Banana Cake with Chocolate Icing Recipe

Bananas 12What do you do when you find a deal on bananas at your local grocery store?  Apparently you buy them and figure out what to do with them later.  I stumbled upon a cart full of these $0.98 banana bags.  How could anyone pass on this deal?  Well, if you are anything like my hubby, one banana is too many.  Even a FREE banana is more than he ever wants.

Bananas 1

I decided to buy them…I had visions of making smoothies, banana bread, banana pudding and even just eating plain bananas for breakfast.  Everyone could use a few more bananas in their diet, right?  Well, 3 days in to the bananas new life as being a decoration on my counter, only 1 banana had been spoken for – I took it to work to have for breakfast, and it is still sitting there today.  I had good intentions, I promise!

Bananas 2

So last night I finally decided to make something with these pretty little things.  One of my coworkers makes a wonderful banana cake with chocolate icing.  Every time that she brings in a dessert, I ask if it’s my “favorite cake.”  The answer is usually NO.  Since she won’t give me the recipe, I had to find one of my own.  After some searching, I can upon a promising recipe here.  Of course I had to add my own chocolate icing instead of the cream cheese icing that was used in that recipe, and I made a few, slight changes.  The end result was wonderful!  The cake was moist and the chocolate icing was just the right flavor for this cake.  But, the worst part of the recipe was…..DRUM ROLL….it only used 3 bananas!!!  ARGH!  Anyone want some bananas?!

The full instructions and recipe can be found below the step-by-step instructions with photos.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Prepare 9×13 pan by coating in butter and flour. Shake to remove excess flour.

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Mash 3-4 bananas until they are very runny.

Bananas 3

Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

Bananas 4

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium speed).

Bananas 5

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.

Bananas 6

Reduce mixer speed to low and add in 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/4 of the buttermilk, mixing just until it’s incorporated.  Continue adding flour then buttermilk until everything has been added (ending with buttermilk).  Do not overmix. The batter will have a very nice consistency.

bananas 7

Turn off mixer and fold in the bananas until they are fully incorporated into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven.  Please ignore my dirty oven.  I was planning to use the oven cleaning feature on my messy oven until I watched an episode of “Panic 911″ this past weekend.  A lady burned down her house using the self-clean feature on her oven.  I’m probably going to have to be sedated if I use it again.  Sometimes I hate television!

Bananas 9

Give your handsome, 13-year-old son the spatula to lick.  Seriously, raw eggs or not, this stuff tastes delightful.  He’s still alive, so don’t judge me! ;)

Bananas 8

Bake at 275 for 45-60 minutes.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Bananas 10

Let cake cool for 5 minutes and then place in freezer for 45 minutes.  I put my pan on top of a towel in the freezer because I was afraid the pan would crack with the extreme temperature change.  It turned out fine!

Remove pan from freezer and frost with chocolate frosting.

Bananas 11

Bananas 13
Banana Cake
Ingredients:
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour OR 3 cups + 6 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/8 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Prepare 9×13 pan by coating in butter and flour. Shake to remove excess flour.

Mash bananas until they are very runny.  Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium speed).

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add in 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/4 of the buttermilk, mixing just until it’s incorporated.  Continue adding flour then buttermilk until everything has been added (ending with buttermilk).  Do not overmix.  Turn off mixer and fold in the bananas until they are fully incorporated into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven.

Bake at 275 for 45-60 minutes.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cake cool for 5 minutes and then place in freezer for 45 minutes.  I put my pan on top of a towel in the freezer because I was afraid the pan would crack with the extreme temperature change.  It turned out fine!

Remove pan from freezer and frost with chocolate frosting (recipe below).

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup milk (varies depending on the consistency you desire)
In small bowl, sift together cocoa and powdered sugar.   In small bowl of stand mixer, add butter, cocoa/sugar and vanilla.  Cream together, and slowly add milk until desired consistency is reached.  I mixed my icing on medium for several minutes to ensure that it was smooth.

Dinner Rolls – Make homemade rolls for Thanksgiving


Have you ever tried Corned Beef Hash? Not a homemade version, but the kind from the can. Oh, if you haven’t, you aren’t missing anything. Actually, you are missing something, the ability to tell everyone how horrible it is because you’ve tasted it and you know. I have never smelled and tasted something so vile. As soon as you pop open the can, the smell of dog food wafts past your nose. Yes, I said “dog food.” While they say that this is human food, I venture to guess that this is really just canned dog food and they mistakenly put a corned beef hash label on it. While my husband and I were dating, he tried to pass this off as an appropriate breakfast food. That was the first time I experienced it and THE LAST. It’s funny, because it was the last time he ate it as well. Ever since I said, “Oh my gosh, that smells like dog food” he hasn’t been able to eat it. I’m glad it’s not his favorite food, because it will never be in my pantry.

