Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baked Cheesy Eggplant

My grandmother is 83 and she is amazing.  I can only hope I am as cool as she is, if I live that long!  She has a facebook account,  and emails, and she swims everyday.  She is a pretty spry old(er) lady.  She still will walk 18 holes when golfing.  Two weeks ago we went down to visit her at her condo in Florida.  She winters there because the snow in upstate NY gets a bit much.  Anyway, we had a great time visiting with them and enjoyed the meal her and her dear husband Lou made, thoroughly!

She enjoys entertaining, and she really is a master with vegetables.  Like the Jedi of veggies.  She once made these little beauties and I so enjoyed them, I could've easily made a meal just out of them.  Like little mini eggplant parmesans, but way easier, and much healthier.  Nothing fried here.  Just yum.
I made these last night as they passed through on their way back up to NY.  Later in the evening, I remarked to my husband the smell of our house reminded me of the smell of her house anytime I would visit when I was growing up. A comforting smell of spaghetti sauce... sweet and homey.  Like a little Italian cafe...  La Casa Delectable.



  • 1-2 eggplants
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • prego or favorite jarred sauce
  • asiago (or Parmesan) and mozzerella cheese (about 1 cup total)

Preheat oven to 425.  Slice eggplant in thin slices, about 1/4" thick.  Sprinkle each with salt and place in bowl or on cookie sheet with a heavy pan over them.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.  (You can skip this step but it helps get rid of the bitterness in the eggplant).  Rinse each piece off and place on paper towel.  Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray or smear with olive oil.  Place eggplant in a single layer on the cookie sheet (I used 2 cookie sheets for 2 eggplants). Place spoonful of sauce on each piece.  Spread evenly to cover each piece.  Sprinkle about a tsp of bread crumbs over the sauce on each piece.  Sprinkle about 1-2 TBSP of cheese over the breadcrumbs on each piece.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until eggplant is tender and cheese is bubbly and browning.  Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Last night my dad and grandparents passed through on their way back to NY from Florida.  My dad drives them down right after the New Year each year, and they come back around this time each year.  They were going to be passing through right around dinner time and we are literally just off their route, so they stopped in for dinner.  I made a nice little meal... fresh baked bread, pasta fagioli, baked eggplant and these cookies.

I have not made a simple cookie in what feels like ages!  I was on a peanut butter kick for a bit and have not been doing as much baking as normal.  These cookies were wonderful!  I loved that they were whole wheat and oatmeal... although I use about half whole wheat in almost all my baking now.  I mix oat flour, whole wheat flour and unbleached in my canister, so without even thinking about it, I am using them.    I used to forget to use part whole wheat flour.  This is a great way to incorporate whole grains into your baking without even thinking about it.   

I am pretty sure you could eat these cookies for breakfast because of the oatmeal... and make a nutella sandwich with them for lunch... and eat some veggies for dinner, because we want to have a balanced diet.  Then have about 5 of these for dessert.  Gotta balance all those veggies you just ate.  And like our friend Tom says, cocoa beans come from a plant, so isn't chocolate a vegetable?

Adapted from:
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T milk (I used skim)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone liners.Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.  With a mixer, cream the sugars with the softened butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk.  Mix well. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, with the mixer on low. Mix just until flour disappears. Don’t over mix. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand.  Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, form rounded cookie dough balls, using about 1 TBSP of dough and place on prepared cookie sheets.  Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Let cookies sit on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes to finish cooking and firm up, then carefully move to a cooking rack. Makes around 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teriyaki Salmon with Wilted Garlic Spinach

I never had salmon growing up.  Actually, the only fish I remember eating when I was a kid was haddock.  And it was deep fried.  Seeing how I don't really do the whole deep fried thing now, for the sake of my arteries.  I mean they get enough abuse with the baked goods I indulge in.
I worked as a waitress in high school and through college.  I worked at at one place called "Mozzarella's Cafe", but then they changed their name to something else.  They were owned by Ruby Tuesday's.  They had some great dishes... one being a deep dish baked pasta... my personal favorite was one with alfredo sauce and smoked chicken, topped with melted cheese.  A-mazing!

