Tag Archives: allrecipes.com

Fun Friday: Dump Cake for April Fools Day or any day!

4 Apr
This was a quick and easy dessert!

This was a quick and easy dessert!

In a recent What’s for Dinner Wednesday post, I mentioned that the stir fry recipe I was trying out reminded me of a cake recipe I’d once heard of called Dump Cake, because like that cake recipe, the stir fry recipe was one where you just dumped a whole bunch of ingredients in and cooked them.

That reference in my post got me thinking about Dump Cake recipes. I couldn’t remember having had one myself and I wasn’t even sure where I’d heard about Dump Cake, but I knew I had somehow, from somewhere. So of course I turned to Google and searched the term Dump Cake to see what kinds of recipes would come up and to see if Dump Cake was something I’d like to try making. As I looked, I found that they varied slightly in the types of ingredients that could go in them. Some had canned fruits, some had fresh. Some had butter: one stick or two, and some had a can of soda. They all used a yellow cake mix and all called for an optional addition of chopped walnuts.

I decided to find one somewhere in the middle. I had a can of crushed pineapple already and a yellow cake mix. I did not want to go the soda route, so I knew I’d be using butter (we use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter), but I didn’t want to use a lot. Ultimately, I chose a recipe that used a can of crushed pineapple, a can of cherry pie filling, one stick of butter and a cake mix. I did not choose to use the walnuts.

The recipe I chose was from Allrecipes.com, and it claimed to be “as easy as dumping ingredients in a pan,” and it sure was. There were enough steps for everyone to have a turn helping to make the cake. We were using this as part of this year’s April Fools Day dinner, our first ever, and the girls and I were in cahoots, creating a fun meal for their dad. Part of the fun was having a “cake” for dinner and this Dump Cake for dessert.

The “cake” for dinner was going to be heart-shaped and as it turned out, our Dump Cake turned pink, so it was a very funny meal to be eating in April.

The recipe, as it appears on Allrecipes.com is below. It truly is as easy as they say, and it was really tasty too! We had ours with a simple squirt of whipped cream, but I’m sure it’d be delicious with ice cream on top too. I’m also sure that any variety of fresh fruits would be good as well. The only thing I was unsure of was whether or not to spray my pan with non-stick spray, and I opted to do so, rather than risk the cake not coming out of the dish.

Next time you’re looking for a fun cake to make, remember my April Fools Dinner and try a Dump Cake!

DUMP CAKE BY ALLRECIPES.COM

A few ingredients were all we needed!

A few ingredients were all we needed!

INGREDIENTS

 Original recipe makes 1 – 9×13 inch cake

  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 8 ounces chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a 9×13 inch pan mix cherries and pineapple. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pineapple, and cherry mixture stir until just combined. Then sprinkle walnuts over top. Drizzle top with melted butter or margarine.
  2. Bake in a 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven for 35 or 40 minutes or until golden brown. 

    "Cake" for dinner and Dump Cake for dessert for April Fools Day!

    “Cake” for dinner and Dump Cake for dessert for April Fools Day!

Fun Friday: Spanish Flan

23 Aug
Subliminal message for me.

Subliminal message for me.

Elizabeth wanted me to make flan.

Really badly.

She saw flan featured on “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” and figured if it was so great on the show, enough that an entire episode was devoted to it, then it must be so great in real life too.

I had to make it.

She even found me a lower-fat recipe so that we could make one that everyone in our family could try.

We bought the key ingredients.

They sat on our counter for weeks.

I kept forgetting.

It’s not like I don’t ever do *anything* around here.

So I finally told her to get a piece of paper and write me a note and leave it on the table for the next day, a Friday.

I think instead of a note, I got a reminder poster. It was easily a 9×12 piece of paper.

But it worked, I remembered.

How could I forget, with a note like that?

That next day we set to work, making our flan. I personally LOVE flan. I love anything flan-like. Puddings, custards, things like that. Love them.

So I was very excited to try this out.

Recipe or science experiment? Both!

Recipe or science experiment? Both!

The recipe was easy enough to follow and it was one of those that was like a science experiment. I love that too. The sugar had to be cooked on the stove until it turned a light caramel color and liquified. The kids had never seen that before. It was neat to see and to show them.

