Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

BIG FLOP!! I was SO disappointed with this pound cake. I followed this recipe exactly. EXACTLY! I found this recipe in an issue of the Taste of Home magazine...I don't remember what month. It said cook for 50-60 minutes. So, I cooked it for 50 minutes...still not done, then I kept cooking it for 5 minute increments for about 30 minutes, and it still was NOT done. I took it out anyways, let it cool, and cut a slice...only to find out that half of the cake was hard as a rock, and the other half was RAW! UGH! So, I go to go look for the recipe on their website to see reviews, and the time for cooking the cake has changed, not that I think it would've made a difference. This cake had a lot of ingredients in 1 1/2 cups butter, 8 oz cream cheese, 6 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, etc. You are also supposed to put 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. I myself thought that seemed like a lot when I was reading the recipe, but I put it in anyways. When I took the cake out of the oven, the first thing I smelled was lemon. When I took a bite, the lemon was overwhelming to me. Anyways, if you try the recipe, and it works out for you, let me know. Recipe is found HERE.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pina Colada Cupcakes

I said in the beginning that I would share all of my trials & tribulations...even the bad ones. Here, I have one that didn't turn out quite so well for me. Well, I think it turned out like it was supposed to, it just wasn't a big hit. I did everything exactly as the recipe stated. Just a couple opinions: 1) I think the cupcake was too sticky, and I didn't like the texture of it. 2) The icing was weird. I'm not sure if I liked the pineapple-cream cheese combo, and it was a little runny. and 3)The combo of the cupcake and the icing was TOO sweet. I'm not going to post the recipe, I'm just going to post the link to it. Let me know if you try this and get better results.
Recipe Source: Beantown Baker


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cherry Coke Cupcakes

Lately I've been having cupcake fever because I'm trying out recipes for my son's 1st birthday party coming up in May. I've already found one I like (Pink Lemonade). I am in the process of tweaking that recipe, though, which is why it's not up here. (Update: Recipe is now posted HERE.) In the mean time, I have a cupcake recipe for you that is yummy!
Who doesn't love a Coke float? And with cherries! Yummy! These cupcakes are very good. They aren't ridiculously sweet, which I like, AND they are adorable!! The only thing is, I don't get a very distinct flavor from the Coke. I think the Coke mainly adds to the light texture of the cupcake. My suggestion: enjoy one of these with an ice cold glass of Coke!
So, I know I said I was going to start posting pictures of each step & what not, but I didn't this time, because I made these when I was too tired. Then, I waited until after a long, MUCH needed nap, to decorate them. So, here ya go! Enjoy!!
Oh, & because I won't be able to get my dream camera any time researched ideas on how to take great pictures with my digital camera. So, hopefully, my pictures will start looking prettier & nicer. This cupcake was the 1st one that I tried my new knowledge on. Tell me what you think! =)

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats

For the cupcakes:
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 large egg
• ½ cup buttermilk
• ¾ cup Coca-Cola
• ¼ teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Maraschino cherries, stemless

For the glaze (optional):
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tablespoons Coca-Cola

For the topping:
• 2/3 cup heavy cream
• 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
• Maraschino cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with foil or paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg until incorporated. In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, Coke, maraschino cherry juice, and vanilla extract; stir to combine. (This mixture may look disgusting and/or curdled – it’s okay!)
2. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture on low speed, alternating with liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Drop 1-5 stemless maraschino cherries, depending on your taste, into each cupcake well and push them down into the batter. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. To make the optional glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and Coke in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon or drizzle a small amount on top of each cupcake. Allow to set.
4. To make the whipped cream topping, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin whipping on medium speed, slowly adding the confectioners’ sugar and gradually increasing the speed to high as the cream holds soft peaks. Whip until the cream holds stiff peaks, being careful not to overbeat. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cupcakes, and top each with a maraschino cherry.
Yield: 10-12 cupcakes

