DARN GOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE
This cake is pure and simple – chocolate. Pour yourself a glass of milk, fork into a warm bite, and I’m sure you will mutter “This is darn good chocolate cake!”
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
Flour for dusting the pan
1 package plain devil’s food chocolate cake mix without the pudding
1 package (4 serving size) chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a Bundt pan with the oil spray and dust with flour. Shake out excess flour.
Place the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, warm water, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 2-3 minutes. The batter should look thick and well combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips, making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out evenly on the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan – about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a serving platter to slice and serve while still warm.
EASY DIJON CHICKEN (Serves 4)
I saw a recipe for this mustard chicken online the other day and thought I would make my own version. I don't know....I just can't seem to be able to follow a recipe from A to Z! I guess it is one of the curses of having a creative brain. It won't shut off! Serve with mashed sweet potatoes and fresh green beans! Yum!
2 large skinless chicken breasts, (I butterflied mine so they would cook faster)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper
Put the chicken breast in an oven dish and season with salt and pepper.
Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the chicken.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. The mustard mixture creates a little sauce with the juices from the chicken.
EASY SHRIMP CREOLE (Serves 6)
A great recipe for in a pinch. Easy to put together and a nice meal during lent. You can spice it up if you like for a more southern fare.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons buttermilk biscuit mix
1 ½ cups water
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
Dash black pepper
2 pounds frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and cleaned
Hot cooked rice
In a skillet, melt butter; add onion and cook slightly.
Add biscuit mix and stir until well blended.
Combine remaining ingredients except shrimp and rice. Add with onion mixture to crock pot. Stir well
Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours.
One hour before serving, turn to high and add shrimp.
Remove bay leaf and serve over rice.
Note: Double recipe for a 5-quart crock pot.
FLAT BOTTOM FRUIT PIE (Serves 12)
1 refrigerated read-to-use pie crust
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar (3/4 teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon if you don’t already have the premixed stuff)
1 ¼ cups half-and-half (I used fat free)
1 package (4-serving size) Jell-o vanilla flavor sugar free instant pudding (not cook and serve)
1 cup thawed cool whip (I used sugar free)
1 ½ cups fresh peach slices (about 1 large peach)
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unroll pie crust onto baking sheet; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, pour half-and-half into a medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix and beat with a wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping; cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Spread pudding mixture over crust just before serving. Top with fruit. Cut into slices. I’ve also tried it with cutting into slices before I put the fruit on and then put the fruit on the individual slices. Works both ways, although the second method makes for a prettier presentation!
Store any leftovers (yeah, right!) in refrigerator.
FRESH ORANGE CAKE -- (Serves 16)
You don't need fancy ingredients in this simple recipe. Ever so moist, this cake improves as it rests on the counter - that is if it lasts that long! For a variation, bake the cake in two 9" layers and frost with orange cream cheese frosting (other side of page).
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan and flour for dusting it
1 package (18.5 ounces) yellow cake mix with pudding (make sure it includes pudding)
1 cup fresh orange juice (either from about 5 medium oranges or from a carton)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated orange zest (from the orange you used above!)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray and then dust with flour. Shake out excess flour. Set pan aside.
Place the cake mix, orange juice, oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for about 1 minute. Stop the machine; scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more. The batter should look thick and well-blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it in the oven.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and just starts to pull away from the side of the pan - about 45-47 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool about 20 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack to cool complete - at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Combine the confectioners' sugar, fresh orange juice, and orange zest in a small bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Place the cake on a serving platter and pour the glaze over the top, letting it drizzle down the sides and into the center. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before slicing.
Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes enough to frost a bundt cake or 2/3-layer cake)
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from the orange you used above)
Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners' sugar, a little bit at a time, blending with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well-combined - about 1 minute. Then add the orange juice and zest to the mixture. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy - about 1 minute more.
Use at once to frost the top and sides of the cooled cake.
FRUIT SALSA WITH CINNAMON TORTILLA CHIPS (Serves 12)
I thought I would get in one more summer recipe before the weather starts to change. I had this over the summer at a party and it was out of this world. It’s from a Paula Dean magazine. I guarantee you everyone will be wanting the recipe once you make this.
2 tablespoons apple jelly
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped fine
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped fine
3 kiwis, peeled and chopped fine
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
For the fruit salsa, whisk jelly, sugar, orange juice, and jalapeno in large bowl. Add apples, strawberries, and kiwis and toss to coat.
For the cinnamon chips, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Lightly coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray and cut each into 6 wedges. Arrange tortillas in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of tortillas. Bake until golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through the baking time. Serve with salsa.
FUDGY CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE (Serves 6-8)
This is a yummy dessert for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. This cake tends to be very moist and fudgy in the middle. Let sit out of the pan for a couple of hours and it will slightly firm up and be easier to cut. Top with fresh raspberries and dust with confectioners’ sugar for a truly spectacular dessert.
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
2-3/4 sticks unsalted butter (1-3/8 cups)
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flower a 9” round cake pan or spring foam pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix the cocoa and sugar
3. Melt butter and jam in a saucepan over low heat, pour over sugar and cocoa mixture and stir until well combined.
4. After cooling about 5 minutes, add one egg at a time to the mixture and blend until smooth and satiny.
5. Add flour, salt, and vanilla and blend until combined.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
8. Allow to cool in pan for 1 hour and then turn out onto a plate and cut into thin wedges. Warm the extra jam and brush on the cake.