German Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe



Coconut has always been a favorite of mine in anything. What a bonus to have this thick delicious sweet and yet creamy frosting over a chocolate style cake. If you haven't had it before you're in for quite the treat! The easiest cake using a mix is a bonus!



German Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe

1 package Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl add all the ingredients and blend together for around 3 to 4 minutes except chips fold them in last. Divide evenly into the two prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick is clean in the middle,  then cool completely on wire racks.

Frosting:
First I frost lightly with chocolate ganache then I add a light topping of the coconut frosting.

Chocolate Ganache:

8 ounces coarsely chopped semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter

Heat cream in a small saucepan. Place chocolate in a bowl and pour the heated cream over it let sit for 5 minutes until chocolate softens stir in butter until smooth.

German Chocolate Frosting:

2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2  cups chopped pecans

Boil the milk butter and brown sugar for 25 or more minutes until mixture thickens like pudding. Stir in the coconut and pecans. 

To assemble cake:

Spread the first cake layer with the ganache unless you are stacking these cakes then you would use the coconut frosting first top with another cake then use the ganache with coconut frosting last.  I do two separate cakes. Mine showing is some ganache thinly spread on top of one layer of cake, then the coconut frosting on one round cake. I always freeze one since we can't eat that much cake with two people!

Claudia's Grilled Chicken Spinach Roasted Pepper Sandwich




When I was on vacation I had a similar sandwich in our favorite restaurant there. I decided to try it tweaking it just a bit and making it to my taste. The biggest difference is how I cooked the chicken, I baked it with lime juice instead of fried it. I have to say this is one fantastic tasting sandwich!




What you will need:

Boneless chicken breasts sliced thin
creole seasoning
minced garlic
olive oil
sauteed spinach
roasted peppers
sliced plum tomato
provolone cheese or mozzarella
lime juice freshly squeezed
Italian thick sliced bread
salt, pepper to taste
red pepper flakes

Here's all I did:

I sauteed spinach in garlic and olive oil with a little red pepper flakes.  I baked the boneless thin sliced chicken breasts in the oven with creole seasoning with squeezed fresh lime juice and some minced garlic drizzled a little olive oil on each piece along with salt, pepper to taste. Baked it  till the juices ran clear on 350 degrees around 20 minutes.

Take two slices of thick Italian bread, thick sliced plum tomato,  added some roasted peppers, spinach, ending with chicken and provolone cheese on top.
I then place the Italian bread stack and grilled it in olive oil until the cheese melted on both sides. 

This is one of the best sandwiches I ever ate.


Next time I will add some sauteed grilled mushrooms too! 

Eggplant Hummus Recipe



A healthy appetizer that taste great with no matter what you dip in it vegetables, crackers or pita bread this has an amazing taste. See the special ingredients that makes this so delicious!





Eggplant Hummus Recipe

1 large eggplant roasted in oven ( poke holes with fork or knife to the whole eggplant and roast for 45 minutes on a piece of greased foil and cook until it flattens in oven at 400 degree hot oven.) Cool and remove pulp inside of eggplant. I personally don't like the skin it's too bitter to me

Place in food processor:

Cooled eggplant pulp
3 tablespoon tahini paste
2 tablespoon lemon juice
3 or more tablespoons water for desired consistency
1/4 teaspoon cumin
4 cloves garlic or more 
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste I add pepper to mine also to taste
1 -15 ounce can chickpeas drained
Pulse until this is nice and smooth. Serve with crackers, carrot sticks or other raw cut up vegetables. Great with pita bread also toasted made into points. Makes around 3 cups. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator if you have any leftovers.

Tip on Tahini Paste: I store mine in the refrigerator as it does go rancid if you leave it out and not use often enough.

Slow Cooker Cheesecake Recipe



I would have never thought you could make such a creamy dense perfect cheesecake in a slow cooker in 2 hours. This is by far something that totally amazed me as a cook and baker. I just loved how simple this is. I totally adapted it to our taste using just the same amount of eggs and cream cheese a normal recipe for cheese cake would be.  The recipe was flawless. You are going to be so proud of yourself when you see these results. 
Seriously just amazed me!


I can't tell you how pleased I was this came out so good!



Really nothing to even wash!



Slow Cooker Cheesecake Recipe

3 eggs
3 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese room temperature
1 fresh grated lemon peel about 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups sugar

Sandwich cookies filled of choice, you at least need 18 cookies you can use chocolate, vanilla, duplex. You choose what you like. I used vanilla sandwich cookies. 

Garnish:
Suggestions for toppings: I used fresh sliced strawberries with strawberry ice cream topping. You can use canned pie filling, fresh fruit of choice or any kind of jam warmed and poured on top. This is great plain also with a little powdered sugar and whipped cream.

