Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cake

Hey friends!

This is my go-to cake for special events.  It looks and tastes like you slaved over it, but in reality is so simple and easy.  You can't go wrong!  It's like eating the moistest, most decadent brownie ever (at least that's what one of my friends says)!  My dear friend, Rae, makes this cake and gave me the recipe for my wedding.  My husband claims this cake as his 2nd favorite (next to my red velvet), which is saying a lot!  Try it out this coming Easter's sure to be a crowd pleaser!'


This is all you need to make it!


1 box yellow cake mix
1 4 oz box instant vanilla pudding
1 4 oz box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips


Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Mix well with mixer (approximately 2 minutes).  Stir in chocolate chips.  

Pour into bundt pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze or frost as desired!

** I made a simple chocolate glaze to pour over it.  You can also drizzle it with melted chocolate or even eat it as is.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mexican Casserole

Hey friends!

The weather today is beautiful!  Much better than the cold, dreary weather we've had lately.  I wish I could go outside and play, but I'm busy doing an online training this afternoon.  I thought I'd take a few minutes during our break and post this recipe.

This is one of my favorite childhood recipes!  It was one of the first dishes my Mom taught me to make.  It's so delicious, and has lots of spicy Mexican flavor.  Of course, you can make it less spicy by using mild Ro-tel, but sometimes it's good to "feel the burn!"


Brown ground beef with onion, seasoned to taste.
Add beans, soup, and tomatoes.  Heat through.
My favorite part: tear up tortillas and line the bottom of a baking dish.
Spoon meat mixture over tortillas, then cover with cheese.  You can add another layer of tortillas, meat mixture, and cheese to make a Mexican Lasagna!
Bake at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted (about 15-20 minutes).

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can Ranch Style beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes
Flour or corn tortillas
Grated cheese


Brown ground beef, seasoned to taste, and onion in a skillet until well done.  Add beans, soup, and tomatoes and mix well over medium heat until bubbly.  Line a 9x13 inch casserole (or whatever large dish you prefer) with torn tortillas.  Spoon heated mixture over tortillas.  Top with grated cheese and cover with foil.  Cook at 350 degrees F until cheese just melts (about 15-20 minutes).

Serve with a veggie and enjoy! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Easy Chicken Spaghetti

Hey friends!

Sorry for the long hiatus!  I know you've all been wondering where I've been...

Well, I'm having a baby!!!  Now, I know that's not really an excuse not to cook, but for those of you who have been through this before, you know how tough it can be!  Through most of November and December, just about everything made my stomach turn!  It was killing me not to cook and bake, but I really physically could not do it.  But, now I'm back to more of my old self, and constantly STARVING!  The other night, I whipped up this easy little dinner and it totally hit the spot.  This is by far my favorite chicken spaghetti recipe, and it's so simple and easy!  Pregnant or not, you will love it!  Enjoy! :)


1/4 cup butter
1 can Rotel
1 small onion chopped
3 oz. Velveeta (I always put a little more, just for fun)
3 breasts of chicken, cooked and chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
7 oz. cooked spaghetti


Melt 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) in a large skillet.  Add the onions and saute for a few minutes.  Add the Rotel and Velveeta.  Stir occasionally until cheese is melted.  Add the chicken and cream of mushroom soup.  Allow mixture to heat all the way through.

Put the cooked spaghetti in the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan.  Pour melted cheese/chicken/soup mixture over the spaghetti and mix together.  Bake at 275 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

**To make this dish even simpler, I use canned chicken breasts.  I always have it on hand, and it saves time on cooking and chopping chicken.

Right out of the oven...yummy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Iced Sugar Cookies

Hey friends!

One of my sweet friends just had a precious baby boy.  I am going to visit him this week for the first time, so I wanted to make them something special.  I decided that iced sugar cookies would be the best sweet treat for this sweet, new family!

This recipe is from the book, 1 Dough, 100 Cookies by Linda Doeser.  It's such a great recipe book!  Every cookie I've made has been delicious, and these are no exception.  They have lots of great buttery, sugary flavor...I love it!  I did alter the icing recipe a tad to fit my personal preferences, but it only made them better!  This was an easy, fun way to make some really neat cookies.  Enjoy!

