their Guy.  Matt is the oldest Grandchild on that side and so he got to spend lots of great, quality time with his Grandpa.

Now, after getting a little sentimental, let's get on to the recipe!

Chicken Mandarin Salad
Recipe from: Family Cookbook

For the chicken and marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
4 green onions, cut into rings
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

For the salad dressing:
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 1/4 tsp onion juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
salt to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds (I left these out because they were so expensive at the store!)

To marinate the chicken, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, half the green onion and garlic in a large plastic bag. Add chicken, seal & refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.  Grill or broil chicken until cooked.  Chill thoroughly, then cut into strips.

To make the dressing, combine the sugar, vinegar, onion juice, soy sauce, mustard and salt in a medium bowl. Start mixing with an electric mixer on medium speed. Slowly add oil and mix until thick. Add sesame seeds and beat thoroughly. Cover and set in the refrigerator to chill while you finish preparing.

For the salad:
5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
5 tblsp diced roasted red peppers (can use canned)
1 (8oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained (I omitted these because Matt doesn't like them)
1 (11oz) can mandarin orange sections, drained
1 cup frozen pea pods, thawed and patted dry
2 1/2 cups of romaine lettuce
2 1/2 cups of iceberg lettuce
1 cup flat thick cut chow mein noodles (we used wonton strips)
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
5 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Combine the chicken, bacon, red pepper, water chestnuts, orange sections, pea pods, remaining green onion, and both varieties of lettuce in a large bowl.  Add 3/4 cup of the dressing and toss lightly. Add wonton strips or chow mein noodles and toss again. Before serving, garnish with almonds and sesame seeds.

Makes 4 servings 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Greek Chicken Burgers with Tzatziki

This was my first time participating in the Recipe Swap on the cooking message board that I'm a part of.  This specific one was a Blogger's Choice theme.  This meant that you could choose any recipe from your assigned blog.  I was given Sarah's blog.  I've browsed her blog before but never saw this recipe.  My Husband loves Gyros and Tzatziki sauce so I was pretty sure that he'd love this.

I was right!  He loved it as did I.  All I was wondering after I ate dinner was, "what else can I put Tzatziki sauce on?"

The pitas that we bought were a bit difficult to work with so excuse the poor "shove-all-the-ingredients-in-the-pita" picture.  I made a few modifications just due to the time of the evening that we started dinner.  You can view the original recipe on her blog, the recipe and instructions below are what I used. 

I think we'll definitely make these again.  It was a quick, weeknight meal and it was something that we've never made at home.  My Husband and I made this meal together.  It was a good time cooking a meal together.  We have a tiny kitchen, but we made it work!

Greek Chicken Burgers with Tzatziki
Recipe from: A Taste of Home Cooking

For the Burgers:
1 lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons onion, finely grated
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
salt & pepper, to taste

For the Tzatziki Sauce:
1 english cucumber
12 ounces plain Greek yofurt
2 cloves of garlic (I used jarred, minced garlic)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Splash of olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Squirt of fresh lemon juice

For serving:
Pita bread
Tomato, sliced
Red Onion, sliced

Combine the turkey, onion, oregano, salt & pepper in a bowl until well mixed.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and spread the mixture into the pan.  Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes.  The mixture isn't very thick so it doesn't take long.  Beware, when you take it out of the oven, it will have shrunk quite a bit.  There is also quite a bit of liquid in the pan, so be careful.

To make the tzatziki sauce, peel the cucumber.  Shred the cucumber and then squeeze the shreds in a paper towel to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible.  Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice.  Salt to taste.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.  You could refrigerate this overnight too.

Slice up your meat and serve in your pita bread with slices of tomato and red onion with a dollop of tzatziki.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Banana Crumb Muffins

Recently, I had about two dozen bananas in the freezer that I wanted to use up.  I made a couple loaves of my regular banana bread, but I wanted to make some muffins to have for Breakfasts during the week.  I found this recipe and it seemed perfect.

I really loved the crumble of this muffin.  It just added that something extra that I felt it needed. They were a very moist muffin and made for the perfect snack to eat on the way to work, or at night for a dessert!

I doubled the recipe because the original recipe says its yields only 10 muffins.

Banana Crumb Muffins
From: All Recipes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the crumble:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375* degrees.  Lightly grease muffin cups or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together the 1 1/2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg  & melted butter.  Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened.  Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and the cinnamon.  Cut in 1 tablespoon of cold butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dr. Pepper Chicken Wings

My Husband and I both really enjoy chicken wings. I've never really made them at home before.  I came across Carrie's recipe and knew that we'd both enjoy it.  The most tedious part of this, for us, was the frying of the wings only because we used our small deep fryer so we could only fry a few at a time.

