Sunday, September 25, 2016

Simple Ways to Wake Up a Cake Mix

Simple Ways to Wake Up a Cake Mix

If I didn’t know better I’d swear that boxed cake mixes reproduce in the dark of night on the shelves of my pantry. One day I counted 18 boxes of cake mix.

Here’s how that works: Cake mixes go on sale routinely. One week it will be Duncan Hines, then Pillsbury takes its turn and so on. The typical sale price for a cake mix is typically $1.50 or less. I hold onto my cake mix coupons until that particular brand goes on sale. With a $.75 or even $1 off coupon, rarely do I pay more than $.50 for a cake mix.

The challenge for me has been to find better ways to make a boxed cake mix taste homemade.

Check these quick hits plus five of my favorite recipes that use a cake mix as one of the ingredients:

Forget the water. Use whole milk (or even buttermilk) in place of the water called for in the package instructions.

Devil’s food. Any kind of a chocolate mix will really perk up and take on that wonderful homemade taste when you use strong brewed coffee in place of the water, and toss in a handful of chocolate chips, too.

Counteract the sweet. Cake mixes are very sweet with a distinctive “cake mix” taste. Adding 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice to any white or yellow cake will counterbalance the sweetness and hide the tell tale taste of the mix.

Butter is better. Instead of the oil called for in the box mix instructions, substitute with melted butter.

And now for some of my favorite recipes that use a box mix as an ingredient to make all kinds of yummy desserts:

Cake Mix Cookies
1 18.25 ounces yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven go 350 F. Dump cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in the oil and eggs until well blended (go ahead, use your clean hands). Mix in the chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls or roll into balls the size of walnuts and place 2 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten just a bit with your fingers. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. Yield: About 2 dozen 2-inch cookies.

Because there are so many different kinds of cake mixes (with pudding, with double pudding, extra moist and so on), you may need to make slight adjustments to this recipe. For example, I’ve found that with some varieties of mix the dough is so stiff and dry it’s not possible to form the cookies into balls. When this happens I simply add one or two tablespoons of water until the dough is workable.

If you want to cut down on fat, try substituting 1/2 cup applesauce for the oil.

Variations: You can use just about any combination of cake mix and chips. Example: Carrot cake mix with white chocolate chips; chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips; devils food cake mix with toffee bits chips; German chocolate cake mix with pecans and coconut; white cake mix with crushed pineapple (drained) and coconut.

By the way, if you need lots of cookies in a hurry, this recipe multiplies well. Just start with two cake mixes and double the additions.

A tip on storing Cake Mix Cookies. Depending on the type of cake mix you use, these cookies may dry out after two days. To prevent this store them in an airtight container with a piece of bread. I don’t know why, but for some reason this keeps the cookies just as fresh and moist as can be.

So I use cake mix to quickly make a batch of cookies. Usually I bake half, put half in the refrigerator, and bake the other half the next day. For variety and moisture I add: 1/4 c. pumpkin, chopped up leftover chocolate from Christmas, Easter, Halloween; chopped peppermint candy, nuts of course, cinnamon, quick oatmeal. I have noticed that different mixes range in weight 2-3 oz.

Banana Pudding Cake
1 1/2 cups milk
1 3.5-ounce banana instant dry pudding
1 18.25-ounce spice cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 bananas, mashed
1 16-ounce can white frosting or powdered sugar, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix milk and pudding together until pudding gets thick. Add cake mix, oil and eggs to the pudding mixture and beat with electric mixer until fully incorporated. Stir in mashed bananas.

Pour batter in a greased tube or Bundt cake pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Invert hot cake onto a platter. When cake has cooled, spread white frosting or sift powdered sugar over cake. Serves: 8-10.

Melted Ice Cream Cake
1 18.25-ounce white cake mix
2 cups melted ice cream, any flavor
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly mist a Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.

Place the cake mix, melted ice cream, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer on low speed for one minute, scrape sides of bowl and then beat another two minutes on medium speed. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a small rack, then invert it again onto a second rack so that the cake is right side. Cool for 30 minutes longer. Frost with your favorite icing or dust with powdered sugar. Serves 8-10.

Pecan Pie Bars
1 18.25-ounce yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Reserve 2/3 cup cake mix. Mix together remaining cake mix, butter, and 1 egg. Pat in prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Beat together 3 eggs, vanilla, reserved 2/3 cup cake mix, corn syrup and brown sugar. Pour on cake in pan. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes longer. Yield: 24 bars.

