Monday, August 20, 2012

Mom's Cucumber Salad

Growing up, our mom was all about cooking with fresh fruit and vegetables- usually from our garden in the summer. A lot of those meals were busts...sorry Mom. But I do remember this salad. And quite fondly. She even made it up! Go her and her bad self! You can make it with cucumbers or with tomatoes, or with both. Tonight, I made it with both, took a bite and had a serious walk down memory lane. It was so crazy what those flavors did to me!! It did not disappoint and was just as good now, if not better!

I hope you will enjoy it, I have since I was little. And it's always nice to try a recipe from way back when, that you still like now. :)

Cucumber (or Tomato) Salad

What you'll need:
1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Mayo
1 clove garlic
1 t. dill weed
1 t. majoram
1 t. spike
1/4 t. white pepper
1 t. basil
1 t. mrs. dash
6-8 peeled, chopped tomatoes OR
2 large peeled cucumbers cut lengthwise in fourths OR
3 peeled, chopped tomatoes and 1 large peeled cucumber cut lengthwise in fourths

There- you have lots of options!

What to do:
Combine all ingredients except the tomatoes/cucumbers until mixed well. Add the vegetables and serve fresh!

This is delicious and pretty darn healthy too! And great for summer when you have oodles and boodles of tomatoes in your garden!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

I found these cookies awhile back and they have very quickly become my "go-to" cookie recipe. I LOVE these cookies. Love them. Really, really. I've made them with PB chips and with mini reeses pieces.  Both ways are delicious! These cookies very rarely last longer than a day, but when they do, they are still so good!

Recipe source: Inside BruCrew Life

What you'll need:
3/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T. honey
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 sm. box vanilla pudding
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. reeses pieces or PB chips

What to do:
In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pudding mix. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream the butter, PB and sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and honey and mix again.

Slowly add the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix.

Stir in the chocolate chips and reeses chips by hand.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. DO NOT overbake! Cool on pan for 3-4 minutes. Store in a tightly covered container.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Casserole

I was searching for something easy to make tonight and stumbled across this recipe on Plain Chicken. It looked simple enough and called for things I already had on hand- always a bonus!  I boiled frozen  chicken in taco seasoning and then shredded it in the mixer, so that was the the most "difficult" part of the recipe. Other than that- this is super easy and was so good!

I loved the flavor and the bit of kick that it had (I used mild Rotel). I would recommend the sour cream for garnish- it makes it a little more kid friendly. :)  I also fed three hungry boys and they all went back for seconds and complimented me on how good it was. So that is a plus as well!  So if you're in the mood for something easy, Mexican inspired and delish- You'll enjoy this!

What you'll need:
3 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 c. instant rice (uncooked)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles, undrained
1 T. Taco Seasoning
2 T. milk
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 c. crushed tortilla chips or Doritos

Sour cream for garnish
tomatoes for garnish

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine chicken, rice, soup, Rotel, seasoning, milk and 1 1/2 c. of cheese. Pour into a lightly greased 9x9 pan. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Top casserole with crushed chips and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

PW's Chicken Scallopine

I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman's site, but never thought it looked that good. I don't know why, but it just didn't. Then when we had our Girl's weekend in St. George, Em insisted on having it and since she was cooking, I wasn't complaining!  It was so good!! I don't know what I was thinking! My only complaint was that there wasn't much of a sauce- it was really liquidy and there just wasn't much of it. So I made a few modifications to mine to thicken the sauce and LOVED how it turned out. Of course, it tasted even better on my stinkin' adorable polka-dot dishes on Valentine's Day with my two favorite people in the whole world. :)

Here is the recipe with the few changes I made:

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Scallopine

1 pound Linguine
6 whole Boneless, Skinless, Trimmed Chicken Breasts (smaller ones)
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Butter
12 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced Thin
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
Juice of 1 whole Lemon
½ cups Heavy Cream
1 T. Capers
2 t. cornstarch
Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
Parmesan Cheese, For Topping

Cook Linguine according to package directions.

Start by pounding your chicken breats between two pieces of wax paper until they are pretty thin and a uniform thickness- you don't want to overcook them because some parts are thicker than others.

