Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots!

Did you ever find a recipe that sounds really tasty but has an ingredient and recipe instructions that just doesn't appeal to you? That's what I saw with this recipe, but I didn't let it stop me because I just loved everything else about the recipe! This recipe called for 4 egg whites...and the whipping of egg whites into stiff peaks! I do not like either of those things because I don't want to waste the egg yolks and I'm not that experienced at the stiff peaks egg white whipping thing! It also called for the use of a pasrty bag and star pastry bag tip...I don't own either of those! Plus that's just too much work for making tater tots!
So I used 1 large egg (including the yolk) and just beat it into the cauliflower mixture! Guess what? It worked perfectly! And I used a 10 oz. box of frozen cauliflower florets instead of fresh, to make it even easier! Just thaw and squeeze the heck out of the cauliflower to drain all the excess liquid! Instead of the pastry bag I just plopped it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet using two spoons. Again, it worked perfectly!

These cauliflower tater tots were delicious! Especially if you're a fan of cauliflower like I am! They have a nice strong cauliflower flavor but are light,fluffy and cheesy! This is a low carb recipe!

Here is the link to the original recipe...'Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots'...and below is my photo of how mine turned out! And I included my easy version of this recipe!
Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots

INGREDIENTS;
1 Medium head of cauliflower - I used 10 oz. frozen thawed and squeezed dry
2 Tbls. heavy cream - I used light cream
2 Tbls. butter
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 egg whites - I used 1 large egg with yolk
salt and pepper to taste - I used 1/4 tsp. of each
garlic powder to sprinkle ontop after baked - my idea

 MY EASY DIRECTIONS;
In a microwave safe bowl add cauliflower, light cream and butter. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Transfer cauliflower mixture to a food processor with cheese and pulse slightly until it's the texture of oatmeal. Add salt and pepper. Place back into bowl. Then add in egg and beat until fully combined.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Drop cauliflower mixture by the spoonful onto parchment paper...you should get about 14 tater tots.
Bake on center rack, uncovered, for about 18 minutes or until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with garlic powder.
Serve warm or room temp.
                                                       

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops with Onions and Cheddar Grits

I found this recipe on My Recipes.com and drooled over the sound of the title! I love everything about it...pork chops smothered with onions and served with cheddar grits?!?! The ingredients were so simple and this was so easy to make! The only change I made was to cook the onions til they were very dark and caramelized! I also added chopped,  jarred,  jalapeno to the grits!

 And I served this with some bacon wrapped oven roasted potatoes too! Yes, I'm a carbaholic and loved every single bite of this delicious meal! The potato recipe is from a blog called 'Never Enough Thyme...when cooking with Lana'. I made my own dipping sauce for the potatoes using creamy ranch dressing, sour cream, French dressing and some fresh chopped chives! It was perfect for the potatoes!

Here are my photos of the pork chops and the potatoes along with the recipe links!
Smothered Pork Chops with Onions and Cheddar Grits

Bacon Wrapped Potatoes
*Click Here For Recipe*


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Apple Pancake Rings and Mini Pancake Stacks

This is another recipe that I found on Pinterest! I thought it looked like a great idea for a breakfast recipe! It tasted very good but it was a pain to make! I tried to make it as easy as possible by using my 'go to' pancake batter recipe. But there were other problems that I did not for see!

Problem #1
Cutting the apples into rings and getting the core out, in a nice circle shape, was a bit of a challenge because I didn't have the proper tools for the job! I sliced the apple into rings and used a soda bottle cap to remove the core by pressing it into the center of each slice! But then I had a problem getting the apple core out of the bottle cap! I had to scrape each one out with the tip of a knife!

Problem #2
After dipping the apple slices into the batter and trying to fry the first slice, I realized that each apple slice would have to be allowed to drip of excess batter before frying or else you won't see the hole in the center of the apple ring! It would fill up with batter during frying! I went to alot of trouble to make that nice hole, so I was going to make sure it was visible.

Problem #3
After frying the first apple pancake ring I noticed that the side of the ring was not cooked! I didn't want to eat raw pancake batter so I had to roll each apple pancake ring on its side in the frying pan to cook it thoroughly!

