Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chicken Riggies

This caught my attention on the all recipes site. Apparently there is an annual Riggifest in upstate New York where the recipe originated. This is my interpretation, since a lot of other recipes call for olives, mushrooms and cayenne which wouldn't be too popular in my house. Most puree the tomatoes or use a tomato sauce, which would be good, but I like it kind of 'topping' like. My picture isn't too good, but it does have a lot of great flavor and is quick and easy.


1/4 C butter
4 T olive oil
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
salt and pepper
1 jar (370 ml) of roasted red peppers, drained and julienned
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp sugar and black pepper
*red pepper flakes or 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
3/4 C heavy cream

1 pound of Rigatoni noodles, cooked to your preference.(I hate al dente--too chewy. Just my opinion.)

In a good sized skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion. Saute until soft. Add the chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Then add the peppers, tomatoes, spices. Simmer on low for 10 minutes then add the cream. Keep simmering and stir occasionally for a few minutes longer. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve over hot rigatoni noodles. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired. -- I always desire ( :
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Too Much Chocolate Cake

This is my sister Darcie's favorite cake-- for taste and ease of preparation. With twin babies, quick and easy is a good thing! She says it tastes best right out of the fridge. I found this recipe many years ago on all recipes. It can be dusted with a bit of confectioners sugar or as I prefer, with a quick chocolate glaze.

1 box of Devil's Food cake mix
1 large pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
1 C sour cream
1 C vegetable or canola oil
4 eggs
1/2 C warm water
2 C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix all the above ingredients together except the chocolate chips. When well mixed, fold in the chocolate chips. The mini chips are nice because they don't sink to the bottom of the batter, but regular size ones are fine. Pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until top springs back and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for a few hours before inverting onto a plate.


Use equal amount of whipping cream and chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
Carefully bring 8oz of whipping cream to a boil. Remove from the stove and pour over 8oz of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces. Stir until melted and smooth. Pour and drizzle over the cooled cake.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nana's Butter Tarts

In memory of the best Nana ever
I am sharing her recipe for Butter Tarts.
Over the years I've collected quite a few of her recipes
and this gem was tucked away in a 4 page letter that she
wrote me a long time ago.
Nana's Butter Tarts:
3 c. brown sugar
5 eggs
1 c. butter, softened
2 t. vanilla
4 T. heavy whipping cream
2 c. raisins (optional)
1 c. pecans or walnuts (also optional)
Any good pastry pie crust recipe (I used the Krusteaz's brand that comes in the box)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream the butter, sugar and eggs well. Add whipping cream and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Pour into tart shells being careful not to fill more than 1/2 way full. I haven't had any luck finding premade tart shells and began by using premade, pre-rolled out pie crust. This time around I used a Krusteaz brand box pie crust mix where you simply add water and stir. It was great! The second batch of butter tarts was even more incredible because they had a nice thick crust, just like I remember.
Bake for 20-25 mins, watching carefully so they don't burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Left over filling can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake

This unassuming little bundt cake has just been added

to my top 5 favorite desserts!

It'll fit perfectly into the time when strawberries are

out of season and you just don't want chocolate.

I've been looking for an excuse to make Browned Butter Frosting

and this was the occasion - Boy, was it ever.

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake:

1 boxed yellow cake mix

1 pkg. (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding

4 eggs

2/3 c. sour cream

2/3 c. water

1/2 c. oil

1 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. chopped pecans - I used walnuts since I have a walnut hook-up

1 recipe Browned Butter Frosting (to follow)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a bundt pan with baking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl combine, cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream, water and oil. Mix for 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and chopped nuts. Mix until well combined.

Spoon into the bundt pan and cook for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving platter. Cool completely.

When cool, frost with Browned Butter Frosting. If you want, sprinkle a few chopped nuts on the cake after it's frosted.

Browned Butter Frosting:

1/2 c. butter, must be butter!

2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/4 c. whipping cream

1 t. vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, over low heat melt butter and wait for it to turn a light brown, caramelized color. This will take about 15 minutes. Watch it closely so it does not burn.

After it has browned, pour into a large bowl. Immediately add sugar, whipping cream and vanilla. Beat ingredients together for a minute or so, until they come together and look like heaven. Resist the urge to get a spoon and eat it all...Frost the cooled cake and eat the rest.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

I generally dislike store bought cookies and ironically, Oreos are pretty far from homemade in look and in taste--but I love them. I found this recipe on a blog called Fake Ginger and had to make them because it calls for a whole lot of Oreo goodness.

For the cupcakes:

24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 T butter, at room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 T whipping cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie halves

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Garnish with Oreo halves.

Because the frosting has cream cheese, I store them in the fridge.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

As a kid my Mom made homemade pudding regularly.
My favorite was butterscotch pudding.
I didn't even know about
Jell-O pudding or Snack Packs.
Pudding was something you made, not bought.
So, here for your consideration is an easy, homey confection.
It reminds me of being a kid.
Homemade Chocolate Pudding:
(Makes about 4 cups)

1/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 T. cocoa powder
3 T. corn starch
1/4 t. salt
2 3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla extract

In a large saucepan combine the dry ingredients. Whisk lightly. Add the milk and cream, whisking until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and simmer, stirring often. Once the chocolate chips are melted and pudding is simmering, lower the heat and stir constantly until thickened. Don't try to speed this process as it will result in burning the pudding. Stir until large bubbles pop at the surface about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Let pudding cool or speed up the process (because you can't wait to try it) by using an ice-water bath and stirring to cool. Make sure you cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin starting to form.

Refrigerate for up to 3 if it will last that long!

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sheet Cake Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies have to be one of my favorite treats.
Chilling, rolling and cutting out Sugar Cookies...not so much.
This recipe takes all of the time consuming aspects of the
Sugar Cookie out of the equation.

Sheet Cake Sugar Cookies:
1 c. butter, softened (no substitutions!)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 3/4 c. flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid, cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla & almond extracts. Cream until light and fluffy. Add sugar and egg. Once they are incorporated, add baking soda, baking powder and flour. Do not overmix.
Spray a 10x15 inch sheet cake pan. Spread cookie mixture into the pan and bake for 18 minutes.
Frost with your favorite frosting! I used a simple buttercream flavored with almond extract & colored pink!
Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Frosted Banana Cookies

Here for your consideration is yet another way
to use up those bananas that are sitting on your counter!
The cookies, while they are tasty - are elevated to another level
with the browned butter frosting.
I'd never made browned butter frosting before,
but I LOVE BUTTER. So how could I go wrong?
It is fantastic.

Frosted Banana Cookies:
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 c. mashed banana's
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. distilled white vinegar
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. walnuts (optional)
Mix together the first 8 ingredients until light and creamy. Add dry ingredients and mix until it comes together.
Chill for 1 hour.
Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.
Let cool then frost.
Browned Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 t. vanilla extract
Place stick of butter in a small saucepan and set it over low heat. It is best to not use non-stick or a dark coated pan in this step because it will be difficult to tell when the butter has turned brown. Let the butter melt over low heat and turn a caramel color, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully so the butter doesn't burn. Once it has turned a nice medium brown color, remove from the heat. Pour the butter into a medium bowl. Immediately add the powdered sugar, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix well with electric mixer until the frosting is smooth and thick.
Bon Appetit!

P.S. I did try some with a whipped chocolate frosting, but I fell so deeply in love with the Browned Butter Frosting that the chocolate didn't even appeal to me. You may enjoy chocolate though.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

I love the salty and sweet combination in this classic cookie. I like to use chunks of chocolate, like chopped Hersey Kisses. Any kind of pretzels will do--just give them a good smash with a rolling pin and throw in!

3/4 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C crushed pretzels
1 1/2 chocolate chips /or chunks

Line a cookies sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla; beat well. Mix the flour and baking soda together and then beat in.
Stir in the pretzels and chocolate. Scoop out onto the cookie sheet and bake 10-13 minutes. Let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before taking off of the cookie sheet. Place on a wire rack to finish cooling. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

I love any kind of pasta-- especially anything from Giada. Start to finish, this really tasty, flavorful pasta dish comes together in 20 minutes--( but tastes like it took a whole lot longer!)

Cook 1 lb of pasta in boiling, salted water, for approximately 12 minutes, or until tender.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. You will need:

1 270ml jar (9 oz) of sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil--do not drain
2 garlic cloves
1 C packed, fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Put the above ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and stir in:
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, reserving 1 C of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the pesto, tossing to coat, adding enough of the cooking water to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


This is a pretty quick dinner that my kids call backwards pizza. The dough requires no rising which can be good thing if you are like me, and don't always plan too long ahead of time.


Dissolve 2 tsp of sugar in 1 C of warm water.
Sprinkle one envelope (or 1 T) of yeast on top. Let stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes. Mix lightly.

Add 4 T of oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 1/2 C flour and mix together. Knead on a floured surface for several minutes or until smooth and a bit stretchy.

Roll dough and cut into rounds (I usually use a cereal bowl). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or some greased foil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread sauce on the dough. Put grated cheese and whatever pizza toppings you like on half of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the cheese and pinch well with a fork or fingers to ensure a good seal. Cut some slits on the top and brush with olive oil. If desired, sprinkle some parmesan on top.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until cooked and lightly browned. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tiramisu Layer Cake - AKA Kaluha Cake

Here is a fantastic-ly easy cake with W-O-W results!
It starts with a white cake mix (shh, don't tell)
and ends with lots of Oooo's and Ahhhh's!

Kahlua Cake:
1 pkg white cake mix (I like Betty Crocker the best)
1/4 c. instant coffee
1/4 c. coffee
2 T. Kahlua
1 - 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4-5 T. Kahlua
3 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
4 T. Kahlua
2 T. cocoa powder
Chocolate curls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 (9in) round pans.
Prepare cake mix according to directions. Divide batter into thirds. Place 1/3 of plain cake mix into a pan. To the other 2/3's add the instant coffee, stir to combine - then pour into the remaining 2 pans. Bake for about 20 minutes. Use a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake to check for done-ness. Cool for 10 mins in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.
In a measuring cup, combine 1/4 c. coffee and 2 T. Kahlua. When cakes are cooled, brush the coffee/Kahlua mixture over the 1 white layer. Set aside.
To make the filling: In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid, combine cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar and Kahlua. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Set aside.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid, combine whipping cream, powdered sugar and Kahlua. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Add about 1/2 of the frosting to the filling and stir until incorporated. Set aside.
To assemble the cake: Place one coffee cake layer on a serving plate. Then spread 1/2 of the filling over the cake. Top with white cake layer. Spread with remaining filling. Top with last coffee cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Better than Crunchie Bar

One of my favorite chocolate bars is a Canadian one called Crunchie. I have fond memories of buying small bricks of it from the Bulk Barn with my Nana, who still loves the stuff. This recipe is so quick and easy, either plain or dipped in chocolate.

2 1/2 C white sugar
2/3 C corn syrup
6 T water
2 tsp vanilla
2 T baking soda

Line the bottom of a 9X13" pan with parchment paper, making sure the parchment sides are at least 2 inches above the sides of the pan. Grease with a little bit of oil, or some cooking spray. Set aside.

Add the sugar, corn syrup and water to a deep, heavy bottomed pan. Stir ingredients together then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, without stirring. Cook until the hard crack stage-- 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer. It should take about 10 minutes. During the cooking process, if there are any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan, brush the sides with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.

Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and then the baking soda. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit after adding the baking soda. Immediately pour into the pan. Let cool and set completely. Peel off the parchment and break into pieces. Dip in melted chocolate if desired or eat plain. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Bon Appetit!

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip

I love spicy anything.
The hotter the better!
I found this recipe in one of those
"2 free recipes" brochures that come in the mail,
from Taste of Home.
I didn't order what they were selling,
but this recipe is a keeper!

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip:

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 c. Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 c. ranch dressing
3 cans (4.5 oz. each) of chunk white chicken, drained and shredded
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 bunch of green onions, chopped, divided
Corn or tortilla chips

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing. Stir well. Add chicken, 1 c. cheddar cheese and 2/3's of the green onion. Combine - then spread into a 11x7 inch baking dish. I used a round stoneware pan, which worked well also.

Bake, uncovered for 20-22 minutes or until heated through. At about the 1/2 way mark, I sprinkled the remaining cheddar cheese over the dip. Once removed from the oven, sprinkle the remaining onions on top.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Bon Appetit!