Chocolate pound cake

Dense rich chocolate pound cake with a chocolate pecan glaze. My kids LOVED this cake.

For the cake:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounces bittersweet cocoa

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans – optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Place the stick of butter and semi sweet chocolate bars in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds. Stir. The chocolate will continue to melt slowly as you stir. Microwave in additional 10 second increments if needed. Continue stirring between cooking.

Once fully melted, stir in the sugar. Add the vanilla and then the eggs. Slowly add the half and half until fully combined.

Finally add the baking powder, baking soda, and flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 50-75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool 10 minutes. Remove from the pan by inverting the pan.

Prepare the glaze by melting the butter and chocolate chips over low heat in a double boiler. Once melted, add the corn syrup and vanilla (and nuts if using). While hot, pour this over the cake. Continue to allow the cake to cool fully before cutting it.

Here is the final product.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

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1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 stick butter, softened

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cup flour

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a mixer, combine peanut butter and butter until fluffy. Add the egg, then vanilla, then milk. Add the sugars. Next add the baking soda and baking powder. Finally add the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Roll into 1-2 tablespoon amounts. Do not flatten. Place each 2-3 inches apart. Bake 11-12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes prior to removing from pan.

 

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Mexican Picadillo

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This is an flavorful but simple braised meal that is a comfort food but also cooks in about 30-45 minutes. I really enjoy that most of it comes from our garden. That makes everything taste more fresh.

Serve this with white or cilantro lime rice and fresh tortillas.

I am not a fan of raisins in this dish.

 

Sauce:

4-5 roma or small tomatoes

1/2 of a white onion

jalapeno – not seeded. I used 5 small ones

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon guajillo chili powder

 

Meat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 pounds 93% ground beef

1/2 of a diced white onion

salt to taste

2 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

 

For the sauce, place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.

Next, sauté the beef on medium heat. When fully browned, add the oil and onion. Cook 3-4 minutes. Add the potato and carrot. Stirring often, cook another 5 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the beef mixture. Stir. Reduce heat to low. Cover with a lid and cook 10 minutes. Remove the lid. Add 1/2 cup more water if needed and stir. Cook another 10 minutes. Serve with rice and tortillas.

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Peanut butter oatmeal cookies

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These are the most buttery crispy cookies ever. They are sooo yummy.

 

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup old fashioned oats

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the shortening, margarine, and sugars. Add the peanut butter. Add egg. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Drop by tablepoon onto baking sheet. A silicon mat works great for these to prevent sticking. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until desired crispiness.

 

 

Sopapilla cheesecake

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There are many variations of this online. I chose to make one using more than just cream cheese and sugar. Why? Because I wanted it very very creamy. I also did not want enough to feed an army. I changed the recipe to a half batch and it filled a 8×6 pan and made enough for 2 nights for 4 people. I remember my grandma making cheesecake in the 80’s that had crescent roll crust. This reminds me so much of that holiday dessert.

1 large can crescent rolls

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

honey to drizzle on top

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare either an 8×8 or 8×6 or something similar. Open the crescent rolls and divide the amount in half. On a floured surface, roll them thin and seal all the holes until it is the size of the pan. You can also do this by just pressing the dough in the pan using your fingers.

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In the mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Mix fully. Pour this on top of the dough.

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Using the last half of the dough, again press it thin to cover the top of the pan. You will not see small defects in coverage but try to cover it fully as much as possible.

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To prepare the topping, melt the butter in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle this on top of the bake.

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Bake the creation uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate. This is best eaten cold. Drizzle honey over each piece before eating.

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Au gratin potatoes

These are pretty simple to make although not at all healthy. They are a definite “treat” food….. and so worth it!

