Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Cake...

Christmas is quickly coming upon us...Crazy how quick it comes....It is time to get out the decorations and start caroling and baking. I come from a group of folks who wait for the holiday Dreyers Peppermint ice cream to arrive and then have it almost every night with hot fudge on top...yep it is in my freezer right now...this cake is very reminiscent of the ice cream....You can make all of this home made, making your cake from scratch, of course, using the same procedure....but why? Your family is sure to love this recipe!

you just need 2 cake chocolate and one container of Andes  peppermint crunch candies and food coloring....prepare the cakes as directed on package...take I cup out of the white and put in a small bowl, chop 1 cup of Andes candies, chop them about the size of chocolate chips. 

put the candies in the large bowl of white and stir. Add a couple squirts of the food coloring in the small bowl, and ready to assemble...

Set out both prepared cake pans. In the first pan scoop 2 cups of chocolate batter into the pan, spread out with spatula. Next scoop 1 ½ cups white batter with peppermint chips into the center of the chocolate batter. Spread out to form a circle. Lastly scoop 1 cup of the remaining pink into the center of the pink batter. repeat with the second pan....

bake according to directions on the back of the box....and then cool....

Place one cake layer on cake plate. Take one cup of frosting and spread it out evenly onto the layer. Place the second layer on top of the frosted layer. Use remainder of frosting to frost top and sides of cake. Decorate top of cake with crushed candy canes. 

This is almost sinful how easy this frosting is to make! Cream 2 cubes of butter together (I cup) with 2, 7 ounce containers of Marshmallow cream with an electric mixer and then add 2 cups of powdered sugar....if the frosting is to stiff add a couple of tablespoons of milk or cream.....It is the best, fluffiest, tastiest frosting!

it is not overly sweet or overly pepper-minty...

This is such a special and easy cake to make! It would be great as cup cakes also...Enjoy!!!

Cheers to Happy !!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving...

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
- Anonymous

Just a cute little poem on this wonderful Thanksgiving Day....I wish you all a 
very Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pecan Pie Brittle...

Pecan Pie Brittle

The holidays are quickly upon us....we are really ready, right? Well of course not! I have so many plans and really not enough time...This recipe is one that I saw in Saveur Magazine....I thought it was the perfect do-ahead recipe!!! 

2 cups sugar
2½ cups broken pecans
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt

Heat sugar in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, swirling pan often, until golden amber and completely liquefied. Add pecans and butter and cook, stirring, until caramel is liquid again and butter is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Combine vanilla extract and baking soda in a bowl and then add to pan along with salt; stir to combine. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone baking mat and spread into an even layer with a small rubber spatula. Wait until cool and then break into pieces and store...

following directions. melt the sugar..and then things happens way to fast to take pictures...

then ready to pour!

spread on the prepared pan...and let cool...right now I want you to turn around and fill the empty brittle sauce pan with water and let it me, you won't be sorry, and will thank me for it...

I put mine into gift bags....after I had tasted some, of course...

This is the perfect gift and just a perfect ending to a delightful holiday dinner...
Cheers to Happy  !!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cheese Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole...

Cheese Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole

This recipe really piqued my interest...It is the most re-pinned recipe on Pinterest. Think about it...out of a million recipes, this one brings back fond memories of childhood...It was a recipe that was passed around in the 70's. I guess I missed making it then. So I had to give it a try...boy am I glad I did!!

the original recipe started with a white sauce and I went one shortcut further and used alfredo sauce...This would be great with an addition of sauteed chopped not add additional salt...pepper yes.

Cheese Potato & Smoked Sausage Casserole
5 cups idaho potatoes, peeled, boiled and cut into cubes when cool, approx. 21/2 lbs 
 I jar 15 ounce alfredo sauce
1/4 cup half and half or milk
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, diced 
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
1 lb skinless smoked sausage  
1/8 teaspoon paprika 
 Cut skinless smoked sausage in half, lengthwise, and then chop into 1/2 inch "half moon" cuts. Cook in a frying pan for about 15 minutes, turning frequently to SLIGHTLY brown.
Meanwhile, put cooked  diced potatoes in 2 quart casserole. Add cooked meat and give it a gentle toss.
Mix Alfredo sauce, half and half, diced velveeta and 1/4 cup of the shredded cheddar in a saucepan over medium heat until warm, melted and smooth. (Use a whisk and stir constantly.).
Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and meat. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top, and then sprinkle paprika evenly over the top.
Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes (watch, until golden brown on top).

melt the sauce and cheese together over low heat and stir frequently...

fry bite size sausage in your favorite yellow pan until browned...I like mine with lots of cooked edges...

add meat to potatoes in a 2 quart casserole and toss...

pour cheese sauce over top and stir....

sprinkle remaining cheese and paprika over top and...

bake at 350 for 35 minutes...I put a piece of foil underneath to catch any runovers,,,

nice and browned and cheesy and bubbly!

This is comfort food at it's finest! Cheesy and meaty and so very good!!!

Cheers To Happy  !!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cranberry Mustard Sauce...

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

Thanksgiving and Christmas are quickly coming. You like me, may be short of time and need some great and easy recipes to fall back on. I love the simplicity of ham. So simple, you just put it in a roasting dish and put it in the oven. And salty ham gravy, does it get any better? No it really does not, although the salt will not be good for you, it is so hard to resist! This simple sauce is an alternative to gravy. Adding mustard to the Cranberry sauce makes it taste entirely different. This is a recipe much like the one sold by Hickory farms for years in their shops. It would be great as a dip for other meat and sausage, as well as ham. 

The ingredients are few, whole grain mustard, brown sugar, and jellied cranberry...

add to a saucepan:
1  15 ounce can jellied cranberry
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of whole grain spicy mustard
1/4 cup of water

heat over medium to low heat...stirring often....until the cranberry is all melted...

and that is it! 

simply put, the best and quickest sauce ever!!!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Meatloaf Mashed Potato Cupcake...

meatloaf cupcake?
The cupcakes are fabulous! I can hardly wait to make them for my grandchildren, they will love them! I was looking for a recipe to serve to the children at the Ronald McDonald house this December...I wanted something special but something all ages would love...I think this is it! I certainly loved it, and I think you will too!!! Very easy to make gluten-free and very easy to sneak in a few extra ingredients. Like shredded carrots or other vegetables in the meatloaf. More cheese in the mashed. Maybe substituting some sweet potatoes in the mashed...making them a healthier dinner....(if you want)

make your favorite meatloaf recipe...I used ground hamburger, veal and ground pork. I seasoned with chopped onion, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, basil flakes, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs and an egg...mixed very well...but you make the one you like....

make into a small ball size and put into a cupcake pan, first sprayed with cooking in 400 degree over for 30 minutes....(please ignore the yukky pan)

meanwhile boil potatoes and mash with, butter, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper...thin with half and half if needed...make your favorite recipe....

take little cakes out of the oven...they need to be at least 165 internally...

get out your pastry bag...and place the big tip on it....put the mashed potatoes in it and...

pipe the mashed on top.....looks like frosting, huh?

place back in the oven under the closely so you just brown...they are hot and ready to serve....

these will be your favorite, go to family dinner. Serve with a salad and you are there!!! I will be taking the leftovers to work...What a fun food to pack or freeze and have ready to eat. Can't wait!

Cheers to Happy  !!