This is my chosen forum for testing other's recipes and sharing my own recipes developed over the years. Most of the recipes are cheap, easy and fast, which is perfect for us working folk on a budget. Food doesn't have to be expensive to be wonderful! Enjoy the deliciousness!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness...PFFT!!!

Forget March Madness. In this home, it was Mango Madness today. I had 10 mangoes staring me in the face today (at least I think they were...everytime I tried to catch them looking in my direction, they looked the other way!) and I decided my hand at making jam. Aside from horrible mess left in my kitchen after I was done, this was a great experience. The jam is amazing and will taste wonderful on toast or heated up and served over icecream. Nice bonus: cooking this made my home smell lovely!

SPICED MANGO JAM 


5 ripe mangoes
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup water

1. Peel, seed and chop the mangoes. Microwave the mangoes until soft, about two cycles of 1 minute each. Use a fork or potato masher to mash the mango into pulp.

2.  Place the sugars, spice and water in a large saucepan over low heat, stir mixture, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When mixture begins boiling, increase heat to medium-high. Continue boiling until fine, soft threads form, 270 degrees F (135 degrees C). Stir in the mango pulp and boil until the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes.

3.  Pour cooked jam into sterilized jars and seal according to canning directions. Recipe yields 3 pints.

Carrot Pecan Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

If you love carrot cake, and you know you do, have I got a recipe for you! I've been tinkering with a carrot cake recipe for years, trying to get it just right. For me, I find that I prefer a simpler carrot cake, whereas most carrot cakes have raisins, pineapple, coconut and/or walnuts in them. Also, I wanted to do something different with the frosting. Traditionally, carrot cakes have cream cheese frosting, which I love but I was feeling a little more adventurous. So, I decided to make a carrot pecan cake with a dark chocolate cream cheese frosting and lordy, lordy, is it good!!! I knew I had a hit when my boyfriend, who usually doesn't care for cake, went back for seconds. Enjoy!

CARROT PECAN CAKE


4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
1 tbl vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp grated orange peel
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups finely grated carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

2.  In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, orange peel and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

3.  Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. You can also leave the cake in the pan, if you choose. Frost when completely cool.

 DARK CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING


4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk

1.  Have all ingredients at room temperature. Melt the chocolate in the microwave oven.

2.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Pour melted chocolate into cream cheese and mix on medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla, milk and salt. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar, checking the sweetness of the frosting periodically.

3.  Frost fully cooled cake and store in the refrigerator, so the cream cheese does not spoil.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And They Called It Pumpkin Loooove...

Welcome to the first posting on my home-cookin' foodie blog! This week, I was blessed to receive a huge amount of zucchini and carrots in a produce basket. Being that I am not a big veggie eater, nor is anyone else in my  home, I had to figure out a way for these veggies not to go to waste. My solution was to go on a baking spree and cook the veggies into delicious breakfast breads/loaves. Behold, faithful reader, my delicious Pumpkin Zucchini Bread:


PUMPKIN ZUCCHINI BREAD

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
11.5 oz pkg of milk chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, zucchini, butter and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in bread comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.
 
Word to the wise: Definitely wait at least 10 minutes before trying to remove the breads from the pans. I got impatient and as a result, these moist, wonderful breads started to fall apart. I was able to save one intact but the other one separated into about four chunks. So maybe it isn't suitable for serving to company but, on the other hand, all the calories leaked out when it broke!