AUNT SHARON’S CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK CAKE, OR IS IT?

I’ve always called this Aunt Sharon’s Chocolate Buttermilk cake because I got the recipe from her when I was a teenager, but I have been making it from scratch with my own flourish (specialty quality ingredients as in the homemade rum vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon) for more years than I care to admit, so is it hers or is it mine now? I have tried other recipes over the years, always looking for that new PERFECT recipe, but ALWAYS come back to this one because it just works EVERY time!

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK CAKE

CAKE
2 cups KING ARTHUR all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup QUALITY buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
2 LARGE eggs
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 heaping tablespoons QUALITY cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1 cup boiling water

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • If you are going to cut and layer this cake prepare the jelly roll pan with parchment paper and non-stick cooking spray, otherwise leave it un-greased.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, stir together the buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and eggs. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the cocoa.
  • Whisk together to combine.
  • Pour the boiling water in the pan and allow it to bubble a bit, then turn off the heat.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture stirring together for a minute to cool the chocolate.
  • Pour in the egg mixture, stirring together until smooth, then pour into a jelly roll pan (rimmed baking sheet) and bake for 20 minutes.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING for sheet cake
1 3/4 sticks butter
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
6 tablespoons WHOLE milk
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (1 pound bag) powdered sugar

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
  • Add the milk, vanilla and powdered sugar, stirring together.
  • Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, pour the warm icing over the top. You’ll want to avoid doing much spreading, so try to distribute it evenly as you pour.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM for layer cake
1 pound butter, softened
7 cups (2-1 pound bags) powdered sugar
4 heaping tablespoons QUALITY cocoa powder
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 tablespoon WHOLE milk

  • Cream butter.
  • Sift together the cocoa, cinnamon and powdered sugar into the creamed butter and blend well.
  • Add vanilla, blending well. If too stiff add 1 tablespoon WHOLE milk to thin.

FRENCH ONION CHICKEN

FRENCH ONION CHICKEN

Adapted from Eliza Winograd at Marley Spoon

1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon cream sherry
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped thyme
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped small or sliced thin
1 + 1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon sugar
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
apple cider vinegar

  • Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high.
  • Add onions and sprinkle with sugar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  • Add garlic after 10 minutes.
  • Cook, stirring, until well browned, scraping up any browned bits for 12–15 minutes.
  • Transfer onions to a bowl. Wipe out skillet.
  • Preheat broiler with top rack 6 inches from heat source.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to skillet.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add to sizzling skillet and sear 2-3 minutes on both sides.
Transfer chicken to broiler proof skillet.
  • Return onions to the skillet you just cooked the chicken in.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to skillet.
  • Add chicken stock, cream sherry and chopped thyme and bring to a simmer.
  • Add onions and garlic back into sauce while simmering to desired thickness.
  • Pour sauce over chicken.
  • Top with onion mixture and cheese.
  • Transfer skillet to top oven rack and broil until cheese is melted and golden brown, 2–4 minutes.

CHILI PORK STEAKS with CHEDDAR GRITS & GREEN BEANS

In just a few simple steps you can give your family a warm and satisfying food hug with these pork steaks coated in a warm spice rub that is seared until crusty and smothered in a rich onion gravy that tops the flavorful and cheesy grits.

CHILI PORK CHOPS with CHEDDAR GRITS & GREEN BEANS

Adapted from Marley Spoon and Theodora Kaloudis

1 tablespoon BETTER THAN BULLION concentrate
1/4 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
3 ounces grits
1/2+ cup grated cheddar
4 thin pork steaks
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 medium red onion, halved and thin sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
½ pound green beans, trimmed and halved
FRESH ground sea salt & ground pepper
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour

  • In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, FRESH ground sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Pat pork cutlets dry, then season all over with spice rub.
  • Fill a medium skillet with ½ inch water and bring to a boil.
  • Add green beans, half the minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt to skillet.
  • Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until green beans are just tender, 2–3 minutes.
  • Drain, transfer to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  • In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water and a pinch of salt to a boil.
  • Stir in grits.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until grits are tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Stir in cheese and butter until melted; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover to keep warm. 

  • Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add pork cutlets and seat until browned, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add onions to skillet. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

  • Uncover skillet; season onions with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3–5 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
  • Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in broth concentrate, water and broth, bringing to a SLOW boil.

  • Add pork and any resting juices to skillet and spoon gravy over each piece.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon butter; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve grits topped with pork cutlet and green beans, all smothered in gravy.

CREAMY CHICKEN & VEGGIES with GNOCCHI DUMPLINGS

CREAMY CHICKEN & VEGGIES with GNOCCHI DUMPLINGS

adapted from Eliza Winograd at Marley Spoon

1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme leaves
1 small can Le Seur peas, drained WELL
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound chicken breast strips
3 LARGE carrots, halved and sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups gnocchi
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour

  • Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  • Add gnocchi and cook about 3 minutes, stirring gently, until tender and most of gnocchi float to the top. Drain well.
  • Pat chicken dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • 
Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear chicken tenders 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Add carrots, onions and garlic, stirring occasionally and cooking until softened and lightly browned, 3–4 minutes.
  • Stir in flour and cook, about 1 minute.
  • Add chicken stock to skillet and return chicken to skillet. Bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in mascarpone cheese.
  • Fold in peas and gnocchi.
  • Simmer a few minutes more.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

REFRIED BEAN BOWLS & HOMEMADE TORTILLAS

REFRIED BEAN & RICE BOWLS adapted from MOLLY YEH

1/2 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 ounces canned diced green chiles
14-ounce cans seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white shoepeg corn, drained
2 limes, juiced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 cups cooked white rice
1 cup (4 ounces) grated white Cheddar or Cotija cheese
1/2 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced
Salsa of choice
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
FRESH cilantro, for garnish

  • Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium-low heat, rendering all of the fat until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Drain, reserving fat and set aside.
  • Increase the heat to medium and add the onions to rendered fat. Stir, then cook until soft, translucent and lightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the chili powder and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the green chiles and black beans.
  • Stir and continue cooking to heat through, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and mash with a fork, potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Or, for a smooth consistency, puree in a food processor, add 2 to 4 tablespoons water to the puree if it seems too dry.
  • Stir in corn and ground beef.
  • Stir in the juice of 1 lime and season with salt.
    To serve, fill one side of a serving bowl with refried beans. Fill the other side with cooked rice.
  • Garnish with cheese, salsa and scallions.
  • Scatter the jalapeno slices and cilantro on top.

HOMEMADE TORTILLAS adapted from Molly Yeh

2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup avocado oil

  • Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.
  • Add the oil and mix until coarse and mealy.
  • Stir in 3/4 cup water to form a dough.
  • Turn it out onto a surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until a smooth, slightly sticky dough is formed, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a dry skillet over medium heat.
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll them out on a lightly-floured surface until they’re really thin, keeping the remaining dough balls covered. I like a 1/16- or 1/8-inch thickness but wouldn’t turn down a 3/16-inch-thick one.
  • Cook them in the skillet on both sides until they’re just starting to show some brown spots, 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
  • Keep warm in a towel until ready to serve.

BEEFY RICOTTA MEATBALLS with PENNE PASTA, TOMATO PESTO & GREEN BEANS

The meatball mixture can be made ahead of time you can even shape them like I did into squares using my Joie silicone ice cube tray and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re to ready to use them.

