Friday, October 1, 2010

cinco leches cake

are words necessary?

for the cake:
1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup veg. oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 350'.  mix everything together until well-blended and bake in a 13x9" pan 30-34 minutes.  remove from oven and cool 30 minutes.  poke holes all over the cake with a fork or the end of a wooden spoon.  bigger holes means the milk sauce will absorb better.

for the milk sauce:
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 oz.) can cream of coconut (coco lopez brand)
1/4 cup dark rum
t tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

pour over the cooled cake with a ladle.  wait. until your first few ladles-full have absorbed to add the rest.

whipped cream:

1-2 cups heavy whipping cream (depending on how thick you want this layer)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp dark rum, or more to taste

whip together until to whipped-cream consistency and spread over cake.

refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

meal planning: overview

beau and i are making some changes.  one big change is that we're drastically cutting back on eating at restaurants.  i prefer home-cooked food.  it's healthier, cheaper, and we know what's going into it.  tonight, (with a little help from husband and bestie) i compiled a list of our favorite main-dishes (and a few things we want to have more often) so i can start meal planning!  i'm really excited about this.  in the past when we've stuck to meal planning, it added a nice sense of structure to the day.  anyway, here's the list, in no particular order, for when i need inspiration:

  1. tamale pie
  2. breakfast for dinner (goetta & eggs/pancakes/waffles)
  3. roast chicken 
  4. pork chops
  5. homemade pizza
  6. bean soup
  7. white chicken chili
  8. chicken & dumplings
  9. lentil soup
  10. falafel
  11. enchiladas
  12. salmon patties with dill yogurt sauce
  13. red beans & rice
  14. pot roast
  15. chinese chicken pasta salad
  16. sesame noodles
  17. minestrone
  18. fried chicken & mashed sweet potatoes
  19. chili & cornbread
  20. tacos
  21. lamb stroganoff
  22. mexican burgers
  23. turkey burgers
  24. spaghetti & meatballs
  25. spaghetti carbonara
  26. linguini & basil pesto
  27. baked salmon
  28. pork tenderloin
  29. meatloaf 
  30. baked tilapia
  31. ham (leftovers: ham salad, soup)
  32. tuna casserole
  33. quesadillas
  34. sausage & sauerkraut
  35. cabbage rolls
  36. stuffed peppers
  37. bbq sandwiches/quesadillas
  38. tilapia florentine
  39. homemade pretzels & soup
  40. grilled cheese & homemade tomato soup

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

fresh peach cobbler

i've never been a fan of peach cobbler.  when i've had it in the past, it's been doughy and dull, bland yet overly sweet.  THIS cobbler, however... this cobbler changed my mind forever.  and has probably ruined me for every other cobbler.

get ready for your life to improve significantly.

8 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 stick salted butter, chilled and cut into small piece
1/4 cup water that's been microwaved for 2 minutes

3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

-preheat the oven to 425'.
-in a large bowl, combine ingredients from first list in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly.  pour into a 9x13" pan and bake for 10 minutes.
-while that's baking, combine the flour, sugars, and salt.  blend in the butter using your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal.  stir in the water until just combined.  you still want to see streaks of butter.
-remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over.  sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
-bake until topping is golden- between 20 and 25 minutes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

pink fluff

is it cranberry time yet?
1 lb whole cranberries
1 cup sugar
20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in water/juices
1 cup cream
3 cups mini marshmallows
Chop the cranberries or run them through the food
Mix the chopped cranberries, pineapple (juice and all)
and the sugar.
Just before serving, whip the cream. Fold the cream
and the mini marshmallows into the pineapple-cranberry

Saturday, August 28, 2010

cake mix cookies

i made these for my bestie amanda and her roommate, and she said they were the best thing she'd ever put in her face.

1 box devil's food cake mix
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup strong coffee
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

mix everything together in a bowl with a big wooden spoon.  i made mine pretty huge and used like 1/4 cup dough per cookie.  bake at 350 for about 13 minutes.  let cool 10 minutes minutes before removing from the cookie sheet because they're pretty soft.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

french dip

fresh onion rolls + thinly sliced london broil, rare to med. rare

the jus:

1 carton organic beef broth (32 oz)
1 tbsp. 'better than boullion' soup base, beef
5-6 sprays bragg amino acid
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried rosemary

bring to a boil... stir it up... dip your sammich in it. you can either: a) dip the beef in the jus and then put it on the bun, or b) dip the sandwich in the jus. we prefer the latter.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

toll house pie

from skip to my lou... just wanted to be able to reference it!

½ Cup butter (melted)

2 eggs

½ Cup flour

½ Cup sugar

½ Cup brown sugar

1 Cup chocolate chips

1 regular pie crust- not deep dish

Preheat oven to 325°. Melt butter then set aside. Beat two eggs in a mixing bowl until foamy(I beat with a whisk just well enough to see a few bubbles). Mix in sugars and flour. Slowly stir in butter and then chocolate chips. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake for about 1 hour. This pie freezes beautifully. Serve warm with ice cream. YUMMY! This is such a simple pie and I am always asked for the recipe.


all i had was a deep-dish pie crust, so this is how i did it:

3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

everything else, i did the same.  YUM!

Friday, July 16, 2010

chicken nuggets!

chicken has been my foe in the past. it has intimidated me and i've been afraid to eat it if i'm the one cooking. no longer!

1-2 lbs chicken tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup self-rising flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

combine the flour, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. toss the chicken in the flour mixture to coat well.

in a large pan, melt 1/2 stick of butter 2 tbsp canola oil. when that's hot, toss in 5 cloves of chopped garlic, followed by the chicken. cook 5-10 minutes until chicken is done.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

oatmeal coconut scotchies?

I have no idea what to call these... I happened to snap a picture of the ingredients list, but could not tell you where it came from. Opps! Anyhow, I'm so glad i got that picture because these cookies are killer. Maybe they should be called Oatmeal Coconut Killers? Try them.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 325'. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
Mix together the flour, salt, and soda, then dump into the butter/sugar mix and beat until combined.
Stir or beat in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
I used a big (1/4 cup) ice cream scoop to portion these.
Bake for 12 minutes. Drink with a glass of milk! YUM!

Friday, April 30, 2010

lamb stroganoff

i loosely followed this recipe. but changed it so much that i can't really give it all the credit *grin*

1 (16 ounce) package egg noodles
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1/2 cup white wine (i used pinot grigio, the two-buck chuck variety)
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in onions and mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until very tender. Mix in garlic. Turn heat to low. In another skillet set on medium-high, cook the lamb. Add in the wine, flour, mustard, and sour cream. Add in mushroom/onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

rhubarb delight

Many thanks to my pal Val! The first time I ever had rhubarb, it was in this dessert.

"Rhubarb Delight"
by Mrs. William (Dora) Sabo and Mrs. Roscoe (Judy) Bonderman
Courtesy of the St. Peter's Lutheran Church Cookbook, Moltke Township, MN

SHORTBREAD CRUST: Bake 10 minutes at 325*
1/2 lb. butter
2 c. flour
2 T. sugar

RHUBARB CUSTARD: Slop on top of shortbread, bake 40-45 at 350*
6 egg yolks
2 c. sugar
5 c. rhubarb (about 2 lbs.)
4 T. flour
1 c. cream

MERINGUE: On top of custard, bake at 10-15 minutes at 350*
6 egg whites
12 T. sugar
2 t. vanilla
pinch salt

black bean brownies

We are invited to a Mother's Day Brunch, and the hostess requested only dairy(excluding eggs)/gluten-free items be brought. I found this recipe on allrecipes, and was not disappointed. You really can't taste the beans. Just be sure to puree them well- bean chunks are not so appetizing. The original calls for vegetable oil, which I forgot to add. They're still incredibly moist, and lower in points value. When cut into 16 pieces, they're only 2 Weight Watchers points per. Here is my slightly altered version.

2 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
6 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder*
2 tbsp instant coffee
4 tbsp fiber sure (fiber powder)

*use b.p. if you want cakey brownies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment.
Puree the black beans, then combine with the eggs, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a large bowl; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

alton brown's soft pretzels

tonight, baby jack and i made soft pretzels for dinner using this recipe. the results were outstanding! these are definitely going to become a family tradition. it's a fun, quick, and minimally messy recipe. alton's directions say to use a stand mixer and dough hook. however, we're in a temporary apartment with only the bare necessities kitchen-wise, so i kneaded the dough by hand.

we'll definitely be trying a cinnamon-sugar version of these.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


the next time you make tacos, add a few tablespoons of dill relish to the meat mixture near the end of it's cooking time. just trust me. do it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

peanut sesame noodles

last night, some friends came over and we had an impromptu dinner and movie night. i made my own version of this. it's a keeper! i had almost everything on hand, including some leftover rotisserie chicken that dear amanda so expertly shredded. here's my version!

for the peanut sauce:
in a blender, combine and blend until smooth:

1/2 cup natural (no sugar added) peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger (i used pureed ginger from a tube)
1 tbsp fresh garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp sriracha hot pepper sauce

1 lb spaghetti or linguine, broken into thirds and cooked in heavily salted water
1 rotisserie chicken, picked over and shredded

cook the pasta until al dente. drain and rinse well with cold water. add chicken and pour sauce over. toss well. serve cold or at room temp.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

asian chicken spinach pasta salad

...can anyone suggest a more interesting name? anyway, this salad is delicious, filling, and healthy. you cook the pasta the night before, and marinate it with the shredded rotisserie chicken in one batch of the dressing. then right before serving, dress the salad with another batch of the dressing and toss with the salad/chicken. adapted from this recipe at nobiggie, which is a great blog i just discovered.

the dressing: make two batches of this, keep one in the fridge until the next day

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (i think rice wine vinegar would be good too)
1/3 cup sesame oil (YUM! this makes it spectacular, IMO)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tsp (or more) freshly grated ginger

combine batch #1 in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. combine batch #2 and stick in the fridge. make sure you taste and adjust your seasonings!

the salad, pt. 1: prepare the night before

1 box bowtie pasta
breast meat of 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

the salad, pt. 2:

1 bag spinach
1 small bag snow peas
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 bunch green onions, chopped

assemble! :

cook the pasta until al dente- mine was just right at around 7 minutes in the water. drain and rinse well. combine in a large zip top bag with the shredded chicken and one batch of the dressing. marinate in the fridge over night.

the next day, combine all your fresh ingredients in a large bowl and add the pasta/chicken mixture. toss with your second batch of dressing.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

convert-you carrot cake

(for an 80's themed birthday party!) named because if you don't like carrot cake, this will make you a convert. it made me a believer in the goodness of carrot cake! it's adapted from this recipe. i made it gluten-free for a friend's birthday just by substituting gluten-free all purpose flour. easy peasy! (disclaimer: i'm no expert on GF stuff so just changing the flour might not make it 100% GF.) i'm sure that the oil could be reduced- this cake turned out very moist. i didn't want to risk it, but next time i'm going to try cutting it by at least 1/4 cup.

* 4 eggs
* 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 2 cups all-purpose flour or GF all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* 3 cups grated carrots
* 1 cup chopped pecans

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 4 cups +/- powdered sugar
* 1/4 cup milk +/- (as much as needed)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* pinch of salt
* 2 tbsp lemon juice

-Preheat oven to 350'. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper.
-Beat together eggs, oil, and sugars. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots and pecans. Pour into pan.
-Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

-For Frosting: Whip together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in sugar, lemon juice, salt and vanilla. If it's too thick, add milk. Beat until it's at the spreading consistency you need. You can stretch this frosting out by adding more sugar and milk.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

my perfect brownies

these are fudgy and rich and i can't make them again anytime soon because they're dangerous. my jumping-off point was the recipe on the back of the box of unsweetened Baker's chocolate.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
5 squares unsweetened baker's chocolate
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup white flour
1 packet starbucks via instant coffee
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

-preheat oven to 350'.
-in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate together for two minutes. stir until melted.
-stir in sugar and eggs, the remaining ingredients.
-pour into an 8x8" pan lined with parchment paper. bake 30-33 minutes.
-let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving.

excellent with coffee ice cream.