Dump Cake
1 18.25-ounce yellow cake mix
1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 16.5-ounce can pitted dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup butter, cold and diced

Preheat oven to 350 F. Dump pineapple and cherries into a 9×13 inch greased and floured baking pan and mix together with a fork. Top with dry cake mix. Evenly distribute diced butter over mix.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Remove and serve warm or cold. Serves: 8.

found at:

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake  (So, this is one that I always LOVED at church potlucks!  Someone would always make this cake and though I never knew it was a Texas Sheet Cake, it was one that I went to first!  Not the prettiest but so moist and chocolatey with a hint of cinnamon and of course pecans!!!!  It's Texas y'all (although I grew up in MO)!  Oh man!  This recipe doesn't have cinnamon in it, but as I recall, the ones at church often did!)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup butter
1 cup water
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons milk
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10×15 inch sheet pan (like a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides). In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in sour cream. Beat in the eggs. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the water and 5 tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then stir cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Icing: In a large saucepan, combine the milk cocoa and butter. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, then fold in the nuts, mixing until blended. Spread frosting over hot cake as soon as you remove it from the oven. This is imperative.
Yield: 35 servings.

Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby (this is supposed to be a local Seattle tradition--kind of a puffy pancake)
1/4 cup butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour bread flour* or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan (cast iron is ideal) in the center of oven. In food processor (or large bowl), beat the eggs until light and frothy; add milk, flour, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon; continue processing (or beating) for 5 minutes longer. Batter will be thin, smooth and creamy.

Carefully remove skillet from the oven; add the butter; tilting the pan to melt and coat the skillet. Once completely melted, pour batter into the hot skillet all at once and immediately return to the oven.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove the puffed pancake from the oven, transfer it to a plate or shallow bowl. Pour on melted butter, sprinkle on lemon juice, and dust with powdered sugar. Cut and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

*Bread flour helps the pancake rise. The results will not be as spectacular with all-purpose flour.

Found at:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Honey Bun Cake

Honey Bun Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup oil
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons milk
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
8 oz sour cream

Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, and sour cream by hand, about 50 strokes.
Put half the batter in 9 x 13 pan.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and spread over entire cake. Spread the rest of the batter on top of this.
Use a knife to make swirls in the cake.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Blend powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract and spread on warm cake.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Miss Kay's Famous Banana Pudding

Miss Kay’s Famous Banana Pudding

Makes 8 servings • Double boiler • 9 x 13-inch casserole dish or large glass bowl

2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter, melted

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk (I use Pet)

3/4 cup whole milk

6 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

40 vanilla wafer cookies

3 bananas

Lemon juice

Whipped topping (optional)

1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the milks and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. This may take 30 to 40 minutes.

2. Once it’s thickened, stir a little into the egg yolks. This will temper the yolks and keep them from cooking too fast. Stir the tempered egg yolks into the mixture in the double boiler and cook, stirring, until when you pull out the spoon, the mixture does not drip.

3. Remove the top from the double boiler. Stir in the vanilla.

4. Spread a little of the pudding in the bottom of the casserole. Top with the vanilla wafers. Slice the bananas in rounds, dip them lightly in lemon juice to preserve their freshness, and place on the wafers. Pour the remaining pudding on top. If you like, add more vanilla wafers to the top of the pudding and add spoonfuls of whipped topping.

5. To be really fancy, layer the pudding, bananas, and vanilla wafers in nice drinking glasses and add a little whipped topping.

A Note from Miss Kay

I guess if I’m famous for any of my dishes, this would be it. At almost every church gathering, I’m asked to bring banana pudding. I do love it myself, so I never mind making it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Skillet Chicken & Dumplings

Skillet Chicken & Dumplings

10 mins
30 mins
40 mins

Serves: 4-6 servings

½ tablespoon butter or olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
¾ cup each chopped celery & carrot
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked chopped chicken
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can pillsbury biscuits (see note below)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In an ovenproof or cast iron skillet, cook onion in olive oil/butter over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until softened.
Add carrot, celery and chicken broth. Let simmer about 4 minutes until veggies are slightly softened. In a bowl, combine chicken, cream of chicken soup and parsley. Stir into carrot mixture in the skillet.
Cut each biscuit in half and place in skillet on top of chicken mixture. Bake 15 minutes, cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Pillsbury Biscuits can be purchased in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores (any variety will work in this recipe). If you cannot find pillsbury biscuits, you can substitute homemade baking powder biscuits in their place.

