Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Triple Berry Skillet Cake

Every year my sister and our kids go strawberry picking together. I save a few cups for eating, but the rest of the berries get turned into jam to use throughout the year. My sister mentioned how she had made a cake with some of her berries last year. I decided to give the cake from Smitten Kitchen a try. With my version, I added a variety of berries and baked it up in a cast iron skillet. This gave the cake a fabulous crust!

Now if you don't have a cast iron skillet, a regular 9-inch cake pan or springform pan will work fine. Just skip the step of the extra butter and the preheating of the pan that you'll see below and grease the pan as usual.

Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or any day- this cake would be perfect for your upcoming summer barbecues!





Triple Berry Skillet Cake
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
((Printable Recipe ))

Ingredients:
8 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries (1 pound total, not 1 pound of each)

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with your 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up too.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a mixer, beat 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar together for about 3-4 minutest, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix. Add in the milk and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is incorporated.

4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the cast iron skillet to melt. Add your cake batter to the hot skillet. Arrange your berries on top. (Strawberries should be cut in half and placed cut side down.) Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool 20 minutes.

You can keep this cake simple by giving it a light dusting of powdered sugar before serving. For something a little more decadent, give it a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of glaze, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.




Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinnamon Banana Batter French Toast

This delicious recipe for Cinnamon Banana Batter French Toast takes those overly ripe bananas you have sitting on your kitchen counter and blends them into the egg batter for this amazing french toast recipe. If you like my recipe for Banana Bread French Toast where you dip banana bread into the egg batter, you will love how easy this recipe is. Surprise the mom in your life with this recipe for Mother's Day. It will not disappoint!



Cinnamon Banana Batter French Toast
((Printable Recipe))

Ingredients:
8 thick slices bread
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 eggs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas
2-3 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:
1. Place all the ingredients (except the bread and melted butter) in a blender or food processor.

2. Pour the batter into a shallow bowl. Soak each side of the bread for 10-20 seconds.

3. Brush a medium hot skillet with some melted butter and cook the french toast for 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep in a warm oven until you have finished with all the bread slices.

5. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a drizzle of pancake syrup.

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Cinnamon Roll" Waffles

Ordinary waffles are transformed into the extraordinary with this delicious recipe. When you top waffles with gooey buttery cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of icing, your family will be begging you for more! I came up with this recipe by mashing up my favorite waffle recipe with my cinnamon roll pancake recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Cinnamon Roll Waffles
((Printable Recipe))

Ingredients:

For the waffles-
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the topping-
1/2 a stick of butter, very soft
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the glaze-
1 cup powdered sugar
1 ounce cream cheese (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

Directions:
1. Mix the very soft butter (almost melted, but not quite), brown sugar, and cinnamon together.  Fill inside a 1 quart zipper bag.  Set aside.

2. Mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and milk together.  Fill inside another 1 quart zipper bag.  Set aside.

3. For the waffles, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda together.  Stir with a whisk and set aside.

4. Mix two egg yolks (save the whites in a small mixing bowl), buttermilk, and the melted butter together. Stir with a whisk and then pour it into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined.

5. Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter until no white streaks remain.

6. In a preheated waffle iron, cook the correct amount of batter according to the time specified for your waffle maker.

7. Snip a tiny corner off the zipper bags and drizzle the waffles with the cinnamon sugar mixture and then the icing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Watercress Walnut Pesto

Pesto is considered fast food in our house. You can throw a few things in your food processor and presto, you've got dinner! I love a good traditional pesto, but it is fun to get creative and experiment with different greens like my Arugula Almond Pesto. Watercress, the latest superfood, has been getting a lot of buzz lately. I thought I'd give it a try in pesto and it was delicious!



Watercress Walnut Pesto
((Printable Recipe))

Ingredients:
4 cups watercress, large stems removed, washed and spun dry
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
3-4 ounces fresh parmesan cheese
fresh lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Blend the garlic, parmesan, watercress and walnuts in your food processor.

2. While the processor is running, slowly add in the olive oil.

3. Add fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

4. Serve over pasta. (Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water to help thin out the pesto to coat the pasta.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Triple Chocolate Cherry Cookies

A friend of mine vacations in Michigan every summer and brings be back the most amazing dried cherries. This past year I decided to bake some of them into these delicious cookies. If you don't like dried cherries, try some dried cranberries, raisins, or add in some chopped nuts instead.



Triple Chocolate Cherry Cookies
((Printable Recipe))

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 8 ounce milk chocolate candy bar, grated
1 cup dried cherries

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Cream the sugars and butter together. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract.

3. Mix the dry ingredients together and add that to the butter mixture.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and dried cherries.

5. Roll the dough into 1" balls and palace about 2" apart on a parchment lined sheet pan.

6. Bake 7-8 minutes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baked Spinach Ziti

Move over lasagna.... this all-in-one dish comes together in a snap! This delicious vegetarian casserole has baked pasta tossed in a zesty from-scratch tomato sauce, fresh spinach, and mounded with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It is sure to become a family favorite!


Baked Spinach Ziti
((Printable Recipe))
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 ounces baby spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound ziti
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces freshly grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and get a large pot of water boiling with water to cook the ziti in according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, cook the olive oil and garlic in a medium sized stock pot for 2 minutes on medium high heat. Watch carefully and stir constantly so the garlic doesn't burn! Add in the dried basil, sugar, and salt. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and the diced tomatoes (including the liquid.) Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach.

3. Toss the ziti and sauce together. Pour half of this mixture into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Top with half the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Add the remaining noodle/sauce mixture and top with the remaining cheese.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Let set 5 minutes before serving.

(This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to bake. Just up the cooking time about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the center is hot).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Eggnog Pound Cake

Need a host or hostess gift for the holidays? How about the perfect teacher/coworker gift? I've got one for you! This delicious Eggnog Pound Cake is decadent and wraps beautifully for the perfect from-your-oven gift this season.

When I found this recipe an internet search turned up loads of different recipes. Many involved boxed cake mixes (yuck), rum, currants, or other ingredients I did not have on hand. This recipe I found from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More (check out her site, loads of great stuff!) was a simple and classic pound cake recipe that had a very subtle eggnog flavor. Perfect for my taste- nothing overwhelming. I hope you enjoy it!



Eggnog Pound Cake
(Recipe Source: Chocolate, Chocolate, and More)
((Printable Recipe))

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup room temperature butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup eggnog

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons eggnog

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt with a whisk. Set aside.

3. In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla.

5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the eggnog.

6. Spread into two prepared loaf pans.

7. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the pans rest on a cooling rack for 20 minutes before removing. Remove the loaves and finish cooling completely before glazing.

8. Mix the glaze ingredients until it has reached a desired consistency. Pour over the cooled loaves. Let the glaze set before serving. Chill the bread before wrapping to give as a gift.


Other host/hostess holiday gift ideas:
Candy Cane Cookies & Cream Popcorn 
Candy Cane Marshmallows 
Easy Homemade Marshmallows
Hot Fudge Sauce
Peppermint Bark Munch