For our youngest son's 13th birthday cake last week, I decided to try some of the tips I had seen on making a cake mix taste more like a bakery cake. It was really good!! It was moist, denser, and even richer tasting.
Here is what you do: Using a cake mix, substitue milk for the water, butter for the oil, and add an extra egg. In the chocolate cake, I used Starbuck's Frappuccino in place of the milk. It tasted really good, but I had accidentally turned off the oven and didn't realize it, so they didn't bake well (it's a new oven, so I'm just not used to everything, yet!). However, with the new oven, the birthday cake cooked so evenly it was amazing!!! I didn't realize that was possible! Ha ha!!
Oh, this pie is soooooooo good! It's just as I imagined it would be....caramel, nutty goodness!
I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and made it Saturday for a Thanksgiving meal. It's delicious!
Caramel Pecan Pie
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust (I use mom's recipe that's posted on this blog)
36 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) In a saucepan over low heat, combine caramels, butter and milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in the melted caramel mixture. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
3Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until
pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool until filling is firm. Pin It Now!
Chicken lasagna has been one of my favorite things to make for large groups or to take to people for many years. The first recipe I created several years ago is good, but through the years, I decided to get away from condensed soups. That one has cream of chicken soup. If you still like to use canned soups, then go ahead! It's very good! But if you like Alfredo sauce and whole foods better, then go with this one. It's not low fat, but uses whole foods such as real butter, whipping cream, and cheese. You could easily make it gluten free by buying gluten free lasagna noodles or serve the mixture over a different variety of gluten free noodles. Anyway, it's delicious! I had never written down the recipe, just eyeballed it, but recently I needed to make it for the football team, so took the time to measure everything. If making for a large group, double the recipe. Three of each layer will fit well into the large catering disposable pans from Sam's Club.
ALFREDO CHICKEN LASAGNA
1 - 2.5 lb. bag frozen chicken tenderloins
2 tsp. salt (divided)
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 stick butter
6 cups grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned variety, but fresh)
3 T. granulated garlic
6 - 9 uncooked lasagna noodles (no need to buy the special no-cook variety)
2 lbs. shredded mozzarella, Monterey jack, or colby jack cheese
In large pot, cook frozen chicken tenderloins and 1 tsp. salt, covered, over medium-high heat. Cook until chicken is white. Leave lid on pot and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove lid and rinse chicken pieces. (I don't like the "goo" that the chicken collects! I also remove the membrane at this time.) Drain juices and return the chicken back to the pot. With electric mixer, shred chicken. Add to pot remaining tsp. of salt (or more to taste), heavy whipping cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, and granulated garlic. Cook until cheese and butter melts.
Depending on the depth of your 9 x 13 dish, you will have 2 or 3 complete layers. The disposable pans and lasagna pan types are deeper. Layer 3 lasagna noodles, a third or half of the chicken mixture, a layer of mozzarella, Monterey jack, or colby jack cheese. Repeat layers.
Bake on 350* for 45-60 minutes, depending on how browned you want it. I usually cover it for the first half of the baking time. For the larger pans, you can put in the oven several hours in advance, on 200*, then just turn it up the last hour or heat until bubbly and browned. Pin It Now!
Our oldest and only daughter wanted a Minnie Mouse themed party to celebrate turning 21. I didn't want it to be a "kiddie" party, of course, and neither did she. We ordered special sugar cookies from a friend.
Her grandmother made her a Minnie cake.
I did chocolate covered strawberry marshmallows with candy shred (it was yucky, in our opinion) and melted candy squiggles.
Cherry limeade punch, which is a favorite of ours. (Braum's sells the cherry lime sherbet and just add 7up. I also put some maraschino cherries in there and garnished with a slice of lime.)
The chandelier light was transformed into a goofy Minnie-themed light.
The cheeseball was shaped into a Mickey head, then a fruit roll up bow made it a Minnie!
I had the polka dot pots for many other occasions, but spray painted styrofoam balls and created a Minnie head with a big pink bow. Spray paint melts the styrofoam, but it worked, still. Just in the back where I laid them to dry, they are flattened. I should have allowed it to dry stuck into the pot, standing up.
And see the balloon wreath with the right ear showing white? Lauren had made this wreath to take to Disney World last summer when she worked there, but it broke. I surprised her by getting new balloons and redoing the ears. It's such a cute wreath and lots of work! You can find directions if you search balloon Minnie Mouse wreath.
It was such a fun party! I haven't taken the decorations down just yet. I don't want it to be over :).
I wrote more about using this fall themed tableware over on my other blog HERE, but wanted to share it as a decorating post on this blog.