Adapted from Marley Spoon’s Anna Painter

BEEFY RICOTTA MEATBALLS with PENNE PASTA, TOMATO PESTO & GREEN BEANS

4 ounces sun dried tomato pesto
2 ounces (regular) pesto
2 ounces cream cheese
2 cups (dry) penne pasta
1/4 cup panko crumbs
4 ounces ricotta
scant 3/4 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped parsley
½ pound green beans
1 small shallot, FINELY chopped
FRESH ground sea salt & ground pepper
avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter

  • Preheat oven to 450° and arrange rack into the center position.
  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Trim green beans, then cut or snap in half.
  • Finely chop parsley leaves and stems.
  • In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, ricotta, panko crumbs, 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley, FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste. Gentle knead to blend.
  • 
Shape beef into 6-8 meatballs of about 2 tablespoons each. Choose your shape round or square – I use square if I’m making them in advance because I use silicone molds to freeze them in.
  • Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
  • Bake on center oven rack until browned on the bottom and cooked through, 10–12 minutes.
  • While meatballs bake, add pasta to boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 8 minutes.
  • Add green beans to the pot with the pasta, and continue cooking another 4 minutes until pasta is al dente’ and green beans are tender. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and green beans.
  • Place drained pasta and beans over the butter in a bowl. Toss to coat.
  • Return the pot to the burner and add oil in same pot over medium-high.
  • Add shallots and a pinch each of salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring, until softened.
  • Add cream cheese, pesto, sun dried tomato pesto, and reserved cooking water.
  • Cook, whisking, until cream cheese is incorporated and sauce is smooth, about 1 minute.
  • 

Add pasta, green beans, and half of the parsley to pot with sauce.
  • Cook, stirring, until pasta and green beans are coated well.
  • Add meatballs to pot and gently stir to combine.
  • Garnish with remaining parsley.

 

GINGER TAMARI CHICKEN & VEGGIES with NOODLES

Every now and then I try a food delivery service to see how they rate. I choose recipes I’ve never made before, but recipes that I believe I will make again without the need of having the ingredients delivered. This is one of those recipes that I have slightly adapted to ingredients I have on hand regularly. This recipe fits that need.

I’m also subscribing for the next 3 months to a fairly new service from Pampered Chef for a Seasoning series that I will keep you updated about.

Craving noodles? This recipe will feed that craving BIG TIME with its tender chicken and fragrant sauce full of flavor. The FRESHNESS of the sugar snap peas and cabbage add a delicious crunch and balance the meal to perfection.

 

GINGER TAMARI CHICKEN & VEGGIES with NOODLES

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
toasted sesame seeds
4 cup shredded cabbage blend
2 ounces BETTER THAN chicken concentrate
1 ounce Tamari (Japanese soy sauce) or Bragg’s liquid aminos
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or your favorite FLAVORED rice wine vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 ounces, bucatini, square spaghetti or linguine
1 ounce FRESH ginger
1 SMALL bunch green onions
1 cup sugar snap peas

  • 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Pat chicken dry, then cut into ¼-inch thick strips.
  • Trim snap peas, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
  • Trim scallions, then thinly slice on bias.
  • Peel and finely chop ginger.


  • Add noodles to boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, 8–9 minutes.
  • Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain.
  • Add all of the tamari, chicken broth concentrate, and 2 teaspoons each of vinegar and sugar to reserved cooking water, whisking until sugar dissolves, Set aside.
  • 

Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high.
  • Add chicken to skillet and cook, stirring and turning, about 3 minutes until cooked through and just beginning to turn golden.
  • Add chopped ginger and half of the scallions and cook, stirring, until aromatics are fragrant and chicken is cooked through, about 30 seconds.
  • Transfer to a plate.

Heat more oil in same skillet over high if necessary.
  • Add snap peas, 4 cups shredded cabbage, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to skillet and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender and browned in spots, about 3 minutes.
  • 
Add tamari-broth mixture to skillet with vegetables, stirring to combine.


  • Transfer noodles, chicken and any resting juices, and 1¼ teaspoon sesame seeds to skillet with vegetables and sauce.
  • Cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve chicken with noodles garnished with remaining scallions and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!



