Monday, March 31, 2008

Vanilla Cookies

My Mother gave me this recipe and told me it was "good to have when you want something sweet." It makes a small batch, so feel free to double the recipe. They're delicate and thin, but also chewy, buttery, sweet, and delicious!

1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Drop 1 tablespoon at a time onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Cool on wire rack.

Since vanilla is the key flavor here, do NOT under any circumstances use imitation vanilla flavoring. Yes, it's cheaper. Yes, pure vanilla extract is really expensive. But if you want a vanilla cookie, use real vanilla! I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Anyway....
I always line the cookie sheet with parchment paper whenever I bake cookies. It makes for perfect cookies and makes cleanup easier. I like a chewy cookie so I always under bake them slightly. If you prefer a crunchier cookie, leave them in the oven for slightly longer.
Feel free to add a teaspoon of another flavoring to go with the vanilla extract. I like to try a different flavor each time I make it, just for the fun of variety. Try coconut, lemon, orange, or rum extracts.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Apple Cake

This cake is one of those cakes that makes the whole house smell good while it's baking. Whenever I bake it, the neighbors all seem to peek their heads out to see who's baking something. So GOOD! It's the sole reason I bought a tube pan. If you don't have one, stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and go buy one so you can make this. Seriously. GO!

4 apples
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice (or apple juice)
cinnamon and sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan. Set aside.
Peel, core, and quarter each apple. Cut each quarter into 5 slices. Set aside. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and baking powder until well combined.
Place 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar. Arrange 1/3 apple slices in pan. Sprinkle again with cinnamon and sugar.
Do this 2 more times.
Bake 1 1/4 hours or until an inserted toothpick comes out relatively clean.

To keep the sliced apples from turning brown, give them a little splash and toss with a little orange juice.

Joey's Wonderful Spinach

A few years ago, I was at a restaurant, celebrating Christmas Eve. Literally everyone in our party of 10 ordered the spinach. I figured, well, if it's that good, I guess I should order it too. Let me just tell you, it was wonderful! As our meal continued, the conversation turned to me and everyone wanted to know if I could recreate this recipe at home. I tried to recognize the different flavors I was tasting and thought, yeah, I bet I can. Over the next few days, I gave it a try. After a few tries, I finally came up with it. I told my friend, Trish, about it and made it for her. When she tasted it, she said "That's wonderful!" and from then on my new recipe had a name.
Thanx Trish!

1 stick butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bags fresh spinach
2 tbs Anisette liqueur
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil

In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Give it a quick stir. Add the spinach leaves all at once. Cover. Using tongs or a large spoon, periodically turn the spinach over to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Replace the lid after each stir so that the steam will help the cooking process. Be patient. It will all eventually cook down. Remove lid. Add Anisette and sun dried tomatoes. Let it cook for just a few minutes more. Serve immediately.

The amounts listed are just an outline. Feel free to adjust everything to suit your own tastes. It's sort of like the Cass Quaile School of Cooking. In this case, she'd say something like "Do you like a lot of garlic? Add a lot of garlic. Do you like a lot of tomatoes? Add a lot of tomatoes." Thanx, Mom.

Poultry Brine

This brine works with the added power of pickling spices which increases the moisture in poultry with some great seasonings for more flavor.

1 gallon water
1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon tarragon

Dissolve salt and brown sugar in water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Allow to cool. Add vinegar and spices. Brine for 1 hour per pound.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Cornbread on top, chili on the bottom. What's not to love? I saw this on a cooking show once upon a time and decided to come up with my own version of it. I tried a little of this and a little of that until I finally found what I wanted. I like to serve it with a big dollop of sour cream on top. How fun is that?? Hope you like it!

2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) pork and beans
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of sugar
a few dashes Tabasco sauce

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium high heat. Drain excess fat. Add diced onions and continue to saute for a few minutes. Add diced tomatoes, pork and beans and tomato paste. Stir until well combined. Add sugar, cumin and Tabasco sauce. Stir again until well combined. Remove from skillet and place in a 9x13x2" casserole dish. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and corn muffin mix. Pour batter over beef mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cornbread is done and the chili is bubbly on the bottom.

Even though there's only a pinch of sugar, it's really important to the dish because it gives the smallest hint of sweetness to balance out the heat from the Tabasco. If you're all about the heat, then by all means feel free to crank it up with some chopped jalapenos, chili powder or anything else your spicy little heart desires.
If you don't have a big gang to feed, you can make a smaller batch. Just cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8x8" casserole dish.

Hawaiian Style Turkey Brine

This brine is a bit different since it uses sweet ingredients instead of savory or spicy. The pineapple juice works well to tenderize the turkey meat while the brine adds moisture.

4 quarts pineapple juice
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 cups soy sauce
1 cup light maple syrup
1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
4-6 whole bay leaves
2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed

Combine all ingredients. Place turkey in large container and pour brine over. Cover and allow to brine for 1 hour per pound.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Flossie Chicken Salad

One of the funniest and favorite people on the planet is my friend Jessie, also known as Floss. She gave me this recipe and it's really REALLY good.

1 small rotisserie chicken
zest of 1 lemon
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
3-5 (or more) fresh basil leaves
a bunch of mayonnaise
freshly ground pepper
pinch of sea salt.

Pull all the meat off the chicken. Chop the basil and mix it with lemon zest, salt, pepper, mayo and lemon juice. Stir it all together and enjoy - even better when you let it sit overnight!


The thing that makes this recipe so good is the freshness from the lemon juice and basil. Adding onion might compete with that but feel free to add some finely diced celery if you're looking for an added crunch.

Savory Turkey Brine

This turkey brine gets a portion of its salt from vegetable stock. The combination of spices and herbs will give your turkey a rich flavor.

2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup salt (3/4 cup Kosher or coarse salt)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 quarts cold water

In a large pot combine vegetable stock, salt and herbs over a medium heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add cold water.
Place turkey in a large plastic container. Pour brine over top, cover and refrigerate. Brine for 1 hour per pound.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kidney Bean Casserole

This is a fabulous alternative to the usual baked beans. Our good friend Georgie Allison made it for a Quaile Family BBQ a long time ago and everyone absolutely LOVED it. I also made it for Marie's birthday and it received RAVE reviews. (even from people who "don't usually like to eat beans").It couldn't be simpler to make and it's SO tasty!!! like, REALLY delicious!

1 stick butter
2 tart apples, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 tsp. curry powder
2 cups brown sugar
2 tbs. vinegar
dash salt and pepper
2 (28oz) cans whole tomatoes, chopped up a bit
4 (15oz) cans kidney beans
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, melt butter. Add onions, peppers, apples, and curry powder. Saute until tender. Add brown sugar and give it a good stir. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Drain tomatoes well and add to bowl. Drain beans well, then add them to the bowl along with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Mix well.
Pour into a large casserole dish and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

This is a great dish for friends who choose not to eat meat or dairy. You can easily substitute oil for the butter.
The key to this dish is the curry. Usually when you say 'curry', people think of Indian cuisine, but it's totally different in this recipe. It goes so well with the sweetness of the brown sugar and apples, and people can't seem to put their finger on what that taste is. They say "is that cinnamon?" Come to think of it, I wonder what it would taste like if I were to substitute cinnamon for the curry....hmm.....I just might try that sometime!!!
For another variation, try adding other kinds of beans. Instead of adding all red kidney beans, add some white and black beans to make a tri color or 3 bean casserole (as pictured alongside the Crock Pot Pulled Pork).
This makes quite a bit which is perfect if you're cooking for a big gang, but if you only have a few mouths to feed, you can easily cut the recipe in half.

Cranberry Turkey Brine

What better to brine a turkey in than cranberry? This turkey brine recipe is perfect for a traditional turkey dinner.

