Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peanut Butter & Banana Cake.

Happy First Day of Spring! It is finally here! They are calling for record temperatures here this week, today it is supposed to get up to 10 C (about 55 F), it is supposed to continually rise until Thursday, it is supposed to go up to about 20 C (about 70 F). Typical highs for March are about 4 C (about 40 F). None of these conversions are exact, i just checked the weather network website, changed it to F and wrote what it said there.

Late last week, I got the Spring Kraft What's cooking magazine in the mail. I found this recipe on page 14, here is a LINK to the recipe on their website. I decided to make this recipe at the last minute for a Spring/St Patrick's Day Potluck we had at work Friday. It was a toss up between this and chocolate chip cookies and since I had a lot to do Friday morning, i finally decided on the cake because i would have half an hour to get ready to go out while it baked; cookies I would have to babysit, in and out of the oven.

Peanut Butter & Banana Cake:

2 eggs.
1/2 cup oil.
1/2 cup sugar.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about  three.
1+1/2 cup flour.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/3 cup peanut butter.
1 cup icing sugar.
1/4 cup milk.

Beat eggs, oil and sugars in mixer until smooth. Add bananas, mix well. In another bowl, combine flour, powder, soda and salt. Add to banana mixture, mixing well to combine. Pour into 9 inch prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, mix all three ingredients in mixer until well combined. Spread over cake.

This was a real hit, everyone had some and there was very little leftovers. I even had to look the recipe up online because a few people wanted it! It is a great recipe for kids, just like the classic peanut butter and banana sandwich!

The cake turned out very moist, and it baked with no issues. It also just slid out of the pan, although I had sprayed it. I accidentally used Becel instead of oil (i was not paying attention), but it was warm, so it combined with the sugars nicely.

The frosting was easy and delicious! It suggested if you are short on time to just mix some peanut butter into store bought frosting, but honestly i think this way would be much easier and quicker. I don't think i used the full quarter cup of milk. I mixed the peanut butter and sugar in the mixer, then slowly added a bit of milk while it ran, until it was the proper consistency. I think it may have only taken a couple tablespoons, so be careful if you do make this.

Delicious and maybe just a little bit nutritious. I will definitely be making this one again for another potluck quickie!

Happy Spring, everyone! Hope the weather is treating you nicely to!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Almost - Lofthouse Cookies

I have always seen the sugar cookies in the stores, but never really noticed a name on them. My new tester-guinea pig loves sugar cookies of all kinds, and the Lofthouse are his favorites. Unfortunately, they are usually out of the budget most weeks, so when I found this recipe on Pintrest, we both jumped on it! I followed the Pin to a blog called Smells Like Home, it is a beautifully done site and I can't wait to dive into it deeper.

4+1/2 cups flour.
4+1/2 tsp baking powder.
3/4 tsp salt.
1+1/2 cups room temp unsalted butter.
1+1/2 cups sugar.
3 eggs.
5 tsp vanilla.

In bowl of mixer, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, blend well. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture, mixing well. Roll into ball, cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Roll and cut dough (or alternately, scoop into small balls and flatten onto cookie sheet). Bake at 350 F for ten to twelve minutes or until just set, do not over bake!! Cool on sheets for several minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely before icing.


4 to 5 cups icing sugar, sifted.
5+1/3 tbsp. melted unsalted butter.
1 tbsp vanilla.
6-7 tbsp milk (plus more, if needed).
Food colouring (optional).
Sprinkles (optional).

Mix together butter and icing sugar. Slowly add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, until spreadable consistency. Add colour if desired. Spread on cool cookies and top with sprinkles, if desired.

I love this recipe! I did not use a drop of extra flour to roll them out. They rolled between waxed paper without a single issue. Yay! So i will be making them again just for that reason. My sugar cookie man ate about 4 straight out of the oven. They are great!

We had a few issues with the icing. It might have just been the sugar i used, but it tasted powdery. I ended up adding more butter, milk, vanilla and even a bit of almond to get rid of the powder taste. His verdict is that they are "almost", but the proper ones taste like cake as a joke i said next time I will just buy a container from the supermarket. He said that would be perfect! Men :-P

The recipe stated a yield of 27, i got 37 (and this apparently justified the 4 he ate as they came out of the oven). I still had plenty of icing leftover. It has been a week and it still sits in the fridge, I am not sure what i am going to do with it. More cookies perhaps?

They turned out very good, aside from the icing issues this is definitely worth making again and again. And i am sure they are much cheaper than at the store, priced at 5 dollars for a half dozen!

Happy Friday everyone, hope everyone had a great week!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crock-pot Buffalo Chicken

Lately, I have been finding more and more recipes on Pintrest.  There are just so many out there, and with pictures! This is a recipe i found last week, on a pin that led me to a blog called My Kitchen Apron. Once again, I have not had time to go completely through her recipes, but what I have seen so far look delicious!!

This is a recipe i threw together before bed, making it ready to pack into my lunch bag while i ate breakfast. I love recipes like that!!

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken.

3 Lb frozen, boneless chicken breasts.
1 bottle Frank's Buffalo sauce.
1 pkg ranch dip mix.
2 Tbsp butter.

Put frozen chicken, wing sauce and ranch dip into crock-pot. Cook on low 6 to 7 hours. Using two forks, shred chicken and return to pot. Add butter and cook on low for an additional hour. Serve on buns or in wraps.

The first day I had some, put it between some tea biscuits. They were easy to fit into my lunch bag and i was able to keep everything separate until i was ready to eat, avoiding soggy tea biscuits. I had the rest a few days later in the wraps, and it was much spicier! It gets better with time!

