Monday, January 23, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting   
¾ cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons evaporated
1 cup sugar
½ cup chocolate chip
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1. Mix 3/4 c. butter and 2 c. sugar with 1 1/2 boiling water. Set aside to cool.
2. Sift flour, soda, salt and cocoa into the cooled mixture. Add 2 beaten eggs, and 1 tsp. vanilla.
3. Pour into a 9x13 pan.
4. Bake 350 until done. (about 40 minutes). Allow to cool before topping with the Fudge Frosting.
5. Fudge Frosting:
6. Bring to a boil the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar. Boil for 3 minutes. Add chocolate chips, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat until spreadable. Add chopped nuts.

Pizza Casserole

**Don't forget to preheat the oven @ 350!
Layer ingredients:
1 extra large can of Ragu sauce {or any tomato sauce you prefer}
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese {or more depending on how much you ♥ cheese!}
1 1/2 lbs hamburger meat
1 package pepperoni
3} half of the meat
4} half of the sauce
5} rest of the noodles
6} half the cheese
7} rest of the meat
8} rest of the sauce
9} rest of the cheese
10} pepperoni {I only used half the package. saved the rest for next time}
Now cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, remove the foil & bake for another 15 minutes


Friday, January 20, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • pinch of salt (my addition, optional)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (my addition, optional)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes (if using) ; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.
NOTE: All my batter did not fit into the 24-mini muffin pan. So I made a full size muffin with the leftover batter. Some pans are larger than others so you may not have have an issue.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Makes about 2 quarts

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don't be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.
*This is excellent soup!

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
2 packages taco seasoning
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 large can tomato sauce
2 cans corn
2 cans kidney beans
1 can pitted olives
Brown hamburger and onion together and drain. Add taco seasoning. Do not drain the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, kidney beans or pitted olives. Blend all together and heat. When ready to serve, top with avocado, cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
Makes about 25 small squares


For the Crust:
22 Nabisco FAMOUS Chocolate Wafers, finely crushed (about 1⅔ cups crumbs)
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the Filling
6 firmly packed tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 cups Confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1⅓ cups creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural "No Need To Stir")
Pinch of salt

For the Milk Chocolate Ganache Topping
1-11.5 ounce bag Ghirardelli (or similar best quality) milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Make crust: Combine chocolate wafers, sugar and butter in bowl of food processor fitted with blade attachment and pulse until cookies are finely crushed. Press mixture firmly into prepared baking pan (I spread it with my hands first, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out). Bake for 8 minutes. Set on rack to cool completely.

3. In the meantime, make peanut butter filling: Combine all ingredients together in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at low speed until just combined (do not whip). Set bowl in refrigerator while you prepare the rest.

4. Make chocolate ganache topping: Combine milk chocolate chips and heavy cream in microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave at medium power (50%) for 1-1½ minutes. Stir until bowl no longer feels warm. Continue heating at 15-30 second intervals, stirring until smooth and melted. Do not overheat.

5. Put it all together: Use an offset icing spatula (see photo above) to spread about ¼ cup of chocolate mixture evenly over cooled crust; place pan in freezer until chocolate is set, about 5-10 minutes. Spread peanut butter mixture into even layer over chocolate (if it's firm, you can use your hands; if it's soft, use a butter knife or spatula). Give chocolate ganache a quick stir to smooth any lumps, then spread evenly over top of peanut butter layer. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 1 hour to set (or, if you're not in a hurry, you can just leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours). When firm, use a sharp knife to cut into squares (make them small as they are very rich!). Keep refrigerated and serve cool.

**Note: When making this recipe, I suggest using more butter than the recipe calls for when making the crust.

Homemade Egg Noodles

1 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 egg shell of milk

Note: this makes a small batch -double the recipe if making a large pot - or tripple if a crowd. the milk makes the noodles so tender they melt in your mouth.

Place flour in a small bowl, making a dent in the center. Carefully the crack egg shell- put egg in the center of the flour. Use 1/2 of the egg shell you just cracked, fill it with milk and stir into the flour and egg mixture using a fork. Dough needs to be slightly sticky and form a ball, so if needed, add just a touch more milk until the right consistency.

On a well floured bread board or surface, carefully roll out the dough until very, very thin (almost paper thin). Dough will be stretchy and very tender. Using a Pizza cutter, cut the dough into thin noodles -length of your choice. It is okay if the noodles are not perfect and it is not necessary to dry the noodles.

Slowly sprinkle and stir the cut noodles into rapidly boiling chicken or beef broth mixture (see below for broth suggestions) it is important to put the noodles in this way - so they do not stick together in a lump. Turn down heat and keep broth mixture at a low boil and cook noodles until tender (approx. 1/2 hour). Stir constantly while adding the noodles and frequently while cooking to prevent sticking.

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Servings: 15 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 2 pts
Calories: 73.3 • Fat: 4.4 g • Carb: 3.4 g • Fiber: 0.9 g • Protein: 5.2 g • Sugar: 0.6 g
Sodium: 244.7 g


13.75 oz artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
4 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
salt and fresh pepper to taste
olive oil spray


Preheat oven to 375°.

In a small food processor, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with the garlic and shallots.

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Place in an oven-proof dish and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Serve right away.

Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking. Makes about 3 3/4 cups.

Macaroon Kiss Cookies

Macaroon Kiss Cookies

Makes approx. 4 dozen

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cups butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon juice from a fresh orange
10 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided in to 6 cup and 4 cup portions
1 bag Hershey Kisses (48 pieces)

Step 1: In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Step 2: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and orange juice and beat till smooth.

Step 3: In 1 cup increments, mix flour in to the butter mixture. Add the 6 cups flaked coconut and beat to combine.

Step 4: Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. While dough is chilling, remove wrappers from the Kisses.

Step 5: Preheat oven to 350. One at a time, scoop dough into 1" balls, then roll in the bowl of remaining coconut (4 cups). Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, at least an inch apart (cookies will spread slightly). A standard cookie sheet should accommodate a dozen cookies at a time. Bake 12 minutes, until the cookies puff and are very lightly browned.

Step 6: Remove from oven. Immediately press one Kiss into each cookie. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional minute.

Step 7: Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. With a thin spatula, gently move cookies on to a rack to finish cooling.