Fresh basil, cheese, olive oil, and garlic, those ingredients just scream yummy. Pesto is such an easy thing to make, and the freshness of it just can not be beat. As an added bonus, your house will smell so good!
A little pesto goes a long way on pasta, and the leftovers can easily be frozen for another time.
4 oz. of fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
pepper to taste
You need quite a bit of basil, so make sure to buy, or pick, enough. I only use the leaves and not the stems.
Since I was using a mini chopper to combine all of the ingredients, I had to make the pesto in batches. I would combine about 1/4 of the ingredients, and then add more.
Be sure to pulse the chopper long enough so there are no large pieces of basil.
Doesn’t that just look so good?
After I mixed it with some pasta, I grated a little more parmesan on the top. You can never have enough cheese 🙂
Yesterday I woke up craving cake, which is not something I typically crave. Don’t get me wrong, I crave lots of other sweets but just not usually cake. I must have had a dream about cake or something. Not only was I craving cake, but I could vividly see the picture in my mind of the Chocolate Chip Cake shown in my mother’s Betty Crocker Cookbook that I would look at as a child. I am not even sure if she ever made that cake, but I wanted it.
In my Betty Crocker Cookbook the Chocolate Chip Cake is a version of the Silver White Cake. I feel like it used to be a yellow cake in her older cookbook, but I went with the white cake. Since I am also not a fan of frosting unless it is cream cheese or ganache, I decided to frost it with ganache as opposed to the buttercream frosting suggested. Let me say, the cake was delicious!
Ingredients for the cake:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
3 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans, or a 13″ x 9″ rectangular pan.
Combine all of the ingredients except egg whites and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.
If you have never used shortening in a recipe or have difficulty measuring it out, I find using a knife instead of a spoon works best as I have shown in the next two photos.
Beat ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds, then on high speed for 2 minutes.
Add egg whites and beat on high speed for 2 more minutes.
Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into the pans.
Bake at 350 degrees, round pans for 30-35 minutes, rectangular for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool rounds 10 minutes and then remove cakes from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Now on to the ganache!!!!
Heat 2 cups of heavy cream in a pan until slightly boiling while being careful not to burn the cream.
Pour the cream over 16 oz. of semisweet chocolate and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk or stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
The consistency will be very thin and not ready to frost a cake. It is ready to use as a glaze, but not frosting. Refrigerate the ganache for a few hours whisking every so often until it becomes a thicker consistency.
Now it’s time to frost the cake!
Top one of the layers (round side down) with frosting, and then top with the second layer (round side up).
Frost the sides first, and then the top. Look how good that is starting to look!
My craving for cake was satisfied completely! Yum!
Recently I was at a restaurant that served Truffle Cheddar Popcorn and it was the best popcorn I have ever had. It was amazing! The type of food that the entire time you are eating you can’t stop saying “this is so good!”. I never make popcorn at home but needed to see if I could come even close to making those little kernels of amazingness.
I dug out an unopened air popping machine I had in my basement and tried that way, and it wasn’t good. Then I decided to try the old fashioned way with oil, which I had never done. First I tried with half truffle oil and half olive oil and used the imitation cheddar popcorn seasoning, and it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Since the only grated cheese I had in the house was parmesan, I decided to give that a try. Even though the cheese was different, this combination tasted very similar to the one I had at the restaurant, which made me very happy!
Here is what you need:
2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. truffle oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernals
2 tbsp. butter
Heat 2 tbsp. of truffle oil in a heavy pan with a few kernels in the oil. When they start to pop, then it is time to add the rest of the kernels. Once added, cover the pan and shake it side to side occasionally. The popcorn is done when the popping slows down to 1-2 seconds between pops. Remove from the heat. I transferred the popcorn to a large plastic bowl with a lid.
Melt butter and combine with 1 tsp. truffle oil and pour it over the popcorn. Shake the bowl to evenly spread the butter/oil mixture.
Add the cheese and shake well. I’m not sure how much grated cheese I put on, my hand was just kind of shaking like crazy because I like cheese. I tasted it a few times and added a little more cheese.