Once they are pounded flat, sprinkle with Salt and pepper and then dredge in flour.

In a large skillet, combine 4 T. of butter and olive oil in pan. Once hot, add the chicken and cook on both sides until golden brown. Once both sides are finished, put them on a plate and set aside.

Leave your drippings in the pan and add your thinly sliced mushrooms, 1 1/4 c. chicken broth and lemon juice, while scraping the bottom of the pan. Allow these to cook for a minute or so and then add your cream and capers.

This is where I mixed about 1/8 c. of chicken broth with 1-2 t. of cornstarch. Once it was combined, I added it to the mushroom mixture to allow it to thicken. I then added more chicken broth until I got the desired thickness of my sauce.

Season with Salt and Pepper to taste and Voila! You are finished!

This was soooooooooo good!

Monday, April 30, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

I was part of a dinner group a few years ago and one of the gals brought over some White Chicken enchiladas. They were really good and my hubby even said he liked them almost as much as he likes my regular Red Enchiladas. After perusing the blogosphere for a bit looking for a good recipe, I found a few that looked interesting, but I really wanted this one gal's recipe. I finally got around to asking her for it and decided to combine it with a few of the other recipes I'd found to make the ultimate White chicken enchiladas. I must say- this one turned out pretty dang good! It's a bit different, but really good. Hopefully you'll enjoy the change-up from regular old red enchiladas.

Combination of recipes from HERE and HERE and my friend Ashley.

Here's what you'll need:

3 c. cooked, shredded chicken
1 can rotel tomatoes
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. green salsa, divided
1 lb. shredded cheese, divided (colby or cheddar works great)
1 sm. can diced green chilis
Taco seasoning
8-10 Tortillas
1 pint heavy whipping cream

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350.

Note: I like to boil frozen chicken breasts (about two large breasts make 3 c. shredded chicken) in Taco seasoning for this recipe. I don't have to worry about burning it this way and it just cooks relatively quickly with no mess. Once the breasts are finished, it works great to stick them in a kitchen aid with the paddle attachment to shred them.

Combine the shredded chicken, softened cream cheese, drained rotel tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup, 1/4 c. green salsa, green chilis and 1/2 c. shredded cheese. Add taco seasoning to taste. (I like mine really flavorful, so I add anywhere from 1 T. to 2 T.)

Place 2-3 T. chicken mixture down the middle of each tortilla. Roll and place in 9x13 pan. I can usually fit 8-9 tortillas in one pan.

Once all the tortillas are rolled an in the pan, cover with 1 pint heavy whipping cream mixed with 1/4 c. green salsa. I know this sounds odd- but just coat all the enchiladas in this thick goodness (and try not to think of the calories... but rather the creamy yummyness!).

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.

Garnish with tomatoes, olives, lettuce, sour cream and salsa and enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Strawberry Limeade

I am loving all the delicious strawberries in season right now. They were on sale and I bought a few 6. Yum! I already made the Strawberry bundt cake and I've been looking for more recipes that use fresh strawberries so I can use mine up before they go bad. Alysia found this one for me and suggested I try it. It was really good. I made a little modification and thought it was delicious. It's the perfect addition to summer dinner (or Spring, in our case).

Here's what you'll need:
3 c. fresh sliced strawberries (about 1 lb.)
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. fresh squeezed lime juice
4 c. cold bubble water (Club soda or sparkling water)

What to do:
Slice your strawberries and mix them with the sugar. Then use a potato masher and squish 'em really good. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Once they've sat for a bit, use an immersion blender or a blender to remove all chunks.

Run this mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the seeds. Then mix it with the 2/3 c. lime juice and 4 c. of bubble water.  Serve cold and Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad Cups

Try saying that name 10 times really fast! I found this recipe on...(you'll never guess...) Pinterest! I always thought this salad looked/sounded really gross. Who wants to eat pretzels with Straberry Jell-O!? My sister-in-law brought it to a family function and I made myself try it and I absolutely loved it. I think I ate half of the 9x13 pan by myself. It was that good.

