Archive for May, 2015

Coconut Chocolate Cake

I found this recipe in a magazine from 2001 called Home for the Holidays.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (we didn’t use because our butter is salted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut plus more for decoration later
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 3 round cake pans (we used 2 because ours are a little larger).

2. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add melted chocolate.

3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt (if using) and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the coconut and vanilla. Pour into the baking pans.

4. Bake for 30 min. or until done (ours took closer to 45 because of the size of the pans).

5.  (We didn’t make the frosting that came with the cake, mainly because we couldn’t find cream of coconut. We frosted the bottom layer with vanilla icing, sprinkled coconut on top, placed the second layer on top and frosted only the top again, sprinkling more coconut.)

Chocolate Coconut Cake

Verdict: This was a dense cake. I found the leftovers that I ate the next day didn’t taste the same. I probably wouldn’t make it again as I have had better chocolate cakes.

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Queso Taco Pasta Bake

I found this recipe on another food blog.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mild salsa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (we used garlic powder)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 10 ounces of canned tomatoes (I am not sure if this was exactly what the original recipe was calling for, because it said mild. Ours aren’t labelled like that, but we used one that had some seasoning in it)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (didn’t use)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3/4 pound small pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×13 inch oven dish with cooking spray.

2. Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in flour, salt and pepper for 30 seconds until bubbly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until smooth. Increase heat to high while whisking until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in cheese and salsa. Turn off heat and set aside.

3. Place olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground beef, salt and pepper, cooking until browned. Drain fat if necessary. Add tomatoes, cumin (if using) and lime juice. Stir to combine.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

5. In a large pot, combine the cheese sauce, beef mixture and pasta. Season to taste. Transfer to prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Queso Taco Bake

Verdict: This was a tasty meal but, weirdly, didn’t have that much of a cheesy taste under the top layer.

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S’more Pie

While my sister and I liked he S’more Squares I made a little while ago, we both agreed that it could do with some minor tweaking. After talking about the changes we wanted to make, we gave our new version a try.

  • 1 1/2 cup Graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 packages of instant chocolate pudding
  • 4 cups milk, divided
  • 3-4 Graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 2 packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 1/2 cups Cool whip, divided
  • Large marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Mix together the Graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups of the milk and the chocolate pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes. Fold in 1 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Spread over crust.

4. Place broken Graham cracker pieces over the chocolate layer.

5. In another bowl, mix together 2 cups of milk and the vanilla pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped cream and spread over the Graham cracker pieces.

6. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

7. Set oven to broil. Place marshmallows on top of the vanilla layer. Broil for 1 minute or until marshmallows are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Leftovers must be refrigerated.

Smore Pie

Verdict: This is definitely a sweet dessert. Between the two, I preferred this version maybe because I like Graham crackers more than the Nilla wafers. I also like that we added whipped cream to the chocolate pudding layer, so that there was more of a chocolate taste.

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Chicken Divan

I found this recipe in the French language Metro newspaper.

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli, cut into pieces
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 slices buttered bread
  • Parsley to taste
  • Paprika to taste

1. Mix together the chicken, broccoli, cream of chicken, cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Place into an oven dish.

2. Cut the bread into pieces and sprinkle over top of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle parsley and paprika to taste.

3. Bake at 350F for 30min.

Chicken Divan

Verdict: This was quite tasty. It had a creamy texture and didn’t have an overt mayonnaise taste. There are things that I would consider adding to it, like rice or pasta. Also, I wasn’t completely sure that it needed to have the bread as a top crust.

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Crustless Broccoli-Cheddar Quiches

This is a Martha Stewart recipe.

  • Butter for ramekins (we used large muffin cups)
  • Salt
  • 10 ounces frozen broccoli florets
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 4 8-ounce ramekins (or 6 large muffin cups).

2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil and add the broccoli. Cook 1 minute and drain. Chop coarsely.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in broccoli and cheese.

4. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and ladle broccoli mixture evenly. Bake until golden brown, 35-40 min.

Crustless Quiche

Verdict: I’m not really sure how this can be possible, but these had no taste to them, not even the cheese or nutmeg gave them taste. Overall, just very bland.

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Chocolate-Marbled Banana Bread

This is another Kraft recipe.

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 squares of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Beat egg, mayonnaise and bananas in a large bowl with a whisk until blended. In a medium bow, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture and stir until just moistened.

3. Pour half the batter into a medium bowl. Add the chocolate to the mixture in the medium bowl. Spoon batters alternately into a 8×4 inch loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Swirly gently with a knife.

4. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes of until toothpick comes out clean.

Marbled Banana Bread

Verdict: I found this banana bread a little too dense and with not a whole lot of flavour (which is odd because banana is usually one of those flavours you can’t miss).

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Spinach and Bacon Pasta Toss

This is another Kraft recipe.

  • 1 package (375g) wide egg noodles, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Zesty Italian dressing
  • 450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (we used frozen and cooked them as per the package before hand)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Cook the noodles as directed on the package.

2. Meanwhile, heat dressing in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 to 7 min, or until done. Add tomatoes and cook 1 minute (we cooked ours a little longer to break down the tomatoes a little).

3. Drain the noodles, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the noodles and the reserved cooking water to the chicken mixture in the skillet. Add the spinach, 1/2 of the cheese (we added all of it) and the bacon (the original recipe says to take the skillet off the heat for this part, but we left it on to melt the cheese completely). Mix lightly (and if you only added 1/2 cup of cheese then you sprinkle the remain cheese on top before serving).

Spinach Bacon Pasta Toss

Verdict: Spinach is one of those foods I didn’t think I liked. Recently I had it in some stuffed pasta dishes and didn’t mind it but I thought that was because the other ingredients muddled the taste. It was only when I realized that it was a main component of another restaurant dish I liked (I admit I was a picky eater when I was younger and that stayed with me as an adult so I don’t know a lot of them by sight if I didn’t eat them) that I realized I may not hate spinach as much as I thought. This was the big test for me, because I think in this dish it is a main component of the taste. I thought this dish was delicious. I loved everything about it.

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