Found at:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One Dish Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Crust

One Dish Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Crust

Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
45 mins
Total time
1 hour 5 mins

Serves: 8


Pie Crust
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter cut into small chunks and chilled
⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 to 6½ tablespoons ice water

4 tablespoons butter
½ medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
⅔ cup frozen peas, defrosted
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 egg, lightly beaten

Make pie crust. Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter chilled butter pieces on top. Pulse 10 to 12 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cheese and pulse to combine.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of ice water on top. Stir and press the dough together using a rubber spatula. If dough is not coming together, use a little more ice water.
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatted into a disk, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make filling, melt butter in a medium (10-inch) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour on top. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Gradually add chicken broth whisking it into the flour well. Whisk in half and half.
Add salt, pepper, thyme, and poultry seasoning. Let mixture simmer for a few minutes.
Stir in peas and chicken. Remove from heat.
Remove dough from refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle some flour on a piece of parchment paper. Place dough on paper and roll it into a circle that's about ⅛-inch thick. Slide your hands under the parchment paper and transfer the pie dough to the pan, flipping it over on top of the pie filling and peeling the paper off of it. Trim excess dough or tuck it under the so that the crust fits the pan. Brush top with egg. Cut a few slits in the dough to allow steam to escape.
Place in oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until pie crust is lightly browned and no longer feels doughy.

Skinny Pumpkin Energy Bites

Skinny Pumpkin Energy Bites

MY NOTE:  THESE ARE AWESOME!!!   Yes I love them!  
Skinny Pumpkin Energy Bites

prep time: 10 MINUTES


1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup wheat germ  (I use unflavored Whey Powder)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup white chocolate morsels


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.
Scoop into one inch balls. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. ENJOY!

Chicken Scratch

Chicken Scratch

Author says: This is a seasoning mix I came up with years ago that I use each and every time I cook chicken.

3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper*
1 tablespoon onion powder

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. I keep mine in a large used spice container that still has its shaker top for easy use. Season chicken or other poultry LIBERALLY with mix (this is made with less than 25% salt so you can rock it out!)

*if you prefer a Southwest vibe, use chili powder instead

found at:

Smothered Chicken Casserole

Smothered Chicken Casserole

Original Author says:  The bottom layer is like potatoes au gratin then it’s topped with tender, flavorful chicken and bacon and it’s all smothered in cheese. I mean, come on! Talk about a home run for your taste buds! And the best part? It’s all wrapped up in a perfect casserole.

I bought all the stuff I needed to make it and then had an idea. Stacey’s recipe doesn't have potatoes but I got to thinking that all that creamy goodness could easily work with sliced potatoes to make a casserole. And I’m one of those folks who, if I've got to turn my oven on, I’m getting as much out of it as possible! Deciding to use potatoes and make a casserole caused me to make a few other changes as well so what I ended up with isn't exactly like Stacey’s recipe. But they’re definitely close. Like cousins. Like first cousins. Who are buddies.

Smothered Chicken & Cheesy Potato Casserole

4-5 medium russet potatoes
1 10.75-oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup* (such as Campbell’s)
1 1/4 cups milk
8-10 slices of bacon
8 chicken breast tenderloins (about 1.25-1.5 pounds)
4 ounces cheese**, shredded (about 1 cup)
Salt & pepper

Combine cheese soup and milk then whisk until smooth.
Reserve 1 cup of cheese soup mixture and set aside to use later.

Wash and peel potatoes then cut into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick).
Spray the bottom and sides of a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Spoon 1/4 of the cheese soup mixture into the bottom of the dish.
Add a single layer of potato slices.
Season potatoes with salt and pepper.
Spoon another 1/4 of soup mixture over potatoes.
Repeat this process two more times so that you have three layers of potatoes topped with soup mixture.
Don't forget to salt and pepper each layer of potatoes.
Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice bacon into 1/2-inch strips and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crispy.
Remove bacon pieces from skillet with a slotted spoon; set aside.

Season chicken tenderloins with salt and pepper (I actually used my Chicken Scratch seasoning) then sauté in bacon drippings over medium-high heat until lightly browned (we’re not trying to cook them through, just get a nice sear on each side); set aside.