Fresh out of the oven...yum!

Frosted and drying...


For the dough:
1 cup butter, softened
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

To decorate: (my variation)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
edible food colorings
food coloring pen (for writing)


Cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Sift together the flour and a pinch of salt into the mixture and combine thoroughly.  Halve the dough, shape into balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with baking parchment.

Unwrap the dough and roll out between 2 sheets of baking parchment to about 1/8 inch thick.  Stamp out cookies in desired shape and put them on the prepared cookie sheets spaced well apart.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown.  Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To decorate, mix together confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla.  It should have the consistency of thick cream.  Divide the frosting among 3-4 bowls and add a few drops of your chosen food colorings to each.  Spread the different frostings over the cookies to the edges.  Decorate with sprinkles, shredded coconut, etc.  Let the frosting set before writing on it with a food coloring pen.

Special cookies for baby Landry! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shrimp Scampi au Gratin

Hey friends!

If you like shrimp, this is the dish for you!  I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but it's been in our monthly rotation for awhile now.  It's so easy to make, and tastes delicious!  Even if you're not a huge seafood fan, you'll like this dish.  The bread crumb mixture gives the shrimp this buttery, decadent taste that's to die for!  It literally takes about 20 minutes to throw this whole meal together, so it's perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  My husband loves this and raves over it every time I make it!  Enjoy!

Combine melted butter, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, oregano and pepper.

Place cleaned and deveined shrimp in baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Spoon bread crumb mixture over shrimp.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Place under broiler until crumb topping is golden brown, about 5 minutes.


1 pound medium-sized shrimp
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Clean and devein shrimp (or buy it already cleaned and deveined, like me).  Place in 9x13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Combine butter, crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, oregano, and black pepper.  Spoon the mixture over the shrimp.  Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.  Place under broiler until crumb topping is golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Tastes great served with whole wheat linguine or brown rice!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

Hey friends!

If you're from the South, you've probably had about 100 different variations on a red velvet cake.  This one is by far the best one I've ever had!  In fact, it's so good, my husband requested it for his birthday, which was yesterday.  So, being the good wife that I am, I made it for him!  I stayed up all night, making this version, which comes from Emeril Lagasse and is officially called "Sylvia's Red Velvet Cake."  It's actually pretty easy to make, and super moist and delicious!  Enjoy!

Here's what you need for the cake...

Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Cream sugar and butter.  Add eggs 1 at a time.

Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk.

Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla.

Pour into greased and floured cake pans.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Turn out on racks to cool.

Here's what you need for that delicious cream cheese frosting...

Combine cream cheese and butter.  Beat in confectioner's sugar until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.

Use the frosting to fill and ice the cake.

Voila!  Isn't it pretty! :)


For the cake:
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 ounces red food coloring (I used just under 1 ounce)
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (I omitted because the birthday boy doesn't like pecans!)


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour 2 (9 inch) cake pans (I used 3 8-inch pans instead).  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk.  Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla.  Spread evenly into cake pans.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Turn out onto a rack to cool.

For the frosting:
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter.  Beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.  Stir in pecans.  Use frosting to fill and ice cake.

Slice and serve!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zippy Beef

Hey friends!

This recipe is a classic in my husband's family.  I need to thank them profusely for introducing me to this wonderful casserole!

My husband loves a good casserole, and this one has it all.  It has some sweet and some savory, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  I passed this one on to my own Mother, who, instead of using ketchup, adds in Rotel for a little kick.  :)

Any way you cook it, this casserole is easy, fun, pleasing, and only gets better the next day.  Enjoy!

Cook ground beef and drain.  Add to 2 quart casserole.

Add chopped green pepper.

Add cream of mushroom soup, milk, ketchup, and minced onion.

Add shredded Cheddar cheese.

Add cooked and drained macaroni.

Mix it all together!

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.  Yum!
(This picture seriously does not do it justice.  Don't judge the dish by my horrible photography skills!)

1 pound ground  beef
4 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons instant minced onion
1 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook and stir meat until brown.  Drain off fat.  Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.  In 2 quart casserole, mix all ingredients.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6 :)