Monday, April 20, 2015

My favorite 'Doctored" Cake Mix recipe

Ok, I have a confession to make... I usually don't make my cakes from scratch.... Yes, I do sometimes, I have a great carrot cake recipe, and a scratch chocolate cake recipe that turns out. BUT sometimes when making a cake, especially for stacked cakes, and vanilla cakes, sometimes they sink in the middle, sometimes they taste like pancakes rather than cake, and sometimes they squish because they are too soft and crumbly... SO!! I use cake mixes... But I doctor them up. I ran across this recipe when looking for a yummy lemon cake recipe. I can't remember where I found (Have tried to find since I made it but no luck)
The great thing about this recipe is you can use most any flavor of cake and pudding mix. And you can add a juice instead of water when making lemon or lime cake and sub any extract flavoring you desire! The possibilities are almost endless! With the cupcake shown above I made a vanilla cake and pudding mix, but added lime juice for the water and coconut milk rather than sour cream.
This cake is super moist but sturdy, holds up to stacking the layers and its just a yummy cake. Have fun with it and enjoy!

Di's favorite 'Doctored' Cake Mix Recipe
1 boxed cake mix (you decide the flavor)
1 small box instant pudding mix (you decide the flavor)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or like I said use lemon, lime, coconut or butter rum....etc)

 Preheat oven to 350 and prep your baking pans. I LOVE Wiltons Cake release and spread that on my pans and they pop right out after cooling.
Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on low until combined. Then turn up the speed and mix for another 1 to 2  minutes. If your batter is really thick (I find some chocolate mixes really thicken a lot with the pudding mix, add a little more water) You want it to be like a brownie batter or pourable but not too runny. When making lemon or key lime cake I added about 1/4 cup juice and 1/4 cup water.

Divide your cake batter into your baking pans--this makes two 8 or 9 inch round cakes. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Another good test is to slight press your finger in the middle and it should spring back when done. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from pans and finish cooling completely before icing.
 Hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Chicken Saltimbocca

I love watching the Food network... it inspires me for my weekend cooking. I saw this recipe on Trisha Yearwood's show and it looked yummy! Gave it a try and LOVED it. I did tweak it a bit from reading the review's it sounded like it needed a bit more seasoning.... so I added Garlic powder, and crushed Italian seasoning on the chicken and basil in the ricotta cheese. This was delicious... but next time i make it I might use a really thin sliced Black forest ham. The Prosciutto was good, but couldn't really taste it with the chicken and it's really expensive. But loved this and the sauce.

Chicken Saltimbocca
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood

4 medium chicken cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon or so Italian seasoning
4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil, (I have said it before, I LOVE the tubes of chopped basil and other seasonings you find in the produce department at Walmart)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

To prep, pound your chicken cutlets to about 1/2 inch or slightly thinner by placing in a zip loc baggie and pounding with a meat mallet. Also, chop your spinach. And I put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper and added one Tablespoon fresh basil, and stirred to combine.

Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. I also sprinkled on garlic powder and then I crushed a pinch of Italian seasoning in between my fingers while sprinkling over the chicken. I did this on both sides of the chicken. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken, spread with some ricotta and top with some spinach.
 Roll up each cutlet and secure with a toothpick(—just a hint- DON’T use colored toothpicks! I did and had blue spots on my chicken). 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
While Chicken is cooking make your sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. The roux should have a wet sand consistency. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and whisk constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks and spoon over the pan sauce.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup

I have been in a soup mood lately, and anything that's easy. I love cooking things in my crockpot so they are ready when I get home from work. I used frozen chicken breasts, for this recipe. I think they would be too done if not frozen the way I cooked it. I made this soup one day spur of the moment--just started it before leaving for work, shredded the chicken on my lunch break and added the rest of the ingredients, and it was ready when I got home. YUMMO!

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (use your favorite)
1 (14 oz ) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced green chile peppers
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons ranch dressing mix
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the frozen chicken

Combine all of the ingredients in your crockpot, turn on hi and let cook for about 4 hours.
After 4 hours, shred the chicken best you can with 2 forks while still in the crock pot.
Then add the following:

1 can Hominy (yellow or white) or you can add regular yellow corn if you would rather
1 can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
Stir a little to combine the cream of chicken soup. Turn your crockpot on low and let simmer for another 3 to 4 hours.
Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and Fritos or crushed tortilla chips.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

It's been a blustery and chilly March this last week, and one rainy Monday I just needed some comfort food. I had been craving chicken and wild rice soup, so I just decided to make some. To make it easier and faster on myself, I bought a rotisserie chicken, and made the soup while the rice cooked. Remember, Wild rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly. This was so Yummy! I served mine with toasted slices of sour dough bread. Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
3/4 cup wild rice
1-1/2 cups water
dash of salt
Place rice and water with a dash of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; then stir and turn down the heat to a simmer, cover pot and let cook for 45 minutes or so until the rice is tender.
While your rice cooks prepare the rest of the soup.

