Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring Cheesecake Cake...

This is definitely on my MUST MAKE list!!! It is from iambaker blog & I plan to make it for a gathering we will be hosting on May 11th.

Spring Cheesecake Cake (raspberry, lemon & orange)
Raspberry Cheesecake
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5g) McCormick® Raspberry Extract
2 drops McCormick® Red food coloring
Lemon Cheesecake
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5g) McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract
Orange Cheesecake
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5g) McCormick® Pure Orange Extract
1 drop McCormick® Red food coloring
1 drop McCormick® Yellow food coloring
White Sheet Cake
1 cup (230g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, room temperature
2 and 1/4 cups (285g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
Whipped Cream
1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons (15-25 grams) confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional)
Raspberry Cheesecake
Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and egg and beat on medium speed until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Scrape down sides of mixer bowl.
With mixer on low speed, add in extract and food coloring.
Prepare an 8-inch cake pan (grease and/or butter pan then line with parchment paper) and then pour the filling into the pan.
Bake until cheesecake is set, 18-24 minutes at 325 degrees in a convection oven or 350 degrees in a regular oven. (Cheesecake can be slightly golden but not brown)
Set the cheesecake on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembling cake.
Lemon Cheesecake
Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and egg and beat on medium speed until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Scrape down sides of mixer bowl.
With mixer on low speed, add in extract.
Prepare an 8-inch cake pan (grease and/or butter pan then line with parchment paper) and then pour the filling into the pan.
Bake until cheesecake is set, 18-24 minutes at 325 degrees in a convection oven or 350 degrees in a regular oven. (Cheesecake can be slightly golden but not brown)
Set the cheesecake on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembling cake.
Orange Cheesecake
Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer fixed with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and egg and beat on medium speed until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Scrape down sides of mixer bowl.
With mixer on low speed, add in extract and food coloring.
Prepare an 8-inch cake pan (grease and/or butter pan then line with parchment paper) and then pour the filling into the pan.
Bake until cheesecake is set, 18-24 minutes at 325 degrees in a convection oven or 350 degrees in a regular oven. (Cheesecake can be slightly golden but not brown)
Set the cheesecake on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembling cake.
White Sheet Cake
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Prepare a 12x17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan by spraying with non-stick spray then lining with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed.
Add the sugar on medium speed and beat until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes.
Add in eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
With mixer on low speed, slowly pour in vanilla and then sour cream. (scrape bowl if necessary)
Mix for 1-2 minutes on medium speed or until ingredients are fully incorporated.
With mixer on low speed, pour half of the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture.
Now pour in half of the milk.
Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk and mix until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan using a small offset spatula. (be sure it is nice and level!)
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Place in freezer until ready to assemble cake.
Whipped Cream
Place your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes.
In stand mixer, whisk whipped cream for 1-2 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and beat just until stiff peaks form. (If you need a more stable whipped cream add in meringue powder. If using immediately, you can omit the meringue powder.) Chill until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml) whipped cream.
To Assemble Cake
Make sure cheesecakes and white sheet cake are chilled. Place clean 8-inch pan on top of sheet cake and run a sharp paring knife around the edge. You now have a perfect 8-inch round white cake disc. Do this again so you have 2 total.
Remove chilled orange cheesecake from pan and set on cake stand. (this is a thin cheesecake and when very chilled, can be easily popped out of the lined cake pan. You can also use a spring-form pan)
Place one 8-inch white cake on top.
Remove lemon cheesecake from pan and gently place on top of white cake.
Place other 8-inch white cake on top of lemon cheesecake.
Remove raspberry cheesecake from pan and gentle place on top of white cake.
Cover cake in chilled whipped cream and serve. (You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.)
Tips for success:
You will see that I baked a white sheet cake instead of two 8-inch rounds. This is purely for vanity purposes! I wanted the top, bottom and sides to not have any browned bits. You can certainly bake your white cake in 8-inch round pans to save yourself one step.
I loved the subtle flavors in this cake, but I encourage you to taste as you go. See if 1 teaspoon of raspberry (and lemon and orange) is enough for you and feel free to add more if it isn’t.
Food coloring is not essential in this recipe, but using just the tiniest amount helps add to the wonderful Spring theme!
Make sure everything is chilled before assembly. Working with an almost frozen white cake and very chilled cheesecakes is ideal.
You can make this over the course of 2 days if that is easier. Just make sure cheesecakes and cake are sealed in airtight containers/plastic wrap so they stay fresh before you assemble.
My husband, who is famous for not liking dessert, really really liked this cake. It really is light and flavorful and refreshing and a great way to enjoy the coming of Spring!
McCormick and I have partnered to bring you delicious treats. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this blog possible!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 2015 Newsletter

