Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coconut Cake

I'm craving sweets!  

This Coconut Cake from Mr. Food caught my attention,
 not only because I love anything coconut, but it is one
of those cakes that uses a cake mix making it quick
and easy.  I also love the addition of coconut milk
 to the cake batter.  

I'm not sure if I'd like the whipped topping frosting
 . . . I'd use vanilla or cream cheese frosting instead,
adding some coconut milk.


We made this cake using commercial cream cheese
frosting with a little coconut milk added.  The cake
was awesome, however, it was a little too sweet with
that frosting.  Maybe the whipped topping frosting
isn't such a bad idea after all!

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (6-ounce) package frozen grated coconut, thawed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed, beat the cake mix, water, 1/4 cup coconut milk, the oil, and eggs for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Divide the batter between the cake pans.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Using a fork, poke small holes in the bottom of the cakes.
  4. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk evenly over each cake. Place 1 cake layer upside down on a serving plate and frost the top with some of the whipped topping. Sprinkle one third of the coconut over the topping, pressing it into the topping. Place the second layer over the first and frost the top and sides with the remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle the remaining coconut evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
  5. Serve, or cover loosely and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Turtle Cake

Kraft Recipes is my new favorite recipe blog :) 

Check out this quick and easy cake!

I love semi-homemade recipes!

what you need

1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (Do not thaw.)
1 pkg.  (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
38   KRAFT Caramels
1-1/2 Tbsp. water
6 oz.  (3/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
16 NILLA Wafers
16   PLANTERS Pecan Halves
5 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided

make it

SPOON half the COOL WHIP into bowl; refrigerate to thaw. Return remaining COOL WHIP to freezer. Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round layers, adding dry pudding mix to cake mix before mixing with liquid ingredients. Cool cakes in pans 10 min.; invert onto wire racks. Remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
MEANWHILE, microwave caramels and water in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until smooth, stirring every 45 sec. Cool slightly.
BEAT cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add caramel sauce; mix well. Blend in thawed COOL WHIP. Place 1 cake layer on plate; spread with half the cream cheese mixture. Cover with second cake layer; frost top with remaining cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
MICROWAVE frozen COOL WHIP and 3 chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl 3 min. or until well blended, stirring after each minute. Cool 10 min. Meanwhile, melt remaining chocolate squares as directed on package. Dip half of each wafer in chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Top with nuts. Refrigerate until ready to use.
SPREAD COOL WHIP mixture onto top of cake. Garnish with wafers. Keep refrigerated.

kraft kitchens tips

Substitute 13x9-inch pan for the round pans and increase baking time to 35 to 38 min. or until cake is done; cool completely. Continue as directed, spreading caramel mixture and chocolate mixture over cake in pan.
For a more fudge-like texture, store cake in refrgerator overnight before serving. Garnish with chocolate-dipped wafers just before serving.
Trim 40 calories, 3 grams of total fat and 2 grams of saturated fat per serving by preparing with COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping, JELL-O Chocolate Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding, PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese and Reduced Fat NILLA Wafers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake

The recipe and photo comes from Kraft Recipes

I'm a sucker for cheesecake and turtles are one of my favorite candies!

what you need

24 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
6 Tbsp.  butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
1/2 cup  milk
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
3 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp.  vanilla
2 squares  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

make it

HEAT oven to 325°F.
MIX crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
MICROWAVE caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.
BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.
BAKE 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
MICROWAVE reserved caramel mixture 1 min.; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake.

kraft kitchens tips

Enjoy a serving of this decadent treat on special occasions.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F if using a dark nonstick springform pan.
When cutting a cheesecake, use a knife with a thin blade, wiping the blade with a damp paper towel or rinsing with warm water after each cut for best results. Or, try using unwaxed dental floss. Just cut an 18-inch piece of floss, then wrap the ends around your index fingers. Cut the cheesecake in half by pulling the floss through the cheesecake, starting at top surface of cheesecake and keeping the floss pulled tight. Release one end of the floss and pull through bottom of cheesecake. Rewrap the floss and use to cut cheesecake into desired number of slices.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Ricotta / Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas

These recipes come from Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa. 

I loved the concept of making homemade ricotta . . . 
she made it  look so easy and I like being able to control the ingredients.  

The bread looked so delicious!  
No photos were provided on the Food Network website.


