Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sarah's Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best cookies ever. The key is to add just the right amount of flour and take them out of the oven at the right time.

1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place sugar, brown sugar and margarine in bowl and mix. Then add eggs and vanilla and mix.

Gradually add baking soda, salt and flour to the sugar mixture and beat until mixed well. Add chocolate chips and mix briefly.

Drop onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Take out of oven when outside of cookie is just turning brown (the middle will look slightly undercooked) Let sit on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes then cool on wire racks.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

This recipe makes a beautiful and very tasty cake. It looks like it could be difficult to make but it really doesn't take very long and is not hard to make. The most difficult part is slicing the cake in half and moving the top off and back on without breaking it. Try it for a special occasion! Makes a great birthday cake. This recipe can be made and eaten immediately although I think it's best after it's been chilled for awhile so the chocolate on the top is hard and cold.

From the kitchen of Laurie Reynolds from Lee Hake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cups milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Split cake to make two layers. Fill bottom layer with cream filling. Place top layer on cream and spread the chocolate glaze over pie. Refrigerate.
Grease and flour 9 inch cake pan. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Beat batter on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed scraping bowl occasionally for 3 minutes. Pour into pan and bake until a wooden toothpick comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Cool on cake rack.

Cream center

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch salt in quart pan. Stir in milk gradually. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mix thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly to avoid burning. Stir at least half of hot mix into egg yolks very gradually. Blend into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil another 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ tsp vanilla
Approx. 2 Tbsp hot water

Melt chocolate and margarine over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in water 1 Tbsp at a time until right consistency.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I found this recipe easy to make and it turned out great! Not as tasty as a cream cheese frosting but it was a good frosting. I love peppermint frosting and I'm sure you can replace the vanilla with peppermint.

This recipe is used at a bakery although I'm not sure where online I originally found this recipe.

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.
Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

If you are icing a 3-layer cake, use the following recipe proportions:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
8 to 10 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Restaurant Styled Salsa

From the blog of The Pioneer Woman. This salsa takes minutes to make and is sooo good! Guaranteed to be devoured if you have a party. I think it tastes best chilled so make a day or a few hours ahead of time.

• 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
• 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
• ¼ cups Chopped Onion
• 1 clove Garlic, Minced
• 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
• ¼ teaspoons Sugar
• ¼ teaspoons Salt
• ¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin
• ½ cups chopped Cilantro (more To Taste!)
• ½ whole Lime Juice
Preparation Instructions
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I found this recipe while blog hopping and copied it down and made it for dinner. It was wonderful and everything you think of when you want a pulled pork sandwich. Enjoy!

2 ½ - 3 lbs. pork shoulder or pork butt
¾ cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. red wine or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp. liquid smoke, optional
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Sandwich rolls

Place roast inside crock pot. Combine all remaining ingredients (except rolls) and pour over meat. Cook on low heat for 8-9 hours. Shred meat (discarding fat and bones) and return to sauce. Serve on sandwich rolls with Barbecue Table Mop.

You can easily double this recipe. The cooking time might need to be lengthened.

Barbecue Table Mop

1 cup hickory flavored bottled barbecue sauce
¾ cup ketchup
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 2 cups sauce.

Treasure Island Chicken “Orange Chicken”

We had dinner at our friend’s, Annette & Brian’s, home and Annette made this dish for us. Both Phil and I had seconds. It was a simple meal but it was very good.

4 chicken breasts (I’d recommend cutting them in half)
½ stick of butter
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1 ½ cup orange juice

Place the chicken breasts in a greased shallow “stove to table” baking dish. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt ½ stick of butter. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a small bowl, mix, add to butter. Stirring constantly, add orange juice. Cook slowly until thick and smooth. Pour over chicken and bake 40 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Homemade Hummus

This recipe is originally from MckMama's Blog.

1 16 oz can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
The liquid from said can of chickpeas (I personally use just a little of the liquid so it's not too runny)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (or lime if you want to get crazy)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 crushed garlic cloves (I often use one)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Variations: I made this without the Tahini. Only used 2-4 T of liquid from chickpeas. Tasted great when finished. Might try some cumin powder next time.

This tastes amazing with homemade pitas. I'll try to post that recipe soon.

Mango Lassi

This is my version of a mango lassi. A mango lassi is a delicious Indian drink and can be found on the menu of most Indian restaurants. Some blend the ice into the drink, some just add ice to the drink but I always prefer mine blended.

1 1/2 cups diced fresh mango (2-3 mangoes)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
Scant 1/4 cup sugar (or less depending on preference)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (optional)
1/2 cup-2 cups ice cubes
In a blender, combine the mango, orange juice, and sugar. Once well-blended, add ice cubes and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Bread

This bread is a tried and true good zucchini bread recipe. It tastes delicious and is very moist. It's my all-time favorite zucchini bread recipe and was found on

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Yields: 24 servings

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (or chocolate chips)

1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Megan’s notes: When I make this, I substitute pureed vegetables for about 3/4 of the oil and it was great. You can’t taste the veggies but it makes it much healthier. (Pureed veggies consist of: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash and carrots blended smooth in my blender)

Cheesecake Factory Buffalo Blasts

These are wonderful appetizers. My husband loves to eat them and even loves to make them. It’s his “show-off” recipe and it is just as good as I remember from the Cheesecake Factory.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup buffalo-style hot sauce
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
24 wonton wrappers
oil (for frying, peanut suggested)

NOTE: all amounts are suggested; feel free to adjust to your personal preference.

Put about a tsp into the center of a small wonton, seal edges using a little water. Keep covered until all wontons are done. You can make these with the large wontons as well. Just add more filling.

Heat oil to about 325 degrees F.

Fry wontons, a few at a time, until lightly brown and crisp.

Serve with bleu cheese or ranch salad dressing/dip.

NOTE: The filling can be made the day ahead and refrigerated, and the flavor intensifies.

Almost Too Much Chocolate Cake

This is a recipe I found on It's super easy to make and tastes delicious. It calls for a bundt pan and it tastes great made that way without frosting. However, my favorite way to make this cake is in two cake pans. I then frost the cake with homemade peppermint frosting. It's so delicious this way as it's such a moist cake and the peppermint and chocolate just go so well together.

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil (I usually use applesauce)
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate. If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

There are times when I don't have the exact ingredients and need to alter the recipe a little. I always use a chocolate cake mix of some sort whether or not it's a devil's food cake. If I don't have chocolate pudding, I've used vanilla before. Also, I've used white chocolate chips when I run out of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It's always turned out great!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Banana Bread

This recipe is from the home of one of my 5th grade students. It was one of the best banana bread recipes I've ever had. I usually omit the nuts and add chocolate chips instead. Do whatever works best for you though!!

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 ½ cups of ripe bananas (4)
1/3 cup water
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
1 baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped nuts (I always use chocolate chips instead of the nuts)

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom only of loaf pan.

Mix sugar and butter in bowl. Stir in eggs until blended. Add bananas and water; beat for 30 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts until just moistened; stir in nuts. Pour into pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes; cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.

I often double this recipe and make one large loaf and two small loafs that way I have one or two to freeze or give away.