Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cake Batter Ice Cream

I cannot believe how hot it is outside this week and not just hot, but also humid!  My thermometer is currently reading 99 degrees, which to me means that it is a perfect day for a scoop of ice cream and I have just the flavor to make.  Cake batter!!!  This works out nicely because it calls for 1/2 a cup of yellow cake mix, which I just made.  I told you that I would find a good use for the mix.  It is also my husband’s birthday so the cake batter ice cream will make an excellent side dish to help us celebrate!

I think that the next time I make this I will bake a small yellow cake to break into pieces to include in the ice cream.  The possibilities with this one are endless.  For now, I chose to top it with magic shell and sprinkles!

Cake Batter Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream, divided
½ cup homemade yellow cake mix
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups milk

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream with the homemade yellow cake mix, sugar and salt.  Heat on medium until the mixture is warm, but not boiling.  Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  In another medium bowl combine the remaining cream, vanilla, and milk with a fine mesh sieve over the top.

When the mixture in the saucepan is warm, slowly pour a small amount into the bowl to temper with the egg yolk, while whisking constantly.  Continue pouring the cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously until well combined.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue heating while stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until mixture begins to slightly thicken.

Take the saucepan off of the heat and immediately pour the custard mixture through the mesh sieve into the cream and milk mixture.  Mix to blend.  Cover and chill the mixture in the refrigerator.  Once the mixture is chilled through, place in an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer or enjoy immediately!

Source:  Annies Eats; originally adapted from The Kitchy Kitchen

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Chips

A hammer and nails, a lock and a key, a flower and a bee, wine and a corkscrew.  Some things are just naturally born to go together, like for example…..peanut butter and chocolate!  This is a combination that has been around forever, but I just recently became addicted to it again.  I tend to go through phases where I either just like it, or phases where I love it and need to have it!  That is currently the phase I am in.  Luckily for me my husband also loves this combination, so for his birthday I decided to make him a peanut butter and chocolate cake!  Not to toot my own horn, but I must say that this cake turned out delicious!  It was super moist, and as for the frosting…..well let’s just say that some of it didn’t even make it to the cake.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Chips

¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups unsalted butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

For Frosting:
2/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 2 – 8” or 9” round cake pans or 1 – 9x13” pan and sprinkle lightly with flour.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set both bowls aside.

Place the butter and sugar together, in a medium saucepan, over medium heat.  Stirring occasionally, heat the butter until it is melted and the sugar is well combined.  Remove the mixture from heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Using a paddle attachment beat on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes, until mixture begins to cool.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.  Now, beat in the vanilla and cocoa mixture until well combined.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients, in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beating until just combined.  Gently fold in peanut butter chips.

Divide the batter between prepared pans and bake for 28-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 10-15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Cream the butter with an electric mixer.  Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until just combined.  Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Make sure to scrape sides and the bottom of bowl often.  After all the sugar has been added the icing may appear dry.  Add in the milk, one tablespoon at a time, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Makes 3 cups worth of icing

Source: Cake adapted from Annies Eats; frosting is adapted from Wilton

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

A lot of different recipes that I have found online lately call for a box of yellow cake mix.  Not that I mind going to the store to pick up a box, but I really wanted to try to make my own and was very excited when I found a recipe!  To me, homemade food just tastes better than store bought, especially when it comes to cakes.  I was also drawn in by the idea that I could store any unused mix in the freezer for up to 2 months.  I like this idea because most of my recipes call for only 1/2 a cup of mix, unless I am making a cake or cupcakes.
This recipe is so easy to make and now that I have whipped myself up a batch I have so many new recipes to try out!  Lets see.......where to begin?????  While I am thinking, here is the recipe so that you can make something tasty of your own to enjoy!

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix
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2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Process sugar, flours, milk powder, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and vanilla and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  If the mixture starts to clump together, just stop pulsing and break it to pieces.  It should fall apart very easily.  Freeze the dry mixture in a zipper-lock bag for up to 2 months or use immediately.