  • 2 cups ricotta, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
  • 3 tablespoons minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 round sourdough bread
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 whole garlic clove, cut in half
  • Green Salad Vinaigrette (recipe follows)


Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside. Cut the bread in half and cut each half into 6 thick slices to make 12 slices total.
When the grill is hot, brush the bread with olive oil and grill on each side for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the grill and rub each slice of bread with the cut side of the garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread with the herbed ricotta. Serve 2 warm slices per person with the green salad on the side.

Homemade Ricotta:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hummus (Chickpea & Tahini Purée)

The Captain and I are embarking on a new lifestyle of healthier eating, although we will still indulge in those sinful foods that we love.  And I will still post those sinful recipes . . . but I'm looking for healthier alternatives and will share them as I discover them.

I have recently discovered hummus!  It is a healthier alternative for snacking since we love potato chips with sour cream dip.  We have found a selection of crackers at the grocery store that are low in fat and sodium and quite tasty.  Great with hummus!

19-oz. can chickpeas, or 1 cup dried chickpeas that have been soaked and cooked until very tender 
1/2 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste) 
1 clove garlic 
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
Kosher salt to taste 
Olive oil for drizzling 
Cayenne for sprinkling 

If using canned chickpeas, drain them, reserving the liquid, and rinse them. If using dried, cooked chickpeas, drain them and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Purée all the ingredients in a food processor until very smooth, adding the reserved liquid as needed. You should have a medium-thick paste (if it's still too thick, thin it more with water).

Season with salt. Transfer the hummus to a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with cayenne. Serve with pita bread or raw vegetables.

From Fine Cooking CWF SIP, pp. 59
January 1, 2004

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chicken Cutlets with Bell Pepper Ragout

Although this recipe calls for sliced chicken breasts, I love the convenience of chicken tenderloins that come frozen in a big bag.  After defrosting, what I usually do is pound them down.  Another variation I would make to this recipe is leave out the capers and I would add sliced mushrooms.

1 1/4 lb. ripe plum tomatoes (6 to 8), cored, halved lengthwise, and seeded 
1 medium red or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 small yellow onion, cut into medium dice 
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1/4 tsp. piment d’Espelette or 1/2 tsp. cayenne 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 medium clove garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into cutlets  
2 Tbs. nonpareil (small) capers, rinsed and patted dry

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.

Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Put the tomatoes cut side up on one side and the peppers and onion on the other side. Drizzle everything with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil and sprinkle with the piment d’Espelette, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Toss the peppers and onions. Broil until the tomatoes are collapsed, about 7 minutes. Flip the tomatoes, toss the peppers and onions, and broil until the tomato skins have large black spots and the peppers and onions are tender, about 5 minutes more.

Use tongs to pull the skins off the tomatoes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board. Put the peppers and onions in a large bowl; add the garlic paste. Chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl with the other vegetables. Mix well, season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put the flour in a shallow pan. Season the chicken with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper; dredge in the flour. Working in 2 batches, cook the chicken, flipping once, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and fry the capers over medium-high heat until they pop open and become crisp, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle them over the chicken. Serve with the ragout.

From Fine Cooking 111, pp. 72

photo: Scott Phillips
May 5, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oreo Brownies

This recipe comes from my files of newspaper and magazine clippings, swapped recipes from friends and I have no idea of the original origin . . .

1/2 cup butter
3 ounces baking chocolate
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Oreo cookies, crushed
2 cups brown sugar

Melt butter and chocolate in the top of a double
broiler. Cool slightly. Beat in remaining ingredients
by hand.

Pour into a greased 8 x 12-inch pan. Bake at
350 degrees F until set, approximately 30 minutes.

Yields 12

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stove Top Tamale Pie

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but I found it in one of my notebooks of recipes I want to try out . . . quick and easy!

1 t. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 14-oz. can black beans, undrained
1/2 C. water
1 3-oz. can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 1.25-oz. package taco seasoning mix
1 8-oz. package corn muffin mix
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C. sliced green onion

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, place the olive oil and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the ground beef and brown; drain the fat.

Stir in the tomato sauce, black beans, water, green chilies and taco seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Prepare the corn muffin mix according to package directions. Drop small spoonfuls of batter over the meat mixture in the skillet; don't worry if there are some small uncovered places. Cover and cook over medium heat 15-17 minutes until the batter is cooked through.

Sprinkle the mixture with the cheese and green onion. Recover and cook 3-4 minutes over low heat until the cheese melts.

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Italian Cheese Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesean cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the water and butter in a medium-size
saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, bread crumbs, salt, and
pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture
to a medium-size bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after
each addition. Beat in the mozzarella cheese.

Drop the mixture by teaspoons full on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle
with the parmesean cheese. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15

This recipe comes from my personal recipe files I have collected through the years.
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