My family loves pumpkin pancakes all year round, and not just in the Fall. These pancakes are one of our favorite pumpkin foods other than my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. Have you tried making that bread yet? If not, make sure to take a look at that blog after you read this one. It’s so good! This pancake recipe is so amazing and requested quite often by my children with no complaints by me.
My family is split down the middle in regards to whether or not there needs to be chocolate chips in the pancakes, so I always make half with chips and half without chips.
Here is what you need to make these yummy pancakes…
2 cups flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Mini chocolate chips
Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.
In a separate large mixing bowl combine all the rest of the ingredients, except chocolate chips, with a whisk.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until well mixed, the batter will be thick.
Heat a frying pan on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
Ladle the batter into the heated pan and flip when the bottom turns slightly brown. These pancakes don’t really bubble like other pancakes will, so you kind of have to get used to when they are ready.
If you are using chocolate chips, just sprinkle them on right after you ladle the batter into the pan. The thickness of the batter requires they cook a little longer than regular pancakes.
Once they are finished you will have trouble trying to stop eating them. Yum!
Yesterday my son and I decided to make homemade potato chips. This is not something I had ever done, and it was a fun thing to do together. I don’t think we will be putting Frito Lay out of business any time soon, but they were really good. They tasted much better than they look. A little too good actually, we couldn’t stop munching on them and there were hardly any left when we were done. They say there are no calories if you are standing while you are eating, so it wasn’t that bad 😜
We peeled some russet potatoes, the potatoes were small so we used six of them. Then sliced them as thin as we could get them.
I tried using a grater to slice the potatoes but they were coming out too thick so I switched to the sharpest knife I own, which was this small pairing knife. It definitely would have been easier if I owned a larger sharp knife.
As we were slicing the potatoes we kept putting the finished pieces in cold water to soak. Once they were all sliced we drained them, rinsed them, and put them back in a bowl of cold water with 3 tbsp. of salt and let them soak for 30 minutes.
We heated canola oil in a pan until it reached 350 degrees.
Drained and rinsed the potatoes and added them in small batches to the oil.
Once they browned we transferred the potatoes onto paper towel lined plates and patted them to remove the excess oil. They are browner than we wanted, but they still tasted delicious!
We made three different kinds; ranch, nacho, and sea salted. For the ranch and nacho I used popcorn seasoning.
We are already planning on making them again the next time we make turkey burgers. So good!
Today I had some ripe bananas perfect for making banana bread, but I didn’t feel like dirtying a whole bunch of dishes so I went with the one bowl recipe. Even though I do have a favorite recipe that I use much more often, this banana bread is delicious! If you are looking for an easy recipe, this is the one for you! The next time I have ripe bananas and bake the other version I will share it in my blog as well so you can see which one you prefer.
If you have never made a banana bread, the bananas need to be really ripe. What I mean by ripe is to the point you are about to throw them away. The bananas I had were pushing it a little by the way they looked, but they were just right inside. They need to be so soft that they mash easily.
Bananas are kind of like avocados where they are never ripe enough to use when you buy them, but if you wait just a little too long they have gone bad. Avocados are way worse in that regard.
Once you have your ripe bananas, here are the rest of the ingredients:
3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup butter melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Mash bananas in a bowl until lumps are gone. I used a small potato masher, but you can use a fork.
Add melted butter and combine.
Add sugar, egg, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla, salt and flour, combine well.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 min or until toothpick comes out clean.
New England chowder or “chowdah” as we New Englanders affectionately like to call it, is a soup with a base of broth and cream which is not to be confused with Manhattan Chowder which is tomato based. I remember ordering chowder in New York once many years ago and was very disappointed when I was given what looked like tomato soup and not something creamy as I was expecting.
My favorite types of chowders are corn chowder and fish chowder, so why not just combine them into one chowder. Once I asked a waitress in a Maine diner what was in their corn chowder and was told very matter of factly, “There’s cawn in the cawn chowdah”. I asked no further questions lol.
Most chowders are very fattening, and with this chowder I tried my best to make it as low fat as I could without sacrificing the creamy chowder taste. You can make it even less fattening by either using all milk, altering the amounts of milk and cream, or using a low fat milk which is what I use. If you want it creamier, use all cream and forget about the milk.
