Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chocolate Friendship Cake with Fudge Icing

This is my new favorite cake.  I mean, I have to stop myself from eating the whole thing by myself.  I ate it for lunch.  Guilty.  But it provided an incredible chocolate fix. Something about the icing and cake combo... drooling just thinking about it. 

It starts with a friendship bread starter, which is super easy.  I started with 1/4 cup each, flour, milk and sugar.  Every 5 days, add another 1/4 cup of each.  (I often forget... not a science... no biggie if you forget).  I did this for 20 days...I  know that seems like an eternity, but it will go fast.  Or you can go here:   friendshipbreadkitchen for a shorter version.  After you make your first recipe, add a 1/2 cup of each (milk, sugar, flour)every 5 days.  Then on every 10th day you can make the bread, cake, pancakes, cinnamon buns or whatever strikes your fancy.  This is a link for a trillion other recipes. friendshipbreadkitchen.  You will use anywhere from a cup to two cups and have leftover to keep it going to make more yummy recipes.  I made waffles with it that were amazing!

Okay, so make the starter, make this cake, with a gallon of milk on standby, and eat the whole thing.  Because you know you want to. 

  • scant 2 cups Amish Friendship Bread Starter 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  •  1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup coconut oil plus 1/2 cup drained applesauce)
  •  1 cup sugar 
  •  1 large box of chocolate instant pudding
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use mix of oat, unbleached and whole wheat)
  •  1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  •  1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, softened

Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).  Combine the dry ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl and blend well.
Add oil (I use coconut oil and drained applesauce) and sugar to the remaining batter in the bowl. Add eggs and extract, and mix well.
Incorporate dry ingredients into the wet ingredients mixing until no more dry ingredients can be seen.   Mix in chocolate chips.  Grease two large loaf pans or bundt pan.
Dust the greased pans with a mixture of sugar and cocoa powder.  Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans.
Bake for 55-70 or until the cake loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.


  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar (or more)
  • 1/2 cup milk (can start with 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan over low heat, or microwave, melt together the cocoa powder and butter. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl blend 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk in the butter/cocoa mixture. Whisk in last cup of powdered sugar.  It will be thinner than cake icing, but should not be runny per say.  Add more sugar until consistency you like, and tastes good.  Spread over cooled cake or loaves. 

Chicken Fajita Pasta

We are on our own for the next few weeks as Mr. Delectable is playing army.  No disasters yet, but it has just been 24 hours.  Give me some time.  I made this dish a few days before he left.  Awhile back I had made an enchilada pasta that was delicious.  He like this one better.  The pasta choice was part of it, but he really enjoyed this dish.  And so did I and all the kids for that matter. 
This pasta was one I got in my head and had to make.  Like immediately.  It gave me my Mexican food fix, but with my Italian heritage working it's way in.  Gotta represent, ya know?  I looked on the web, as I had a specific idea in my head.  The pioneer woman and her never ending great recipes had one that I could readily adapt to my ideas.  If you want to see the step by step, how I cooked my chicken and pepper/onion mixture, click on the link.  I didn't add the tomatoes until the end, because I wanted the fresh raw tomato taste.  Warm, but raw.
Let me advise here...  do not skip the lime zest with the chicken.  It brightens the flavor and just melds so well... like peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and peanut butter, whipped cream and strawberries.... you get the message, right?   Like uber yum.  My son exclaimed (and I do say, it was an exclaimation!) "MMMM, MMM!  This chicken is so good and juicy!".  Yeah.  Good stuff.
inspired by: thepioneerwoman


  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
  • zest of one lime (save lime for end)
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
  • 1 pound whole grain linguini
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1 Large sweet Onion, Sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 vine ripened Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  •  4 TBSP Chopped Fresh Cilantro, or to taste
  • avocado
  • cheddar cheese
  • light sour cream (Greek yogurt did not work for substitute here)


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!
Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice, and lime zest over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Chill for 20 minutes while you chop veggies.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet (iron skillet works great!) over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes, depending on size of chicken cubes. Flip to the other side and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.
Repeat with remaining chicken (adding oil and butter if needed). Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.
Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions.. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan.
Add 1 TBSP butter to the pan and 1 TBSP flour. With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze and whisking in flour butter mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low,  and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, and/or salt to taste. 
Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, to include the diced tomatoes, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.
Top with chopped fresh cilantro, fresh squeeze of lime juice, sour cream, cheese, avocado and chow down!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TWD: BWJ Popovers