So other than those 3 problems, it was a great recipe! But I don't think I'll be making them very often! Actually I probably won't make it ever again! In case you want to give this recipe a try here is the link to the original recipe...**Apple Pancake Rings Recipe**

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This next pancake recipe was so much easier to make! I made it using my leftover pancake batter from the apple pancake rings! These are called Mini Pancake Stacks...and yes, I found this recipe on Pinterest also! I know, I'm a Pinterest addict! The original recipe called for whipped cream between the pancakes, but I used strawberry yogurt instead!

To make this recipe, you just need to make lots of mini pancakes and stack them with sliced strawberries and whipped cream between each pancake. Then skewer  them together with sandwich picks! There is no actual recipe posted anywhere for this! There is just a photo of the recipe on Pinterest, but it's pretty self explanatory!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Red, White and Blue Strawberries!


I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so cute for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend! This would also be perfect for the 4th of July...or Veteran's Day...or Election Day...or...well you get the idea!

I don't think I have to write the directions for this, but just in case...this is strawberries dipped in melted white chocolate then dipped in blue colored sugar. The colored sugar can be found in the cake decorating section of most grocery stores!


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And this is another fun thing to do with fruit! White chocolate chips stuffed into blackberries! This gives the fruit a nice balance of tart and sweet!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

I've been loving cajun recipes lately! Probably because I discovered this easy and perfect cajun spice mix recipe...*click here* I love making my own spice mixes especially when I can't find the ones I need in the grocery store! That's what happened the day I found that recipe! I wanted to make some jambalaya and it worked so well that I decided to try other cajun recipes!


This 'Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta' was so delicious and so easy! I've always loved creamy pasta recipes, but I never tried one with a cajun flare! The leftovers even tasted great cold! Here is the blog post where I found this recipe...*click here* This recipe will be made often in my house!


Don't Believe Everything You See On Pinterest!!!

I saw this recipe for 'Strawberry Smores' on Pinterest! It was one of those recipes that was 'Re-Pinned' alot!!! The photo looked soooo inviting and delicious! It also sounded VERY easy to make! WRONG!!!! First check out this link for the recipe...*recipe link*
The main problem with this recipe is that the marshmallow fluff does not stay contained in the cavity of the strawberry! It oozes out as soon as you lay it down! So now you have a large mess of fluff all over the plate! And it doesn't really taste like a smore because the marshmallow isn't roasted! You're better off just cramming a whole marshmallow into the strawberry. Or maybe try roasting a marshmallow and then sticking it into the strawberry! Or just make some smores the old fashioned way and serve it with some strawberries on the side! Here's is my photo of the finished product! Don't let the pic fool you! That's how I got tricked into trying these! You can't see the messy fluff dripping out the top of the strawberries from this angle.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Cool Way to Make Baked Potatoes!

The recipe caught my eye because of the photo! I love to find new ways to make potatoes and this definitely looked like something new! The recipe is called 'Roasted Fan Shaped Potatoes'...*click here* to see recipe. It's seasoned with salt, butter and grated parmesan cheese! I also added garlic powder! It's easy to make! The hardest part is thin slicing the potato without cutting all the way through the potato! But other members who reviewed the recipe shared their secret for making that a breeze to do! Here is my photo of that secret...
All you need to do is place the potato between two wooden spoons! The spoons become your guide so that you don't slice completely through the potato! So easy!!! I served mine with a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives and some sour cream on the side, as you can see in my photo above!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Banana Burritos!

I found this recipe idea on the Internet! It was so easy and very good! I love peanut butter and jelly, but I never tried it with a banana before...and I just NEVER thought to wrap it up in a flour tortilla! There are some very creative cooks on the web! I'm constantly amazed at the recipes I find!

To make this just take a burrito size flour tortilla and microwave it for 15 seconds, just to make it bendable. Then spread a layer of peanut butter and jelly on the tortilla. Place a peeled banana in the center, then just roll it up like a rug! Slice in half and enjoy!

Here is the link to the original recipe...*click here*

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Crab and Spinach Souffle's

I love to figure out ways to use up leftover stuff that I have in my freezer! I had some leftover imitation crab meat and some leftover frozen chopped spinach that was just sitting there begging for me to use it! I looked around the web trying to find a recipe that I had all the ingredients for! Well, nothing came close, so I just did a 'super tweak' of a basic crab casserole recipe! I was very pleased with the results! This dish was everything I had hoped for...it was light and fluffy, with a good balance of flavors! You could taste both cheeses and you could taste the crab along with the spices! This was quick to put together, which is always an added bonus!
Crab And Spinach Souffle's
INGREDIENTS;
6 oz. imitation crab meat-chopped fine
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach-thawed and squeezed dry
8 oz. cream cheese-I used fat free
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 large eggs-beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
DIRECTIONS;
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter the inside of 6 ramekins and place on a cookie sheet.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Spoon the mixture evenly into all the ramekins.
Bake on center rack, uncovered for 30 minutes or until browned.
Serve warm.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Iced Chai Tea