I see Your Smiling Face in the beauty of the rose,
Your Voice as You whisper in the gentle breeze that blows.
The Warmth of Your Love surrounds me from the brilliant sun.
Peace and Tranquility abound as nature shows what You've done.
Everywhere we look, Your Presence can be seen.
From lofty mountain tops, to spacious meadows green.
Your Power and Your Majesty permeate my soul within
When I stop and let all Nature speak to me again.
Paula 1985
Restaurant Favorites
Joe's Crab Shack Blue Crab Dip
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups crab meat (canned works well)
1/4 cup diced green onion
1 tablespoon minced mild red chili pepper
1 tablespoon mild green chili pepper (Anaheim)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
In bowl, combine first 7 ingredients. Mix well.
Transfer to oven safe dish (preferably a wide dish so that the dip
is only about an inch deep); sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Place in preheated broiler; broil for a few minutes until the top
begins to brown a bit.
Garnish top with a sprinkle of paprika a bit of minced fresh
Popeye's Extra-Crispy Spicy Fried Chicken with Delta Sauce
For the chicken:
3 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
4 cups flour
2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon paprika
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 quart buttermilk (optional)
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder (to taste)
1 (1 to 2½-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Peanut Oil, for frying
For the Delta Sauce:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup chili sauce
¼ cup ketchup
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
For the chicken:
Place cut-up chicken in a large bowl, and cover with buttermilk. Cover and chill for two hours, or overnight. This is an optional (but recommended) step.
In a large bowl, add eggs, water, and red pepper sauce. Whisk until combined.
In a large gallon freezer bag, mix flour, pepper, paprika, and cayenne.
Remove chicken from buttermilk (if marinated) and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Place all chicken pieces in freezer bag with flour mixture. Shake until all pieces are evenly coated.
Remove chicken pieces one at a time, shaking excess flour. Dip each piece in the egg mixture, and return to bag of flour. After all pieces of chicken have been dipped in the egg mixture and put back in the bag, give it a second shake to coat chicken pieces again.
Heat oil in deep fryer or deep pan to 350 degrees. Working in batches, drop each piece of chicken into the hot oil. Fry for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown, turning occasionally if oil does not completely cover chicken. Keep in mind that dark meat chicken takes longer to cook than white meat. Watch your wing segments, as well; these will finish cooking first.
For the Delta sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour before serving.
Red Lobster Citrus Couscous
8 ounces dry couscous
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. fresh chopped dill
1 tsp. fresh chopped mint
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 can mandarin oranges
Place water, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil in a sauce pan and
bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add couscous cover and let stand for about 7
Fold in oranges, juice, and fresh herbs.
Let stand for 2-3 minutes.
Serves 2
Olive Garden's
Herbed Risotto
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley ( 1 tsp dry)
1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano (1 tsp dry)
1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil (1 tsp dry)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped
Hold the broth warm in a saucepan.
Heat oil in a separate pot, add onions and cook 3 minutes or until
onions are soft. Add rice to onions and stir for 2 minutes. Add
white wine and let evaporate. Add broth, about 1/2 cup at a time,
stirring frequently. Wait until each additional 1/2 cup is almost
completely absorbed by the rice. Continue to add until all of the
broth has been used, or until the risotto is cooked to desired
doneness. Turn off heat, add butter, Parmesan cheese and all herbs.
Stir to combine with rice/risotto.
Transfer to large bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Finished risotto is creamy and rice is firm.
Serves 4
Banana Toffee Crépes
1 stick of butter
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
2 tbsp of light corn syrup
4 bananas, sliced
Whipped cream
Juice of one lemon
Chocolate shavings, for garnish
8 basic crepes (recipe below)
First, make crépes. Cover and keep warm. If you made your crépes
ahead of time, wrap them in foil and reheat in a 325 degrees F oven
for about 10 minutes or until warmed.
Combine butter, syrup, condensed milk and brown sugar in a medium
saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until butter melts and sugar
dissolves. Raise heat and bring to a low boil. While stirring
constantly, simmer for 8-10 minutes. The mixture will thicken and
turn a light caramel color.
Slice and peel bananas. Toss banana slices lightly with lemon juice.
Lay first crépe flat on serving plate. Spread 1/4 cup of crépe
filling across the crépe and layer 6-8 slices of bananas on top.
Fold in half and then again in quarters. Top with whipped cream and
chocolate shavings. Repeat with remaining crépes and serve
Serves 8
Basic Crépe Batter
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of melted butter
1 1/4 cups of skim milk
2 eggs
3/4 tsp of salt
Combine all ingredients into a blender and mix until well blended.
Refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes.
Place a pan on a medium-hot burner. Once hot, brush with a little
butter or oil.
Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter onto pan. Swirl the batter until it
covers the bottom of the pan.
Cook for 1-2 minutes on the first side until golden brown, then
flip and cook another 15-30 seconds on the other side.
Makes 8-10 crépes