Today my Army husband was taking off to play army in a land far away.  He was able to have the morning "off" to prepare for his voyage.  I didn't get to these earlier, so I decided to make them this morning.  I have always wanted to make popovers.  But they seemed so complex, finicky and difficult.  Not that I had ever looked at a recipe for them.  It was a bread, which meant leaving right?  Wrong.  Mine would never "popover" like they are supposed to,  right?  Wrong.

These are possibly the easiest "bread" I have ever made.  We had them for breakfast with raspberry jam, butter and honey and fresh strawberries.  I liked them with just butter.  Lots of it.  These little beauties are best eaten warm right out of the oven.  They have a light, flaky, delicate crust and are hollow on the inside with a custard like bread stuck to the crust.  We enjoyed them.

The ones in the popover tin came out much better than the muffin tin that it said you could use.  I would not use the muffin tin again.  The difference is clear, no?  And the bottoms of those cooked in the muffin tin were burnt.

I used my normal flour mix from my canister, which is a mix of all purpose, whole wheat white and oat.  I also did not cook the full time at 425.  I took off 3 or minutes because it was getting too brown.

Seriously though, these are sooooo easy!  Enjoy!  Thank you to Paula and Amy for hosting.  Clink on the link for the recipe!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf

Today is my daughter's 9th birthday.  And she has mono.  Happy Birthday, right?  Not so much.  We are going to try to make it a nice day for her.  Kinda hard when you feel like you got hit by a mack truck. 

So, I love pilaf, but am not a plain rice fan.  Actually, I hate plain brown or white rice with butter.  HATE.  But you give me a pilaf or something that has flavor,  I can hang.  I know by cooking in chicken broth you can bring a bunch of flavor to rice, which I have done countless times.  My problem is chicken broth costs a buck and while it leaves all the flavor, the liquid is gone.  I find seasoning can give you the same great flavor, and at pennies to the dollar.  I add some veggies to my pilaf to up the nutritional content (any way to sneak in extras!) and used quinoa instead of rice to up the fiber and protein.  Takes minutes to throw together and is pretty foolproof.  My kids love it.  Bonus.


  • 2 cups water (I add a tad extra when I add veggies, like 1 TSBP)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 baby carrots finely diced
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas  (opt., I forgot 'em)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp herb seasoning (I used parsley and Italian seasoning blend)

Place it all in a pot.  Boil for 10-15 minutes until liquid all absorbs.  Some say covered, some say uncovered.  I covered, then uncovered about halfway through to allow greater evaporation. 

Easy (skinny) Baked Chicken

I know I have not blogged much lately.  I intend to get better.  I really do.  Then I don't.  I think I am getting overwhelmed and maybe going through a mini depression because my husband is soon to deploy.  I think I need to get a thing of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and use a king sized candy bar for a spoon.  But then the guilt over eating it would prove too much, and I would slip further into a depression.  Why, oh why, can't chocolate have the caloric value of celery?  I often wonder if food will be calorie free in heaven. 
Wow, yeah, reading the above paragraph confirms.  I need help. 

This chicken is a variation on one my mom used to make while I was growing up.  Super simple, so flavorful and moist.  I used greek mayo to try to cut the calories and fat and it was outstanding.  It turns a beautiful golden brown while baking and the crumbs even get a little crispy.  Love this chicken.  And about 5 minutes to get it in the oven.  Who doesn't love that?  Last night, this chicken brought a little light into my pity party.  But now, it's gone.  Poor me.  ;-)

  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken breast, boneless skinless (about 4 good sized chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup Greek nonfat yogurt or light mayo
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheet with foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  In a bowl place yogurt.  In another bowl, place bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.  Mix well.  Smear chicken with a generous layer of Greek yogurt.   Cover the yogurt covered chicken with the bread crumb mixture thoroughly, making sure it completely covered.  Place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until golden in color and cooked through.  Some of the juiced will escape like in the below picture and mix with the yogurt.  Looks funky, but that stuff is even yummy.