Saturday, January 19, 2013

Plum Pudding

I have always wanted to try plum pudding.  I guess I have a crazy fascination with with old English traditions.  
I have had this recipe in this cookbook marked to make forever.  This year was finally the year!  My cute mom came over and we made Carrot Pudding, which was a tradition for her family when she grew up, and plum pudding.  We served them both on Christmas.  I soaked some sugar cubes in lemon extract and we set the plum pudding on fire.  I have ALWAYS wanted to do that.  

I switched the "orange sauce" out to the more traditional lemon sauce which I found on this site.

 1/2 cups chopped, pitted prunes
1/2 cup orange juice
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mixed candied fruits (I didn't do this)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups milk

Pudding: In a medium bowl, soak prunes in orange juice for 1 hour.  Stir in grated apple, walnuts, candied fruits, and orange peel.  In a large mixer bowl, cream butter; add brown sugar and beat well.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt ginger and nutmeg.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk and ix well.  Stir in prune mixture.  Grease and flour 1 large or 2 or 3 medium molds or cans.  Spoon mixture into containers above 2/3 full.  Cover with foil.  Place containers on rack in large kettle with 2 inches of water.  Steam 2 hours for large or 1 1/2 hours for smaller containers, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes and invert on wire rack.

Lemon Sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Lemon Sauce: (serve hot)
  1. Mix cornstarch and sugar. Add to boiling water, stirring vigorously.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, zest, butter and salt.

    To Serve: Spoon warm pudding into dessert dishes and top with sauce.  Pudding and sauce can be stored in refrigerator up to two weeks.  Wrap pudding in plastic wrap and foil.  To reheat, return pudding to original mold and steam for 30 to 40 minutes.  Serves 18. 

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

I made this cake for Christmas dessert.  It is SO rich, but I was pretty in love with it.  It's two layers of chocolate cake with a peppermint cheese cake in between them frosted with peppermint frosting.  Oh heavenly!  It seems labor intensive, but it really wasn't.  I made it in one day, but you can make the layers in advance and freeze them.

    For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • For the Cheesecake Layer:
  • 2 pkg (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 bag (10oz) Andes Peppermint baking chips
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bag (10oz) Andes Peppermint baking chips
  • candy cane for garnish
    For the Cakes:
  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a measuring cup, mix together cooled coffee and milk. Set aside.
  3. Grease 2- 9inch round baking pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. IN mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Slowly add in dry ingredients alternating with the coffee and milk mixture, about 3 additions of each.
  5. Pour cake batter evenly into the 2 prepared pans. 
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack. When completely cooled, you can wrap each layer in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for later assembly!
  7. For the Cheesecake Layer:
  8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a large roasting pan on the lower 2/3 of the oven, preheat the pan too!
  9. Prepare springform pan by wrapping bottom of pan (outside) with double layer of foil. Spray pan with nonstick baking spray and line bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper. Meanwhile, boil a kettle of water to use later.
  10. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream, heavy cream and peppermint extract. Fold in baking chips. Pour into prepared 9inch springform pan. Place pan in center of preheated roasting pan in the oven. Pour boiling water slowly into the roasting pan, until there is about an inch of water coming up the sides of the springform pan.
  11. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
  12. When cooled, transfer entire springform pan into the freezer for several hours or overnight. I put it in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove cheesecake and wrap in plastic wrap and return to freezer, or assemble cake.
  13. For the frosting, beat butter for 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream and beat an additional 3-5 minutes until fluffy. Add baking chips.
  14. To assemble the cake, lay one frozen layer of chocolate cake on cake plate. Top with frozen cheesecake and second layer of chocolate cake. Frost sides and top with a thin layer of frosting to apply a crumb coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour. Remove from refrigerator and frost remaining cake. I keep the cake covered in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Remove and allow to sit about 15 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is my very favorite dish to eat.  The tragic thing about it is that I haven't really been able to make a good one ever.  I have tried since I got married and started cooking (yes I didn't start until then), to make a good one.  Well, tonight for dinner I made a dang good chicken cordon bleu.  I am a fan. The picture isn't great because I hurried and snapped it with my phone before we ate...

