Saturday, December 25, 2010

Honeybun Cake

This is the most delicious cake I've tasted in a long time! I baked one a couple of days ago and took it to work. The empty pan came home with me that same night. I've never taken anything that disappeared so quickly!! You won't be disappointed with this cake, I can tell you that!

Honeybun Cake
Cake mixture:
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 C sour cream
3/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 t cinnamon (approximately)
1/2 C sugar

Filling mixture:
1 C brown sugar (I used 1 C sugar + 1 T molasses and mixed well)
3 t (heaping) cinnamon
1 C chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Icing mixture:
6 T milk
2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325º. Grease (very, very well) a 13" x 9" cake pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine by hand the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, vegetable oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well. If you have lumps, that's okay. Mix the filling mixture in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread half of the cake mixture in the bottom of the cake pan. Sprinkle half the filling mixture over the cake mixture. Make sure you get mixture over the entire cake. Then, place the rest of the cake mixture in the cake pan and top with the remaining filling mixture. Using a knife, swirl the cake mixtures until they're well blended.

Bake at 325º for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Approximately 5 minutes before cake is finished, mix the icing mixture together in a small bowl. Immediately upon removing cake from oven, pour icing over the hot cake. In order to cover the whole cake, you might need to tilt the cake. Let cool and eat warm or cold. It's supposedly better the next day, but I've yet to make one and have any left to eat the next day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is, was, and will always be a staple at every family holiday gathering. Amen.

This was one of my mom's best recipes ever and most requested dishes for family get togethers. I have no idea where the recipe came from, but I do know it's awesome! When I was younger, we'd always take 2 big casserole dishes of this to the family Thanksgiving get together at my grandmother's because my uncle (my mom's younger brother) and his kids could easily polish off half of one dish by themselves leaving hardly any for the rest of the family! Every once in awhile, I make it "just cuz"....just 'cuz I've got a hankering for it! Besides that, the husband loves it and it's SOOOOOOOOOOO good warmed up later or the next day.

It's best to use a clear glass baking dish for this, but if you don't have one, don't sweat it. The size of baking dish will determine how much macaroni you'll need, but sometimes the amount of macaroni you've cooked determines the size dish you'll need. Unfortunately, I've never measured the ingredients, so you'll have to forgive me for that.

Here we go! You'll need: a baking dish of your choice, elbow ronis, cheddar cheese (grated), a little bit of milk, BUTTER, and salt. Don't forget the butter!

In a large pot, bring salted water to boil. Pour in 6-8 (or more) CUPS of dry ronis and cook until slightly soft (al dente) as they'll bake a bit more in the oven. Or, you could be like me and just pour them in until you think you have enough. Drain & rinse ronis. When thoroughly rinsed and drained, and add about a tablespoon of olive oil to them to keep from sticking together and stir.

Decide what size baking dish you'll need. Take a stick of butter (margarine will work, too) and peel off half the wrapper. Holding onto the wrapped end and using the unwrapped end like a brush, liberally butter the bottom, corners, and sides of your baking dish.

Cover the bottom of your dish with a layer of ronis. Sprinkle salt over the top. Dot with butter. (Cut a pat of butter off the stick, then cut into fourths to make dots.)

Sprinkle grated cheese over the top. (Liberally)

Repeat layers finishing with cheese on top.

Carefully pour milk (anything from skim to whole milk works) over the top of the dish until it comes about 1/8"-1/4" up the side of the dish. Don't wait to stop pouring until you notice the milk level rising. Stop periodically and let the milk settle to the bottom before adding more. If you aren't using a see-through dish, take a knife and stick it down the side of the dish and gently pull back on the ronis until you can see the milk level. Too little milk and it'll be too dry. Too much milk and it won't all cook out before the top burns. It's a delicate balance.

Here's mine ready to go into the oven.

Bake at 350º on the middle rack in your oven until the milk has evaporated, everything's bubbling, and the top is lightly browned. Usually it's about 30-45 mins. If you're in a hurry, you can bake it at 425º, but keep an eye on it so that it doesn't get too brown on top and bottom. You can also assemble the night before, leave out the milk, and store covered in the refrigerator. Before popping it in the oven, add the milk and bake as normal.

