Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Raspberry Cake

8 Servings

1 package white cake mix
3 tablespoons flour
1 3oz package raspberry jello
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 cup oil
1 10oz package frozen raspberries, thawed but NOT drained.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar


Combine cake mix, flour and dry gelatin and mix well. Add water, oil, eggs and half of the bag of raspberries with juice and beat well. Pour into 3 8" pans and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and remove from pans. Mix the butter, powdered sugar and other half bag of raspberries until well blended. Spread over cooled bottom layer, then place second layer and repeat. Then place the third layer on top and spread icing all around top and sides until all the frosting is used up and cake is fully covered. (Can do a crumb layer of thinly sides and top of all three assembled layers...refrigerate for 20-30 minutes...then ice with the remaining frosting.)

THE BEST RASPBERRY CAKE EVER, HANDS DOWN!!!!! Ok, had to get that out. This really is amazing and delicious and flavorful and addicting. If you don't want three layers you can always put in a rectangular pan, but I like the layers and I could eat the whole cake if I let myself. It's THAT good. Trust me! And this coming from a chocolate girl! Do yourself a favor and try it. It's perfect for Valentine's Day because of it's bright pink color. Make it for your sweetie or just make it for yourself. Either way...just MAKE it!

Italian Meatballs

Makes 30 Meatballs

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan
2 tablespoons parsley
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup raisins (use up to a cup, depending on how many you like in your meatballs)
2 tablespoons olive oil


Mix everything together with your HANDS in a large bowl only until everything is incorporated and well-mixed--do not over-mix or you'll have tough meatballs. The mixture should feel gritty and mushy. Roll into 1.5" balls and saute in preheated olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until lightly browned on the outside, about 3-4 minutes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet about half an inch to an inch apart in uniform lines. You can immediately cover with foil and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours and then cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Quick and easy meatball recipe that my kids love. The raisins give it the perfect sweetness and it's soo good. My kids request "homemade meatballs with raisins" all the time and there are never any leftovers. These are great in spaghetti or any other kind of pasta and they make delicious meatball subs too. Of course you can omit the raisins if you like, but you really should try it with the raisins at least once! Even if you don't like raisins, I bet you'd like them in these meatballs. Very delicious and very Italian. YUM.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Easy Lasagna Casserole

Makes 10 Servings

1 16oz box uncooked rotini pasta
1 32oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, or 4 cups of homemade sauce
1 32oz container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (It usually has 6 cheeses: Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and Asiago)
1/2 - 1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Extra shredded Italian cheese blend for topping


Boil pasta according to package directions and drain. Mix with a little sauce to keep from sticking and set aside. In a large bowl mix ricotta, shredded Italian cheese, parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in pasta with sauce. Spread a couple tablespoonfuls of sauce in a large 13x9 casserole baking dish. Stir remaining sauce into pasta mixture and pour into baking dish. (Mixture will appear soupy.) Top with additional shredded Italian cheese and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until pasta is bubbly and cheese on top is melted.

This was my little "experiment"...I planned to make spaghetti and meatballs but discovered I was out of spaghetti. So I improvised. I made a lasagna filling and mixed it with the rotini and sauce and the result was amazing yumminess. It tasted like lasgana but without the hassle of layering and spreading and it was much easier to fork it up in big mouthfuls. It was a hit in my household, so this was definitely a keeper! I also had already mixed and rolled the scratch meatballs so we served those with the casserole and they were delicious together. Recipe for meatballs will be following shortly. Buon appetito!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6oz (1/2 a bag) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup powdered sugar


In a large bowl mix together the melted butter, cocoa and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough for about 2 hours, or freeze for 30 minutes to an hour if you're in a hurry. Take about a tablespoon and a half of dough and shape into balls then roll in the powdered sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350. Cool on pan for 2 minutes then move to wire rack or paper towels.

These cookies are so delicious you won't be able to help yourself from saying "mmmmm" after your first warm bite. They send out the most amazing scent while baking--your whole house will smell like chocolate. We have a rainy day here today and these cookies are the perfect way to make us feel warm and cozy while the rain pours down outside. They don't usually last longer than an hour in my house!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Makes 1 Pie (4-6 Servings)

2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
2 cans cream of potato soup
1/2 soup can milk
1 can Veg-All vegetables, drained
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pie crusts


Mix everything together and pour into pastry-lined pie dish. Top with second pie crust and cut several slits in the top for venting. Bake 30-45 minutes at 350 until filling is bubbly and crust is nicely browned.

This is one of the quickest and easiest chicken pot pie recipes that I have. If you don't like using canned vegetables, you can certainly substitute 1 1/2 cups of thawed frozen vegetables. The thing I like about canned is that I can just make sure to have a can or two on hand in my pantry and they last virtually forever and when it's a weeknight and I forgot to start the crockpot or thaw frozen meat, I can easily throw this together in no time flat and get dinner on the table before my husband leaves for work that evening. I like to keep cooked thopped chicken in my freezer too so I always have the ingredients ready for mixing. You could also substitute any other cream soup if you'd rather. And of course if you don't like using cream soups, just Google a substitute and that will work fine too. This is always a big hit with my family and we never have leftovers. It is hearty and filling and a wonderful comfort food that just makes you feel at home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Parmesan Cheese Bites

Makes 32 Bites

1 cup flour
2/3 cup parmesan
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup cold butter, cut up
2 tablespoons milk


Stir first three ingredients together well in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press mixture together with hands, working until it is blended and forms a smooth dough--this will take a few minutes.

Shape dough into 2 4" long logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 8 hours, or place wrapped logs inside an airtight container and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with milk. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Baked bites can also be frozen up to one month if desired.

These make the perfect reception food. I made them for my sister's bridal shower last weekend and they were a big hit and went perfectly with my chicken salad focaccia. My kids love to eat them as a snack and I like to keep the frozen logs in my freezer so that I can bake them up anytime we're running low on snack items, especially ones that can travel well in lunch boxes! I know the instructions say to thaw overnight, but I've sliced and baked them right from frozen and the time it takes me to cut them all gives them enough time to partially thaw and I'll bake them right from that state and they're still delicious! They may require an extra minute or two, but no biggie. These make good appetizers and are good for parties and even weddings.

Hashbrown Casserole

Makes 6-8 Servings

1 28-30oz bag frozen shredded hashbrowns, partially to fully thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2-3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cups cornflake crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted


Mix soup, sour cream, salt pepper, green onions and cheese in a large mixing bowl, reserving some cheese for topping. Add hashbrowns and stir everything together well. Pour into greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top. Mix cornflakes and melted butter together and spread evenly on top of casserole. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until bubbly around the edges.

I have tried multiple hashbrown casserole recipes and this is the winner! It is moist and creamy and cheesy and delicious without being too salty. The cornflakes on top are delicious and give it that great crunch. This dish is a hit even with my kids, which is weird considering there are onions in it, but for some reason they aren't as picky about green onions as they are about others. I like to top mine with extra fresh green onions because I'm crazy about them.

Menu Monday

So I'm a little late posting this seeing as it's Tuesday now!

But here's my dinner menu for this week:

Black Beans & Rice
Corny Cornbread
Steamed broccoli

Risi e Bisi

Crockpot Mac n Cheese
Baked Ham
Green Peas

Shake n Bake Chicken
Hashbrown Casserole
Green Beans

Chicken Pot Pie

Yellow Rice & Chicken

Dinner with the inlaws.