 This was I think the first place I tried salmon, and I loved it.  I think it is really best when paired with the teriyaki sauce.  I order it often at restaurants, and the only time it has compared was when it was slathered in pesto.  I haven't made this in ages, because my 4 year old, well... let's just say it repeats on him... and on me.  We got wise after the 3rd time he ate it and gave him some chicken instead when I made this.
This salmon reminds me of the dish from those long lost days and it is SOOOOO easy! And I love the bed of spinach in was on.  Perfect compliment to the dish.


  • Salmon
  • favorite teriyaki sauce/glaze (Lawry's is great, but has high fructose, I used Trader Joe's)
  • 3 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1 TSBP oilve oil
  • 8 cups spinach
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet pan with foil. Place the salmon on it.  Dump on the sauce and some sesame seeds if desired.  Bake for 15-18 minutes (depends on how thick salmon is) or until is flaky and cooked through (may have to test). 

Just a few minutes before salmon is done, heat oil in a large wok or skillet pan over med high heat.  Add the garlic and let cook about 30-60 seconds.  Add spinach (I used baby spinach) and cook for 3-4 minutes over med high heat, until spinach is wilted well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place greens on plate.  Top with salmon and top salmon with scallions and diced tomatoes.  Serve hot.

Asian Zucchini Bites

I loved the movie Clueless when it came out.  It was iconic.  I felt a special bond with the movie because, flatteringly, people told me I looked like Alicia Silverstone.  So, this post is dedicated to her, because when it comes to Asian cooking I am a bit "Clueless". 

I always feel a bit foolish posting things outside of what I know.  Like (totally!), I know Italian food.  It's easy.  Garlic and onion, in like everything!  But I really love food of all different types.  Love Indian food, Cuban,  Chinese Thai, African, etc...  But duh, I can go out to eat those kind!  (okay, enough valley girl talk, before I start to annoy myself).

But every now and then I will do stir fry or Pad Thai.  But there are some things I can tackle... I made these the same night I made the regular zucchini bites. I wanted to make some with an Asian twist, because I was making teriyaki salmon.  So, this was what I came up with.  I must say they were pretty tasty.  I found I like them better with the dipping sauce as added element though. 

yields: 12 mini muffins

  • 1 cups zucchini, grated
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 green onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
  • 1/4 cup Japanese style panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp)
  •  Salt and Pepper
  • soy sauce or Trader Joe's Gyoza Dipping Sauce
Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.
Grate the zucchini and squeeze out the excess water.
In a bowl combine, the egg, green onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.
Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 18- minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  Use spoon to gently scoop them out of the muffin tin.  Dip in sauce and enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta

I am one of those people that finds something they like at a restaurant and orders the same thing every time I go.  I find a good thing, (like my husband) and stick with it.  I had a creamy chicken Marsala pasta dish at Olive Garden and actually liked it.  Normally, I hate that place, but this dish was actually pretty good.  I made my version of it last spring at some point and did not blog it because I was in a hurry.  I hate it when I do that, because I can't ever exactly remember what I did to make it so good.  Lucky for me, this dish was as I remembered it last time I made it.  I love the sauce and found I wanted to lick my plate.  Maybe I did... don't judge.

This dish is quick...  started it when I put the water on for the pasta, and by the time the pasta was done, my chicken and sauce were waiting for it.  My kids, though not fans of shrooms, liked this pasta and my older 2 even downed the shrooms.  I mean, they were smothered in a sweet and creamy sauce.  What's not to like? Easy, peasy, sleazy... oh wait, I meant delicious.


  • 1 lb. chicken, sliced in large chunks or medallions
  • 1/3 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, diced fine
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley
  •  salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan plus more for finishing
  • 1 lb. pasta
Place water on for cooking pasta.  Cut chicken into medallions and toss into seasoned flour (drudge in flour).  Heat olive oil and 1/2 TBSP butter over med high heat.  Shake off excess flour and toss chicken in pan.  Let sit for about 5 minutes to get a nice brown crust on it, then turn it over.  Add in diced shallots and garlic and let cook for another minute, then add mushrooms, not mixing it yet so as to brown the other side of the chicken.  (Cook your pasta anytime after this.)  Cook until mushrooms are browning and tender.  Deglaze with a touch of wine if it is getting too brown or not enough moisture at any point (I added a touch before adding the mushrooms).
Add remaining wine and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes to finish cooking chicken.  Turn heat to med low and add cream and whisk.  Push chicken aside, sprinkle in cornstarch 1/2 TBSP at a time, whisking to incorporate.  Sprinkle in parm cheese and parsley, and cook over med- low heat, until slightly thickens.  Taste for seasoning (mine needed salt and pepper).  Add in cooked pasta.  Top with more Parmesan cheese.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Zucchini Bites

TGIF.  This has been such a long week...  the last few weeks were shortened for us because we had visitors and then we went to Florida.  Short weeks make normal weeks feel like they go on f-o-r-e-v-e-r!!!   Has your own voice rang ever rung in your ears, and you think, "Where did that shrill voice come from?  Who was that?  Oh, wait, it was me?  Do I really sound like that?".  And then you look at your kids faces and see the horror and feel bad, not only because your own voice is getting on your nerves, but that your kids have to listen to it too.  "But, they drove me to it... right?" I say as my 2 year old sings at the top of his lungs in the other room. 

To the food.   These little cuties are delicious and  I downed I think about half of them, and I felt very little guilt for it.  My kids also ate them, was the first thing my little one ate.  I was a happy girl that they come together so quickly.  These will be on the ;menu again for shire.  They are tasty, quick and easy and make a great side dish but would also make a fabulous appetizer. 


Recipe adapted: the curious country cook
yields: 12 mini muffins


  • 1 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced, or a large shallot
  • 1/4 cup cheese (sharp cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs - I used Italian style
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.  Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach, Or I just grabbed handfuls and squeezed it out over the sink.
In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper.
Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.

Zucchini Bread

Last night was a rarity.  We had nothing going on and we ate, unrushed, at the dinner table.  It was so refreshing.  I had gone to the store and bought some stunning zucchini, only to come home and realize I had 4 in my fridge that were almost going bad.  It was going to be a cooking, baking kinda night. 
This bread took minutes to throw together, and I halved the recipe, because I had only 1 cup extra shredded zucchini from dinner.  But, now I wish I had done the full, so I could share, and eat more.  It-is-good!!  In one morning snack, half the loaf has disappeared, and I imagine the rest will be gone by this evening.  Yeah, we are like the black hole of food around here.  Kinda like a dream I had. . .  "Make it and they will eat....".  Oh wait, that's not a dream, but reality.  The lines get blurred so much, I find it hard to decipher reality and fiction. 

Speaking of fiction...  Hunger Games movie release... yeah, I am a loser and won't get to go see it for a few days, up to a week!!  But I am okay with that.  I mean, I lived it, so do I really need to see it?
Okay, so maybe I only feel like I lived it, but if I believed in reincarnation, or in a future world that twisted, then I would soooo be the mockingjay!  I mean, wouldn't you be?   
Anyway, to the Hunger Games...  may the zucchini bread be ever in your favor.

recipe slightly adapted from: allrecipes

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of canola oil (I sub half drained unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup nuts, choc. chips or raisins(opt.)
cinnamon and sugar or streusel

Preheat oven to 350.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
Do you see the luscious crackle on top of the bread?
In another bowl mix eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and zucchini.  Mix dry into wet.  Add raisin or nuts, or both if you fancy.  Grease and flour 2 loaf pans, or spray with baking spray.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out the center clean.  next time I am going to try half brown sugar...  just because.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baked Garlic Honey Balsamic Chicken

 Do you ever get an idea in your head and it is relentless and won't go away??  Yeah, that is how this chicken came upon me.  I say it like that because I was consumed with the idea.  Up at night, calculating how I was going to make this.  I had the chicken, but it was frozen solid and I had to wait a day.  UGH~ We all know waiting is not my strong suit.  I know God is trying to teach me in this matter because every time I go to the store I pick the slowest line.  At Sam's the other day, I watched as the people in lines around me breezed through, who had gotten in their line well after I had gotten in mine, as my little cashier lady mashed my paper towels to make them fit, and put a gash in my sugar as she tossed it into my cart.  30 minutes in line, 15 of that were me!  Seriously?? 

Ok...  I might have gotten lost on that topic for awhile but I have to get back to this chicken because it was gooood!  and easy.  We all loved it.  I served it with brown rice and drizzled the sauce over the rice.  I also put some over the chicken after it was deboned.  We also had some steamed green beans that I splashed with some balsamic, olive oil, garlic and salt.  Mr. Delectable said they were the best beans he had ever had.  I don't know if I would got that far, but they were perfect with this chicken. 

Got a little tidbit to share too...  ever had fresh garlic turn green or turquoise while cooking?  I got the scoop.  It is immature garlic, and when it hits acid (i.e.- vinegar, lemon juice, etc.), forms a kind of chlorophyll.  Perfectly safe to eat, and adds a bit of funk to a dish.  Yeah, I took the foil off and saw bright green all over my chicken.   Almost thought it was parsley, until I realized I did not use parsley.  So, now I know and so do you.  Young garlic+acid=green.
Anyway, put this on the menu.  It's a keeper!


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 5 TBSP honey, divided use
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. marjoram
  • salt and pepper
  •  8 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 lbs chicken, bone in, skin on

Whisk together the oil, balsamic vinegar and 3 TBSP of honey. Add the herbs and some salt and pepper.   Put chicken in a ziploc and dump the honey balsamic in.  Let it soak in that for at least an hour, but more if you can. 
Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and dump in the chicken and the sauce.  Drizzle remaining 2 TBSP of honey over the chicken and 4-5 crushed garlic.  Put the other cloves in whole or halved.  Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on how big your chicken pieces are).  Uncover and return to oven until a deep golden brown and skin is crispy (about another 25-30 minutes). 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: Baking With Julia- Cheesy Irish Soda Bread

This recipe is a basic Irish soda bread.  No fuss, easy and very fast to put together.  I have made soda bread before.  My husband really enjoyed it, and I liked it, but was not crazy about it.  It is kinda like a giant buttermilk biscuit, which I could take or leave.  But what could make one like biscuits (aside from smothering it in gravy)?  Cheese, of course! 
I figured cheddar was a safe bet, and almost used it, but then I found some asiago and a sharp gouda in the trenches of my 2 jam packed refrigerators, and thought those would be yummy too.  It was.  My husband could not taste the cheese, but I could.  It was a bit too subtle for me though and next time I would add more.  I used about 1 1/4 cups, and I would use a full 2 cups next time.  I sprinkled some asiago on top and wished I had done more of that too.  I mean, how can one have too much cheese? 

I also used some whole wheat flour instead of all unbleached, because it is just how I roll.  A more traditional filling is raisins or currants, but to me the sky is the limit.  Next time I may add some parsley, garlic salt, and the cheese and have a giant red lobster biscuit, and eat it all by myself.

This in not the kind of bread to go with spaghetti, but more the kind that would be great with meat and potatoes, soups or stews.  A hearty bread with a crispy crust and dense but soft crumb.   Yeah, we didn't wait until it was cool to cut into it, and we stored it wrapped tightly for the next day.  No doubt, much better fresh, but still decent on day 2. Great bread to make in a pinch, but add the cheese! This is on page 214 of the Baking with Julia, or you can get the recipe at our lovely hosts blogs, Carla of chocolatemoosey or Cathleen of myculinarymission.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

I did not feel like cooking tonight.  I was tempted to do the renaissance pasta.  If you don't know what I am talking about, that is a post worth reading renaissance-pasta posted by Mr. Delectable himself.   I also didn't even start dinner until 6:30 because I was playing taxi.  I figured, pasta with my vodka sauce would be quick and easy, and it was.  I managed to make it, while talking to my husband on the phone and giving my 6 year old a spelling test.  I know, I am A-M-A-Zing, right?  I must admit, my conversation with my husband lacked a bit of... how do you say??  content?  But, don't let that change your awe and amazement.

Anywho, the vodka sauce.  Yeah, it is pretty fab, and pretty darn easy.  Oh, and word to the wise, don't light the vodka with a lighter while cooking some of the alcohol out.  I had visions of my house going up in flames.  But the pyro in me thought it was kinda fun.  I put out the 14" flames with crushed tomatoes.  It worked.  My 2 year old ate 3 helpings.  Seriously, he was shoveling it in like it was chocolate cake.  Mmmm...  chocolate cake.  What?  Oh, here's the recipe.


