Thursday, July 29, 2010

NieNie's Chocolate cake

NieNie's Mud Cake Magnifique
with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse & Ganache Bittercream
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate (8 squares)
¾ c. olive oil
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. powdered sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ c. cocoa powder
1 c. flour
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking powder*
½ tsp. baking soda
In a microwave, melt squares of chocolate with olive oil. Once melted, beat until smooth then add sugars and egg. Beat again until well creamed. Add remaining ingredients. Beat just until all ingredients are incorporated. (If you are baking BELOW 5000 feet altitude, double baking powder and add an additional 1/2 cup of flour). Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans that have been generously greased & dusted with cocoa powder. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 26-28 minutes, or just until center of cake springs back to the touch. Remove from oven. Allow to cool before inverting on a cooling rack and removing from pan. Before layering cake, use a knife to gently cut away any uneven parts at the top or sides of the cake. You'll want a nice, even surface to begin with in order to have your finished product look amazing.
Mascarpone Mousse
1 c. whipping cream
¼ c. sugar
1 c. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
8 oz. mascarpone

In a large bowl, whip whipping cream until fluffly. Add sugar & mascarpone and whip until smooth. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every thirty seconds until smooth. Chocolate should not be warm to the touch, if it is, allow it to cool just slightly before spooning the melted chocolate into the whipping cream mixture & beating until light and fluffy. Spoon carefully atop one layer of cake. Spread evenly, then top with the second layer of cake. Refrigerate until ready to frost.

Bittercream Frosting
1 pint heavy cream
11.5 oz. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
½ c. butter
4-5 c. powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and heavy cream until a thick, smooth ganache forms, to keep the mixture from burning, stir constantly. Put in fridge until chilled. Remove from fridgidaire and beat in butter & powdered sugar until frosting is a spreadable consistency. Frost. Chill cake. To serve, remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ToH Braided Bread

2 pkg yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups warm milk
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
3 eggs
7-1/2- 8 cups flour

1 egg; splash milk
sesame seed

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, shortening, sugar, salt, eggs, and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth.
Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough.

Knead for 6-8 min.
Place in greased bowl and let rise 1 hour or until doubled.
Punch down and divide in half.
Divide each half into thirds.
Place on greased pan.
Shape each piece into ropes, and braid together.
Tuck ends under.
Repeat with other half.
Let rise 45 min or until doubled.
Brush with Egg wash and sprinkle with seeds.
Bake 350 degree 30-35 minutes. or until golden brown. Cool.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Meat Loaf #2

Laurel had these two Meat Loaf recipes. We both tried one last Tuesday and compared notes. Not being a trained Culinary expert- I followed my recipe. Only thing I did was add more cheese (who doesnt want more cheese?) I liked it fairly well. I liked that they were mini loaves for each person. Steve LOVED them. (Honestly, out of the 8 loaves, I only ate 1- I'm just not crazy about ground beef.) He said I could add it to the menu rotation. I think next time I make them I'll add some of La's changes and mix and match the recipes to make yummy little meat loaves.


  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the egg, milk, cheese, oats and salt. Add the ground beef, mixing well, and form this mixture into eight miniature meatloaves. Place these in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Stir thoroughly and spread over each meatloaf.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.
In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place on top of the ketchup.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until meat temp is 160 degree

This is the original recipe. Here are my added parts:

Saute' until very soft it's important to do this so your loaf isn't crunchy.
1/2 a carrot- minced
1 celery stalk- minced
1/2 onion- minced
a sprinkle of garlic powder
you want them very small so you're not chomping on a big piece of crunchy veggie in your meatloaf.

The saltines suck up all the moisture and keep your loaf very moist and yummy. You just have to make sure that you crush the crackers very fine. Mine were done by hand and there were some big chunks in there and when I would bite on a big piece it was mushy and yuck in my mouth.
I put all the brown sugar ketchup sauce on top to add some more juices around on the meat. It's very good with that sauce.

Meat Marinade


½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
1/3 cup salad oil (Italian dressing)
2 Tbs. Dried Minced Onion
2 Tbs. sesame seed
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper
¾ tsp. garlic powder

Mix all together and add your chicken or steak.
For best flavor, marinade over night.

Basil Tomato Toast

For those of you who have seen the movie "Julie and Julia" there is a scene where she makes a garlic toast with tomato salsa dinner. Every time I watch the movie I want to eat it. I did a little digging online and I came up with this. Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks.

Bruschetta alla Julie and Julia – Recipe

4 slices of french bread

16 oz. assorted heirloom type tomatoes; Cherry tomatoes work best. Chop and seed them.

Extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

Sea salt

Chopped fresh basil

1. Toss tomatoes with 1 T. olive oil and about 1 tsp. sea salt.
2. Fry bread in 2-3 T. butter or olive oil in skillet, browning on each side.

3. Rub cut half of garlic over 1 side of fried bread.

4. Spoon tomatoes (with oil and accumulated juices) over bread. Top with chopped basil and more sea salt to taste.

5. Eat with plenty of napkins on hand.

Serves 2.

Gandolfo's Chocolate Cake

1 Devil’s Food box cake mix
2 chocolate instant pudding packages, the smaller packages: 3.9 oz (1 for the cake, 1 for the topping)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
3/4 cup water
1 cup sour cream (I used Daisy brand light)
Cool Whip, 8 oz container
2 cups cold chocolate milk (use vitamin D)

Mix the cake mix, 1 pudding package, eggs, oil, water, and sour cream in a medium bowl with a hand mixer. Mix at high speed for 2 minutes until it is smooth and combined. Pour batter into a 9x13 inch baking pan. I like to use one of these, so I can cover and refrigerate the finished product with ease. Smooth batter evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. When toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Preparation for topping: With the wire whip attachment of your hand mixer, mix 1 pudding package, 2 cups cold chocolate milk. Whip for 2 minutes. Now whip in Cool-Whip. Whip until Cool-Whip is all combined and there are no traces of it.
When cake is cooled, pour your moussey pudding over the cake. Smooth evenly with a rubber scraper. You could serve the cake right now, but I like to refrigerate mine for at least a 1/2 hour before serving. Any leftovers must be refrigerated. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Orange Julius

1 - oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup cold water
1 cup cold milk
1/3 c. sugar (opt.)
One tray of ice cubes
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend all together.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

This is not my recipe, its one I got from the cookbook "101 Things to do with a Slow Cooker" which I love.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope of italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup water
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of mushroom pieces

Grease slow cooker and place chicken inside. Combine salad dressing mix and water, pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken. Cook 2 hours longer on high, or until chicken juices run clear.

Server over hot noodles or rice.

*I make this for just Steve and I. I only use 2 chicken breasts. (Now I realize why it was extra Italian-y, I need to cut that back too, duh.) I omit the mushrooms, because we don't like them. After I've added the cream cheese mixture it really doesn't need 2 more hours, because the chicken is already cooked from the first 3 hours, just let it heat through. I also shred the chicken before I take it out of the slow cooker. I think it goes further.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Laurel's favorite No-Bake Cookies

2 c sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 cube butter
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp peanut butter
Oatmeal ( approx. 3 cups)

Boil first 5 ingredients for 2 minutes.
Add vanilla, peanut butter and enough oatmeal to make mixture thick.