Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Most of my friends and all of my family have had this cake at one time or another. It's been a standard in our family for about 50 years or so. I even make it and ship it to my sister for her birthday 'cause it's her fav!  It's tried, true, tested and tasty! It's not overly sweet and has a rich pound cake texture.

Here's another angle so you can see the ribbon of nuts and cinnamon that make this cake so delish!

This recipe is my Mom's.. and we've renamed it so.

Mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

For the cake
1 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 c. sour cream (I use 'lite')
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt

For the streusel filling & topping
1/2 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar
dash of nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time; beating well with each addition. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and mix all into batter to incorporate. Pour half of the mixture into a well-greased and floured angel food or bundt pan. Add half of the streusel filling. Continue with the remainder of the cake batter and top with remaining streusel filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  When cool, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar or a light glaze of powdered sugar and milk, if you wish. We prefer it just as it is; doesn't need anything else to make this the great cake that it is.

I'd love to hear what you think if you get to try this...

Bon Appetit, friends!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Keeping Vampires at Bay

Well.. that cute little Edward Cullens I wouldn't want to keep away... but for the rest of them, here's a simple and elegant meal, ready in no-time flat. It will knock your socks off while warding away vampires. Guaranteed...there's enough garlic here to do it.

My family gave this a 5-star rating...

Okay... so does this recipe make a small portion? No... I decided I had to blog about this delish recipe after we started to serve it up. So, forgive me as the picture was a bit late in the process!

This was really simple to put together. I often don't use recipes. Most of the time I conjure up my own ingredients and measurements and go from there.

How good was it? I closed my eyes and imagined I was sitting at a small cafe near the ocean enjoying this and a glass of crisp pinot grigio. And, it worked!

Scampi Skewers with Pasta

(Serves 3-4)

30-40 small shrimp (allow about 10 shrimp per person)

For the marinade:
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 T. of lemon juice
2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste (I used a teaspoon)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon)

Whisk all of the above. Place skewered shrimp in an 9x13" dish and pour marinade over shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for one hour. 
For the sauce:
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 stick of butter
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, chopped

In a small saute pan, over low heat, combine olive oil and butter until melted. Add red pepper flakes and allow to heat through. Add garlic being sure that heat is low so the garlic doesn't burn. Once I had the shrimp on the grill, I added the remaining marinade to my sauce and kept it warm until the pasta and shrimp were cooked and ready to serve.

Cook pasta according to package directions (I used 3/4 of a pound for three of us). Meanwhile, grill shrimp skewers over medium heat on bbq grill (or broil in oven) for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.

For serving:
In a large pasta bowl, toss pasta and sauce and top with chopped parsley. Arrange skewered shrimp. Serve with grated parmesan or romano cheese, a crusty French baguette and a delish Pinot Grigio.

'til next time, bon appetit!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Pup-sicles Mom!!

No, I didn't misspell my title.. I'm really talking about special treats that you can quickly make, freeze, and have on hand for the dogs and pups in your life. They're especially good on a hot day.

Now what in the world got me to this point?

My sister was visiting recently and kinda scolded me for giving my dogs a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream each evening since dogs can't tolerate milk. She suggested that I buy doggie ice cream and I thought she was kidding in her usual way. The next day, we located some brand of doggie pops in the freezer section of my local grocer.. and I thought I would give it a try (well, not me exactly.. but the dogs). So that night after their dinner, they split a dixie cup size of doggie ice cream and they woofed it down (ok...pun intended).

Okay... that passed the taste test. But it didn't pass the food budget test. This package of four dixie-sized cups was about $3.50. That's about $8.00 an ounce. I mean, I lurve my dogs, but this is a bit outrageous. Even Haagen-Daz isn't that expensive.. nor do I buy that either.

So, with a bit of Googling (or "Gurgling" as the old woman in the TV commercial says) I was able to find a few recipes to conjure up my own doggie goodie.  Based on what I found, I put together my first concoction....