Anyway, I invited my parents over for dinner this past weekend, and I made turkey tetrazzini. I wanted to make dinner rolls to go along with it. Now, I wasn’t about to take the easy way out and buy some frozen dough or even the Brown and Serve rolls that you can buy at the grocery store. I wanted to make them from scratch.



For me, making yeast breads is so much fun. It’s a project that requires you to carefully follow the recipe. Other recipes are very forgiving, but not bread. I found a good recipe for dinner rolls on Foodnetwork.com. It had some pretty simple ingredients, so I knew it would be easy to prepare.

I am a little impatient, so the picture below is what happened in my kitchen when I needed to cool off the scalded milk. I didn’t want to wait for it to cool off naturally. So, this is the highly sophisticated way to make your bread baking go a bit faster.



This bread requires 2 rises, which isn’t tough, but you just have to plan ahead. If you want to make these for Thanksgiving, just be sure to give yourself several hours of prep time to ensure that they are done and warm by the time the family is sitting down to stuff their faces.



This story has somewhat of a sad ending. I popped them in the oven, on the middle rack, and let them alone to bake. All of a sudden I started seeing smoke coming out of the oven. Never a good sign! Half of my rolls were burnt on the bottom. I recommend putting these on the top rack of your oven, or else you will be forced to turn your burnt rolls into bread pudding or croutons.

Pretty rolls…



Burnt rolls…



Hopefully yours turn out like this…



Dinner Rolls
Adapted from: Food Network
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 package rapid rising yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. salt
1 cup milk, scalded but cooled to warm
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted, plus an additional 2 tbsp (softened) for spreading on rolls
5-6 cups AP flour

Directions:
In bowl of standing mixer, combine yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, egg, salt, milk and melted butter. Using the dough hook, slowly mix in the flour until it is just slightly sticky. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl as the dough hook is mixing. Add more flour until it reaches the appropriate consistency.

Turn dough out onto lightly flour surface and knead for an additional 4-5 minutes – incorporate additional flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands. Form into a tight ball.

Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place the dough into the bowl, turning the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with a towel and place in a warm area (I use the top of the stove) to rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Lightly spray 2, 12 cup muffin tins with cooking spray. Turn dough out onto countertop and punch down (about 6 punches works). Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 1-inch wide strips and then cut it again to create 1 inch cubes. Form the cubes into 1-inch balls and place 3 of the balls into each muffin cup. Once you have filled the muffin tins, cover with a towel and let them rise again for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush risen rolls with softened butter. Place rolls on the top rack of oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Turkey Tetrazzini – The perfect recipe to use up your leftover turkey



I always take a break from blogging on the weekends. I am doing most of my cooking on the weekends, so I don’t have time to blog about it. I have so many recipes and pictures to post that I probably won’t have to cook all week! Ok, that won’t ever happen.



Tonight at dinner my son came up with another great line. He said, “I wonder what it would be like to eat a jelly fish?” This coming from the child who also said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been poked in the eye.” I just love to hear the interesting things that these kids come up with.

Earlier this week I made my crockpot turkey breast recipe. We had a little mishap with the turkey because it was cooked on high for too long. Oh well, we still ate it, but it was a bit dry. I knew the only thing to do with it was to make Turkey Tetrazzini. I made this last year with our leftover turkey, and it it the best recipe out there. I adapted it from Allrecipes.com, and it’s just about perfect.



One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving is all over the leftovers. Now you have something yummy to make with your turkey, besides putting it on 2 slices of white bread slathered in Mayo. Yummm, turkey sandwiches!

This week I am going to post a lot of recipes to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers. Tomorrow I am going to share a recipe for dinner rolls along with the recipe to turn them into bread pudding the next day. Or, in my case, turning them into bread pudding because you burned over 50% of them. UGH! I’m also going to share a recipe for using up leftover cake (thanks mom).

Have a great week!
Cheri

Turkey Tetrazzini
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti or elbow macaroni noodles
1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c. onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and return to the pot.

In large saucepan, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion until soft. Add in garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant. Stir in flour. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat. Mix in the turkey.

Pour sauce over noodles and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until surface is lightly browned. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until surface is lightly browned.