Then I came across this recipe on Pinterest that looked super yummy and it even called for individual serving cups! I bought these cute half-pint jars forever back and now I'd finally get to use them!

While I was making it, I thought the cream layer was a little thick and was going to make these again so I could adjust it, but it ended up being just right and tasted quite fabulous!

I found the recipe here and she says it works great for a 9x13 pan too.
Serves: 10

Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 c. crushed salted pretzels
4 T. white sugar
10 T. unsalted butter, melted

1 c. sugar
2 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz.) container whipped topping, thawed

1 (6 oz.) pkg. strawberry flavored gelatin
2 c. boiling water
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen sliced strawberries (or fresh will work too)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350.

Crush the pretzels until you reach the consistency you like- chunky or more of a fine powder. I prefer it with a few pretzel chunks still.  Add the 4 T sugar and the 10 T. melted butter. Divide evenly between 10 single serving size cups (make sure they are bake safe).

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before adding your cream topping.

Cream the sugar, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Divide evenly between the 10 cups. I didn't quite use all mine. I didn't want the cream layer to take up the entire cup, so I had about 1/4 c. - 1/2 c. leftover. Ellie and Anna were very grateful- they got to dip the beaters over and over again in the leftover cream. ;)

Boil 2 c. of water and then dissolve the gelatin in it. Add the frozen strawberries and place in the fridge for 5 minutes or so- to allow it to thicken a little and cool down so it doesn't melt your cream layer.

Divid evenly among the 10 cups.

Refrigerate for at least an hour and then Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

It's strawberry week!  We decided that we can't get enough strawberries at the moment and relized that we've all been trying lots of new strawberry recipes the last couple of weeks.  So we decided to dedicate the whole week to the beautiful, plump, absolutely Spring-like strawberry.  So, if you have one of those big strawberry flats from Costco, that you need to use up, this week is for you!

And I can't think of a better recipe to kick off our strawberry celebration.  This cake is both beautiful and delicious.  It's no secret that I love a good, moist cake, full of fruit. They remind me of the German cakes my mom used to make growing up. And for some reason, putting it in bundt form makes me reminisce even more so. So, when I saw this cake, I almost had to make it. I had hoped it would remind me of a delicious European cake and boy, did it ever.

Moist, tender, delicious... a perfect Springtime dessert that came together simply and beautifully. The fresh strawberries inside are both delicious and really make the cake beautiful.  I simply had to take a picture before the glaze, and it's delicious with or without the glaze.  I could eat this cake everyday... and finished the entire thing almost practically by myself, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I'm already looking for an excuse to make this again... and I'll probably eat it all by myself again, too. 

Source: A Spicy Perspective
Feeds: about 12

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
zest of 1 large lemon
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla yogurt (she recommends Greek, but I used regular yogurt and had no problems)
12 oz. fresh strawberries, cleaned and diced
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.  Sift together 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.

3.  Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.

4. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Heart Attack on a Stick

I saw these on Pinterest and knew I had to try them. They aren't technically called a heart attack on a stick (but rather Chocolate and Carmel Cinnamon roll skewers), but once you see the calories (850 calories/skewer!!!!) you'll understand why someone called them this and why it's so fitting. :)

Unfortunately, they were pinned wrong, so I had to go searching for the correct recipe. But they looked really I knew I had to find them!  I am so glad I searched. Here's where I found them. These were so dang delicious, I can't even begin to tell you. They are also so far from healthy, I can't begin to tell you either. But that's okay, just don't eat a whole one by yourself and it's not so bad (or do what I did and only eat half at a time and then you'll feel better about it...or just skip lunch...and maybe dinner make up for the calories!)

Here's what you'll need:
1 can Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Supreme refrigerated cinnamon rolls
4 (12 or 10 in.) wooden skewers
25 caramels, unwrapped
1 T. milk
3/4 c. Milk Chocolate Chips
1 t. Vegetable Oil
chopped nuts (opt.)

What to do:
Heat the oven to 350. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with some Pam. Separate the dough into 5 rolls. Unroll each roll into a strip and thread each strip onto the wooden skewer. Place on the cookie sheet.

Bake 13-19 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling racks. Put the parchment paper under the cooling cinnamon's gonna get messy!

