Friday, October 30, 2009

10 Minute or Less Chocolate Cake for Two

Have any of you gotten the email about the 5 minute chocolate cake in a mug? Well, I did when pregnant with Miss A, and if I had a craving it was definitely CHOCOLATE!!! One day, I got this huge craving for chocolate and had none in the house so I decided to try this 5 minute microwave chocolate cake in a mug. I was vastly disappointed with the results and told myself never to try that again.

Well, today is Jared and I's anniversary and we will basically be celebrating it apart. Jared left for work at 5:40am, will work till 5:45pm, go to class from 6pm-8:30pm, and then is heading back to work for who knows how long so he doesn't have to work tomorrow (we have a college/career's activity). I...must...have...chocolate when I am stressed;) So I decided to give it a whirl again. I know, you're probably thinking, "Bad idea, it didn't turn out the last time and you'll be wasting ingredients when you have to throw it away." I did about 5 minutes of research looking over 4 different microwave cake recipes and then decided to combine some different aspects of each. I also looked over the different reviews to see if there were any suggested changes. Here is what I came up with and man was it delicious (btw, it is about 2 times the size of a regular slice of cake).

Cake Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp. almond
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
Chocolate Sauce Ingredients
  • 3 and 2/3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • 3 and 2/3 tablespoons boiling water
  • Dash salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Spray a medium microwave-safe bowl with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and milk; blend together.
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; blend into the mixture until smooth. Pour into greased bowl.
  4. Cover and cook in the microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched. Since all microwaves cook differently, adjust the cooking time to accommodate your machine.
  5. While cake is "cooking" in the microwave, combine sugar, cornstarch and cocoa in a 1-cup microwave safe bowl.
  6. Stir in water and salt. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir in butter and vanilla.
  7. Let the cake cool 2-3 minutes, then cover the bowl with a plate and turn both bowl and plate upside down so the cake falls onto the plate.
  8. Pour chocolate sauce over the top and let rest another 2-3 minutes.
  9. ENJOY!
You could also serve this with the 10 Minute or Less Homemade Ice Cream.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I have been wanting to make Cinnamon Raisin Bread for a couple of months now and finally decided to look up a couple of recipe. I'm hoping to attempt it in the next couple of weeks. Here are some of the highest rated reviews from a couple of different recipe sites:
  1. Worlds Best Cinnamon Raisin Bread from
  2. Cinnamon Raisin Bread I from
  3. Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bread from
  4. Cinnamon Raisin Bread (2) and Cinnamon Raisin Bread (3) from

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tip 6: Perking Up Your Coffee

The hubby and I really enjoy good coffee (well, any coffee but preferably good coffee). We like trying different flavored coffees as well as different roasts (I think Columbian is my favorite, but French isn't bad). I just bought Dark Italian roast and am looking forward to trying it.

We just watched a episode of Good Eats on Food Network ("True Brew") that gave some good info on brewing coffee (here is the article). I found it very enlightening. After watching that episode, I wondered, "Could I flavor my coffee by adding things to the grounds before percolating?" So I the next morning I tried it. I added a cinnamon stick to the grounds before percolating, and sure enough, my coffee had just a nice hint of cinnamon to it (you could also add the cinnamon stick directly to your coffee mug, but I didn't want to mess with fishing the stick out of my travel mug later).

We also like adding things like maple syrup, chocolate syrup, caramel, etc. to our cup of coffee instead of sugar.

Oh, and if you find your coffee a little on the bitter side, just add a dash of salt (no more than a dash), it brings out the flavor of the coffee while cutting through the bitterness (my husband's grandma shared this tip with him, he then shared it with me, and then Alton Brown just mentioned it in one of his shows).

My MIL gave us a coffee gift basket for a simple gourmet coffee treat and here is the recipe:
  • 1 Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Dark Chocolate w/Caramel Square (60% cacao also semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 6 oz. brewed coffee
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Whipped cream (the reddi-wip spray can works well)
  • Caramel topping (or you can use my homemade caramel ice cream topping recipe and place it in a squeeze bottle)
  • Cinnamon
  1. Place chocolate in mug, then pour coffee on top; stir until chocolate fully melts.
  2. Add milk and sugar to taste.
  3. Top with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel topping, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 28 Menu (October 25-31)

People & Animals Created with Food

I received these pics in an email entitled, "What Creative Chefs Work On When Bored."
I thought they were really neat and that they would make great food buffet decorations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10 Minute or Less Homemade Ice Cream

A friend of mine posted this recipe on Facebook today and said that she had tried it and it turned out great. I plan to try it with the kiddos and thought I'd share it with you.

  • 1/2 cup milk (I would assume whole milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons salt
  • 1 quart-sized ziploc bag
  • 1 gallon-sized ziploc bag
  1. Pour milk in quart-sized ziploc bag. Add vanilla extract and sugar, seal bag.
  2. In gallon sized ziploc, fill with ice and salt. Place the smaller bag inside the gallon sized. Wrap a towel around the big bag and shake 5 minutes...then enjoy.

Holiday Dessert Recipe Links

I received an email yesterday with links to 139 cake recipes in it i.e. 'Night Before Christmas' Coffee CakeA Cake That's Fit For A Queen, etc. They were recipes from a collection of Christmas desserts (Mrs. Claus' Kitchen), but have other recipes that would work for holidays such as Thanksgiving (Pumpkin Dump Cake), Easter (Amish Sugar Cookies), Independence Day (Barbecued Shrimp with Rosemary), etc.. I had a chance to look at a few of them and they sound delicious. I figured that if I posted links to this recipe collection here on the blog, I wouldn't lose them. ;) The collection features 6 different recipe categories:
  1. Cookies
  2. Fudge & Candy
  3. Cakes
  4. Pies
  5. Other Recipes
  6. Breads
Please let me know if you try any of the recipes from this collection (post a comment with the name of the recipe and your thoughts on it).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 27 Menu (October 18-24)

Sorry this week's menu is so late. It's been a little crazy here lately. I've been working on making bridesmaid dresses for my sister's wedding next month and then our whole family has been taking turns with a nasty head cold.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fiesta Chicken Casserole

Just happened to clip this recipe out of the local paper (found it along with an advertisement for some canned goods). It sounds real tasty so I thought that I would add it on here and try it for a future menu. Let me know how it tastes if you get a chance to try it before I do.

  • 1 package (15 oz.) refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts) or homemade pie crust
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa
  • 1 can (10.75 oz) Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
  • 2 cans (9.75 oz each) chicken breast in water, drained (or about 2 cups)
  • 1 can (about 15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the pie crusts stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or until they're easy to handle.
  2. Stir the salsa, soup, sour cream, cheese, corn, chicken and beans in a large bowl. Spoon the chicken mixture into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
  3. Unfold the pie crusts on a lightly floured surface. Lay the crusts side by side so that they overlap by about 3" in the center. Press the seam to seal. Roll the pie crust into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Place the pie crust over the chicken mixture. Trim the excess crust from the edge. Cut several slits in the crust.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week 26 Menu (October 11-17)

Being my older two munchkins are playing nicely (which rarely happens lately it seems) and the baby is napping, I think that I will go ahead and post next week's menu.

Cream of Chicken & Rice Soup

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 2 medium boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  1. Cook white & wild rice according to package instructions, then set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix chicken broth, water, onion, carrots, corn, basil, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add whole chicken breast, cover. Bring broth & chicken to a boil. Continue boiling until chicken is only slightly pink in the center. (10-15 min.)
  3. Remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces and return to broth along with bouillon cubes.
  4. In a medium bowl, melt butter. Whisk flour and milk into butter until smooth. Add to broth, stirring as you pour.
  5. Pour can of soup into saucepan and stir until mixed well. Add rice and simmer until all ingredients are thoroughly heated.

Chicken Alfredo

  • 12oz. Pasta (I like Penne or Bowtie pasta)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups half-n-half
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and then cut into 1/2" strips
  1. Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. In a small bowl, whisk together half-n-half, egg yolk, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Add to butter and stir until thickened.
  3. Toss pasta with sauce; top with chicken and more cheese. Serve family style.
You can also add broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, or even roasted red peppers. I like to serve it with fresh, homemade French Bread and herb butter (butter, garlic, herbs, and just a little bit of olive oil).

Week 25 Menu (October 4-10)

I'm trying to do more quick and easy or Crockpot meals over the next few weeks as I am going to be working on two very large sewing projects (a window treatment project for work, and the bridesmaid dresses, etc. for my sister's wedding).
  • Three Cheese Pasta with Turkey Sausage (yes, it was Hamburger Helper, which I only used because I got them for less than 75 cents!)
  • Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli, and French Bread
  • Tomato Chili with Chili Cheese Frito's, sour cream, and shredded cheddar
  • Roast Chicken, Corn, Mashed Potatoes (CLICK to see my notes on this recipe), and Dinner Rolls
  • BBQ Pork and Slaw (I use the sauce from this recipe and just add a bag of coleslaw veggie mix) Sandwiches