Enjoy and don't blame me for the added pounds!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Skillet Chicken Fajitas

This is a simple, quick, easy way to prepare fajitas without needing to marinate or stand outside in the hot sun grilling. I don't have a strict recipe I follow, so forgive me for that.

To warm tortillas, place in a foil, sprinkle with water, and place in a 200º oven while you cook your meal. You can turn off the oven about 5 mins before the meat is finished cooking.

Chicken Ingredients:
Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cleaned, rinsed, and cut into thin strips
1/2 onion, sliced thinly and divided into rings
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
Ground Cumin
Cayenne (Crushed Red Pepper Flakes)
Olive Oil

Place about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet to warm. Add half the onions and half the garlic. Allow to start cooking. Place a layer of chicken strips in the skillet and sprinkle with seasonings to your taste. A little cumin, cayenne, and oregano go a long way! You can also add some jalapenos if you like it hot. Cook on one side til all the pink is gone from the meat, turn, and cook on the other side until brown. It takes only a few minutes. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding the second half of the onions and garlic and re-seasoning about half-way through.

1-1 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 whole red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Jalapenos (if you like it hot)

Throw the veggies into the skillet after you've cooked all your meat. Stir and cook until the veggies are crisp-tender and heated throughout. Add the meat back into the skillet, stir and mix together until the meat is warm. Serve on hot tortillas with your choice of toppings.

Grated cheese
Diced Onions
Pico de Gallo
Sour Cream

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Amish Chicken and Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

The Amish Chicken is a keeper and so is the Skillet Scalloped Potato recipe. I already knew the potato recipe was awesome, but didn't know about the chicken recipe. They're both fairly easy and made with lots of butter.

Amish Chicken
1/2 C flour
2 t paprika
1 t pepper
1/4 t dry mustard
1 t salt
1 cut up broiler or parts of chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts.)
1 stick (1/2 C) butter

Heat oven to 350º. Place butter in a 9"x13" casserole dish and place in oven while heating up to melt. Mix dry ingredients in a gallon size plastic bag. Clean chicken and pat mostly dry. Place chicken in bag with dry ingredients and coat chicken well. Remove casserole dish from oven. Place chicken in pan. Bake 1 1/2-2 hours for chicken pieces or 25-35 mins (or until juices run clear) for boneless skinless breasts.

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

- serves 4 -

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8th inch thick
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bay leaf
2 ounces grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Heat a large iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the onion. Cook for 4 minutes, or until soft.

2. Toss in the garlic and thyme, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Dump in the potatoes, chicken broth, cream, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the cover, sprinkle the cheese on top, and place the iron skillet in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekly Menu 3/28-4/3

I have been in a cooking slump lately. Not sure why, but I have been. Maybe I should blame it on the changing of the seasons. You know, the time's changed (back to daylight saving time), the days have gotten longer, the temps are getting warmer and it's actually pleasant outside, and I long to spend more time outside working in my garden and playing in the dirt. It's time to move from the heavy, stick-to-your-ribs meals of winter to the lighter, less labor intensive, less heat in the kitchen producing meals.

The Husband (God bless him!) has been doing most of the cooking and that's getting really! I've been tinkering with the idea of a weekly menu, but I'll be the first to admit, I'm not good at sticking to any kind of plan. This morning while emptying the dishwasher and putting away the rest of the groceries from yesterday's trip to Sam's and the grocery store that The Husband made, I decided on a few meals I'd like to cook this week. Maybe if I write them down and post them, it'll actually happen!

Here's my plan for this week. Some of these recipes are new, so if they pass muster, I'll post them for you to all enjoy.

Sunday~Amish Chicken, some kind of green beans, and either rice or some kind of potato dish. Peach cobbler for dessert.

Monday~Grilled hamburgers w/ fixins and pork & beans

Tuesday~Leftovers (working the closing shift)

Wednesday~Crock Pot Roast w/ veggies



Saturday~Beef soup/stew with leftover roast

There you have it folks! We'll see if I stick to it!