Scalloped Potatoes & Hamburg Bake




Potatoes and peas main

Scalloped Potatoes & Hamburg Bake

Listen, I’ll be honest with you, I am terrible at coming up with names for my recipes. I just call them as I see them. When I started this blog all I knew was that I could cook, I didn’t realize that there were so many different elements to blogging. Along with cooking I also had to learn photography & improve my semi non existing writing skills. So bare with me as I learn. I am currently reading a book by Anne Lamott called Bird By Bird. I will warn you there is some foul language in the book. I am not finished with the book yet but basically she is showing me how to break down my writing into one category at a time and quit the other voice’s in my head so I can deal with one voice at a time. In one particular part of the book she asks you to close your eyes and imagine all those voice in your head are mice. She then says to to put each mouse (voice) in a separate jar so you can sort through the voices one by one. I know that sounds confusing but it actually does help, a lot!

Ok, that’s enough about my writing skills. Lets talk about this Scalloped Potatoes & Hamburg Bake! So this recipe basically came to be out of pure laziness. My husband said he wanted a meatloaf and every time I think meatloaf I think scalloped potatoes as a side. In my mind they go together like Peanut butter and Jelly, like coffee and mornings, like me and burlap. You get it. I had everything ready to go, the potatoes laid out, hamburg thawed, oven preheated. But then I got lazy, really lazy. I thought, forget it. I wasn’t in the mood to make all that but now I was now craving scalloped potatoes and my husband still wanted something with ground beef. So I thought to myself, I know, I’ll just throw the ground beef in with the potatoes. Perfect, right? wrong. To feel good about myself as both a wife and a mother I knew I had to add a veggie. I thought about making a veggie on the side but that would mean another dirty dish and I just wasn’t having it. I found a bag of peas in the freezer tossed them in and called it a day.





Aunt Marry’s Apple Dumplings




Aunt Mary's Apple Dumplings

Aunt Mary’s Apple Dumplings 

Everyone says Aunt Mary’s Apple Dumplings are the best. I would have to agree but I have a confession to make, I don’t really like apples. Or any fruit for that matter. No, I am the girl who peels off the delicious warm outer layer of the apple dumpling and devours it with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Some lucky soul next to me will get the “guts” or as you would probably call it, the apple, of my dumpling. If this were a perfect world I’d sit next to someone who didn’t like the warm flaky crust that has been drenched with a sticky butter and brown sugar sauce. They could have my apple and I could have  another serving of that warm flaky crust with sticky sauce. But this world is far from perfect and until then I will just have to deal…

In order for your apple dumpling making experience to be more enjoyable there are two things you are going to need.




  1. You are going to want a good apple corer. I didn’t have one and tried coring the apples with a knife and it was a mess, I don’t recommend doing it this way. Not to mention this was very dangerous, I cut myself twice while doing it this way. so learn from my mistake and buy an apple corer. I would actually recommend buying an all in one apple corer & peelers but I will leave a link to both.

Apple Corer & Peeler                                                    Apple Corer Only

                                                          

2. You are going to need some good baking apples. If you use a different type of apple they will not bake properly. Personally, I like using granny smith apples. They seem to bake very nice and everyone loves them.

Aunt Mary's Apple Dumplings - 2

 

(Cake Box Recipe) S’mores Bundt Cake




S'mores cake

(Cake Box Recipe)  S’mores Bundt Cake

Cake box recipes are so fun! I love them and I make a lot of them. My (Cake Box Recipe) S’mores Bundt cake is super easy to make. It tastes just as fantastic as it looks! It is a moist and fluffy cake topped to resemble an S’more.  And you will love the simplicity of this recipe. I think the hardest part was making the ganache, and if you have ever made ganache, you know that’s a cinch. Basically, it is just equal parts of cream and chocolate, easy peasy. Your guests will seriously think you spent all day in the kitchen. And I wouldn’t tell them any differently, what they don’t know won’t hurt them right? 😉

My favorite part about this cake is using the kitchen torch. If you do not own one of these you need to! I bought mine at a kitchen store for about $12 and it was the best $12 I ever spent =P . There are so many cool recipes you can make when you own one of these. I have yet to make a creme brulee but it is next on the list. Not to mention I can have a toasted marshmallow anytime I want! haha

Tip – When putting on the marshmallow fluff, take spoonfuls and plop them all around the top of the cake, then use the back of the spoon to smooth it together. Let the cake sit for about 10 minutes and you will see the marshmallow fluff begin to run down the sides of the cake. It’s so easy to do and makes the cake look so elegant.