I love all things Chai! I've tried many Chai flavored teas and the brand that I think has the most flavor is Good Earth...I always buy the decaf version! I love the strong spices that this tea has. Many tea brands are weak and bland. But I never let those other brands go to waste! That's where my Iced Chai Tea idea came from! I thought they tasted better cold than hot! I brew them real strong. Then just add a french vanilla creamer (yes, I love it with Coffeemate! It's not just for coffee) and a sweetener...either Splenda or regular sugar, along with some really good spicy hot ground cinnamon! I keep the Chai Iced Tea in a pitcher in my fridge. Then I just put some in a glass with ice and I'm good to go!
Here is how I brewed this batch. I measured 2 cups of water in a microwave safe measuring cup. I microwaved it on high for 4 minutes. Then I added 8 chai tea bags, stir then covered it with plastic wrap and let it steep for 10 minutes...Then squeeze and remove tea bags!
I love my cute little pear kitchen timer!
I used this brand of chai for the iced tea because it was one of those tea brands that tasted better cold than hot! After I brewed the tea I added some spicy hot ground cinnamon powder (1/4 tsp.) to give it more flavor! Stirring til well blended. Then I added 8 packets of Splenda and 1/4 cup of french vanilla creamer and 3 cups of cold water. Stir again! It's so good! Perfect for a warm day...so refreshing and soothing! Chai always has that effect on me! People tell me that chamomile is a relaxing type of tea, but I don't agree! Chai does it for me! Even when it's iced! If you love the flavor of chai, give this a try...ha ha..it rhymes!

Chai Decaf Tea Bags (any brand will do)
 Saigon Spicy Hot Cinnamon Powder
CoffeeMate French Vanilla Creamer


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Antipasto Salad Bowl

When I have large family dinners (20-24 guests) for holidays I always make my antipasto platter! Everyone always looks forward to it! I serve this before the main dish. I usually make the antipasto salad on a platter or a casserole tray. For smaller gatherings I decided to make individual servings in lettuce leaves. That way everyone gets a little bit of everything! Sometimes with a large platter, my guests will pick out certain items! When that happens some guests don't get all the items they want! So these individual serving bowls solves that problem! And they look so cute! You can add whatever you like to yours, but below I'll show you how I make mine!
INGREDIENTS;
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 small red onion-sliced thin
1 small jar roasted red peppers-sliced into thin strips
1 small jar spanish olives
2 medium tomatoes-sliced into rings
1 english cucumber-sliced thin
8 deli cooked ham slices-thin
8 deli hard salami slices-thin
8 deli provolone cheese slices-thin
12oz. italian salad dressing *click here for recipe*

DIRECTIONS;
Crack the core of the head of letuce on the counter to loosen. Then remove the core and a few outer lettuce leaves.
Slightly loosen the outer leaves and wash under cold running water. Then gently peel away each whole lettuce leaf being careful not to tear them. I usually get at least 8 large leaves from 1 head of lettuce. Place the leaves on a very large serving platter.
                       ~~~~~~~~TO ASSEMBLE~~~~~~~~~
Place one slice of each of the deli items in the bottom of each lettuce leaf. This creates a barrier so that all of the marinated ingredients won't make the lettuce soggy, while stored in the fridge.
Then layer all the other ingredients on top of that, in any order you wish. Use about 3 pieces of each item, in each salad bowl. I just try to make it as colorful as possible by not putting similar colored ingredients too close to each other.
Then cover the platter with plactic wrap and refridgerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve make sure to pass the salad dressing to your guests, so they can sprinkle it on their salad.
I have made this salad 24 hours in advance. It keeps very well in the fridge.






Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sauerkraut Balls!

Ohio is well known for their Sauerkraut Balls and now so am I because my guests loved this! This tastes like a cheese dog with sauerkraut! I served this with yellow mustard for dipping. This was a unique and very flavorful appetizer/snack! Perfect for any get-together! These can very easily be made a day ahead and then baked when needed!
INGREDIENTS;
1 lb. smoked kielbasa - minced
1 large onion - minced
1 Tbls. corn oil
1-16 oz. can sauerkraut - well drained and finely chopped
1-8 oz. cream cheese - softened
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg - lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS;
Cook onion in a skillet with 1 tbls. oil, over medium high heat, until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

 
Then mix the cooked onions,chopped sauerkraut, cream cheese, cayenne pepper and minced kielbasa together.