White Chocolate Lemon Rice Krispy Treats



What’s your favorite dessert? Without hesitation I can tell you that I have 2 – Cheesecake and Rice Krispy treats. I actually eat Rice Krispy treats more often than cheesecake because they are easier to make and I can find them in coffee shops and vending machines. I am a Rice Krispy treat purist. I don’t need anything fancy in them, just the normal recipe from the side of the box.



A couple of months ago there was a bake sale where I work. There were all kinds of goodies, but I headed straight for the Rice Krispies. They were all individually packaged and had little labels on the outside. To my surprise…they were flavored Rice Krispy treats. WHAT!? When did this start happening? People are making them into special flavors now?? As soon as I saw the white chocolate/lemon flavor, I knew I had to try them. I love white chocolate more than any other chocolate. Shhhhh, don’t tell my oldest daughter, she would probably disown me if she knew that. These Rice Krispy treats were delightful. They were gooey and sweet….perfection!



Last night I had a craving for Rice Krispy treats, so I thought I should try to reinvent the white chocolate lemon version. I found a recipe online and got to work. My little sous chef decided to help me make them. I let him have the job of zesting the lemons. I realize that the tool he is using in the pic below isn’t a zester, but I don’t have a zester and the grater works just fine. Although, if anyone wants to buy me a zester (hint, hint to my family for Christmas), I would gladly accept it and use it.



These treats take no more than 10 minutes to prepare. I have to admit that these were not as “chocolaty” as the ones from the bake sale, but I’m ok with that. The flavors in this recipe were more subtle, and I think that’s ok, especially if you are going to make these for a crowd of people. I would certainly like to play around with this recipe in the future to make them more like the ones I had at the bake sale. I’ll keep you posted. Anyone have any other interesting Rice Krispy flavors that they’ve tried? I need some creative ideas for the holidays!



White Chocolate Lemon Rice Krispy Treats
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
3 tbsp butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:
Pour Rice Krispy cereal into a large bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until they are fully melted.

Remove from heat and add in white chocolate and lemon zest. Stir until all of the chips are melted.

Pour marshmallow/chocolate mixture over the top of the Rice Krispies and stir until the mixture is fully combined and sticky.

Press the mixture into a 9×13 pan. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Cut and serve!

Dark Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies – Week #7 of the “12 Week of Christmas Cookies”





It’s hard to believe that we are into week #7 of the “12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies” challenge. I have been pretty strict about sticking to theme of cookies, but other bloggers have done some very interesting desserts such as this Pumpkin Crunch Cake , or this Cinnamon Chai Pie , Peppermint Patties, or my all-time favorite (wink, wink) Butterballs. You should seriously check out all of the other great recipes. Everyone can find at least 1 recipe that they would love to share with their family during the holidays.

There is only 1 key player in my kitchen, well, besides me (ok, I’m not really this cocky, but it just sounded like the right thing to say) – so, the key player in my kitchen is my Kitchen Aid mixer…KA for short.


Have I ever told you the story of how I obtained my KA mixer? Ok, even if I have told some of you, it’s worth telling again. I just love this story because it was one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to me. Here goes…a few years back I was unemployed. I wasn’t down on my luck or having a hard time making ends meet, but I was doing some odd jobs here and there to make some extra money while I was searching for a job. It just so happened that my dad was on a home buying spree (he buys rental properties), so he had a ton of apartments and homes that needed to be prepped for rehab and/or cleaned prior to occupancy. I agreed to help my dad clean up some of these places – I almost said I “volunteered” to help, but that would indicate that I was helping for free. Let’s just say…it was almost free!

During this time my father purchased the infamous house owned by Gabby (this is not her real name). Gabby was a hoarder and her house was piled high with stuff. She would buy things from QVC and then never open it or use it. She had multiple ice cream makers, blenders, tapes, records, etc. She had so much stuff that my father had to rent her house back to her after he purchased it just to give her and her family time to finish cleaning out her home. Finally, the day had come for her to move, and she had barely made a dent in her mess. I can honestly say…I have never seen anything like this. It appeared as though her and her family had thrown their hands in the air and said “Forget it!” Trust me, I would have done the same thing, and I wanted to as soon as I saw the mess that they had left for us. By default, everything left in the house or on the property became the property of my father. If you have ever owned rental property, you know that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. People generally leave things that no one wants.

