Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pirate Cake

Want a fun cake to make with kids? Try this pirate cake! I made this with my niece and nephew last summer and we had a blast! Click here for this fun recipe! 

Thoughts: What fun! This is perfect for a kid's birthday or to have kids help you make.  Feel free to change any of the candies to your liking. It's a good idea to have scissors for cutting licorice and roll ups that are different from your regular kitchen shears. 

Hash Brown Meatloaf

Here's a creative way to make meatloaf. Throw some hash browns inside of it and save yourself having to find a side dish! Click here to enjoy! 

Thoughts: This is very good and so easy to make! I used frozen hash brown chunks and just thawed some in the microwave. I baked it for 70 min and did let it rest for a a few minutes before serving. 

Chocolate Berry Shortcake

Here's another twist on strawberry shortcake. Try making it with cocoa to give it a nice chocolaty, flavor! Click here  for this recipe! 

Thoughts: This was rather bland. It needs more flavoring. I would add some more nutmeg to it and maybe a little bit of cinnamon. I used Bisquick as the baking mix as well as a regular vanilla yogurt rather than low fat.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rum Cake

This rum cake has been a huge hit with my husband at his work place. He doesn't work at a school so he can have something like this with alcohol in it! I have made this numerous times and it's always popular. Click here to enjoy!

Thoughts: I am not a rum fan but my husband and his co-workers sure love this! I omitted the nuts because my husband doesn't like them. The glaze makes a lot as you can see from the picture. 

Amaretto Bundt Cake

I've been trying my hand at rum cakes and rum balls so I thought I'd try something with my favorite alcohol-amaretto! This bundt cake is delish! Click here to enjoy!

Thoughts: Most delicious! You can make it with or without the nuts-depending on your preference. I did this one without the almonds.  If you want some more amaretto flavor, mix 1/2 cup amaretto with 2 cups of powdered sugar and drizzle on the cooled cake. ( You might not want to make this for your teacher friends at school!!) 

Strawberry Lime Stuffed Cupcakes

Yet, another delicious strawberry recipe for the summer! Now you can make a cupcake with a giant strawberry in the middle! Click here for this delicious recipe! Enjoy!

Thoughts: These were very good! I substituted iodized salt for the fine salt.  You just have to crush it a little to make it a bit finer is all. You can find sanding sugar at the local craft stores. Be careful when you are assembling it. It can be tricky to ice the cupcake with the strawberry in it. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crescent Caramel Swirl

I am a HUGE fan of crescent rolls and am always on the lookout for new recipes! This one is super easy to make and it's sweet and crunchy. Click here to enjoy!

Thoughts: Yum! This can be made with 1 or 2 cans of crescent rolls. It tastes much better with the 2 but if you only have 1 on hand, that will work as well. You'll still bake it for the same amount of time.  Any kind of nuts will work for this recipe. Use your favorite! 

Hash Brown Quiche

Here's another great breakfast idea! Quiches are quick and easy, especially in the summer when it gets hot early! Throw some yummy ingredients together, pop it in the oven and half an hour later you are good to go. Click this link to enjoy! It's a Paula Deen recipe from Food Network "ya'll!" 
Thoughts: This is very yummy and tasty! Just throw the hash browns (I use the chunks) in the microwave for about 5 min to thaw.  You can substitute milk for the half-and-half. You can use leftover ham or cold meat ham chopped up-whatever you have on hand. 

Sticky Toffee Cake

Coffee cakes and muffins are the perfect morning treat.  I found a great recipe that incorporates a sweet, toffee taste. The following recipe isn't the exact one that I used, but most of the ingredients are similar. Brew up some morning Joe and enjoy!
Thoughts: This is very sweet and easy to make. I omitted the dates because I don't like them.  Pouring the toffee sauce over the top is delicious!

Baby Rattle Cupcakes

Cupcakes are the newest fad these days. These are perfect for your next baby shower. They look just like a baby rattle and are so much fun to make. Click here to find out!

