Friday, April 26, 2013

Date Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting






The last time I was at Costco I picked up a container of some pretty tasty looking dates. I don't recall every have tried dates, but I figured I would find a recipe to try them out on. Am I the only one that feels like dates are sort of a...retro food? I'm not sure how to explain it. Should I just call it an old person food? Maybe. I don't know why I get that impression.

Anyhow, this date cake was delicious and different from our usual desserts. The original recipe didn't have a frosting but I thought the cream cheese frosting we made complimented it very well. Enjoy!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake Copycat








Today we are continuing to catch up with our Easter recipes. We tried out a copycat recipe for the Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake. The verdict was it was very delicious, although not an exact match to the Olive Garden, but close enough to satisfy our needs. This cake gets a better flavor the longer it chills in the fridge. You may want to make this ahead of time and let it chill for a few hours before serving.

Overall the cake was a bit sweeter than the original. I noticed a few reviews remarking that the filling was too runny. Please take care to whip the heavy whipped cream until it reaches stiff peaks. If you do not beat it long enough it will cause your filling to be runny. I would recommend chilling your mixing bowl and beaters in the fridge before you beat the whipping cream. You want all of the elements to be nice and cold.

Some reviews have said that there wasn't enough crumb topping to coat the cake. For simplicity we only garnished the top of the cake with the crumb topping. Less hassle for us and I didn't mind that the sides of the cake weren't garnished. I dig the rustic look. If you are planning on using crumbs on the sides of the cake you might consider doubling the recipe for the crumb topping.

Notes: A cake leveler is perfect for a recipe like this. I recommend picking one up at the store. I love mine.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Broccoli, Bacon & Grape Salad





More broccoli salad!

The main differences between my previous recipes and this one is that there is no cheese in this recipe and in the other recipes, they use dried fruit (or no fruit at all).

Be sure to let it chill in the fridge for a few hours for the best flavor. Enjoy!

Variation #1 - I omitted the raisins and celery. I added about 1/3 cup very finely diced red onion, about 1/3 cup cherry craisins, about 1/4 cup chopped green onions, extra bacon and used all green grapes. Really, really delicious.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rhubarb Custard Pie





This pie is best served the same day it is made. I tried chilled leftover pie and it wasn't my favorite, so I would recommend making this fresh the same day you plan on serving it. I cut the recipe in half to only make one pie, but the recipe below is the full recipe which makes 2 pies.

My preference would be to serve this while it is still a little bit warm, or at room temperature, with fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Notes: I actually had a major goof on this recipe. I baked it in a premade pie shell which was not even necessary as it forms a crust all on its own. Next time around I would skip the premade crust, there is really no need for it.

Also if your pie plates are very shallow, consider putting foil or a baking sheet underneath the pies to save yourself cleanup from any spillage.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Perfect Fudgy Brownies









I have found my most favorite fudgy brownie recipe, courtesy of Cookies & Cups, a wonderful dessert blog you should check out when you finish reading this post. What gives these a unique and delicious flavor is the combination of milk and semi sweet chocolate chips that are melted and added to the brownie batter.

The texture was perfection, gooey and delicious. I have held out for a long time used boxed brownie mixes because I never liked a from scratch recipe all that much. Not anymore! This recipe is incredible. Enjoy!

Note: I was out of baking spray for the baking pan, so I lined the pan with parchment paper, with the parchment coming up over the edges so I could easily lift the cooled brownies out of the pan. It worked great. Just be sure to wait to lift the brownies out of the pan until they have cooled.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Macerated Strawberries





As we are heading towards Spring and Summer, I wanted to include a quick recipe, if you could call it that, for Macerated Strawberries. If you are wondering what Macerated means, Cookthink has a good description.
"To macerate something is to soften it by soaking it in liquid. You usually hear the word used in recipes that include fresh or dried fruit. Macerating fresh fruit releases some of its juices, creating a sweet syrup." - Cookthink

It only takes a few minutes to prepare and makes a perfect side dish for any meal of the day. If your strawberries aren't very sweet it is a quick way to add a touch of sweetness. A tasty addition to this would be a handful of washed blueberries, which we often add.

Note: If your strawberries are very ripe and sweet, you may want to add a bit less sugar, around 1 Tbsp. instead of 2.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Baked Spasagna






Alrighty, so baked spaghetti lasagna. Except I didn't use spaghetti noodles, and it tastes better than any lasagna I have ever tasted. While it has similar flavors as lasagna, the taste was so much better than lasagna I have made. It was also easier to make as you don't have to worry about repeat layering.

I found this recipe over at The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife and Plain Chicken, both awesome food blogs. Many thanks to them for this recipe! Back to the Baked Spasagna. The flavors were incredible, the cheese pasta base is rich and comforting. A plus to this recipe is that you can use just as much sauce as you like.  I dislike most lasagnas, and pizzas for that matter, that have too much sauce, so this was the perfect recipe.

You can use your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce for this, adding in Italian sausage, either plain or spicy would taste great. I preferred the spiral pasta that has lots of ridges for the cheese sauce to cling to rather than spaghetti noodles. Use whatever sounds good to you. Enjoy!

Note: I halved the recipes found at The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife and Plain Chicken


Berry Fruit Punch





A last minute addition to our Easter lunch was to make a punch for kids, preggo moms, and adults to enjoy. It is nothing crazy fancy, just really tasty punch. There are a lot of fruit punch options out there, so use your favorite. Mott's for Tots makes a Immune Support Fruit Punch that is lower in sugar so I would recommend trying that out. Note that the Mott's Fruit Punch comes in a 64 ounce bottle so you would be halving that if you are only making a pitcher of punch.

We made enough for a large pitcher, seen above. If you are aiming to fill a larger punch bowl, you should plan on doubling the ingredients. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Roasted Asparagus with Citrus Olive Oil






Any Asparagus fans out there? I love how simple it is to prepare and if you can get it on sale you can pick up a whole bunch of it to use in meals through out the week. In the past I usually have made roasted asparagus simply with a plain olive oil, garlic (either minced or embarassingly powdered garlic too), and salt and pepper. Top that with Parmesan cheese and it is a tasty side dish.

I wanted to try something a little bit different so I went with using a Citrus Olive Oil this time around, and after it is roasted I zested a lemon over the top. You can typically find citrus or plain lemon olive oil at specialty food stores. The oil I used was a blend of lemon and orange, but if that isn't available, a lemon olive oil works well too.

An alternative to buying premade citrus olive oil is to make it at home, which will probably save you money. Here is a recipe with good reviews at Food.com. Simply subsitute some of the lemon for orange if you want to make it a citrus blend.