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2 large russet potatoes, peeled and thin sliced

8 ounces heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 clove garlic

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare an 8×12 baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the cream, garlic, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup of cheese, and thyme in a sauce pan. Heat until warm but not boiling. Stop cooking when you begin to smell the garlic. Remove the clove of garlic. Place 1 layer of potatoes (not overlapping) in the pan. Drizzle some of the cream over. Add another layer of potatoes. Add more cream. Continue layering until all potatoes are used. Pour the remaining cream on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes total. Sprinkle with remaining cheese after 20-25 minutes of baking. Cook until cheese on top is slightly browned and potatoes are fork tender.

 

 

 

Pumpkin muffins

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pumpkin muffins with sunflowers

 

I like these muffins because they have a similar texture to pumpkin pie. My kids loved them. This recipe made 12 muffins. I like this recipe because it does not require the mixer. It is always a bonus when there is less to clean after baking. I use the silicone muffin pan liners which also is much easier to clean than the muffin tin.

 

1/2 cup all purpose flower

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup water

1 egg

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

 

Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/8 cup rolled oats

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until just combined. Do not over mix. Place batter equally into 12 wells of muffin pan that has been prepared or use liners. Bake as this or place topping on muffins.

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Mix the crumb topping. Sprinkle generously on top of each muffin.

sunflower crumb topping
sunflower crumb topping

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center is clean.

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Pumpkin muffins with sunflower and oats

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baked pumpkin muffins

 

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pumpkin muffins

 

Chicken noodle casserole

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2 cups shredded/diced rotisserie chicken

8 ounces dried egg noodles

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 yellow onion diced

1 red bell pepper diced

2 large carrots diced

2 stalks celery diced

1 cup fresh white mushrooms sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup half and half

1-2 cups water

1 cup panko unseasoned

2 tablespoons butter melted

1/4 cup fresh parsley

 

Cook the egg noodles as directed by package to al dente. Drain and let them sit.

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Melt the butter in a skillet. Add onions, carrots, celery, and the red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes – the vegetables should still be semi firm because they will bake in the oven later.

Add flour and seasonings. Slowly stir in the half and half. Continue to add up to 2 cups of water until it a thicker consistency. Go slow because you do not want the sauce too runny. Add in chicken and mushrooms. Cook 1-2 more minutes. You can add more water if it continues to thicken. Remove from heat. Mix with noodles. Pour into a prepared 9×14 or 8×12 pan.

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Mix the panko crumbs with the additional 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Top the casserole with the panko mix and then chopped fresh parsley. This can remain refrigerated for 24 hours. Bake covered with foil at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 10 minutes or until panko crumbs have browned.

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Baked cod with sauteed tomatoes garlic and zucchini

Fish Fridays are my favorite days. It isn’t every Friday but I wish it were. I like this one because it is super fast, all of this could have been from my garden if it were later in the year, and it is a flavor explosion.

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Start with fresh cod. We used 1.25 pounds for 2 adults and nibbles for the kids.

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Preheat oven to 375. Place olive oil in 13×9 pan. Cover with 1 teasspoom salt and some lemon juice and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until 145 degrees.

While this is baking, prepare the veggies.

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter divided

3 cloves garlic slices

1 pint cherry tomatoes halves

1 large zucchini in slices

1 tablespoon sweet basil

1 teaspoom red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoom salt

1/2 teaspoom chicken bouillon granules

juice of 1/2 large lemon

1/4 cup water

Melt the butter in oil in a skillet on medium to medium high. Add the garlic. Cook about 2-3 minutes. Do not burn. Change heat down if needed. Add tomatoes. Blister for 1-2 minutes. Add lemon juice, basil, red pepper, salt, and chicken boullion. Cook about 5 minutes. Add zucchini. Cover and remove from heat. (I like zucchini semi crisp but cooked so leave in a minute longer if you like it cooked more). Add 2 more tablespoons of butter.

Serve over the fish with steamed white or brown rice. We poured a small amount the tomatoes over the cooked fish and let it set for 5 minutes before eating too. My kids won’t eat the sauce but I took fish out for them before covering it with sauce.

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YUM!