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Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake

Are you looking for an delicious and impressive dessert to share with loved ones today?  Or Maybe you are just planning on a nice quiet evening to yourself.  Either way, this Cherry Pie Stuff Chocolate Cake should be on your menu.  This fall we tackled the task of an apple pie inside of a spice cake and it was amazing, but the boys decided this time we should try this version as a twist on the very popular chocolate covered cherries.  To make this cake, I started with a pre-baked cherry pie and store bought cake mix.  You can also you the premade/bake yourself kind that is in the freezer section.  The cake pan I used was a 10 inch round by 3 inch deep pan that I purchased in the cake decorating aisle at a craft store.  You can use a smaller cake pan, if you wish, by just using 1 box of cake mix instead of 1.5.  Once the cake batter is prepared according to the directions on the box, pour half of it into the bottom of your prepared cake pan, place the prebaked pie inside of the cake pan upside down on the batter, then pour the remaining batter over the top.  50 minutes later, viola!  A pie/cake that is sure to be the talk of your kitchen table!  Get our your favorite glass of wine or milk and enoy!

Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake

  • 2 – 15 ounce box chocolate cake mix prepared according to directions up to the baking portion
  • 1 prebaked cherry pie
  • Whipped Cream for Garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the cake batters large in a mixing bowl and whisk until all ingredients are evenly combined.  Pour ½ of the batter amount into a prepared 10 round cake pan.  (I use a 3 inch depth pan)  Invert the cherry pie onto the cake batter, remove the foil.  Top with remaining cake batter and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until cake has risen, top is solid and cake tester comes out clean and free of cake batter.  (will have pie on it)

Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 hours.  (You can cheat and set it outside for 30 minutes in our subzero temps)  Invert cake onto a pie plate, slice and top with whipped cream for serving.

 

Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Desserts

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Pesto Bacon Potato Skins

Superbowl Sunday is here and we have most of our spread figured out.  Queso, chicken wings, and potato skins.  We are making three different flavors of potato skins three ways this year.  Classic with cheddar and bacon, pizza, and one my new favorites, Pesto Bacon.  I love the tastes of the fresh basil and garlic on the warm potato skins.  Delicious!

 

Pesto Bacon Potato Skins

  • 6 medium red potatoes, baked, halved and scooped out (leaving about 1/4 inch of potato  on the skins)
  • 1/ 2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.  Place potato skins, cut side up in a baking pan.  Brush with pesto sauce, sprinkle with bacon and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.  Remove from oven and top with diced tomatoes.  Enoy!

 

Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Fireball Chicken Lollipops

Many of you will be tuning into the Superbowl next weekend, and whether or not you are watching it at home with friends or family, for the game or for the commercials, you will also be looking for some tasty game day recipes.  Today, I am going to share with you a recipe for chicken drummies that is far from ordinary.  Fireball Chicken Lollipops is a quick and easy recipe that combines your usual buffalo sauce with Fireball Whiskey.  This combination sounds strange, but it gets really addicting after the first bite or two.  The warmth from the cinnamon adds a whole new dimension of flavor to your basic buffalo wing, but the newness doesn’t stop there.  A refreshing Cilantro Chutney is a nice change from the endless amounts of ranch or blue cheese dressing that are popular sides with wings.

To make the lollipops, I found the largest pack of drummies I could find.  You can use a smaller batch, but in my house full of boys, I find that chicken wings or dummies disappear just about as quickly as I can make them!  The drummies are turned into “Lollipops” by using a technique called “Frenching”.  To french the chicken, stand the drummie on its larger end by holding the narrow top and use a small sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears to scrape and push the skin and meat down to make a plump “lollipop” while exposing the bone.  It takes a little extra effort than just going with regular drummies, but they keep hands clean and look so cute!  Once the drumettes are frenched, season them then fry in peanut oil for seven to eight minutes or until they are golden brown.  Remove them from the oil, let drain, and then bake in the oven until all meat has reached the proper chicken cooking temperature of 165 degrees.  While they are baking, prepare the amazing Fireball Buffalo Sauce.  To make the sauce, combine Franks Red Hot with Fireball whiskey and a touch of fresh grated ginger; then, bring it to a boil.  That’s it!  After removing the lollipops from the oven, roll them in the sauce.  You will also have time to prepare the Cilantro Chutney because it is just a dump, blend, and serve recipe.  My favorite.   Simply place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, pulse so that it stays on the chunky side, and pour into your serving dish.  It can be made a few days ahead, but the color won’t stay as vibrant.

The flavors of the cinnamon whiskey buffalo sauce and the fresh herbs might not be what you originally had in mind for wings on game day, but this is sure to keep both foodies and football fans happy!

 

Fireball Chicken Lollipops

  • 3lbs chicken drummettes, frenched
  • 6 cups peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

 

Fireball Buffalo Sauce

  • 2 cups Franks Red hot sauce
  • 1 cup Fireball whiskey
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger

 

Cilantro Chutney

  • 1.5 cups parsley leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ cup water

 

Directions:

Preheat peanut oil in a dutch oven on the stovetop over high heat to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine ground ginger, garlic powder, kosher salt and cracked pepper  Season frenched chicken drummettes with mixture and gently place in hot oil, being sure to tip the chicken away from you to avoid splashing hot oil on yourself. Gently turn over occasionally to brown on all sides.  After about 7 minutes, the lollipops should have a nice color on them.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.  Preheat oven to 425 and place wings on baking sheet. Bake for an additional 10-20 minutes or until thermometer reaches 165 when placed in the thickest part of the meat but not touching the bone.

While lollipops are baking, prepare the Fireball buffalo Sauce and the Cilantro Chutney.  In a small sauce pan on the stove combine the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer until ready to serve.  For the chutney, combine the ingredients in a blender or a food processor, and blend until combined and only slightly chunky.

 

To serve:

Remove the wings from the oven and dip and roll in the buffalo sauce.  Be sure to leave the ends clean and only dip the meat portion.  Serve with dipping cups of chutney or drizzle chutney over the top or bottom of serving platter.

 

Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Appetizers

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Roasted Tomato & Chorizo Nachos

My Super Bowl spread has changed a bit over the years, but there are a few dishes that have managed to stick around through thick and thin.  (That is fully intended to be a reference to my waistline! Ha!)  One of those dishes is nachos.  In one form or another, those crisp, salty, cheese-covered chips are always a crowd pleaser.  They are also the enemy of my new year’s fitness goals and my jeans the next day.  This year, I found a way to make them a little more of a waist pleaser with my Roasted Tomato and Chorizo Nachos.

Chorizo sausage is a delicious Spanish, Portuguese, or Mexican flavored fresh sausage.  Fresh Mexican chorizo is a type of sausage that needs to be cooked before eating as opposed to the more traditional European Spanish and Portuguese sausages that are fermented, cured, or smoked.  The Chorizo gets its distinctive red color and smoky flavor from smoked paprika in Spain or Portugal and from smoked chili peppers if it is made in the Mexican style.

No, sausage is not my trick to making these nachos more New Year’s Resolution friendly, but it is the trick to making me want to eat them.  After crisp frying the chorizo and setting it aside to drain, I add it to a lightly pureed blend of oven-roasted plum tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and garlic.  Then the mixture is simmered for 20 minutes to make a delicious vegetable/meat sauce to pour over crisp, oven-baked (and lightly salted) corn tortillas.  The nachos are garnished with fresh guacamole, sliced jalapenos, black olives, and crumbled cotija cheese in place of the usual crock-pot of yellow gold.  This way I can still get my chips and queso, just a healthier version.  The sauce has been replaced mostly with vegetables, and the cheese is limited to a few sprinkles instead of an entire cup full.  Not only are the results are fantastic enough to make their way to more menus than just the Super Bowl, but my jeans can also rest easy!

Roasted Tomato and Chorizo Nachos

  • 4 cups Baked Tortilla Chips
  • 12 ounces chorizo sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 pounds plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced large
  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, diced large
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup guacamole
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • 1-2 jalapenos, fresh, sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh chopped
  • Light sour cream, optional
  • 1 diced avocado, optional (or Easy Guacamole)

Directions:

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and place in a re-sealable plastic bag along with the onion, garlic, bell pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes have started to turn dark brown areas.

 Remove the pan from the oven and place all ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse until mixture is slightly chunky.

While the vegetable are roasting, use a small sauté pan over medium-high heat to cook the chorizo sausage until browned and slightly crispy.  Break the sausage apart as it cooks.  Removed the sausage from the pan and drain on a paper towel for 5 minutes.

