Recipes A

A BETTER BANANA CAKE WITH CARMEL FROSTING (Serves lots)

 

My family has been crazy about this cake for a long time now. And when you put a “quick” caramel frosting on it, it is absolutely delicious. You can eat it with no guilt since it includes “two bananas.” It doesn’t get any better than that!

1 package plain yellow cake mix without pudding in the mix
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (1 generous cup)
1 cup milk or water (I prefer milk)
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Quick caramel frosting (turn over for directions)
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)


1. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable spray then dust with flour. Shake out excess flour.

2. Place the cake mix and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the mashed bananas, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until all the ingredients are combined – about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes longer. Divide the cake between the two cake pans.

3. Bake the cake layers until lightly browned and tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger –- about 30-32 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake pan to loosen cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack and then invert again so the cakes are right-side-up. Let cool for 20 minutes more.

4. After the layers have cooled, make the caramel frosting. Frost the cakes while the frosting is warm so it is easier to spread. Top with pecans. Cool cake for 1 hour before serving.

 

A LIGHTER LEMON CAKE

 

I love a good lemon cake. For this lighter version, I’ve lightened it up by substituting applesauce in place of oil and reduced the amount of lemon gelatin. Hope you like this refreshing summer cake.

Pam for misting the plan; flour for dusting the pan
1 large or 2 small lemons
1 package plain yellow or vanilla cake mix
About 3 tablespoons (half of a 3 ounce package) lemon gelatin
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup hot water
4 large eggs
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Lightly mist a Bundt pan with vegetable spray. Dust with flour and then shake out excess flour.

From the lemons, grate 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Place 1 teaspoon of zest in a large mixing bowl for the cake and set aside the other 1 teaspoon for the glaze. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice, setting aside 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice for the glaze. Pour any remaining juice into the large mixing bowl with the zest.

Combine the cake mix, lemon gelatin, applesauce, hot water, and eggs in the bowl with the juice and zest and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are mixed – about 1 minute. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat until the batter is smooth – about 2 minutes. Pour batter into the Bundt pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake until it is light brown and just starts to pull away from the sides of the top – about 38-42 minutes. Transfer the Bundt pan onto a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, reserved lemon juice, and reserved lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth.

Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake. Shake the pan gently and invert the cake onto a cake plate. Spoon the glaze evenly over the warm cake to that it drizzles down the side and into the center. Slice the cake and serve it warm or let it cool before slicing.

 

 

ANGEL CHICKEN -- (Serves 6)

This recipe is called Angel Chicken both because it’s heavenly and because it’s served over angel hair pasta. Angel hair especially makes sense when you are in a hurry as it cooks up quickly.

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 package of Italian dry salad dressing mix (e.g., Good Seasonings)
1 10 ¾ ounce can condensed golden mushroom soup
½ of an 8-ounce tub of cream cheese with chives
½ cup dry white wine or water
3 cups hot cooked angel hair pasta
Snipped fresh chives (optional)

In a 4 quart slow cooker, place chicken pieces. For sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter. Stir in salad dressing mix. Stir in mushroom soup, cream cheese, and wine. Pour over chicken in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Serve chicken and sauce over hot cooked pasta. If desired, sprinkle with fresh chives.

 

Weight Watcher Points: 10 points per serving

 

APPLE CAKE

A great fall dessert. Very hearty cake for all those apples you picked and don’t know what to do with.

8 apples, peeled and sliced
5 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 eggs
2½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons orange juice
3½ teaspoons of baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine apples, 5 teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon. Mix well.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and 2½ cups of sugar first and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Grease bundt pan with Pam. Place half the batter in the pan and then spread the apple mixture evenly around the pan. Then pour the rest of the batter on top of the apple mixture and bake for 75 to 90 minutes.

 

APPLE CARAMEL SUNDAE TART - (Serves 10)

Caramel and apple – the perfect pairing in one scrumptious dessert.

35 caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons of milk
1 graham cracker pie crust
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup milk
1 package (4 servings) instant vanilla flavor pudding
½ of an 8 ounce tub of thawed Cool Whip
1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling

Place caramels and 3 tablespoons of milk in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high in 1-minute intervals until caramels are melted (2.25 minutes in my microwave). Stir until smooth. Set aside 1/3 cup of caramel mixture. Pour remaining caramel mixture into pie crust. Top with pecans.

Pour 1 cup milk into a large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Gently stir in Cool Whip. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour to set pudding.

Spoon apple pie filling over pudding mixture and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Warm remaining caramel mixture in small microwaveable bowl on high for 30 seconds or until caramel is smooth. Drizzle over apple pie filling. Serve immediately.

APPLE PECAN CHEESECAKE - (Serves 16)

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 packages (8 ounces each) of cream cheese, softened (low fat works just as well)
1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream (low fat or fat free works just as well)
4 eggs
4 cups chopped peeled apples (about 3 medium)
¾ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over side of pan. Mix crumbs, butter, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Press firmly onto bottom of pan.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup of the brown sugar, and the vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust mix.

Mix remaining ½ cup brown sugar, the apples, pecans, and cinnamon; spoon evenly over cheesecake batter.

Bake 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool.

Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

Lift cheesecake from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 16 pieces. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

 

APPLE-RASPBERRY CRUMB PIE - (Serves 8)

 

This is a great quick and easy treat for the fall season. It uses up those apples you have been picking and combines the tantalizing tastes of raspberries and almonds. A definite winner!

Crust

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

Filling

3 cups thinly sliced peeled cooking apples (3 medium)
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries (I used 2 containers of fresh raspberries.)
½ cup cubed or crumbled pure almond paste (from a 7- or 8-ounce package. You can find this is the baking aisle.)

Topping

½ cup flour
¼ sugar
¼ cup softened butter or margarine
½ cup slivered almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie crust in a 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for one-crust filled pie.

In a large bowl, stir together apples, ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon. Spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Sprinkle with raspberries. Sprinkle almond paste over raspberries.

In medium bowl, mix ½ cup flour and ¼ cup sugar. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender until particles are size of small peas. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle evenly over almond paste.

Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering edge of crust with foil after about 30 minutes, until apples are tender and center and topping are golden brown. Serve warm or cold.


APPLE WALNUT SALAD WITH CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

 

This salad contains lots of greens and sliced red apples with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts. But the dressing is a bit fancier, making it a great choice for your Thanksgiving table. Cranberries, onions, sugar, and mustard are pureed in a blender with balsamic vinegar and oil and then added to the salad so that it perfectly covers every leaf of lettuce and slice of apple.

½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup cranberries
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mixed salad greens (I use 50/50 blend of spring mix and baby spinach)
Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 red apples, cored and thinly sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven or until lightly toasted.

In a food processer or blender, combine the cranberries, vinegar, onion, sugar, and mustard. Puree until smooth; gradually add oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a salad bowl, toss together the greens, apples, cheese, and enough of the cranberry mixture to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve.


APRICOT AMARETTO CAKE

 

Apricots and amaretto are perfect partners in this easy bundt recipe. You just puree the canned fruit and fold it into a cake mix along with some other basic ingredients. The glaze couldn’t be easier – warmed apricot preserves and more amaretto.

For the cake:
Pam for misting the plan; flour for dusting the pan
1 can (15.25 ounces) apricot halves, packed in juice
1 package plain butter recipe golden cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix (I use sugar free!)
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup amaretto

For the glaze:
½ cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon amaretto

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Lightly mist a Bundt pan with vegetable spray. Dust with flour and then shake out excess flour.

Drain the apricots and discard the juice. Place the apricots in a food processor and process until they are pureed, 20-30 seconds. Transfer the apricots to a large mixing bowl.

Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, and ¾ cup of amaretto in the bowl with the apricots. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until all ingredients are combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter for 1.5 minutes longer. Pour the batter in to the Bundt pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake until the t op springs back when lightly pressed with a finger – about 45-48 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake pan gently, and invent the cake onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 25 minutes longer.

For the glaze, heat the apricot preserves in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Strain the preserves through a wire sieve, pressing with a spoon to extract the juice from the fruit. Add the 1 tablespoon of amaretto to the strained apricot preserves and stir to combine. Spoon this glaze over the cake while the glaze is still warm.

 

APRICOT BAKED APPLES - (Serves 8)

Whether you are staying home for the holidays or visiting others, ‘tis the season for this hearty and tasty dessert, a New England tradition. Enjoy this one.

8 Rome apples, cored (or other baking apple if you prefer)
¾ cup apricot preserves
½ cup raisins
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix apricot preserves with the rest of the ingredients.

Spoon apricot mixture into the apples; place apples in a baking dish

Add ½ inch water and bake for 45-60 minutes, basting frequently. Serve hot.

 

 

ASIAN BOK CHOY SALAD -- (Serves 10-12)

Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage similar to celery. It has a hearty flavor and makes a wonderful exotic salad. The mixture of flavors will have you coming back for seconds – I’m sure of it. Enjoy!

Salad:

2 heads of bok choy (in the produce department)
5 scallions
1 cup slivered almonds
2 packages of ramen noodles (don’t use seasoning packs)
½ cup sesame seeds
1 stick of butter

Dressing:

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Heat butter in medium-sized skillet, add almonds, ramen noodles, and sesame seeds. Stir until light brown. Remove from heat and cool.

Pull apart individual stocks of bok choy and clean thoroughly. Cut up into small, bite-size pieces (both white part and green leaves).

Slice the scallions and put into salad.

Once nut mixture is cool, toss in with bok choy.

Dressing:

Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce in a small bowl.

45 minutes before serving, toss bok choy with dressing for maximum flavor.

 

AUTUMN CHOWDER - (Serves 8)

 

I got this recipe from a recipe exchange I did on the internet. Very tasty with a nice, homey, comfort food feel!

4 slices of bacon
½ cup chopped onion
3 cubed potatoes
3 cubed carrots
1 cup water
1-1/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
2 cups milk
1-1/3 cups frozen corn
5 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons water
1-1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Cook bacon until crisp, put aside,

2. Using 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings , saute onion until tender

3. Add potatoes, carrots, water, and bouillon and bring to a boil. Cook until veggies are tender.

4. Stir in milk and corn.

5. Combine flour and water; add to boiling chowder.

6. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.