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tarragon Chicken & Quinoa/brown rice salad

Made this last night & wanted to share, it was SO good!

Tarragon Chicken
Makes: 4 servings
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or red onion
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine or Marsala
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Season chicken on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth and wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Stir mustard, sour cream and tarragon into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken.
Per serving: 199 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 24 g protein; 0 g fiber; 316 mg sodium; 262 mg potassium.
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, red onions In lieu of shallots & Marsala Wine.

Quinoa salad
Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, uncooked*
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces or toasted sliced almonds
1 cup small grapes, half them if using large grapes
1/4 cup chopped red onion
6 radishes, sliced thinly (optional)
1 Tbsp.each fresh basil & fresh cilantro or Italian parsley chopped (mint is also a great addition)
Cook the quinoa the night before, chill. Fluff with fork. Add the celery, walnut pieces, grapes, radishes, basil & cilantro.
Season with S&P, toss with dressing.
*Tonight I used a package of pure cooked Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice w/roasted garlic
Plate on bed of baby spinach.
Can be kept refrigerated 48 hours to maintain good consistency.
For the dressing, whisk together:
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
2-3 tablespoons honey 
Honey Dijon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Honey
1/4 tsp. kosher salt & fresh ground pepper 
2 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar 
1/3 cup EVOO
Whisk together.
I used a package of Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice w/roasted garlic.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

MARCH 2015 Newsletter

March 2015 Newsletter
FINAL CHAPTER Knowing you and loving you has been a beautiful part of my life... Hurting you and causing you so much pain has been a heart wrenching part of my life. The path from that first moment we saw each other has been filled with mountaintops and valleys... Forgive me that I was unable to maintain balance on that mountain and lost my footing. Falling into a ravine from which there will never be a pathway out. Should I ever reach the top of the ravine, it breaks my heart knowing, Part of me will always remain in the depths of the ravine. The part that was able to love and reveal herself to another. Destined to journey on seeking that path and living....The Final Chapter of a lifetime to never be fulfilled again.... Paula 2005
Recipes from sites & friends that I want to try!

40 mins
10 mins
50 mins
Author: Katya @
Serves: 4
Pizza Toppings
1 sheet of puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets from 17.3 oz/1.1 lbs. pkg. which has two sheets but I only used one), thawed out overnight in refrigerator
1½ firm-ripe avocados, cubed ½ inch
2 med. tomatoes, seeded, cored and diced ½ inch
½ med. red onion, thinly sliced
1⅓ cups shredded Italian Five Cheese blend
Pizza Pesto
3 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. honey
⅛ tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp paprika
½ cup chopped cashews
⅔ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions, roughly chopped
½ Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup olive oil
Avocado Sauce
½ cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. milk
1 green onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 avocado
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
Pizza Pesto
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until throughly mixed.
Avocado Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until throughly mixed. You may need to stop the food processor and scrape the sides to blend all ingredients well.
Assembling Pizza
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface ¼" thick (it does not have to be perfectly round). Pierce the puff pasty with a fork to prevent bubbling and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet or pizza stone.
Spread the pizza pesto evenly over the puff pasty and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden crisp around the edges.
Remove the puff pasty from the oven and place the prepared tomatoes, red onions, and avocado on top.
Drizzle with Avocado Sauce as much or as little as you like and enjoy!
The ingredients listed are for one pizza, except for Pizza Pesto and Avocado Sauce, which yields enough for a second pizza. Double up the pizza topping ingredients to make a second pizza and use the second sheet of puff pasty.