Thoughts: These are so fun and easy to make! I have made them for a couple different baby showers. I catered one baby shower and made them with the canned frosting-BIG mistake! I drove over an hour in the heat and most of the icing had melted; lesson learned- no more canned frosting! The second time made with buttercream icing, was much more successful! Decorate each cupcake first then tie the ribbon on the stick to be sure the ribbon is long enough.  Get yourself a little assembly line-makes the process much easier. 

Sugar Cookie Shortcake

Well, continuing with my strawberry theme, here is a shortcake that I made. I'm not a huge fan of the traditional shortcake but this one made with sugar cookie mix if very tasty. The biscuits of the original tend to get to soggy for me but not these! This is very easy to make which is what I'm all about in the kitchen. Click here to enjoy!
Thoughts: This is very tasty! Make sure you have 2 round cake pans otherwise it takes longer to make.  Again, fresh strawberries are the best, unless you feel like making it in the winter and they may not be available. 

Flip-Flops Cake

How perfect for summer!! Here's an easy flip flops cake recipe. I have made this a few times, each with different colors and candies and I love it!! Click here to have some fun!

Thoughts: What fun! This is time consuming the first time you do it but once you have the templates, you can make it over and over. Again, I would recommend buttercream icing over the canned stuff. If you are travelling in any kind of heat, canned frosting has a tendency to run that is why I recommend buttercream icing all the time! One batch will ice both flops. Twizzlers work good if you don't have or don't like the chewy fruit snacks for the top of the flip flop.  I have used M&M's and Skittles to decorate the sides of the flop. Again, use whatever candies you like. Just have fun with it!

Strawberry Shortcake

Who's up for strawberry shortcake? I am! Here's another fun way to make it. There's nothing like fresh strawberry desserts in the summertime! Click here to enjoy!

Thoughts: I made this for our awesome custodian at school for his birthday last year and he loved it! You can use any kind of sour cream (they just list a Kraft brand because it's from a Kraft site!). It was a little tricky to cut because it was so thin, but with a little bit of patience, you should be good to go!

Chocolate Cream Torte

For the chocolate cake lover in all of us!! I made this for a teacher friend at school for her birthday and it went over very well.  Tortes are fun and easy to make. Click here to enjoy! 

Thoughts: Fun and easy! The frosting was very sweet and tasty. If you don't have a good, sharp bread knife or a cake cutter (from the craft store) you can use a piece of dental floss or sewing thread to slice your cakes evenly. 

Top 40 Cake

Got any music lovers out there? Check out this fun record cake! I made it for our music teacher at school a few years ago and it was a huge hit! Click here to see just how easy it is to make! Enjoy!

Thoughts: What a fun cake to make! I ALWAYS make my own buttercream icing. Canned frosting is definitely quicker and easier, but doesn't not compare to the taste of buttercream. This is very time consuming but well worth it. You can find edible glitter at your local craft stores. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vegetable-Cheddar Quiche

Breakfast anyone? How about a delicious veggie quiche?! I absolutely LOVE to make breakfast, especially on the weekends and during the summer. This is perfect. Click here to enjoy! 

Thoughts: LOVED it! I used a little less than the 1 1/2 cups cheese. I opted for fresh peppers and onions in mine rather than the frozen ones.  I also passed on the mushrooms as I am not a fan. Since my husband doesn't like quiche and I can't eat the whole thing, I froze what I couldn't eat. Something to look forward to a few weeks later!

Strawberry Custard Torte

This is a perfect dessert for the summertime! It's light and fruity and fun to make! I enjoy making tortes. It's always fun to see what different fillings I can find!! Click here for this awesome recipe! Enjoy!

Thoughts: I loved it! Fun and easy to make! I prefer to use fresh strawberries on the top rather than the frozen ones-unless I am eating it right away.  I tend to make desserts like this for work so the fresh fruit works best. The frozen ones tend to be a bit more runny.  

Breaded Pork Pieces

Tired of pork chops? Try frying up some pork pieces.  I am always looking for new ways to cook the foods I love to eat. I googled pork and here's what I came up with! Enjoy!