Dr. Pepper Chicken Wings

One large bag of chicken wings
3/4 cup flor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspon garlic powder
1 can of Dr. Pepper
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Ketchup
1/2 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons butter
oil for frying

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture, coating completely.

Put the coated chicken in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will help the coating adhere to the chicken during frying.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the can of Dr. Pepper to a boil, reduce heat and simmer briskly until reduced to about 1/8th the amount.

Add the brown sugar, ketchup, Tabasco and butter and simmer until a nice thick sauce. Set aside.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the fridge and fry in the oil until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. When all chicken is cooked, toss in the sauce until completely coated.

Serve & enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

I've made chicken pot pie before, but for Christmas this past year, my In-Laws gave me a set of these little ramekins.  I had some pie crust in the freezer so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to make some.  As you can see, it made a ton so we had leftovers for a few days afterwards. I would assume this recipe would make one whole pot pie if using a pie plate.

I've crossed out anything from her recipe that I did not use.

Chicken Pot Pie
From: Annie's Eats
Originally From: The Pastry Queen


 For the filling:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large russett potato, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 purchased rotisserie chicken
2 Large chicken breasts, cut into cubes
 1-2 cups frozen peas and carrots

For the sauce:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
Dash of hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the crust:
16 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
10 oz. cream cheese, chilled
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 large egg

To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and potato to the pan, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook for about 15 minutes more, until the potatoes are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the skin from the chicken, pull the meat off the bones and shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once the vegetables are finished cooking, turn off the heat and mix in the chicken and the frozen peas and carrots. Stir in the red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Mix in the cream (if using), the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken and veggie mixture and stir to combine well. Spoon the mixture into 6-8 individual oven-safe dishes (such as ramekins).

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Place the pot pie dishes on a baking sheet for easy transfer in and out of the oven. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Black Forest Cupcakes

This is a recipe from the ever popular, Annie's Eats. I made them once for a meeting at work and everyone loved them!  One of my coworkers raved and raved about these to her family.  Because of the rave reviews, her Daughter-In-Law wanted me to make cupcakes for her Son's Graduation party.  So, I prepared myself to make an array of cupcakes.  She requested two dozen of these cupcakes.  I was happy to oblige.

The major change that I made was that I used this Chocolate Cupcake recipe instead of the one that she uses.  The reasons why I love this specific recipe is because it always is so moist and chocolate-y.

Other than that, I followed her recipe exactly.

Black Forest Cupcakes
From: Annie's Eats
Originally from: Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Frosting adapted from: Wilton

For the cherry filling:
16oz frozen cherries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
6 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the garnish:
Chocolate shavings

To make the filling, drain the thawed berries, reserving the juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water so that the total liquid equals 1¼ cups. Add the liquid to a medium saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Continue whisking so no lumps form. Once thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Fold in the drained cherries with a spatula. Stir in the kirsch, if using. Cover and chill until ready to use. (The filling will continue to thicken as it chills.)

To fill the cupcakes, use the cone method to remove a portion from the center of each cupcake. Fill each with a spoonful of the cherry filling.

To make the whipped cream frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating on medium-low speed, slowly increasing as the cream begins to thicken up to medium-high speed. While the cream is being whipped, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar a spoonful at a time. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overbeat!) Fold in the vanilla extract.

Frost the filled cupcakes with the whipped cream. Garnish as desired with cherries and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strawberries & Cream Pie

I first made this pie about two years ago.  My Husband has been begging for one ever since.  I am not sure why I haven't made it for him since then, it's super easy and very delicious.

The first time that I made this I think I used a graham cracker crust. However, this time I used the pie crust that it calls for and I thikn it definitely needs the pie crust. 

Also, the recipe that I followed says to leave the strawberries whole but I don't think that it looks very attractive that way so I sliced up my strawberries.  As I was slicing the strawberries, I thought about layering the cream mixture on top of the pie crust, then some sliced strawberries and then more cream, repeat.  But by the time I assembled the pie, I forgot about that.

I made this pie and gave my Husband a Father-To-Be Father's Day card as his Father's Day presents. He was a happy man!  Since it makes two pies, we brought one up to my Father-In-Law as well.  I was going to bring it to my Parents house for Father's Day but I had some leftover cupcakes from something else that I brought down there.

