Thursday, November 10, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

 Here's a cake out there for all of you Reese's Peanut butter Cup lovers. This is rich, dense, moist and DIVINE. My favorite combination is peanut butter and chocolate. They're just so perfect together. And this peanut butter ripple that's in the middle of the cake really reminds me of a peanut butter cup.
So if you're like me and love everything peanut butter and chocolate, you need to try this cake!

1 standard size chocolate fudge cake mix 
1 package (3.9 oz. - 4 Serving Size) chocolate pudding - DRY MIX 
1 cup sour cream 
1 cup vegetable oil 
4 eggs 
1/2 cup warm water 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Filling:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Chocolate Glaze:
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1/3 cup heavy cream 
For Peanut Butter Glaze:
2/3 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup heavy cream 

For the cake: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Combine all of the cake ingredients and mix with a mixer until combined.  Do not over mix, but make sure all dry ingredients and wet ingredients are well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and mix well with a mixer. 
4. Spoon half of cake batter into a bundt cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon peanut butter filling on top of the cake batter.  Top with remaining cake batter. 
5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Remove from bundt pan and allow to cool till not hot. Top with glazes.

For glazes: 
In a large microwave safe bowl combine chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Do the same in a different bowl with the peanut butter chips and heavy cream. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove from microwave and stir well. Return to microwave for another 15 seconds.  Remove from microwave and whisk together until smooth (stirring will help melt chocolate).  If needed, heat for an additional 15 seconds, then whisk until smooth.  Spoon or pour over cake. ENJOY!!

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I just LOVE one pot dinners or casseroles. They're just so much easier with kids busy schedules. And I also can make them ahead of time, put them in the fridge or freezer then pull them out and bake them whenever I need it. Cause sometimes after the kids come home, there's no saying if I'll have time to spend 30 min to an hour in the kitchen.  This way you get it out of the way and be organized for the rest of the day. 

And besides, this casserole is SOO yummy. And really, who has time to make ACTUAL Chicken Cordon Bleu...definitely not me. It combines chicken, ham and delicious swiss cheese into a perfect marrying of flavors that you get from the real dish, just A LOT easier. I REALLY like this sauce too. I love that it's not a canned soup base. Just so much better. This is also a way you can use your trusty Costco rotisserie chicken. Remember how I never leave Costco without one? It's like my secret weapon that I can whip out at any time for a quick and easy dinner:)

1 rotisserie chicken, cut into cubes (about 5-6 cups)
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli honey ham, cut into smaller pieces
1/3 pound swiss cheese, shredded

4 T butter
4 T flour
3 cups milk
2 T lemon juice
1 T dijon mustard
3/4 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t pepper

1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
4 T butter
1/2 t seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Put cooked diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle most of the Swiss cheese on top of the ham, leaving about 1/4 cup to spare.

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, paprika and pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Stir in leftover Swiss cheese until melted and smooth. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

For the topping:
Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, crushed dried parsley and seasoned salt. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!

*Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hershey's Chocolate Cake with a Mousse Filling

 I'm definitely not going to take credit for this cake. I'm just making sure everyone is aware of how delicious it is:) I put a little twist in there, but for the most part, this cake is Hershey's. They add 1 cup boiling water at the end to stir in. I add boiling hot coffee. You might think this is weird. Well it is kind of weird, but it makes it SO much more chocolatey. And despite what you may think, you can't taste the coffee at all. It just brings out the natural richness of chocolate. I really challenge you to try it!

If you're wanting the BEST chocolate cake there is out there, look no further. This is the definition of the perfect chocolate cake. Dense. Moist. SUPER chocolatey.
 I will, however, take credit for this wonderfully easy chocolate mousse. The best part about it is you can put it in the middle of anything and everything. I sometimes like to fill my chocolate cupcakes with it. It puts them right over the edge.
Anyway, this is a knock-your-socks-off kind of chocolate cake. 

Hershey's Chocolate Cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling hot coffee (or boiling water) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-in round baking pans. I also like to line the bottom of my pans with a parchment paper. It guarantees that it comes out clean. In the bowl of your mixer, add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Turn it on a few times to stir the ingredients together. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat until well combined making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in boiling hot coffee.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack. Cool completely. Fill with the Chocolate Mousse Filling then frost with Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Mousse Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Beat heavy cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir in melted chocolate until completely combined. Lay one layer of cooled chocolate cake on a cake stand. Top with mousse filling. Top with the other layer. Frost the whole cake with Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.

Perfectly Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stilck) butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to a spreading consistency. You may want to add more cream to get to your desired consistency. Beat in vanilla. 