In a small saucepan, over low heat, heat the unwrapped caramels and milk until melted. Generously drizzle over the skewers. If you're using nuts, roll in the crushed nuts right now.

In a small freezer ziplock bag, microwave the chocolate chips in 30 second increments, until melted. Snip a corner off the bag and drizzle over the skewers as well.

Warm the icing that came with the cinnamon rolls and use a spoon or fork to drizzle it over the skewers as well.

Serve warm, and then devour. Very slowly and in small you don't make yourself sick by the yummy, chocolatey, carmel-y, frosted goodness.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Apple Pie Eggrolls

It's another Pinterest find! For my sister's birthday this year, she wanted something different than the standard cake.  She showed me some of her top picks and this one looked easy, delicious, and unique.  And it happened to fit all of the above criteria.  These were delicious.  My husband could have eaten them all.  They were easy to put together and made for a really fun and unique dessert... although difficult to put a birthday candle in :)  Top them with some vanilla ice cream and you have a delicious dessert!

Serves: 5 (Although I was able to fill 6 egg rolls with the filling)
Source: Miss in the Kitchen
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying
for garnish:
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1.  In a medium size pan, over medium high heat, melt butter.  Add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until apples are tender.  Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool, about 3o minutes.
2. Place about 2 tablespoons of apple filling into each egg roll wrapper, wet edges of wrapper with water, roll up sealing edges.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

3. Heat oil to about 350 degrees, add egg rolls two at a time, turning to cook all sides, remove to paper lined plate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining egg rolls.  A note of warning:  Because of the moisture in the apple pie filling, I had a LOT of splatter when I dropped the egg rolls in the hot oil.  It was kind of scary at first.  Keep your eye on how hot your oil is and stay close to these while frying.  Please don't start a house fire!

4.  Serve warm, with ice cream and drizzle with some caramel sauce.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Asian Toasted Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

Every Wednesday night, I begin to stress a bit as I try to figure out what to make for my dinner group on Thursday evening. Some months I'm smart enough to plan ahead, but lately, there's just no inspiration. I have the hardest time trying to figure out what to make. Inevitably, since I've waited until the last minute to plan my meal, I need something quick and easy with ingredients I have on hand.

Thank goodness for Pinterest. I had pinned this recipe a while back and while looking for some inspiration for last week's meal, I spotted this, read over the ingredients and decided it sounded perfect.... I had all the ingredients on hand, it looked quick and simple and the flavors sounded like they would be reminiscent of my favorite Toasted Sesame Salad at Panera Bread. 

And I have to say that I'm only sad I waited so long to try this recipe. It was delicious!  I loved the combination of the Asian sesame dressing and cilantro and green onions. The dressing was slightly sweet and balanced perfectly by the Asian inspired chicken and bright cilantro flavor.  I did complicate the recipe just a bit by marinading the chicken in one of my favorite Asian inspired marinades first, but it only enhanced the flavor and really, marinading chicken doesn't require a lot more time.  Whether you choose to add that extra step or not, just be sure to try this recipe.  It's perfect for this time of  year and I'm pretty sure it's going to be become a regular sight in this house!

Recipe Source: Blog Chef (Salad) and Our Best Bites (Chicken Marinade)
Servings: 4 large servings (More than enough to feed my family of five... three of whom are under the age of 10)

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp curry powder
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (I only had powdered, and I used 1/4 tsp)
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 4 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts instead)

16 oz. (1 pkg.) farfalle or bow tie pasta
3 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks (Marinaded and prepared as described below)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
Toasted Sesame Dressing (recipe follows)

Toasted Sesame Dressing:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 cup sesame seeds

1.  Combine all the marinade ingredients except the chicken in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine and dissolve the brown sugar.  Pour the marinade into a large Ziploc bag or other container and add your chicken.  Refrigerate a minimum of four hours or longer if you have the time, turning the bag often to cover the chicken.

2.  Preheat your grill and spray with oil.  Grill the chicken over medium heat, turning regularly and cooking until the chicken is done.  Allow to cool and then chop into medium sized bites.  Set aside.