For more great s’more recipes check out my Mini Brownie S’more Bites & 23 delicious S’more recipes! I think you will love them as much as I do! =)





Baked Italian Hoagie Sandwiches




Italian Sub

Baked Italian Hoagie Sandwiches

Make these Baked Italian Hoagie Sandwiches for your next family game night or party. Not only are they quick and easy to make but they are also delicious. I have been making these for awhile and they are always a huge hit!

Ingredients:

1  Loaf of Italian Bread

6-7 slices of Deli ham ( Thinly sliced)

8 slices of Hard Salami ( Thinly Sliced)

8 slices of provolone cheese

3-4 Tablespoons of butter

Mayo

Shredded lettuce ( 1 small bag)

1 tomato ( sliced)

1/2 onion ( sliced)

banana peppers ( optional)

Italian Dressing or Oil

Salt & Pepper

Garlic Powder

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice loaf of Italian bread in half but do not slice completely through. Spread the insides of the bread with butter and put on a cookie sheet buttered sides down. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until buttered sides are slightly toasted. Leaving the bread on the cookie sheet, flip the bread so buttered sides are facing up and add as much or as little mayo as you like. Then begin to evenly load the hoagie with ham, salami, and cheese ( in that order). Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Take it out of the oven and load it up with lettuce, tomato, onion, and banana peppers. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and drizzle with Italian dressing or oil. Cut into sandwich size pieces and serve.





Uncle Chuck’s Chicken on the Grill

Uncle Chuck's Chicken




Uncle Chuck’s Chicken on the Grill

When it comes to cooking on the Grill the struggle is REAL especially when it comes to meat. It seems I am either over-cooking it or undercooking it and, of course, you can’t serve under-cooked meat so it then goes back on the grill until I have achieved the polar opposite, a burnt slab of meat. So this year I have decided enough is enough and went to the pro, my brother. This guy can  seriously cook anything on the grill. His burgers alone are #drool worthy. So this year I am going to find out all of  his secrets starting with his Chicken on the Grill. In this particular recipe, my brother used chicken leg quarters but he has also used this method of cooking on legs & thighs and chicken breasts. The cooking times will vary depending on what cut of chicken you decide to use.

Uncle Chuck’s Chicken on the Grill  

Ingredients:

8-10 Chicken quarters

1 – stick Butter

2 (1/2) – 3 – Cups Vinegar

Garlic Powder to taste

salt & Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Turn grill to high (or 500 degrees), once it reaches 500 degrees clean it off good with grill brush. Once the grill is cleaned turn the heat down to 350 degrees ( medium high). On the stovetop in a small/medium sized sauce pan, on medium heat, add butter, vinegar, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Cook till butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Once grill has reached the correct temperature of 350 degrees place raw chicken halves on the grill and baste them with vinegar & butter mixture. Close the lid to the grill and cook chicken for 1 to 1(1/2) hours or until chicken has reached a safe temperature of 170-F (77-C) degrees, basting every 15 minutes.




Make ahead Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burrito

Make ahead Breakfast Burritos

Keeping some of these easy Make ahead Breakfast Burritos on hand will make your mornings extra enjoyable. I love knowing that I only have one mess to clean up from breakfast, for the ENTIRE week! And the mess is really not that bad. Usually, it consists of 1 electric skillet, a cutting board, a bowl, and of course, a few utensils. See, easy peasy, not even enough to fully load the dishwasher 😉 Paper plates also help to keep the mess minimal.

Now, I know I said these are Make ahead Breakfast Burritos, and they are, but my mom also had another great idea. She suggested that if I had overnight company I could make these up the night before, place them seam-side down in a greased cake pan, and bake them in the morning. I’m not sure what temperature these would have to cook at because I have never tried it. If you googled it I am sure you would find something on it. Gotta love google, right!?

* I saw many different methods of wrapping and freezing the burritos but I liked the one I used int this recipe the best. I can not find the website where I saw this, I might even have seen it on youtube. But I want all my readers to know that the recipe is my own but the freezer method is not. If I happen to come across it again I will be sure to link it. If you choose to make these burritos for yourself do some research on the different freezer methods, you may find something you like better. For example, I saw some people wrap them in foil. This would be a nice method if you chose not to use microwaves, you could probably take them straight out of the freezer and bake them in the oven with the foil still on. =)


