Saturday, January 23, 2010

Carrot Cake

I absolutely love carrot cake! I think its the combination of spicy moist cake and the yummy, sugary, cream cheesy frosting. It is so good! I don't make it really often, but was having a hankering for carrot cake this last week. I was home one day from work because of the weather so I whipped up a batch. I actually used carrots from my garden that have kept fresh and crisp in my fridge since October if you can believe it. It's pretty amazing to me too! Give this simple recipe a try, you will not be disappointed.

Carrot Cake From Taste of Home Delicious Desserts Cookbook
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup canola oil and it turned out great)
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
Frosting: 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir into egg mixture. Beat in vanilla. Stir in carrots. Spread into a 9" or 8" square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Frost cake, store in refrigerator.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chunky Crunchy Granola

I've never tried to make granola before, but found this recipe in my Seasonal cooking guide and it looked like it would be pretty easy to make and tasty too. This recipe tastes really good in the morning with some cold milk and I've also eaten it over yogurt. It really is a crunchy, filing cereal.

Chunky Crunchy Granola From Simply in Season
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups raisins, other dried fruit or nuts (optional-I used golden raisins, dried cranberries and a mixture of walnuts and pecans)

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour the remaining ingredients into the well. Mix thoroughly, making sure all loose flour has been incorporated (add another tablespoon of milk if necessary). Spread in a 9x13 pan and bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes, until light brown, 50-60 minutes. Store in airtight container up to a week; also freezes well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maple-Orange Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

This was another dish I brought to my husband's family Christmas this year. I just tossed all the ingredients into a crockpot and let it cook for about 4 hours. It was really tasty...a wonderful combination of sweet fruits and vegetables!

Maple-Orange Sweet Potatoes and Carrots From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
16 oz of carrots, peeled
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 cup snipped apricots (I snipped into halves and quarters)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup water
2 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Lightly coat the inside of a 4 qt crockpot with cooking spray. Add carrots. Top with sweet potatoes and dried apricots. In a small bowl stir together maple syrup, orange juice concentrate, water, melted butter, salt, white pepper, and cinnamon. Pour over potato mixture in cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours to 9 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle

I made this tasty dessert for my husband's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary party. It is an elegant and tasty treat that goes together quickly. If you don't have a trifle bowl, use a glass bowl so that you can see the multiple layers of chocolaty goodness!

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle From
1 pkg brownie mix
1 3/4 cup cold milk
2 pkg instant white chocolate pudding mix
4 tsp instant coffee
2 T warm water
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 Heath bars, chopped

Prepare brownies according to package directions. Bake and cool completely. Cut into 1" cubes. In medium bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mix until thickens. Dissolve coffee granules in water and stir into pudding mixture. Fold in whipped topping. In glass serving bowl, layer 1/3 of brownies cubes, 1/3 of pudding mixture and 1/3 of candy. Repeat until all ingredients are used up . Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Company Mac and Cheese

Today was not a great day. I did enjoy the fact that I took off work today and was home all day, but the reason for my day off was that we had another blizzard out here. My husband is overseas for about the last month and won't be home for another month and this is one of the worst winters we've had in SD in like 50 years. Last winter I think we had maybe 5" of snow in December and this year we had like 25". Now, not only do we have the snow we also have winds blowing at 30 mph and a terrible cold front heading through. Our high today was zero degrees and tomorrow it is supposed to be -7 degrees. I just love winter! So, the weather was getting me down a bit today (luckily I have great neighbors that have been helping with snow removal) and I thought what better to pick me up than some good old comfort food in the form of macaroni and cheese, homemade of course. This recipe is really quite easy to make and is so yummy! It definitely did the trick!

Company Mac and Cheese From Taste of Home
7 oz macaroni
6 T butter, divided
3 T flour
2 cups milk
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt 4 T butter in large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; add cheeses, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Drain macaroni; add to the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to a 3 qt greased baking dish. Melt the remaining butter; toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle over macaroni. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Believe it or not, I still have a couple of apples in my refrigerator that I picked at the orchard this fall. They are not super crisp and not really an apple that I would want to just pick up and eat raw, but they are still good to cook with. I used one up in these yummy muffins the other day. They seem kind of fancy with the streusel topping, but are really pretty simple to make.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins From Taste of Home
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 T vegetable oil
3 T applesauce
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T flour
2 T cold butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts

In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and applesauce. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apple. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. For topping, combine brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in oats and nuts. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Corny Tomato Dumpling Soup

It has been soooo cold here lately. I think our high today was about 1 or 2 degrees. It's supposed to at least warm up to about 8 degrees tomorrow, but unfortunately the rest of the week doesn't look much better. To help me stay warm here in the middle of this arctic cold, I made this yummy soup tonight. It was really tasty and made enough for me to take for lunch and eat for dinner for almost the rest of the week. Luckily it is really good!

Corny Tomato Dumpling Soup From Taste of Home
1 lb ground beef
3 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
Corn Dumplings:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 T minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in corn, tomatoes, broth, onion, garlic and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. For dumplings, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat egg; stir in milk, corn, cheese and parsley. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering). Makes about 2 quarts.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oatmeal Muffins

Another yummy breakfast muffin. I made 2 batches of these muffins and added chocolate chips to one and chopped cranberries to the other. They turned out really good and I put about a dozen in the freezer. So, in the morning, for breakfast, I just grab a couple, pop them in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds and breakfast is served!

Oatmeal Muffins From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup mini chocolate chips or 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries mixed with 2 T additional sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Add chocolate chips or cranberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Basil Pan Burgers

Happy New Year!! I was so fortunate to have my sister here for the last week and celebrate New Years Eve with me. Since hubby is gone overseas for a few months its been kind of lonely around here, but I've been keeping busy with my dogs, cat and work. It was nice to have another person around here for a change. My sister is a great person to have visit too! She helped me start to clean, organize and declutter. I'm trying to get rid of things that I haven't used in ages and will probably never use and that is a specialty of my sister's. She left for WI today and we'll miss her!! While she was here, I made these pan burgers for dinner one night. They were really yummy, kind of like meatloaf in a burger. They went together pretty quick and turned out great. I served these with some sweet potato fries and some green beans from the freezer that grew out in my garden this summer.

Basil Pan Burgers From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T fine dry bread crumbs
2 T fresh snipped basil or 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
2 T ketchup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split

In a medium bowl, combine egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, basil, ketchup, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add beef; mix well. Shape beef mixture into 4 3/4" thick patties.

Lightly coat a heavy skillet with cooking spray or use nonstick skillet. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add patties. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes or until temperature registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, turning patties once halfway through cooking. If patties brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium low. Serve on buns with basil leaves and tomato slices, if desired.