Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go-To Pound Cake

I made this a few weeks ago when we had company over on back to back nights.  Instead of making two desserts, I decided that my Go-To Pound Cake was called for.  Well, that's what I call it now because it truly is my Go-To recipe when it comes to Pound Cake.  I can't take credit for this scrumptious thing.  The delightful Paula Deen gets all of that. It's her Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake.  This cake is moist with a fantastic crumby texture, and when it bakes up, the outer part gets this lovely sugary crust.  Mmmmm....it's "out of this world" as Paula would say.

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used Light Sour Cream)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated.

Sift the baking soda and flour together.  Add to the creamed mixture alternating with the eggs, incorporating each egg 1 at a time.   End with the flour mixture. 

Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

This usually makes me 14 servings, so it was easily spread out over 2 nights.  This is in no way low in fat or calories.  It's not supposed to be...it's pound cake.  Just a lovely little indulgence to have every once and a blue moon.  My guests enjoyed it enough to jump at the chance to take some home (good thing because if it were here I wouldn't have stopped eating it).  It's delicious with fresh berries and cream or even a little vanilla bean ice cream, if you're really feeling naughty. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Last Minute Easter Treats!! Chocolatey Butterscotch Peanut-Buttery Easter Nests

I'm a little behind on my Easter "to do" list.  I needed a fast and easy treat to whip up to take to my in-laws tomorrow.  So, here is a little something for you just in case you're in a similar bind. =)

This chocolate peanut-buttery treat (we call them Haystacks) is actually a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me (Thanks Nancy B!).  With a little twist to make it fun for Easter.

I got the idea to take Nancy's Haystacks and turn them into these cute little Easter nests from a great food blogger Carrots N Chocolate.  I didn't use Carrots N Chocolate's recipe since Haystacks are a family favorite in my house, but hers look delicious too (and maybe even a bit healthier since it uses a fiber cereal in place of the chow mein noodles).  Thanks for the great idea Carrots N Chocolate!!

You only need 6 ingredients!
  • 11 oz (1 bag) butterscotch chips
  • 11 oz (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups crunchy chow mein noodles, slightly crushed
  • 1 cup (approx.) of Cadbury Mini Eggs (or any other hard shell candy shaped like an egg.  M&M's work nicely too)
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  (Of course, I ran out of wax paper, so I used non-stick foil).

Melt your butterscotch and chocolate chips in a double boiler (to be super fast and easy, you can also use your microwave).  Once it is melted, add in your peanut butter, chow mein noodles, and pecans.  Stir until well combined.

Spoon the mixture onto your cookie sheet.  Gently place the mini eggs in the center to form your nest.

Cool in the fridge until it has set.

This literally took me 5 minutes to throw together.  Love that!  And they are just as tasty as they are cute.  I promise.

Happy Easter everyone.  May you have a blessed day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last food post.  Mostly because I've just been too preoccupied to remember to take pictures until AFTER we've cleaned our plates.  Oops.  But last night, I was inspired to take photos because these ribs just turned out so pretty!  Can ribs be pretty?  Probably not, but you get the idea.

I love this recipe because it's sooooo easy.  Seriously, make it once and you'll remember how to do it forever (or as long as it takes you to forget).

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 Slab of Baby Back Pork Ribs
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I have yet to make my own.  It's on my list of things to do sometime in the next century.  For now, we enjoy Sweet Baby Ray's.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
Cut the ribs in order to make them fit in the crock pot.  I usually have to make 2-3 cuts.  Don't cut them individually though.  You would just end up with a big mess at the end of the day.

Give a generous coating of equal parts salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place ribs meat side up in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.  No liquid necessary.

Once these babies have cooked low and slow for 8 hours, fire up your BBQ.  This is what helps it get that good smoky flavor without all the extra work.

While your BBQ is heating up, remove the ribs from the crock pot and brush on your BBQ sauce.  When your grill is nice and hot, place your ribs meat side down on the grill.  Flip them over after a few minutes to char the other side.  Then flip one more time so that your meat is sunny side up again to give it one more basting of BBQ sauce before you remove it from the grill.  Keep in mind, you just want to leave them on long enough for them to char a little.