Remove dish from oven and uncover.
Arrange chicken tenderloins on top of potatoes and pour reserved cheese soup mixture over chicken.
Cover tightly again and continue cooking for 30 more minutes.

Remove dish from oven and uncover.
Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over chicken and potatoes then top with bacon pieces.
Return dish to oven and continue cooking, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

UPDATE from original author: Though I have made this many many times and never had this issue (and though an hour is plenty time for three layers of thinly sliced potatoes to cook) a few folks have reported having to cook their casserole longer for the potatoes to get done. Be sure your potatoes are only 1/4" thick and that you only have three layers. If potatoes are not par-cooked and somewhat tender after the first 30-minute cook time, cover again and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes before adding the chicken.

**I used Monterrey Jack because I thought the white cheese would be a nice contrast to the cheddar soup mixture but feel free to use whatever's handy!

Stacey’s recipe calls for thinly sliced onions and I almost layered them with the potatoes but I let Brutus talk me out of it. Consider adding thinly slices onions to yours – I think it would be great!

Found at:

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls without Yeast

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls made without yeast are a quick and easy breakfast around here.

These rolls can seriously be made, baked, and eaten in about 45 minutes. Give or take a few minutes depending on how quickly you are moving. Just don’t move too quickly and forget a step or ingredient. Been there, done that, and been mad at myself for rushing.

Learn from my mistakes because no one will appreciate rolls that don’t have all the buttery goodness they deserve.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 9 cinnamon rolls

Chocolate chips and a chocolate cream cheese frosting makes these easy, NO YEAST rolls a delicious breakfast choice any day of the week.


For the Filling
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon melted butter

For the Dough
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
7 Tablespoons melted butter, divided
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix together the filling ingredients and set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Create a hole in the middle of the ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons butter. Stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Add the chocolate chips and gently mix in.
Place the dough on a flour lined counter or table.
Knead the dough 5-6 times to work a little flour into it.
Use your fingers and palms to press the dough into a 10x14 inch rectangle.

Spread 2 Tablespoons melted butter over the dough.
Evenly sprinkle the topping over the butter.
Gently roll the dough up from the shortest side.
If the roll sticks to the counter, use a butter knife to gently slide it under the roll.
Cut off each end to even it up.
Slice the roll into 9 even rolls.
Grease an 8x8 pan with 1 Tablespoon butter.
Place the rolls in the pan.
Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter.
Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before frosting and eating.
Beat together the cream cheese and whipping cream.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
Spread on the rolls and top with the mini chocolate chips. Store any leftover rolls in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
To reheat, place one roll on a plate, and heat for 10 seconds.
Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.

found at:

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup (slow cooker)

{Slow Cooker} Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

serves 6-8

32oz bag frozen shredded hash browns
1 lb hamburger, cooked
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and chopped
2 lb Velveeta cheese
32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with cheddar cheese and bacon, if desired.

found at:

Gooey Butter Cake

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

MY NOTE:  Okay, I never knew Gooey Butter Cake was a St. Louis tradition.  Yes, I grew up by St. Louis, but I always thought that Gooey Butter Cake was a recipe from one of my grandmas in PA.  I guess maybe not!!!!  Anyway, it isn't the prettiest cake but it is by far the BEST tasting!!!!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12
Summary: This coffee cake is a St. Louis tradition, where the cake becomes the crust and holds a gooey cream cheese and butter filling. It’s generally served for breakfast, but can easily make an appearance on any dessert table.

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1 large Egg
1 Stick butter or margarine, melted

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs beaten
2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 325°
Combine, Cake mix, 1 egg and melted margarine or butter.
Press into a greased 9×13 pan with your fingers
Blend, cream cheese, 2 beaten eggs, and powdered sugar until smooth.
Spread over first batter.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are brown.
Dust with powdered sugar on top after cake has cooled

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Original Author says: If you aren’t familiar with gooey butter cake, it’s a St. Louis tradition that has spread nation wide. The original gooey butter cake version had a sweet yeast dough topped with a gooey butter filling that was sweet gooey. The modern recipe is simplified by using a cake mix, which becomes the crust and is topped with a sweet creamy filling made of cream cheese, butter and sugar. SUPER easy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 12-16 servings

This St. Louis specialty with a chocolate twist couldn't be easier to make and everyone is sure to love it! Perfect for your next party or pot-luck, everyone will be begging for the recipe.