If you want to use the mixture to make a cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour your pan of choice.  Mixture will make 2-9” round cakes or 1-9x13” cake.

Add 1¼ cups warm water and 2 large, room temperature eggs to the cake mix.  Using an electric mixer beat on a low speed for 30 seconds and then turn to a medium-high speed and beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake(s) in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

If making cupcakes, follow the same process but only bake for 18-20 minutes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dijon Chicken

Dijon......Whenever I hear that word I automatically flashback to that old Barenaked Ladies song, “If I Had a Million Dollars”.  In the song the artists make mention of "all the fanciest ketchups, Dijon ketchups.”  In this case however, the chicken is made with Dijon mustard, and it is delicious!  It is also a very quick and easy dish to make, which is perfect after a long day.  I was a little concerned though that my husband might not like it, because he is not a fan of mustard.  In fact, he thinks I should clarify and let everyone know that he HATES it, but even he cleaned his plate and said that it was delicious!  If that is not a seal of approval, I don't know what is.  The Dijon mustard gives the chicken a nice little kick and adding a bit to the side for dipping makes it extra special.

Dijon Chicken
2-4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup
Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Prepare a baking pan by placing tin foil on the bottom and a wire rack sitting on top. 

In a small sauté pan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add the garlic and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Slowly stir in the mustard until well combined and then remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.  In a shallow pie dish, mix the cheese and bread crumbs together, blending well.

Butterfly the chicken breasts so that you have 4-6 pieces total.  One at a time, dip the chicken breast in the butter mixture, coating all surfaces, then in the breading mixture, making sure to pack down the crumbs to completely cover the chicken.  Transfer to the prepared wire rack and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Bake the chicken for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the bread crumbs are a nice golden color.  Enjoy!  

Source: Adapted from Let's Dish

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Zucchini Cabbage Soup

Would you like some cabbage soup?” 

The first time that I heard this uttered, I immediately thought “gross!”  At the time, I disliked cabbage, so I automatically assumed that I would dislike the soup.  I therefore put it in the back of my mind and moved on with other things.  Recently however, this soup has been brought up again, both in books that I have read and in magazines.  Apparently, it is suppose to be a very filling soup, which is why celebrities go on what is known as the “cabbage soup diet” when they want to lose weight fast for their upcoming movies or award shows, and why the characters in the book that I just finished reading, “Winter Garden”, eat the soup. 

After seeing it mentioned in a few different places, I became intrigued and decided to do a little research for a recipe.  While I was searching around online, I found a variety of ways that you can make cabbage soup, but this recipe was the one that looked the most appetizing to me.  Mostly because I am currently addicted to zucchini.  After having made it twice now, in a matter of two weeks, and it turning out delicious both times, I’m hooked!  I also find that it is a very filling soup, just like I had heard.

Zucchini Cabbage Soup

(Yields 4 servings)
1/2 medium head of cabbage; diced
1 1/2 medium zucchinis; diced
1 large clove of garlic; diced and minced
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
12 oz. V-8 vegetable juice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 can French onion soup; undiluted (10 ½ oz. can)
1/2 a cup finely shredded carrots
1 to 2 cups chopped spinach
dash of Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients, then cover and cook on low for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Extra Cheesy Ravioli

For me, ravioli has always been one of those quick and easy meals to make because all I had to do was open a can, pour it in a bowl, place it in the microwave and BAM! it was ready to eat.  Seeing that it is my summer vacation though, and I have a lot of extra time on my hands, I actually wanted to try to make a ravioli dish from scratch.  I found the result to be much better than what comes from a can.  Sorry Chef Boyardee, but this is definitely a dish that will be homemade from this point forward.  I will even be able to make it during the school year, because it didn’t take as long to cook as I thought it would, and leaves plenty of leftovers.  Excellent to take to work for lunches!!  FYI - Some of the ingredients are optional, so feel free to make changes to suit your taste, but here is the recipe I used.