We are still in the process of putting together the cookbook. Mom is doing a lot more of the work than I am, so far. I have lots of catching up to do, so am thankful for her help! We hope to have them ready by Christmas, if at all possible.
Now back to fall themed tableware....
This is at Hobby Lobby. I can't remember what the lunch-sized napkins said, but I wanted the small ones for my event because of what they said: "I'm Thankful for YOU". I realize the tablecloths don't match exactly, but my original plan was to do burlap.
The centerpieces were going to be wood slices (as I have in the picture above), but also using sticks and mason jars, more fall printed burlap and brown jute....but it didn't happen.
Years ago that would have bothered me that it didn't all match exactly. Now I don't care as much. I also don't care that it wasn't quite fall when I used it. It's close enough! :) Happy Fall, Y'all! Have a great day!
Last week, instead of cooking for five or six, I was only cooking for three. That's always weird! But also, I had just gotten the whole, messy kitchen cleaned up a little while before, so I wasn't wanting to make a mess. Hobo Dinners came to mind!
The kids have just begun liking cabbage! I'm SOOOOOOOO excited!! No one else liked it, but me, so a big head of it often went to waste. Now I can use it all up quickly!
I used a square piece of foil and a few pie tins for the hobo dinners (just used the pie tin for fun). Each one had a slice off chunk of cabbage, a thinly sliced potato, a thinly sliced carrot, salt, pepper, onion powder, and one or two hamburger patties. (Sprinkle on more salt, pepper, and onion powder (or use real onion) on top of the meat.)
Bacon slices were placed over the top, then the dinners were sealed with the foil. Some people add Worcestershire sauce, but I didn't want that.
Baked at 350* for 1 1/2 hours.....eaten in 30 minutes (only because it had to cool off before we could begin eating! ha ha!)....and clean up in 5 minutes or less! Woohoo!!!
Last week we were on vacation. Instead of having a can of biscuits like I thought I had, we had an extra can of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. I decided to fry them like donuts. The results were DELICIOUS!
Put oil in medium saucepan, filling at least half way up. Heat oil to medium-medium/high (mine was too hot at first). Make a hole in the center of each cinnamon roll. Fry a few donuts at a time, turning to brown both sides. Drain on paper towels. Scrap icing into small bowl and thin it some with milk. Drizzle over the donuts. Serve warm.
Coming up with crafts for a week at QMCC isn't hard, but finding some new unique ones is sometimes a challenge. And then sometimes I provide the supplies and the campers come up with something totally unplanned! That's GREAT!
My husband's workplace had chopped down some trees. No one realized that the insides of the trees were rotting until they came down, so a really strong wind could have toppled the trees at any moment, but much of the tree was cut into logs and for firewood and other projects. I decided to have some small logs cut into chunks to be used at craft time. One of the campers took the inside of the log out, leaving these bark "frames". Soon that idea caught on and others did the same! So unique!!
I also went to Lowe's and had planks of wood cut so that campers could do string art. C.J. spent several days working on his craft and will enter it in the fair!
I loved the Oklahoma that Emma and another young girls did! We made a template of the state, she nailed around the outline, and used string to fill it in. It was so cute!
Others did initials, words, shapes...anything they could think of.
Another craft project with string was using buttons and making bracelets. This one turned out really cute! The hemp string is just woven through buttons. The anchor button is actually on top of another button. Such a simple, but very cute and easy, project!
This pie was great!! The crust was a different recipe than I usually use, and I cooked it on the wrong temperature so it was too tough, BUT my son made this crust a few weeks ago and it really is a good recipe. It was just my mistake :).
To me this is an "easy" strawberry pie to make because of the addition of the Jello. I'll take easy when it's good!
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1 cup boiling water
teaspoon strawberry extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin (perhaps you could use sugar free)
2 quarts fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, whisking well. Add 1 cup boiling water and extracts. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, whisking often. Remove from heat. Add gelatin, stirring until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Arrange strawberries in baked pie crust. Pour cooled filling over strawberries coating completely. Refrigerate until set, approximately 2 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can serve with fresh whipped cream or Cool Whip, if desired.
This may not look appealing in the photo, but EVERYONE in the family really liked this! Usually one of us isn't too crazy about something...especially when it has cream cheese, but they non-cream-cheese-likers didn't mind it one bit!
We used corn tortillas and chips as a base for our Mexican Chicken. You could also use flour tortillas.
If you can't find a frozen Mexican corn blend, then you can add a can of black beans (drained) and a can of green chilies or even chopped bell peppers.
10 chicken breast tenderloins (some were thawed, some frozen. It worked fine, but to insure that it's not too wet, thawed would be best choice)
2 pkgs frozen corn medley
1 can Rotel
2 tablespoons ranch dip mix
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 pkg cream cheese
Place ingredients into slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours. Mine cooked five. Stir to shred chicken. Serve over chips or in tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and other toppings, as desired.