Using a medium sauce pot, combine the roasted vegetables and chorizo and cook together over medium low heat for 20 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Remove the pan from heat.

Using a serving platter spread out tortilla chips.  Spoon the sauce over the chips and sprinkle with cotija cheese, jalapenos, and olives.  Add dollops of guacamole and sour cream as desired.  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

 

Easy Guacamole

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup salsa verde (green salsa)

Directions:

Combine ingredients and smash ingredients with a fork until desired texture. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

 

Posted by on January 20, 2015 in Dips, Meat, Snacks

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“Fried” Green Beans

Last night I decided to do a little experimenting in making one of my favorite appetizers….Fried Green Beans!  I love the idea of eating green beans as a snack, but I feel a little guilty because they are fried.  It leaves me a little conflicted.  Does it count as a vegetable if it is dripping in grease?  My baked version still has the bread-like coating, but they are so much crunchier than their fried counter parts.  Serve them with a little pizza sauce and it’s a sure way to sneak a serving of vegetables in for the day!

 

 

 

 

“Fried” Green Beans

  • 24 green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, Bisquick, and garlic powder.  Whisk with a fork until smooth.  Pour bread crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Dip each bean into the Bisquick mixture, let the excess drip off and then roll in the bread crumbs.  Lay beans onto a sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 minute or until golden brown.  Serve with pizza sauce.

 

 

 

Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Appetizers

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(Almost)Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars!

It’s been a few years since I posted my black bean brownie recipe, so I thought I would finally get around to testing out another idea I had.  What if I used pinto or white beans to make a delicious base for cookie dough bars?!

I have always been fond of beans.  My father and brother are bean farmers, so it was something that we have always used in our cooking.  More recently, I have become more aware of food allergens because several family members have discovered they are allergic to gluten and a future nephew (and possibly myself) with egg allergies.  The beans in this recipe serve as an alternative to flour without having to use on of those fancy baking mixes.  They also have many health benefits because they are high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, and potassium.  The chia seeds, or flax seed if you prefer, also have many health benefits and are a great substitute for eggs in baked goods.   I have been using them for that off and on for a few years and haven’t run into a single problem with it.  The ratio to use is 1 tablespoon finely ground chia or flax seeds to 3 tablespoons of water.  They can easily be ground in a coffee grinder, but a blender will work too.  In this recipe, I do use a lesser amount, but that is accounted for by adding extra moisture elsewhere.

Alright….enough of the healthy stuff.  How do they taste?  The answer is DELICIOUS, but that was the tricky part.  I found a balance for the fat, by using 1/2 applesauce and coconut oil instead of the usual butter that found in all of the great cookie doughs.  I did have a slight worry that it wouldn’t taste enough like cookie dough, so I added 1/4 teaspoon of imitation butter flavoring, but this ingredient can easily be left out.  Quick oats (which can be found gluten free) where used for texture and as a binder for the bars and vanilla, dark brown sugar, and semi sweet chocolate chips were added because they are the best parts of cookie dough bars!

We ate these warm out of the oven with whipped cream as a bedtime snack.  They were not able to be pickup up like a true bar, but my son and I were both very pleased with the results and I hope you are too! Warm, gooey, chocolate goodness!

(Almost) Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

  • 2-15 cans pinto or white beans, drained, rinsed really well
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds, finely ground and mixed with 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespooon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon imitation butter flavor
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:  

Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  (about 1 minute) Scrap down the bowl and blend for 15 seconds.  Remove from the processor bowl and place in a medium  sized mixing bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Place in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges look darkened and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  (can remain in pan longer if you like….it’s just to help the bars set before serving)

 

 

Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Desserts

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Pizza Potato Skins

Today I made this genius little creation for the kids at lunch.  There is one food the kids can all agree they like….pizza.  Ok….that’s not even always true.  In reality, they all like pizza, there is just no guarantee that they will all like it at the same meal!  Ha.

Now…back to the recipe.  This is a twist on classic potato skins. Instead of topping with bacon and sour cream, we topped the red potato halves with a veggie packed pizza sauce, light cheese and a few small pieces of pepperoni.  This meal is a win for me because it has all of the nutrition from the potatoes and pizza sauce, and the cheese and pepperoni that help to ensure they are delicious!

I will try and snap a better picture the next time we make these, but today I just had my cell phone and a few anxious eaters!