4 chicken breasts
8 thin slices of ham
4 stripes of swiss cheese (I add more, but you have to do some seriously secure tying with bakers twine so it doesn't ooze out)
Thyme or rosemary (I chose to use a little rosemary)
3 beaten eggs
1/2 cup of cornflake crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet until it is 1/4 inch thickness.

Place eggs in one bowel and cornflake crumbs in another.

Lay the chicken breast flat and place 2 pieces of ham and the cheese in the center.  After that I got bakers twine and tied it up like crazy so the cheese wouldn't ooze out.  I then dredged the chicken in the egg, and then in the cornflake crumbs and placed it on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake chicken 40 minutes.

For the Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 cup milk1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)1/2 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

While the chicken bakes, in a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly, while cooking the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken bouillon granules and salt. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

This year at Thanksgiving I was assigned a vegetable.  Since I like to cook and like to fancy things up a bit, I decided that the time had come for me to make this recipe that I had had my eye on for a while.  It was a HUGE hit and I ended up making it for Christmas dinner as well.

  • 1 large butternut squash (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) halved, seeded and peeled
  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
  • 1 bunch medium beets, (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and tops trimmed
  • 1 medium red onion
  • * 2 large parsnips (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 head garlic cloves separated, and peeled (about 16)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, olive oil and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.
Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don't steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
*The second time I made these I skipped the parsnips all together.  They were good, but not necessary for this dish.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Growing up my mom always made donuts on Halloween.  It was something that I always looked forward to every year.  They are so yummy.  Now I make them with my little family.  We made them tonight and took them around to a few neighbors.

1 c. shortening
1 TBS yeast
1/2 c warm water
1 c. sugar
4 c. milk
5 eggs
2 c. mashed potatoes (I use instant)
1 TBS salt
1tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla
 12-15 c. flour


2 lb pwd sugar
 1 tsp vanilla
 1 tsp lemon extract

Scald milk with shortening (slowly heat until bubbles form).  Add salt, sugar, and enough flour to make batter (like cake batter).  Add potatoes, beaten eggs, dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. water and add to mixture.  Add both vanilla and lemon flavorings.  Add enough flour to make soft dough (should be a little sticky), let rise twice until doubled in bulk (I usually let it rise an hour).  Roll out dough, cut into doughnut shapes.

In big pot melt Crisco on medium.  Drop doughnuts in and cook until light brown.  Drain on paper towels and glaze.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Simple Sweet Pork Tacos

Sweet Pork Tacos

1 lg pork roast
2 cans of salsa
2 cups of brown sugar

{I am cooking just for my husband and I, so I split this in 1/2... it still made a lot}.

Place the roast in a crock pot, and pour salsa and brown sugar over the top. Cook for 8 hrs on low heat. When the meat has cooked for 7.5 hrs, take out the roast, shred it with a fork, put it back into the crock pot, and mix it with the juices. Let it finish cooking for 30 minutes. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spicy Honey Chicken

I made this for dinner yesterday and it turned out so great! The only thing is that it gets your grill a little messy... but it was well worth it.

From the kitchen of: Our Best Bites

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 2lbs  {I used chicken breasts and not as many. However, Our Best Bites claims that it is better with thighs}.

2 t granulated garlic
2 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle chili powder {I didn't use this, I added just a tad more chili powder}
 2 t vegetable oil

1/2 C Honey1T Cider Vinegar


Combine the rub spices in bowl and mix well.

Rub oil over each of the chicken pieces, then coat each piece with the rub. Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through { I love meat on the grill}! 

While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it’s not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2T honey glaze for later. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling.

 If you don’t have a bbq, try it on an indoor grill pan or use your broiler. Just be sure to open a window in case you burn your glaze.

So simple! Enjoy!