Monday, April 20, 2015

My favorite 'Doctored" Cake Mix recipe

Ok, I have a confession to make... I usually don't make my cakes from scratch.... Yes, I do sometimes, I have a great carrot cake recipe, and a scratch chocolate cake recipe that turns out. BUT sometimes when making a cake, especially for stacked cakes, and vanilla cakes, sometimes they sink in the middle, sometimes they taste like pancakes rather than cake, and sometimes they squish because they are too soft and crumbly... SO!! I use cake mixes... But I doctor them up. I ran across this recipe when looking for a yummy lemon cake recipe. I can't remember where I found (Have tried to find since I made it but no luck)
The great thing about this recipe is you can use most any flavor of cake and pudding mix. And you can add a juice instead of water when making lemon or lime cake and sub any extract flavoring you desire! The possibilities are almost endless! With the cupcake shown above I made a vanilla cake and pudding mix, but added lime juice for the water and coconut milk rather than sour cream.
This cake is super moist but sturdy, holds up to stacking the layers and its just a yummy cake. Have fun with it and enjoy!

Di's favorite 'Doctored' Cake Mix Recipe
1 boxed cake mix (you decide the flavor)
1 small box instant pudding mix (you decide the flavor)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or like I said use lemon, lime, coconut or butter rum....etc)

 Preheat oven to 350 and prep your baking pans. I LOVE Wiltons Cake release and spread that on my pans and they pop right out after cooling.
Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on low until combined. Then turn up the speed and mix for another 1 to 2  minutes. If your batter is really thick (I find some chocolate mixes really thicken a lot with the pudding mix, add a little more water) You want it to be like a brownie batter or pourable but not too runny. When making lemon or key lime cake I added about 1/4 cup juice and 1/4 cup water.

Divide your cake batter into your baking pans--this makes two 8 or 9 inch round cakes. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Another good test is to slight press your finger in the middle and it should spring back when done. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from pans and finish cooling completely before icing.
 Hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Chicken Saltimbocca

I love watching the Food network... it inspires me for my weekend cooking. I saw this recipe on Trisha Yearwood's show and it looked yummy! Gave it a try and LOVED it. I did tweak it a bit from reading the review's it sounded like it needed a bit more seasoning.... so I added Garlic powder, and crushed Italian seasoning on the chicken and basil in the ricotta cheese. This was delicious... but next time i make it I might use a really thin sliced Black forest ham. The Prosciutto was good, but couldn't really taste it with the chicken and it's really expensive. But loved this and the sauce.
Enjoy!

Chicken Saltimbocca
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood

Ingredients:
4 medium chicken cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon or so Italian seasoning
4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil, (I have said it before, I LOVE the tubes of chopped basil and other seasonings you find in the produce department at Walmart)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:
To prep, pound your chicken cutlets to about 1/2 inch or slightly thinner by placing in a zip loc baggie and pounding with a meat mallet. Also, chop your spinach. And I put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper and added one Tablespoon fresh basil, and stirred to combine.

Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. I also sprinkled on garlic powder and then I crushed a pinch of Italian seasoning in between my fingers while sprinkling over the chicken. I did this on both sides of the chicken. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken, spread with some ricotta and top with some spinach.
 Roll up each cutlet and secure with a toothpick(—just a hint- DON’T use colored toothpicks! I did and had blue spots on my chicken). 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
While Chicken is cooking make your sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. The roux should have a wet sand consistency. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and whisk constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.


Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks and spoon over the pan sauce.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup

I have been in a soup mood lately, and anything that's easy. I love cooking things in my crockpot so they are ready when I get home from work. I used frozen chicken breasts, for this recipe. I think they would be too done if not frozen the way I cooked it. I made this soup one day spur of the moment--just started it before leaving for work, shredded the chicken on my lunch break and added the rest of the ingredients, and it was ready when I got home. YUMMO!

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (use your favorite)
1 (14 oz ) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced green chile peppers
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons ranch dressing mix
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the frozen chicken

Combine all of the ingredients in your crockpot, turn on hi and let cook for about 4 hours.
After 4 hours, shred the chicken best you can with 2 forks while still in the crock pot.
Then add the following:

1 can Hominy (yellow or white) or you can add regular yellow corn if you would rather
1 can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
Stir a little to combine the cream of chicken soup. Turn your crockpot on low and let simmer for another 3 to 4 hours.
Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and Fritos or crushed tortilla chips.
Enjoy!