From alpiner
This recipe is from a very old Presbyterian Church cook book my mil gave to me when DH & I were newly weds . The plastic binding is gone , its held together with a rubber band now , very well used .
Creamy Nut Cake
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp . baking powder
1/2 c . sugar
1 c . brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 c . shortening
1 c . milk
2 eggs
1/4 tsp . maplene
1/3 c. finely chopped nuts
Sift together first four items . Add next five items and beat 3 minutes . Then fold in finely chopped nuts . Pour into lightly greased and floured pans or line pans . Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes . Makes 2--9" layers .
Creamy Nut Icing
1/2 c. shortening (half of it should be butter )
2-1/2 T . flour
1/4 tsp . salt
1/2 c . milk
1/2 c . firmly packed brown sugar
2 or more c . sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp . vanilla
1/2 c . nut meats
Boil first 4 ingredients one minute ( it might curdle but it won't matter ) . Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat . Sift and stir in powdered sugar and cool thoroughly over cold water . ( Add more powdered sugar if necessary ) . Add vanilla and beat 'til thick . Add nut meats . Frosts 2-layer cake generously .
Like Sheila G's
YIELD: 2 1/2 dozen 2" x 1 1/2" pieces
2 oz. chocolate (65% cacao)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 egg whites
1/2 cup Diamond of California Pecans
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preparation: Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a bakesheet with parchment paper and lightly cover with non-stick spray.
Place chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30-second bursts until melted (making sure to stir in between). Once melted, stir in sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract; set aside.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda; set aside. Place eggs in a stand mixer bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high until eggs are frothy, about 3-4 minutes (mixture should resemble well lathered shampoo). Add in chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Turn mixture to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.
Spread batter onto parchment, using an offset spatula to spread mixture as thin as possible. Sprinkle pecans and mini chocolate chips on top. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan. Break up brittle with hand.
****If you want the brittle to have uniform cut pieces. remove pan at 20 minutes, using a knife score to preferred size. Return pan to oven for another 5 minutes to bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan and break apart at scored marks.
Rustic Canyon's Honeycomb Ice Cream
Honeycomb candy:
5 tablespoons sugar, preferably organic evaporated cane sugar
2 tablespoons wildflower honey, preferably organic
1 teaspoon baking soda
In a small to medium pan, combine the sugar and honey, and cook
until the sugar is melted and the mixture has turned a caramel
Remove from heat and add the baking soda all at once, quickly
stirring to evenly distribute the soda. Be careful, as the soda
will cause the sugar mixture to bubble rapidly.
Pour the honeycomb into a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment
and set aside until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes.
Break the honeycomb into big and small pieces, and store in an
airtight container until needed.
Honeycomb ice cream:
3 cups heavy whipping cream, preferably organic
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk, preferably organic
1 tablespoon vodka
Pinch of salt
Prepared honeycomb
In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Stir in the
condensed milk and whip again to soft peaks, then whisk in the
vodka and salt.
Gently fold in the honeycomb, careful not to overmix; you want a
swirl look to the ice cream. Transfer to a smaller container and
put in the freezer until firmed, 1 to 3 hours. This makes about
one-half gallon of ice cream.
Southwestern Chicken Salad in Avocado Bowls
Recipe courtesy George Stella’s “Real Food Real Easy” Cookbook
Prep Time 15 mins / Serves 4
Shopping List
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2⁄3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chunky salsa
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 avocados
1. Fold chicken, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice together in a large bowl, shredding chicken with a fork until your desired consistency is reached.
2. Cover and refrigerate chicken salad for 30 minutes for the ingredients and flavors to mingle, or skip to the next step to serve immediately.
3. When you are ready to serve, slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Use each half as a serving bowl for 1 person, stuffing chicken salad into the empty pit cavity and then mounding heaping spoonfuls over top of the entire surface of the avocado half. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
George’s Tips | When shopping, look for a chunky salsa without any added sugar or corn syrup in the ingredients list. I've found that Pace’s Chunky Salsa does not add sugar and they should be readily available in any grocery store.
Variation | Give the salad more texture by adding 2 tablespoons of diced green bell pepper or a few teaspoons of diced jalapeño pepper, if you like spice. You can also serve topped with shredded Cheddar jack cheese and chopped bacon for even more great flavors!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 2015 Newsletter