1 32oz. container of plain, lowfat or non-fat yogurt
1/3 c. of creamy peanut butter
2 T. honey

I used my mixer to blend thoroughly and poured this concoction into ice cube trays.  A few hours later.. voila!!  I have enough for several weeks for three pups. I pop them out of the trays and store them in plastic freezer containers. Each pupsicle is enough for one doggy serving.

This recipe filled three ice cube trays with a bit left over.

Here's what the dogs had to say...

Buddy:  "Gotta have it, gotta have it.. now, now, now.. more, more, more, hurry, hurry, hurry" (if you met Buddy you would understand better)
Mitzi - "I might wag my tail over this Mom.. but I'm not sure.. depends on whether I'm in the mood or not..."
Molly - "Give it to me now and no one will get hurt"

My friends often say they wish to come back in another life as a dog owned by me...

I hope you will try this.. and if you do, let me know what you think.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Drizzle Caramel Popcorn

This is one of those recipes that once you try you will want to make on a regular basis. It's really easy to become addicted!

I got this recipe from Carol B, a fellow stamper that lives in the Kansas City area. She brought it to a stamping event over a year ago, and I just immediately fell in love with this. She was sweet to share her recipe and agreed to let me share it with you.

Some pretty packaging was really in line for Valentine's Day... I had to spruce it up a bit for this important holiday.

Carol B's Chocolate Drizzle Caramel Popcorn
(with a slight adaption)

1 stick of margarine (I use butter)
1 c. of packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white Karo syrup
1/4 tsp. of baking soda
8 cups of popped corn
Cocktail or Spanish peanuts (optional)
Chocolate, for melting

Grease a 9x13 pan about 2" deep (Dutch Oven type if you have). Add popped corn and peanuts (if you wish), and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add brown sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes over low to medium heat while stirring the entire time. Remove from heat and add baking soda. The mixture will get a bit frothy and turn a caramel color. Quickly drizzle over popped corn and toss to coat.  It will look like this.. and you will think that you don't have enough caramel, but you will.

Bake at 250 degree for one hour.. but, using a wooden spoon, take the dish out of the oven and stir from the bottom of the pan every 15 minutes to redistribute the caramel. Pour onto waxed paper to allow it to cool and set.

For chocolate caramel popcorn (you could just stop at Caramel Popcorn if you wanted) melt chocolate in a double boiler and using a wooden spoon, allow chocolate to drizzle over caramel corn. (I am not fond of melting chocolate in the microwave.. it's hit and miss and often burns).

You can use white, dark, milk chocolate, or a mixture of all but layering each as you go, including colored chocolates for different holidays (I used white chocolate that was tinted pink). Start with the dark chocolates, and then add white and colored chocolates as the final layers.

This really makes a lot.. here's a pic of the popcorn on waxed paper.. it takes up almost the entire kitchen island.

This is really addictive... so, if you need the phone number to the Betty Ford Clinic, just drop me a line!  Enjoy peeps! I'd love to hear your comments if you get to try this. Your family will LOVE you!

Til next time.. bon appetit friends!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Awesome Refrigerator Cucumber Relish

Sometimes while I'm laying in bed trying to get to sleep I have thoughts about things to put on my blog running through my head... do you do that?

Well, this is one of those posts that is a result of all of that tossing and turning one night.  It's a recipe I got from a friend at least twenty years ago. But I had to share it because it's sooo good that I know you will love it. You won't believe how easy this one is. Oh, and did I mention DELICIOUS!

You can freeze this in portion containers for months and it will be as crisp as the day you made it. It's unbelievable. If you like relishes and pickles you will love this. 

Awesome Refrigerator Cucumber Relish
From Paulie in Vista, CA


For the sauce
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 c. vinegar

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and allow it to cool.

For the vegetables

In another large bowl, mix:

6 c. sliced, peel cucumbers
1 c. green &/or red peppers, thinly sliced
2 c. yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 c. celery, sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 c. carrots, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt

Allow vegetable mix to blend for at least 1/2 hour. Mix vegetables with vinegar mixture. Refrigerate at least one day to allow flavors to blend. This will keep in the refrigerator up to one month. May be frozen and will stay crisp even after being frozen. Or, you might want to can this in a water bath following manufacturer's directions. I like to package this in small plastic containers and freeze for those months when cucumbers are pretty pricey!