2 quarts cranberry juice
1 quart water
1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
12 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly smashed
4 springs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
6-8 bay leaves

Combine ingredients and place in a large pot. Add turkey to pot, making sure that brine covers turkey. If not, add more water to mixture. Brine for 1 hour per pound.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chicken DiQuaile

Hey, who are the young hotties in this picture???? Several years ago (approximately around the time that this picture was taken..), I decided to take the recipe for Chicken Divan and come up with a variation of it. Instead of cheddar cheese, I used Swiss cheese. Instead of broccoli, I used asparagus. Instead of bread crumbs, I used french fried onion rings. You get the idea. It turned out to be delicious!! When I made it for my friend, Jason, he immediately announced that this was his favorite dish in the entire world. I said ok, then you have to give it a name. So instead if Chicken Divan, it was officially dubbed Chicken DiQuaile!

Thanx Jason!

1 medium onion
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 bunch asparagus
olive oil
8 oz (or more) shredded Swiss cheese
1 large can Durkee French Fried onion rings
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
milk to fill one soup can
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut onion into large dice. Cut chicken into small bite sized pieces. Cut off the thick ends of the asparagus. Pour a little olive oil into a hot skillet. Saute diced onions and chicken pieces until the onion is soft and the chicken is cooked almost all the way through. In the meantime, place the asparagus in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until still slightly crisp-tender. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the Swiss cheese, the cans of soup + plus milk to fill one can, and about 3/4 of the french fried onion rings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined. Now remove the chicken and onions from the skillet and add to the soup/cheese mixture. Add the asparagus and stir until everything is well coated with sauce. Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining onions rings over the top and bake for another 10-15minutes or until bubbly. Serve as is or over your favorite rice.

Whenever Jason and I make this, I always buy an additional small can of the french fried onion rings because we always wind up eating the reserved onion rings before it's time to sprinkle them on top!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dottie's Corn Casserole

My sister, Jeanie, discovered this dish when she attended an event and decided to make it for our family's Thanksgiving dinner. It was an immediate hit and it's now a permanent part of our yearly menu. But why wait until Thanksgiving?? It's fabulous as a side dish for any time of the year! NO, it's not my own recipe, but it has been one of my most requested and biggest hits! And frankly, we have no idea who Dottie is.

1 stick butter, melted
3 cans corn: yellow, white, cream style
1 8oz container sour cream onion dip
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
3 eggs, slightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Swirl some of the melted butter in a 9x13 casserole dish. Pour the rest of the butter into a large mixing bowl. Drain ONLY one can of corn, either the yellow or the white. Add to mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Pour into casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the center is set and top is lightly golden.

Make sure you don't over bake. One of the best things about this casserole is its creamy texture intermingled with the snap of the corn. If you over bake it, it'll become more dry and less creamy. Just bake it until it's set in the center and lightly golden around the edges.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joey's Fresh Tomato Pie

   This recipe started out as a recipe from Paula Deen. I saw it many years ago and thought it would be a great addition to my family's Easter Brunch menu.  I made it and it was a HUGE hit. Actually, the first year I made it, I thought, "well, I'll just see if anyone likes it." It was gone in a matter of minutes and everyone said 'You only made ONE? What were you thinking??" LOL So now I make TWO of them every year for our Brunch. Love it. 
But here's the thing.. over the years, I've sort of tweaked the recipe a little bit here and there, so it's still basically the same, but now I've rewritten it below to include a few of my tweaks. I think this year's brunch was the best ever!
 The biggest problem I found was that the fresh tomatoes were too juicy. All that extra moisture just made a soggy pie. No matter what I did, I couldn't find the right solution. Even though the original recipe said to salt them and let them drain for ten minutes. I would let them drain for an hour or longer.. Still too soggy. I diced them instead of sliced them. Still too soggy. So then I decided to try and thicken it a little. I added a sprinkle of flour. Hmmm... better, but not the answer. Still too soggy. 
  Then it finally came to me. This year, I decided to ROAST the tomatoes first. Boom! This was the ah ha moment! Not only would it greatly reduce the amount of moisture, but it would also concentrate the tomato flavor. WIN WIN!  Now I think this recipe is where it needed to be! Sometimes I think it's good to revisit a recipe now and then and tweak it to suit our everchanging tastes, dontcha think?

