Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

It is nearing the end of May which means that in about 2 weeks, I am totally screwed.  I have not scheduled any camps which means “Mom, I’m bored” is going to echo through these halls.  Today I am simply focused on making it through final tests and presentations, recitals, baseball games (most of which have been rained out), etc. etc.

Since I am now the Iron Chef of bundt cakes, I made another one using Krista’s recipe.  Yum!  Except that the first time I made it, I turned it over too soon and the pan didn’t release the cake so it broke in half and David affectionately named the blob on the platter the doo-doo cake (but it tastes really good).  Nice – good role modeling.

Ingredients  

  1. Chocolate box cake mix, like Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines 
  2. 8 oz sour cream
  3. 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, like Nestle Toll House
  4. Chocolate pudding mix (i.e., Jell-O chocolate instant pudding and pie filling, 3.9 oz.)
  5. Vegetable oil
  6. Eggs
  7. Powdered sugar

Follow directions on chocolate cake box (this time I used Betty Crocker Super Moist cake mix so this included adding water, vegetable oil and eggs) and then add in pudding mix (only the powder mix – don’t actually make pudding), sour cream, chocolate chips.   

Bake at 325 (or 350 – depending on your cake pan – refer to the cake mix box) for 50-55 minutes.  Test for doneness.  Allow to cool before inverting bundt pan to release the cake. Generously sprinkle with powdered sugar (or ice with cream cheese frosting)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake

I came.  I saw.  I (finally!) kicked some bundt cake a**.  Yep – took me 3 tries until I decided to purchase a new bundt cake pan.  It is all about the equipment.  Mind you, we did not throw away the other 3 cakes.  They were all consumed - they were delicious - they just weren't pretty.

Since we are under a flash flood warning in Dallas, this is not the day to spend at the Arboretum eating my favorite lobster rolls.  So this Mother’s Day is all about the raspberry (and a 9 year old's basketball game).  Started with raspberry French toast casserole and will end it with this cake from Favorite Family Recipes. 

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."  Abraham Lincoln

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who loves, inspires, teaches, shapes, develops, hugs and giggles with a little one (or two or more)!!

Happy birthday Hannah!

Ingredients
White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake
For the cake
  1. 1 pkg. white cake
  2. 1 (5 oz-ish) pkg. instant white chocolate pudding (although Hershey’s instant White Chocolate pudding is 3.56 oz) or vanilla pudding if you can't find white chocolate
  3. 1 c (8 oz) sour cream
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. ½ c water
  6. ½ c oil
  7. 1½ c (12 oz) white chocolate chips, chopped into smaller pieces (I did mine in the mini food processor)
  8. 1 c raspberry pastry or pie filling (I found "Solo" brand pastry/cake filling at Central Market or you can use raspberry pie filling too)

For the icing
  1. 2 (8 ounce) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  2. ½ c butter, softened
  3. 3-4 c powdered sugar
  4. 2 t vanilla extract

Grease and flour a bundt pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix first six ingredients together with a beater. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Fill prepared bundt pan with half of the batter. Spoon half of the raspberry filling in separated spoonfuls over the batter (so it looks like separate clumps of filling over the top). Using a knife swirl the filling through the cake. Do not overdo it! Only swirl around 2-3 times.  Pour remaining batter in evenly and spoon in remaining pie filling, repeating the "swirling" process above.

Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Check for doneness (toothpick, skewer, etc.  If it does not come out clean, place the cake back in the oven for 3-5 min at a time until it does.

Remove from oven. Let cool for 20 minutes.  Flip over the pan and remove.  (Favorite Family recommends putting the cake on a serving plate, wrapping it well in Saran Wrap, and letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator before frosting and serving.)

To frost: in a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar (start with 2 cups then keep adding more until it is nice and thick).  Fill a Ziploc bag with the frosting and cut off the bottom corner depending on how big you want the "frosting strips." Frost cake by squeezing out the frosting from the outside of the cake toward the middle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Happy Tax Day (or whatever else you might be celebrating today)!! 

A friend at work (same one who introduced me (and you!) to the new kale salad) brought this quinoa salad to our recent pot luck.  It was delicious and healthy too (2 things that I don’t always think go together).  Then randomly, I received a call from Erin McKool, owner of Start, the other day (totally about something else – she was not checking in on the recipe) and I took it as a sign that I needed to try this at home.  David is quite impressed by my recent recipes (thanks Charlotte – I owe you!)  If you don’t feel like making it yourself, go through the drive-thru at Start and try it. 

PS – as a mom, I think all places of business should have a drive-thru – I would frequent you more often.   
 
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Ingredients:
Vinaigrette
  1. 1 c extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 2/3 c canola oil
  3. 1 c apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 ½ t lemon juice
  5. 2 t lemon zest
  6. 1 T clove garlic, minced
  7. 1 t dry mustard
  8. 1 t black pepper
  9. 2 t salt 

Salad
  1. 1 c fresh parsley, chopped
  2. 1 c fresh cilantro, chopped
  3. 2 c broccoli crowns, chopped (raw or blanched)
  4. 1 c red onion, small diced
  5. 1 c cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  6. 1 c kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  7. 4 c white quinoa (1 c dry = @ 3 c cooked)
  8. 2 c feta cheese, crumbled

*notes: the amounts above make a very large salad.  I used 1 c of dry quinoa and then halved all other ingredients, including the dressing (and I have dressing leftover – perfect for making this again soon!)  I also blanched the broccoli so it was a little softer but the original recipe calls for raw.

For the vinaigrette dressing:
Whisk all ingredients until thoroughly blended. 

