Thursday, July 21, 2022

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

 Am I the only person that was like 2 weeks ago old when they tried Ooey Gooey Butter Cake?  I have never had it and never made it.  True story.  Has anyone else never had it before?  My husband was quite literally horrified and after hearing about it, and how rich it is and buttery and everything good in the world I had to try it.  I had to find a recipe, and honestly who better to go to than that southern queen Paula Deen? I am admittedly not a huge fan, but I knew she would have the 411 on anything "butter".

I did step out of her recipe a bit but none the less, what I did was actually an option she gave in the recipe.  So this recipe is not mine, but it is mine in MY kitchen!  Thanks Paula, you do know your butter!  And in case you didn't know, these are actually bars and not a cake.  Fun fact.  Let's do this!

You will need for the "crust":

  • 1 white box cake mix
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1 egg

Combine all ingredients in a mix bowl with a hand mixer.  You can use your stand mixer but a hand mixer works perfectly!  Mix until completely combined.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and using  clean hands spread it out to cover the entire bottom like a crust.  Set aside.

For the "cake" part, you will need:

  • 1 8oz block of softened cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
In the same bowl you mixed your crust in.  Add in the softened cream cheese and mix for 1-2 minutes until creamy and smooth.  Add in the rest of your ingredients, vanilla, eggs, butter and mix again until combined.  Now add in your powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides a couple of times.  Pour over crust and spread evenly.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  DO NOT OVERBAKE or you will ruin the wonder of this cake!  Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting.  That is MY recommendation.  We think these are WAY better cooled than warm.  You be the judge though!  

These will become a fast favorite in your house.  They are SUPER rich and sweet, a small piece will do ya'!


Monday, July 11, 2022

Ravioli Lasagna

 Ready for another easy recipe?!  This was a family favorite back in the day and I just started making it again on occasion.  It is easy, maybe a good one to get the kids in on.  I have said it before and I will say it again, getting your kids in the kitchen to cook WITH you will make them much more willing to eat food they think they don't like.  Stop the whole chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, cereal thing if they don't like what is being served for dinner, get them to try new food.  I apologize if this offends anything but, it is exactly how I feel, add a face in my hands emoji and it is spot on.

You can easily add some fresh spinach into the cheese filling, some grate veggies, or whatever else you can think off.  Bump it up wherever you can in nutrition.  You know the second you tell the kids you are having ravioli for dinner, they are going to be all in anyway.  You can do it mom and/or dad!

Here is what you will need:

1-2 1lb bags of frozen ravioli (I use beef, use whatever you like)

1 cup ricotta cheese

3 cups mozzarella cheese divided (or more :) )

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 jar of marinara or 4 cups homemade

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray your 9x11 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  I used parchment on the bottom.  In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning and salt.  Mix until combined completely.  (This is also where you could stir in spinach, etc)  Set aside.  Start laying out your frozen ravioli until the bottom is covered. Spoon the ricotta cheese mixture over the ravioli and spread out.  Pour half of the marinara sauce over the cheese mixture and spread out evenly.  Now add the next layer of ravioli, if you only have one bag, it may be sparse but don't quit now!  Pour over the last of the marinara sauce, top with cheese and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 40 minutes covered, remove foil and bake another 10 minutes to get the cheese good and golden and bubblahhhhh!

Serve, and enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

3 Ingredient Queso Dip

Happy July!  How did we get here so fast?  At the same time, we are closer to Fall!  Mild temps, open windows, crisp fresh air, all the feels going on here since it is currently 62 degrees F in my home.  

My husband's birthday is in a couple of days, and I like to spend a few days leading up to it making all of his favorite things. This dip is one of his favorite things. He is a dipper from way back.  He will dip, spread, slather and dunk, all things and into all things.  I think he could eat ______ and dip for nearly every meal!  And don't get me going on condiments, he has all of them, from every country and he is not afraid to try anything.  I love that about him.  So, with all of that said, we had chips and dip, and since we didn't eat nearly all of it, we put it in the freezer because it freezes like a dream.  Take it out and microwave or heat on the stove to enjoy it again and again!

While you may not enjoy using or eating Velveeta, this recipe can't be made without it.  This is not the time for real cheddar etc.  I am sure you can find those recipes out there, but this one, this one is not it.

Here is ALL you need!

1 2lb block of Velveeta Cheese

1 24 oz jar of any salsa, we use chunky

1 lb. browned ground beef, seasoned or unseasoned we use my homemade Taco Seasoning

Set your slow cooker to low and add in your cheese, cut into chunks, salsa and drained ground beef.  Place lid on and let it cook/warm for 2 hrs.  You can stir at 1 hr. and then again at 2 hrs.  Once the cheese is all melted and it is mixed thoroughly, put your slow cooker on the warm setting and enjoy it warm all night or day long!

