Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carrot Cake

My family loves cake and our oldest loves frosting.... so what better cake to make than a carrot cake.  I prefer no raisins and found this recipe in a great little cookbook from a bed and breakfast just outside of my hometown in East Texas.  Roseville Bed and Breakfast serves quite yummy food so I knew their carrot cake would be delicious.  AND.. I was right.  This cake was moist and perfect!  I always manage to change a recipe a tince..... I made this in two round cake pans instead of the 3 suggested.  We loved it!

Carrot Cake (adapted from Roseville Bed and Breakfast)

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups oil
4 eggs
3 cups carrots, grated
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon

Cream sugar and oil, adding eggs one at a time.  Add remaining ingredients and pour into 2 greased 9 inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Loosen cake from edges allowing to cook in pan for about 10 minutes.  Flip onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 box powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients together reserving 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to sprinkle on the cake to give a beautiful finishing touch. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zucchini Bake

I so hope you will try this recipe. I first tried this recipe back in college with my roomies. Lya is a great cook and was often cooking for us - this is especially creative for college students. My girls don't just love zucchini but I think.... they think.....they don't like squash. I am working on it. When this came out of the oven, my oldest said, "that smells amazing!"

I remember when Chris and I were first married and I made this for dinner. He was very nice, ate it and enjoyed it. I remember him eating a piece of bologna when dinner was over - said he needed his meat. NOW, he enjoys it as is... with a side of watermelon.

Give this a try for a summer dinner with your favorite fruit or a side salad. You won't be sorry!

Zucchini Bake

1 tube crescent roll sheet
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
3/4 stick butter
3 large zucchini, thinly sliced or 4 cups
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper
1 egg
8 - 12 oz shredded Mozzerella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll dough and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Spread with dijon mustard. Saute zucchini and onion in large skillet until tender. Add garlic and seasonings. In large mixing bowl, mix egg and cheese. add sauteed mixture and toss with egg and cheese. Pour on top of dough. Bake at 375 for 30 - 40 minutes or until lightly browned.

*this recipe calls for a stick of butter - I used less. Also, it calls for 12 oz of mozzerella cheese and I only had about 1 1/2 cups so I threw in some shredded Swiss I had and we loved it. Be creative with your cheeses and spices

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Chicken Salad

I love a good Chicken Salad. I prefer mine on the "chunky" side, light on the mayo and with a little crunch to it. I love chicken salad served in an avocado half with a side of fresh fruit. I recently made chicken salad and it was the perfect summer dinner. Everyone should be creative with their chicken salad. Add diced apples for a crunch or Craisins for a little tartness too. I use light mayo only but you can add a little Miracle Whip for sweetness - I have even seen recipes with Cool Whip in them or even some sour cream. Just be creative and enjoy Chicken Salad for a nice summer meal - especially during these hot temperatures!

not the best picture but oh so yummy!

Chicken Salad

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 celery stalk, diced
10 grapes, halved
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp Herbs De Provence
2 Tbsp. slivered almonds

Boil chicken breast until done and dice or shred according to your preference. Add the rest of the ingredients in the amount that you desire. I had Herbs De Provence and added for a little variety but not necessary - can leave out or add other dried or fresh herbs. Chill and enjoy. Enjoy with avocado, as a sandwich, or with your favorite bread or cracker.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cinnamon Pecan Shortbread

I was looking for a bar recipe that wasn't chocolate or any of my standards. My husband and my mom love shortbread so I decided to try this recipe I found in my favorite cookbook - Dining by Fireflies by the Junior League of Charlotte, North Carolina. I thought it was an amazing new recipe - if you like shortbread. The buttery richness was heavenly! AND - it was extremely easy - only 8 ingredients.

Cinnamon Pecan Shortbread (adapted from Dining by Fireflies)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, separated
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 300. Combine all ingredients except egg white and pecans in a large bowl. Blend until smooth and buttery. Press into a 9 x 13 pan. Brush top with egg white. Sprinkle pecans over dough and press down slightly. Bake for 30 min. Remove from oven and cut into small squares while hot. Leave in pan til cooled.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pizza Dough for Thin Crust Pizza

Debating recently about what to cook for dinner, I realized I had everything needed to make homemade pizza. I know many of you do this often but we have so many favorite pizza restaurants that very rarely do I make pizza at home. However, I do believe PIZZA is my very favorite food. If I was stranded on a desert island with just one choice of food, I think it would have to be pizza! (almost typed dessert island - that would be nice too)

I found this easy recipe for the crust on This recipe had tons of great reviews and received 5 stars so I gave it a try. It was so easy and perfectly yummy. I think you could top it with whatever your heart desires. I love Pesto Chicken Pizza so I made one with pesto, chicken, garlic and mozzerella cheese. I would love to have added tomato slices and feta cheese and maybe purple onion. The other pizza was just your basic jarred spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and cheese. I cooked one on a stone and the other on a basic pizza pan and both were delightful.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Pesto Chicken Pasta

This is a great summer pasta recipe. We loved it, and I think it was even better the 2nd night.
My former co-teacher and sweet friend, Kathy shared the base of this recipe with me. I know you will enjoy!

Pesto Chicken Pasta

8 oz dried pasta - 4 cups penne or bowtie
2 cups broccoli florets
1 (7 oz.) jar basil pesto (or more to taste-I like lots)
cooked chicken, bite size pieces
(use a roasted chicken from store or a couple of breasts, cooked)
1 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained, sliced
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 -1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta, adding the broccoli in the last two minutes of boiling. Drain and keep 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Mix pasta water with pesto. Add the chicken, peppers and the pesto to the pasta and broccoli. Add salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to coat. Add the cheese when ready to serve. Enjoy hot or cold with your favorite bread.