Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras King Cake

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • Colored Frostings (see below)
  • Colored Sugars (see below)
  • Colored Frosting:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops green food color
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2 drops blue food coloring
  • 2 drops red food color
  • Colored sugars:
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 drops green food color
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2 drops red food color
  • 2 drops blue food coloring


  1. COOK first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees.
  2. DISSOLVE yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  3. TURN dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  4. STIR together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  5. PUNCH dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.
  6. COVER and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. BAKE at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
  8. COLORED FROSTINGS: Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.
  9. COLORED SUGARS: Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best Black Forest Cherry Cake

I am a huge fan of Black Forest Cakes, this is my own recipe with two layers of cake filled with a sweet vanilla and cherry center. It is pretty fool-proof and definitely worth the time it takes to make it. You won't want a Black Forest Cake any other way after you try this recipe!

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix with pudding
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup drained juice from jarred Maraschino Cherries
  • 3 eggs, slightly whisked
  • 1/2 can Whipped Vanilla frosting
  • 1/2 jar Maraschino Cherries, drained and halved
  • 1 can fudge chocolate whipped frosting
  • 1/2 jar Maraschino Cherries, drained and halved
1. In a large mixer, slowly stir water, cherry juice, and eggs until combined.

2. Slowly add flour, then cake mix. Scrape sides to make sure it mixes well. Mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes.

3. In 2 8-inch round cake pans, line them with tin foil (allows you to remove cakes very easy!) and grease with cooking spray. Pour batter evenly in to both pans. Make sure you have equal amounts of batter in each pan or they will not bake the same!

4. Bake cakes at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

5. Once cakes are done baking, set on cooling racks for 15 minutes. Carefully remove cakes by lifting the tin foil slowly from the pans. Keep tin foil on, and let cakes chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours ( I prefer overnight).

6. Once cakes have chilled, remove on cake from the refrigerator, remove tin foil, and place on a clean cake stand. Cover top of cake #1 with vanilla whipped frosting evenly, unless you want a lop-sided cake!

7. Then place halved cherries, flat side down on cake however you would like, a bulls-eye like shaped ensures cherries in every bite!

8. Remove cake #2 from refrigerator and carefully remove tin foil. Place evenly on top of cake #1.

9. Cover entire cake, from bottom to top with fudge chocolate frosting. You will need to use more frosting on the sides to fill in small gaps between the two cakes. Frost the sides very carefully so you don't mix the two frostings by accident.

10. Once the entire cake is evenly frosted, place remaining cherry halves on the top of the cake for decoration.

I couldn't wait to try a piece, so I cut right in!

It was like heaven in my mouth... can you say YUM?? Enjoy my fellow sweet toothers!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweet Corn Bread Pudding

  • 2 cups dry self-rising yellow corn meal
  • 1 1/4 cups milk or cream
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can sweet cream style corn
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • shortening, or butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 9 baking pan with shortening (or butter) on all sides.

2. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Place pan in the oven, just long enough for shortening (or butter) to melt. *Shortening will smoke if left in too long.

4. Remove from oven and immediately add corn pudding mixture.

5. Return to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top of pudding is slightly browned.

6. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes, slice, and enjoy!

Chicken, Sausage, & Egg Gumbo


  • 2 lbs. chicken thigh meat (boneless/skinless)
  • 2 lbs. chicken breasts (boneless/skinless)
  • 1-2 lbs. smoked pork sausage
  • Tony Chachere's Instant Roux Mix
  • Tony Chachere's Seasoning
  • 2 or 3 large onions diced
  • 2 large green bell peppers diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 bunch green onion tops chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley chopped
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 gallons water
  • 4 to 6 eggs (optional)

 Let me start by saying that I never make my gumbo the same way twice in a row and I do a lot of adlibbing, so I suggest that you be prepared to do the same.

First fill a large soup (gumbo) pot a little over half with tap water and place on burner. While the water is still cold, dissolve an amount of the Tony‚s Instant Roux Mix adequate to give the water the consistency you prefer in your gumbo. As you heat the water, the starch in the roux mix releases its glutens that give the gravy the body (thickness) that is desired. Again, this is a matter of personal preference.

I like my gumbo to be of medium thickness. Saute‚ the onions, bell peppers and celery (known as the trinity) in separate pan until they become limp and opaque, then add them to the pot. Brown the sausage first to produce enough fat to brown the rest of the meat. It is easier if you brown the fresh sausage whole and cut in bite sized pieces after it‚s browned. The smoked sausage can be sliced before browning if preferred.