NOTE: If you like your queso a bit thinner, add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk.  Stir it in and enjoy!

This is also awesome ladled over burritos or enchiladas!  Freeze any you don't use!

Thank you for your never-ending support and friendship.  I appreciate you and feel free to leave me your comments!


Monday, July 4, 2022 HOME!

 Ok, I get it, you were hesitant to even click on this let alone read it.  But come on, it won't take too long and you might just enjoy it!

I am a closet ramen lover.  Not even closet, it is what it is.  It is sodium laden so I had to find a way to make it at home, as good as at a Ramen Bar or Noodle Bar.  I learned to add things, take away things.  I mean why am I so ashamed of loving ramen?  I have been a noodle girl since birth, but, it is what it is.  I had a recipe/article published on Fox News Magazine Online featuring my Asian Chili Ramen Wrapped Shrimp.

I wanted ramen to be able to be eaten without the stigma of being TERRIBLE.  We are a country experiencing unreal inflation in the cost of food.  People need to be able to buy more budget friendly food to spread out the healthy food and use up food instead of throwing it away.  This "recipe" if you will, does all of that.  A ramen bar or noodle bar will easily cost you 50.00 or near that.  Sometimes we want it at home, and here is how I do it!

I am going to base this on 2 packages of cheap ol' ramen.  Ready?  Here is what I had in the fridge this day that needed used, carrots and celery.  I thought I had a small head of cabbage but it had gone way to far to the other side to be salvaged.  I make the soup as directed but use only one packet of seasoning, just one.  Add both if you like.  I also had a little piece of round steak left from a meal earlier in the week, and so I sliced it up thin and threw it in as well.  Add some ginger if you have it, literally whatever you have.  If they are already cooked add them in at the end, and if raw, follow my video.  You are getting the delight of those long slurpy noodles AND fresh veggies and protein.  Add in a beaten raw egg at the end of cooking, or any meat or no meat.  Tofu?  YES!  

Just like I use leftover cooked veggies for veggie soup, I use raw for ramen.  Just kind of as a guide.  There is absolutely no measurement, not too much, not too little, none of that.  Add in as much as you can cook in the pot!  I use some soy sauce, low sodium and like I said, omit the second package of seasoning but if salt isn't a concern for you, no worries.  

I hope you enjoy!!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Easy Slow Cookier Lil' Smokies

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime!  All the summer things happening!  Outdoor concerts, BBQ's, gatherings, swimming, and the list goes on.  I momentarily thought I was 10 again and ALMOST hit up a slip and slide.  One of my childhood favorite activities.  We didn't have the money to buy the REAL deal, but we had even better....  Let me set the scene.  My dad would buy a roll of plastic at the local lumberyard each fall to cover the very OLD windows on our 7-bedroom house with an amazing 6 ft. clawfoot bathtub, a kitchen for 12 that was about 6X7 and the best wrap around porch this side of the Mississippi!  He would take what was left, and sometimes add more, and lay it out in our long backyard.  He would run the sprinkler, the kind that fans out, and we would slip, and slide half a city block I swear.  We had the MEGA TONKA version of the Slip N' Slide, and it was awesome!  We always found ways to have fun.  We swam from sunup until sundown, had to be home when the streetlights went off and our bikes in the yard.  Those were the good old days, weren't they?  Neighbors on a walk, stopping by for iced tea on the porch, poured straight out of a Tupperware pitcher, you know the ones. God has certainly blessed me in my life, so I shall be grateful for NOW as well.  

Anyway, this morning as I am typing this up, it will be over 100 today and what better time to get some good use out of that slow cooker it took me years to make friends with?!  Perfect to cook things low and slow, AND to avoid heating up the house with the oven on, right?  This recipe is so easy and probably 98% of you know it, make it, or have at least eaten it once.  But you know what?  There are very beginner or kid home chefs out there (and other countries) who might need something easy to start with or even someone who has perhaps forgotten how good these are!  I have a little mid-size slow cooker because I am not about to dirty my regular size one for such a small amount of food.  I mean big batch, sure, this size no way!

Here we go, Lil' smokies, every football party across America serves them!  WITH a toothpick! THREE ingredients!