Strawberry Crunch Pound Cake

Strawberry Pound Cake

I know I have been making a lot of cakes lately but this strawberry pound cake really takes the cake (pun intended). Due to the upcoming Easter holiday, my sister has come home from New York for the week. I am beyond thrilled! Because when my sister comes home it’s a free for all.. a free to stuff your face with all the food you want with no judgements and no talk of diets kinda all. So far we have been to the long horn for steaks and, of course, she had to one up me and get a steak AND lobster meal. Then the very next day we decided we needed to make a trip to Buffalo wild wings for a sandwich the size of our hands! And as if that meal wasn’t enough, we then decided we needed a slice of pie.. oh, and a coffee from Starbucks. I mean you can’t have pie without coffee, can you? Today she picked my son and I up for lunch at one of our favorite dinners, we did get a salad.. but I am not going to tell you everything else we got =p I am afraid that, unlike my sister, you will judge me. I mean I would probably judge me if I were you too, that’s a lot of food! But it doesn’t happen often, only a few times a year, so we take full advantage. And I am always sad to see her go. But I don’t want to think about that right now. Right now I want to focus on this lovely cake we will be indulging in for the next day or two, three if we’re lucky!

This Strawberry Crunch Cake reminds me of a strawberry scooter crunch.  It is so good! It is a moist strawberry pound cake with a cream cheese frosting and then is topped with “crunch” that is made from vanilla pudding and strawberry jello. This is the perfect summertime cake, your guests will love it!

This recipe was adapted from one of the recipes I inherited from my Nana.

Ham Salad Sliders with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Ham Salad Sliders - Final

Ham Salad Sliders with Spicy Mustard Sauce

I served these ham salad sliders at our super bowl party along with some other recipes that came by special request including my Buckin’ Bronco Nachos. I always like serving my recipes to a small crowd to get their reaction before posting them to my website. And I am proud to say that these sliders got rave reviews!

While I was preparing the Sliders, I heard a few grumbles coming from the living room about the pickled eggs. I thought I would be nice and make a few without pickled eggs. Well, no surprise to me, the only ones left over were the ones without pickled eggs. If you are a little skeptical about the pickled eggs you should, at least, give it a try. I once heard Paula Deen say something like this ” The first time you make a recipe follow it exactly, the second time make it your own” I think Mrs. Deen has the right idea. So when you make them please, please, at least, try the pickled egg, do it for me and do it for Mrs.Deen. 😉

I like creating recipes that are quick and easy but pack a flavorful punch. These little sliders have it all! The sweetness from the pretzel rolls, savory ham salad, a tang from the pickled egg, and let’s not forget the spicy mustard sauce. They are seriously like little flavor bombs. When I made them I used a combo of both mini pretzel rolls and mini bagels, they pretzel rolls are better… way better. The bagels were good but they didn’t add the sweetness that the pretzel rolls offered. You could always do what I did and try both the mini pretzel rolls and mini bagels to see which you like best. I hope you enjoy. =)

Nana’s Chocolate Pound Cake

chocolate bundt cake

December was a difficult month for me to say the least. I lost a grandparent to cancer, which I talked about in my previous blog post, Orange Chiffon cake from 1948, but I also lost a job. I only had the job for a few months. I started out as part time and somehow ended up assistant manager… whoa! Although I liked the job, it wasn’t where my heart was. My heart belongs here, at home, with my baby boy ( he is now 4 =) ) and my blog. So when things started to get rough at work I saw it as a way out and took it.

It’s funny how sometimes God puts you in a situation to teach you more about yourself, isn’t it? Although I quit my job and was feeling guilty and worthless, I learned 3 very important things about myself:

#1 People are going to let you down sometimes – People are going to hurt you, it’s part of life. Sometimes people choose to hurt you on purpose and sometimes it’s just an accident. In the end, we are all people, we all make mistakes, and we all have our own struggles. So I’m slowly learning that I need to forgive and forget, let go and let God.

#2 Stick up for yourself, you’re worth it! –  I have learned that I need to stick up for myself, I’m worth it. This is something that I have struggled with my entire life. I feel like God has big plans for me and learning to stick up for myself is a must for the next door to open. I will tell you this much if that job was a test from God, to see if I would stick up for myself, I failed. I got a big F for failure on that one. But the good news is that we serve a God of second chances, a forgiving God. So I guess if God can forgive me then I need to forgive myself  and make sure I am prepared to pass the next text.

#3 Do what makes YOU happy – After losing my job, I had a long talk with my mom about everything. I told her how I felt like a failure and that my blog was not near as good as other ones I have seen. She said to me ” Emily, do you like to blog?” I said “Yes! I love it!” “so do it!” she said. Then she said to me ” Do what makes you happy! You don’t have to be good at it as long as it makes YOU happy. You will become good over time.” That kinda stuck with me. And it is so true. I have seen a huge improvement in my blog from when I first started till now. So I guess that means I am slowly starting to get good at it?? 😉

well, you know what they say. You live, you learn, and you eat cake… lots of cake. So enough with the life lessons and lets get to this cake recipe. This is another recipe of Nana’s. Last week was Orange Chiffon Cake from 1948 and this week is Chocolate Pound cake. This was one of my Nana’s specialties and also my sister and I’s favorite.