For the Cake
1 (18-1/4 ounce) Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 large Egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

For Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs beaten
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips


Heat oven to 325° F and lightly grease 13x9-inch pan
Using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter until well incorporated. 
Press into bottom of greased pan with fingers.

For Filling:
Using an electric mixer, blend, cream cheese, 2 beaten eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. 
Then slowly add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. 
Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread filling over cake batter, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are brown. 
(Do not overbake, the center should be a little gooey)
Dust with powdered sugar on top after cake has cooled and garnish with chocolate chips.

This cake is even better the next day and can be prepared up to three days in advance. If you can not find the Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake mix, any 18-1/4 ounce dark chocolate cake mix will do.

Found at:

Herb & Spice Substitutions Chart

Cheeseburger Macaroni (Stove Top). You’ll never buy the boxed kind again!

Cheeseburger Macaroni (Stove Top). You’ll never buy the boxed kind again!


1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
2 cups milk
1½ cups uncooked macaroni noodles
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, sugar and paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese


In a small bowl combine cornstarch, garlic powder, sugar, pepper and paprika. Set aside.
Brown ground beef & onion in a pan until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
Add milk, broth and macaroni to beef. Stir in cornstarch and spices.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 9-12 minutes or until noodles are cooked.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Serve hot.

Found at:

Ultra Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese in the Slow Cooker!

Ultra Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese in the Slow Cooker!

Serves: 6 servings

2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ cup sour cream, regular or light
½ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup gruyere cheese (or you can use 4 cups cheddar cheese)


Boil macaroni noodles according to directions to make them very al dente.
(I cook them for at least 1 minute less than directed on the bag. Mine boiled for 5 minutes).
Drain and rinse under cold water.
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 3 hours,stirring once or twice.
Serve hot.

Be sure that your macaroni is cooked al dente before you put it in the slow cooker so it doesn't become mushy.

If you prefer or if you are short on time, you can bake this in the oven (and I have many many times!) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.

Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips!

Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips!
NOTE:  Many restaurants use whiting instead of crab.  I won't use crab due to shellfish allergies.  Wonder how chicken or fajita chicken would be....hmmmm...

A creamy cheesy hot crab dip served with crispy wonton chips!
Serves: 12 Servings
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese
2 cans (6 oz) crab meat, drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon pepper
Wonton Chips
1 package wonton wrappers
cooking spray
1 tablespoon fresh chives (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut wontons in diagonally, and then cut again so you have 4 triangles from each wrapper. Spray with cooking spray and spread chips on a pan.
Bake 7-8 minutes or until brown and crispy, set aside.
Combine all dip ingredients in a casserole dish reserving ½ cup mozzarella cheese for topping.
Top with remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with remaining chives if desired and serve with wonton chips.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

Cheesy Potato Casserole
NOTE:  I like to add some ham, bacon, sausage or whatever meats I have to this for a main dish.  I am thinking Fajita Chicken would also be great!
Cheesy Potato Casserole from …This recipe is so easy and one of my favorite side dishes!
A great side dish that compliments almost any meal!

1 (30 oz) bag frozen hash brown potatoes
2 cups sour cream
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups shredded cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups corn flakes, crushed
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine sour cream, cream of chicken soup, onion, cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Stir in hash brown potatoes.
Pour and evenly spread into a greased 9x13.
In a medium bowl, melt butter and stir in crushed cornflakes.
Evenly top casserole with buttered corn flakes.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

3 cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
½ cup butter, melted

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In an electric or stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well , slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9×13 baking pan. For topping

1. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Drop evenly over the batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.
2. Bake at 350 for 35­40 minutes or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.