For this haddock chowdah you will need:
2 pounds haddock or cod
2-3 slices of bacon
2 cups frozen corn
1 stalk of celery
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
32 oz. seafood stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter
As I was trying to make this a little lower fat, I decided not to have the bacon fat in the chowder so I cooked the bacon first in a separate pan and drained it on a paper towel. Every little bit helps right?
Peel and cube the potatoes, chop about 1/4 cup of onion, chop the celery, mince the garlic, and crumble the cooked bacon.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large sauce pan, then add all of the vegetables, spices, and the crumbled bacon. Cook on low/medium heat for a few minutes while stirring frequently.
Add seafood stock to vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 5-7 minutes.
Cut the fish into large chunks and add to the pot and simmer covered for another 5-7 minutes.
Break up the fish into bite size pieces with a spoon while it is in the pot.
Add the butter, milk, cream, salt and pepper, and simmer covered for another 5-7 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Now you too are a chowdah lovah!!
Stamping silverware is another one of my many talents 😜
Chicken and waffles are another Southern dish that I have been craving lately. Not only had I never even tried them, but I had never even heard of chicken and waffles being served together until a few years ago. Despite its increase in popularity in restaurants, it just seemed like such a strange combination to me. I mean syrup on chicken? Really? My family has ordered it at restaurants and loved it, so I thought why not give it a try.
Actual fried chicken is not something I ever cook because I am not a big fan of meat on the bone, and if using boneless chicken I just prefer to have it “oven fried”. It helps with eliminating a large amount of the fat and calories to bake the chicken as opposed to frying it.
My chicken turned out moist inside with a really tasty crunchy outside. It was delicious! Here is how I make oven fried chicken.
2 lbs. bonesless chicken breast
2 cups of buttermilk (I use milk and lemon juice)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
My chicken was a little thick so I decided to pound down some of the pieces. I didn’t want them as thin as I would for cutlets, but just all the same thickness. To do this I cleaned and cut the chicken, then pounded them with a wooden mallet in between some plastic wrap.
I made two cups of buttermilk and let the chicken marinate in it for about 30 minutes. Longer is better if you have the time.
To make buttermilk I just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the two cups of milk and let it sit for a few minutes. I know there are other ways but that is the way I learned growing up.
You will need three bowls. In one bowl combine breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
In another bowl put the flour, and in the third bowl combine the beaten eggs with an almost equal amount of water.
Dip each piece of chicken in flour, then in egg, then coat with breadcrumb mixture and place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
Top the fresh waffles with the chicken, add a little syrup, and enjoy!
If you would like to see how I made my waffles, here is the link to my waffle blog:
There is nothing like a thick, soft homemade waffle, and a waffle iron is not a bad appliance to have in the house. They are not only great for breakfast with syrup and butter, or with strawberries and whipped cream, but make a perfect dessert sundae! One of my children’s favorite ice cream places is a waffle sundae shop, and since I was making chicken and waffles for dinner I decided to make a few extra for a treat for the next day.
My son loved his treat, who wouldn’t?
I have made chocolate waffles in the past for ice cream sundaes, but I stuck with regular waffles this time. Especially because chicken doesn’t really go well with chocolate waffles. Here is a picture I had taken of the chocolate waffle and it looks so good that I think I need to make these again soon.
I have also made gingerbread waffles from a Stonewall Kitchen waffle mix which was quite good.
Ok, I am digressing and getting very hungry, let’s get back to the waffles I am currently blogging about.
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl beat the egg yolks. Add the milk, and then add egg milk mixture to dry ingredients.
In another small bowl beat the egg whites until foamy, and then add them to the other mixture.
Heat your waffle maker and cook waffles per the instructions. Mine cooked for about 3 minutes.
I am kicking off my cocktail recipe blogs with one of my favorites, the French Vanilla Martini, or French Martini. There are only three ingredients, and it is a delicious combination of vanilla, raspberry, and pineapple!
If you aren’t familiar with Chambord liqueur, it is a wonderful black raspberry liqueur that can be used in many different cocktails. It is a great liqueur to have in the house.
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1.5 oz. Chambord
2 oz. pineapple juice
Add 3 ice cubes and other ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake well until mixture becomes cold.