Thoughts: Very yummy, tasty! The mixture of the seasonings gave it a ton of flavor. I used 2 large pork pieces rather than pork steaks and only about 1 cup of dried breadcrumbs. I only ended up using about 2 Tbsp of each of the seasonings and it was still packed with flavor. This dish goes nicely with sauteed veggies and garlic mashed potatoes. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

What a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July or even Memorial Day! These cupcakes are so easy to make! Just use white cake mix, then divide the batter into thirds. Mix 1/3 with red food coloring, 1/3 with blue food coloring and leave the remaining 1/3 white.  Drop spoonfuls of red, white then blue batter into a muffin tin. Bake as directed on the package. Top with white icing and holiday sprinkles. You could even use holiday cupcake liners. So easy-enjoy!

Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie

Here you have 2 of my favorites: fresh farmer's market zucchini and crescent rolls! I found a great recipe to incorporate both! Whether you are looking for a new dinner dish or a side dish, this is it. Click this link for this amazing recipe! 

Thoughts: This is absolutely delicious! Be sure to use at least 2 fresh zucchini, otherwise the dish can be too "cheesy" tasting. Enjoy!

Dr. Seuss Birthday Cupcakes

 Here's a great way to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday (March 2) or a child's birthday! I went with a giant cupcake in the from of green eggs and ham. The baby turning 1 has to have their own cake/cupcake! I used green tinted icing and the ham on top and the eggs are made from icing as well. You can use green M&M's or Skittles for the middle of the egg. I did some cupcakes as Thing 1 and Thing 2. They are yellow cupcakes with white icing. I made labels for the front of each cupcake. If using cotton candy as the "hair" for thing 1 and thing 2, you will need to put that on right before serving. ( I made these for someone who put the "hair" on last minute, therefore I do not have a photo.) Then I went with "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" cupcakes. These were some yellow and some chocolate with bright yellow icing. I used the Swedish fish (found at Wegman's bulk candy section) as well as some writing on half of them. The final cupcakes were the Dr. Seuss hats. Those were chocolate cupcakes with white icing. I then put an oreo on top of the icing. I cut large marshmallows 
into fourths and alternated with red, gummy life savers. You may need to use a spot of icing to hold the marshmallow to the oreos. 
Thoughts: These were so fun to make! It was nerve racking having them in the house until the people I made them for came to pick them up! I charged $60 for 48 cupcakes and 1 giant cupcake. Let me know if I can help you for your next party! 

Chicken Broccoli Divan

Here's another great way to use leftover chicken! Throw in some broccoli as your veggie and you have yourself a healthy meal! Click this link to see what all the fuss is about! 

Thoughts: This was a very quick and easy recipe for leftover chicken.  I use frozen broccoli rather than fresh just because I always have that on hand. If you don't have leftover chicken, you can brown a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. That works as well.  Any recipe that has cheese as optional, is a must for me. Cheese is never optional! Be sure to use the right about of margarine and bread crumbs otherwise your bread crumbs will clump together. I used broccoli cheese soup and that gave it an even creamier taste. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brownie Pizza!

Wow...brownies, cream cheese and strawberries-delish!  This brownie dish is a winner all around!! I have made this many times and it has been wonderful each time!And healthy of course because with all that fruit, how can it not be?! Click on this link for a new take on brownies!

Thoughts: This is a delicious way to eat brownies! I used a box brownie mix rather than the refrigerated one and that worked fine.  I have also omitted the blueberries and raspberries as well as the apple jelly. I made this for my husband once and used a can of cherries on top and that was very good too.  Make sure you store it in the fridge as it is made with cream cheese. Enjoy!

Shrimp Fettucine

We got tired of our usual shrimp fried rice, which was very good by the way, and thought we'd try something different.  I love shrimp and any form of pasta, and found the perfect recipe. Click on this link to seafood goodness!

Thoughts: Yum-O! The shrimp was sauteed in a light, butter sauce with a nice kick of garlic. I substituted (which I do a lot) 2 Tbsp dried parsley for the fresh parsley and 1 tsp of minced garlic for the garlic cloves.  I also added a few dashes of garlic pepper seasoning. I highly recommend this one!