1. In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature

Slow Cooked Fiesta Chicken & Rice


Serves: 4-6 servings
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp ground cumin, divided
2 tsp chili powder, divided
1 tsp garlic salt
1 medium red bell pepper, poblano pepper & onion diced
olive oil
4 Tbsp butter or light butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp oregano
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 [10 oz] package of saffron rice [I used Mahatma]
1 [14 oz] can chicken broth
1 [10 oz] can cream of celery soup
½ cup chunky salsa
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen sweet corn
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
chopped chives or green onions for garnishing

Spray the inside of a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. 
In a small bowl, mix together, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, one teaspoon each of cumin, garlic salt and chili powder to form a paste. 
Rub this over the chicken breasts, then set aside.
On the stove top, saute the diced peppers and onions in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until they are beginning to brown. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste then add the butter.
Add the chicken stock, to deglaze the pan, then stir in 1 teaspoon each of cumin, minced garlic, chili powder and oregano. 
Simmer just until the spices have dissolved into the stock.
Mix in the rice, soup, salsa, cilantro, black beans, corn and chopped cilantro. 
Pour into the slow cooker. 
Arrange the boneless chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture.
Cook on low for 4½-5 hours. 
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and sprinkle shredded cheese on top then replace the lid.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream or guacamole on the side and garnish with chopped chives or green onions before serving.

It's a good idea to stir this at least once midway through cooking, if possible. I usually remove the chicken breasts, give the rice a good stir, and then replace the chicken. This will prevent the rice from getting too brown around the edges.

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Caramel Apple Crescent Roll Bites

MY NOTES:  I think that adding the apples to the Cream Cheese Sopapillas could be really good!

Caramel Apple Crescent Roll Bites:
(Makes 16 servings)

2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons flour
1 (21 ounce) can Duncan Hines Caramel Apple Pie Filling

4 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out crescent dough and separate crescents.

In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and flour until smooth.

Spread one tablespoon of cream cheese filling on each crescent roll.

Drop one tablespoon of apple pie filling at the widest part of each roll.

Roll up each crescent roll starting and the widest end.

Fold over any extra dough to hold in the filling.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Roll each crescent roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Brickle Dip Recipe

Apple Brickle Dip Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
YIELD:16 servings

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package almond brickle chips (7-1/2 ounces) or English toffee bits (10 ounces)
3 medium tart apples, cut into chunks

1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla. Fold in brickle chips. Serve with apples. Refrigerate any leftovers. 
Yield: 2 cups.
Nutritional Facts
2 tablespoon: 174 calories, 9g fat (5g saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein .

Taco Casserole

Taco Casserole
NOTE:  We really loved this one!  I baked it in my cast iron skillet and boy was it yummy!  It was a bit dry because I don't use canned items, so need to add a bit more liquid next time but was really good!

Prep Time
Total Time
12 servings

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg. (1 oz.) TACO BELL® Taco Seasoning Mix  (I used my Taco Seasoning)
1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans, unrinsed
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained
1 pkg. (30 oz.) ORE-IDA Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese


Heat oven to 350°F.
Cook and stir meat, onions, garlic and taco seasoning in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat until meat is done, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat.
Drain beans, reserving 1/4 cup liquid; set beans aside. 
Add reserved bean liquid to meat mixture along with the tomato sauce and chilies; mix well.
Spread half the meat mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with layers of half each of the beans and potatoes. 
Repeat layers.
Bake 30 min. or until hot and bubbly. 
Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Buttery Cooked Rice

I came up with this to serve with my Teriyaki Chicken.  I didn't just want to serve white rice, which would be fine, but wanted something a little more fancy.  So, here ya go...

Buttery Cooked Rice

1 T Coconut oil
2 T Butter
3+ cloves Minced Garlic
Red and Green Bell Pepper minced
Green Onion
2 c Chicken Broth
1 c white Rice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put Coconut Oil and Butter in pan until hot, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add Red and Green Bell Pepper and stir until warmed.
Add Chicken broth and green onion and bring to boil
Add Rice and cook as directed for the rice.
Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Biscuits (Paula Deen)

Biscuits (Paula Deen)

Total Time:
32 min
20 min
12 min
Yield:about 3 dozen biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk  (more or less if needed) (or buttermilk either one)

Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut butter into mixture until it begins to look like cornmeal.

Make a well with flour mixture and slowly add milk into the middle. Knead dough with your fingers and add milk when necessary. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. Cut with small biscuit cutter.

Butter bottom of skillet and place biscuits in pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen, 2008

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3 Ingredient Southern Biscuits (with tips on how to make the perfect biscuits)

2 cups of cold soft, winter wheat, self-rising Southern flour (like White Lily brand)
1/4 cup very cold butter, shortening or lard
3/4 cup cold real buttermilk


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Coat a 10 inch cast iron skillet with additional shortening or oil and place into the oven for 5 minutes. Put the flour into a bowl and cut the very cold butter into cubes and toss in the flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until it is crumbly. Add buttermilk and use a fork to mix very lightly. Dough will be very shaggy.

