Tuesday, February 15, 2011

grandmommy's miracle whip cake

for birthdays and special occasions my grandmother made the best chocolate cake ever!!  chocolate miracle whip cake.. she put miracle whip in everything.. even fruit and jello!! but whereas i wasn't fond of the miracle whip on fruit or jello i can honestly say her cake rocked!!  (grandmommy's icing recipe can be found here)

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
servings: 6 large slices


1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
6 tbsp. cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 cup warm water (make sure it's warm)
1 tsp. vanilla

sift dry ingredients together then add miracle whip, water and vanilla. combine all ingredients until mixed well.  pour into 2 greased and floured (i used pam with flour) round cake pans and bake for 28-30 minutes in a 350 (f) degree oven.  ice with fudge frosting.. (recipe coming soon) and serve to the hungry folks waiting for it.. make sure to have milk on hand.. this cake is so rich and dense and chocolaty.. to die for.. yummy!!

bbq pulled pork

sunday felt like a good day to slow cook a pork roast.. the house smelled wonderful all day.. i got a large roast and will be able to make 2 meals out of it.. sunday's dinner.. bbq pork sandwiches, cole slaw, baked beans and macaroni salad.. round 2 meal spicy pork with nan bread and riata sauce..

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 8 hours
servings: 8


dry rub:

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons smoky paprika (if you don't have smoky then 4 tablespoons of regular is fine)
1/2 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chipolte pepper (if you don't have cayenne is fine)
1 tablespoon white pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 6-8 lb. pork shoulder (bone in)
1 large onion, sliced
1 large granny smith apple, sliced

your favorite bbq sauce (we love sweet baby rays)
hamburger buns or rolls
spicy bread and butter chips (optional)

mix together spice rub in a large zip lock bag, shake to combine all ingredients thoroughly. gently rub all over pork shoulder.. (any remaining rub put in a mason jar and keep for another use).. set pork shoulder to the side while you slice onions and apples.. place in the bottom of the slow cooker and put roast on top of onions and apples with the fat cap facing up (so the fat drips down over the meat keeping it moist).. cover and cook on high for 7-8 hours or on low for 11-12 hours.  After about 7 hours check and see if it's falling off the bone and easy to shred if so remove pork from crock pot place in a large bowl, discard onions, apples and any juice accumulated.. remove fat cap (it will fall apart so do your best to get all the fat) and bone from roast and discard.. shred pork with 2 forks; once it's all shredded add your favorite bbq sauce and thoroughly incorporate.  add pork and sauce back in crock pot and cook another hour on low.. serve on hamburger buns with pickles..

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

let's thai one on....

i made thai turkey with jasmine rice last night it was so easy and good.. the recipe is adapted from two different recipes from Ginny's Skinny Recipes i love her site.. anyway as I said before i never follow a recipe.. i actually don't think i can.. ha so this is a cross between her spicy thai beef and thai fried rice..

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
servings: 4


  • 1 package of ground turkey
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used yellow)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tblsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tblsp. soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 2 green onions (scallions) top and bottom
  • a handful of cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper (optional.. shell doesn't like hot things so i had it my serving or i add siracha)
  • jasmine rice

make your jasmine rice according to package directions.  brown turkey in a non stick skillet.. when cooked all the way through add your pepper, onion and garlic.. cook for about 10 minutes.. then add cooked rice, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.... cook for another 20 minutes on simmer.. (i personally like fish sauce so i sometimes add more i don't much care for soy sauce so i don't use very much but if you like add more...) just before serving add cilantro and green onions..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

salmon cakes with lemon caper mayonnaise

whatever you call them croquettes, burgers, cakes.. etc.. they are good we actually ended up eating ours on toasted ciabatta bread with spicy cocktail sauce (ketchup, prepared horseradish and a squeeze of fresh lemon) and a slice of purple onion.. very good.. now working with canned salmon is not for the weak of heart or stomach for that matter.. i drained mine into a colander and picked out the bones and skin before adding to my mixing bowl.. and there is no picture.. they wouldn't let me take it they were hungry.. ha ha.. i served with sweet potato fries and smoky fry sauce..

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
servings: 4

  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 Tbl chopped green onion (top and bottom)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • ½ tbls Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans pink or red salmon
  • 1 cup crushed saltine crackers (I was out so I used ritz crackers)
  • 2 Tblsp. Oil

in a medium bowl, combine egg, green onion, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add salmon and crushed crackers; mix well. form salmon mixture into four patties, each about 1 inch thick.  heat the oil over medium heat in a non stick skillet. brown salmon patties on both sides, 3-5 minutes on each side. serve your salmon patties hot with caper mayonnaise. If desired, garnish with lemon peel…

caper mayonnaise: in a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons drained capers, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper..

Monday, February 7, 2011

pizza and wings..

pete and i don't much watch the superbowl but we love the food.. i always make pizza and wings.. this year it was only pete and i so didn't go over board like i have been known to do in the past.

prep time:  umm awhile
cooking time: depends on what it is *wink*
servings: alot of people


dough - lower calorie (adapted from christine ferrare's big bowl of love)
  • 1 package of active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. of agave
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 up warm water, at 110 degrees (any less the yeast won't activate if gets hotter then 130 it will kill the yeast)
pizza sauce

  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes italian style
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste

cook in a saute pan on medium to low for about 2 hours until all liquid is evaporated...

toppings (i made 4 different kinds)

marghertia pizza

  • slices tomatoes
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • fresh basil

bbq chicken pizza

  • bbq chicken ( for one pizza i poached 2 chicken tenders then diced up and tossed with sweet baby rays bbq sauce)
  • bbq sauce
  • roasted garlic (cut the top off your garlic drizzle olive oil wrap in foil cook at 400 for about 30 minutes)
  • purple onion
  • cilantro
  • 1/2 bag of grated mixed cheddar cheese (i used krafts 4 cheese blend)

spicy italian pizza

  • 1 spicy italian sausage casing removed (brown until cooked remove from pan set aside)
  • garlic
  • jalapenos
  • 1/2 bag of grated pizza cheese
to make the dough.. in food processor bowl add yeast, warm water and agave.. allow mixture to activate.. it will get foamy takes about 3-5 minutes.. insert dough blade add flour and salt. pulse mixture once then add olive oil. pulse mixture until it forms a ball.. it will start to "clean" the side of the bowl, it only takes about 30 seconds to knead the dough.. the dough might be slightly sticky.. coat the dough lightly with olive oil and put in a large bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap.  once its doubled in size, around 45 minutes or so you are ready to make your pizza.. cut into 4 equal parts.. preheat oven to 500 with a pizza stone in the oven.. roll out dough on a floured surface to make a 10 inch pizza then slide on to a piece of parchment paper and top with  your favorite toppings.. pick up parchment and pizza and slide gently onto pizza stone, about 4 minutes into baking pull out parchment paper (it might catch fire if you don't).. continue baking until lightly brown and cheese is melted..

chicken wings:

a bag of frozen chicken wings

preheat oven to 400 degrees (f)..take a cookie sheet, cover with foil, put a rack over foil.. spray with pam.. arrange your chicken wings on rack spray with pam.. cook for about 30 minutes then check if getting nicely brown flip them over and cook another 30 minutes..

dipping sauce..

buffalo - we just use franks or you can use tobasco and butter
bbq - we like sweet baby rays I always add a little chipolte tobasco to it
honey cayenne - in a microwave bowl add 1 tblsp. of honey, 1/2 tblsp. of vinegar, 2 tsp. of cayenne and zap for 30 seconds in the microwave.. it's super yummy..

pepper jelly

i just love pepper jelly.. on crackers.. on eggs.. mixed with cream cheese and a little chipolte pepper super yummy.  so i decided to make some this weekend.. my mom got me a cuisinart food processor for chistmas awhile ago and i always forget to use it so this weekend i pulled it out and its amazing i love it..

prep time: 10 minutes

cooking time: 15 minutes
servings: 6
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 10 jalapenos with the seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups of sugar
  • 1 pouch of fruit pectin

in food processor finely shop pepper.  put in a large with everything but pectin.  boil for 10 minutes stirring often.  add the pectin and boil 1 more minute. fill canning jars. makes 6 half pint jars.  wait a day or two before serving to it has time to become jelly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

winner winner chicken dinner!

jake and sam come to dinner on wednesday nights.. so this week i made chicken cacciatore.. not sure why but i haven't made it years.. like 20 or more.. jake declared it "the best meal i've ever made" and a meal he would pay $15.00 for in a restaurant. haha.. funny kid.. but anyway.. if i do say so myself it was pretty darn good.. the way i approach a recipe is i look through my cook books, magazines and the internet.. i then pick anywhere from 2 different recipes to 10.. i then take the parts/ingredients/steps i like out of each one  and create my own.. i basically get the concept of the dish, the basic ingredients and i then do it my way.. which this time it turned out great but i have as many failures in my dishes as i do successes..

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
servings: 6


  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (we prefer dark meat but breasts are fine too)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 turns around the pan with extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped (i actually didn't have one but i had the small roasting peppers so i used a handful of those and diced them up)
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces sliced mushrooms (white or crimini)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or stock (yes beef not chicken it works very well with the mushrooms and gives it that cooked all day taste)
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 pound pasta or egg noodles (we used fettuccine)
  • grated parmesan or ramano cheese (optional)

preheat your oven to 375 degrees (f).  salt and pepper both sides of your chicken.  heat olive oil in a dutch oven (or other oven proof skillet) on the stove over medium-high heat, brown chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side.  transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.  add bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  add mushrooms and season with salt (salt will draw out their liquid) and saute for another 5 minutes or until mushrooms are dark, tender and have given off their juices. add 1/2 cup of beef broth simmer for about 3 minutes scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the bits and pieces off (those are the yummy parts) then stir in tomatoes, pepper, parsley and thyme.  Stir for about 2-3 minutes then add chicken back in and cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes, remove lid and cook another 15 minutes.  while the chicken is in the oven cook your pasta or noodles according to package directions then put in a big serving bowl. when chicken is done remove pan from oven.. then remove chicken and veggies using a slotted spoon from pot and place in your serving bowl over pasta.  return pot with the sauce in it to stove and turn heat to medium-high.  cook and reduce sauce for a couple of minutes until it thickens.  if any excess fat (which is likely if you use thighs) spoon from atop the sauce and discard.  spoon or pour sauce over the chicken, veggies and pasta and sprinkle with parsley and cheese if desired.. would go wonderful with crusty bread..

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

cuban sandwich (round 2 for the cuban pork from sunday supper)

let me start by saying WOW.. where has this little sucker been all my life.. i know i have always said a sandwich doesn't constitute dinner.. but this wasn't just any sandwich it was yummy, it was crunchy, salty, sweet, cheesy.. everything you want in a sandwich.. believe you me this will be making an appearance in our house again.. if i have to make the roast pork just to make these sandwiches then so be it..

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
servings: 4

·         4 deli rolls
·         prepared yellow mustard
·         1/2 pound baked ham, thinly sliced
·         1/2 pound roast pork, thinly sliced (I used the left over pork from dinner sunday night)
·         8 thin dill pickle slices
·         1/2 pound Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
spread a thin layer of mustard on top and bottom halves of bread..arrange ham, pork, pickle slices, and swiss cheese evenly over the bread. place sandwich in a hot teflon pan either spray pam down or drizzle olive oil then position a heavy iron skillet (or brick) on top of the sandwich, flatten the sandwich to about 1/4 of its original size. grill the sandwich for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. now if you have a panini press or something similar obviously it would be easier to use that but I don’t..