This is a 6 AM picture. I got up just to shred the meat and then went back to bed. Instead of using Franks sauce, i used what I had in the fridge (Kraft, i think). This is because I got to the store to get the sauce and got sticker shock, the smallest bottle was five dollars! Ouch! i also cut the recipe down by only using two chicken breasts instead of three pounds.

This turned out really nice, i think next time if the budget allows I will make it with the proper sauce. It was quite spicy, but that is because the BBQ sauce i used was Spicy Cajun Heat. Yummy :-) This is definitely going to be a re-make, though.

The only down side I had was that it smelled quite funky cooking, it could have been because of the sauce I used, though.. best part was that it cooked from frozen, this is a great recipe to make if you forgot to take the chicken out!

Hope everyone is having a great week, it is almost over!! I have lots to do this weekend, going to visit my folks and getting ready for next weekends baby shower. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cake Ball melting snowballs.

It's hard to believe that just two days ago we had weather that rivalled any day last June. Schools were cancelled and it has been freezing rain since the wee hours of the morning, and they are calling for snow overnight. Technically, it is still winter for another six days, but i'd rather have the spring weather we had Monday than what we are getting today!

I made these cake balls upon request from the R&R committee at work. They wanted something to give to everyone to kick off St. Patrick's week, and also to commemorate the clocks moving forward, and thus the unofficial beginning of spring. They described cake balls, dripping in white chocolate and with little frowns on them. This is what I came up with:

This is before i drew the faces on them with edible markers. Cake balls are easy enough to make, i used a basic chocolate cake mix, made as per the box.

I let it cool overnight and then crumbled it, I found it easier to crumble it after i cut it in squares, it was just easier then tearing it apart. Once the cake is completely crumbled, you add icing.

I had to divide it into two bowls to mix it, as there was so much. I used a full container of store bought icing. Yummy. Once it is completely gucked up and mixed together, just roll it into balls, about the size of a Timbit (or donut hole, for those who are not in or near Canada and a Tim Horton's). They dip best if frozen, i kept them on the pans overnight before dipping.

Finally, i melted down some poor, defenceless, unsuspecting white chocolate bunnies. They are a great cheap source of chocolate. I put a teaspoonful on the waxed paper, dropped a frozen cake ball onto it, and then spooned more melted chocolate over it.

Everyone who ate them said they were great, i didn't try them because i find white chocolate to sweet. i gave mine to a co-worker who has two kids.

I got 65 cake balls out of the cake, so i had plenty of leftovers. I used the rest this morning for another recipe. They are still chilling and have one more thing to add, then i will reveal!

Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday, and that Spring has sprung wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Italian Meatball Biscuit Bake

Oh, what a busy month it has been. I can't believe it is almost half over already! I have been cooking and baking, and crafting as well. I've got all the pictures taken and just need to find the time to post it all. Some I have to wait until after the 25th, because i made something special for my sister's baby shower, and she follows my blog. Don't want to give away the secret to soon!!

This is a recipe I found on Pintrest a couple weeks ago, it led me to the Pillsbury website. Now, because it is a Pillsbury recipe, it is made with Pillsbury products. I mixed it up a bit and instead of buying the individual elements, I made them.

Italian Meatball Biscuit Bake.

8 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs, 1 inch size.
2 Pillsbury® Grands!® frozen buttermilk or southern style biscuits.
1 cup frozen bell pepper and onion stir-fry vegetables.
1/2 cup tomato pasta sauce.
1 Tbsp sliced ripe olives.
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Thaw meatballs completely and biscuits slightly in microwave. Cut each biscuit in quarters. Place in medium bowl with meatballs, green pepper, onion and olives. Add pasta sauce, toss to coat. Spoon into casserole dish, making sure everything is evenly distributed. Bake uncovered at 375 F  30 to 35 minutes, until biscuits are no longer doughy. Sprinkle with cheese, bake another few minutes until cheese is melted. 

It looks kind of funky, but it was really quite good. I spent about an hour in the kitchen making the meatballs and biscuits, but if you used the frozen stuff it would take no time at all to throw this together. 

I think i should have used a smaller dish. It burnt a bit around the edges; i mixed it all in the dish (saves dishes), and attempted to scrape it a bit, but as you can see it didn't quite work. It only makes enough for two, but I think this recipe could easily be expanded to make enough for a family sized meal or pot-luck. 

For the meatballs, i just used plain hamburger with some Italian spice sprinkled in. I cooked them in a pan and let them cool. For the biscuits, i used This Recipe, i cut two large ones and then the rest regular sized.

I stuck them in the freezer for about half an hour, since it said to only slightly thaw them, i figured it might be part of the magic. 

I was really expecting the biscuits in this recipe to be very soggy; mixing biscuits with sauce usually produces that result. But, they were still fluffy and delicious. Even sticking it in the fridge for two days didn't cause them to absorb the sauce and make them soggy; I made this on a Saturday and took the leftovers for lunch Monday. 

I think this will make a quick go-to recipe if i had the ingredients on hand. I usually don't purchase the pre-made meatballs and biscuits, nor the pre-cut veggies, they just cost to much. I took the time to make it all because it was storming and I had nothing better to do (I also made chocolate chip cookies that afternoon). So, i think the next time we have a stormy afternoon and I am bored, this recipe may come out again. 

Hope everyone is having a good week, it has been absolutely beautiful here; be broke a temperature record yesterday!!