Chocolate Pound Cake

3 sticks butter (softened)

3 cups of sugar

3 Cups of Flour ( sifted)

5 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa (sifted twice)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Cup Milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

5 eggs

10X sugar to dust cake with ( optional)

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees In a mixing bowl

In a mixing bowl, add sifted flour and cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. While stand mixer is still running add one egg at a time. Once eggs are mixed in slowly add mixing bowl of dry ingredients alternately with milk; add vanilla. Bake in a greased and lined bundt cake pan or angel food cake pan at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When cake is finished baking it will look slightly moist on the top, like it should continue baking for another 5-10 minutes, you want it to look like this. Allow cake to cool. Go around the edges of the cake with a butter knife and turn cake out on a plate, top side up if using an angel food cake pan. Dust cake with 10X sugar

* Instead of lining the pan you could grease the pan and dust it with cocoa, that’s how I did it.


Orange Chiffon Cake ~ Recipe from 1948

orange chiffon final

Orange Chiffon Cake ~ Recipe from 1948

I lost my Nana 3 weeks ago. After a 4 year battle with cancer, cancer finally won. When you know where you are going, death doesn’t have to be a sad or scary thing but rather a celebration. I use the word celebration because I know my Nana is no longer suffering. In fact, I bet she is up in heaven horseback riding this very moment… she loved horses. Cancer may have taken her flesh  but it couldn’t take her soul. No. that belonged to Jesus. I fully believe that she took her last breath here on earth and her very next breath in heaven, in the presence of our Saviour.

My Pap has been going through some of Nana’s things and came across her cookbooks that she had gathered over the years. Along with the cookbooks came a manilla envelope filled with old, old, hand written recipes. He passed them all to me. I am so honored. So I will be cooking my way through them, one by one, for the next year and sharing them with you all.

The first recipe that really caught my eye was a recipe for orange chiffon cake. The index card that it was written on is so old and discoloured that I couldn’t help but to make this recipe first. Oh, and did I mention the date on the card? 1948!! It’s funny how a little slip of paper can have such huge history behind it. My sweet Aunt Kat (Nana’s sister) told me that this cake was a recipe that my great, great, grandma used to make. Aunt Kat also told me that Gladys ( My great, great grandma) made this cake for the actor Cliff Robertson and he ate 5 pieces!! I wasn’t sure who cliff Roberston was so I had to look him up, but I was sure that it wouldn’t be difficult to eat 5 pieces of this cake. It is seriously amazing! It is kind of a cross between an angel food cake and a bundt cake. It has a vibrant orange flavor and a light and fluffy texture. And to ice the cake, a thick glaze that is entangled with orange zest.

Orange Chiffon Final

I made this cake a few times already. I am going to explain to you what I have found to be the easiest way to make it. The first thing I did was split the ingredient list into 3 groups, they are as follows: Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and egg whites.

1.) First I took the dry ingredient group and mixed them together in a bowl.

Group 1: Dry Ingredients 

2 1/4 Cup flour

1 1/2 Cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2.) Next, in a separate bowl, I added all the wet ingredients

Group 2: Wet Ingredients 

3 oranges ( zest and juice all 3. Make sure there are no seeds in the juice!)

1/2 Cup oil

7 egg yolks ( put the whites in a separate bowl, you will be using them)

3/4 cup of water or juice ( Now, let me explain this to you. What you want to do first is zest all 3 oranges and set the zest aside. Next juice the oranges. If you can get 3/4 of a cup from the oranges that’s great, use it! But if not and you fall just under 3/4 cup of juice then fill your measuring cup the rest of the way up with water. That’s how I usually have to do it.)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Now combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix well with a whisk.

3.) In a third bowl ( I use my kitchen aid mixer) add the egg whites 

Group 3: egg whites 

7 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

Beat egg whites and cream of tarter on high for 4 minutes, until stiff and fluffy.

gently fold in the zest from all three oranges, which is about 2 teaspoons of zest.

Gently fold the egg white mixture in with the batter.

How to bake it:

Pour into a greased angel food cake pan or chiffon pan. Take the middle oven rack out, and place the other oven rack 2 up from the bottom. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 55 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Gently take a knife around the cake, then turn out onto a tea cloth. Let cake finish cooling. Once the cake is completely cool, ice the cake.


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