3.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until the sesame seeds are golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

4.  Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions to al dente.  Drain your pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl.

5.  Combine all the dressing ingredients except for the vegetable oil and sesame seeds in a blender or food processor.  With the blender running, slowly add the oil in a small stream, until well incorporated.  Add the sesame seeds.

6.  Add your grilled, chopped chicken to the pasta and add the dressing.  (Note: You may not need all the dressing.  Add a little and stir as you go.  I didn't end up needing all the dressing and it was nice to have some extra on hand the next day to toss with my leftovers!)  Add the cilantro and green onions and toss to combine. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

I needed some cupcakes for a church function and decided I wanted raspberry. No apparent reason... but I was inspired to do something with raspberries. The cupcakes were for some 10 year old girls so I wasn't too worried about making the cupcake itself anything fancy. But I wanted the frosting to be 100%  yummy and beautiful. Enter raspberry buttercream.

I ended up using a simple cake mix for the cupcakes themselves. But then I filled them with a delicious raspberry filling and topped them with this raspberry buttercream and I LOVED the frosting. Even my husband, who NEVER touches my cupcakes (he's not a fan of cake or frosting... how sad!) ate two of these. The frosting was that delicious. And it doesn't hurt that it's a pretty pink color.

Raspberry Buttercream
Recipe source: Annie's Eats

16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 tsp. raspberry extract (optional... I had it so I used it)
pink food coloring

1.  Cream the butter and jam in a large bowl until well combined, about 2 minutes.

2.  Sift in the powdered sugar and raspberry extract and mix until perfectly smooth.  Add pink food coloring if desired.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rainbow Cake

For my son's birthday this year, I was looking for a fun cake... but not a theme cake. I had spotted some awesome ombre cakes on pinterest and was really hoping to try that in orange for him... but when I showed him some of the pictures, he emphatically told me he wanted the rainbow cake. So the rainbow cake it was.

And what a fun cake it was! After checking out a bunch of different pinterest links, I felt like I was ready to tackle it. Since it was for a five year old who doesn't even really like cake, I decided to keep it simple and use a dressed up cake mix. The colors were going to make it exciting... he wasn't even going to care about the taste. However, I decided to use a pudding filling in between the layers and then I frosted the whole thing with our favorite whipped cream cheese frosting and the cake was seriously delicious. Best birthday cake ever and the first time in nine years that a birthday cake has been finished. Usually, we pull it out for pictures and then the next day I throw it all away since no one in my house likes cake. But not this one. Nope, this one was delicious and actually eaten!

This cake was a lot of fun to put together and really not that hard. The hardest part was getting the layers even and keeping such a tall cake from turning into the leaning tower of cake! I baked the cakes the night before and then stacked, filled, and frosted them the next day.  But you could do it all in one day pretty easily.

The next time you want something flashy and fun, but still simple, I think this cake is a great choice. If you want some more inspiration, look here ( I love her ruffle frosting on top), here (love the Skittles rainbow on top... but that was a bit too frilly for my five year old), here, and here.  And here's how I made mine:

2 boxes white cake mix (white cake mix colors the easiest)
oil as called for on the box
eggs + 2 as called for on the boxes (so, if your box calls for 3 eggs, you'll use 4 eggs per boxed mix...)
buttermilk in place of the water called for on the box
food coloring (neon or gel colors work best here to get the most vibrant color)
as many round cake pans as you have, well greased
small mixing bowls
kitchen scale (I highly recommend this!)

recipe source: Not Just Cute
1 box Instant vanilla pudding mix (big or small... doesn't matter... I used a big one since I had a lot of cake layers to sandwich together)
1 container Cool Whip, thawed( big or small, depending on whether your pudding mix was big or small... I almost used all of a big container)
1/2 the milk called for on your chosen box of vanilla pudding

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
recipe source: Allrecipes
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat your oven.  Grease your round cake pans really well and/or line with parchment paper. 

2.  Mix both boxes together, according to the package instructions.  A big bowl and a stand mixer come in really handy here.