For the salad: 
Toss quinoa together with olives, parsley, cilantro, broccoli, red onion, and cherry tomatoes.

Pour 1 cup + 1 T of the vinaigrette dressing (this amount if following the quantities listed above) over quinoa mix and blend.  Top with crumbled feta cheese. Gently fold in the cheese.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli Salad

Elizabeth and Andrew recently completed a unit on immigrants.  They researched immigrants, created a character, wrote their story and even had their picture taken in immigrant clothing.  Elizabeth selected the name of Amanda.  I’m not sure why but while she is telling us all about the project, my mind jumps to “Amanda” – “A Mann, duh?!?!” and I try to figure out if I can use that somehow for a future holiday card.  I think I missed the point and failed on my ability to “be present” as a parent.

Cake balls and kale salad.  In my book, Charlotte can cook.  Don’t let the health value of this salad turn you away.  You chop up the ingredients so fine in the food processor that all you will taste is flavor and nuttiness and the sweet-tart of the cranberries and the refreshing zing of the dressing.  And then because you’ve been so healthy eating this salad, treat yourself to a cake ball (or two).

Ingredients: 
Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprout and Broccoli Salad
  1. Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch Collection salad mix (10 oz) OR 4 cups of these ingredients mixed:
    • Kale
    • Green Cabbage
    • Red Cabbage
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Broccoli
  2. ½ c Sunflower seeds, roasted and unsalted
  3. ½ c Dried cranberries (like Craisins)
  4. ½ c Parmesan cheese, grated
  5. 2 T Lemon juice
  6. 3 T Olive oil
  7. ½ T Honey
  8. Salt and pepper to taste 

Pour half of the Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch Collection salad mix in a food processor and pulse until chopped.  Remove and place in your mixing bowl.  Repeat with the other half of the bag of salad.  A 10 oz bag will yield about 4 cups of chopped salad.  OR finely chop or place in food processor a mix of kale (tough stems removed), green cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli to create your own salad mix. 

Put sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and parmesan cheese into the chopped salad mix.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and honey and pour over salad mixture.  Toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy! 

PS - because I know you wanted to see the immigrant pictures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meatloaf

On our drive to CO for spring break, we saw a lot of farm roads.  Travis asked “why do all of these roads have their own radio station?” (you know, FM Road #...)

The kids often come home from school and tell me about the really good food that they eat in the cafeteria and could I make that too.  I haven’t found a good recipe for sloppy joes but I did try this meatloaf (to great success and accolades).  Yea me!

Ingredients
  1. 1 T olive oil  
    Meatloaf
  2. 3 C chopped yellow onions (3 onions) – or 3 T onion powder
  3. 1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves – or ½ t dried thyme
  4. 2 t kosher salt
  5. 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  6. 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1/3 c canned chicken stock or broth
  8. 1 T tomato paste
  9. 2 1/2 lbs ground chuck (81 percent lean) – or, I used the Kuby’s meatloaf mix which is ¾ lb ground beef + ¾ lb ground lamb + ¾ lb ground pork
  10. 1/2 c plain dry bread crumbs
  11. 2 large eggs, beaten
  12. 1/2 c ketchup


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. (Or simply add 3 T onion powder to the following mixture of ingredients).  Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.


In a large bowl, combine the ground meat(s), onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meat loaf will be dense. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper (or I put the meat mixture in a loaf pan). Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F and the meat loaf is cooked through.  Serve hot.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Re-post: Tres Leches Bread Pudding in a Crock Pot

#TBS - Throw Back Sunday (yes, I made that up) - the recipe is worthy of a repeat but more importantly, the memory of when, where and how I ate this for the first time:

Good times are worth remembering.
Good friends are worth cherishing.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend but they can't make you giggle like a first grader the way a girl friend can.  The impact of a good friend is immeasurable and indescribable.  Whether you are in first grade or forty...  sometimes you just have to giggle.

Ingredients:
Bread Pudding
Tres Leches Bread Pudding
(diamond accessories optional)
1.      Nonstick spray like Pam 
2.      2 1/4 cups whole milk 
3.      1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
4.      1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk 
5.      1/2 cup sugar 
6.      1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
7.      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
8.      1 teaspoon kosher salt 
9.      9 large egg yolks 
10.  1 loaf challah bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (stale is best) 
Cinnamon Sugar Sauce
1.      3/4 cup sugar 
2.      8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 
3.      1/2 cup buttermilk 
4.      1 tablespoon light corn syrup 
5.      1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
6.      1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
7.      Pinch salt 
8.      1 teaspoon baking soda

Coat the insert of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Line the insert with aluminum foil for easy removal, letting some foil overhand for handles.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and egg yolks. Toss in the cubed bread and mix to coat all the bread.

Add the mixture to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low until the center of the bread pudding is set, about 4 hours. Remove the lid and cool. Use the foil handles to lift the bread pudding from the slow cooker. Drizzle individual servings with Cinnamon Sugar Sauce.

Cinnamon Sugar Sauce
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, buttermilk, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Remove from the heat and slowly add the baking soda.  At first the sauce will bubble up, just keep stirring.  Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicken Chili

Day 20 – how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?  As part of my annual “eat healthier” resolution, I decided to try chicken chili.  A version of this one was our preferred choice and we have made it twice now.  I have also been exercising (thanks to my workout buddy, Travis) and purchased 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies on opening day.  There’s always next year…

Ingredients  
Chicken Chili

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 2 pounds ground chicken
  5. 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  6. 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  7. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  8. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  9. 3 tablespoons flour
  10. 2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  11. 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
  12. 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  13. 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  14. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  15. Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  16. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.