bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cranberry Nutmeg Breakfast Cake

This is one of those recipes I almost picked for Secret Recipe Club. (I ended up going with these amazing enchiladas instead)  But this cake just sounded so good, I had to go back and try it.  I'm really glad I did, because this is one good cake!  I like to make coffee cakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and things like that for Sabbath morning breakfast.  I bake on Friday, and we have something yummy to eat over the weekend.  I think this one is going to show up on a regular basis.

Cranberry Nutmeg Breakfast Cake
adapted from Jessie Weaver

  • 4 T butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh (or frozen) cranberries, coarsely chopped*
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut
  1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well.  Stir in vanilla, sour cream, and milk.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and stir in.  Fold in cranberries.
  3. Spread batter into greased 13" x 9" pan.
  4. Mix all ingredients for topping and spread evenly over batter. 
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes in 375° F oven or until topping is browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

This is a really moist, not-too-sweet cake.  I cut the sugar down a little from Jessie's recipe, but then I added the topping, so it's definitely sweet enough.  The cranberries add just the right touch of tartness in every bite.

We really enjoyed this.  Did I say that already?  Yes, it's really good!  Next time (see - next time - I am definitely going to be making this again) I am going to bake it in two round cake pans, the foil disposable kind.  The foil cake pans fit just perfectly into a gallon-size zipper bag.  I used to do that all the time when I made Overnight Coffee Cake when the kids were little. 

Then they got bigger and ate more coffee cake, and I started just baking it in a 13" x 9" pan.  Now that the kids are grown and it's just the two of us, I think it's time to go back to baking two smaller cakes and freezing one.  One of them will give the two of us plenty of coffee cake for the weekend, and the other one will come in really handy for another time when I don't have time to bake. 

Anyway, try this cake.  I think you'll like it, whether you bake it in a large pan, two smaller pans, or even make it into muffins, which is another possibility.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Italian Beef and Zucchini Stir Fry

I'm not sure where I originally found this recipe.  I cut it out of a magazine or something, and it's been in my recipe collection for ages.  Here's a copy of the original recipe I found over on Food.com.

Of course, I didn't follow the recipe, exactly, but I think that's part of the appeal of a recipe like this - you can substitute the ingredients you have on hand.  I didn't have any cherry tomatoes, but I did have one Roma - and a red pepper for some color.  I also added some sliced onion, because everything needs onions!

Italian Beef and Zucchini Stir Fry

  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 a medium onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 small to medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, heat oil in skillet; add beef and stir fry until partially cooked, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper and stir fry another couple minutes before adding zucchini.
  3. When zucchini is crisp tender, season with salt and pepper and then add Italian dressing and diced tomato.  Heat through.
  4. When spaghetti is cooked, add a ladle of the cooking water to skillet and set aside a little more (1/2 cup to a cup)  Drain spaghetti and add it to the skillet; mix it in and heat for a couple minutes to let everything combine.
  5. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

I used whole wheat spaghetti, which was just perfect in this, but you can use regular spaghetti too.  A green bell pepper will work in this, too if that's what you have.  It's a simple recipe with a lot of flavor, and you can adjust it to suit your tastes or to use the items you have in your kitchen.

Even the leftovers are good!  This is where the reserved pasta sauce comes in - add it to your leftovers before refrigerating them.  Pasta tends to soak up extra moisture.  If you don't add the pasta water now, you will find you need to add water when you reheat, so you might as well use the good pasta water.

I've heard that there are people who won't eat leftovers, but if you liked it the first time, wouldn't you like it a couple days later?  Sometimes it's even better reheated because the flavors have had time to blend and improve.  But that's another topic.  Just try this recipe.  You'll like it.  Oh, and if you have lots of zucchini you're trying to figure out what to do with, try this first and then pass the rest to me.  I actually had to buy the zucchini I used in this recipe because I don't have a garden again this year, which makes me very sad.   Hard to believe when I was growing up I said I didn't want to have a garden when I grew up!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Pie with Pretzel Crust

It's time again for  Secret Recipe Club (Secret Recipe Club) reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Micha's blog Cookin' Mimi.  Micha has loved cooking since she was a teenager and focuses on creating and sharing easy recipes that not only taste good but are pleasing to the family budget.  My philosophy exactly!  I think we're going to get along splendidly.  Her blog has so many recipes to choose from.  Here are just a few I thought looked amazing:

It was the pretzel crust that sold me on this one.  That, and one of my fathers-in-law (Fred) loves peanut butter pie, so I'm always looking for that perfect recipe.  This might be the one!