Extra Cheesy Ravioli
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1 pound ravioli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound hot sausage (or mild)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (26 ounce) jar prepared spaghetti sauce (your choice)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until just fragrant and well coated, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add in ground beef, sausage, salt, black pepper, rosemary, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and cook until ground beef is no longer pink.  Drain excess grease.  While the beef is browning, cook the ravioli according to package directions, until just tender; drain.  In a small bowl beat together the sour cream, ricotta cheese, oregano and basil until well combined. 

Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Layer 1/2 of the ravioli on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Top with half of the meat and sauce mixture, all of the sour cream/ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella.  Repeat with the leftover ravioli, meat and sauce mixture and remaining mozzarella.  Sprinkle the top of the dish with parmesan cheese and bake uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Source: Adapted from Let's Dish

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I cannot resist anything that is butterscotch flavor, so when I stumbled across this cookie recipe online, I knew right away that I had to try them!  I will also be the first to admit that I am kind of a sweetaholic!  Cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, pastries, candy, you name it and I’ll enjoy it.

I believe that my love of sweets comes from my dad, because my mom has never been one to enjoy the sweeter foods.  Looking back now, I have to laugh a little, because while I was growing up I can remember my mom hiding boxes of cookies from my dad, so that he wouldn’t sneak too many.  Sometimes I think my husband should probably do the same for me, especially when it comes to these cookies.  When I first glanced at the recipe I discovered that they contained everything I love!  Butterscotch, cinnamon, oatmeal, coconut, and toffee bits all wrapped into one delectable dessert (or in my case snack)!  Luckily for me, I already had everything on hand that I would need, and couldn't wait to get started.

The end result was even better than I could have imagined!  The recipe turned out cookies that were soft, moist and chewy.  I will definitely be baking these cookies again in the very near future!  Not only were they delicious, but they also made the house smell great while they were baking.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies
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Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut (or more if you would like)
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup toffee bits


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, then set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on a medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.  This will take about 2-3 minutes.  Next, beat in the egg until fully incorporated.  Now, blend in the vanilla.  Change the mixer to a low speed and mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated.  Using a spatula, or a large spoon, gently fold in the oats, coconut, butterscotch chips and toffee bits until evenly combined throughout the dough.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Drop scoops of dough (1-2 tablespoons) onto baking sheets about 1-2 inches apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.  Cookies should be just set and light golden in color.  Remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely before eating or storing.

Source: Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted it from Taylor Takes a Taste

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes

FYI - For the past year or so I have been baking cakes like crazy, not only for myself, but also for others’ special occasions.  If you are interested in seeing what some of my finished cakes look like, please visit my facebook page, “Savory Sweets by Jamie”. 

This information is important because it leads me into today’s post.  This past spring, a co-worker approached me wondering if I would be willing to make a cake and cupcakes for a bachelorette party that she was going to be throwing.  Seeing that I absolutely love to bake, and enjoy getting to showcase my creative side, I jumped on the opportunity and said “Yes!”

Before I even made it home from work that day, I began to brainstorm ideas.  I knew that whatever I made needed to be something unique and tasty.   Later on it came to me.  Mixed drinks!  Immediately I needed to know what type of drinks the bride liked, but it was already the end of the work day and I was at home.  It was difficult to wait, but the next day I got together with my co-worker and asked her what she thought about alcohol flavored cupcakes?  She absolutely loved the idea and we decided on a strawberry daiquiri flavor, which just happens to be one of my favorite drinks.  So I gathered up all the ingredients that I would need and started baking.

In the end, it was worth all my time and effort!  Both the cake and the cupcakes turned out moist and delicious!  I received a lot of compliments and was even asked to make them again for someone else.  I believe that these cupcakes would make a great summer treat for anyone, which is why I have decided to share them with you today.  If needed, you could always substitute real rum for rum extract, although it does not taste the sameEnjoy!

Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes
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2 cups white sugar
1 (3 oz.) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature), separated
2 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry daiquiri mix
2 Tbsp. rum

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. strawberry daiquiri mix


To Make Cupcakes - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. then line or grease cupcake pans.