When it's done, your rib meat will strip from the bone easily and it will taste like you've babysat it on the grill for hours.  It's kind of awesome.  Serve this alongside a salad or veggies to complete your meal.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Extreme Couponing??

Okay, so I just had to take a second to write about Extreme Couponing.  Have you seen this or heard of it?  It's a new series on TLC that first aired back in December.  A whopping 2.1 million viewers tuned in to see the show's premiere (It's no wonder with everyone struggling in today's economy.  We all want to save money)!  I just now saw my first episode.  I'm not sure if I'm appalled or addicted.

Here's my take:  I'm intrigued.  We started to really watch our budget once I started my maternity leave back in November.  So, I started to shop at places like Target and Trader Joe's more regularly than my local grocery store.  Before I go on a shopping trip, I usually try take a look at that week's ad, see what's on sale (that I need), and form my weekly menus based on what's fresh and available.  Add a few coupons on top of that, and I'm feeling like I'm being pretty smart about how we shop.  We usually save around 30% off the retail prices.

Extreme Couponers put my 30% to shame!!  This new reality show documents women who spend HOURS preparing for their store runs in order to BIG money.  Oh, but it comes at a price.  Dumpster diving to get more coupons (seriously?), knocking on neighbor's doors to ask for their coupons, endless hours of research, printing out internet coupons.  The list goes on and on.  The result of all this hard work?  They basically get their groceries FREE.

There's a catch though (as if dumpster diving wasn't bad enough): you have to "stockpile."  This is where they lose me.  These women have year's worth of supplies and take pride in it.  Things that they could NEVER go through are piled and stored high all over their house....closets, garages, under the kid's beds!  I mean, how can one go through 50 CASES of toothpaste?  Why on earth would I want that--even if it's free?

I would love nothing more than to save money on my grocery bill.  Fresh produce and dairy are outrageously expensive right now.  But is it worth ALL this? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kinda like a lighter version of Chicken Scallopine

I needed to use up my mushrooms from the fridge, so I started checking out my favorite sites to see if I could find a good dinner recipe that included mushrooms.  Of course, I came across the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  This woman cooks like I WANNA eat.  I mean seriously, with real butter and real cream.  But, since I'm still trying to lose my baby weight, I sought out to make a healthier version, inspired by her Chicken Scallopine Recipe.  I served my version alongside a side salad and called it good. Hubby really enjoyed this one...I hope you will too!

  • 2 large whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin, fat trimmed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • 1 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 package of Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced (you can use white mushrooms also)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4-1/2 of the juice of 1 lemon, depending on how lemony you like
  • A splash of Heavy Cream or Half and Half
  • 1 teaspoon Capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped (You can also use Italian parsley.  I used Thyme because it's what I had on hand)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Cooking Spray
(Nutritional Information:  308 Cal., 12.9g Fat, 9.1g Carbs, 34.2g Protein)


Flatten chicken breasts to uniform thickness. If your chicken gets to be too large after being pounded, go ahead and cut it down to a more manageable portion.  This means leftovers anyway, right?

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess flour. Heat a non-stick pan and coat it generously with Cooking Spray.  Fry chicken breasts until they are golden brown and cooked through.  Remove them from the pan to a plate and set aside. You'll probably need to do this in a couple of batches. 

Tip: Use wax to cover your chicken breast.  It prevents pieces of breasts ending up on your cupboards and walls.
Don't forget to shake off the excess flour!

Not too shabby looking considering there's no oil!
Throw butter and sliced mushrooms into a hot pan and stir. Immediately pour in wine, chicken broth, and the juice of the lemon. Stir to deglaze the pan, getting any good bits of flavor into that mixture.  Cook at a rapid simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Add in your splash of cream and stir.  Lastly, add capers and thyme and stir.  Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.  At this point, you could even squeeze in a bit more lemon juice if that tickles your fancy.  The key is to not under salt!

To serve, plate this by putting your pasta down first and topping with both the chicken and the mushroom mixture.  Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

Husband has requested that we put this meal into the rotation.  I'd say my work here is done...for tonight at least!  This is husband, by the way.  I like him...a lot!  =)
Baby Hudson decided to spit up all down Daddy's sleeve.  We don't even bother changing anymore.