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Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever!

I made manicotti last Sunday and I had about half a container of left over Ricotta cheese. Other then manicotti, I had no idea what to do with it. As I was going in the fridge on Saturday, I looked at the Ricotta and noticed it had a recipe on the back. It was for "The Best Chocolate Cake Ever" which used 1 cup of Ricotta cheese. I decided to make it and boy am I glad I did. It is soooo moist and delicious and the frosting was honestly the easiest, quickest AND tastiest frosting I have ever made. I wouldn't say it was the best ever because it uses a box devil's food mix and I definitely like home made better. But for a doctored up box mix? It was FAB! The recipe calls for two round cake pans and then you frost and layer them, which I am sure would look very impressive. I just used my good ole fashioned bundt cake!

Here's my crappy camera phone pic and the recipe is after the jump!


Amaretto Vanilla Cupcakes!!!

Husband and I were playing Little BIG Planet this afternoon and I got the hankering to make cupcakes. Originally, I was just going to make plain ole vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting but I decided to kick it up a notch and add some amaretto to the batter and the frosting. Although I am still working on my frosting skills, the cupcakes came out delish and very easy to make! Recipe is from Taste of Home. I adapted it to add 1tsp vanilla to the batter as well as some fresh lemon zest. I also didn't have any buttermilk so I just used milk. They seem fine to me. Oh, and make sure you have a glass of amaretto on the side for drinking while baking!!! =D Recipe after the jump!


Cupcakes?! My favorite!!!Collapse )

Turkey & White Bean Chili!

It's been quite cold in Orlando the past couple of months with the highs in the 50's and the lows in the 30's. I know a lot of northerners would probably be out wearing shorts in weather like that but for a Florida girl, that's cold! When it gets cold out, I tend to crave a nice big pot of something hot. Maybe a stew or a chili or a soup. My only problem is that David doesn't like stew, is definitely not a fan of soup and doesn't eat tomatoes so chili is out. Well, was out until I found this recipe for white bean chili. I made this yesterday in the afternoon and let it sit on the stove on a low simmer until we were ready to eat hours later. It came out really yummy and was super easy to make. It also definitely took away the chill! The picture is from my phone so sorry for the crappy quality. Hopefully the camera will be fixed soon! I got the recipe from Rachel Ray's first 30 minute meal book and the recipe is after the jump!


Blueberry Muffins!!!

David loves anything blueberry, so for his birthday morning breakfast I made a huge spread with these muffins included! They really were a hit!!! We had some again for breakfast this morning after popping them in the toaster oven and then slathering with butter! Yum Yum Yum!! Recipe (taken from B3) after the jump!

 photo is kind of crappy. eveyrone was in a rush to eat them! LOL



Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake!

For David's 30th birthday, I made a peanut butter cup cheesecake. I cannot tell you all how RIDICULOUS this cheesecake is! OMG it is TO DIE FOR! I just had a slice about three hours ago and I about died and went to heaven. It's really easy to make and didn't take me all that long to do it. I overcooked the crust a little bit, so if you make it at home, be sure to eyeball your crust! The recipe is from taste of home and I got it off B3. Two things I would suggest that it doesn't say in the recipe: 1. leave your cream cheese and butter out overnight so they are very soft when you go to use them. and 2. instead of using 6 reeses cups like I did, use the mini cups and slice in fours. I think that would be much easier and probably look nicer too. All in all, this cheesecake is divine. Take it to your next party and your guests with be in AWE!

Unfortunately, my brother in law cut into it before I was able to take a picture of it completely intact, lol and I also broke my camera so the final cheesecake shot was taken with my crappy phone camera. Hopefully it will be fixed soon! Recipe after the jump!

 Partial ingredients

 Crust prior to baking. I think next time I will add more oreos.

  Crappy camera phone pic - but it sitll looks delish! there is a layer of melted PB on the bottom and then a layer of regular cheesecake, then chocolate cheesecake swirled in and then a layer of fudge AND THEN peanut butter cups. Can we say, NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM??!!

Cheeeeeeesecaaaaaaaaake!Collapse )

Pasta Carbonara! Mama Mia!

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my pasta carbonara. The camera was upstairs and I forgot to grab it. Before I knew it, the pasta was all GONE! A whole pound devoured by the two hungry men in the house. They said it was completely fab! I will DEFINITELY be making this again as it is super easy and very, VERY delicious!

I adapted the recipe from Rachel Ray. I add shallots to mine as well as a little more wine.

  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One shallot minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • freshly grated Romano cheese
  • handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (we do dried)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallots and pancetta. Brown the pancetta for two minutes; add red pepper flakes and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with the meat and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, and toss rapidly to prevent the egg from cooking. Remove the pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up the egg mixture and thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and extra grated cheese.