The other very cool thing about this recipe was that you cook the flan “right side up” but you serve it upside down.

Once the sugar was liquified, Elizabeth poured it into a pie plate and it hardened right away, which was also very cool. (Cool to see, but hot to the touch, which we learned the hard way.)

She mixed the rest of the ingredients, poured them on top of the hardened sugar and then it was ready to bake for one hour.

Elizabeth was very excited that we were finally making her requested recipe.

Elizabeth was very excited that we were finally making her requested recipe.

Although the prep is relatively quick, the cooking and cooling parts in order to get to the eating part take some time.

While the flan cooked we ate our lunch, and while it cooled, we went and ran some errands. We came back hungry, perfect timing for trying out our new dessert.

I had a little bit of trouble getting the flan out of the pan. Although it was cool and we’d flipped it upside down, it wasn’t coming out. However, using a technique only known to soon-to-be-fifth-graders apparently, Elizabeth banged on the bottom of the baking dish which was now facing bottom up, and out it slid.

“See Mom? I told you that would work. I told you to do it my way,” she said.

This is how our flan looked when it came out of the oven, before we flipped it over.

This is how our flan looked when it came out of the oven, before we flipped it over.

I’m a big “I told you so” person too, so I can’t disagree. She did, in fact, state that I should try banging on the bottom of the dish.

We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon snack. We had both Cool Whip and Whipped Cream available for topping off the flan, since some people like one or the other. I had to restrain myself from having more than one piece. I was trying to lead by example, but I really wanted at least two slices. I had to walk away. Literally.

Before I share the recipe that Elizabeth found with you, I have to share one more funny tidbit. The girls had recently seen the movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” which is a really silly movie, but the kids got a kick out of it. In this very silly movie there is a character named Lafonda. Having just seen the movie, Elizabeth decided she would actually name her Spanish Flan.

The name she chose: Laflanda.

And now, without further ado, here is the recipe she found for Spanish Flan, on one of our favorite sites: Allrecipes.com.

Our finished product, Elizabeth's special request: Spanish Flan.

Our finished product, Elizabeth’s special request: Spanish Flan aka Laflanda.

Ingredients
(From Allrecipes.com)

Recipe makes 1 – 9 inch round
  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Brussel Sprouts

24 Apr
Until the other night, I had never had brussels sprouts.

Until the other night, I had never had brussel sprouts.

Ewwww….brussel sprouts!!!

Isn’t that what everyone always says? When people want to come up with the grossest vegetable to make you eat, isn’t it always brussel sprouts?

I guess I’d always just taken their word for it because in my whole life I had never had a brussel sprout until two nights ago. I think I just always assumed they’d be gross because everyone says so. It wasn’t until recently when someone said, “They’re just like baby cabbages,” did I realize that I might actually like them, as I like cabbage.

I took the next step: I bought some at Aldi’s.

Then I forgot I had them until my daughter was home sick, watching Cupcake Wars on TV and one of the challenges was to incorporate brussel sprouts into the recipe.

GASP!

“I have those in the fridge,” I said to Elizabeth.

We decided to give them a try. I looked up recipes and came up with this one for roasted brussel sprouts. Sounded basic, easy, and delicious.

Don came home from work that night and said, “I was talking to someone at work about how to cook brussel sprouts, and she said we should roast them with salt, pepper and olive oil.”

Well that was funny, same recipe I’d come up with.

So we tried them.

I loved them.

I was the only one.

Don liked them, Liz could take or leave them, and Caroline and Alex didn’t like them at all.

Bummer.

However, because I loved them I am posting the recipe. I had the leftovers again, the very next night.

I’d love to know though, how do you cook your brussel sprouts if you are someone who makes them? Please share any good recipes or tips with me.

And, a couple of things to note: Don parboiled them in the microwave first, just to jump-start the cooking. And, he also sprinkled garlic on them before roasting, along with the salt and pepper.

They do look just like little baby cabbages.

They do look just like little baby cabbages.

 

ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
1 1/2 pounds Brussel sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt (we used regular)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Honey Dijon Pork Chops

12 Dec
I have a love/hate relationship with pork chops.

I have a love/hate relationship with pork chops.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may remember my love/hate relationship with pork chops. I love them, but my family usually hates them.

In fact, if you search the words “pork chops” in my blog’s search bar, you’ll see all of the various recipes I’ve tried, hoping to find one they like.