 
Cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours.

 
Mix egg in another small bowl.

 
Place seasoned bread crumbs in a medium bowl.

 
Roll the chilled sausage mixture into 1 inch balls.

 
Dredge sausage balls, one at a time, in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs.

 
Bake sausage balls in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown (approximately 15 minutes)

 
This recipe makes about 44 balls. Serve with yellow mustard for dipping.


 

Flower Power Eggs!

I saw this recipe idea posted on Pinterest! I thought it was cute! I love the creative food on that site!
I just had to try it!  I love peppers and eggs, so I knew this would taste great! Here is my photo of the eggs cooking in the pan! I like my eggs sunnyside down, so it didn't look much like a flower after I turned it over! So don't turn it over if you want it to look like a flower!
Here is the link to the blog for this recipe...Flower Power Eggs Recipe
I cooked my pepper rings for a few minutes on each side before adding the egg because I like cooked peppers!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Sweet Cravings!

Sometimes I just need something sweet to eat, but I don't usually keep lots of desserts in the house! So that's when I have to get creative and just throw things together that I already have in the pantry! The following photos are some of the sweet snacks that I came up with! 
Both of these snacks take only a few minutes to make!


As you may have noticed 'My Sweet Cravings' always involve chocolate!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Time For Another McCormick Spice Giveaway!

This is what you will receive in the giveaway!
Do you remember this post...A Great Giveaway...well it's time to do another one! I've really been enjoying my McCormick Gourmet Recipe & Seasoning Mixes! And since these mixes are not yet available in stores, this is a great opportunity for one lucky reader to try them! So far this is my favorite one...

Creamy Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato
Chicken Penne
As you can see in my photo, I didn't use penne pasta, I used rotelle...any shape pasta is fine! This was so very creamy, cheesy and delicious! This meal tasted very similar to ala vodka without the vodka! This was also the easiest one to make so far! You just have to saute some chicken in butter, add canned diced tomatoes along with the seasoning packet, some heavy cream and grated parmesan cheese! Then just pour it over cooked pasta and you're done!!!

Check out this link to see all of their seasoning mix packets! You'll be receiving 2 of each in this giveaway...McCormick website

To Enter... 
  • Stand on one foot while jumping up and down and screaming 'I love giveaways'
  • Hug a stranger.
  • Adopt a tree in my name.
  • And leave a comment below telling me that you did all that!  Okay...Okay!!! Just leave a comment below and forget all the other stuff! US residents only. One comment per person please. Then come back on Mother's Day to see who the winner is! I will be picking a winner at random using this website...Random Line Picker The winner will be asked to email me their name and address within 48 hours of announcing the winner. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.

Good Luck Everyone!


*~*~*~* UPDATE *~*~*~*

The Winner Is...
Lori
Congratulations!!!!
Please email me with your full name and address within 48 hours so I can send your prize out right away!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

Stay tuned in the near future for more giveaways! 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Basil Infused Olive Oil in 10 Minutes!

I received some basil infused olive oil as a gift and loved it! When the oil was all gone I missed having it around! So I decided to make some myself. It's very easy to do! Two ingredients and three simple steps and you'll have this delicious infused olive oil!

I love to dip Italian bread into the oil and eat it with a piece of hard cheese. And a glass of wine goes nicely with that too! It's also delicious drizzled over pasta! Infused oils can be very expensive to buy! So making it yourself is a great way to save money and have the satisfaction of knowing that you can do it!
                                                      
Basil Infused Olive Oil

INGREDIENTS;
7 large fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
DIRECTIONS;
Place the basil leaves in a small microwave safe bowl with the olive oil. Mash the leaves into the oil with a fork. Do this thoroughly to release as much flavor from the leaves as possible.
Heat the oil and mashed leaves in the microwave on high for about 15 seconds. Do not let the oil boil, just get it warm to release the flavor of the basil leaves.
Remove from microwave and mash the leaves again. Then line a funnel with a coffee filter and pour the infused oil into the funnel over a bottle. Allow the oil to drain into the bottle. You may need to squeeze the filter slightly, to help it drain.
You can store the infused oil on the counter top if you plan on using it all within a week...mine is ALWAYS gone in less than a week! Or you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. In the fridge the oil will solidify. Just remove it from the fridge a few minutes before using it so that the oil can liquefy.
There are so many uses for this infused olive oil! Drizzle it over pizza. Add it to pasta sauce or salad dressing! Drizzle it over sliced mozzarella with sliced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. The possibilities are endless! 
I hope you will give it a try! And if you do, please comeback and tell me about it!