I definitely plan on making this again, perhaps I'll make it annually for Father's Day for him.

Strawberries & Cream Pie
Originally from: Pillsbury's Complete Cookbook

Serves 8-10

1 cup cold heavy cream, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces) sugar
¼ to ½ teaspoon almond extract
1 pie crust for a 1-crust pie, completely baked and cooled
2 pints fresh whole strawberries, hulled
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
I melted some chocolate almond bark that I had leftover and drizzled that on the pie

1. In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of the cream on medium speed. When the cream is frothy, increase the speed to high and whip until the cream holds firm peaks.

2. In a separate large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it’s soft and creamy. Add the sugar and extract and continue beating until combined.

3. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese to lighten the mixture, then add the remaining cream and continue folding until it’s incorporated. Evenly spread the cream mixture in the pie crust. Arrange the strawberries over the filling.

4. Melt the chocolate with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream over very low heat, stirring constantly, or in the microwave on medium power, or in a double boiler. Drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries. Refrigerate the pie until set, about 1 hour.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My version of a Green Monster Smoothie!!

This afternoon I was going to have some fruit as a snack.  I had mangoes, bananas & apples available.  I didn't feel like eating them seperate (aka: cut up in a bowl) so I decided to make a smoothie out of it.

There is no real recipe to this, smoothies are very versatile and you can make them as you wish with whatever ingredients you want.

I cut up a mango, added a banana and a couple splashes of orange juice.  Mixed it all up in my Magic Bullet and then added the last of the spinach we had in the refrigerator to get a dose of veggies! :)

Matt came home from work and said "What the heck is that!" I made him try it and he actually liked it. I've purchased those frozen smoothie packs from the grocery store before, but I like this because I know exactly what is in it.  No added sugars, preservatives or anything.  Just fruit & a little juice.

I definitely want to make more smoothies for breakfasts, snacks or even as desserts!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pantry Organization!

In the last few months, we revamped our downstairs closet/pantry.  We had a nice closet area under our stairs but it wasn't really functional for hanging coats and such.  Our kitchen also lacks some functional cupboard space so I decided to make the closet work for us!  We had a bookcase in there that we were using as a pantry but it was small and unorganized.

So, I was at Target one day with my Mom and we picked up a shelving system on sale.  I'd been eyeing it up for awhile and then when it was on sale, I finally made my purchase!

Fast forward a couple of days and we've got the shelving system all set up.  I love having more storage options and we can even store our garbage bags, paper towels and some larger cooking items like our pizza oven in there.

We've now come to the point where our pantry is chock full and the organization seems to be lacking. Since I am a Thirty-One consultant, I decided to use some of our products to help me spruce things up.  So far, I only have one organized area but I plan to get many, many more so that I have a complete & fully stocked pantry!

I purchased a Square Utility Tote in Lotsa Dots and had it embroidered in purple font, style 13. I then purchased two Littles Carry-All Caddys to put inside.  The tote will actually fit four, I just need to get a couple more!

I plan to put some of my small baking items in the Littles Carry-All Caddys.  I'm thinking about putting my piping bags in one of the Littles, my cupcake wrappers & decorations in another, my food colorings in another and I'm undecided so far on the fourth.  I'll be sure to update when I figure it out!

My next purchase will be more Square Utility Totes and I plan to label one "snacks" for all those breakfast bars, granola bars etc.  I am thinking about one that says "veggies" and one that says "fruits" as well for all of those canned items.  I'll always know when I need to purchase more or when I've got plenty based on how full my tote is!

If you're unfamiliar with Thirty-One, here are a few facts!

Thirty-One is more than just a company. We are people who believe in celebrating, encouraging and rewarding others for who they are. Through God’s strength, we’ve built a family of individuals who feel women deserve to treat themselves and those around them to something special. Our commitment is to provide women with a fulfilling, enjoyable and rewarding experience one person at a time.    -Source

Thirty-One offers purses, accessories, storage organizers (like I'm using) and more!  There really is something for everyone and our products make great gifts!

Don't know a Thirty-One consultant in your area?  We can do a virtual party and you'll get free products, half price products and Host Exclusive products just for hosting.  As host, all you need to do is advertise your party to friends & family using the link I provide you.  Super easy!

ALL of the free, discounted and exclusive products you could get for having a $1,200 show!!