FEBRUARY 2015 Newsletter
Food For Thought:
I travel along the highway...early morning, Reminiscing the past couple of days spent with you. The moments of laughter, the moments of passion, your love embracing me. Just the moments "together" fill my heart and mind. I travel along the highway.., anticipating... The next time that we spend together... The moments of laughter, the moments of passion, your love embracing me. Just the moments "together" fill my heart and mind. I travel throughout the day...early afternoon, Anticipating the times that we will spend together... The moments of laughter, the moments of passion, your love embracing me. Just the moments "together" fill my heart and mind. I travel into the evening, darkness arrives, Anxious to lie in your arms, your voice saying, "My Angel"... The moments of laughter, the moments of passion, your love embracing me. Just the moments "together" fill my heart and mind. I travel into the days... that lie ahead, Longing to spend my days and nights with you. The moments of laughter, the moments of passion, your love embracing me. Just the moments "together" fill my heart and mind. Paula 2010


My recipe was inspired by Paschal Manale's and Paul Prudhomme.
Creole BBQ Shrimp
Adapted from Pascale’s Manale, New Orleans
Yields: 4 servings
Here’s a dish with a big misnomer, since the shrimp don’t go anywhere near a barbecue. This very rich dish was created at Pascale’s Manale restaurant in New Orleans, made there with heads-on shrimp and baked, not barbecued, with plenty of butter. A casserole of these will go fast.
8 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. fresh snipped rosemary
2 teaspoons Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, deveined, shell on (I use Royal Reds)
1/2 Amber beer
3 lemons (2 to squeeze and one sliced into thin rings)
Salt, to taste
1. Heat a large sauté pan (large enough to hold the shrimp in one layer) or a 9x13 baking dish. Add the butter, oil, garlic, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and hot pepper sauce; stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the beer. Add the shrimp and toss in the sauce, and even them out in one layer. Squeeze lemons over the entire area. Sprinkle with salt, cover with sliced lemons and place in a preheated 375° oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are just done, tossing them once.
2. Serve in soup bowls with the sauce and crusty Italian bread on the side.
Made these sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday last year and they are SO good! Enjoy!
Italian Beef Sandwiches
1 (3 to 4 1/2 lbs) beef roast, trimmed
1 can (12 ounces) beer (you choose the flavor), or use 1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 12-oz. jar sliced Pepperoncini peppers, with the liquid
Spicy Mustard or Dijon Mustard
Hard Rolls, Ciabatta Rolls, French Bread, etc.
Pour beer or beef broth into crock pot. Drain liquid from pepperoncini into crockpot. Stir in the salad dressing mix until well-blended. Place about half of the peppers in the crockpot. Trim fat from the roast; place in crock pot on top of peppers. Top roast with remaining peppers. Cook Italian beef on low 8 to 10 hours Remove cooked roast from crockpot; cool slightly. While still warm, pull roast with two forks to shred. Toast split rolls, add 2 slices Provolone cheese. Spread with Dijon or Spicy Mustard. To serve, ladle small amount of warm liquid from crock over split roll or bread, top with shredded beef, then follow with more beef liquid as desired. Serve with additional peppers on the side and small bowl of the au jus for dipping your sandwich.
Serves 12 to 16
Serve with forks and a stack of napkins.
Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Croutons
from Splendid Soups and Spectacular Sides
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup quartered button mushrooms ( I used Baby Bellas)
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 tsp minced garlic (I used 4 large cloves, minced)
1 1/2 cups diced red potatoes (I used, unpeeled red potatoes)
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp dry sherry (I used 1/2 cup Dry Vermouth)
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken ( I cut and sautéed 3 chicken breasts in 2 Tbsp. Olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dry)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp. dry)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste (I didn't find it necessary to add any more salt or pepper)
Puff Pastry Croutons
Melt butter over medium high heat in the pot you will use to make the soup.
Sauté onion, celery, mushrooms, carrot and garlic for about 4 minutes.
Add potatoes and cook about 3 minutes more. Whisk in the flour and cook a couple of minutes to
get rid of the raw taste. Deglaze pan with sherry. Stir in broth, chicken,
thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil,
then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked through
and the mixture has slightly thickened. Stir in the corn, peas, parsley and lemon juice.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls and top with croutons.
Puff Pastry Croutons
1 ***** frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
kosher salt
grated Parmesan (about 1/4 cup)
paprika (about 1 tsp., I used Smoked Paprika)
Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking ***** with parchment or Silpat.
Roll pastry out on floured surface to 1/4" thick. Beat egg with water and brush over dough.
Sprinkle with salt, Parmesan and paprika. Cut in 1 1/2" squares and transfer to baking *****.
Bake 15-20 minutes or till puffed and golden brown.
A favorite at the restaurant! ENJOY!
Chicken Pomodoro Pasta w/Eggplant Parmesan!
Pomodoro Pasta and Eggplant Parmesan
This was a big hit at the Valentine's Dinner, Spirit of Athens Luncheonand our weekend dinner feature this week where I served it recently. I did also serve it with a Grilled Chicken Breast, cut on the bias, topping the Pomodoro Pasta and a Baguette for sopping up that wonderful sauce! The flavors of the sauce are SO fresh!
Paula's Pomodoro Pasta
12 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup onion or shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1-28oz. can Italian Plum tomatoes with basil (I prefer San Marzano) hand crush tomatoes before adding to sauce
1 Tbsp. chicken base
crushed red pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In large skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add Balsamic and wine to deglaze. Add next 5 ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Reserve 1 cup of sauce for Eggplant.Toss with Angel Hair Pasta and serve. Garnish with additional basil and shaved Parmesan cheese.
Eggplant Parmesan
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/4" slices
2 eggs mixed with 1/2 cup milk
Self Rising flour
2 cups Panko bread crumbs seasoned with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2" oil in skillet for frying
reserved pomodoro sauce
1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Place eggplant in colander and season with salt. Let stand 20-30 minutes.
In 3 shallow flour, egg mixture and bread crumb mixture. Dredge each slice in flour, egg wash & bread crumbs. Fry in preheated oil until golden, turning once. Place on parchment lined baking pan. Top each with dollop of sauce and sprinkling of shaved Parmesan. Bake in 350 preheated oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese. Serve immediately.
I'm not Italian, nor do I claim to cook like my Italian friends...but if it's really good and pleasing to friends and family, I'm willing to share it!
I'm not much on Chocolate but this is by far the Very Best Cake and Icing "EVER" known to man. This icing is great on brownies and on top of any homemade ice cream.
Layer Yellow cake with Homemade Fudge Icing
Make the icing first~ What you'll need:
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 blocks unsweetened baking chocolate
2 5-oz. cans evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
In a large, heavy 'pan' over medium-low heat add the sugar, chocolate, milk, butter, and vanilla all at one time. Cook slowly until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Do not let this boil. It is important to make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved and no texture remains.
For the Cake layers~ What you'll need:
1 cup butter (room temp= unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs (room temp)
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Now let's make and assemble this baby!!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8” cake pans with shortening and set aside.
1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Crack all the eggs in a separate bowl and add the eggs all at once and beat until well mixed.
2.Add the flour and water alternately, beginning and ending with flour. *Note: It is normal for the batter to appear curdled. Don't freak out!!
3. Mix in the vanilla.
Now, pour approximately 3/4 cup batter into each greased prepared pan. Smooth the batter to the edges of the pans. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until layers are barely golden on top. Remove from oven and turn out onto cooling racks.
If you don't have enough pans, clean the pans, grease them and repeat baking. When next set of layers go into the oven, begin icing the cake.
Place a still-warm layer on a cardboard round set atop a cooling rack inside a baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup icing on the layer spreading it gently to the edges. Top with the next layer and repeat.
When all layers have been stacked and iced, spread remaining icing over top and sides of the cake. If the icing becomes thick, return the pan to "very low"heat until it returns to spreading consistency.
Use 8-10 pans.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 2015 Newsletter



You happen upon them when least expected...
friends from days gone by, sometime since you've seen them...
Yet that bond of friendship is rekindled in a moment...
Cherished memories recalled...some happy times, others trying
times that you have been through together.
Old friends and new friends are necessary in life...
They are the family we choose.

