Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cake Technique

My husband was out of town on Father's Day, so I spent it at a potluck with a friend and her extended family. One of the desserts served was a spice cake. I commented on how good it was and asked the girl who made it (I don't even know her name) if she made it from scratch and she said "No, it's a box mix with Diet Coke." Diet Coke? What do you mean? She replaced the oil, eggs, and water with Diet Coke and it turned out great!

So here's the deal:
Substitute a can (or cup and a half) of diet soda for the wet ingredients for a cake mix (I'm not sure it works too well with butter recipes) and it turns out just as good as normal, without the added fat and cholesterol of oil and eggs. Use darker sodas (Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.) for darker cakes like chocolate and lighter sodas (Sprite, Fresca, etc.) for lighter cakes like yellow.

I made this lemon cake with Sprite Zero.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dreamy Fudge

Dreamy Fudge
4 cups sugar
1 sm. can evaporated milk
1- 16 oz. bag small marshmallows
1- 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (in addition to the bag)
2- 7 oz. chocolate bar with almonds, broken into pieces
1 cup butter, cut up (about 5 pieces per stick)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. walnuts, whole (opt)

1. Combine sugar, milk and marshmallows in a heavy pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. 2. Boil for 7 full minutes, stirring constantly. Temperature should reach about 220*.
3. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
4. Generously spray a cookie sheet (with 1" sides) and pour in fudge. Let set up for at least 2 hours.
**Can be refrigerated or frozen.**

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro Pesto
1 small-medium bunch of cilantro
3-4 cloves garlic
.25-.5c extra virgin olive oil
.5c Parmesan cheese
.25c chopped nuts (I use pecans, but pine nuts and/or walnuts are good too)

1. Wash and dry the cilantro.
2. Then mix all of the ingredients in the food processor (or a blender might work).

**If you mix it with a block of cream cheese, it makes an excellent spread/dip.**

Check out the post below...make a pesto pizza.
(The only mozzarella we had was string cheese. Go figure...)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pizza Dough

Quick and easy.

Pizza Dough
1 pkg. (or 2.25 teaspoons) yeast
1 c lukewarm water
2 T veg. (or canola) oil
1 T honey
2.5 c flour
.5 t garlic powder (opt.)
.5 t onion powder (opt.)

1. Preheat oven to 450*.
2. Mix yeast and water (in glass bowl preferably).
3. Add all other ingredients and mix by hand (grease hands for easier mixing).
4. Let sit, covered, in a greased bowl for about 5-10 minutes.
5. Flatten out and add toppings. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Classic Roux

Classic Roux
1 stick (.5 c) butter
4-5 T flour
Milk to desired thickness (I usually use at least a cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn stove to medium-medium/high depending on how fast you want to make sauce.
2. Melt butter in pan.
3. Stir in flour to form paste.
3. Slowly stir in milk until desired thickness.

Now that's just the base. Here are some meals you can use it for:
Fettuccine Alfredo sauce: Add garlic and basil to taste. Serve over noodles.
Tuna Casserole: Add 2 cans of tuna and 1 cup of cooked peas. Serve over cooked egg noodles.
Chicken and Rice Casserole: Double sauce recipe. Add basil and parsley to taste, and 8oz cream cheese. Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with cooked, shredded chicken. Sprinkle an ample amount of cooked rice over the chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and rice, toss together. Bake, uncovered, at 350* for about 20-25 minutes, or until sides are bubbling. Optional: After about 15-20 minutes in the oven, sprinkle crushed croutons or corn flakes over casserole for an added crunch.

(I used whole wheat flour for this sauce.)