Friday, May 30, 2014

Earthquake Cake - Great Gluten Free or Regular

Leslie is a teacher at preschool with me.  We have several teachers that eat Gluten Free.  We have our monthly birthday celebrations so Leslie decided to bring this Earthquake Cake - Gluten Free.  She used a Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix and we all thought it was great.  I honestly couldn't tell the difference - probably because of the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, coconut and pecans. Those five ingredients can make anything taste good!!

I made it for my family.  I cooked it a little long - as you can tell by looking at the top.  It was still heavenly and my family devoured it.  Chris enjoyed his warm with vanilla ice cream  Our two oldest girls had just gotten home from college and couldn't wait to try it.  They would tell me with one breath, "We are eating healthy" and then with the next breath, sneaking a bite of cake or asking me to buy Peanut Butter M & Ms!!

Thanks Leslie for this yummy new recipe!!

Earthquake Cake

1 chocolate cake mix, mixed according to directions
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
1  8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix cake according to directions. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle pecans and coconut on the bottom of the pan.  Pour cake mix over pecans and coconut.  In a bowl, mix softened cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Drop by spoonfuls on top of cake mix.  Top with chocolate chips and bake for 55-60 minutes.  Enjoy!!

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Amazing White Queso - the BEST!!

I recently helped with a friend's daughter's graduation party.  She made three recipes of this Queso and it was gone.  Everyone loved it.  I made it for my girls and we have been snacking on it all week.

Try it soon - it is the best Queso!!

Queso ( I believe this may have come from Southern Living)

2 lbs. deli white American Cheese ( I like Boars Head)
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2   10 oz can Rotel Original
3/4 cup milk
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cumin ( I like it with 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Place all 7 ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring every hour. (I did mine in the microwave)

If want to make ahead, place in container and freeze up to one month.  

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yummy Granola

My mother-in-law is a great cook.  She is often telling me about a good recipe.  She shared this granola recipe with me not too long ago and I love it.  I cooked mine a little long so it is a little brown - but still tastes great.  I liked to mix mine with vanilla yogurt or mix with a few craisins and chocolate chips for a yummy snack.  I haven't tried it yet - but I bet you could substitute coconut sugar for brown sugar and agave nectar for honey.  Who knows - worth a try!

Granola Mix

Preheat over 250 degrees.  Mix together .....

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 c + 2 tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 c + 2 tbs. honey
1/4 c canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 c Craisins (add these AFTER the other ingredients are baked)

Bake 1 hour stirring every 15 mins.

Place on parchment paper to cool. **If you leave it in pan,  it really sticks to pan and hard to get off pan.  I used a baking sheet with sides.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

This cake is ....AMAZING!  I think I saw the recipe on Facebook - which linked me to Just a Pinch.  I love coconut and how Just a Pinch described the cake - dense and creamy.  I LOVE IT!  It reminds me of a silky, dense poundcake - like my mom's Cream Cheese Poundcake - which is also heavenly.

Just a Pinch recommended cutting into squares and frosting.  I did a few like this - and this would be perfect if I wanted to put the squares on a platter to take somewhere.  But - I took a few pieces to friends and left the rest for my hubby.

Truly, the dense, silky texture of this cake is heavenly.  I will have to make this in a week when our other two girls get home from college.  They will love it!

Please visit Just a Pinch!

Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake - adapted from Just a Pinch

1 cup butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract ( I used  1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp coconut extract)
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/8 cup coconut milk or cream of coconut ( I used cream of coconut)

Frosting ( Just a Pinch recommends doubling this - I forgot - but I did double the toasted coconut)

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla or coconut extract ( I used coconut)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup coconut, toasted (followed toasting instructions on bag - I did 1 cup)
**can add a few tablespoons of milk if needed for texture- I added a little cream of coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time, vanilla and then mix in flour.  Spread batter into prepared 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.  As this cake cools, it will fall.  That is normal for this cake.  Cool on cooling rack.

Frosting - Beat together butter, cream cheese, extract and add sugar.  Mix until well blended.

Toast the coconut - Follow the directions on the bag of coconut;  I toasted mine in the toaster oven at 350 for about 7 minutes - turning very often.  Watch carefully - as it will burn.

Frost cake in pan or gently remove cake from pan and cut the cooled cake into squares.  Top each square with frosting and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Easy Mexican Lasagna

As I have mentioned several times, I am the director of a preschool.  I love it!  Our classes all make a gift for mom for Mother's Day.  One of our four year old classes made a cookbook for the moms. They collected recipes from each family and then had each child describe his/her favorite recipe.  The cover was a cute picture of each child in a chef hat.

Recently, I made a new cookie recipe from the cookbook - Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding Cookies and they were oh so yummy.  This week I tried Mexican Lasagna.  It was easy and yummy.
Since we have two away in college, I decided to half the recipe and made a square pan instead of a 9 x 13 - it worked perfectly.  I will give you both versions below!  Enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna  (9x13 version)

2 lbs. ground beef
chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can enchilada sauce
1 pkg of taco seasoning
2 small cans diced green chiles
flour tortillas
shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Brown ground beef with chopped onion or minced onion, drain.  Tear or cut tortillas long like lasagna noodles.  Spray a 9 x 13 with cooking spray.  Line pan with a layer of torn tortillas.  Add a layer of ground beef mixture, then a layer of shredded cheese.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, black olives and cheese.

**For a square pan, I used one pound of ground beef, one can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can red enchilada sauce, 1/2 envelope taco seasoning, 1 can diced green chiles.  I had some cream on hand so I added a 1/2 cup cream,  Everything else is just about the same!

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