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By the way...Make sure you comeback tomorrow because I'll be doing another McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Giveaway!!! One lucky winner will receive 12 spice packs!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You'll Love These Balls!

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls
And they're actually healthy too! They're made with lots of natural ingredients like quinoa, oatmeal, shredded coconut, almonds, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, peanut butter(1 tbls) and honey. They taste so nutty, sweet and crunchy! A very satisfying snack! And these are so easy to make...no baking involved!
I found this recipe on a blog called 'Eat, Live, Run" written by a woman named Jenna. Here is the link to her blog and this recipe...Jenna's blog click here

Next time I'll be making a double batch of these because the recipe only makes 14 balls! That will only last about 3 days in my house, if the kids don't eat any!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Can't Believe I Made It!!!

I never realized how easy it is to make homemade ice cream!!! So why doesn't everyone make their own? Is it because they don't know how easy it is? Do I have the only ice cream machine that makes it this easy? I can't believe that all I had to do was mix a few common ingredients into a bowl and then add it to my ice cream maker! Then I just turned on the switch and 20 minutes later I had this delicious, cold, creamy creation!

This is my new ice cream machine that I won in a Facebook giveaway! I mentioned it in this previous post...'My Prize' 
This is such a great invention! There is only one flaw with this machine! The manufacturer should have made it so that the ice cream machine cannot be opened until the ice cream is done being made! I kept eating scoops of fresh made ice cream through the opening in the top. Not a good idea if you want to share this ice cream with your family!

I made Mint Chocolate Chip! One of my favorite flavors! Now I can't wait to create my own unique flavors! I think I'll create an Almond Joy flavored ice cream...and a Canoli Gelato...and a Mango Sorbet! Oh, I think I'm going to be very busy with my new toy! 

 Here's a photo of my first homemade ice cream along with the recipe link! I love this recipe because it doesn't contain eggs! The only change I made was to use light cream instead of heavy cream and I used 1% milk instead of 2%...everything else was as written! 
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-mint-chocolate-chip-ice-cream/detail.aspx
                                                      

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Seis de Mayo

I was so busy yesterday making my Cinco de Mayo recipes, so I decided to post them today!

I made Churros for the first time yesterday! I always buy Churros when I go to carnivals, but now, I'm so happy to say, that I can make them at home!



http://allrecipes.com/recipe/churros/detail.aspx
The link above will take you to the recipe.

I made these Churros as part of my activities for the Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador Program, as I've mentioned many times in other posts! Here is my review of this recipe...
These were VERY good, but a little tricky to get them just right! I love the fact that this is a firm dough because it holds the nice shape of the ridges which Churros are known for! I followed the suggestion of the 'most helpful' reviewer named Cat...I used only 1 tbls. of sugar and oil in the dough batter. But I think the key to getting these to cook perfectly is to make sure the fryer is at 375 degrees and I made sure to fry the Churros for 4 1/2 minutes each. The inside will continue to cook after being removed from the fryer. I made mine about the same size as the Churros I buy from vendors...8 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. I used a cookie gun/press instead of a pastry bag which worked perfectly with this firm dough! I piped all the Churros out onto waxed paper and fried them 2 at a time. These taste just like the Churros I always buy at carnivals!

As you can see from this inside view of my Churro
the center was cooked perfectly! Not raw at all as
some reviewers said was a problem.

I also made these tasty little appetizers! They're called 'Potato Nachos' and they were delicious! They are made by slicing cooked potatoes into rounds and topping them with a sprinkle of dry ranch salad dressing, cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese and jarred jalapeno slices. Then bake and top with sour cream and green onions!
Here is my photo and the link to the recipe...

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/potato-nachos/Detail.aspx
The link above will take you to the recipe.

And the last new recipe I tried yesterday as part of my Allrecipes.com Allstar Program wasn't really a Cinco de Mayo item, but it went very well with all of the above mentioned food!

