Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Egg Salad

Egg salad is not an exciting or new meal, but this recipe I came up with is way to good to keep to myself.  My husband doesn't like plain old egg salad, so I've been playing around with a new recipe every time I make it.  I went to town in the kitchen and kicked it up a notch!  It's very zesty!

I put green pepper in the egg salad only because I didn't have celery, and it tasted really good!

This pepper relish is fantastic.  I only ever mixed it with cream cheese before to make a dip.  I found it in my cupboard and thought it might be good with egg was good, and would be good with pretty much anything in my book.

Sweet and Spicy Egg Salad
Serves 4
Six hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
one small onion, finely diced
1/2 C. mayo (I used light mayo)
1 T. prepared mustard
1/2 C. green pepper, diced
1/8 t. cayenne
1/4 t.salt
1/4 t. pepper
Sweet n' Hot Pepper & Onion Relish
eight slices of bread

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, onion, mayo, mustard, green pepper, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Stir until combined.  Scoop egg salad onto bread and top with the pepper relish and lettuce.  Devour.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cheddar Ale Spread

I made this spread for my mother-in-law's surprise 60th birthday.  The party was at my house, and I wanted to make easy party food.  This spread is definitely quick to whip up, and who doesn't love cheese and crackers?!  Everyone will munch on it all day long!

See!  Someone was already into it before I could take a picture.

Here are the ingredients you will need.  You can probably use any kind of beer.

Combine the cream cheese, mustard, cheddar cheese, Tabasco, salt, and heavy cream in the food processor.  Pulse for 30 seconds.

Add the beer and pulse until smooth.

Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and lightly toast in the oven for five to ten minutes at 350 F.

Add the toasted hazelnuts and fresh parsley to the cheese.  Pulse the mixture until the hazelnuts and parsley are just mixed in.

Serve immediately.  I bought Flip Sides and wheat Toasteds for my cheese spread, but any cracker or pretzel is good.  I think the pretzels were the best!  

Cheddar Ale Spread
8 oz cream cheese
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 ½ cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
2 TBSP heavy cream
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup flavorful beer
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
½ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
Combine the cream cheese, mustard, Cheddar, cream, Tabasco, and salt in a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds, add the beer, and continue processing until very smooth. Pulse in the parsley and hazelnuts until just dispersed.
Can be stored in fridge for up to 4 days. You will want to take it out an hour before serving if you do refrigerate.
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ultimate Baked Beans

If you are looking for some hearty baked beans, these are it!  I've made these beans two weeks in a row for two different parties and everybody loved them.  They would be great for any party or carry-in, and can be prepared the day before.

Here are the ingredients you will need.  I modified a few things in the recipe.  You can see my version below the original recipe.

Brown the ground beef and add the onion.  Drain.

Add the beans, garlic, onion soup mix, water, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar to the cooked meat and onion.

Stir all the ingredients together and spread in a 9x13 in. dish.

Fry up some bacon, break it up into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the baked beans.

Cover the beans with aluminum foil.  Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.


Here is the original recipe.  I added my version below it.

Ultimate Baked Beans
2 (15 oz) cans Van Camps pork & beans
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pkg lipton onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 lb mostly cooked bacon
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients except bacon together and spread in a 9×13 dish. Top with cooked bacon. Cover with aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 mins, then uncovered for 15 mins. (Makes one 9×13 dish)

Source: Kevin and Amanda

Ultimate Baked Beans

3 (15 oz) cans Van Camps pork & beans
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pkg lipton onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 lb mostly cooked bacon
Preheat oven to 350. Brown ground beef and onion.  Drain.  Mix all ingredients except bacon together and spread in a 9×13 dish. Top with cooked bacon. Cover with aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 mins, then uncovered for 15 mins. (Makes one 9×13 dish)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

I never made plain old spaghetti and meatballs for supper because it always seemed boring to me, but then I saw a recipe for homemade meatballs with cheese in the middle.  Who could pass that up?!  For all you meatatarians out there, make this quick and easy meal today! 

Here is your list of ingredients.  The recipe calls for Panko bread crumbs, but any kind would work.  I also used extra lean ground beef, and it tasted really good.

First, chop up some onion and throw it in a large bowl.

In the same bowl, add the meat, seasonings, milk, tabasco, Worcestershire, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan, and garlic.

Mix the meat with your hands until combined.  Separate the meat into ten equal pieces.  Then with your hands, enclose the mozzarella with the meat so no cheese is showing.  I used the mini mozzarella pearls and put five in each meatball.

Place in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes.

The cheese will ooze, and that my friends is a wonderful thing.

Serve with spaghetti, marinara, and Parmesan.  I also made meatball sandwiches with shredded mozzarella melted on top (yes, more cheese).  Both ways are delectable.

Mozzarella Stuffed Homemade Meatballs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce, like Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Ten 1-inch Mozzarella balls

Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. and grease 9×13-inch baking dish with oil.
Place beef, egg, onion, bread crumbs, Parmesan, milk, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper and garlic salt into a large mixing bowl, stirring until just combined.  Take 1/4 cup beef mixture and press into center with your thumb to make room for cheese ball.  Place cheese in middle then with hands enclose the cheese with the beef, making sure the cheese is completely covered.  Place meatballs into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cooked through.