Monster Cookies are one of my children's favorite cookies, so when we had several of their cousins over Friday night for a husband's side of the family, "Cousin's Camp", we made Monster Cookies. And the kids were monsters, because there weren't many cookies left! (We didn't let them over due, but there were just 11 kids here!) Monster Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus, 2 tablespoons, firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups regular oats, uncooked (I used quick oats)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 6 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1 cup plain M & M's
Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, peanut butter, vanilla, and corn syrup. Beat well. Add oats, baking soda, and salt stirring well. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, about 4 inches apart, onto lightly greased cookie sheets or on parchment lined sheets. Bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes. Centers of cookies will be slightly soft. Cool slightly on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.
(So sorry I haven't been blogging much. We've been gone a lot on trips and school activities, but also I've had horrible computer problems for about six weeks! It's almost taken care of, after backing up files for 9 days so far! It's been CRAZY!)
Last night my oldest son made these cookies. I just had one, but they were really good! In fact, the youngest son wanted to eat one for breakfast. I said no, since they didn't have any oatmeal or nuts in them :). Ha! At least that would have been some protein and fiber!
Well, it's a good thing he didn't eat one, anyway, because the middle son got a text from a classmate saying he was supposed to bring food for his whole class today....1st hour! He's been gone and had to take a test during that hour yesterday so had no idea! How many did he need to take? 16. How many cookies were left? 16! Woohoo!! Saved by the M & M Cookie maker! Poor young son will be expecting one after school, too! I'd better make him something, huh?
M & M COOKIES
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Plain M & M's
To prepare cookies; In large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in M & M's. Wrap and refrigerate dough for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Pin It Now!
Click HERE for this and other cute food crafts for kids.
When I see cute kid's foods, it sure makes me miss mine being little! I LOVED making them cute food snacks and meals! They would think I was crazy if I tried serving them all of these now, so I'll have to wait to make them for my grandchildren when they come to visit in the future!
And then look at this adorable quilt made by Daphne Scott using some of her granddaughter's first year clothes! I am glad I kept a box for each child! With those and using their old blankets as edging, it will make very sweet blankets for them to pass down to their own children. I love this idea! Of course, someone else will have to sew and quilt it for me, but I still will get it done some day :).
My son found this brownie recipe and I made them a few weeks ago for a school event. The three sons really liked them and for one of them, he said it's his favorite brownie after boxed! Ha ha! My husband likes boxed, too. I guess because I never had boxed until I married (and still don't like them), that is strange to me!
Anyway, this recipe is from allrecipes.com. I'm not sure who to give credit to, but I'm sure you can find out on the website if you wish. It's not a rich brownie, but good.
I found this cake on Allrecipes.com (posted by Stephanie) made this cake a few days ago to serve to a group we were having over that evening. It was a perfect ending to our Mexican food feast!
I laughed because it is called TRES, which means THREE, but the recipe actually has four types of milk in it....unless cream isn't considered a milk "officially" or maybe since the cream is only used as a topping, it's not counted. Anyway.....made us laugh!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon - sprinkled as desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake.
This is a recipe I've wanted for a long, long time, so I'm really excited to have it now to share with you!
Growing up, one of my friend's moms would make these. It seemed like whenever my family was at their house, these cherry pie bars were part of the gathering.
I asked one of their daughters for the recipe recently after an unsuccessful attempt of trying to locate it. So, here it is for you:
My friend says it was easier for her to double the dough recipe. One for the bottom crust and one for the top. I doubled it, as well, and it fit in my large 13 x 18 inch pan. I knew I wanted the crust thin like I remembered it being.
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup shortening
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 egg, separated
2/3 cup milk
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 can cherry pie filling
In large bowl, cut shortening into flour. Add salt and sugar. Blend 1 egg yolk in 2/3 cup milk. Roll out 1/2 dough to fit bottom of a 9" x 13" or a 20 1/2" x 15 1/2" pan. (I just pressed the bottom crust into pan). Spread with 1 can of fruit pie filling and dot with butter. Cover with top crust and brush with egg whites. Bake @ 375 for 35 mins. Glaze with powdered sugar icing (powdered sugar, milk, vanilla) Cut into squares!
Dotted with butter...
I rolled out the top crust onto the lid of my pan to get it the right size.
You could also prepare the top crust in your pan that's covered with parchment paper, then remove it, make bottom crust, add filling, then place top crust. I thought after that after the fact!
I turned my lid upside down, tapped it a few times, and the crust fell off onto the pie filling! A little crooked, but I adjusted it a bit.
The finished product! Someone took a little nibble out of a corner. Wonder who did that??? 😊