Smooth Sweet Tea
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/smooth-sweet-tea/detail.aspx
Click on link above to see recipe.


This was my first time drinking Sweet Tea but I know I'll be making this more often! It was such a refreshing and delicate iced tea drink! This is a strong brewed tea but the taste is not as strong as regular iced tea. The trick to making it taste smooth is a pinch of baking soda in the brew! I made mine decaf and added fresh lemon!  This was a perfect recipe for me...not overly sweet!

I hope you like the recipes I showed you today! And I hope I inspired you to give them a try!




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ice Cream Cake...2 Ways!

Buying store bought ice cream cakes can be so very expensive...and you can't always get the flavors you want! So I decided a few years ago to learn how to make it myself...not the ice cream part! That I still buy, but I will be making that myself soon also!

 Here I will show you 2 ways to make ice cream cakes! One way is so simple and only takes minutes. The other way is slightly harder and needs to be prepared a few days in advance. But either way, you'll save lots of money and you can customize the flavors in so many ways!
Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

This first cake is the easiest one to make! You will need 12 ice cream sandwiches and one large container of frozen whipped topping that has been thawed. Just line a rectangle shaped, flat serving platter with 4 ice cream sandwiches, all sides touching, leaving room around the edge of the platter so that you can add whipped cream to frost the cake. You can cut the ice cream sandwiches to fit the size of your platter. Then add a layer of whipped cream on top...I used Cool Whip. Repeat layers 2 more times. Then just top it with a final layer of whipped cream on the top and sides. Add sprinkles at this time if you want...then place the cake in the freezer for about 4 hours until the whipped cream gets firm. You can write on the cake after the whipped cream is firm enough. This was a Father's Day cake for my hubby so I just sprinkled it with blue sugar! You can also add different stuff between the layers of ice cream sandwiches like nuts or caramel or chocolate syrup, etc.! My hubby likes it very plain so I wasn't ALLOWED to do that! But I would have LOVED to add all sorts of goodies!


Homemade Ice Cream Cake

This second ice cream cake was my pride and joy because it was just like the cakes I would buy from Baskin Robbins...but at a fraction of the cost! It only cost $9.50 to make this ice cream cake! And that includes the sprinkles and cake writing gel! This same size cake (9 inch round) costs $29.99 from Baskin Robbins!!! I made this cake for my daughter's 21st birthday...it's white cake with strawberry ice cream. That was what she requested! She takes after her Dad...she likes it plain! I think for MY birthday I'll make my own cake! It will be carrot cake with butter pecan ice cream! Or maybe red velvet cake with coconut ice cream! I'll make the ice cream myself, but that's another story! So have fun creating any combination of cake and ice cream flavors that you like! Here's the recipe for this homemade ice cream cake...
INGREDIENTS;
1 box cake mix, any flavor
1/2 gal ice cream, any flavor
2 - 8oz. containers of frozen whipped topping
cake sprinkles - optional
DIRECTIONS;
Start making the ice cream cake a few days before you need to serve it.

Start by taking the ice cream out of the freezer and letting it sit at room temp til soft enough to spread. This will take about 20 minutes. Also put the 2 tubs of frozen whipped topping in the fridge to thaw.
Line a 9 inch round cake pan with plastic wrap.
When the ice cream is soft, spread it in the lined cake pan. Then cover with more plastic wrap and place in freezer overnight.
While the ice cream part of the cake is freezing, make the cake part in the same size cake pan, following the direction on the cake box. Let the cake cool completely in the fridge til ready to assemble.
When ready to assemble...remove the ice cream part of the cake from the plastic wrap lined cake pan by turning it upside down onto a serving dish. Make sure to remove all of the plastic wrap. Then place the chilled, baked portion of the cake, ontop of the ice cream portion. Working quickly, frost the entire cake with the thawed whipped topping. Then place back into the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to decorate, remove the cake from the freezer and add sprinkles or anything else you would like, then place back into the freezer til ready to serve.
I covered my cake with a plastic cake dome while it was in the freezer.
A 9 inch cake can serve 10-15 people.
                                                    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Easy Oven Smoked Steak! No Wood Chips Needed!