Roast Pork with Black Beans and rice!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I've been lazy! I have been cooking though! Unfortunately, I dropped the camera yesterday and it is now not working. :( My cheesecake post has a crappy camera phone pic. Oh well, at least I got some of the pork! I've never made roast pork before so we had to really play around with the cooking time. I also don't have a meat thermometer AND I threw away the package the pork loin came in so I had no idea how much it weighed. We were waiting around for it to finish about an hour after we expected it to lol. But, all in all it came out really excellent! Semi - Recipe after the jump!

\Recipe!!Collapse )

Valentine's day cookies!

David and I do not buy one another gifts for Valentine's day. I did get him a card and may get him a little something small. But, I DID bake him his favorite cookies. I alwasy say he is an easy to please dude, and he sure is! His fave cookie ever is the sugar cookie. He was so hilarious when he came home last night. He must have eaten ten cookies in a row! He would see one and say, "Oh, I have to test this one, it's a different shape" and stuff like that! Anyway, I must say, they came out excellent. Thin, lightly browned on the bottom, slight crunch on the outside amd chewy! Mmmmm!!! My frosting. Well. That was somewhat of an epic fail. It would have been just fine if I would have left the frosted cookies alone to dry, but I kept trying to smooth the frosting out, etc. It just turned into a big, huge frosting disaster. Next time I think I am going to try a recipe I have for glace frosting. Anyway, they are still yummy and I sent them off to work with D along with a special cookie just for him. As always, recipes after the jump!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I <3 Baking!

 First off, David's special cookie. HAHA. And my frosting disaster. They look more orange in the pic but I assure you, it's pink. I frosted about 15 cookies but I didn't like the way they foto'd. Oh, and that's a hug and a kiss there!

 Hearts!!! I only had about 5 of the small hearts left after my husband got to them and I probably made three cookie sheets full of just the small hearts! I guess the cookies ARE for him so I can't be mad at him. I think my red kitchen walls finally worked for something. Quite valentiney if I do say so myself!


 The whole lot of the non-frosted cookies!

love is in the air!Collapse )

This is going to be a post about pesto chicken and scallion mashed taters but it is also a HUGE shout out to ocnative</lj> !!!! See, she is the one that posted the Pesto Chicken recipe in my very first miranda_cooks</lj> entry. I made it tonight and it was a TOTAL WIN! It tasted SOOOO delcious, was super easy to make, and the husband said it ranked up in his top five favorite dishes!!!! So thank you, ocnative</lj> for the super easy, super great, super delicious meal! I also made scallion mashed taters. I had all these scallions left and thought, eh, why not!

Here it is in pictures! And as always, recipe after the jump!

 Here are my taters, all peeled and chopped up. Ready for some water to boil! **Tip: when cooking any food, be sure to chop or cut food into like sizes. That way, everything cooks nice and even. You can see from my picture that I got slightly lazy with my own tip...

 The chicken has been baking in its pesto coating for about twenty-five minutes at this point. The cheese goes on and back in the oven on broil to get nice and melty.

 And the plated dish in all its glory!!! I tried butterflying one of my pieces of chicken but they were too small, which is why I have two there. The rest I just left the way they were. 

Recipeeees!Collapse )

Lunchy-Time Post!

Ok, so technically I didn't cook anything per se, but I thought my lunch was so pretty I couldn't help foto-ing it! Some of my ElJay friends know how much I love Bento lunches, so this lunch is in true bento fashion. Even if it isn't a very good bento, haha. Generally, I try to eat very healthy during the day. For the most part, all I eat is raw fruits and veggies, and yogurt. I will have soup occasionally, but I prefer either my own homemade soup or the V8 brand vegetable soups (they are 100% vegetarian). I would probably eat this healthy for dinner if it were not for my husband and now the addition of my brother in law. I really enjoy the raw and vegetarian aspect of cooking.

Anyway, here's my lunch! I have a yogurt for breakfast, a selection of raw vegetables with a sidecar of scallion hummus (with a happy face) to go along with them, and an orange for an afternoon snack. My hummus recipe is an altered version I got from bellygoth and I will include the recipe after the jump!

Oh and I seriously can never look at hummus the same after watching Don't mess with the Zohan!! Hummus on your toothbrush anyone? (If you haven't seen the movie, I'm sure you think I am nuts!)

And a close up of the hummus happy face cause you know you all want to see it! It's nothing elaborate. Just a lemon wedge cause I like fresh squeezed lemon on my hummus and leftover veggie parts;

Scallion HummusCollapse )