ENJOY your chocolate coma:)

*Adapted from Hershey's

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Halli's Perfect Guacamole

You know how you're always trying to find the perfect balance in a guacamole? Haha, or is that just me? I swear when I go to make a guacamole, I can never get the proportions right. Well this search ended when my cousin magically made me the perfect guacamole one day. She had been working on it for months, trying to perfect it. And that she did. It's DIVINE and PERFECT. I can eat the entire bowl. Make it, but then be prepared to eat the entire thing:)

2 large avocados
almost 1/2 tsp garlic salt
almost 1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp regular salt (you can adjust this for your own saltiness)
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
2 Tbs sour cream

Mix it all up in a bowl with a fork, smashing the avocados. Then eat the BEST guacamole you've ever had!! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mexican Pizzas

 This is my new favorite dinner! Just look at how delicious it is. And your kids are sure to love it too, which is a top priority for me.
They go like hot cakes, so be sure to make enough! And they're easy to whip up quick, which is the kind of recipe I need for these soccer nights:) This also easily makes 2 nights of meals too, which I LOVE!!

Mexican Pizzas 
1 (16oz) can refried beans
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I use Costco rotisserie chicken. One recipe uses 1/2 of the chicken. I cut up the other half and freeze it to make this recipe again later.)
1/2 cup salsa
8 flour tortillas
1 recipe enchilada sauce (Recipe to follow. You can also use canned sauce, but homemade is just SO delicious! I make a full recipe and use 1/2 of it, then store the rest in the fridge to make it again with the other 1/2 of the rotisserie chicken)
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Warm up bean in a small bowl in the microwave. Combine chicken and salsa in another bowl and warm in the microwave.

Toast tortillas by spraying a large skillet with cooking oil spray and fry both sides of the tortilla until browned and a little crisp. Lay 2 flour tortillas each on 2 cookie sheets, top each with 1/4 of the beans, then 1/4 of the chicken mixture (remember, you're making 4 total pizzas). Then top each with another toasted tortilla. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on top of each tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, tomatoes and green onion.

Bake in oven for about 7-10 minutes until heated through, then broil until bubbly and crispy. ENJOY!!!

 Enchilada Sauce:

2 T olive oil
2 T flour
3 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t salt (if using boxed broth taste first before adding)
2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minutes. Add all of the spices and stir. Gradually and slowly add the broth, whisking to prevent lumps. Simmer while stirring for 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Use immediately or store in the fridge.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mint Brownie Trifle

 I made this by accident once. I think those are the best kind of recipes:) I was going to make a mint cake, but it turned out weird, so I turned it into a trifle. Cause, you know, you should improvise when things don't go as planned. 

1 recipe of my homemade brownies (found here) baked in a sheet cake pan so they are thinner
1 recipe Fluffy Mint Buttercream (recipe follows)
1 bag chopped Andes mints (found in the baking section)
1 jar hot fudge

After baking brownies, let them cool completely. Then cut them into small 1 inch cubes. Put a layer of brownies in the bottom of a trifle bowl (or any bowl or container you choose), drizzle 1/4 cup of hot fudge over brownies, top with a layer of Fluffy Mint Buttercream, then sprinkle a layer of chopped Andes mints. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used. Enjoy!!
Fluffy Mint Buttercream
2 sticks butter, at room temperature 
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
2 T heavy cream 
1/2 t peppermint extract (more if you like it strong)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the whisk attachment whip butter on high speed until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 - 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Add in powdered sugar, 2 T heavy cream and peppermint extract and mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 - 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. In a separate bowl whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the buttercream. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

 Whenever I go to Costco, I never leave without a rotisserie chicken. My mom taught me this. It's SO much chicken meat for only $5. Can't beat it. So when I get home, I take all of the meat off, cut it into chunks and put it in the freezer. There's just so much you can do with that meat! Enchiladas, soups, casseroles, paninis, chicken alfredo...literally endless possibilities.
This casserole is one of my favorites. It's so easy and SO good. It's super good as leftovers too, which is crucial in my opinion:) So head over to Costco and get yourself a chicken!

1 rotisserie chicken, cut into chunks (3 chicken breasts can be substituted)
3-4 small zucchinis, cut into chunks
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 box chicken Stove Top stuffing
1 stick butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix together chicken soup and sour cream. Add chicken and zucchini and mix until everything is evenly coated. In a separate bowl mix dry stuffing and melted butter. Add half of this mixture in with the chicken and zucchini. Pour that into a 9x13 dish. Top with the rest of the stuffing mixture. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. At this point the stuffing might be getting really brown, but the zucchini may not be cooked through as much as you'd like, sometimes this happens to me. If that's the case, cover the dish with foil and return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes, until the zucchini is soft enough. Enjoy this delicious easy dinner!!