Monday, September 12, 2016

Strawberry Trifle


When I was trying to tell the hubby that I wanted to make a "trifle," he kept calling it a "truffle." I tried and tried to explain to him that it was two separate things. LOL. Anyways, I was really proud of myself because I barely spent any money on this dessert! I had a digital coupon from Kroger to get a FREE angel food cake and the whipped topping and the strawberries were both on sale!! A "classic," trifle has the cake soaked in sherry or "fortified wine." Um, since Dominic was going to have some of this and he's only 12 years old, that wasn't an option. This trifle had to be "kid friendly!" Even if I hadn't gotten the ingredients for this trifle either free or on sale, it still wouldn't be an expensive dessert to make. I think it's pretty impressive, don't you?

Ingredients

13-ounce angel food cake, cubed
  (about six cups)
8-ounce container of whipped topping
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

In a large glass serving bowl, put two cups of the cubed angel food cake, 1/3 of the whipped topping and 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat two more times, ending with the strawberries on top. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge 30 minutes. When ready to eat, a large spoon is much better to "scoop," out a piece. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top, if desired!! YUMMY!




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chocolate Pudding Brownies


Last week, while cleaning out and sorting our food pantry, I came across a few items that had gotten pushed towards the back. I found a bag of Cracker Jacks (yeah!), which were still relatively new and quite tasty and a box of Hershey's Instant Chocolate Pudding. I could have whipped up some pudding, put in this house, brownies rule as one of our #1 desserts, so I opened up the package of pudding and dumped the dry mix into the bowl. I then added the usual ingredients for brownies - flour, sugar, etc., but also added chocolate syrup, milk chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Wow, these brownies are totally scrumptious and decadent!! Triple the chocolate, because you can never have too much chocolate, right?!?!?!?!

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3.56 ounce box Hershey's Instant
   Chocolate Pudding
3/4 cup white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch pan with non-stick spray. In large bowl, put the butter and sugar. Cream by hand with large spoon or with electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, box of pudding mix, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, milk and chocolate syrup. Combine well and then "fold," in the chocolate chips and pecans with a large spoon. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool and then cut into squares.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Henrici's Coffee Cake


I found this coffee cake recipe in an American-Slovene Club cookbook from 1951 that was published in Cleveland. After TONS of research on the Internet, I found out a few interesting facts - Henrici's was a German bakery/restaurant in Chicago that opened in 1868 and closed permanently in 1962. How a recipe from a German bakery/restaurant in Chicago landed in an American-Slovene Club cookbook in Cleveland remains a mystery. I'm guessing that the coffee cake recipe was probably kept a secret, and people tried to replicate it. There are variations - you can add nuts or raisins, which I chose not to do. The recipe out of the American-Slovene Club cookbook also said use a "pinch of salt." What exactly is a pinch? I used 1/4 of a teaspoon and that seemed to work.  All the recipes I found had lemon extract, lemon rind or lemon juice in some way, shape or form. I don't think I have ever bought lemon extract in my entire life and I rarely have a lemon on hand. So, that left one item I did have, the lemon juice! Some recipes said use one teaspoon and others said use a tablespoon. An entire tablespoon of lemon juice seemed like a lot, but I ended up using that much! This coffee cake smelled so yummy while it was baking. If you notice a few cracks on the top, it's because I was impatient and tried to remove the coffee cake from the pan before it had cooled enough. Well, I was hungry and wanted it for breakfast! I can tell you this, it was so moist and delicious. I love, love, love recipes that have some sort of history to it, it makes baking even more fun! I did find a copy of a 1948 menu from Henrici's on the Internet, but didn't see the coffee cake on there. I did discover they had their own special blend coffee with whipped cream. Guess how much? Just 15 cents a cup!  Wow, imagining a cup of that coffee with a slice or two of coffee cake is making me hungry! I gave a piece to the hubby in his lunch today - he just sent me an e-mail, "the coffee cake you made was really great.  On a 1-10 scale, I would give it an 11!" I love it when that happens.



Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12-cup fluted tube or Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, put the butter and white sugar and with an electric mixer or large spoon, combine until creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into the prepared tube pan, spread the batter evenly and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the coffee cake comes out clean. Remove pan to wire rack and when cool, invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Anytime" Blueberry Cobbler




This time of year, blueberries are cheap and abundant where I live here in Michigan. What do you do when you get tired of putting them on cereal? or using them in muffins? Well, you make them into a cobbler!!!  This morning, I was gathering my ingredients together in the kitchen, when I heard my husband's voice from the other room saying, "what are you making in there?" I told him I was making a cobbler. It didn't take too long to assemble and then I put it into the oven to bake. When I had pulled the cobbler out and it had just been cooling a few minutes, again I heard my hubby's voice. This time he said, "is it ready to eat?" I put some on a plate and handed it to him. After he polished his piece off, I asked him, "so, what would you give the cobbler on a scale of 1-10?" He said, "11." Cool. I was telling him that the warm cobbler would be so good topped with my homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert. His response, "I've always thought of a cobbler as a "breakfast," item." Yes, after being married over 20 years, these are the kind of conversations my husband and I have on a Saturday morning. 


To me, this blueberry cobbler is good "anytime," whether it's morning, noon or night!

Ingredients

Filling:

2 cups (1 pint) blueberries, fresh
 (rinsed and patted dry)
1/4 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Topping:

2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar,
  one tablespoon reserved for topping
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9-inch round pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, put the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Stir gently with a large spoon until all the blueberries are covered with the sugar and set aside. In large bowl, put the flour, baking powder, salt and one tablespoon of white sugar. Using two knives, "cut," in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Pour the milk in and with a large spoon mix well. On a lightly floured surface (about one tablespoon of flour), remove the dough from the large bowl and using your fingertips press out to nine inches. Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie pan and cover completely with the dough. Sprinkle the top evenly with one tablespoon of white sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Top with whipped topping or ice cream or just as it is! Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Zucchini Chili



We have had a "hot," spell here in Michigan! You would think the very last thing I would make for my family to eat would be chili! Well, Lauren only has about another month at home and then she goes back for her junior year of college. Ever since I started putting zucchini in my chili, she requests it often for dinner. I used to buy "chili ready," canned tomatoes until a few months ago I "discovered," that chipotle tomatoes add a really unique flavor. How about curry powder? I used to only associate that spice with Indian cooking. Well, oh my gosh, I have been adding a little to the chili and it bumps up the flavor to a whole different level!  The only "side effect," I seem to have from the curry powder is that it makes me sweat. I was fanning myself with a magazine last night at the dinner table and my hubby goes, "why are you doing that, we have the air conditioning on!" What my husband fails to realize is that women of my age sometimes have an "internal," heater that is on ALL the time!!!! LOL.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
12-ounce package 3-pepper and onion blend,
   frozen
14.5 ounce can petite diced chipotle tomatoes,
   undrained
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
15.5 ounce can Great Northern Beans, drained
2 large zucchini, peeled and cubed
  (about two cups)
1.25 ounce package mild chili seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups water

In a large stockpot, brown meat and then drain off grease. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order given, mix well with a large spoon and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, cover with lid and cook 30 minutes or until the zucchini is soft, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked rice or elbow noodles and top with shredded cheddar cheese (if desired). Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fresh Strawberry Smoothie

When I went grocery shopping last week, I forgot to pick up one of Dominic's favorite food items - chicken nuggets. Little by little, I am teaching him how to make his own meals. I have taught him to get the chicken nuggets bag out of the freezer, grab a plate, put 8-10 on the plate and then put it into the microwave. To say he was bummed out that I forgot would be an understatement. I have used the opportunity to come up with some different recipes. This afternoon, when he was telling me he was hungry for lunch, I said, "how about a strawberry smoothie?" He LOVES strawberries, but isn't so "gung-ho," about yogurt, he will absolutely REFUSE to eat it out of the container. Hmm, we moms sometimes have to get creative, so I figured a smoothie was a good way to give him the yogurt and the strawberries at the same time, with Dominic being none the wiser. LOL. Since this recipe makes three cups and both the hubby and Lauren had other plans this afternoon, I joined Dominic for our "strawberry smoothie," lunch! It was so yummy, there was not one drop left!!





Ingredients

6 ounce container Strawberry Greek Yogurt,
  any brand (I used Chobani)
6 ounce container Original Strawberry Yogurt,
  any brand (I used Yoplait)
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups ice

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency. Makes three cups. Super easy, huh?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"No-Churn" Vanilla Ice Cream



I could eat ice cream every day - that's how much I love it. I realized though, it's best to have it as a special treat - about once a month. I've thought from time to time about buying an ice cream machine, but then I probably would be eating it every day! LOL. This vanilla ice cream recipe doesn't require churning by hand or an ice cream machine. It does require an electric mixer though! My "dream," mixer is made by KitchenAid and is close to $700!! I do just fine and dandy with my hand mixer that was less than ten bucks from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Anyways, this ice cream is very rich, but oh my gosh is it DECADENT! I waited a few days after I made a batch before I went into the freezer to get myself a small bowl. About half the ice cream was already gone, so I was trying to figure out who the "culprit," was. One night that week I discovered it was my hubby. He had been going into the freezer, lifting off the top of the "Mason," jar and getting himself a spoonful at a time. I didn't know that, until I caught him, "red handed!"

Ingredients:
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sprinkles (if desired)
Directions:
Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a small bowl and add the two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix well with large spoon and set aside. In a large bowl, put the pint of heavy whipping cream. With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream on high speed for about three minutes or until soft peaks form. Gently "fold" into the ingredients in the smaller bowl with a large spoon. Add the sprinkles at this point if you wish and mix well with large spoon. When well combined, pour into a loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches) that is lined with parchment paper and then covered with plastic wrap (so ice crystals don't form) or use glass "Mason" jars. Put in freezer for a minimum of eight hours. Enjoy!