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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Spicy Beans with Turkey Sausage

I love slow cooker recipes. They are so easy! And there is nothing better then working all day and coming home to a house full of the aroma of dinner already ready.

This recipe comes from the "Taste of Home Slow Cooker" cookbook page 118.

Ingredients:

1 pound smoked turkey sausage, halved lengthwise and cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
1-1/2 cups salsa
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin



Instructions:

In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine all the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until sausage is cooked through.






Stir before serving and enjoy.

That's it... No more steps! See, really easy.

You can enjoy it with some sour cream and cheese. And if you think it's not spicy enough, add some cayenne pepper when cooking.

This dish is great on a cold evening and tastes pretty good. It's a slow cooker recipe, so it's super easy.

Until next time.

~Carson~

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moist Chocolate Cake Supreme with Chocolate Satin Frosting

So, I think I'm liking this Country Fair Cookbook that Jason found. This is the second recipe I've used and they both have been beyond delicious.

*WARNING*  This cake is VERY chocolatey. (like that's a bad thing....)

This recipe calls for a 13X9X2" baking pan, but I don't have anything big enough to put it on. You could leave it in the pan, I guess, but I wanted it free standing. I used two 9" round cake pans and layered them instead. If you do use two 9" cake pans and layer them, you need to double the frosting recipe. I found this out the hard way...

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oil (i.e. canola, vegetable, etc.)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups warm water
2 1/4 cup sifted flour
Chocolate Satin Frosting (recipe below)







Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and oil in a bowl; beat until well blended.






Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.





Beat in vanilla.





Combine baking soda and warm water.





Add flour to cocoa mixture alternately with the baking soda mixture, beating well after each addition.







Grease and flour your pans. Either two 9" round pans or a 13X9X2" pan.






Pour the batter into your pan(s).





Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes if using two 9" round pans or 45 minutes for a 13X9X2" pan, until cake tests done (toothpick inserted into center comes out clean).





Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan(s) and cool on the rack.



Chocolate Satin Frosting

Ingredients:

*Note: This is for 1 batch of frosting. If you are layering your cake you need to double this...

3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon instant coffee





Recipe:

 Combine milk and butter in saucepan and heat till butter melts.



Add instant coffee and disolve.






Sift together sugar and cocoa until well combined. This may take several times.






Stir into hot mixture and beat until smooth.






Beat in vanilla.






Spread quickly onto cake while frosting is still warm.





Enjoy your cake!


You don't have to add the instant coffee to the frosting, but I think it adds a little something extra.

This recipe is definitely not a from-the-box cake. If you don't mind to take a bit more time to create a delicious, from-scratch cake use this recipe. If you want to be lazy, go buy a box of Betty Crocker. But you won't be disappointed if you make it from scratch. I would say this is a 4 on a scale of 10 for ease. It's not hard, but it's not for you first attempt at baking.

I'm not a chocolate on chocolate type of person, but this was SO yummy. It would go great with a big ole glass of ice cold milk (or almond milk for me).

Nothing says "I Love You" like a cake baked from scratch with a dash of love.



Say I Love You more often :)

~Carson~

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Champion Sponge Cake

I've never made sponge cake before, so I learned something new with this recipe. It was slightly difficult, so I wouldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't bake. The book says it would be "a lovely addition to any buffet or luncheon" and I would have to agree. We found this recipe in the "Country Fair Cookbook: Every Recipe a Blue Ribbon Winner" edited by Elise W. Manning. Jason got this cookbook from PaperBackSwap.com and it ended up being a vintage book with recipes from the 70's. This particular recipe was on page 99.

Here is the ingredient list:

1 1/4 cup sifted flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pineapple Frosting (down below...)

*note: it is best that all of your ingredients are at room temperature


The recipe:

Sift together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt. You can do this several times till it's incorporated together.








Beat your egg whites at high speed until frothy. I did this in my stand mixer.





Then add the cream of tartar and gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar, beating until stiff but not dry peaks form. It doesn't say what speed to do this on so I continued to do it on high speed.






Combine the egg yolks, water, vanilla and dry ingredients (I used a different bowl and a hand mixer because I only have 1 bowl for my mixer right now). Beat at medium high speed until thick and lemon-colored (about 4 minutes). It gets really thick too...






Gradually fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. It's really hard to get a picture of this... If you don't know what it means to "fold," I suggest looking it up. It is important that this step is done right or the cake will not turn out right.





Pour the batter into a UN-greased 10" tube pan. I only have a fluted tube pan, it worked out well enough but if you want it to be prettier I would use an non-fluted tube pan.






Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the cake tests done (toothpick method). In my oven it was right on at 45 minutes. Now, the recipe says when you take the pan out of the oven it has to be inverted on a funnel or bottle to cool. I have no idea why this has to be done, but I did it anyway...





Let the cake completely cool in the pan before you remove it, about 2 hours or so. I kinda panicked on this step and completely forgot to take a picture. I freaked out because the cake wasn't coming out of the pan and I thought that the recipe was wrong about greasing the pan. I decided to run a knife around the edges and see if I could get it out. That is a step that I think the recipe left out because after I did that the cake fell right out. The crust stayed in the pan, but I think it's supposed to. Have you ever seen brown sponge cake? Sorry I forgot a picture....

The recipe then says to frost the sides and edges with Pineapple Frosting. I didn't do that either. I was just making it for us and if I frosted it the cake would have gotten soggy. I have a picture of how I serve it though below.

Here's what's in the Pineapple Frostingg:

1/4 cup of butter (or margarine)
1/4 cup of shortening
3 cups sifted confectioners ssugar
1 (8 1/2 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained well
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind/zest






Here's what you do:

Cream together the butter and shortening.





Gradually add the confectioners sugar and beat until light and fluffy. I'm not sure if I did something wrong but it turned out to be the texture of fluffy snow.




Stir in the can of crushed pineapple, salt, vanilla and lemon.





I don't think I drained the pineapple well enough because it was really moist and it separated a touch, but it was fine. Since I didn't frost the cake I put it in a container to use when I have a piece of cake.

Since the cake was just for us I just slice it and put a dab of frosting with it.


Like I said earlier, if you don't bake often this recipe will be fairly difficult. Hopefully this break down will help though. It was well worth the trouble. I will definitely think of this cake the next time I need to bring something to an event.



Happy eating!

~Carson~

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole

You feel that bite in the air? Yup, winter is on it's way and it is coming fast! But that's fine with me. Why? Because with cold weather comes comfort food. At least it does in our house. I think this recipe definitely falls into the category of comfort food. It was found on page 116 of  the "Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker" By Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good.

Did I mention that it's super simple as well? The hardest part is browning the beef.

Here's what goes in it...

one 32 ounce bag of frozen tater tots
1 pound ground beef, browned
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
two 14.5 ounce cans of green beans, drained
one 10.75 ounce can cream of mushroom soup (I don't like mushrooms, so I used cream of chicken)
1 tablespoons dried onions
1/4 cup milk







Now, here's what you do...


Line your slower cooker with the frozen tater tots. (I wasn't sure what they meant so I did my own way and it works...)




(it's kinda like a pie crust)

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.






Pour into your potato "crust".




Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours.




It looks almost exactly the way it did when you put it in initially, but it is done...




Serve and enjoy!




The recipe does say that you can add shredded cheese when serving. Either way it's good.




I do have to admit that when I looked at this recipe I turned my nose up a little, but I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did, because it was yummy. So good for a cool fall evening and I'm sure it will make another appearance this winter. Super easy! You can put it on as soon as you get home from work and by the time you are ready to eat, it's ready.

Enjoy!

~Carson~