There's nothing more satisfying than the taste of freshly barbecued steak on a grill. But sometimes it's just not convenient to barbecue outdoors! Well here's a recipe for those days when you cannot use your outdoor grill. Its easy! No wood chips involved!  Just steak plus 5 simple ingredients! And it tastes like you grilled it! I've made this many times! Serve with some potatoes and a green veg of your choice...it's that easy! This recipe was posted on the Internet by a cook named Annieamie. The photo is my own.
Oven Smoked Steak
INGREDIENTS;
2 large slabs of boneless sirloin steak
1 tbls. kosher salt
1/2 tbls. black pepper
2 tbls. chili powder
1 tbls. garlic powder
3 tbls. liquid smoke flavoring
DIRECTIONS;
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add all of the dry spices together in a bowl and mix.
Sprinkle the entire meat with the dry seasonings, rubbing them well into the meat.
Place the meat into a baking pan.
Sprinkle the liquid smoke over the meat.
Cover the pan completely with foil and place in oven for 60 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for 15 to 30 minutes, (depending on how rare you prefer your steak) and allow the top to brown.
Remove meat from oven, cover and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Slice against the grain and serve.

Serves 6




A Sandwich That Will Knock Your Socks Off!

My yummy sandwich!
I just tried this recipe called, 'Roasted Parmesan Tomato Sandwich'...it was my lunch yesterday and it was simply delicious...'simple' being the key to the fresh flavors of this sandwich! While I was devouring...and I mean DEVOURING this sandwich, I felt like I was transported to a quaint little sidewalk cafe in Italy! I've never been to Italy but I just know they must serve food like this all the time at those sidewalk cafes!

I found the recipe on my food friends website show! Her name is Kc Quaretti and she does a series of food videos for the Food Channel cooking website. Her webisodes are called 'Chat n' Dish'...I never miss a single one! Watch her video below, on how to make this delcious sandwich!

The only small changes I made was to use kalamata olives instead of black olives and I used 1 tsp. dried oregano instead of fresh because that's what I had on hand!
Roasted parmesan tomatoes
 straight from my oven!
My choice of tomato was plum! One plum tomato, cut in half, fit perfectly on the sliced Italian bread! And Kc Quaretti was so correct when she wrote, "Serve with lots of napkins"...the juicy roasted tomatoes will be dripping out of this scrumptious sandwich with every bite!
Here is her video and the recipe the way Kc wrote it...
  • 4 tomatoes cut in half
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 baguette or 5 grain Italian bread
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons country French mustard
  • 8 ounces mozzarella slices
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped black olives

Prep Time:

10 minutes

Cook Time:

15 minutes

Serves: 4

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Mix together cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  3. Spoon mixture onto tomato halves.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Cut bread into 4 segments and then slice in half lengthwise.
  6. Mix together mayonnaise and mustard and spread onto bread.
  7. Add mozzarella slices and lettuce to sandwich bottoms and top with tomatoes and black olives. Place the top bread slice on the tomatoes and press down lightly.
  8. Serve with lots of napkins!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Soft Pretzel Bites...2 Ways! Stuffed and Sweet!

I am so hooked on this new recipe I just tried!!! I've been wanting to make my own pretzels for years, but I kept putting it off because I thought it would never work out for me! Then a few days ago I saw this recipe a food friend named Bill Wentz posted on Facebook! This recipe was the easiest I've seen for soft pretzels!!! It's just 5 ingredients! You just mix everything together and then knead, shape, dip and bake for 10 minutes! The hardest part for me was shaping the pretzels! Here's a picture of my first attempt at pretzel shaping.......

First attempt!
I know these look bad!!!
But they tasted great!
These are coated with cinnamon and brown sugar!

Then I tried it again and added jalapeno and shredded cheddar to the dough! My pretzel shaping skills slightly improved with these!
Second attempt!
Jalapeno/Cheddar

Then I made these yet again and decided to make them into nuggets! I split the dough in half and filled some of the nuggets with chopped jarred jalapeno and shredded cheddar cheese. I also sprinkled some cheddar ontop before baking them for 10 minutes!  

Jalapeno/Cheddar Nuggets

Nuggets filled with Jalapeno/Cheddar
These were DELICIOUS!!! And so easy to eat!!! A few bites and they were gone!!! I made the other half of the batch into a sweet pretzel nugget!
I mixed about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tsp. of cinnamon powder into the dough. Then I sprinkled the tops with cinnamon and brown sugar before baking them. These were just as delicious...perfect with a cup of coffee!
Cinnamon/Brown Sugar Nuggets
Okay...I'm all done blabbing about these amazingly good soft pretzels!!!
Here is the link to Bill's recipe...**pretzel recipe link**