 

Pizza Potato Skins

  • 6 medium red potatoes
  • 2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded pizza cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • 16-20 pepperoni (can use turkey pepperoni if you like)
  • any other toppings

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush potatoes with oil and puncture several times with a fork.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cut in half.  Scoop potato out of the centers to make a hole for the fillings.  Lay each skin on a baking cheese with the open side up.  Fill with 1-2 tablespoons of pizza sauce, sprinkle with cheese, Italian seasoning and 4-5 pepperoni pieces.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping.

 

Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Snacks

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Bubble Pizza

After a fun filled weekend with the kids, I was in the mood for something simple for dinner last night.  Those delicious tubes of biscuits were on sale at the grocery store and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them….Bubble Pizza.  I know it’s not exactly gourmet, but it tastes like a deep dish pizza, and I was craving that rich crust with the nice crisp edges and gooey cheese.  Of course, I also used a pizza sauce that had extra vegetables in it, so I did have a little trick up my sleeve.  ;-)  Another fun part about this meal is that the kids can practically do all of the work for you!  I had one adding biscuits to the bowl, another stirring in the sauce, and another “cheese specialist”.  All I had to do was turn on the oven!

You can get creative with this recipe and use whatever toppings you like, but my house was pretty set on pepperoni!

 

 

 

Bubble Pizza

  • 1 can Grands buttermilk biscuits, cut into 8 pieces each.
  • 1 – 15 ounce jar of pizza sauce (I use an added vegetable one)
  • 28 pepperoni slices (or as many as you would like to put on or eat while you make it)
  • 3 cups shredded pizza blend cheese (usually a mix of mozzarella and provolone)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl combine 1.5 cups of cheese, biscuit pieces and pizza sauce.  Gently stir until all biscuit pieces are coated with sauce and the cheese is evenly distributed.  Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan or into an oven proof dish about the same size.   (I used a 12 inch round “everyday” saute pan)  Top with pepperoni slices and then the remaining cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown on the top and biscuits appear to be cooked through.  Remove from the oven and cut into squares or pizza wedges if using a round pan.  Enjoy!

Serves 6

 

 

Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Appetizers, Meat, Snacks

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Cherry Mustard Pork Chops

Still planning what to serve for the holiday?  How about a meal that can be ready in 30 minutes or less and is sure to impress your guests?   My Cherry Mustard Pork Chop is a crowd-pleaser because it’s a perfect balance between tart and sweet.  Serve this with a wild rice blend, roasted butternut squash, and nice salad or oven roasted asparagus for a pop of color! If you can’t find cherry jam, you can also substitute raspberry.  Don’t worry about spending all day in the kitchen….get out and enjoy your loved ones!

Cherry Mustard Pork Chops

  •  4 8-ounce bone-in thick cut pork chops
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 9.5-ounce jar bing cherry jam (I used Dickinson’s Family brand)
  • 1 9.5-ounce whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Add pork chops to the pan and sear for 4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and sear on remaining side for 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and place pork chops on oven-safe serving platter or in another pan, golden side up. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until internal temperature hits 145. Remove meat from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, return original sauté pan to heat and add cherry jam, mustard and dried cherries. Whisk together until smooth and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour sauce over pork chops and enjoy! Serves 4.

 

Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Pork

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Citrus & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

Most of  you are now planning your menus for holiday dinners.  Some of you are looking to stick with the traditional recipes and other are looking to try something new.  How about trying this very simple and delicious Citrus & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash?  Its the perfect mix of old and new.  To make this dish you can either cube your own squash left from fall harvest or you can go the time saving route and use the fully prepped and diced butternut squash in the coolers of your produce section.  It is often store next to the bagged salads or pre-chopped onions, carrots, or pepper mixes.

Roasting the squash in the oven is a great way to get kids to eat it too because it helps to bring out the natural sugars and gives the squash a sweeter taste than if you had boiled or steamed it.  Plus, there not all the work of having to clean more than one pot of pan.  That’s my idea of a great holiday recipe!

Citrus & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and 1-2 inch cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, fresh
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag.  Seal the bag and gently toss it until all the squash is evenly coated.  Pour the mixture out onto a rimmed cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes of until the squash is a dark golden brown and cooked through.  Turn the squash over halfway through the baking.

 

Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Sides

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