Monday, March 30, 2015

German Chocolate Cake

The hubs birthday is today...and we celebrated last night because life is happening this evening (AKA baseball).  Seriously, is it normal to have 4 practices a week for a 6-year old?!  

Anyhow, for as long as the hubs remembers, his dad always made him German chocolate cake for his birthday.  I have not been great about keeping up that tradition....I think in 10 years I have made it one other time (BAD wife!).  This year I stepped up my game with good gifts, yummy dinner, movie date, friends to come celebrate with us, birthday lunch with the office, etc.  And then I made this cake.  It turned out so great!  I didn't realize how time intensive the frosting is to make compared to a good 'ole buttercream, but it turned out super yummy.  Definitely a keeper for the files to be made again next year ;)

German Chocolate Cake 

Chocolate Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

German Chocolate Frosting:

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white granulated sugar
3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
1 tablespoon of cornstarch


Pre-heat oven to 350ยบ F. Grease three 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour. I like to do 3 8x8 pans, and just make a 2 layer, cake but set aside the 3rd cake for the kids that don’t like the German chocolate frosting or for my sisters who have nut allergies. This is also great in a 9x13.

In mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid), add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well combined.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well mixed. Reduce the speed to low and add boiling water to the cake batter a little bit at a time. Once the water is all mixed in, beat on high for about 1 minute.

Evenly distribute cake batter between the three 8x8 pans (or two 9x9) prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.

Frost cake with frosting.

German Chocolate Frosting:

*Note if you are layering the cake, I always double the recipe above and have a little extra frosting for later. If you are doing a 9x13 a single recipe should be sufficient.

In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk and cornstarch and mix; add in sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla. Cook over low-medium heat until it reaches a slow boil. Stirring constantly until thick, about 12 minutes from when it starts to slowly boil. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut, this frosting will thicken up as it cools. Let cool 1 hour then spread on cooled cake. To make this cake easy to slice, layer cake with frosting, then set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more, then slice and serve.

Recipe Source:  A Dash of Sanity

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Asparagus, Egg, and Bacon Salad

 Well, it is my husband's birthday weekend and we have been trying to make the most of it!  Date night on Friday, out to dinner with the fam last night, cooking some steak for Sunday dinner, and doing the cake thing as well as gifts :)  He wanted steak and crawfish for dinner, and left the side dish up to me.  I saw this recipe this week and really wanted to give it a try!  So easy, so good, so very Springtime.  This would be great next to your easter ham or leg of lamb (or whatever your family likes).  Enjoy!

Asparagus, Egg, and Bacon Salad

1 large hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced
1 2/3 cups chopped asparagus
2 slices cooked and crumbled center cut bacon
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until tender yet firm. Drain and run under cold water to stop it from cooking further. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix the Dijon, oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Arrange the asparagus on a plate, top with egg and bacon and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Skinny Taste

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aoili

 Brussel sprouts have only recently come into my kitchen.  I'm not sure why...don't know if I was subconsciously intimated by them, who knows!  Anyhow, my searching for new recipes brought me across this recipe.  I had turkey burgers on the menu one week and thought this might be a fun change from sweet potato fries.  I thought these were great, and I may have eaten a couple too many! Enjoy :)

Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aoili

For Brussel Sprouts:

20 Brussel Sprouts cut into wedges
Canola Oil
Salt & Pepper

For Aioli:

6 tbs mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic minced fine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped fine

For Brussel Sprouts:

Place brussel sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil. Crack some fresh salt & pepper to taste. Mix around brussel sprouts on pan to ensure they all get nicely coated in the oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown on at least one side.

For Aioli:

Mix together mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Serve in a ramekin.

Place ramekin of aioli on a plate and surround with brussel sprouts. If serving as an appetizer, put some toothpicks on the side for your guests. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Costa Kitchen

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pozole Verde (with Chicken)

 I've talked about it many times, but where we live we are absolutely immersed in Mexican/Hispanic culture.  This is especially true at my hubby's work, where he works with 25 women that are from that background.  Needless to say, many of the potlucks that go on at their office have to do with delicious authentic Mexican dishes.  One potluck I went to recently was a pozole potluck where a few ladies brought their best recipes.  Both my hubs and I fell in love with a green pozole.  Since then, I've thought about it and never thought I could pull it off.  Well, I got brave :)

What is posole you say?  Pozole is a soup/stew that generally has pork or chicken, a delicious broth (mine included tomatillos), and hominy.  What is hominy, you say?  Wikipedia explains is as this: "To make hominy, field corn (maize) grain is dried, then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a dilute solution of lye, slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization. The soaked maize is washed, and then ground into masa. When fresh masa is dried and powdered, it becomes masa seca or masa harina." And masa is made into corn tortillas. Hominy is catching it before the drying stage. Then it is all topped off with things like avocado, lime, radishes, cabbage, and cilantro to name a few.

After dinner, my hubby told me "not bad for a white girl!" I'm guessing he liked it!

Pozole Verde (with chicken)

-Two 15 ounce cans cooked hominy, or 4 cups home-cooked hominy (8 ounces dry will yield approximately 4 cups)
-1 large white onion, sliced thin lengthwise
-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
-bay leaf
-3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs (I'm sure you could also use breast meat, but I don't think the resulting broth would be as flavorful)
-1/2 cup pepitas
-1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed with warm water
-1 -2 bunches fresh cilantro
-1 teaspoon dried epazote
-2 tablespoons canola oil

Delicious Garnishes:
-avocados, chopped and tossed with salt and lime juice
-radishes, chopped
-small white onion, chopped
-additional chopped cilantro
-lots of limes
-more epazote, or crushed oregano
-very thin-sliced cabbge

As I mentioned above, if you are using dried hominy, it needs to be soaked and cooked before you can make the pozole. I followed the instructions on the package. 

In a stockpot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 sliced onion, 3 cloves garlic, bay, and a teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Next, add the whole chicken thighs to the pot. Skim off any foam that forms. Simmer very gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Use kitchen tongs to remove the chicken and set it on a platter to cool. Strain the broth and set it aside for later. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.

Grind pepitas in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. ( I think it's brilliant that this recipe uses these ground pepitas for a thickener for the stew.) Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups water with remaining 1/2 onion and tomatillos over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10 minutes, until veggies are tender. Discard the cooking liquid and place the cooked tomatillos and onions into a standing blender along with 1/4 cup cilantro, 3 more cloves garlic, epazote, and 1.5 teaspoons salt. Blend thoroughly.

Heat canola oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pureed veg to the hot pan - be careful as it will be splattery. Cook the sauce uncovered, stirring regularly until it thickens - about 10 minutes. Add the ground pepitas and 1 cup of the broth reserved from cooking the chicken, stir and cook another 5 minutes. 

Finally add the shredded chicken, cooked hominy, and 3 cups of reserved broth to the pot. Simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Season with additional salt to taste - though keep in mind that adding freshly squeeze lime to soup will add a nice punch.

Scoop warm pozole into low bowls and serve with all the wonderful garnishes. Now that's good.

serves 6

Recipe Source:  Yummy Supper

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Copycat Swig Sugar Cookies

I haven't lived in Utah for almost 7 years.  That's weird.  I have missed out on so much growth taking off down there.  My hometown has just boomed since I moved away...all sorts of new yummy restaurants, things to do, much better shopping, etc.  Makes me want to go back all the time.  One of the places that has been popping up are drink stops, where you can apparently get some "dirty Diet Cokes" (Diet Coke with some coconut syrup) or whatever you desire.  These places have delicious cookies as well (or so I've heard).  I was tired of hearing about how fantastic these copycat cookies are from a drink-stop called Swig, so I made up my own batch.  Oh man are they good (I managed to limit myself to one and sent the rest with the hubs to work)!  Since trying this recipe I have since pinned 3 or 4 more variations to this cookie that I am so excited to try :)  

Copycat Swig Sugar Cookies

1 C Butter (room temperature)
3/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 C Sugar
3/4 C Powdered Sugar
2 T Water
2 Eggs
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Cream of Tarter
1 t Salt
5 1/2 C Flour

Cream together Butter, Vegetable Oil, Sugars, Water, and Eggs.  Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture.  Mix until everything is combined.  Your dough should be a little crumbly and not sticky at all.  Roll a golf ball sized ball of dough and place it on your cookie sheet.

Put 1/4 c of sugar and a pinch of salt in a dish (this is in addition to the sugar and salt listed above.)  Stick the bottom of a glass in it.  This is going to be your cookie press.  Firmly press it into the center of your dough ball.  You want your dough to spill out over the sides of the glass.  If there is a lip its even better.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  They should just barely be browning on the bottom.    Move cookies to a cooling rack.  Once they are cool put them in the fridge.  

Sour Cream Frosting

1/2 cup room temperature butter
3/4 C Sour Cream
Approx 1 2lb Package of Powdered Sugar (I never use the whole thing but love having extra on hand just incase I add to much milk!)
1 t salt
1/4 C Milk
Red Food Coloring

Start by creaming together butter and sour cream and salt.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  When it gets so thick its not frosting like add a splash of milk.  Alternate this process until your frosting is the desired consistency.  Add 1 drop of red food coloring and whip on high for 1 minute.

Keep cookies in a sealed container until they are ready to serve.  The magic of a Swig Sugar Cookie is that the cookies are cold and the frosting is room temperature.  Frost right before serving (if you make them in advance and need to refrigerate the frosting make sure you give it time to warm up before serving)

Recipe Source:  Vintage Revivals