After many days of cleaning we finally made it to a back storage room in the basement. I’m fairly certain that this room had been inaccessible for at least 20 years. There was nothing in this room to indicate that there was anything in there that was made prior to 1990, and I think that’s a stretch. I found a Bugs Bunny toothpaste dispenser:



I also found an old Eeyore cookie jar and a bunch of random mail from the 60’s. But, the find of the day came when I looked on the back of one of the bottom shelves and spotted something beautiful. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. It was a Kitchen Aid mixer! It still had the tags on it! It was clearly from the 60’s and had never been used. All of the attachments were still there including the 2 bowls. There was also a grain grinder that was still in the box. I think I jumped around and did the happy dance for an hour. Of course my dad let me have it – I don’t think he knew what he was letting me take. Oh well, thanks dad!

My KA mixer gets used almost every day. It is one of the most versatile kitchen tools I have ever owned. I know, people say…”I have a mixer that is just as good as a KA.” All I have to say to them is, your mixer probably works great for you, so keep using it. But, once you have tried a KA, you will truly understand why it’s the #1 player in MY kitchen.

Now, on to the cookies. I was all set to make a white chocolate chip cookie with toffee pieces. I had everything laid out on the counter, when my oldest daughter begged me to make something with regular chocolate. I really wanted to use my white chocolate chips (I love white chocolate), but I gave in to her chocolate craving and used my dark chocolate morsels instead. Although, I did still use the toffee bits in some of the cookies.



So, due to the last minute change in plans, I went straight to the back of the Toll House Morsel bag for a recipe. Seriously people, you cannot go wrong with their recipes. I haven’t used one yet that I didn’t really enjoy. For this recipe it calls for sifting the dry ingredients together (minus the sugars). I love sifting stuff together…I think it looks cool. Yes, I know I’m a dork!





I also like creaming together the butter and the sugar. I l-o-v-e butter! Add in a little sugar and you have pure heaven!



Finally, the recipe calls for melted chocolate.



Wow! This is a winning combination. I am in love with these cookies. I made them with and without the toffee bits and both versions are OH-SO-GOOD! I brought a container of them to work with me and they were gone in 5 minutes. I must admit that the chocolate and toffee were my favorite, but a chocolate lover will like either one. Enjoy!

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Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with optional Toffee Bits
Adapted from: Nestle Toll House Jumbo Dark Chocolate Cookies Recipe
Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup dark chocolate morsels (divided into 2/3 cup and 1 cup)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Heath toffee bits (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degree. Prepare a large cookie sheet by covering with parchment paper or lightly spraying with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In microwave safe bowl, add 2/3 cup dark chocolate morsels and heat at 70% power in microwave for 40 seconds. Stir and heat an additional 20-30 seconds at 70% power until chocolate is melted. Set aside.

In large bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and mix. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined (about 1 minute).

Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Finish mixing in the 1 cup of morsels and optional toffee bits by hand.

Drop by large tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 17-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Grilled Pork Chops – An easy marinade that makes this meal delicious



Have you tried Holiday Grapes yet? I had no idea what Holiday grapes were. I’m sure I’ve had them before, but I didn’t know what they were called. My discovery of Holiday Grapes was made through a wonderful program called Fruit my Cube. This program was designed by the Farmer’s Market in Belleville, Illinois. They decided to put together boxes of fruits and veggies that are delivered to employers throughout the area. Individuals can order a “Fruit Cube” that contains apples, oranges, grapes, pears, etc. Each week, employees can order a cube for $10 and then go to a designated pickup area and get their cube. Last week’s cube contained Holiday Grapes, among other things. They were the sweetest, juiciest grapes I have ever had. There is no bitterness in the skin either. If you see these are your local grocery store, try them. Yum!

We have a great meat market/grocery store in our area. They have wonderful cuts of meat that are all fresh and offered at a decent price. When I was there to pick up something for dinner, I found these amazing pork chops. They were HUGE – about 3″ thick. I wanted to come up with an easy recipe that allowed me to marinade them all day and just throw them on the grill when it was time for dinner.



They took a while to cook because they were so thick, but I think everyone liked them. I served them with my mashed potatoes and some frozen corn.

Enjoy!



Grilled Pork Chops
Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
4 large pork chops
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Garlic Powder
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic to large, plastic zipper bag and mix. Add in pork chops. Place in refrigerator to marinate for several hours, turn bag over halfway through the marinating process.

Preheat grill and place pork chops directly on grill over medium heat. Discard remaining marinade Sprinkle chops with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, turning once, until juices run clear and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Remove meat from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Chunk Birthday Cake – The best and easiest birthday cake you can make at home.