  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 shallot, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 TBSP fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp. dried
  • 3 TBSP fresh parsley chopped or 1 tsp dried
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup half and half or cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh Parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 1 lb. penne
Put pot of  salted water on the stove and heat to boiling for the pasta.   In another saucepan over medium high heat, drizzle in olive oil and add garlic and shallot.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until shallot and garlic just begin to brown. Pour in vodka.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes to let some of the alcohol dissipate.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes and add the basil, parsley and if desired, salt and pepper.  Let cook for 10 or 15 minutes, reducing heat to avoid splattering, while the pasta cooks.  Turn the heat to med low and add the half and half and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Pour over pasta and add Parmesan cheese. Stir and serve with more Parmesan cheese over each dish, and bread.

Reese's Peanut Butter Banana Bread

What's in a name you say?  Well, everything!  If the title of this pretty little loaf isn't enough to make you drool,  then a taste will do the job.  I have some bananas I am forbidding my family to eat just so I can make another loaf.  I am craving this bread.  Like, it is my oasis in the desert... or, er.. dessert.  
Love the sugar on top...  made it glittery and so tasty!
I saw this on pinterest, of course, like half the recipes I make, and I was pretty smitten at the idea.  I adore banana bread, love peanut butter and you all know I could live on chocolate.  So, put this combo together, and I am one happy and fat girl.  Only like 200 squats, 30 minutes of cardio and a killion (yeah, my kids made up that number and use it regularly...  I am doing a bang up job homeschooling, no?) crunches to work it off.  Speaking of schooling, I suppose I should shut up and go do some of that.  Break's over.  Time to grab a hunk of bread and some milk and make my kids work while I stuff my face.


adapted from:


  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz bag of Reese’s Mini cups
  • turbinado sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour, or spray with baking spray, a loaf pan.  In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, vanilla, sour cream and sugars.  Dump in dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.  Fold in your Reese’s Mini cups and spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Place on cooling rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully loosen the edges of the loaf with a knife and remove to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus.  A weird word really.  And a funky veggie.  People have very strong opinions about the little suckers.  My mom always thought she didn't like asparagus.  I mean come on, the way most of us have eaten it, it is steamed and stringy and tastes terrible.  So, if you hate that kind of asparagus, join the club.  Most people hate that kind. 

But this kind, when it is roasted, ahhh!  It is almost irresistible.   This asparagus is topped with olive oil, sea salt, garlic and in its final moments, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  I end up eating half of it before it even makes it to a serving plate.  It get a bit crispy, and the salt and garlic and cheese, well they make it taste incredible.  My kids and I like to pick them up and eat them with our fingers. 
A word to the wise; buy thin asparagus.   The thin ones cook faster and are less likely to be stringy.  


  • 1 bunch thin asparagus
  • 1 TBSP olive oil (or a bit less)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • fresh pepper
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 TBSP Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Grab the end of the one piece of asparagus and break off the end.  Where it naturally breaks, cut the entire bunch to that length (can be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 inches you will cut off).   Toss asparagus  in olive oil, salt, garlic and pepper.  Place on shallow baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes.
For variation: Add some lemon zest before roasting.  Adds a brightness to the flavor.

Chocolate Cherry Cake with Fudge Icing

I love chocolate covered cherries.  Call me cheap, white trash, whatever you want to, but I like the cheap chocolate covered cherries.  You know, the ones that are a buck or two, Queen Anne style, where the chocolate is very poor quality and the cherries are in corn syrup.  Yeah, they are gross, but I love 'em.  This cake is like a chocolate covered cherry, but without the fillers.  Then it is topped with a fudge like icing that I could eat by the spoonful.  Oh wait, I did eat it by the spoonful.  And it was gooood!
This recipe is all over the net.  Southern food, all recipes, and a gazillion other places.  But I made a few slight alterations, which I think improve it. This cake is really best eaten the day it is made, or if it makes it to the next day, then that day.  By day 3, just scrape off the icing and eat it and dump the cake. 


  • 1 boxed devil's food cake mix, or dark chocolate 
  • 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
  • 2 eggs-beaten
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 3 TBSP mayonnaise

Heat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.  In a large bowl, combine cake mix, cherry pie filling, mayo, extract, and 2 eggs by hand; stir until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it tests done. Cool. 


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz. (1 cupish) chocolate chips
 In a small saucepan, combine sugar, butter or margarine, and milk. Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add vanilla.  Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Immediately pour over partially cooled cake.