Some of my notes:
1) In the 1st step, with all of the dry ingredients, I sifted them all together.
2) Also in the 1st step, it says just to add ¼ teaspoon cherry juice. In my opinion, I didn't get the cherry taste I was looking/hoping for. I will add ½ or even ¾ teaspoon next time. But, they were still very yummy.
3) So, where you are supposed to add the cherries to each cupcake, it says 1-5 because, in the recipe I found, she adapted from another website. The original recipe says just 1 cherry in each cupcake. In the recipe I found, she used one but said she might ad 4-5. What I did was take 1 cherry and halved it, and then pushed them into opposite sides of the cupcake. I think it tasted just fine w/o being overly cherry. I think 4-5 would be too much, this is just my opinion, because the more cherries you put, the less batter you get in there.
4) I do agree with Annie's Eats in saying that the glaze isn't really necessary. I think it's just there to add extra sweetness...not sure I will use next time. 
5) I put a spin on the whipped cream. When you think of Coke floats, you think vanilla ice cream. So, I wanted to amp up the whipped cream to make it better than just plain whipped cream. I added 3 capfuls of vanilla extract (about 1 teaspoon, give or take)....and can I say....WOW! It tasted JUST like vanilla ice cream. I was very pleased with that!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bennigan's Monte Cristo

There used to be this awesome 50's-ish diner in The Grand Casino in Biloxi called Roxy's. My mom took me there all the time when she worked there. I guess I was between the ages of 5 & 8, not really sure. I just remember I was little. Anyways, they had the best food, like their slides, and yummy onion strings. But, there was one thing that stood above the rest. It was the amazing tower of yummy-ness. This was a Monte Cristo; turkey & swiss piled high on bread and then deep fried, topped with powdered sugar and served with raspberry jam. For those of you who have never been able to indulge in this masterpiece, you may be thinking...turkey & jelly?? what the? But I can promise you, this sandwich is on my list of all-time favorite foods. No other Monte Cristo compares to this one. I promise you! have been on the search for this sandwich for a couple years now, with no luck in finding this restaurant. So, about a week ago, I started searching for the perfect recipe when I came across this one. I have never been to a Bennigan's, so, needless to say, I didn't know they had a Monte Cristo on their menu. This is what theirs looks like:
Ok, here is the recipe. Enjoy!

  • 9 slices whole wheat bread
  • 3 slices cooked turkey
  • 3 slices cooked ham
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cup water - I used 1 1/4 cups.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour - I had to use what I had, so I used 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, and then 1 cup of a mixture of 1/2 AP & 1/2 whole wheat flour.
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil (for deep frying) - I didn't deep fry. I didn't have enough oil. So, I just put about an inch or so of oil in a skillet and pan fried. Turned out great!
  1. Place turkey & Swiss cheese on one slice of bread and ham & American cheese on another slice of bread. Place third slice in-between and secure the triple-decker sandwich in the corners with tooth picks.
  2. Place egg in mixing bowl, add water and beat together.
  3. Add salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. Beat batter until smooth. 
  4. Dip sandwich in batter and carefully cover all the sides and surface.  
  5. Carefully place in hot oil and fry until golden. When sandwich has turned a warm gold color remove from hot oil and place on paper towel. Let cool for a few minutes before removing the tooth picks. 
  6. Before serving, slice into fourths and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with raspberry jam. 

     So, this is how mine turned out...whatcha think?

As you can see, I didn't use 3 slices of bread per sandwich. I don't know why, I just didn't want to. It turned out just fine. I would suggest, though, using good quality bread. I will say, it was DELICIOUS!! Both of my parents liked it as well. 

Cookie Dough Brownies

Who doesn't love cookie dough? Sometimes, I would rather eat the raw cookie dough than the baked cookie. All I can say about this brownie is....SWEET!! This brownie is super rich and super decadent. It's not hard at all to put together, and the brownie ends up being about 2" tall when finished. The brownie itself is dense and really rich. I thought it used a lot of cocoa, but that's just me. To be honest, I'm not sure if I liked the combination of the brownie and cookie dough, but that's just my opinion. I would love for you to try, and tell me what you think. This cookie dough is safe to eat because it is eggless. I could honestly eat the cookie dough frosting by itself. I think I might try it on a cupcake. Anyway, here is the recipe.

Recipe originally from Let's Get Cookin'!, but I came across it on Beantown Baker.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa - I used regular unsweetened cocoa.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional - I omitted this.
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips - I used semi-sweet.
Cookie Dough
  •  3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 9 tablespoons milk - I only had 1%, but I'm sure whole would be better.
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups mini chocolate chips I used regular semi-sweet.
Prepare Brownies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it's hot, not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. 
  3. Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, if you've heated it in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder (if using), and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.
  5. Add the flour and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack. 
For cookie dough:
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in milk. With mixer on low, add flour and mix until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

To assemble:
Spread the cookie dough onto the cooled brownies. Chill the brownies until the cookie dough is firm. Cut into bars and serve.

Source: Beantown Bakeroriginally from Let's Get Cookin'!

Jalapeno Poppers with Sweet Apple Mustard Dip

One of my favorite snacks is jalapeno poppers. I'm not a big fan of the ones stuffed with cheddar cheese, but I love the ones with cream cheese. Seems like everywhere I try these poppers, they have the cheddar filling. So, when I came across these, I knew I had to try them. Plus, it includes on of the things on my "to try" list...prosciutto. And it seemed a little healthier than the fried ones because they are baked. As the filling was being put together, I said to my mom, "I bet you could do anything with this filling, like stuff cherry tomatoes, or even use it as a dip." So, maybe I'll try it like that one time.

Recipe from Goodies by Kate

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 2 tablespoon sour cream 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 20 large jalapeno peppers, halved & seeded - I used 10 jalapenos, halved.
  • 10 slices prosciutto, cut in half - I only had 4 slices of prosciutto, so I cut each 1/2 into 4 strips, & it turned out to be plenty.
  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stir together the cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, dill, sour cream, garlic powder, and onion powder in a mixing bowl until evenly blended. Spoon some of the cheese mixture into each jalapeno half, and wrap with slice of prosciutto, Arrange the wrapped jalapeno halves onto a broiler pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the prosciutto is beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

**Make sure you use gloves or something to cover your hands while seeding jalapenos because they are ridiculously hot, and can burn the skin on your hands.**

Sweet Apple Mustard Dip
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

Mix it all up and enjoy! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

I made this for dinner last night. It was super easy to put together, and super yummy. This is a Rachel Ray recipe, another one of my fave chefs on Food Network. She always has such yummy and easy stuff! I only got a picture of a slice of the lasagna because you basically just put everything into a skillet, then layer it in a dish. A slice is much prettier than the whole thing. Anyways, here are the directions. I hope you try, and ENJOY!

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - I used veg oil.
  • 2 lbs. ground chicken breast - I used ground turkey.
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes - I used fire roasted tomatoes...yum!
  • 1 cup corn kernels - I used canned & drained.
  • Salt
  • 8 (8-inch) spinach flour tortillas - As you can see by the pic, I used regular tortillas.
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, & red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans & corn. Heat the mixture through, 2-3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.
  3. Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12-15 minutes until cheese is brown & bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

    I say YUM-O!!! =)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cornmeal Waffles with Spicy Chili

This recipe is from Paula Deen. I love her! She always has the yummiest stuff...guess us Southern girls know how to do it! =) A friend of mine, who I used to work with, posted a picture of this recipe that he made a while back. I thought it looked so yummy, that I went right to the Food Network website, searched for it, and added it to my Favorites. This was the perfect time to try it since it is a little chilly outside. I love a good, warm chili and cornbread on a chilly day. This chili was so easy, and SO YUMMY! It was quick, too! Only 30 minutes really. Anyone could whip this up. The presentation of the finished product, with the thick, hearty chili overflowing on top of a warm, golden cornbread waffle (yes, WAFFLE!), and topped with cheese, is so pretty! Here is the recipe and picture of the finished product...tell me what you think and if you try it out!


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Spicy chili, recipe follows
  • Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add milk, oil, and eggs; stirring until smooth. Pour batter onto hot waffle iron and bake in batches. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. Serve with Spicy Chili. Garnish with shredded Cheddar, sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro.

Spicy Chili:
  • 1 pound lean ground chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans ranch-style beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can niblet corn, drained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown ground chuck, until beef is crumbly. Stir in onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, corn, diced tomatoes, and green chiles. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ashley's Salsa

(Updated: 9-6-12 It's safe to say I needed a better picture of this yummy stuff. So, because I make it all the time, I took some last time I put it together.) 

