Friday, June 19, 2015

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Pineapple Upside Down Cake is one of my favorites. I've eaten it at potlucks, summer picnics and all kinds of get togethers. I've never made it though.  Until now of course. 

It all just came together quickly. I actually had all the ingredients. By accident. I accidentally bought pineapple rings instead of chunks. We just happened to have half a jar of maraschino cherries in the fridge. With everything else on hand, we made it in a snap. 


The part I was afraid of was the flip. I've had to flip things out of a pan before with disastrous results. I was so hoping that this would work. It came out beautifully and it was so pretty!  It was delicious and super duper moist. Maybe next time I'll be the one bringing this to parties this summer!





Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
9 slices canned pineapple in juice, drained
Maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Put the butter in an 8 x 8 in square pan and set it over low heat to melt.  When melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.  Arrange the pineapple rings in a single layer on top of the sugar, making 3 rows. Place the maraschino cherries in the center of each of the pineapple rings.  Set aside. 

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside. 

Mix together the shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla.  Blend the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Stir until just combined. 

Pour the batter carefully into the pineapple baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Test for if it's done with a toothpick or see if it springs back when you press gently on it.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan and put a serving dish on top.  Flip the cake onto the serving dish.  Leave the pan inverted over the cake a several moments to allow the syrup to soak into the cake. 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Tomato Focaccia




You want to make your whole house smell like an Italian bakery?  Well, this bread ought to do the trick. The house smelled amazing while this was cooking.  Every time someone walked in, they were raving how wonderful it smelled.  I wish my house smelled like this every day. 

Stephanie's blog Dessert Before Dinner was where I found this recipe.  I've been meaning to make focaccia bread for a while now.  I'm so glad that because of the Secret Recipe Club, I was able to do it.  Stephanie's bread actually looks better than mine but ours tasted superb.  The kids dipped theirs into marinara sauce, my brother dipped his in some balsamic and oil and I ate mine just as it was. Super nummy.

Check out Stephanie's awesome blog.  Her Watermelon Jello Shots sound really interesting. So does her Spinach Ravioli with Butternut Squash Filling. I just LOVE the color of these and totally am going to make them.  






Tomato Focaccia
Adapted from Dessert Before Dinner



  • 1 oz or 1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 2/3 oz or 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp.salt
  • 2 lb or 8 cups bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tbsp. dried
  • water (about 2 - 3 cups)
  • tomatoes, basil, olives, Parmesan or feta cheese for garnish

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix yeast, sugar, salt, flour, eggs, tomato paste and rosemary. Begin mixing and slowly add water as needed until a soft dough forms. It should still be heavy, but uniform and not wet. Knead until dough comes together. If you don't have a stand mixer (like me) just mix and knead in a bowl until it comes together. 
  2. Let dough rise in an oiled bowl for 1 hour or until doubled in size
  3. Remove dough and roll out to the size of a half sheet pan. Line large pan with parchment paper or silpat liner. The dough should be about half an inch thick when rolled out. I found the bread to be huge so next time I will break it into two loaves.  The one big loaf was fine though. 
  4. Oil the top of the dough and top it with thinly sliced tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, olives and feta cheese as desired. Let rise another hour. 
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until everything on the top is golden. My one large loaf took about 25 minutes. 
  6. Cool completely before serving, if you can resist the awesome smell!








Friday, June 12, 2015

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken


Asian food is probably my favorite food. Yep, for sure. I'd take Chinese takeout, a Chinese buffet or even Leanne Chins any day. Well, that gets expensive and it really isn't healthy. At all.  So I make my own. I've made several different Asian inspired meals and even several sweet and sour chicken recipes.  This Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken didn't disappoint at all. The sauce was super flavorful and we all loved it! 






Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Chicken:
Olive oil for sauteing
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in. cubes
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp. cornstarch

Sauce:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar

For the saute:
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 in. strips
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tsp. ginger, minced
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks, drained if using canned

Slurry:
1 1/2 tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 300. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Put chicken pieces in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with half the cornstarch, toss and sprinkle with the rest of the cornstarch.  Put the chicken on baking sheet. Bake until cooked through the center, 8 - 14 minutes depending on the size. 

In a medium mixing bowl whisk all the sauce ingredients together.  Set aside. 
Saute the bell pepper in a large pan until tender. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for a minute or two. Add the pineapple and sauce and stir for a couple of minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cold water and cornstarch together to make the slurry.  Mix it into the sauce and stir until thickened. 

Remove cooked chicken from pan and add it to the sauce. Toss to coat well and keep tossing until glaze starts to form. This should take just a couple of minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and let set 5 minutes to continue to thicken. Serve with brown rice. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal



I love leftovers.  I truly love when I wake up and get hungry and there is already breakfast in the refrigerator.  It just seems to make the day go smoother.  I made this Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal on Sunday evening and enjoyed it practically all week.  It tasted great and was incredibly filling!  My daughter at a couple of pieces and other than the raisins, she loved it too. I did however forget to take better pictures. I took some as it soon as it got out of the oven and then promptly put it in the fridge. I'll make this again but probably use golden raisins and put them inside so they are hidden.  Maybe then the daughter won't pick them off.  





Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal Recipe
Adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease a 9 x 13 in dish. or an 8 x 11 if you want a slightly thicker oatmeal.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: shredded carrot, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger.
  4. Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared dish and smooth out with a spoon. Press down on the oatmeal with a spoon so the oats sink into the milk. Sprinkle on the walnuts and raisins and press down lightly again.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 32-37 minutes until lightly golden along edge. The oatmeal will still look a bit soft or wet in some spots when it comes out of the oven, but it will firm up as it cools.
  7. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  When the baked oatmeal is fully cool, it will firm up enough to be sliced into squares.




Monday, June 8, 2015

My Favorite Homemade BBQ Sauce


I've made barbecue sauce before and it's been good but this one is different.  It's super easy and you don't even have to cook it first. It is on the sweeter side but I happen to love a sweet BBQ sauce. Feel free to add some cayenne or smoked paprika if you like a spicy or smokey bbq sauce. 



I use this sauce on a lot of things but my two favorite things are probably Barbecue Meatloaf and BBQ Chickpeas.  The sauce is perfect with both of these. It's great with pulled pork or hamburgers too!  




My Favorite Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Whisk everything together for a few minutes until sugar has completely dissolved. Store in refrigerator. 

More BBQ Recipes!
Barbecue Chickpea Sliders with Apple Slaw
BBQ Pork and Pineapple Quesadillas
Baked BBQ Onion Rings
BBQ Turkey Meatballs
Salsa Bacon Baked Beans
BBQ Bacon Spaghetti Sauce with Caramelized Onions
BBQ Bacon Stuffed Meatloaf
BBQ Chicken Enchiladas