Put a bit of additional flour on the countertop and scoop dough out. Sprinkle a small amount of flour over the top and gently push together to form a rectangle. Do not overhandle the dough. Take the short sides of the rectangle and fold them in toward the middle, turn the dough, gently press down into a rectangle again and repeat. Repeat this folding once more and pat into desired thickness, usually about an inch. This folding creates flaky layers in the biscuits.

Using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a small juice glass, cut out into rounds, taking care not to twist the cutter and gently gather scraps for the last biscuits. Transfer biscuits to the prepared skillet or baking pan and bake at 500 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown on top and cooked through.

Cook's Notes: This recipe uses self-rising flour - specifically a Southern soft-wheat type of white flour, such as White Lily. You may substitute regular all purpose flour, but you'll need to add 3 teaspoons of fresh baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt.

To Freeze: Prepare as above, except set down parchment on or butter a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. Once you've cut out the biscuits lay them out on the pan, freeze until they are set and then transfer to a freezer bag. To bake, reduce oven temp to 375 degrees F, and bake until browned and cooked through, about 25 minutes more or less, checking at 22.

Herbed Biscuit Variation: Add up to 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped herbs. Good choices include sage, chives, parsley, dill, thyme, or a combination. Reduce to about 2 teaspoons max if using dried herbs. Make biscuits a smaller tea size for a potluck, church supper or a party and fill with Chutney Chicken Salad.

The author says: Perfect, light and fluffy, homemade buttermilk biscuits used to elude me until I learned a few "secrets" and I have perfect biscuits every time now.

You don't have to use an iron skillet - I just like the crunchy bottoms that it produces, sort of like how we like to do our cornbread Down South.

Of course baking them spaced apart on a cookie sheet or touching one another in a cake pan works perfectly fine also - the first producing more crunch all around, and the latter producing soft sided biscuits.

Now, I'm gonna let you in on my most important, secret tips to getting those perfect Southern buttermilk biscuits.

The Secrets to the Best Ever, Perfect Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Secret #1 - Preheat the skillet. Just as you do with Southern cornbread, coat a cast iron skillet or with shortening, or butter or spray a rimmed baking sheet or cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat it in the oven just like with cornbread for about 5 minutes.

Secret #2 - Use very cold, self rising flour, and for the best biscuits, use a soft, winter wheat flour - like White Lily brand - and yes, it does make a difference! Just stick the flour in a bowl in the freezer the night before you plan to make biscuits. Do not substitute all purpose flour.

Secret #3 - Use very cold fat from the refrigerator. It can be lard, vegetable shortening or pure butter, but my preference is butter. If using butter, cut the very cold butter half into cubes. Cut into the flour first using two knives or a pastry cutter until crumbly. When first learning to make biscuits avoid using your hands.

Secret #4 - Use buttermilk. Real buttermilk, not a vinegar and milk substitute. All good Southern biscuits contain real buttermilk. Period. If you don't tend to use buttermilk in your cooking, it will keep awhile, so just keep practicing on your biscuits with it and put some up in the freezer.

Secret #5 - Cold dough. Remember, a successful fluffy and light biscuit comes from keeping the dough cold and not handling it too much. The heat from your hands will melt the butter, so until you get to the point where you can literally mix and shape biscuits in about 5 minutes, use a gentle and soft touch because you do not want the dough to get warm!

Secret #6 - Folding. After quickly kneading, push the dough into a rectangle and fold the short sides in toward middle one on top of the other. Turn the dough, shape into a rectangle again and repeat. Repeat this folding once more for a total of three times and pat into desired thickness, usually about an inch or less. If you cut the biscuits too thick, they will quickly rise and lean over. The dough folding action creates flaky layers in the biscuits.

Secret #7 - No twisting! Use a cutter about 2 to 3 inches in size, cut them very close together and take care not to twist the biscuit cutter, whether it be a cutter or a juice glass, but only push down and lift up on the cutter. Twisting will cause the fibers in the edges of the biscuit to close and result in a flatter and more dense biscuit. So just press down and lift up - no twisting!!

