Monday, February 21, 2011

Picnics After President's Day, Kind Of Like White Pants After Memorial Day

We're lucky, down here in Texas.  Usually we have a short cold season, like a week or so, and then we're back to our regularly scheduled beautiful weather.  This Winter we had a few weeks of extremely cold weather, (don't laugh, it was cold like Antarctica around here), but it's beautiful and warm for a few days.  I'm pulling out all stops and celebrating this President's day with a picnic at the park.  Southern style.

The meal will be complete with:


oven baked "fried" chicken



and homemade limeade

Or not.  Maybe we'll just do takeout since there's a fried chicken restaurant on every corner down here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Year's Valentine's Cake for Chocoholics Everywhere

Elizabeth's Extreme Chocolate Lover's Cake
recipe image
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour
Servings: 16

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened
chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water
6 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened
chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 (9 inch) pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the top of a double boiler, heat 6 ounces chocolate, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the melted chocolate. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake
comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

4. Make the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: In the top of a double boiler, heat 6 ounces chocolate, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, whip the butter for about 10 minutes until it is super fluffy, beat in egg yolk. Gradually blend in the confectioners' sugar, alternating with 2 tablespoons vanilla and 2 tablespoons cream, then blend in the melted chocolate. Beat in the softened cream cheese.

5. Make the Ganache: In a large saucepan, combine chocolate chips and 1 cup heavy cream. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Assemble the cake: When cake is completely cooled, cover the bottom cake layer with as much ganache as desired. Refrigerate for 5 minutes, or until ganache has set. Spread frosting over the ganache. Cover with top layer of cake. Frost top and sides with buttercream, and garnish with more ganache.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Enchilada Recipe

I know, I have a problem with settling on my favorite enchilada recipe (like the one I posted HERE). My sis-in-law found these recipes online and filled flour tortilla with the meat, cheese and rice. She put them in a casserole dish with cheese on top and baked until warm and cheese was melted. They were really good! I know that Brooke has posted this same recipe for cilantro-lime rice HERE, I just re-posted for convenience.

Sweet Pork (Cafe Rio knock-off)
2 pounds pork (I used boneless ribs that were on sale)
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar. If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours.

1 c. uncooked rice (long-grain, white rice)
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Warm and Home-y Comfort Food (for kids)

My kids love macaroni and cheese.  My 3-year old daughter has a special thing going on with mac 'n cheese.  She asks for it a lot.  Like every. single. day...  See when I was in school, the twins got to eat lunch twice a week at Grandma's house.  She, like most Grandma's, spoiled them.  Where I will only make one lunch, she made two different ones.  PB&J for Cael, and mac 'n cheese for Landry.  When I would drop them off Landry would greet Grandma by saying, "Iamhungry,Iwantmac'ncheese..."  They got spoiled.  Really spoiled.  They are now getting used to the fact that Mom doesn't cater to every whim like Grandma and they are settling for either PB&J or mac 'n cheese some days now.

So, when I was perusing recipes the other day, and found this one I decided to try it out.  You see, I am a macaroni and cheese lover too.  I just don't love the fake powdered cheese in unnatural colors like my kids do.  I love a great, baked, creamy mac 'n cheese with real cheese and maybe some additives, like bacon, or chicken.

If you've ever eaten at Z'Tejas, I love their mac 'n cheese.  This recipe is really close.


12 oz. medium cheddar, grated
4 oz. monterey jack, grated (I used only cheddar, with a little horseradish cheddar mixed in)
4 oz. Velveeta, cubed (if you don't like processed cheese use more cheddar, the processed cheese just makes it more smooth)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt and pepper
16 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain and dry
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oven to 350°.  Put cheeses (except Parmesan) in top of double boiler (if you don't have one, set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan with about 1 inch of water in it) and melt over simmering water, stirring frequently.  Gradually add milk, whisking until completely smooth.  Whisk in mustard, bacon, salt and pepper.

Pour the cheese mix into a large bowl, add the macaroni and toss to coat.  Then pour the coated mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. 

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over the top.

Bake until crumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbling, 25-30 minutes.

Note: This recipe would be awesome with a couple of grilled chicken breasts cut up into it.  I'm adding the chicken on the side for our "non-meat eating children" but chicken would be a perfect addition to make this side a complete main dish.

Yes, it's kind of messy to make, it takes a lot of bowls and pans, and it's certainly not the healthiest dish we've posted here, but seriously, it's delicious, and it's a perfect dish for a really cold day (like today).