Three of my four children have the worst birth dates. The twins were born 3 days before Christmas, and the youngest was born on Labor Day weekend. They never get a good turnout for their birthday parties, so we try to have something for them on a more acceptable date. This past weekend was the date we chose for their birthday party. The youngest had a few of her friends and the twins had several of their friends join us for a fun night.

I love birthday parties because I have an excuse to bake. I know that I can always find an excuse to bake, but parties give me an excuse to bake AND cook. It’s a beautiful thing! My oldest daughter always asks for the same thing…cookie cake. What’s not to love about a cake that’s a cookie?! Not only is it delicious, it’s very easy to make. Stop paying the $10 at the grocery store to buy these cakes. Make them yourself for a fraction of the cost. The only upside to buying these at a store is that they will decorate them for you. As you can see, my decorating skills are very, very poor. The little, lime green blobs were the best I could do.

Decorating attempts from previous years haven’t turned out much better (see pics below).



Apparently I decided to start the “B” for “Birthday” in the middle of the cake, so I had to write “Bday” instead. This was last year’s cake, so I can laugh about it now.



I have given up on being able to decorate a cake. Check out the pan of brownies in the background.



This was one of the worst decorating jobs I have ever done. I’m not even sure what I had going on with this one. I will let you, and all of the party goers, in on a little secret. That pan of brownies was gluten-free AND they came from a box….GASP! Don’t tell anyone. As a crazy foodie, this is a huge embarrassment. But, the hubby always gets left out of the baked good at birthday parties, so I made something he could eat as well. No one had a clue that they were gluten free because I loaded them up with extra chocolate. And, with my stellar decorating job, they were irresistible.

My little sous chef asked for a simple chocolate cake with chocolate icing. So, of course, I made a rootbeer cake with rootbeer icing. Um, mom doesn’t listen very well. It actually tasted ok, but the icing was ugly. It really wasn’t a hit at the party, so I won’t bother posting the recipe or any pics. I was kinda disappointed, but I don’t think anyone else cared.

I am posting the recipe for the cookie cake. All of the kids and the adults loved this cake. I hope you enjoy making and eating it at your next birthday party.



Chocolate Chunk Cookie Cake
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup chocolate chunks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare 2-9” inch cake pans (if you want 2 smaller cakes), or 1 large pizza pan by spraying lightly with cooking spray. I used the disposable pans that you can buy at the grocery store.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Continue mixing and add in vanilla and egg.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Do not overmix. Turn off mixer and pour in chocolate chunks. Mix in by hand.

Press the cookie mixture into the pan(s) and bake for 15-18 minutes. Once cooled, decorate with your favorite icing. You can also use chocolate syrup, or leave it plain.

Mashed Potatoes – Recipe for Mom’s Crazy Cooking Challenge



I recently joined a challenge that asks us to explore recipes from other bloggers. This first challenge was to make mashed potatoes using a recipe from someone else’s blog.

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I’m pretty partial to my own mashed potato recipe, so it was tough to decide on a different recipe. The only real difference between the recipe I found at Life’s Ambrosia and mine was the use of half and half. Other than that, it’s identical.



My little sous chef helped peel potatoes, in fact, he peeled most of them. I chopped them this time, but he usually does that as well.


We prepped the potatoes ahead of time, so they had to be submerged in water so they wouldn’t turn brown before we used them.



These potatoes are really yummy and creamy. They aren’t complicated to make. I did change it up a bit because I only had heavy cream, but I made the appropriate adjustments. This is the perfect mashed potato recipe….and it’s super easy. One look at these yummy potatoes will make you wish you had made some already.


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Mashed Potatoes
Recipe adapted from: Life’s Ambrosia

Ingredients:
8 russet potatoes – peeled and cubed
6 tbsp. butter
1 cup half and half (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Place cubed potatoes into large pot of boiling water. Let boil until potatoes can be pierced and broken with a fork. Drain potatoes.

Add butter and half and half to bowl of stand mixer. Place potatoes in bowl on top of butter and milk and let sit for one minute to allow butter to melt.

Turn mixer on medium speed and whip for 2 minutes. Add in salt and pepper during mixing. Taste after 1 minute to determine if you need more salt. Serve immediately – plain or with your favorite gravy.

Thanksgiving Menu – Simple recipes for those that don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen

I recently had a request from a friend to post a Thanksgiving menu that is super easy, but still really good. I love to torture myself by spending hours upon hours in the kitchen, but I forget that others don’t really prefer that kind of torture. I’m not sure why, but apparently they don’t. I’m sure all of you foodies can relate.