3.  Once you've mixed everything well, prepare to divide your batter.  I only had two pans and I knew I didn't want to have to clean them and bake another round more than twice so I settled on six colors.  If you have more pans, feel free to use as many colors as make you happy.  Six made me happy enough.  Divide the batter evenly between your six small bowls.  This is where a kitchen scale comes in really handy.  I wanted my layers to all be the same size and height and I knew that I wouldn't be able to eye it close enough.  So, after I had divided the batter between my six bowls, I then weighed each bowl and re-distributed the batter as needed, so that each bowl weighed nearly the same amount.  That way I knew each cake was going to be approximately the same size.

4.  Once your batter has been evenly divided, add a different color to each bowl.  I was using neon gel food colors so I didn't need a ton of color to reach a really vibrant color.  We went with the traditional colors... red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Sorry my picture seems to be missing a couple colors... they must have already been in the oven baking!

5.  Once you have your rainbow assortment of batter, you're ready to bake them.  This is where multiple cake pans come in handy.  I only had two pans so I baked two colors at a time.  Once those were done, I got to set them out to cool, wash my pans and bake my next two layers.  Repeat as necessary.  Luckily, your cake layers are smaller than normal so the baking time is much shorter!  Watch them carefully.  My layers were done in 11 minutes... but that was on convection.  I recommend setting your timer for about ten minutes and then watching closely until they're done.  If you're using at least 6 six colors, they'll probably be done in under 15 minutes.

6.  Once a layer is done, turn it out to cool on cooling racks.  I sandwiched my layers between layers of wax paper.  It made it much easier the next day when it came time to stack them all together.  It gave me a nice, flat surface to stack on.  I just peeled the wax paper away from the cake.  Once all your layers are baked and cooled completely, you're ready to start putting it all together.

1.  Mix the pudding mix with 1/2 the milk called for on the box.  Whisk until it starts to thicken.  Then fold in 1 container of cool whip.  Done.  That's it.  Set aside until you're ready to use it.

1.  In a small bowl, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks begin to form;  set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Gently fold in the whipped cream.

This is where you can do whatever you want.  Some variations of the rainbow cake keep a very light sandwich filling, so the rainbow effect is stronger.  But I like filling.  Lots of it.  So I simply spread a bit of filling on my bottom layer of cake and then topped it with my next layer.  Continue this until you get to your top layer.  I tried really hard to keep it really even so that my layers stayed even but my final cake was leaning just a bit.  It's probably best to measure out the filling amount so you use the same amount between each layer, but I didn't do this and a couple of my layers were a bit thicker than others.  Oh well. 

Another option... brush some jelly or syrup on your cake layers before sandwiching them together, for more flavor.  I added some raspberry jelly to a couple of my layers, but I found that it discolored the cake just a bit, so if I do that again, I'll only brush the darker cake layers with it. 

Quite frankly, the cake looks really pretty just like that if you're careful not to make a mess with your filling.  But, I wanted to create some real drama when you cut into the cake so I wanted to cover up all the color and just present a plain white cake to the birthday boy.

Once I had all my layers sandwiched together, I did a quick crumb coat with the cream cheese frosting and put the cake in the fridge to chill for a couple hours.

Once it was nice and cold, I pulled it out and used the rest of my frosting to cover the cake completely.  Keep in mind that there is a LOT of cake in there, so don't skimp on frosting.  It needs to balance out all that cake!

I'm sure a more talented cake decorator could do something special with the white outside, but I'm lucky to get a decently smooth exterior, so I just left it like that and gave the top a quick spray of color and some sprinkles.  And then it was ready!

This was easily the biggest cake I've ever made, but it looked awesome when we cut into it and the birthday boy loved it.  And it didn't hurt that it was delicious to boot!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Asparagus...the not so healthy way

I am a huge fan of the roasted asparagus recipe we have on the blog here. It's my go-to recipe when I have fresh asparagus on hand. I love it. I bought some asparagus a few days back and needed to use it up before it started to look, well, un-fresh. :) I started putting stuff together and then remembered that I was out of rosemary. Doh! So I looked everywhere for the parmesan asparagus recipe that I've seen floating around Pinterest, and couldn't find it. So I decided to improvise.

I had asparagus on hand. Mushrooms, check. Parmesan cheese, check. BACON, CHECK! Yes, I decided to add bacon. Everything is better with bacon, right? Yes. Yes, it is. Let's just say it did not disappoint.

So here you have it, the not-so-healthy-way to roast asparagus, but it sure is good!

What you'll need:
1-2 bunches fresh asparagus
6-7 sliced mushrooms
5-6 pieces of uncooked bacon, cut into pieces (1 slice = 5 pieces)
1/2 c. of Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450 F. Cover a cookie sheet tin foil.

Wash the asparagus and break off the ends. Arrange them on your cookie sheet. Sprinkle the sliced mushrooms over the asparagus. Same with the cut up bacon pieces.

Lightly, and I mean VERY lightly, sprinkle some olive oil over everything and pop it in the oven (you don't need much oil, because the bacon is going to get greasy). Bake for 15 minutes or until it is almost done. Pull it out, sprinkle the 1/2 c. parmesan cheese on top and put it back in for another 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the asparagus us tender.

Enjoy- this is great! You don't even need any salt or pepper (the bacon is enough for your heart attack. :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Strawberry Surf Rider Smoothie (like Jamba's)

I am a huge fan of Jamba Juice. I love their fruit smoothies! My absolute favorite is their Strawberry Surf Rider. It's just the perfect combination of strawberries and tart lemon flavor! I love it! I've been trying to recreate it since I don't really want to pay 6 bucks for it every time I need a fix. I've fiddled around for awhile and this is as close as I've gotten. And ooooh, is it good!

Here's what you'll need:
2 1/2 c. frozen strawberries
3 large scoops of Lime or Raspberry Sherbet (I found some Pomegranate Tangerine Sherbet at my WinCo and it was SO good)
1-1 1/2 c. limeade
7-8 peach slices (I used canned peaches)

Combine all the ingredients in your blender and mix until smooth. The limeade amount will vary- you just want it to be thick enough to be smoothie, but not too runny. So start with 1 c. and add more as you need it or to get your blender to mix well.

My picky eaters loved this! As I was taking pictures, Ellie insisted that her cup be in the picture too, so there ya have it!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Love Potion

While at Emily's we decided we needed to try a bunch of new recipes. This happened to be one of them- one of the lovely finds off Pinterest. We tried a few more drinks, but this ended up being our absolute favorite! It was so good and creamy and just delicious!  And the best part, it only takes three ingredients and is super simple to make. I made this again just the other night with some Pomegranate Tangerine sherbet that I found and it was awesome!

So here ya go! Enjoy!

What you'll need:
1 can prepared Pink Lemonade
4 c. Raspberry Sherbet

Prepare the pink lemonade as directed on the can. Add four cups (about half of a half gallon is what I used) of raspberry sherbet and mix with a stick blender (or in a regular blender if you don't have a stick blender). Mix until creamy.

Pour into glasses and add some sprite. Our ration was about 3:1 (juice:sprite).

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bloomin' Bread

I found this recipe on Pinterest (my new most favorite addiction ever...) It just looked really cool and pretty scrumptious too! And I will say that it didn't disappoint!

I had a week where I decided I wanted to try a new recipe every day- and I almost succeeded. I tried a new recipe every night I cooked, which didn't end up being every night, but pretty dang close!! I think I cooked four nights this particular week- which is a record for me!! Joe and his brothers were quite delighted! I made this loaf with baked potato soup. It was good! And the good thing was that the two recipes had a few ingredients in common, so I already had stuff on hand.

This loaf was perfect for dipping in the soup and was great for little fingers too!

Here's what you'll need:
1 unsliced loaf of sourdough bread
12-16 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. finely diced green onion
2 t. poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut the bread lengthwise all the way across and then widthwise all the way across. Be sure not to cut all the way down to the crust.

Insert the cheese slices in each of the cuts- being sure to get each cut so it's really good and cheesy after it's baked!

Melt the butter and mix with the green onion and poppy seeds. Pour over even overly the loaf.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. I baked mine closer to 20 minutes to get the cheese good and melty and broiled it for a minute or two.


From: The Girl Who Ate Everything