Secret #8 - Spacing. I like to do my buttermilk biscuits in a skillet, like I do my cornbread, which produces a crunchy crust on the bottom and soft edges. You may also bake them on a half sheet, rimmed baking pan or in a small greased cake pan. For biscuits that have more crunch all the way around, space them about an inch apart from each other. For soft biscuits, place them close together.

Secret #9 - High temperature. Bake your biscuits in a preheated 500 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Emeril’s Apple Crisp (Bake in cast iron pan)

Emeril’s Apple Crisp (Bake in cast iron pan)

375 oven bake for 45-50 min

o 6-7 apples (add juice of one lemon—abt 2 tsp) to apples to prevent oxidation)

o ¾ C Sugar

o 1 t Cinnamon

o 1 T plus 1 t Corn Starch

o Put 1 T butter in cast iron pan



o 4 T cold butter (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces

o Pinch salt

o ¼ C Brown sugar

o ¼ C Granualated sugar

o ½ c Flour

Using Cast Iron Pan, or 8x8 baking pan, greased

Place the flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and the salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of COLD butter pieces and work them in with two forks, a pastry blender, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Some extra cinnamon can be added here as well if desired.
Refrigerate the crumb topping while preparing the other ingredients.

Peel and core the apples. Now cut one apple in half. Place one apple half flat on the cutting board and cut lengthwise into 6 slices.
Place the slices in a large mixing bowl and use your hands or a wooden spoon to toss with the lemon juice.
Repeat with the remaining apples, tossing with lemon juice after each addition.
Add the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, the cornstarch, and the cinnamon to the apples and stir well with a large spoon.
Pour the apples into the prepared baking dish and crumble the topping evenly over the mixture.
Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 375 for 45-50 minutes in cast iron pan
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.
If you want to make a pie instead, just pour the apples into an (unbaked) store-bought or premade piecrust and proceed as directed above to make an apple crumb pie!

375 oven bake for 45-50 min

Pumpkin Dump Cake & Yellow Cake Mix Recipes

Pumpkin Dump Cake

8 oz Cream Cheese
3/4 C Powdered Sugar
2 tsp Milk
1 29 oz can Pumpkin Puree
1 12 oz can Evaporated Milk
3 eggs
1 1/4 c Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 T Pumpkin Spice
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (or homemade cake mix)
1/2 C Butter, Melted
1 c chopped pecans

Middle Layer:

Cream cream cheese, powdered sugar and teaspoons of milk and put into a zip loc bag and cut off tip like for icing

Foundation Layer:
Pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, salt & 1 T Pumpkin Pie Spice & sugar Whip together

Pour Foundation layer into greased 9x13 pan, and then add the cream cheese portion by swirling or plopping into pan

Sprinkle Yellow cake mix over the top and poke holes down through and drizzle butter evenly over the top of the cake.

Sprinkle nuts over the top

350 degrees for 30-40 min (video went 50 min—want it jiggly but not soupy)

Wait 15 minutes for it to set up and serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Yellow Cake Mix
Ingredients 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cups milk 1/8 cup vegetable oil 1 stick butter, softened 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 3 large eggs Instructions Measure flour into quart size mason jar. Add sugar on top, then baking powder, then salt. Place lid on jar. (My ingredients JUST fit) When Ready to Prepare Cake Batter Place softened butter into stand mixer and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes. Place dry ingredients into stand mixer and combine with butter for 30 seconds. Add milk, oil, vanilla and eggs and mix on medium-high for one minute. Pour batter into prepare pans. Bake at 350. For 9-inch pans its 20-25 minutes. For cupcakes start checking around 15 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Yellow Cake Mix #2

2 cups flour,

1 tbsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. salt,

1 stick soft butter,

1 1/4 c. sugar,

2 eggs,

3/4 c. milk,

1 tsp. almond extract.

Beat until light and fluffy, bake 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Yellow Cake Mix #3 (and this one looks like the perfect choice!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup instant dry milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together. Store for up to three months in a mason jar or sealed baggie.

To Prepare:

In any recipe requiring cake mix, 2 cups mix replaces 1 box of cake mix
2 cups cake mix
1 stick melted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla ( I always use Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Paste. It’s vanilla bean scraped into their already amazing vanilla extract. And no, I wasn’t paid to say that. It’s just really really amazing stuff.)

Fold all ingredients together, then beat on medium for two minutes.

Bake at 350.

For 2 round cake pans: 15 minutes.

For (24) standard sized cupcakes : 18 minutes.
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