  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I only like Cookies which is probably, maybe a Nebraska thing only)
  • 1 cup grape jelly
  • 2-14oz pkgs Lil' Smokies of your choice

I like to mix the sauce separate.  Put the little smokies in your slow cooker (or simmer for an hour on low in a regular pot or in the oven at 300).  Mix up your jelly and BBQ sauce well and pour it over the top.  Mix to combine or let it slowly warm and drip down after heating and don't stir at all!  After 1 hour in the slow cooker, stir well.  Let go another hour or 2 before serving.  Make sure to put out toothpicks next to the paper plates for serving!

NOTE: I don't like my Lil' Smokies to saucy, but feel free to add more jelly and BBQ sauce to yours!  They WILL give off some juice of their own so if it feels like not enough sauce, it is!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Spaghetti Salad

It is a BEAUTIFUL day here in the Midwest!  Bad storms last night led to perfect weather today, I hope you are all having your own "perfect" weather.  It sure does lift your spirits, doesn't it?

I am so ready for some picnics, BBQ's and the like.  This is a salad I actually adapted from one I got from my friend Lisa.  She gave me a list of ingredients that is traditional in her part of the country, and I redid it in a way that my husband and I would enjoy it.  Oh boy, is this a good one.  No worries about mayo-based salads getting to warm, etc.  Besides, do we need more mayo-based salads?  No.  Not for me anyway! I will also link the YouTube video that goes with this at the bottom.  Make sure to SUBSCRIBE there if you aren't already!  Also, click the notification bell and select ALL to be notified each time I upload a video!

Ready, spaghetti?!? 

  • 1 lb. spaghetti (broken in half if you choose and cooked)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1-2 cucumbers (mostly peeled)
  • 2 tsp homemade pizza seasoning (or Italian Seasoning) there will be a difference
  • 1 tsp dried basil (4 or 5 leaves of fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup creamy Italian dressing (I prefer Aldi version of Olive Garden Original)

Cook your pasta and run cold water over it.  Make sure you salt your water as well.  Drain well and then add in cut up tomato and cucumber.  If you do not use my homemade pizza seasoning, you CAN use Italian seasoning but there will be a difference in flavor.  Not bad, just different.  My pizza seasoning had extra flavors not in a regular Italian seasoning.  Add in basil, I use my home dried basil, as my basil plant outside isn't worthy yet! 😁 Add in salt and pepper to taste and 1 cup of dressing.  NOTE: you will likely need a bit more dressing when it is time to serve as it sits, the spaghetti will soak up the dressing and you don't want it dry, as much as you don't want it swimming in dressing.  Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours before serving.  

PS. If you want to serve this withsome small balls of fresh mozzarella, I won't tell if you won't tell.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Caramel Apple Turnovers

 Good Day Friends!

WHOA!  Long time, eh?  I can't believe it is summer and the heat has already set in big time!  Summer fun has begun and we are already complaining about the humidity!  Dang midwesterners!

By they way, below you will find a link to the YouTube video that goes with this recipe.  Please consider subscribing and clicking the bell icon so you are notified each time I upload!  Thanks SO  much!

Of all things that I could make for you, I picked something not very "summery".  These may remind you more of fall but in our house, they are served with ice cream and I just can't do ice cream except for summer.  Is that weird?  I mean, I think it might be, but it is seriously the truth.  To be completely honest, ice cream isn't really my "thing".  I like it, but could definitely live without it too!

Here is what you will need for this recipe.  It will make 4 "turnovers that aren't turned over at all!

  • 1 roll big flaky crescent rolls (refrigerated)
  • 2 apples
  • 2-3 caramels per turnover
  • Cinnamon

Preheat oven to temperature recommended on the roll of crescents.  You will also use the recommended time to back these.

Chop apples into small pieces like I did.  If you prefer just slices of apple you can do that as well, it may make sealing them easier for you.  When you are done roll out 4 of your crescent rolls and run a rolling pin over them a couple of times for maximum surface!!!  Add your apples, sprinkle cinnamon, and if you aren't using a sweet apple, sprinkle in a little brown sugar as well.  Nestle in 2 or 3 caramels, take another crescent roll and lay it on top and seal the edges with a fork.  Place onto a parchment lines cookie sheet or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Just before popping them in the oven, spray with nonstick cooking spray on top, or brush with an egg wash (egg whisked with water) or melted butter.  

Place into oven for 15 minutes and smeeeellllllll-ellllll-ellllll what you been cookin'!!!  If you know, you know.........

I hope you give this a try and that you love it as much as we do!  Don't limit what you eat according to seasons, make what you like, when you like!  Need to go check my simmering bone broth.  It is only like 95 degrees, what is the big deal?

Your Chefwannabe,