How cute is this outfit paired with our Cindy Tote in Black Parisian Pop?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eggs for breakfast sandwiches

Thank you Pinterest! (Click that link to follow my boards)

I saw this floating around on Pinterest awhile back and finally decided that I needed to make some eggs for quick and easy breakfast sandwiches.  I definitely need to eat breakfast in the mornings and I need something substantial.  I can't just have a yogurt or apple or something, I'd be hungry a half hour after eating it!

This is the perfect solution.  The eggs are ready to go each morning and I just need to grab an english muffin, a slice of cheese and I'm out the door.  I usually eat at work so I bring all of my supplies to work and am able to make a hearty, tasty breakfast at work!

As you can see, I put some spinach in a few of the egg wells. It was a little tricky getting the spinach to stay under the egg, so that it would cook IN the egg and not float to the top.  It took a little maneuvering with a fork but it all worked!

Spray your muffin pan with some non-stick cooking spray. Crack one egg into each well.  Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt & pepper or whatever seasonings that you'd like.  Bake in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.  You could cook them for a bit less if you wanted a runny yolk.  However, I wanted to be sure that the eggs were fully cooked.

Store your cooked eggs in a tupperware container in the refrigerator for about a week.  Use your judgement though.  If they look/smell bad, I wouldn't eat them. I made a dozen of these, so that lasted my Husband and I only 6 days, which was perfect for our work week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Taco Salads with Rice

Here's a great recipe for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo weekend or any large gathering!  You can make this to feed two people, five people or 25 people!  Make a big batch for your next tailgate party, Birthday or even those "Quick! Company is coming!" situations.

The idea is super simple and the preparation is even easier.  You can tailor this to your personal taste as well.  Don't like white rice?  Skip it.  Want spicy salsa? Use it.  Want to use Doritos instead of Fritos? Go for it.

The recipe below is what we used for the ones I made.  We made enough so that we had leftovers for the next day.

Taco Salads with Rice
AKC original recipe
1 lb cooked, drained ground beef
4 servings of cooked instant white rice
Fritos chips

Your favorite toppings such as:
Shredded Lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream

Cook your ground beef and drain when cooked.  While the ground beef is browning, cook your rice. When both your ground beef and rice are cooked, assemble your plate (or bowl if you choose!)  I started with rice, added some fritos, ground beef and then my lettuce, cheese and sour cream.

Mix it all up, add some salsa and enjoy!!

It's really silly to have a recipe for this since it's SO easy.  It's really all about what you want on your taco salad and how you want to prepare it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Best Chocolate Cake You'll EVER eat!!

Seriously.  This cake is good.  I made this cake in a 9x13 pan for a dinner get together at my Parent's house.  There were four kids and eight adults and there were maybe 6 pieces left.  The kids enjoyed it, the adults enjoyed it, it was even good as leftovers!

As you can see, everyone was eager to get a piece of this deliciousness!

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cake
Recipe from: Hershey's

2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


Preheat your oven to 350*.  Prepare two 9-inch cake pans.

Stir together all of your dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk, oil & vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Stir in your boiling water.  Mix until the water is combined thoroughly.  The batter will be very thin.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick/knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then allow to cool on a cooling rack.

On the website there are directions for making this as cupcakes, bundt cake or 8inch cakes. I've made it as cupcakes before and they've been just as tasty but I still think the cake reigns supreme!

The cake is so moist.  My only complaint is that the cake is so moist that it's sticky which makes it a little tough to handle.  I wonder if reducing the amount of hot water added would help that a little? Maybe I'll try that next time!

Recipe from: The Little Kitchen

1 cup of milk
1 (3.4oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding
8 oz of cream cheese at room temperature
1 (12oz) container of Cool-Whip

Mix the dry instant pudding mix with the cup of milk until incorporated well and the pudding begins to settle.

In a seperate bowl, whip the cream cheese up a little bit and then add the Cool-Whip.  Mix well.  Add the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture and whip until everything is incorporated.

Frost the cake when completely cool.  I would suggest make either a double batch or 1.5 batches of frosting if you want to do a layered cake.  Because the cake is so moist, you don't need much frosting in the middle of the layers. However, you might like a little extra to cover the cake.

Tip:  Be sure you let your cream cheese fully come to room temperature. When I made this as the 9x13 cake I allowed it to fully come to room temperature and the frosting was a smooth, velvety texture.  When I made it to frost the 9-inch layered cake, I wasn't patient enough and there were small lumps in the frosting mixture.  Since this 9-inch cake was just for fun, I didn't care enough to try and fix it. That's why you don't see a picture of the cake frosted as a whole.