Monday, March 25, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This was great.  I've never made a cake in a cast iron skillet before and its always been on my "to try" list.  The only downfall to this cake was it made a mess of my oven.  But it was great.  I was expecting it to be a dense or "bready" from scratch cake but it was not.  I will definetely make this my go to pineapple upside down cake recipe.  It took longer to bake but I used a convect bake function on my stove at 325.  It took closer to 40-45 minutes or so.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (from foodnetwork magazine - by Pioneer Woman)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups granulated sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 1% milk)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple,

2 tablespoons juice reserved (drink the rest!)

1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar

Maraschino cherries, stemmed (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the cake batter: Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, 1/2 stick butter, the shortening, milk, eggs, vanilla and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until well combined. (There will still be a few small lumps in the batter.) Set aside.

Melt the remaining 1/2 stick butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; swirl to thoroughly coat the skillet. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, making sure it's evenly distributed-you want the entire surface of the butter to be covered in brown sugar. Do not stir. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and layer the pineapple slices over the top. If desired, place maraschino cherries in the centers of the pineapple slices.

Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple slices and gently spread to even out the top. Bake the cake 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Immediately run a knife around the edge of the cake, then put a plate upside down on top of the skillet. Carefully invert the skillet so the cake is turned onto the plate. It should come out pretty easily; if bits of cake stick to the skillet, use a small knife to patch it together. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges. It's best served warm.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just Like Wendy's Chili

I made this chili in the crockpot yesterday.  It was good.  There really isn't anything special about it, but it was good.  I only used 1 lb of 90% lean hamburger and probably added a quart size bag full of chopped onions, celery, and green pepper.  I eliminated the water.

Just Like Wendy's Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds ground beef
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as RO*TEL)
1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 (1.25 ounce) packages chili seasoning (such as McCormick® Mild Chili Seasoning Mix)
1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon white vinegar, or more to taste  (I eliminated)

Check All Add to Shopping List .Directions

1.Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Press ground beef into the hot oil to form one large patty; let the bottom brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir and break the ground beef into crumbles and cook until no longer pink, about 5 more minutes.

2.Stir celery, onion, and green bell pepper into ground beef and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes; pour in stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato sauce, and water. Break apart large chunks of stewed tomatoes. Stir in chili seasoning.

3.Mix kidney beans and pinto beans into chili, season with salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Mix vinegar into chili.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vegetable Lo Mein

I wasn't sure how I would like this, but it was really good and super easy.  Instead of the onion and the asian slaw, I used 1 bag of broccoli slaw.  We also topped with red pepper flakes.

Vegetable Lo Mein - from Wegmans Magazine
1 box (16 oz) Asian Classics Lo Mein Noodles (Frozen Foods), thawed

2 Tbsp Wegmans Vegetable Oil

1 small onion, peeled, thinly sliced

1 pkg (12 oz) Food You Feel Good About Cleaned & Cut Asian Slaw

1/2 cup Asian Classics Stir-Fry Sauce (International Foods)   Directions:

1.Blanch frozen noodles in large pot of boiling salted water 2 min. Drain and set aside.

2.Drizzle oil around sides of stir-fry pan; tilt pan to distribute evenly. Heat oil in pan on HIGH until oil faintly smokes. (If oil smokes too much, pan is too hot).

3.Add onion. Stir and toss, 2-3 min, until onions are soft. Add slaw; stir and toss 2 min. Add noodles and stir-fry sauce. Stir briefly to heat through, 1-2 min.

Steakhouse Bread

I had made this once before and we didn't like it.  It came out good but was just a little too rich for us.  I tried again - with great results!

Steakhouse Black Bread - from


1 1/3 cups strong brewed coffee, room

temperature (I used 2 tsp instant coffee)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used 4 tbsp)

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)

1 cup rye flour

2 cups bread flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

powder (I used dutch processed)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or

bread machine yeast

I also added 1 tbsp gluten.


1. Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order suggested by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle. When the machine indicates the end of the final rise, remove the dough.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Shape the dough into 12 dinner rolls, or one 9x5 inch loaf. Let rise until doubled in size while the oven preheats, they should rise quickly.

3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven for rolls, or 35 minutes for a loaf, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

I took the dough out of the bread machine and let it rise for about an hour and a half.  I make two loaves and baked them on the convect bake cycle at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Thin Mint Cookies & Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm still trying out receipes from the Back in the Day Cookbook.  I made these cookies for my husband because he loves thin mints.  He said they were good but they were a lot of work and I'm not sure I'd make again.  He really didn't seem to rave about them.

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Makes 24 sandwich cookies

23/4 cup flour
11/4 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs

Cream filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 cups powdered sugar
Chocolate coating:
13/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, vanilla and sugars until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add flour mixture in thirds, beating until just combined and scraping down sides as necessary.

3. Divide dough and place half on each cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer dough and parchment to counter. Cut out cookies with a 2- to 3-inch (or smaller) round cookie cutter.

5. Line baking sheets with fresh parchment; place cookies 1 inch apart. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake until
the aroma fills the kitchen, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Filling: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and peppermint. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing until light and fluffy. Place a dollop of filling on bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies.

7. Coating: Using a double boiler over gently simmering water, stir chocolate chips and butter until melted. Remove bowl from heat. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet. Using two forks, quickly dip each cookie into warm chocolate, turning to coat, then place on rack. Let cookies stand until set. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature

These cookies on the other hand are great.  I can't get the recipe to copy but they were so worth it.  Super easy - just make sure to underbake slightely.  I made them into "mini" cookies.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Orange Marmalade Pork

I made this and it was very good. I used homemade strawberry orange marmalade and didn't add the vinegar.

Pulled Pork Sliders (from woman's day)

•1 navel orange

•1/2 cup(s) sweet orange marmalade

•1/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar

•2 teaspoon(s) ground cumin

•3 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar

•1 teaspoon(s) cider vinegar

•Kosher salt


•2 1/2pound(s) pork shoulder, trimmed well and cut into 3-inch pieces

•1 large onion, sliced

•1/4 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream

•1/2 head(s) romaine lettuce

•8 small rolls, split

•Potato chips, for serving

•Pickles, for serving


Grate 1 teaspoon orange zest into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the marmalade, brown sugar, cumin, 3 tablespoon cider vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

Add pork and onion and toss to coat. Cook, covered, until pork is tender and shreds easily, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

Ten minutes before pork is done, squeeze 1/4 cup juice from orange into a large bowl. Add sour cream, remaining teaspoon vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Shred lettuce. Add it to bowl and toss to coat.

Using 2 forks, shred pork and stir it into cooking liquid. Form sliders with rolls, pork, and romaine slaw. Serve with potato chips and pickles, if desired.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce

I made this sauce this weekend and we really enjoyed it. I don't like DR. Pepper but this was good. I used 1/2 the vinegar because I'm not a vinegar person. The recipe makes a ton. I put it on chicken drumsticks.

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce


2 tbsp butter

1 onion, minced

½ cup red pepper, minced (I used green pepper)

5 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup molasses

1 can (355 ml) Dr. Pepper soda pop

½ cup vinegar (I used 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar).

1½ cup brown sugar (I used dark)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1½ cups tomato paste


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic to the saucepan and saute until they are tender and beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes.

Add the molasses, Dr. Pepper, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Let it cook with a low rolling boil for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.

Stir in the tomato paste and lower the heat. Let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature.

Puree in a blender until smooth.