1 cup diced Celery
1 cup diced Carrots
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon or so dried Thyme-you can use a sprig if you have fresh
1/4 teaspoon or so dried Rosemary-you can use a sprig if you have fresh
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 to 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
olive oil
1 box Chicken broth (about 4 cups)
2 cups water
1-10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1-10 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and boned, chopped into bite size pieces

Heat about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot, add the celery, carrots, and onion; sauté for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers, minced garlic, thyme and rosemary and continue cooking for another  3 minutes. Remove from pot (i scoop out onto a big plate.)
Add another Tablespoon olive oil to the pot and add your sliced mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are browned and tender.
Add your veggie mixture back into the pot along with the chicken broth, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer until veggies are tender and flavors combine. Taste at this point and add more salt and pepper if needed.
While your Veggies are cooking remove the skin and bones from your cooked chicken and chop into bite size pieces. When veggies are done ad the chopped chicken and both condensed soups to the pot; stir to combine and simmer for 10 more minutes.
When rice is done add to soup; stir to combine.
Serve with crispy croutons or toast and enjoy!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Inside Out Chicken Cordon Bleu

I love chicken cordon bleu...especially with a yummy mayo-mustard sauce to dip it in. I started thinking about a flat fried crispy piece of chicken... you know that kind that Olive Garden has sometimes with their pasta?? and I thought why not do chicken like that topped with Ham and cheese. Oh my goodness it was yummy. Usually chicken cordon bleu has the ham and cheese on the inside and then is rolled up and dipped in egg and bread crumbs and then fried. It's also usually made with Swiss cheese but I used Provolone today. This was sooo much easier and less messy. Here is what I did....

Inside Out Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 thick (if they are really thick cut them in half, thru the middle--like you are butterflying them)
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.

Now prepare your breading and egg mixtures:

In a flat bottomed bowl mix together:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon or so  garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon or so dried Italian seasoning, crushed in your palm before adding in

In another bowl mix together:
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
and 3 or 4 dashes franks hot sauce

In another flat bottomed bowl add
1 cup crushed panko crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire rack in a large cookie sheet and set aside.
Now you are ready to bread and fry.

In a large skillet heat about 1/4 cup or so canola or grape seed oil (you want the bottom of your skillet covered) over medium/high heat.
When the oil is hot, Dip one chicken breast into the flour mixture-coating both sides;  then dip into the egg mixture-coating both sides, lift over bowl and let the excess egg drip off.  Lastly-dip  the chicken into the crushed panko crumbs, slightly pressing into the crumbs so the chicken gets nicely coated. Flip over and coat the other side.
Place in the hot oil-- bread remaining pieces of chicken.
Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until nicely golden-brown turn and fry until that side is nicely golden-brown. Remove from oil and place on wire rack on cookie sheet. Finish cooking in the oven for about 12  minutes.
Remove from oven and top each piece of chicken with the following:
1 slice of black forest ham (I sliced each piece of ham into 3 pieces and put that on 1 breast)
enough Monterey jack cheese to cover the ham.
Bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese is starting to melt.
Remove from oven and serve with veggies and a mayo-mustard dipping sauce. Enjoy!!

To make Mayo-mustard dipping sauce:
Whisk together about 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 heaping teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (or more according to your taste). Whisk together and serve a dollop next to your Inside-Out Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of my Favorite cookie recipes!!! I could eat them by the dozen!! I am reposting because I haven't made them in a while.... just did today for a scrabble treat and forgot how delicious they are! I did tweak it a little since I posted before. You need to go make a batch. YUMMO!

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix well.

Mix together in a separate bowl:
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal-- put 1/2 cup measurements of oatmeal in blender until it turns to powder. Measure out 2 1/2 cups oatmeal and powderize that much. (not 2 1/2 cups powderized oatmeal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix the flour mixture thoroughly with the butter mixture.

2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup grated dark chocolate hershey bar

Make golf ball size balls and baked on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until just starting to brown around the edges. Do NOT overbake.

Get a big glass of milk and enjoy! MMMMMMMM

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cheater refried beans

I love tacos and beans.... my hubby was craving a taco with carne asada the other night, so I caved and made them. We used meat already sliced thin which I marinated and grilled then chopped and used in my taco topped with cilantro lime coleslaw and avocado slices. I had watched Trisha Yearwood make Cheater beans a couple of Saturday's ago and thought I would try the recipe. But alas I only had black beans which I like better than pinto beans anyway. So that is what I used. I also had some cooked bacon leftover in the fridge and I always save my bacon grease in a jar in the fridge to use when needed. Delicious! Enjoy

Cheater Refried Beans
recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood's Cheater beans
(original recipe)

4 strips cooked bacon, chopped (I like to bake mine in the oven ahead of time)
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1 (15 oz) can Bush's seasoned recipe black beans (don't drain these)
1 (15 oz) can Black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium tomato, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
Salt and pepper
approx. a Tablespoon chopped cilantro (I use the cilantro in the tube.. and just gave it a couple of squirts) you can use fresh if you like.

I bake my bacon ahead of time on a large cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or your desired doneness. Place cooked bacon on paper towel to cool, then chop and set aside. Drain the bacon grease into a small clean jar. I keep this in the refrigerator, very nice to have on hand.

In a large saucepan, add a 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and heat over medium heat; then add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent, a couple of minutes. Do not drain the bacon grease because it gives the beans a good taste. Add the beans, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and 1/2 can water, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, the cumin and the cilantro and simmer for enough couple of minutes.  Remove from the heat. I like to use a  potato masher and mash some of the beans. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve along side tacos, or your favorite Mexican dish, Enjoy!!