Friday, October 25, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

One of my favorite cakes.  It has carrots, so it has to be healthy right?  This can be made as an 9” x 13” pan or as a 2 round  9” layer cake.  This cake is very heavy and rich.  You won’t need a big piece. 

2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 C. Carrots, shredded
2 C. Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp. Salt
1 C. Vegetable Oil
1 C. Pecans, chopped

In a bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil for 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour mixture , beating just until blended.  Mix in carrots and pecans.  Batter will be very thick.  Pour batter into greased cake pans.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.  Cool completely on rack before icing. 

 Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick Butter, softened at room temp.
16 – 24 oz. Powdered Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
8oz. Cream Cheese, at room temp
1 C. Pecans, chopped

In large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except pecans until well blended.  Stir in nuts.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vodka Sauce

One of my husband’s favorite pasta sauces. If you can’t find the prosciutto, you can substitute a good quality thinly sliced ham. However, it won’t have quite the same taste. As for the parsley, I prefer the curly leaf over the flat leaf variety. Just make sure to finely mince it.

 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Large Onion, Chopped
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 bunch Parsley, minced
6 oz. Prosciutto, minced
56 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
¼ to ½ C. Vodka
1 C. to 1- ½ C. Heavy Whipping Cream
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Large Rigatoni Shells, Cooked and drained

In large stockpot, melt butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, ham, parsley and red pepper flakes until onion turns translucent. Add crushed tomatoes and vodka. Bring to low boil then simmer over low-medium heat with lid off for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream. Simmer until slightly thickened. Serve over pasta.  Sprinkle with additional parsley.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Cheesy Sausage Hash

A good one dish recipe that comes together quickly.  This recipe makes a lot.  However, it can be easily halved.  Or double it if feeding a large crowd.  The addition of carrots and spinach are a sneaking way of adding some vitamins to an otherwise meat and potatoes dish.

1 lb. Ground Sausage
½ C. Onion, chopped
6 C. frozen Potatoes, cubed
2 C. Monterey Jack Cheese
½ tsp. Celery Seed
1 C. frozen Spinach, chopped
3 Carrots, shredded
Red Pepper Flakes, (optional)

In large skillet cook sausage with onion, carrots and celery seed over medium heat until sausage is browned. Add potatoes and spinach. If you want a spicier dish, add the red pepper flakes. Cook until potatoes are tender and starting to brown. Top with the cheese. Cover with a lid 3 – 5 minutes to help the cheese melt.

Pear and Walnut Pizza

A good alternative to traditional style pizza.  Pears should be ripe, yet firm.  If they are soft they will be mushy when cooked.

2 Tbsp. Butter
1/3 C. Dry White Wine
1/3 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Fontina cheese, shredded
1 Pear, thinly sliced
½ Cup Walnut pieces
Heat butter and 1 Tbsp. Water in saucepan on low until melted. Add wine. Simmer 5 minutes. Add cream. Simmer on low until thickened. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Spread on your favorite pizza crust, (I like the Boboli thin crust style). Top with Fontina. Arrange the pear slices on top. Scatter with the walnut pieces. Bake at 375 until crust is well melted and starting to bubble in places. Take out of oven and let cool 5 – 10 minutes. Drizzle lightly with honey.