4 or 5 medium tomatoes 
a few tbs of oil
salt and pepper
pinch or two of sugar
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped 
3 scallions, chopped 
2 tbs flour
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella 
1 cup grated cheddar 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Slice each tomato horizontally into 4 or 5 thick slices. In other words, if the tomato is standing with the stem end on top, slice it sideways. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a little oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast in the oven until most of the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes are soft. Scoop them off the tray to a cutting board, and roughly chop them. Add them to a mixing bowl with your chopped scallions, basil, and 2 tbs flour. Gently toss to combine. Place your tomato mixture in your previously blind baked pie crust. Using the same mixing bowl, stir together the cheeses and mayo. (I find it's easier to do this with my hands, not unlike one mixes ground beef).
 Spread your cheese mixture over your tomato mixture. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until the cheese and started to brown on top. Let it cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The last time I made this, I didn't have time to blind bake the crust, so I just cranked the heat up and baked the whole thing at 400º. That helps to cook the crust before the filling! 
BTW, even though I changed Paula's recipe, I still kept her picture. 
Why? because it's nice and I like it!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Crazy Paul's Chicken Jamboree

This is Paul's favorite food on the planet, which is why it was named for him. It uses the Shish Kabob Marinade as a base, but instead of using it to grill, it's reduced in a saucepan and used as a sauce. I didn't come up with the name, but somehow the name just stuck, so there ya have it. Maybe sometime Paul will tell everyone the PROPER way to eat chicken jamboree. So funny!

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 large onion, sliced
1 large green bell pepper, sliced

Shish Kabob Marinade:
1 8oz bottle Wishbone Regular Italian Dressing
2 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce

flour tortillas, burrito size
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

In a large skillet, place sliced onions and peppers and a little oil. Saute over medium heat until they begin to soften. Meanwhile cut chicken into small bite sized pieces. Add chicken to the skillet and saute until the chicken is almost but not all the way cooked through. Remove everything from the skillet and set aside in a large bowl.
Add marinade to skillet and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it reduce by about half, stirring frequently. During this process be careful not to inhale too closely to the steam because the spices will punch you in the sinuses! After the sauce is reduced, add the chicken, peppers, and onions back into the skillet and toss to coat. Remove from skillet when chicken is cooked all the way through.
Warm flour tortillas in the microwave for about 10 seconds or covered in a warm oven. Spoon some jamboree onto the center of a tortilla, then top with sour cream and cheddar cheese. Fold up the tortilla and enjoy!
Paul? would you like to add anything?

Shish Kabob Marinade

This marinade is fabulous on anything you can grill. London broil, chicken, seafood, veggies, portobello mushrooms, ALL delicious! Yes, of course, it's great on shish kabobs too. My fabulous, gorgeous, talented, youthful, vibrant, funny, caring and all-around wonderful sister, Cathy, gave me this recipe. I'm not sure where she got it, but like I always say, since she gave it to me, she gets the credit!
Btw, not only is it awesome on th3 grill, but also try it on baked foods as well! Marinate some boneless chicken overnight, then place it on a tray and bake at 350 until it's cooked through. Be sure to keep a little extra aside from the raw meat so you can drizzle a little extra over the top when serving. SO good!
Thanx, Sister!

1 8oz bottle of Wishbone Regular Italian dressing
2 tbs. brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce

Whisk all ingredients together and use it to marinate whatever you'd like to cook, especially if you're cooking on the grill!
That's all there is to it! Love it!

The key to this recipe is the Italian dressing. It MUST be Wishbone brand and it MUST be REGULAR Italian. Not lite, not zesty, not robusto, just REGULAR Wishbone Italian dressing. If you use something else, you'll get an entirely different result. And by the way, if you like to order Chinese food and you have a million packets of soy sauce leftover, 7 packets = 1/4 cup. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'!