I would love to hear your thoughts once you try this, so leave me a comment and let me know.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chicken Cutlets

We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in our house. I used them in curries,  white chili, stir fries, and more. I buy so MANY pounds when they are on sale, vacuum seal and freeze them, and then use them in so many recipes. They are VERY economical and there's virtually no waste.

But one of our favorites is simply chicken cutlets with a bit of pasta on the side. My mom showed me this trick to making the perfect chicken cutlet. Up until then I was pounding the hell out of the chicken breasts. But there's no need to. My sister calls these scallopine style.

I simply place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and thinly cut each breast half horizontally until I have about four or five thin slices... I promise there's absolutely no need to pound these - save your energy for the eating part!!

Here's a few pictures of how this chicken breast became ten pieces of chicken cutlets.

Right out of the package...

cut in half and trimmed of fat...

Then, create thin slices cut horizontally by holding your left hand over the cutlet and slicing through carefully below the palm of your hand.

to get these wonderful thin slices. Just continue until you have several cutlets

here's the lineup...cut them into strips and you have chicken tenders...

I dip them in flour, then a slightly beaten egg (or two) with 2 T. of water, and then into seasoned bread crumbs that I added about a 1/8 cup of grated parmesan cheese...

then, a quick dip into the olive or canola oil spa that I brought to medium heat.. I never said I was a neat cook, did I? But then again, black granite shows everything.. look at that mess!

They cook really fast.. so don't turn your back! Turn once they are golden on the first side...

Here's the first batch...
And believe it or not, there are ten wonderful cutlets from one pound of chicken breasts. You could also do this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
This is one of our favorites.. and often it's the basis for chicken parmagiana or some other creation of mine! Stay tuned as I'll share a few recipes of how I take chicken cutlets up a few notches.

Try cutlets this way... the possibilities are endless and I think you will really like them! They are easy-peasy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Calibrate your thermometer

Here's a very quick tip that will help you in the kitchen. To check to see if your meat thermometer is working properly, heat water to boiling point (212 degrees Farenheit).. and insert the probe into about two inches of water. If the thermometer doesn't register 212 there's no need to throw it away. Simply subtract the difference of what your thermometer registers from 212.. and then use your thermometer knowing that it's 'off' by this amount of degrees.

Example:  Your thermometer reads 200 when inserted into boiling water.... it's off by 12 degrees.  You are preparing a recipe that must have an internal temperature of 170...

So, when your thermometer reads 158 degrees F you are there.  (170 degrees F required temperature less 12 degrees difference in your register = 158 degrees F). Make sense?

Thanks for stopping by... I hope you will check out this quick tip.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Delicious Pumpkin Roll

Hmmm... Pumpkin Roll.. just the thought conjures up thoughts of Autumn, jack-o-lanterns, crisp leaves.. and, of course, Thanksgiving.. my favorite holiday!

This is a perfect time of year to enjoy this beautiful dessert. It's really quite simple to make (I promise), and everyone will think you worked hours to create this delight.

Here are the ingredients for the batter...

For the cake, you will need...

2/3 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. flour
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Place sugar, flour, baking soda, eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Lightly grease a 12" by 18" jelly roll pan and then line it with waxed paper and then lightly grease the paper. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth with a knife to level the batter.

Add chopped walnuts on top of the batter.

and then bake in a 375 degree (F) oven for 15 minutes.

Here's a pic of the cake after baking has been completed.

Can't you just about smell the cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin? Yum!

Turn the cake onto a white linen kitchen towel that you sprinkled with confectioner's sugar and slowly peel off the wax paper.

Re-roll the cake... and keep it in the kitchen towel. Allow it to cool completely on the kitchen counter. As it cools, it will retain the curled form.

Once the cake is completely cooled, prepare the filling. You will need...

1 1/4 c. confectioner's Sugar
1 8oz. pkg of cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. butter

Blend with mixer until smooth.