 Be careful not to let the pan get so hot that the fat burns. Cut up, season (with Tony's) and brown the chicken thigh and breast meat to desired doneness then add to pot, hopefully boiling by now. Return to a boil, then reduce heat, add bay leaves as well as Tony‚s to taste. Allow to simmer over low heat for two hours.

Take pot and place on shelf in refrigerator immediately and allow to cool overnight. Remove from fridge and skim fat and reheat. If you care to add eggs to gumbo, wait for the gumbo to come to a slow boil, then crack them and drop them into the pot. Don‚t stir for several minutes after adding the eggs to give them a chance to boil to a hard state. Just prior to serving, sprinkle chopped green onion tops and parsley over top and stir into gumbo.

Serve over rice and add  potato salad or gumbo file‚ to taste and enjoy.

Serves: A WHOLE lot!

Cajun-style Gumbo Potato Salad

 This potato salad is intended for Gumbo, but can be made with out creole seasoning, in to Mustard Potato Salad.

  • 6 medium potatoes; rinsed, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 whole dill pickle, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons Mayo
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Seasoning (OPTIONAL)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Boil potatoes and washed eggs together till done.

2. While potatoes and eggs are boiling, mix remaining ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Drain potatoes and add them to mayo mixture. Run eggs under cold water until ready to peel. Peel, rinse, shred, and add to bowl.

4. Mash with potato masher 5-6 strokes (leave some chunks)

5. Mix all ingredients well.

6. While still warm, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best served chilled, enjoy!

Feeds: 6-8 people

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicken Broccoli & Rice Casserole

  • 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 3 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise  
  • 1 (10 oz) can cream of celery soup
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce (OPTIONAL)
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken
1. In a bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, cream of celery, garlic salt, pepper, and buffalo sauce.
2. Add cooked rice, broccoli, cheese, & chicken. Mix well.
3. In a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, spread mixture evenly.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, at 350 degrees.
5. Remove casserole from oven, and add panko crumbs on top. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until light brown.
6. Allow to sit for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ranch Burgers with Grilled Sweet Onions

  • 4 lbs ground beef/turkey
  • 1 oz Hidden Valley dry Ranch mix
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or cheese or your liking
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • Hamburger buns
Grilled Sweet Onions
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sweet Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cracked black pepper

1. In a medium bowl, mix sliced onion, olive oil, and rice vinegar. Toss the onions until coated well, sprinkle with garlic salt and cracked pepper, toss again. Set aside, mix every 5-10 minutes for 30 minutes. This will marinate in to the onion, and make for a delicious topping!

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix ground beef/turkey, ranch mix, cheese, minced jalapeno, bread crumbs, and pepper. Don't be afraid to get your hands messy, it's the best way to mix it well!

3. Form patties slightly larger than the hamburger buns (they will shrink when grilled), set aside to grill.

4. Line a grilling rack with foil so the onion slices don't fall through. Place onion slices in a single layer on top of foil lining. Heat grill to medium-high heat, place grilling rack on bottom rack, grill burgers for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Onion slices will be done once the burgers are finished.

5. I toasted the hamburger buns just before the burgers came off of the grill, under the broiler in the oven for about 2 minutes (or until light brown).

6. Top burgers with grilled sweet onions, it really doesn't need cheese, or other condiments! This will become a BBQ favorite, enjoy!

Peanut Butter Puff Cookies

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1. Place peanut butter and softened butter in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and a flat beater to mixer. Turn to Speed 6 and beat about 1 minute, or until mixture is smooth.

2.Stop and scrape bowl. Add sugars, egg, and vanilla. Turn to Speed 4 and beat about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl.

3. Turn to STIR Speed. Gradually add all remaining ingredients to sugar mixture and mix about 30 seconds. Turn to Speed 2 and mix for an additional 30 seconds.

4. Roll dough into a large ball, cover with saran wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

5. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

White Chicken Chili

  •  1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cups chopped chicken breasts (or tenderloins)
  •  1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 4oz can chopped fire roasted green chile's & juices
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 14.5oz diced tomatoes & juices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 can cream chicken
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, additional for topping
  • toasted tortilla strips for topping
1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with garlic salt, and cook for 4-6 minutes.

2. Add chopped garlic, onion, green chiles & juice, cumin, oregano, & cayenne. Let simmer until onions are somewhat transparent.

3. In a bowl, mix cream chicken and water, then add to pot. Also add diced tomatoes & juice, lower heat to medium low, let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until liquid reduces slightly.

4. In a colander, rinse beans well with cold water.

5. Add drained beans, and corn. Cover and let cook for an additional 20 minutes.

6. Stir in cheese, & top with tortilla strips. Serve immediately.

Oh YUM, enjoy!