Monday, August 5, 2013

Hummingbird Cake by Paula Deen


2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 medium)
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
Frosting, recipe follows
Optional garnishes: sweetened flaked coconut, chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9-inch baking pans with nonstick baking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Add the bananas and pineapple, beating until combined.
4. Using a measuring cup, spoon the batter into each of the three prepared pans, one scoop at a time to ensure an even distribution. Slam the pans against the counter to get any air bubbles out of the batter.
5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread some Frosting between the layers. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with coconut and nuts if desired.

Frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat the butter and cream cheese together with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar in increments. Lastly beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

This was a good cake. It tasted like a cross between a carrot cake and a pineapple cake. Since making it, I've heard of Hummingbird Cake a handful of times.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Firecrackers


1 box of mini Saltines crackers, unsalted* Sometimes I use 1 and a half boxes.
1 c canola oil
2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 1oz packet Ranch Salad dressing mix

Toss all ingredients in a gallon sized bag until all the oil has been absorbed.

These are addictive! I made some for a girlfriend getaway a few months ago and they couldn't keep their hands out of the bag.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole


1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage (or cubed ham or bacon, whatever you like best)
2-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
4 eggs
2 pounds frozen tater tots

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Spread the sausage, bacon, or ham evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Spread cheese over meat. I use 4 cups of cheese, but you can use less if you prefer to reduce the calories.
3. In large bowl, beat together milk and eggs. Pour over cheese. (May be refrigerated overnight at this point).
4. Top with frozen tater tots.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Some ovens may take more or less time. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

In my opinion: Something was missing and there were too many tots!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini



1. Preheat oven to 425 F

2. Cut your veg into 8-cm/3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.

3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a light layer of olive oil.

4. SEASON – go with the usual salt & pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once.

Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.

5. Spread your seasoned veg over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans


1 pound fresh green beans
10-12 slices of thick-cut bacon  *I used regular bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced  *I only used one
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
Wash and thoroughly dry green beans, then season with salt and pepper. Bundle together about 5-8 green beans – this will depend on your size of beans and the amount of beans you get for one pound. Bundle together as many as you’d like! Using a slice of bacon, wrap it around the center of the beans to hold it together. Lay the bundle bacon seam side down in the baking dish to hold it together. Repeat with remaining beans.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Add butter, brown sugar and garlic and whisk until melted and combined. Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over top of each green bean bundle. Cover the bundles with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 (it took more like 25 minutes for me to get the bacon somewhat crisp, and I still ended up putting it under the broiler for a minute) minutes more, just until bacon gets crispy.

Cover with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

These were good! I am enjoying all these new roasted veggie recipes. Next time I'll have it with my Chicken Roll Ups Recipe.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Ranch Lasagna


2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
1 (1 oz) pkg. Hidden Valley dry Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix (not the dip blend) *
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I used 9 noodles)
1 1/2 to 2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to 2 C mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Combine evaporated milk and Ranch dressing and pepper in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Sauce will thicken slightly. 

2. Layer half of lasagna noodles, chicken, sauce, and cheese in well-greased 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

This sauce may curdle on you when heating it, it's OK. Mine did not, because I kept it at a low heat after I let it come to just a boil, and stirred, stirred, stirred. You may not need the full 25 minutes, so when you can tell it's starting to thicken, it's OK to add to the dish. It may curdle after it's baked, but again, it's OK.
*1 oz was not enough for me, I will use 2 oz next time.

In my opinion: This was a great recipe, I can't say this is healthy, but not every meal has to be healthy, right?