Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Best Chocolate Cake I've Ever Made

Since the Chocolate Pie Fiasco of Father's Day, I haven't made Austin a dessert so I decided to make him a chocolate cake (his favorite).  Josie asked if it was for Father's Day (she's been celebrating since the actual day--why is it that Father's Day continues for weeks and Mother's Day is barely a few hours?  LOL).  Then she sang Happy Birthday to him (I guess because I decided to let them put sprinkles on it).  So...whatever it was, it was special because we had chocolate cake in the house...and it was the best chocolate cake I've ever made no less!

Here's how I did it (for my future reference!)...

Betty Crockerr Super Moist Devil's Food cake mix, made according to directions in two round 9 inch pans (and I dusted the pan with cocoa since I was completely out of flour).

I placed the cooled layers in the fridge to let them get cold.  I sliced each once horizontally to make 4 layers.

I made the frosting:

1 stick real butter, softened (part way in the microwave because I forgot to set it out!)
a scoop of Crisco (maybe about 1/3 cup--I don't normally do this for chocolate frosting but will do it again)
some cocoa (about 1/3 cup)
splash of vanilla (2 teaspoons, maybe)
powdered sugar (almost 2 pounds--minus about 1 1/2 cups)
evaporated milk (I don't normally do this but I thought we were out of milk...found out later we weren't!  Will do this next time because I believe it made the frosting creamier)--just enough to make spreading consistency--maybe 1/4 cup

I creamed the butter and shortening.  Added the cocoa and mixed well.  Added the vanilla and about 1 pound powdered sugar, some milk and creamed well.  Continued to add sugar and milk until it was the right spreading consistency.

I frosted the cake (even let Josie do some!) and let the girls put the sprinkles on.  Maybe that's what made it special!  Poor kids...they couldn't wait for Daddy to cut a piece so they could have one too! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Blueberry Delight

This is a recipe from my mom.  It's easy, light and flavorful!  You can use canned pie filling (any flavor, really) but making your own really does taste better (and it's not all that hard to do!).
2 cups flour
2 sticks melted bullter
3/4 C. chopped pecans
Mix and press into a 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
8 oz. & 3 oz. cream cheese (Mama said she used 2 8 oz. cartons), softened
1 lb. box powdered sugar
12 oz. cool whip
Mix together and spread on top of the cooled crust
Homemade Blueberry Pie Filling:
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup of water
3 T. cornstarch
Pour sugar over the berries.  Stir water and cornstarch together and add to berry mixture & heat slowly until thick.  When cool pour on top of cream cheese filling. 
Add some cool whip to the top if desired but it honestly doesn't need it. 
NOTE:  For a patriotic flare, put blueberry pie filling in the left corner, cherry everywhere else.  Pipe cool whip stars over the blueberry corner; stripes over the cherry part.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Veggie Bites

This is a great fix-ahead cool appetizer!  It's easy and delicious!  If you have access to a salad bar that charges by the pound, this is pretty inexpensive to make and the veggies will be really fresh! 

2 packages crescent rolls (pat together on two cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes and cool completely)

2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package dry ranch

Combine and spread evenly onto the crescent roll crust.

Chop (I use my chopper):
Various veggies (broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, etc.)
Sprinkle over cream cheese mixture.

Sprinkle some cheese on top.  Cut into squares or any desired shape.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is a moist, delicious cake! Be sure to make it in a glass pan.
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs

Add to creamed mixture:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I omit this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Blend in:
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use regular milk or ½ tablespoon lemon juice combined with ½ cup milk, let sit for 5 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (unpeeled)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I omit this if I don’t have it)

Spread in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.

1 stick margarine or butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
5 tablespoons milk
1 pound powdered sugar (I usually add about ¾ cup more)
½ cup chopped nuts (I usually omit this)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine and bring to boil margarine, cocoa, and milk. Mix in vanilla, nuts, and powdered sugar. Can frost while warm (I probably let the cake cool 20-30 minutes, then make the frosting).

Zucchini Bread

This is a super-easy recipe that has things I generally keep on hand. When I used to take this to work, everyone raved. It freezes well—wrap in plastic wrap tightly and then wrap with foil.

1 cup oil (or ½ cup oil, ½ cup applesauce)
2 cups grated zucchini (unpeeled)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (I use 1 1/3 cups walnut pieces)

Stir everything together. Do not beat (I just use a whisk). Spoon into 2 prepared loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until done. My recipe says 1 ½ hours but I don’t usually bake it much longer than an hour. I start checking it after 45 minutes and then check every 10 minutes. Let cool 10-20 minutes and turn loaves out of pans. Allow to cool on cooling racks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pork Chops & Rice

This is a Weight Watchers recipe but honestly it doesn't taste "diet."  I think it would be Prism friendly too.  You can use all beef broth if you prefer but the consomme seems to add some flavor.

4 center cut boneless pork chops (about 4 oz. each)
1 cup rice (see note below)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 can beef consomme (about 10 ounces)
beef broth (about 6 ounces--enough to add to the consomme to make 16 ounces)

Spray a 7x11 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Add rice (uncooked), bell pepper, onion, and liquid.  Place pork chops on top.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until rice has absorbed liquid and is tender.

NOTE:  You can use brown rice but you'll need to bake it 1 1/2 hours (I covered it for the first hour; uncovered for last 30 minutes).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

This is a Southern Living recipe that I remade.  Enjoy with the blueberries or without.  You can use wheat flour if you prefer.  The kids love Mickey Mouse pancakes, an old Bonner tradition.  It really is worth it to make your own pancake batter--and easy too!  Yum!

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus enough milk to make 1 cup, let sit for 5 minutes)
1 cup blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together and stir well.  Add eggs and buttermilk.  Gently stir in blueberries.  Pour into small pancakes on a griddle or non-stick skillet over medium (or just under) heat.  Pancakes are ready to turn when there are bubbles covering them and the edges look done.  Flip and cook until the other side is the desired golden color.