NOTE: I usually use Bragg’s liquid aminos because the sodium is much less than traditional soy sauce and I find very little difference in flavor. Tamari takes it a step further by being higher in protein, containing anti0oxidants and being much smoother in flavor. It is also less likely to contain the additives and preservatives that traditional soy sauce does. These are all based on personal preference and availability.

CHICKEN & APPLES ~ PURE COMFORT FOOD

This recipe is adapted from Eliza Winograd Marley Spoon and provides a hearty and complete comfort meal with rustic mashed potatoes, flavorful chicken with its sweet and tart apple with a creamy sauce and crisp tart salad as a companion. The recipe as written didn’t have enough OOOMPH for us (it was actually quite bland), so I OOOMPED it up a bit 😀

CHICKEN & APPLES over Mashed Potatoes with Spinach Salad

SALAD & DRESSING
2  cups torn baby spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon FINELY diced shallot
1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted if desired

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the chopped shallots.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Set aside.
  • Just before serving, toss spinach leaves and chopped apple, nuts and dressing.

POTATOES
1/4-1/3 cup sour cream
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and large diced
2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Place potatoes in a small saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt along with enough water to cover by 1-inch.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Drain, return to pot, add 2 tablespoons butter and keep covered. 


CHICKEN
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (see note)
2 teaspoons BETTER THAN chicken concentrate
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt + FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 shallot, FINELY chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 cup water

  • Pat chicken dry and generously season all over with a mixture of the onion powder and FRESH ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium-high.
  • Add chicken until well browned on both sides but not cooked completely through, 2–3 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in reserved skillet over medium-high.
  • Add apples, garlic and the remaining shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and slightly softened, 3–5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour over skillet and cook 30 seconds.
  • Whisk together water, chicken concentrate and Dijon mustard. Add to skillet, gently stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.
  • Return chicken to pan, simmering 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked through, apples are tender and sauce has thickened.

  • Return saucepan with potatoes to medium-high and add sour cream and 2 tablespoons butter. Coarsely mash using a fork or potato masher.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve chicken with apples and sauce spooned over top with mashed potatoes and salad alongside.

NOTE: I substitute a creamy horseradish for the Dijon due to an allergy that works well for me, but the flavor base is up to you 😀

SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD

SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD adapted from Molly Yeh

Evidently smashing cucumbers is quite common in Asia. Oddly it provides a deliciously rustic presentation and releases the excess moisture.

2 LARGE English cucumbers
2 LARGE green onions, sliced thin
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
Toasted sesame seeds and fresh cilantro, for garnish

  • Peel strips down each cucumber and cut off ends.
  • Place the cucumbers in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Seal and use the palm of your hand to lightly smash the cucumbers.
  • Take the cucumbers out of the bag and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  • Add to a bowl and season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Combine the liquid aminos, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and chile flakes in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk well to dissolve the sugar. 
  • Add the cucumber chunks and green onions, toss to coat.
  • Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.

NOTE: The recipe does NOT call for tomatoes, but I had a few that I threw in for color 😀

HOT HONEY LIME BUTTER CHICKEN

Hidden in a stack of my magazine tear outs, I found this delectable recipe for a chicken recipe that is as sweet as it is spicy and is an eye catching appetizing dish. I made just a very few changes to appeal to my liking.

HOT HONEY LIME BUTTER CHICKEN
4 chicken leg quarters
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Frank’s Original hot sauce
2 + 2 + 2 tablespoons butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Zest and Juice of 2 limes, separated (see notes)
2 green onions, sliced thin

  • Preheat oven 425°.
  • Stir together cumin, salt and pepper to make a dry rub.
  • Pat chicken pieces dry.
  • Rub chicken all over with the dry rub.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter and avocado oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken, skin side down and sear 4-5 minutes per side until golden on both sides.
  • Transfer chicken to baking sheet or baking dish, skin side up.
  • Wipe skillet clean.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • When melted add honey, hot sauce and garlic, cooking a few minutes until well blended.
  • Pour honey mixture evenly over chicken.
  • Place baking dish in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken pieces register 175°.
  • Turn off oven and let chicken rest 5 minutes
  • Transfer chicken to platter and keep warm.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet to melt.
  • Whisk lime juice into drippings and transfer back to skillet with butter, cooking until slightly thickened.
  • Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with scallions and lime zest.