Source: Picky Palate

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hawaiian Volcano Birthday Cake

When my sister asked me to create an erupting volcano cake for my niece's birthday, I didn't even know where to start.  I ended up googling it, and using a dry ice method.  If you ever make a volcano cake, that is the way to go!  I made the cake a little more complicated because I used three different flavors of cake and tried my hand at making fondant.  You can make a much simpler version with one flavor of cake and using frosting for the whole thing.  The cake was a hit, and the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!

The first step is to make the white texas sheet cake.  Here's your ingredient line-up:

Bring butter and water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Remove the saucepan from heat.  Add flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, almond extract, salt, and baking soda.  Stir until smooth.

Pour into a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

White Texas Sheet Cake 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter or margarine and water to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, salt, and baking soda until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 x 1 inch baking pan.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 20 minutes.
Source:, Diane Kester

The next step is to make the chocolate sheet cake.  Here is the ingredients needed:

In a large mixing bowl, combine two cups of flour, two cups of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Melt two sticks of butter in a saucepan.  After the butter is melted, add four heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. 

While the heat is still on, add one cup of boiling water to the chocolate mixture.  Allow it to bubble for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.

Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir together slightly to cool the chocolate mixture.

In a separate bowl mix buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the chocolate mixture.

Here is what the batter should look like.

Pour into a foil-lined jelly roll pan and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks

Here is the ingredients you will need for the triple chocolate cake.

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, sour cream, pudding mix, and chocolate chips.  Beat until well combined, about two minutes.

Pour into two greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake
1 box Pillsbury Devils Food Cake Mix
4 large eggs
1/2 Cup canola oil
1/2 Cup water
8 oz sour cream
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 bag mini or regular chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer add the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, sour cream, pudding mix and chocolate chips.  Beat until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Will be thick.  Pour evenly into 2 well greased 9 inch cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center of cakes.  Let cool completely.

Source: Picky Palate, The Ultimate Chocolate Layered Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Birthday Cake

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting.  Here's what you will need for one batch.  I had to quadruple it for the cake.

In a stand mixer, beat 2 1/2 cups of butter on medium-high speed until smooth.

Sift 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. 

Add the powdered sugar to the butter mixture.  Beat on low speed until the sugar is moistened.

Add the vanilla and heavy cream.  Beat until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about four minutes.

Easy Vanilla Buttercream
20 tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream  
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds.  Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.  Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.  

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from Cooks Illustrated, April 2007

After the cakes have cooled, cut each of the sheet cakes in half.  Place a chocolate half beside a vanilla half and slather on some frosting.  Place the chocolate half on top of the other chocolate, and do the same with the vanilla.

Frost the entire cake.  Then cut both of the nine inch cake in half horizontally.  Place one of the round layers on top of the chocolate and vanilla cake.

Continue to stack each of the cakes on top of each other with a layer of frosting in between for the volcano.  Then take a tall shot glass and push it down the middle of the volcano.

Carve the cake into a cone-like shape around the shot glass.

The next step is to make the marshmallow fondant.  Grease a microwavable bowl with shortening.

Add a 16 oz. bag of marshmallows to the bowl and two tablespoons of water.  Microwave for 60 seconds or until the marshmallows have melted.

While the marshmallows are in the microwave, grease the bowl of a stand mixer with shortening.

Add the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center, and then pour the marshmallow mixture into the well of the powdered sugar.

Mix on low speed until fully incorporated.  Add extra powdered sugar if fondant is too sticky.  Turn the fondant out onto plastic wrap, and let rest for 2-3 hours.  Food coloring can be added by kneading it into the dough.  Then shape or roll out the fondant to your liking.  At this point, I colored the fondant, rolled it out, and shaped it around the volcano.  Then I formed sea creatures for the ocean and beach on the cake.  I thought the fondant would be intimidating, but it is just like play-dough!

Marshmallow Fondant
Vegetable shortening, for greasing bowls
16 oz. bag plain marshmallows, regular sized (I used jumbo and they worked fine as well)
2 tbsp. water
1-2 tsp. clear flavoring (I used vanilla extract)
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, divided
Pinch of salt
Using the shortening, grease a large microwave-safe bowl, the bowl of the stand mixer, a spoon/spatula (or two), and the dough hook.
Add the marshmallows and water to the prepared microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds.  Stir with the greased spatula/spoon.  If not all the marshmallows have melted, microwave for 30 more seconds.  Stir in the flavoring.
Reserve 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and add the rest to the bowl of the stand mixer, along with the salt. Create a well in the center.  Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and turn the mixer on to the lowest setting.  When the mixer sounds strained, turn the speed up one setting.  Turn off the mixer once all the sugar has been incorporated.  If the fondant is sticky, add the reserved sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it is no longer sticky.
Turn the fondant out onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Rub a bit of shortening on the outside of the ball.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap, place it in a Ziploc bag and let rest for at least 2-3 hours.  Keep the unused portions covered when not in use.  If the fondant becomes stiff, microwave for 20 seconds at a time until it becomes pliable.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from Confections of a Foodie Bride

I used Nilla wafers for the sand on the beach.

Place the whole package of cookies in a food processor until smooth.

Form the cookie crumbs around half of the cake.

The next step is to color frosting blue.  Make squiggles of frosting to look like the ocean.  Then add the fondant sea creatures.  I also added a little hawaiian girl.  I found a little doll and a hula outfit at Pat Catans.  My mom helped me alter the little outfit to fit the doll.

Then I added frosting to the volcano to make it look like hot lava pouring out.

I bought dry ice and we placed it in the shot glass.  Then I added hot water to make it smoke.

Happy 5th birthday, Peytie Katie!