I came up with this recipe on New Year's Eve. I was going to make a certain salsa recipe. I thought I had everything for it, but, in fact, I didn't. So, what did I do? I used what I had, and came up with this one. I think it was actually pretty darn good.

• 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• ½ small red onion, chopped
• 1 cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen (thawed), or canned (drained)
• 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
• ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
• ½ tsp minced garlic
• Juice of 1 lime
• 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• ¼ tsp salt
• Black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve with choice of chips.

Makes about 3 cups.

Oreos & Whipped Cream

I have yet to come up with a name for this DELECTABLE dessert...would cookies & cream be fitting? =) I actually got inspiration for this dessert from my hubby's step-mom. She loves this cake. Her mom makes it every year for her birthday. Well guess what? We don't have those chocolate wafers where we live. So, I devised a plan. To prove that I could make something just as yummy, and I did! Everytime I make this, everyone loves it. It goes quick! My mom always asks me for the recipe, and I always tell her...there isn't one! Well, mom, this is for you! The only part I don't like about this recipe, is the massive waste of the cream filling! =( So because there is no recipe to this, I'm just going to tell you how to make it. I get 1 box of Oreos. I don't get the Double Stuf or anything fancy because the cream filling gets thrown out...yes, I know, it's horrible. Sometimes, my hubby eats all the insides, but the last time I made it, he wasn't home, & I threw it out. But, it's worth it! Take the Oreos apart and scrape the filling out of them. Then, I make homemade whipped cream. Do what you like, but homemade is SO much better than store-bought (like Cool Whip)! Spread a generous amount of whipped cream in the bottom of a dish or pie plate. I use a 9 x 13 inch glass dish.  Put a layer of the Oreo cookies down. Like this:
Just keep layering until you get as much as you want, or you run out of Oreos or whipped cream! =) Then, you don't have to, but I crumble some Oreos on top. Like this:

Put it in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. You can put it in for just long enough for the Oreos to become soft, but the longer the better. I mean, don't leave it in there for days because it will go bad, but, you know 8 hours will make it DELISH! (Sorry Rachel Ray, I used one of your words!) But, if you don't have the time, a couple hours should suffice! =) I guess you could do overnight, too. When you cut into this baby, it'll look like this:
It is so good, I can't even explain. No matter what they say, Oreos are JUST AS GOOD as Famous Wafers! Enjoy!

Pizza Dip

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! I hope everyone had a great start to a new year!
Now, on to the 1st recipe!

Who doesn't love PIZZA!?!? Well, actually, I don't! Can you believe that? I found this dip, and honestly, it makes me want to eat pizza! This dip is SO EASY to make! I have no pictures for the process of making it because it is literally just put it all in a bowl and mix it up. I do have a few tips though. My husband isn't a big fan of hates mayonnaise. So, I fixed the original recipe to be a little lighter, which brings me to tip #1. Instead of ¾ cup mayo, I use ½ cup mayo and ¼ cup sour cream for a lighter taste. So, you know how when you get a pizza or make anything with pepperoni, there are always those infamous orange puddles of grease? I tried to make the situation a little better. It worked! Tip #2 - I sauté the pepperoni for just a few minutes to draw some of the grease out so it doesn’t puddle up on the dip. Okay, who is with me on the fact that more cheese is better! =) Tip #3 - I added extra mozzarella cheese on top after it was done baking, and then put it under the broiler just until the cheese melted and was bubbly. Tip #4 - If you can't find Italian rolls, do what I did. I just bought a crusty French baguette, and cut it into ¼ " to ½" slices. Oh, and with the olives, I didn't think about this until just now, but I'm sure you could replace those with another topping you like. For example, jalapenos, bell peppers, etc. I hope you enjoy!

• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• ¾ light mayonnaise
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 8 ounces sliced pepperoni, chopped
• 2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
• 10 large, pitted black olives, chopped
• 4 crusty Italian rolls, cut into ½-inch pieces

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, tomatoes and olives. Spoon into 6-cup baking dish.
3. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.
4. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with bread pieces for dipping.