NOTES: Oranges or lemons work just as well as limes and have a subtle change in the flavor profile.

updated CHICKEN CONTINENTAL

Chicken Continental as a recipe appears to be a collaboration from Campbell’s soup and Minute Rice during the 1960’s, an era of combining ‘prepared’ foods to form casseroles as your main meal.  Casseroles as a whole obviously go back MUCH further, but were usually made with scratch ingredients or bits of leftovers. I have found cookbooks on pinterest and google with the recipes, but I have grams old card with the Campbell’s label recipe on one side and a portion of a Minute Rice box cut out on the other.

Either way, I wanted to bring the recipe into the 21st century with using boneless, skinless chicken and FRESHer ingredients to spice it up a bit while maintaining the integrity of the original flavor base of the recipe.

updated CHICKEN CONTINENTAL
4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
2-3 bacon slices, cooked crisp, drippings reserved
8 ounces FRESH sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 stalk celery, strings removed, diced
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped thyme
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Parsley
1 1/2 cups Minute Rice (uncooked)
1 can Campbell’s Tomato soup
1 cup chicken broth
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge chicken breasts in flour and set aside.

  • Add  1 tablespoon of butter and oil to the bacon drippings in a large skillet.
  • Add celery and onions, sauteing lightly until softened.
  • Add mushrooms, thyme and parsley, cooking a couple minutes more until mushrooms begin to caramelize.
  • Add chicken broth and soup, blending together and bring to a boil.
  • Pour all but 1/2 cup into a large mixing bowl and stir in rice. Cover with a plate and set aside.
  • Return skillet to stove and add last tablespoon of butter to melt.
  • Add chicken pieces and sear 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Arrange rice mixture into the bottom of a prepared baking dish.
  • Nestle chicken breasts into rice.
  • Top with remaining sauce.
  • Cover and bake 20 minutes until chicken is completely cooked through.

NOTE:  Hubby hates mushrooms, but I love them so I makes them “separately” and add them to just mine. 😀

PUMPKIN PINEAPPLE CRUNCH CAKE aka HARVEST DUMP CAKE

Once upon a time this would have been called a DUMP cake, but when I saw a version of it on FaceBook from My Baking Addiction where they called it a Pumpkin Crunch Cake I knew I had to make my own version. This cake epitomizes fall flavors and is wonderful cold or even at room temperature! Don’t forget a dollop of whip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I made some other modifications for taste and we now call it Pumpkin Pineapple Crunch Cake aKa modified HARVEST DUMP CAKE.

Pumpkin Pineapple Crunch Cake aKa modified HARVEST DUMP CAKE Serves 12-18

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Chill Time: 3 hours Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple (drained WELL)
4 LARGE eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (apple pie spice works well too)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup golden raisins or currants (currants are my favorite)
1 box yellow or white cake mix
1 cup chopped walnuts divided 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
cinnamon sprinkle

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugars, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt and well combined and smooth.
  • Fold in crushed pineapple and raisins.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture, followed by the 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts and use you hands to gently press it into the pumpkin batter.
  • Evenly drizzle the melted butter over the entire cake.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Check your cake. If the top is becoming too brown, cover the cake with a piece of foil for the remaining bake time. Continue baking an additional 15-20 minutes or until set.
  • Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Chill for a few hours before serving.
  • If desired, top with whipped cream, remaining chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.

NOTES:

  • Even if serving at room temperature be sure to chill the cake first!
  • If you don’t have any evaporated milk you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream.