Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Caramel Apple-Upside Down Cake

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cut into ½-inch wedges
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Whipped Cream topping:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 9 inch round or square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt ¼ cup butter over medium heat until melted. Add the brown sugar. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Pour into the bottom of the greased pan. Arrange the apples over the brown sugar mixture.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt. Set bowl aside.
  4. In a large bowl or mixer, beat together 1 cup sugar, and ½ cup butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Beat in flour mixture alternating with the milk until smooth. Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.
  6. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the whipped topping, beat whipping cream on high until soft peaks start to form. Add in 2 tablespoons sugar.
  8. Run knife along the edges of the cake and flip upside down on a pan. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream on top.

~~ picture and recipe from the Recipe Critic

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Buckeye Brownies

  • 1 box fudge brownie mix
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 TB unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. In a 9x13 pan, make and bake brownie mix according to box directions. Let cool.
  2. In a bowl add your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter. Mix well. Spread with fingers over the brownies and pat down (it has a consistency similar to playdough).
  3. Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Spread over brownies 2nd layer. ENJOY!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Easy Feta Dip

Easy Feta Dip
  • about 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4-5 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (see Note)
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cavender's Greek seasoning
  • fresh baguette, sliced thinly
  1. On a large platter drizzle olive oil until you have a thin layer on the entire platter. You may use more or less here depending on your preference.
  2. Add the tomatoes, green onions, and feta on top of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning to taste.
  3. With a spoon carefully combine the ingredients.
  4. Serve with warm sliced baguettes for scooping up the dip.
Fresh feta that comes in a block is what is preferred here. It's a lot more moist. The crumbled cheese is fine but a little more dry.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients for the cookies:
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for the cinnamon-sugar coating:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of allspice

To make the cookies, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. If you have any more dry streaks on the bottom, fold together gently with a spatula until just combined. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill this as well (for at least half an hour).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the coating thoroughly. Take one tablespoon of dough and flatten it into a pancake shape. Place one teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the pancake. Form another tablespoon of dough into an equally-sized pancake shape, and place on top, keeping the cream cheese in the middle. Gently pinch together the edges of the dough around the cream cheese to seal, then gently roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart. Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water to moisten slightly. Then dip it in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly (They won't really flatten on their own, though they will puff slightly.). Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.

Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch and the tops are beginning to crackle. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sausage-Kale Breakfast Strata


  • 12 whole Eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups Half And Half (or Milk, If You Prefer)
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano (or Parsley, Basil, Etc.)
  • 1 loaf Crusty French Or Italian Bread, Cut Into Cubes
  • 2 pounds Breakfast Sausage Patties, Cooked And Cut Into Cubes
  • 1 bunch (large) Regular Kale, Torn Into Pieces
  •  Olive Oil, For Frying
  • 16 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Halved
  • 2-1/2 cups Grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Preparation Instructions

*Note: Recipe can easily be halved.
Mix together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and minced oregano. Set aside.
Drizzle olive oil over mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in a 425 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat, then throw in kale. Cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Layer half the bread, half the kale, half the mushrooms, and half the cheese in a large, buttered lasagna pan. Repeat with the other half of all the ingredients, ending with the cheese. Slowly pour egg mixture all over the top.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight if possible.
To bake, remove from fridge 20-30 minutes before baking. Replace plastic wrap with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown and slightly crisp.

from Pioneer Woman

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tuscan Chicken Shepherd Pie


  • 2 lb russet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • ½ medium onion, grated
  • 3 clove garlic,  pressed
  • 1 tsp fresh-cracked black pepper, divided
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup frozen corn (or vegetable of your choice)
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 8-oz shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf Italian parsley


  1. Peel and cut potatoes into ½” pieces, place in a saucepan with enough water to cover potatoes and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cover and place on high heat and allow to boil.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium high heat with olive oil in it. Add chicken and stir. Grate onion and add to pan. Stir to combine. Using a garlic press, mince garlic and add to pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, stir to combine.
  3. Preheat oven to broil.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat whisk 2 Tbsp butter and flour and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and poultry seasoning. Whisk to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened.
  5. Add corn and beans to chicken mixture, pour gravy on top. Stir to combine.
  6. Drain potatoes, add 2 Tbsp butter, cream cheese, sour cream, ¼ cup milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper to pan and pour potatoes on top. Mash and combine with potato masher. Add ½ of cheese, stir to combine.
  7. Spread mashed potatoes over top of the chicken mixture. Spread evenly to edges of pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Place pan in oven under broiler until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. 1-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on cheese.
  8. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley, serve and enjoy.
Serves 8.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Cake

strawberry cheesecake cake

Yield: 12 to 15 servings
Prep Time: 1 hr + cooling and chill times
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min


Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I used this recipe- good, but rather dense & you'll probably have a bit of extra batter so make a few cupcakes: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/10/pink-lady-cake/
I recommend you try this one instead- it looks much lighter:http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/1088/
See *Tips below if you prefer to use a boxed mix.
I'd add a few drops of red food coloring to enhance the "PINK" appearance
12 ounces (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup strawberry puree (frozen strawberries, thawed and blended in blender)
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Fresh strawberries and/or slivers of white chocolate, as desired


1. Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat the oven to 325dgF. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla (and food color, if using). Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
2. Prepare the cake: Bake two- 9-inch round strawberry cake layers (your recipe preference- see ingreds and tips for suggestions)
3. Prepare the frosting: Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and the butter, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, strawberry puree and cream and continue to mix until well combined. Mix in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add the third cup a little at a time until you reach a consistency that you're happy with. You may not use it all, or you may use more. It just needs to be thick enough to be spreadable.
4. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
5. Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *Tips), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting, if needed. Decorate, as desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.


*If you prefer to use a boxed mix, it will work just fine (just make two layers in two 9-inch pans). Here's a link to a jazzed up box mix that has good reviews too.
*You can certainly bake this cheesecake in the oven without a water bath, but you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake. The water bath is a safeguard against cracking.
*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.
*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any pink crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.
*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.
Source: RecipeGirl.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup pecans
20 Kraft caramels
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
coarse sea salt
1/4 cup semi-sweet morsels
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment. ( I didn’t do this, but I highly suggest it because my cookies stuck to the sheet just a little.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Add brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Beat until just combined.
Gradually add flour and mix until just combined.  If it is over mixed, the dough will become sticky.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a plate to refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While dough is refrigerating, beat egg white until it is white and frothy.
Toast nuts.
Remove dough from refrigerator.
Roll one ball in egg white and then in nuts.
Place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.
Using the back of a teaspoon, place an indentation into each ball.
Bake for 13-15 minutes.
While cookies are still on cookie sheet, indent again with back of teaspoon .
Transfer to wire baking sheet and allow to cool.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine caramels and whipping cream.
Melt caramels until sauce is smooth.  This may take about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, melt chocolate morsels in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Remove to stir and microwave for another 10 seconds.  Repeat stirring and melting for 10 seconds until morsels are completely smooth.  Be careful that you do not overheat in the microwave oven.
Fill each cookie indentation with caramel.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Drizzle with melted chocolate.