Thursday, May 14, 2009

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake and variations

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Variations: For a Pineapple Gooey Cake: Instead of the pumpkin, add a drained 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

For a Banana Gooey Cake: Prepare cream cheese filling as directed, beating in 2 ripe bananas instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

For a Peanut Butter Gooey Cake: Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to the cream cheese filling instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

Raspberry Limeade Cake

¾ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 TBLS. Lime zest
¾ cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
5 large eggs
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 ¾ tsp. Baking powder
1 ½ cups whole buttermilk
Raspberry Filling (Recipe follows)
Cream Cheese Limeade Frosting (Recipe follows)

Preheat oven 350. Spray 3 9inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lime zest until fluffy. Add limeade concentrate, beating until combined. WARNING!! Mixture will look curdled….that’s ok!! Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour batter evenly (like you would pour it cattywompus…but I digress…)into prepared pans. Bake for 17 – 20 minutes or until done. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread Raspberry Filling evenly between layers (there’s that cattywompus idea again). Spread Cream Cheese Limeade frosting over top and sides of cake. Can garnish with lime slices and raspberries if you want to.

Raspberry Filling

1 10oz. Package frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
½ cup sugar
2 TBLS. Cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 TBLS. Fresh lemon juice..wonder if lime juice from the lime zest you use in the cake would do…I would think so….
¼ cup butter, cut into pieces

In a food processor or a blender, pulse raspberries until smooth. Strain mixture, discarding solids.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberry puree, egg yolks and lemon (lime) juice, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 7 – 8 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter until melted. Cool slightly, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cream Cheese Limeade Frosting
1 8oz. Package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
3 TBLS. Frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 TBLS lime zest
5 cups confectioner’s sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add limeade concentrate and lime zest. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth.

NOTES: This recipe is from Paula Deen. The frosting on this cake is AMAZING! Although very yummy, the cake seemed a little heavy for the light, fresh flavors of lime and raspberry so I may try a lighter cake recipe next time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Orzo with Spinach and Pine nuts

I love, love, love this pasta dish!! It is so easy, and with a few simple ingredients your taste buds will be exploding. This is a perfect side dish for just about anything.

4 Tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cans chicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
2 cups tightly packed chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Set aside.
Saute garlic in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo and salt, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in spinach, cheese and pine nuts. Serve hot.

SOURCE:The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Grilled Basil Chicken

3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
4 skinned, bone-in chicken breast halves or 8 skinned chicken thighs

*Process first 3 ingredients in container of an electric blender 30 seconds. With blender running, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, processing until blended. Reserve 1/4 cup basil mixture.

*Brush chicken with remaining basil mixture; cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Grill chicken, covered with grill id 30 minutes or until done, basting twice with reserved basil mixture.

NOTES:This is so easy and soooo tasty. The recipe is from my Ultimate Southern Living cookbook. Make sure if you're cooking with the bone in that you really let it cook for 30 minutes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dulce de leche

1 quart whole milk
12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.

NOTES:Recipe courtesy Alton Brown from Food Network. You can also cheat and make this the easy way by putting an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in the crock pot(covered in water) for 6-8 hours on low. Let it cool a little bit before you try opening it. This stuff is so good! I used to eat it so much on my mission.

Pastel Frio

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 pkg. Marias cookies
1 small can pineapple rings

In small mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Pour just enough into small baking dish (8x8 or similar size)to cover the bottom. Place a layer of Marias cookies on top of the mixture then top with milk mixture. Continue layering milk and cookies until milk mixture is just about gone. Pour an extra layer of milk on top so you can no longer see the cookies. Put pineapple rings on top, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

NOTES:I got this recipe from a Mexican roommate I had in college. When I made it, I used pineapple but I think I will try it with strawberries next time. I think it would compliment the flavors a little better.


1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 quart warm water
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
Whole cinnamon sticks, optional, for serving

In a blender, combine the rice and warm water. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes until the rice breaks up but does not form a powder. Let the rice mixture stand in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine-mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Pour the rice water into a blender and add the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon, and sugar. Blend for 1 minute until well combined and smooth. Serve the horchata over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

NOTES:Recipe curtesy of Ingrid Hoffman from Food Network.

Tomatillo Dressing

This is the dressing that I use whenever I make my big Cafe Rio knock off meal. If you're not from Utah, you'll probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but believe me when I say, it's delicious! The sweet pork burrito and salad are Cafe Rio's most popular entrees. If you haven't checked out my recipes for the Sweet and Spicy Pork and Cilantro Lime Rice, head there too so you can partake of the goodness as well!

This dressing would also be good in almost any salad as well; chicken salad, green salad, you name it. I've even used it in this Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad and it goes wonderfully.

Tomatillo Dressing
1 packet buttermilk ranch dressing packet
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayo
2 tomatillos (rinsed and husks removed)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
jalapeno, seeded (you can use half or whole, depending on how much heat you like)

Place in blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork (Cafe Rio copy cat)

Mmm, this is so delicious! I've had other copy cat recipes of Cafe Rio pork and this totally takes the cake if you ask me. I think it's even better than the pork at the restaurant. The secret here is really the El Pato sauce. It adds the perfect amount of spice, while the brown sugar keeps it a little sweet. Make it as a salad or as a burrito, or use it as a base for another recipe. Do not forget the tomatillo dressing though, it rounds out the flavor and is the icing on the cake!

Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork
3-4 lb. pork roast
1 large can El Pato Sauce (It's the yellow can that says original on the side and Salsa de Chile Fresco across the bottom. Also, if you want it less spicy, use one or two of the smaller cans.)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cola (or rootbeer)

Place cold roast in a cold crockpot. If your roast is boneless, you can cut it into chunks so that it will cook faster. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour about half over the pork, reserving the rest. Cover pork and cook on high for about 4-5 hours; may be a little less if you use the chunks. Roast is done when it easily breaks apart between your fingers. Remove pork and shred. Discard sauce and wipe out crock pot. Put shredded pork back into crock pot and pour remaining sauce over it. Cook on low for another hour or so.

To serve Cafe Rio burrito style: Melt monterey jack cheese on tortilla, top with either Cilantro-lime rice or Spanish Rice, beans, pork and Tomatillo Dressing. Top with guacamole, lettuce, and pico de gallo, if desired.

To serve salad style: Layer rice, beans, pork and other desired toppings on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

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