Jul 31, 2013

The Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I've tried quite a few Upside Down Pineapple Cake recipes. This recipe, courtesy of Simply Recipes, is hands down the best. The cake itself is heaven and the topping is rich and delicious. It is divine when served with whipped cream.

A few notes:  There is an option of using either all purpose flour or using a mix of all purpose / cake flour / ground almond.  I have always used just the regular all purpose flour and the cake turns out incredible.

In the original recipe, the brown sugar mixture for the topping is prepared on the stove and brought up in heat until it is bubbling. I usually just melt the butter and brown sugar, stir well, and call it good, either in the microwave or on the stove top. I just note this now if you were wondering if you could save a few minutes to skip that step. I do and it turns out great anyways.

The rest of my notes are regarding to how I prepare the cake.The original recipe uses a 2 inch deep cake dish. I prefer a thinner cake so I split the batter in two and use two slightly smaller cake plates (1 1/2 inch deep plates). Since I split the cake in two, I double the topping and divide it between the two plates.

My cook time is less than the original recipe because my cakes are thinner. If you prefer to only make one large, extra deep cake, please follow the original recipe at Simply recipes.

Overall I just like making two cakes instead of one because I feel like the cake to topping ratio is perfect that way, and you also have one cake to keep for yourself and one to give away to a friend. Enjoy!

Jul 30, 2013

Pesto Chicken Pasta

Two things I love about this recipe. First, you can serve this warm or chilled and it is delicious both ways. Second, the flavor is fantastic. The combination of pesto, Parmesan, vegetables and chicken go together so well.

Note: For the pesto cream sauce, I would recommend taste testing and adding more pesto and Parmesan to fit your tastes. I added an extra few spoonfuls of both the pesto and the Parmesan to make it extra flavorful. Taste as you go and tweak it as you like. Enjoy!

Jul 29, 2013

Chili Frito Crescent Pie

A while back I came across a recipe at The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife for Frito Taco Pie. I was intrigued by her recipe and wanted to make something similar. I came up with this Chili Frito Crescent Pie which turned out delicious. If you like onions I would add diced raw onions before serving. Enjoy!

Jul 25, 2013

Shrimp Salad Sandwiches

This recipe for Shrimp Salad Sandwiches comes from my mom. It doesn't have specific amounts for the ingredients. It is more of a throw it all in a bowl, mix it up, taste it and add the seasonings you like. It is similar to shrimp pasta salads in flavor, but we have omitted the pasta component and serve it on soft sandwich rolls. Enjoy!

Jul 24, 2013

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Cookie Dough Frosting

The best cupcakes I have ever made are these Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Cookie Dough Frosting. When I saw the recipe for the frosting over at Chef In Training I pinned it immediately and began thinking of what kind of cupcake base might compliment the cookie dough best. I then came across a recipe for Brown Sugar Cupcakes at Cupcake Bakeshop.

My thought process was that chocolate chip cookies have brown sugar in them, and what better to make as a base for the frosting than a delicious brown sugar cupcake. Both components, the base and the frosting are incredibly delicious. I almost cheated and make a cake mix for the base, but I'm really glad I didn't since the recipe for the cupcake is fantastic and well worth the extra dirty dishes and time to make it from scratch.

Many thanks to Chef In Training and Cupcake Bakeshop for the recipes.

Note: The original recipe for the cupcakes made 12, but since the frosting recipe will frost two dozen cupcakes, I doubled the cupcake recipe to match. Feel free to cut the recipes in half if you are baking for a smaller crowd.

Jul 23, 2013

Baked Spaghetti with Crispy French Fried Onions

There are many baked spaghetti recipes out there. What got my attention about this recipe from Salad in a Jar was that it has two interesting components. First, a layer of cream cheese and sauteed vegetables which gives it a creamy and delicious flavor. Second, this casserole is topped with French Fried Onions during the last 5 minutes of baking, which adds crunch and flavor.

I was a little unsure of how this would turn out, but everyone loved it. Please be sure not to let the onions burn on top. Note: I have also made this casserole using leftover spaghetti which I had made the night before with a meat sauce. I used an extra jar of sauce, plus the leftovers, and it also turned out delicious. Enjoy!

Jul 19, 2013

Jul 17, 2013

Chocolate & Orange Jimmy Cake

Jimmy cake is a big favorite in our house. Traditionally we make my Great Grandmother's Jimmy Cake. This time around we changed it up by combining the flavors of milk chocolate and orange. The flavors remind me of the Ovation Chocolate & Orange Break Apart chocolates.

We used a good quality of milk chocolate jimmies made by Deruyter, which makes a lot of difference in flavor. I've seen the Deruyter brand of chocolate jimmies popping up at stores in my area, including World Market and local grocery stores. Check around at stores in your area for them.

Note: This cake gets more moist the longer it sits, so this cake is best served the day after it is made.

Jul 16, 2013

Skinny Strawberry Kiwi Smoothies

A few months ago I went on a smoothie spree and made a bunch of different recipes. I noticed that most recipes I came across use milk or yogurt component, which can be a bit heavy. I loved this recipe in that it only had two ingredients, fruit and a flavored protein water. It is very flavorful and refreshing.

If you prefer, you can substitute the type of flavored water. The original recipe used Crystal Light Strawberry Lemonade which also sounds tasty. Many thanks to Thistlewood Farms for this recipe. Enjoy!

Jul 11, 2013

Lemon Supreme Cookies

I am all for making cookies from scratch but every once in a while I like to make mixed cookies like these Lemon Supreme Cookies from Somewhat Simple. They were light, chewy and delicious. They only have 3 ingredients which is a plus. If you love lemon you should also check out my Lemon Supreme Rice Krispies Treats. Enjoy!

Jul 10, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Crescents

This recipe came from a great blog named Six Sisters' Stuff. I have a  bunch of their recipes pinned and on my to-make list. Do you guys find a lot of your recipes from blogs? These days I would say most of my recipes come from blogs and most turn out really great. Many thanks to Six Sisters' Stuff for this delicious recipe. We all enjoyed it.

Jul 9, 2013

Pineapple BBQ Jalapeño Poppers

One of the features from Recipe Sharing Monday this Monday were these Pineapple BBQ Jalapeño Poppers from Jo and Sue. I made them and HOLY COW, they are delicious! The flavors are fantastic together. Many thanks to Jo and Sue for this recipe.

I would highly suggest picking up some food prep gloves to prepare the jalapenos. The burning sensation can linger for hours on your fingers and you definitely don't want to accidentally touch your eyes on accident. Be careful.

Jul 3, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescents

This week is shaping up to be chicken themed here at Jam Hands. Today I have a quick and delicious dinner, recipe courtesy of one of my favorite food blogs, Plain Chicken. What made these over the top delish was the honey mustard, so I urge you not to skip that ingredient. I didn't have any on hand that was pre-made so I mixed up Dijon mustard and honey and it worked out great. Enjoy!

Jul 2, 2013

Jalapeño Popper Chicken

A few weeks ago I made this delicious dinner recipe from Lori's Culinary Creations. My one change was that I didn't add any bacon to the sauce. If you want bacon I would recommend giving a sprinkle of it over the top once it is plated so it stays firm and crispy. Many thanks to Lori for this recipe!