Yep.. that's a retro '50's Kitchenaid Mixer (bought a pink one by mistake - note to self, check labels before purchasing items)

Unroll the cake....

And cover with the cream cheese filling...

Then re-roll the cake.

Here's what it will look like all rolled up again... then cover with foil and place in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

To serve.. dust top lightly with confectioner's sugar

And cut into slices to serve.

I hope you have the opportunity to try this amazing dessert. It really is a very easy and delicious finish to a Sunday supper!
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Got Beef??

I like to think of my time in the kitchen as a "Time Management" project. Since the time when my sons were tiny, and being a single working mom attending college at night, my time was precious. So I improvised many kitchen activities to the best of my abilities and I learned how to maximize my time in the kitchen.

Span back to 1980 when I purchased two cookbooks that changed my life... They might not still be in print, but they are my 'go-to' bibles (it's worth checking into Amazon to see if you can find them).

The first is "Make a Mix Cookery" and the second bible is "More Make a Mix Cookery".. both written by three very talented ladies.. Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover - three terrific troopers in planning meals, saving time and money. The basic premise these ladies put down on paper isn't anything mystical... but rather quite simple and very smart.. cook once, store/freeze it and eat it several times. Here's an example...

Let's take a basic ground beef mixture, for example... Your local grocer has 85% lean ground beef on sale this week for $1.85 a pound. Grab it -- grab 5 or 10lbs if your budget allows!! And then try this mixture...

5 lbs. ground beef
3-4 medium onions, chopped
5 T. chopped garlic
1 T. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. olive oil

In a very large skillet or Dutch oven.. warm olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until golden. Add ground beef, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, onion powder, worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain any excess fat. Allow to cool. I then pack the cooked meat into serving sizes. I allow approximately one pound for each meal I'm planning. I'm an advocate of freezing these portions using my sealing machine.

In our home, this meat mixture is the basis for many meals during the month, such as.....

Stuffed Peppers
Shepherd's (Cottage) Pie
Tamale Pie
Beef Tacos
Sloppy Joes
Bolognese Sauce

What a time saver. It's all quite simple.. defrost, and then create another terrific meal by adding a few simple ingredients. And remember that defrosting plastic containers in a microwave is a definite 'no-no'.. due to the carcinogens that plastics create when warmed. To make defrosting safe, just let the plastic container sit in the refrigerator overnight.. or if pressed for time, place in lukewarm water until you can pop it out into a saucepan or skillet to warm it up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Butt-Kicking Green Chili with Pork

I know a lot of people really insist on specific measurements for recipes, but I'm always trying something new. Yep, I've had a few bombs along the way.... I admit it.
While using specific ingredients and measurements in baking is imperative, casseroles and one-dish items lend themselves to experiments.
This once was an experiment in my kitchen but has now become a favorite. If you follow along I promise you will get a general sense of what works best for you and your family's taste.. the result is a wonderful concoction of green pork chili.

To begin, saute one medium onion chopped and 1 T. minced garlic in 2 T. olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

I added 1 1/2 lbs. of cubed pork and seasoned with salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste. Once the pork was lightly browned, I added Ro-tel tomatoes, green chilies, green chili sauce(salsa verde), a can of diced jalapenos (this is butt-kicking hot.. but we like it that way... use less, or omit, depending on your taste) three bay leaves and two cans of white northern beans (liquid drained).

For an authentic chili taste, and to add a smoky taste, I add a packet of Goya Sazon seasoning mix. The combination of spices in this little packet is great in so many Southwest and Mexican dishes such as Machaca, chili and Spanish rice.

Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer over very low heat about two hours. This ensures that the flavors really blend and the pork is fork tender.

If you are in the mood for some power cooking, make a large batch of this and freeze some. It's perfect comfort food for a chilly night (no pun intended). You could also allow this to cook in a crock pot on low heat for at least eight hours.
To defrost, place the container in a sink of warm water. Don't microwave in plastic containers!

I would love to hear from you if you get to try this dish.. and would love to hear how you conjured up your own variation.
Bon Appetit!!

Cooking Tips

Blog Created by KLM Designs. For more information please contact me at

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP