June 24, 2016

Red, White and Blue Trifle

July is one of my favorite months.  I guess that's because it's our wedding anniversary and my birthday month and best of all it's SUMMER.  This is a recipe that every time I serve it I get rave reviews.  It's a great summer dessert that is cool and refreshing and perfect for the 4th of July.  This recipe is for a trifle bowl but can also be made into individual servings, as pictured. 
Have a happy and safe 4th of July.

Red, White and Blue Trifle

1 angel food cake
1 small package fresh blueberries
1 16 oz. package fresh strawberries (add sugar and crush a little to make juice)
1 small bag fresh frozen raspberries (thaw and add sugar to taste and make juice)
1 pint whipping cream (whip and sweeten)
1 small package instant vanilla pudding (make as package directs)

Tear cake into small chunks as you go along.  Layer, for example:  pieces of cake, several spoonfuls of raspberries, several spoonfuls of pudding,  sprinkle some blueberries, pieces of cake, several spoonfuls of strawberries, several spoonfuls of whipped cream, sprinkle some blueberries.  Keep layering until trifle bowl is full or all ingredients are gone.  Chill for at least one hour.

TIPS:  Use the juice when you are spooning on the fruit, you want your cake to have a little juice soak in.  Also don't forget to make the top pretty.  Serve cold.

June 8, 2016

Sugar Cookies W/Cream Cheese Frosting

I hosted a bridal shower this month and thought I would make my favorite sugar cookie recipe and this time instead of my usual glaze I thought I would fancy them up with a cream cheese frosting rose. The combination was really delicious. You can make these a day or two ahead of time and they just seem to taste better day by day. I store them in a big rectangle container with a lid that way they won't be touched. The wonderful thing about this dough is that it doesn't need to be refrigerated first.  I did use a little flour when I rolled them out and it made all the difference in the world because my dough is always a little sticky.

Cookie Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/2 cups flour

With mixer cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs and mix well.  Add milk and vanilla and blend.

Add salt, baking powder, and flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is soft and blended

Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin.  Roll out half of the dough 1/4 inch thick, cut into shapes with cookie cutter. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Use all the dough, it doesn't matter if you handle it a lot.

Bake for 8-9 minutes at 375 degrees. Yep that's the right time, any longer and your cookies will not be soft. I know they look under baked but trust me on this. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before putting them on a cooling rack.

Make sure cookies are really cool before you frost them.

Makes 20 2 inch round.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 8 oz. bar cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In bowl of electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually add in powdered sugar, on cup at a time. Blend until creamy with no lumps. Color if using food coloring. I always use gel food coloring. Remember a drop at a time until you have the desired color.

If you want to make the rose design use a 1M Wilton tip and start in the middle of the cookie and swirl it clockwise.

May 30, 2016


Have you ever heard of Stewfato? It means stewed chicken and it's yummy.  Of course anything I put on mashed potatoes I will love.  This recipe is adapted from the food channel and they put their Stewfato on polenta but that's not for me, mashed potatoes all the way but if your a polenta person go ahead and go for it. I'm sure it's just as delicious.

8 chicken thighs or more if you have a large enough pan. There will be plenty of sauce.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped.  If you have a Trader Joe's near you they have little frozen cubes, so handy.        
                                        It's in a square packet and you just pop one out. 1 cube equals 1 clove.
1 pound sliced button mushrooms
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste 
1/2 cup white wine, I use Chardonnay
large pinch cinnamon, yes cinnamon, trust me here
2 cups chicken stock or broth
freshly grated parmesan

mashed potatoes or polenta

Salt and pepper chicken. Heat a deep fry pan (4 inch at least) and add olive oil.  Brown the chicken thighs and remove them to a plate.  Add onions, carrots, garlic and salt and pepper and saute but don't brown for 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms, parsley and saute 2 minutes.  Add the chicken back to the pan with tomato paste, wine and give everything a dusting of cinnamon. Mix it all well and add chicken broth, stir well. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer on low for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until sauce gets a little thicker, approximately 15 minutes more.

Serve over mashed potatoes and garnish with freshly grated parmesan and parsley.

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

May 20, 2016

Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

I love the combination of chocolate and fruit, especially raspberries or strawberries. In this case I added raspberries, Hershey's unsweetened cocoa and milk chocolate chips. It's a little bit of decadence with a traditional banana bread recipe. Yum!

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Whisk these dry ingredients in separate bowl and set aside.

Add to large mixer bowl:
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 large mashed bananas
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt OR sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix well until totally creamed together.

Add flour mixture to wet mixture and blend until totally combined.

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (or semi sweet if that's what you like)
6 oz. container fresh raspberries
Gently mix together.

Pour mixture into sprayed 9x5 glass or metal loaf pan. Bake on 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.