In a small bowl whisk together the sifted cake flour and the baking powder.  Set aside for later use.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy.  Slowly beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  With the mixer set on a low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter, alternating with the milk.  Blend in the vanilla, daiquiri mix and rum until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter and bake for around 18-22 minutes, or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

To Make Frosting - In a large bowl cream the butter with an electric mixer.  Add the vanilla and mix until combined with butter.  Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  If the icing looks a little dry, that is ok.  Add in the milk and strawberry daiquiri mix and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  If the frosting still appears to be somewhat too thick for your taste, you can always add a little more milk or daiquiri mix to thin it out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

Lately I have found myself craving mac and cheese. Who am I kidding.....I am always craving mac and cheese. I especially love a good homemade version where the cheese burns just a little along the edge. mmmmm....heaven. So where to start......I knew that I wanted it to be spicy and cheesy, so I decided to go with a chipotle mac and cheese.  My husband was not about to say "No" to my idea, because he LOVES spicy food. To him, the spicier the better.  So I gathered up what I would need and started cooking.  Here is how it all turned out.

Chipotle Mac and Cheese
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3 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tsp adobo sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
8 oz mozzarella cheese, divided
4 oz chipotle cheddar cheese (Recommended: Cabot) or pepper Jack, divided
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Up to 1/4 cup reserved pasta water, as needed
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. chili powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until done.  Save 1/4 cup of the pasta water, then drain, place pasta back in pot, and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, get out a large saucepan and melt the butter over a medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add in the flour and continuously stir until the two ingredients form a smooth mixture.  Continue to stir this mixture for another 30-40 seconds.  Next, add in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, then stir.  After that, slowly whisk in the milk until there are no more lumps in the mixture.  Now add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and cilantro to the milk mixture and continue to stir until well combined.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and begins to lightly boil.  Once the mixture begins to boil turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat.  Add in most of the mozzarella, chipotle cheddar, and sharp cheddar cheeses, stirring as you add, and saving some of the cheeses to sprinkle over the top before baking.  The cheeses should melt nicely into the milk mixture, but if it becomes too thick, add in some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.

Now pour the milk-cheese mixture over the pasta and stir until the pasta is well coated.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread the pasta out into it.  Sprinkle with remaining cheeses, chili powder, and panko bread crumbs.  Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving, and if desired, garnish with extra cilantro and chili powder.  Enjoy!    

Source: adapted from Smells like home

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ginger Beef Stir Fry

Summer vacation is finally HERE!!  To me, this means sleeping in, boating, traveling, laying by the pool, camping, running, and most importantly, cooking scrumptious meals!  I have been kind of on a health kick lately, due to too many end of the school year goodies, and wanted something that would contain both protein and vegetables.  Then it came to me!  What better way than a stir fry. 

Skimming through all of my saved recipes (and believe me when I say that there are a TON) I stumbled across this one. Right away I knew that I had found a winner! Not only did the picture of the stir fry look divine, but it just happened to contain all my favorite vegetables.  The great thing about this recipe is that you could always improvise to include the vegetables that you like.  You could also choose to serve this stir fry over any type of rice that you like.  I chose to set it on top of brown rice and it was delicious!

Ginger Beef Stir Fry
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1 tsp. cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
3 tbsp. plum sauce
1 tbsp. ginger
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1½ cups small broccoli florets
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
3 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp. salted peanuts, chopped (optional)
Rice, for serving
Sesame seeds, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water; whisk until smooth. Next, whisk in the plum sauce, ginger, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, cook the steak strips to meet your taste (rare, medium, well-done). Remove the steak strips from heat and set aside in a small bowl, draining the excess fat from the skillet. Next, add the oil to the pan followed by the red pepper, broccoli and carrot pieces, stir frying until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. After that, mix in the green onion and garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Return the steak strips to the skillet, followed by the plum sauce (may need to be whisked again) and continue to stir together until sauce begins to thicken to desired consistency.

Remove from heat and add the peanuts.

(Optional) Serve over rice and garnish with fresh sesame seeds.

Source: Annies Eats, originally from All Recipes