So, what are my favorite, easy recipes for the holidays….here they are:

Appetizers


Pumpkin Dip – Serve with gingersnaps or Nilla Wafers
Chocolate Chip Dip – Tried and true! Everyone loves this one.
Sausage and Cheese Tray – I really hope you don’t need a recipe for this one.
Veggie Tray – See above

Main Dishes
Slow Cooker Turkey – I have been making this recipe for many years. It is perfect for a small family gathering and tastes amazing. I made this when I hosted thanksgiving at my own home.
Slow Cooker Ham - I just made this for the first time a month ago. You will not be disappointed in how great this ham is. No need to even turn on your oven!

Potatoes
Cheri’s Mashed Potatoes – Use the mashed potato recipe from my meatloaf cupcakes post. These aren’t tough to make, but you do have to spend time peeling potatoes. If you don’t want to peel potatoes, then move on to recipe #2.
Hashbrown Casserole – Everyone loves this casserole. It’s easy, cheesy and full of yumminess. I highly recommend these for anyone that needs potatoes and doesn’t want to spend much time preparing them.
Sweet Potato Casserole – I haven’t tried these, but they look easy and they got good reviews.

Vegetables


Green Bean Casserole – This is the same recipe that almost everyone in America uses. You can use any type of “Cream of…” soup. They all pretty much taste the same. This is my favorite Thanksgiving dish!
Roasted Vegetables – Use this recipe to roast sweet potatoes, zucchinis and carrots for a quick and easy veggie.

Desserts


Chocolate Pudding Pie – I make this pie for every holiday. Everyone loves it and it’s EASY!
Pumpkin Pie – This is the recipe from the Libby’s can. You cannot go wrong with it. Buy a premade pie crust in the dairy aisle or buy a frozen one and then pour in the mixture. It doesn’t get any easier then this. Just make sure the pie is cooked thoroughly. Serve with whipped cream!
Chocolate Eclair Dessert – This one is excellent! Make it the night before and it will be perfect by the time you are ready to eat dinner.
Peanut Butter Cookies (chocolate optional) – These are very easy and can be prepared ahead of time.

Noticeably absent from my menu is stuffing/dressing. We have a traditional family recipe that I make every year, but it is not easy and it is not quick. I’m not going to post it with this menu for that reason. I have never made stuffing any other way, so I am leaving it off the list. Feel free to grab a box of Stove Top and read the instructions. I’m sure it’s easy and probably pretty good.

Also absent is cranberries. I have never, ever had a good experience with making any type of cranberry sauce or jelly. They have all turned out terrible. If your family likes the stuff that comes out of the can, I would just keep using it. It’s easy and can easily be found in your local grocery store. I will continue to pretend like cranberries, in any form, are not a traditional Thanksgiving dish.

Remember, this menu is not meant for someone who wants to prepare a complicated dinner with fancy dishes. This menu is meant for those of you that don’t like to cook, or don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but still want to prepare a delicious meal for your family.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Happy Friday to everyone! I am going to be putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu that’s perfect for people that don’t have a lot of time and/or don’t know how to cook. This menu is going to include recipes that I have made in the past, but I made them before I started my blog. In other words….no pictures. BOOOOO! I will put together the entire menu, but I need to get each recipe posted first.

This first recipe is something that I made a few years back when I hosted Thanksgiving at my house for the hubby’s family. I’ve also made it several other times, but I think it’s important that you know I did actually make it for Thanksgiving. Everyone loves this recipe. It is fool-proof! If you are scared to make a turkey for fear it will be gross and dry, try this recipe. It only uses the breast portion of the turkey, so if you have a small family, this will be the perfect size. I would say that this will easily feed 6 people. Make sure you have a large crockpot because this will not fit in the smaller ones.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 – Whole turkey breast (6-8 lbs.) – These are found in the freezer section with the frozen, whole turkeys.
2 – Dry onion soup mix packages
1 yellow onion – cut in quarters
3 celery stalks – cut in sections
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 – tablespoons butter

Directions:
Spread onion soup mixture on the outside and inside cavity of the turkey. Place the onion and celery on the inside of the turkey and underneath and around the turkey if you have space in your crockpot. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the crockpot being careful not to pour over the turkey and wash off any seasoning. Cut butter into 4 squares and place them on top of the turkey. Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for another 7-8. Remove turkey from crockpot and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Discard the onion and celery. Slice turkey and serve.

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