Paula 2011

House-Autry Pork Chops


    Hush Puppy with Onion Mix (House Autry or other)
    Thawed pork chops (can be thin or thick cut)
    Vegetable oil for frying


    Pour oil into a skillet to a depth of about 1/4 of an inch. Place on medium high heat while you prepare the chops.
    Pour about a cup of hush puppy mix in a bowl. Press each side of each pork chop down into the mix. Turn heat down to medium and carefully place chops in hot oil. Cook until browned on bottom and then turn, continuing to cook until browned on the top and no longer pink in the center.
    Remove to place on a paper towel lined plate before serving.


Monte Cristo Skillet
winner of the Lodge Cornbread Festival

    1 (6 oz.) package Martha White® Cotton CountryTM Cornbread Mix
    Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    1-1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
    1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
    1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
    4 large eggs
    1 cup milk
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons honey mustard, divided
    1-1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 cup Smucker's® Currant Jelly
    Powdered sugar


    PREPARE cornbread mix according to package directions, except bake in a 10 1/2-inch cast iron skillet (cornbread will be thin). Remove cornbread from skillet; cool and cut into cubes. Wipe out skillet with paper towels; spray generously with no-stick cooking spray.
    HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cornbread cubes in skillet. Top with turkey, ham and cheese. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour evenly over ingredients in skillet. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
    MELT currant jelly by warming slightly. Add 1 tablespoon honey mustard; whisk to blend.
    REMOVE skillet from oven. Cut in wedges, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with currant jelly and mustard sauce.


Chicken Lombardy

Recipe courtesy: The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 T butter, melted
3-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup flour (season w/salt & pepper)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup Marsala
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz.) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped

Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place in Ziploc bag and flatten to 1/8 inch thickness using meat mallet.

Cook mushrooms in two Tablespoons butter, in large skillet, until tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

Place flour in shallow dish. Season w/salt & pepper. OR, season each one individually, which I do because I feel they are seasoned better. Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Place 5 or 6 pieces of chicken in 1 to 2 T. butter in large skillet; cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserve pan drippings in skillet. Sprinkle reserved mushrooms over chicken.

Add wine and broth to skillet to deglaze. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper (taste first before adding salt & pepper.) Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.

Bake uncovered at 450 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes. Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or until browned.


Hasselback Garlic Potatoes w/ Bacon & Cheese Recipe!

For many people, Hasselback style potatoes are nothing new.
Make some slices in a potato, bake, and it magically fans out into an impressive looking potato with LOTS of character indeed, making for a brilliant addition to any meal!

16 ounces potatoes
3 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper
Fresh chives (diced)
Bacon (cut into large chunks)
Shredded Cheese of your choice- 1-cup
Sour Cream, recipe follows**

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a wooden spoon as a cradle, place each potato in the spoon and make several parallel slits into each potato top making sure not to slice completely through.

Place 3 garlic slices between slits at the crown of each potato. Toss in a medium bowl with butter and olive oil.

Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

When the potatoes begin to “fan out” it’s time to make the magic happen.Carefully slip a hunk of bacon into each slit of the potato like so and continue to cook

Once the potatoes and bacon are fully cooked (use a knife poke test), coat the potatoes with heaping helping of shredded cheese. .

Bake until tops are crispy and potatoes are cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and top with Herbed Sour Cream and chives.

Herbed Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Season, to taste, and refrigerate until use.


Chocolate Blackout Cake
Serves 10 to 12

Be sure to give the pudding and the cake enough time to cool or you'll end up with runny pudding and gummy cake.


1 1/4 cups  granulated sugar
1/4 cup  cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon  table salt
2 cups  half-and-half
1 cup  whole milk
6 ounces  unsweetened chocolate , chopped
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract


8 tablespoons  unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting pans
2 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon  salt
3/4 cup  Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup  brewed coffee
1 cup  buttermilk
1 cup  packed light brown sugar
1 cup  granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

1. For the pudding: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half, and milk in large saucepan. Set pan over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk constantly until chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and transfer pudding to large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

2. For the cake layers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.

3. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in flour mixture.

4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.

5. To assemble the cake: Cut each cake in half horizontally. Crumble one cake layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup pudding over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup pudding and last cake layer. Spread remaining pudding evenly over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle cake crumbs evenly over top and sides of cake, pressing lightly to adhere crumbs. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)