Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Orange Juice Cake

My mom has talked about this cake for as long as I can remember, but I was not able to try it myself until recently. Right after my little girl was born, I was lucky enough to have my mother come down to spend a week with us. We didn't get to all of the baking/cooking that we had originally planned, but we did finally get this cake made. We had so much fun playing with the kids that not much of anything else got accomplished! :)

This cake is a very simple cake, and is one that I would think of as more of a breakfast cake. It was great served with a nice cup of coffee. The orange flavoring is nice and mild, not at all overwhelming. It is easy to put together and definitely is one that I would make again. From what I understand, it was my grandmother's "signature cake" and I look forward to keeping the recipe going in our family!

Orange Juice Cake

1/4 pound butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins (optional-- I did not include these)
1 orange rind

For glaze:
juice from one orange
1/2 cup sugar

Cream the butter and one cup of sugar. Add the eggs and sour cream. Mix well. Agg eggs, sour cream, flour, baking soda, raisins, and orange rind. Pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the cake is almost done, boil orange juice with 1/2 cup of sugar. Pour slowly over hot cake. When the cake is cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Source: Millie Hult

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Apple Turnovers

Many of the recipes that I have found for Apple Turnovers use Puff Pastry as the crust. I've been looking for one made completely from scratch, but was a bit intimidated by the process involved. With this particular one, while I did plenty of complaining during the time-consuming dough making process, I have to say that it was well worth every minute spent! The only thing better than the taste of this pastry was the smell as they came out of the oven. I've already been thinking about all of the great options for different fillings that I can't wait to try! Each recipe does make eight turnovers, but if you choose to make more than that, they do reheat well as long as you keep them in the refrigerator.
Apple Turnovers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 large cooking apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
For glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon water
Prepare pastry dough: In medium bowl, with fork, stir flour and salt. With pastry blender, cut 1/2 cup butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cold water, a tablespoon at a time, into the mixture, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition until the dough is just moist enough to hold together. With hands, shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into an 18" by 8" rectangle. Cut 4 tablespoons of butter into thin slices. Starting at one of the 8" sides, place butter slices over two-thirds of the rectangle to about 1/2 inch from the edge of the dough. Fold the unbuttered third of the dough over the middle third. Fold the opposite end of the dough over to make a 8" by 6" rectangle. Roll out the dough again into an 18" by 8" rectangle. Slice the remaining butter; place slices on dough and fold as before. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll out the folded dough into an 18" by 8" rectangle. Fold rectangle lengthwise then crosswise; wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel, core, and slice apples. In a one quart saucepan over low heat, cook apples with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon, stirring frequently, until apples are tender. Refrigerate until cool.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut dough crosswise in half. On a lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll out half into a 12 inch square. Keep the remaining dough refrigerated. Cut the square into 6 inch squares. In cup, with fork, beat egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the egg mixture over the dough squares. Spoon one-eighth of the apple mixture in the center of each square. Fold diagonally in half and press edges to seal. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Refrigerate. Repeat with remaining dough and apple mixture. Brush the turnovers with the egg mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Cool on wire rack.
Prepare glaze, mixing the confectioners sugar with the water. With a spoon, drizzle it over the turnovers. Allow the glaze to set before serving.


While pregnant, there was a period of time when I was restricted to bed rest. For a little over a week of this period, I was on strict bed rest and was hospitalized downtown. The hardest thing about the experience (besides the complete boredom!) was being away from my husband and son for a long stretches of time. Knowing how difficult this was, my good friend Christy made plans to send dinner with my husband and son during one of their visits to the hospital. This stromboli sandwich was what she made. One of my new favorite memories is of the three of us camped out on the hospital bed, devouring this sandwich together, while watching one of my son's cartoons that also came along for the visit. My little boy tends to be a picky eater, but this is one dish that he will cooperate with every time! As he gets older, it is probably an easy way to
sneak some extra vegetables into his diet as well. I followed Christy's recipe exactly, with the exception of the poppy seeds on top (only because I didn't have any in the house).


1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 medium green pepper, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon butter
2 loaves (16-ounces each) frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 pound thinly sliced hard salami
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound sliced mild cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in butter until crisp-tender; set aside.
On two greased baking sheets, roll each loaf of dough into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Arrange the salami, ham and cheeses lengthwise over half of each rectangle to within 1/2 in. of edges. Top with onion mixture; sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal well.

Brush with the egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool loaves for 5 minutes before slicing.

Source: Christy's Kitchen Creations

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

One of the biggest downfalls of living in central Indiana is the lack of truly authentic, good-quality Chinese food. Other than PF Changs, where the closest location is 30 minutes away, there really aren't any options that I can get too excited about. Due to this, I am always on the lookout for a good Chinese food recipe! When my sister, Rachel, emailed this one-- I knew it was one that I would have to try fairly quickly. She commented that the chicken had a taste and texture that was more like a Chinese restaurant than anything else she had made at home before. I would have to agree with her! The dish was very fresh, had great flavor, and was very easy to throw together. She did mention that mushrooms would be a great addition, but she left them out as her husband is not a fan of them. I wanted to make it her way for the first time, but would definitely add mushrooms with my next attempt.
Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves
12 tablespoons cornstarch
8 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
4 stalks sliced celery
4 thinly sliced carrots
2-3 small onions, cut into wedges
3 cups water
3 bouillon cubes
minced garlic (to taste)

Cut chicken into 1/2-in. strips; place in a resealable plastic bag. Add cornstarch and toss to coat. Combine soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder; add to bag and shake well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil; stir-fry chicken until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and keep warm. Add remaining oil; stir- fry broccoli, celery, carrots, onion, and minced garlic for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add water and bouillon. Return chicken to pan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
Source: Rachel Guajardo

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Typically, I wouldn't think to blog about a dessert made primarily from boxed mixes. . . but this particular one was so good that I had to share! Bakerella listed these brownies as the perfect way to blow your New Years' Resolution, and I couldn't agree more! We had some friends over for dinner and I wanted to come up with a quick dessert that I could throw together inbetween the kids' naps. This one was quick to make, but it did require a lot of time to actually set up properly. I ended up serving them with the tops still a bit gooey, but after the ganache had time to set they were much more easily managed.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies
1 box Betty Crocker Hershey's Original Brownie Mix (plus ingredients to make the brownies as directed)
1 bag Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (plus ingredients to make the cookies as directed)
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons butter
Make the brownies according to the package directions. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish. In a separate bowl, make the cookie dough according to the package directions. Drop the cookie dough by rounded teaspoon into the brownie batter, spacing evenly. Lightly press the cookie dough balls into the brownie batter. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely (for about an hour).
In a small saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons of butter with the heavy whipping cream. Remove the pan from the heat just before it boils. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate chips to melt. Stir the chocolate until smooth. Pour evenly over the brownies and let set before cutting.
Source: Bakerella

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

Let me begin by apologizing for my horrible photograph of this delicious soup! I love my digital camera, but it certainly isn't the best for close-up food photos!

In my opinion, there is nothing better on a cold, winter day than a steaming bowl of soup. This particular one was perfectly satisfying! I was looking for a heartier soup to share with friends and this one did not disappoint. I knew I wanted to try it the moment I saw it on Brown Eyed Baker, but lost track of it until she recently re-listed it as a favorite for the previous year. I adjusted the seasoning a bit for my family's taste, but otherwise followed her recipe as listed. Brown Eyed Baker did suggest using italian sausage in place of regular ground beef, and I am so glad that I followed her advice. The sausage was a perfect addition to the soup and is definitely the only way that I would make it from now on. When paired with a fresh, crusty bread, this soup makes a perfect winter meal.

Pasta Fagioli

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 package sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

½ large (or 1 medium) onion. finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 carrots, thinly sliced

4 stalks celery, thinly sliced

28 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

64 oz. beef broth

28 ounce can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

4 oz. small dry pasta (Ditalini was recommended but I had a difficult time locating it)

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large stockpot over medium high heat, and brown the sausage, crumbling it as it cooks. Once brown, remove sausage from pot with a slotted spoon and discard any grease that remains in the pot. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pot, and add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and saute over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add sausage back to the pot, add the can of diced tomatoes (do not drain), stir briefly, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, and add the beef broth and tomato sauce. Add in all of the seasonings, stir well, turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, turn down to low heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add the dry pasta and continue to simmer on low for another 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread or crackers.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Welcome to my new blog! I was inspired by a great friend to begin sharing recipes through this blog format. Some of the recipes you find on this site will be 'tried and true' favorites, while others will be new recipes that I have found to share with my family. With a picky toddler at home, I am always looking for new things to try that will give my little one the nutrition and calories that he needs-- without becoming a short-order cook at every mealtime. :)
This first recipe falls into the 'tried and true' category. I remember both my mother and my grandmother making these cookies when we were little. They are a quick, no-bake recipe made from ingredients that are most often on hand in the pantry. The one thing to keep in mind with this one is that while they do come together quickly, they can also be a finicky cookie. You can make them the exact same way each time, but sometimes they firm up very quickly and sometimes they need some refrigerator time in order to keep their shape. They are simple and my little one loved them! This particular batch was made while my mother was visiting, and working on them together certainly brought back a lot of great memories. I look forward to making them together with my little ones in the future!
Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
3 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar
Combine sugar, cocoa, butter, milk, and salt in a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil until thickened--about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the quick oats and vanilla. Mix well. Drop by heaping teaspoon-full onto wax paper. Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.