Banana Bread with Pecans

Got some extra bananas lying around? Why not try making a banana bread with pecans rather than the traditional walnuts?! This is easy and tasty-two of my favorite things when I bake! I get a lot of great ideas from Food Network so click this link and enjoy!
Thoughts: I love it! It is so moist and tasty and easy to do! I had some leftover bananas that weren't as overripe as the recipe called for and they worked fine. I was also excited to use the whisk attachment on my electric mixer for the first time! I didn't toast the slices as the recipe says but I love to nuke my bread and add butter-yum! 

Strawberries and Cream Tart

My husband is not much of a dessert person but when he asked me to make this for him, I was all over it! It was quite a process. So if you decide to make this, you'll need to some time to do it. Click this link to enjoy this recipe!!

Thoughts: First of all, I searched high and low for a vanilla bean but had no luck at any of the groceries stores in my area. I have yet to check Wegman's where you can find just about anything! But, you can substitute 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract if you don't have a vanilla bean on hand.  Also, when using light cream, turns out half-and-half is not thick enough and heavy whipping cream is too thick. So this picture is my second attempt as it did not thicken enough for me the first time. I used whipping cream the second time and still had to throw it in the freezer to thicken it up. It turned out nice and tasty! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Boursin Burgers!

If you love to grill in the summer and are tired of the plain old boring burger- try this! It is cheesy goodness on a bun!! It was taken from Enjoy! 

Click this link to see the full recipe. 

Thoughts: I like to call these boursin burgers because the flavor of the boursin is amazing!! The burger was extremely tasty. I decided to mix the cheese in with the hamburger and seasonings rather than put cheese in the middle. I believe this was the reason they kind of fell apart on the grill.  But I managed to save them and am looking forward to making them again. We had grilled salt potatoes and grilled veggies as our side dishes. 

Crunch my tilapia please!

I LOVE tilapia and am always looking for a new way to bake it or grill it. (Frying is quick and easy and I do it once in awhile, but not as healthy!) I subscribe to the Wegman's magazine and found this yummy recipe in there.  I have not made this with the Garlic Butter that the recipe calls for. I just use unsalted butter and throw in a few tsp. of minced garlic and it's very tasty. We used to be able to get garlic butter in the dairy section of Shopper's Food Warehouse, but they don't sell it anymore. I will definitely stock up at Wegman's if they have it! When I made this I just used EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and I skipped the seafood sauce.  Panko bread crumbs give it an extra "crunch" that regular bread crumbs do not. Click on this link to find the recipe. Enjoy!

Thoughts: In the words of Rachael Ray- YUM-O!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good things do NOT always come in small packages!

"Chocolate Chip Cookies"
OK-so this is the second time I tried using the small sized packages of the chocolate chip cookie mix and it failed..miserably! Both the small packages AND the regular 17.5 oz packages call for 1/2 stick of butter/margarine-that just can't be! The first time I used it, I put the dough in the star shaped pans and used the cookie sticks and it just ran all over. The second time, just yesterday, I made regular cookies and they came out so thin and "buttery" that I did not like them. I used unsalted butter both times and I'm wondering if that could be part of the problem. Please: if anyone has used the small packages and has had success, please share your secret! I am bound and determined to make these cookies and make them yummy!

Thoughts: I did not like the buttery taste at all. My husband says they are OK, so they are all for him! I like the crunchiness and the chocolate chip flavor,  but the dough was lacking, in my opinion. 

My first "overnight" recipe!

Overnight Coffee Cake
I am always looking for great, new coffee cake recipes. I have never tried doing an overnight one so this was a first for me! If you're like me and don't normally have buttermilk on hand, you can just use 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice and the remainder milk. After this sat in the fridge overnight, covered with foil, I threw it into the oven with the foil on it. I think that kept the moisture in it. Next time I may remove the foil as I normally bake coffee cakes with nothing covering it. I tend to follow recipes to a "t", especially the first time.  Then I may tweak it to my own liking.

 My thoughts: This was moist and tasty.  Goes well with your morning coffee, but not the best I've ever had. If you are looking for something easy, I highly recommend it. I might add more nuts for more flavor.  This recipe can be found on Click on this link for the recipe.