Marie's Fruit Salad Dressing

You always have salad dressing when you're serving a fresh crisp green salad, so why not have a dressing for your fruit salad as well? It's surprisingly tasty and adds an incredible freshness to any combination of fruit. Just pour over berries, melons or other fruits for a wonderfully fresh light summer dessert! This is Marie's recipe and I absolutely LOVE it!
Thanx Red!

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Simply stir all ingredients together and pour over your favorite diced fruits.

Since I'm all about presentation, I like to use fruits that are different colors, specifically blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi and grapes. YUM!
If you'd like to make a citrus salad, such as oranges or grapefruit, just omit the lime juice. There's no need to add the lime since you already have enough citric acid in the dish. Be sure to "Supreme" the grapefruit or orange segments. This just means slicing in between the membranes to harvest the pulp segments and leaving the membranes behind.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Peaches and Cream Cheese Cake

This is a recipe that Harry's wife, Delores, made for us once upon a time. It's really simple to make and people go CRAZY for it! It's Miss Melissa's favorite birthday treat. (Always make one for the birthday party, and then another one for her to take home!) It's also Mat's favorite "Joey dessert". My brother Chris told me "You should be manufacturing these!" I can't claim the recipe as my own, but I'm not gonna lie, I did make it famous! Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 pkgs (3.5 oz) cook and serve pudding mix (not instant)
6 tablespoon soft butter or margarine
2 cans (15-20 oz) sliced peaches, drained, reserve juice
2 pkgs (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
6 tbs reserved peach juice
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the first seven ingredients for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into prepared pan. Place the drained peaches over the batter. Combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and reserved peach juice. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Spoon to within 1 inch of edge of batter. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tbs sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over entire filling. Place pan in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is golden. Filling will appear soft. Chill completely before serving. Store in fridge.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This is an absolute MUST on Carrot Cake, but also try it on Black Magic Cake or any kind of spice cake. Delish!

2 8oz pkgs cream cheese
2 sticks butter
5 cups 10x powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

When I'm making an Orange Creamsicle Cake, I just add some grated orange zest or orange extract to the recipe, but for a Moe's Lemon Cake, I use the recipe for Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Some recipes use as much as 6 cups of powdered sugar, but I always find that to be too sweet, so I cut it down to 5 cups. I've even gone as low as 4 cups. I wouldn't go any lower because then you run the risk of it being too soft.

7 Up Bundt Cake

My mother tried this recipe a long time ago and I've loved it ever since. She first got the recipe from the little recipe booklet that came with the Bundt pan and she said it was good because it makes "a nice size cake". She always knew best!

3 sticks butter, softened
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tbs. lemon juice
3/4 cup 7UP (plus a little extra for the glaze)
Confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, lemon juice, and 7UP. Mix well. Pour into greased bundt pan. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar or drizzle with glaze.

For an easy glaze, just mix a little splash of 7 Up with some confectioner's sugar until you reach the right consistency then simply drizzle over the cooled cake.

Milky Way Cake

Several years ago, I made this cake for a party. It was the hit of the night and it was GONE in a flash! After that, all it took was a mere mention of it, and people would suddenly say things like "mmmmmmm" and "ooooo" about it. For some reason, I sort of forgot about it for a while, but now it has made a HUGE comeback! Robert and Jenn (known to me as Robbie and Patsy) asked if I'd make it for their after Christmas Christmas Party, and the cake was literally gone in less than 30 minutes. I'm not even kidding! Jenn was SO mad that she didn't get any! So now, of course, whenever I make it, I make sure to set a piece aside for her. I'm glad that you like it, Patsy!

6 milky way bars (full size)
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk*
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan and set aside. Melt 1 stick of butter with the milky way bars in microwave or in double boiler. Whisk together until well combined and smooth. Set aside. In separate mixing bowl, cream together the other stick of butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. In small bowl, sift together the flour and the baking soda. Add flour mixture to the batter a little at a time alternately with the buttermilk. Now add the candy mixture and the vanilla. Mix well. Pour into prepared cake pan and place in oven. Bake for 70-80 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

Frost with Milky Way Icing

To make buttermilk - measure 1 1/4 cups milk into a small microwave safe bowl. add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Microwave for 30-45 seconds. The milk will immediately curdle which is exactly what you want. If you don't have a microwave, just combine the milk and vinegar and let it sit for a while. As it comes to room temperature, it will eventually curdle. The microwave just speeds up that process.

White Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Squares

I found this recipe online when I was looking for something raspberry to make for Trish and the Project Runway gang. I changed it slightly and also added white chocolate chips to it. What's not to love, right? Not only was it a big hit with Trish, but it's now Josh's most favorite "Joey dessert".
I'm so glad you like them, Joshua!!! They're very easy to make too!
Try 'em!

1 c. butter -- room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. rolled oats
1 small jar seedless raspberry jam
1 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9x13" pan, set aside. Mix all ingredients together except the white chocolate chips and jam. Press 1/2 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4" of the edge. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over jam. Crumble the remaining crumb mixture over the top and lightly press it into the jam. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

-An easy way to spread the first layer of dough is to crumble the dough into small clumps across the buttered pan. Then use your hands to press the clumps of dough together to form an even layer.
-Just as I do with brownies, I like to remove the whole batch in one piece and then cut it on a cutting board using a large knife. You'll get a cleaner cut and you won't scratch your baking pan.

Milky Way Icing

This is obviously the perfect icing for Milky Way Cake, but feel free to try it on any other cakes instead of the usual chocolate frosting.

3 milky way bars (full size)
6 tbs. butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Melt together the butter and the milky way bars using microwave or double boiler. Whisk together until well combined and smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix well with mixer. Pour onto cooled bundt and let it ooze down the sides. Be sure to work quickly while the icing is still warm otherwise it will be more difficult to work with and it won't drip down the sides of the cake as nicely.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly

PB&J, Peachtree City style.

  • Two pieces of Pepperidge Farms 9 Grain bread.
  • One dollup of Kroger all-natural peanut butter (the kind where the oil separates and you have to stir it).
  • One heaping tablespoon of homemade strawberry jam
Lightly toast the bread.
Immediately after removing from the toaster, spread the peanut butter on one piece of the bread. Speed is important so that the peanut butter will partially melt.
Spread the jam over the other bread.
Put the two halves together.
Cut into two halves with the sharpest knife you own.

Initial Test Post

This is an initial test post. It doesn't describe how to make anything.

Maybe when I'm feeling more advanced, I'll post a recipe on how to make peanut butter and jelly.

Note that posts can easily have both pictures, and YouTube videos.

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

It's sort of a running joke in my family about how my Mom always explained the recipe for Butter Cream Icing. This is sort of how the original conversation went:

Mom: "Use a half a box or a box of confectioner's sugar..."

Cathy: "ok wait, you just doubled the amount...."

Mom:"Well, do you need alot? Make a whole box. If not, just make a half a box..."

Cathy: "ok, going on..."

Mom: "Then add a stick of butter and some chocolate...."

Cathy: "Wait, some chocolate what?

Mom: "well, do you have cocoa? use that. do you have chocolate syrup? use that. Some chocolate chips? melt them and use that. Some Nestle's Quik? Use that. Use whatever kind of chocolate you have."

Cathy: "ok, how much?"

Mom:"Do you like it to be really chocolatey? Add alot. If not, then don't add alot."

Cathy: "right. got it. going on..."

Mom: ok, then add a little milk until it's enough.

Cathy: "about how much?"

Mom: "just go bloop bloop bloop with the milk a little at a time until you can spread it...."

Anyway, this is how Cathy explained the recipe to me.
Thanx Cath!

I start by mixing a stick of butter and a box of confectioners sugar together really well. Then add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of milk until you get the consistency you want. Then add about 1/3 to 1/2 of Hershey's Cocoa until it's as chocolatey as you like. Then add 1-2 tsp. of vanilla until it tastes like you want it to taste. You may have to adjust at the end by adding more milk (literally a few drops at a time) until it's nice and creamy. (I remember Mom sometimes used Hershey's syrup if she was out of cocoa.)