Meanwhile, I’ve never stopped liking them.

Recently, I picked up a package of boneless pork chops, going with the Try, Try Again method of meal planning. As I was thinking of how to try them this time, I remembered that we used to do a Honey Dijon pork chop way back when. I knew I liked it, of course, but I had no idea which other family members had or had not. I decided to search for one and try again.
I went to my favorite go-to when I do a recipe search: Allrecipes.com and found a recipe that looked like the one we used to make, except that we used to dip ours in bread crumbs after we dipped them in the sauce first.

This Pampered Chef product is perfect for recipes that require lots of dipping and breading!

This Pampered Chef product is perfect for recipes that require lots of dipping and breading!

I even remembered that I have a cool Pampered Chef product that I use for this type of recipe too, so I pulled that out as well.

The Coating Trays and Tool kit is great for recipes that require you to dip your meat into something or into several somethings. For this particular recipe I ended up using only two of the trays, one for the honey mustard sauce and one for the bread crumbs.

I hope you enjoy today’s recipe. My family liked it well enough.

Kind of.

IMG_8002HONEY DIJON PORK CHOPS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper ( I left this out.)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops
  • I added in bread crumbs for coating after the dipping step.
  • DIRECTIONS
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking dish.
    2. Mix Dijon mustard, honey, black pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl. Arrange pork chops in prepared baking dish and pour mustard mixture over pork.
    3. Bake in preheated oven until pork is slightly pink in the center, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

      We served our recipe with couscous and green beans almondine.

      We served our recipe with couscous and green beans almondine.

Farewell to Summer and Hello Chocolate Chip Muffins

27 Aug

Goodbye Summer! See you next year!

Summer has come to an end.

For us, school begins tomorrow, so even though officially it’s still summer on the calendar, it’s all over. In my mind, summer really ends when Don starts back to work full time, the second week of August. So it’s been over for a while, really.

I can’t complain. He has lots of days off in the summer, I have lots of days off in the summer, we do lots of fun things in the summer, we had an AMAZING opportunity this summer that really changed our lives, with the Kids’ State Dinner trip.

So I can’t complain, but I’m still sad to see it go. I still kinda want to cry as I think of the school year beginning again. I’m not ready to let it all go.

I *really* love summer.

Caroline is starting middle school, Elizabeth’s going into fourth grade and Alexandra into second. It’s going to be a busy year, a different year with them in two different schools on two different schedules. I’m sure it’ll take some getting used to.

And so, though it’s Monday and I usually post my “What We’re Doing for Fun This Summer” posts on Mondays, I can’t today, because I’m sad that summer is ending.

What I can do though, is share a new recipe with you.

Each year on the first day of school I make muffins for breakfast the night before. It’s a busy morning on the first day, hectic, and we also have a special tradition where my parents come up to see the kids go to school, just as my grandparents did  each first day of school when I was younger.

This year I’ve made several new muffin recipes and I’m not sure which two kinds I’ll be making for tomorrow’s first day, but I tried a new recipe for chocolate chip muffins last week. It might be in the running. I could use a chocolate chip or two about now, I think.

I found this recipe last week on Allrecipes.com when Alexandra asked for Chocolate Chip Muffins for breakfast. It said, “Easy, quick and good,” and I was sold. It was indeed all of those things and I’d make them again for sure.

Maybe for tomorrow morning.

The first day of not-summer.

CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

I got to use my mini chocolate chips which were part of my birthday gift from my mother-in-law, Mary Lou, the ones she got me from Hershey Park, in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease bottoms only of 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, chocolate chips, and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, combine milk, oil and egg; blend well. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.)
  3. Fill cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops of muffins before baking with a combination of 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoon brown sugar.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute before removing from pan. Serve warm.

    I loved the sugar/brown sugar topping on the tops of these muffins. It was light but still sweet and crunchy.

The Power of Marketing and Advertising: Peach Muffins

8 Jun

We can thank a radio commercial for inspiring me to make homemade peach muffins!

Those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook, you may have followed this story last week through my status updates and I know you’ve been waiting for this recipe to post, but those who are not, it’ll be new to you. So if you’re aware of it, bear with me.