Hot Chocolate Cake With Marshmallow Frosting

This was one of my favorite cakes when I was growing up. I have even requested it for my birthday numerous times. I have been having a hankering for it the last week or so, and my parents were here so I figured, why not? This cake is really best the night it is made, so it was the right time. My kids all asked for seconds of the cake and this was one of the few instances that I allowed it. This cake is tender and crumbly, because you serve it right out of the oven. Then you top it with a cloud of gorgeous marshmallow frosting. The fluffy white icing is a 7 minute variety with 2 differences. One being it has more sugar which (ready for the big reveal?) makes it sweeter, and in my opinion better. I am not looking for a meringue here. I want sweet eats! The other difference is it has more cream of tartar, which helps stabilize the egg whites and adds a distinct flavor that I love. The same flavor snickerdoodles leave you with. Not all the sugar dissolves, which leave a bit of grit which might be off putting to some, but I again, love. If that bugs you, gently heat the egg whites, sugar and water over a double boiler until sugar is dissolved. Then beat the snot out of it. Up to you.

If you wanted to be fancy you cold torch or broil the top of the icing, but quite honestly, that is just too long for me to wait to eat the cake. Both of these recipes were from my grandmother, Elizabeth- "Bessie Mae", who loved to bake, and loved to eat baked goods, like no one else.


  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350Grease a 9x13 pan.  Cream together sugar, shortening (or butter), vanilla and eggs.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Put 1 tsp of vinegar into a cup of milk.  Add flour and milk to mixture.  Mix boiling water and cocoa powder to make a paste.  Add paste to creamed mixture and mix until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Working with a mixer, mix egg whites until frothy and doubled in size.  Stream in 1/2 the sugar, while mixing, then the boiling water.  (This will heat the egg whites and kill bacteria... I think).  While continuing to beat, add the cream of tartar and stream in the remaining sugar.  Mix until stiff peak forms and it is white, glossy and fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat until incorporated.    I make this while the cake is in the oven and serve it immediately over each piece of hot cake.  Store remaining frosting in the refrigerator.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slow Cooked BBQ Baby Back Ribs

I don't eat pork or beef.  I haven't since I was 12.  Before you get all in a tizzy, I am not doing it for any other reason, than I am not a fan, and I had high cholesterol when I was young and it was an easy way to cut some cholesterol from my diet.  I don't miss it one bit.  I use turkey sausage and ground turkey for most of my cooking and it does just fine.

That being said, though my husband is wonderful and patient and eats poultry repeatedly without complaint, every now and then he gets a hankering.  Usually he will satisfy it when we go out to eat, but he also likes to get salmon then, because we can't have that at home as a family (though we love it), because one of my little ones is allergic.  A few weeks ago, he said he wanted to make ribs.  I suddenly felt so guilty, because in almost 13 years of marriage I can count on one hand how many times I have prepared beef or pork for him.  So, I promised to make him ribs.  And I did.  And they were not cooked enough and were a flop.  I felt awful.

I wanted to try and again and last night I did!  And SUCCESS!!  He loved them, and so did everyone else.  My parents were visiting and my dad said they were among the best he has ever had!!  And he's old!!  ;-)
The BBQ sauce is also awesome on chicken, which I ate.  Enjoy!!

dry rub recipe adapted from : alton-brown

  • 1 rack of ribs
  • 4 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 1/2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. old bay seasoning
  • 1 shallot diced fine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used part sweet BBQ, and part smokey)
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 TBSP white wine
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
Mix all of the dry rub ingredients in a bowl.  You will use about half.  Store the rest in a baggie for next time.  Score the under membrane (silver skin) of the ribs down each rib, or remove the silver skin.  Rub the dry rub into both sides of the ribs well.  Place in foil tightly and return to refrigerator for at least an hour (I did 4 hrs, but best if 24 hours.)
Preheat the oven to 250 or 275.   Place ribs in pan or on cook sheet, still covered or wrapped in foil, and bake for 4.5-6 hrs. (I did 5.5 hours and they were fall off the bone and perfect) About an hour before serving, in a saucepan, place oil, shallot and garlic.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Dump in the wine, then add all other sauce ingredients and cook over med. heat until thick and syrupy.  Set aside when done (will continue to thicken as it cools).  About 10 minutes before serving, unwrap ribs and slather the sauce on both sides.  Will be falling apart, so be careful. Put under broiler on low for a 5-10 minutes, watching carefully, to caramelize the sauce and crisp up the ribs.