Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

The production people left three full cartons of strawberry ice cream in our freezer when they left. I was having the missionaries over for dinner, so I decided to invent a way to use some of the ice cream up. I generally think that all desserts should involve chocolate, so I created this "chocolate covered strawberries" cake. It actually turned out really yummy, and I am going to do a variation of it for the quints birthday this week.

1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (divided)
1 1/4 cups Water
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cartons strawberry ice cream
1 tub Cool Whip
3 Strawberries for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop 1 cup of the chocolate chips and set aside. Combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl as needed. Stir in chopped up chocolate chips. Pour into two 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 31-35 minutes.

Remove pans from oven. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. When cakes are cool, use a large knife to slice off any peaks that formed when cooking. Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and freeze.

Once cakes are frozen, remove from freezer and slice each cake in half to form a total of four circular layers. Re-wrap and freeze each layer. Build the cake by working on one layer at a time. Soften 1/3 of the ice cream (1/2 of a container) in a large bowl. When softened, use spoon to mix it up a little so that there are no hard lumps. Remove one layer of cake from the freezer. Spread ice cream over cake layer and return immediately to the freezer. Repeat with the next 2 layers, adding them to the top of the previous layer when finished. Top with the remaining cake layer. Freeze until solid.

Remove frozen cake from freezer. Using a rubber spatula, evenly spread cool whip on cake. Cut strawberries with a V to remove stems, then in half lengthwise to make a total of six "heart" shaped halves. Place strawberries in a circle on top of the cake. Place the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag. Microwave in 20 second intervals at 50% power until chips are melted. Knead bag with fingers to mix, then snip a small corner of the bag. Drizzle chocolate over the top of the cake. Return cake to freezer.

Freeze until hard. When ready to serve, run a large knife under hot water and dry it off for easier slicing. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bananna-Blueberry Streusel Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 medium ) mashed ripe bannanas
1/4 cup milk (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

Streusal Topping
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablesoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 18 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. In large bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add bananas, milk, vanilla and eggs; blend well

2. Add 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gently stir in 1 cup blueberries. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full

3. In small bowl, combine 3 Tablespoonss flour, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon; mix well. With pastry blender or fork, cut in 2 Tablespoons brown sugar until mixture is crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle over batter.

4. Bake at 374 degrees for 18-23 minutes (unless your using Megan's oven, than it's anybodys guess) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool three minutes remove from pan and ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Going Bananas here in Virginny

Yep, it's another BANANA recipe from me and you're probably beginning to wonder if banana's are the only thing I ever cook with. With the heat and humidity here in olde Virginny it just seems like our bananas ripen much faster than we can eat them.

This past month I've tried 2 more banana bread recipes and a cake. The breads were okay but I'll probably not make them again. I think I've found the best banana bread recipe which I've already posted on this blog, Banana Coconut Lime Bread. The cake recipe I tried is worth passing on to you, I made it for Father's Day and it was a hit.

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" has been attributed to Marie Antoinette although there is no record of her ever saying it. In the Nelson family we always thought it should have been "Let them eat pie" but lately I've found myself making more cakes than pie and so I'm back to saying, "Let them eat cake". I've found that one cake will serve 14 family members after Sunday dinner and that makes for an easy dessert in my opinion.

I found this recipe at a food blog HERE , and I used one of the pictures taken by Leigh Anne from the this blog below.

Banana Cake

4 very ripe mashed bananas
1 box Duncan Hines WHITE cake mix (I used a yellow cake mix because that's what I had on hand QV)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
3 whole eggs
3//4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients except bananas for 2 minutes, medium speed. Add bananas and blend well. Bake in two 9" greased and floured round cake pans, following baking recommendations on box. I think about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (The cakes were really high after cooking in the 9" pans QV )

Whip a pint of whipping cream, LIGHTLY sweeten with powdered sugar and a tsp of vanilla.

Filling: 1 large box of cooked banana cream pudding (NOT the INSTANT) (I used Vanilla pudding as I thought the Banana cream would make the whole cake TOO banana flavored QV)

Make pudding according to directions on the box and cool completely. Slice 3 additional firm ripe bananas. Split the layers in half, putting pudding & sliced bananas onto 2 layers, and the whipped cream on the others. Frost the whole cake with whip cream & sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. (Next time I'll use Cool Whip Lite and I put chopped pecans on top of the cake instead of walnuts. QV) This cake can be put together ahead of time (like several hours) but needs to be refrigerated until it is eaten. I used Dr Oetker Whipit in the whip cream, it's a terrific stablilizer.

The top layer you're looking at should be whipped cream with another split layer on top with the pudding and bananas. This gives you the idea of how the pudding/banana layer should look though.

And this is how the cake looked on Father's Day before we ate practically every ounce of it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sarah's Kielbasa

I heart Kielbasa. I think it's better than Bacon. (SHOCKING!) My love comes from childhood when my Dad used to cook. Most of his dinners included Kielbasa. Have you every had spaghetti with Kielbasa? Seriously it's the best. Back to the main point.

One day while talking to my sister Sarah I whined that I wanted to make Dad's Kielbasa. But my sister said she had a better way to make it. And she was right.

6 large potatoes peeled and chopped
10 carrots peeled and chopped
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 package Skinless Kielbasa, sliced
Seasoning Salt

Start chopping like you've never chopped before. Combine Kielbasa, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle a little seasoning salt and stir. Repeat until you feel like you have achieved the correct seasoning salt to Kielbasa ratio.

Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Add kielbasa mixture. Cover with tin foil. Bake for one hour at 375 degrees. This allow the all flavors to marry. Yeah I said it. Marry. It's something all the chefs on the Food Network say.

Serve hot and enjoy!