Last week I was running between stories for the newspaper, when I heard a commercial on the radio for Honeydew Donuts and their peach muffins. We have several Honeydew Donuts right in our area, and I love their peach muffins!

I was hungry. Starving, really.

I was going to get myself one of those peach muffins, ASAP.

I got out my gift card. I got ready to go to the next closest Honeydew. I could taste it.

But then, as I drove some more, I got to thinking, “I have frozen peaches in my freezer. I could just go home and MAKE peach muffins. Then, instead of having one, I’d have lots of them. Everyone could have one. They could be today’s after school snack and then tomorrow’s breakfast.”

I talked myself out of the Honeydew trip.

I put away my gift card and went home.

Only problem was, once I got home, it was now 1:30. I was of course, still starving and of course, I had no peach muffin and I had no recipe to make them either.

When one is starving, as I was, one chooses huge lunches. Well, at least I do. So rather than having a little peach muffin for lunch, I had Eggs Benedict, minus the ham/Canadian Bacon, since we had none.

As I sopped up my Hollandaise Sauce with my English Muffin, I browsed the internet for peach muffins. I came across this one on Allrecipes.com. When I read the summary from the original cook, it said, “just like peach cobbler in a muffin,” and I knew I’d found my recipe. I was sold.

These muffins were super-easy to make. My frozen peaches were already peeled and sliced. I get them for smoothies from the frozen food section at Aldi’s and I’d used half the bag for smoothies earlier in the week and had half the bag left. It was the perfect amount. All I had to do was chop them up.

My favorite thing though, about this recipe: it made 16 muffins. With a family of five, one dozen never seems to be enough. With 16 it was perfect. The girls and I all got to have one after school, and then we all had one or two for breakfast the next day, too. I even had enough left to give some to my friend Donna to try out.

I highly recommend this recipe. It got thumbs up from everyone, and I totally recommend using the Aldi’s frozen peaches if you don’t have fresh ones, (or try out whatever frozen peaches you have near you).

****OMG: Just as I’m about to post this recipe, I notice that it says you can also make this into a bread, two loaves!! I’m SO doing that next time! This is the best recipe EVER!!!!****

Enjoy!

Because this recipe yields so much, you need two good-sized bowls for mixing your ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches (or in my case, Aldi’s frozen peaches)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs, and sugar. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. Fold in the peaches. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
    **For the two loaves of bread you can “increase the baking time to 1 hour at 350 degrees F and use 2 loaf pans.”***UPDATE: On June 17 I used this recipe to make one loaf bread and three mini loaves as end of year gifts. It worked out great!! I cooked the mini loaves until a knife inserted in the center came out clean, and then I continued on with the larger loaf until the same. The entire baking time was approximately one hour.***

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

18 Apr

This sauce was great over salmon, and later over chicken!

I love seafood, but recently I discovered that I’d developed a shellfish allergy. Therefore, there’s only certain seafood that I can actually eat. Thankfully, salmon is one of them. I love salmon. Usually I make it with hollandaise sauce over it and the last time I did, that went over well with everyone. However, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to serve things so when the Allrecipe.com Daily Recipe came for Balsamic Glazed Salmon, I had to try it. I love balsamic vinegar.

The recipe was easy and fast, and I served the sauce “on the side” so that if someone didn’t want sauce they didn’t have to have it. We had some sauce leftover and Don thought it’d be good on chicken so we saved it for another night. Sure enough, a few days later we served it on the side again, this time with some chicken breasts and it was just as good.

Here’s the recipe from Allrecipes.com

BALSAMIC GLAZED SALMON

Simple ingredients....and the chance to use my microplane zester!

INGREDIENTS

8 three ounce fillets of salmon about 3/4″ thick (I used five fillets since there’s five of us).

Freshly ground black pepper (or the kind in the jar)

3 tablespoons olive oil

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

4 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth

3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

orange slices for garnish (we didn’t do that)


Grating one medium sized orange all the way around with the microplane zester was just enough for the amount of orange peel needed in the recipe.

DIRECTIONS

1. Place the salmon in an 11×8″ shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

2. Stir the cornstarch, broth, vinegar, brown sugar, orange juice and orange peel in a two quart sauce pan over high heat to a boil. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens.

3. Place the salmon on a serving platter and serve with the sauce. Garnish with the orange slices.