Peanut Butter Pie with Pretzel Crust
from Cookin' Mimi

For the crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups pretzel crumbs (about 80 mini twist pretzels)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
For the pie:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unbleached flour
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. In medium saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter, then stir in pretzel crumbs and sugar.  Press into 9" pie plate
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned around the edges. Let cool completely on a wire rack before use.
For the pie:
  1. Melt 1/2 cup butter in the saucepan; mix in sugar, flour, and salt, then add milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until bubbles start to form around edges.
  2. Beat egg yolks in a small bowl.  Slowly add 1/2 cup or so of the hot milk mixture to egg yolks, stirring the whole time.  Add egg yolk mixture to saucepan and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter.
  4. Pour into pie crust. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until well chilled.
  5. Serve with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

I tried using a zipper bag and rolling pin to make my pretzels into crumbs, but I ended up with salt and crumbs everywhere!  So I used my Ninja Master Prep, and that worked perfectly. (affiliate link)

So many peanut butter pie recipes don't really call for much peanut butter, but this one has a whole cup, and it is full of peanut butter flavor.  It's a really rich and creamy pie, so a small piece is all you really need.  At least it's all I need.  My guys would be happy with bigger pieces, but smaller pieces mean the pie lasts longer, right? 

A dollop of whipped cream - ours came from a can - and a drizzle of chocolate syrup, because peanut butter needs some chocolate, and this pie is amazing.  I also took some of the crumbs left in the pie plate and sprinkled them on top, because they just looked pretty.

Cilantro-Jalapeño Margarita

I found this recipe a while back and knew it was for me.  It has all the good stuff - cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and tequila!  Let me tell you, this is yummy!!!

Cilantro-Jalapeño Margarita
(Makes 1 cocktail) from cbs.com

  • Margarita salt
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 to 3 thin slices jalapeño (from a jalapeño that has been stemmed, halved, seeded and sliced lengthwise)
  • 2 fresh cilantro sprigs (or more; sometimes I use more)
  • 2 ounces tequila (I used Jose Cuervo Gold)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 10 ice cubes
  1. Spread the salt on a small plate. Moisten the rim of a 6-ounce glass with the lime wedge and upend the glass onto the salt to crust the rim.
  2. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the jalapeño and 1 (or 2) of the cilantro sprigs with a cocktail muddler or a wooden spoon until roughly mashed. Add the tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec, simple syrup and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking.
  3. Pour contents of the shaker into the salt-rimmed glass. Bruise the second sprig of cilantro by slapping it vigorously between your palms to release the aroma and add to the glass.  Serve immediately.

The original recipe called for straining the contents of the shaker into the glass, leaving the cilantro, jalapeño, and ice in there.  While that may be fine, I decided I like all that stuff in my drink, so I just pour everything into the glass.  It is really good!!  Of course, if you don't like cilantro or jalapeño - or salt - then this is not the drink for you.  It's definitely the drink for me.  I've had one the last two nights!  And I'm wondering why I don't make these more often.
Bartender's notes: Jalapeños vary wildly in their spiciness (as does each person's penchant for that spiciness), so you'll want to taste the one you're using and determine what you think is the perfect amount. I really love the spicy, grassy-green freshness that jalapeño infuses into this libation, a flavor that's made all the more delicious by the bruised cilantro leaves. Salt is essential in this drink, in my opinion, because of the way it dances with the jalapeño and cilantro.
-Sometimes I sprinkle additional salt right into my drink.  This is definitely a margarita that calls for salt.  Of course, I think the salt is one of the best parts of a margarita - after the tequila, of course.

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