Other options for fruits: peaches and peach warmed jam, blueberries with blueberry warmed jam. Raspberries with seedless raspberry warmed jam. Pineapple with pineapple ice cream topping.

Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy around 10 to 15 minutes till fluffy and smooth.

Line the slow cooker with parchment paper cross way ( you can use foil but I prefer parchment as it's easier to handle) and spray lightly with cooking oil. Add the full sandwich cookies to line the bottom of the slow cooker on parchment paper. Pour the filling cheesecake mixture over the cookies. Cover.  Place the slow cooker on high and cook for 1 hour and 55 minutes or 2 hours depending on size of cooker. I use a 7 quart slow cooker and it took 1 hour 45 minutes. Just make sure the middle is set.

Place the whole slow cooker insert in the refrigerator until totally cooled off. You can leave the parchment paper on or pick it up and slide onto a plate. I left mine on the paper.  Place whatever fruit on top with your coordinating warmed jam or ice cream topping for sweetening. The best way to use fresh fruits is to mix with the same flavored ice cream topping or jam warmed and mix together. I hope you and your family love this as much as I did.

I will be experimenting with marble, chocolate,  peanut butter,  pumpkin using ginger snap cookies and Amaretto using almond cookies. The skies the limit get creative this is a basic recipe that will be a starter to many flavors your family loves.


Easy Chocolate Italian Spiced Rum Cake Recipe


This is one of those epic fail attempts! I forgot to grease the pan heavily on my swirly pan and my cake fell apart! So a chocolate rum cake to the rescue was born. This is a simple semi homemade cake. One I had often when I lived in Upstate N.Y. with pudding, almonds and yellow cake filled with either strawberries and pudding or even bananas in the pudding. I made it simple no fruit since I was traveling with it. The cake is famous at a local bakery in Upstate Utica N.Y. called the Florentine.

 I was planning on bringing a pretty swirly cake at first to my cousins house (Karen and Bill). They invited us to dinner around 3 hours away from us on our way to Sanibel Island for Vacation.  The cake didn't make it out of the pan,  after I saw it crumble I had to think fast! Turns out to be the best mistake I ever made! When it all fell apart I went ahead and made one of the most delicious Italian Rum pudding cakes and 
all chocolate was another bonus! Hopefully they will never find out it was suppose to be a pretty swirly cake (smile).


My cousin Karen Grimmer and I.  We had a great time in Sanibel Island together. Karen and her husband Bill made us a great dinner! We had pork and pineapple kabobs on the grill, salad, coconut rice and a great bottle of wine. The perfect dinner to kick off our vacation. Thank you both we just loved your home!


Sanibel Island Florida is just beautiful! I had to snap this shot going over the causeway, just breath taking after dinner on the way to our West Wind Inn. A great place to stay!
My anniversary week vacation I can imagine even how much better the photo would have been if I had my camera! This shot was through a dirty window and from my phone! Go figure!!!



Here is another way to serve this delicious rum cake

 

I actually scraped it out pretty good for not greasing it!

  Before you get started here are some suggestions.

 Note Options: You can make this all white or yellow layer cakes, split and fill with vanilla pudding. Add Strawberries on top of the vanilla pudding or bananas on top of the chocolate pudding in a chocolate split layer cake between layers. Using 9 inch cake pans Don't forget to toast the almond! Soak both cakes with the same Rum syrup below before adding the pudding.
Easy Chocolate Italian Spiced Rum Cake Recipe

1 chocolate cake mix made to package instructions. 

  In the meantime make below: 

1 box cooked chocolate pudding made to package instructions and cooled. I used the larger size pudding box.

Then make the syrup below:

Rum Syrup:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of allspice or cinnamon
3/4  cups sugar
1/2 cup any white Rum (My cousin Bill said it could use more Rum try 1 cup instead of 1/2 a cup if you love Rum it can't hurt right?)

In a medium saucepan, place the butter, water, sugar and spice in the pan and cook until sugar dissolve around 4 minutes.
Remove from heat stir in the rum.



Pour  syrup over warm chocolate cake that has been broken up into pieces and into a container or large trifle bowl (layered looks beautiful).  Cool. Spread the pudding on top.  Refrigerate until cold. Scoop into small glass dessert dishes.  Top with whipped cream or serve with a frozen confection of chocolate gelato and chocolate fudge syrup on top. 


           Perfect place to vacation and we can't wait to go back! 

Hot Capicola Mushroom Provolone Frittata Recipe


A delicious frittata filled with mozzarella, hot capicola and mushrooms. Of course you can put anything you want in it.
I love roasted peppers in mine. 



Hot Capicola Mushroom Provolone Frittata Recipe

Sliced mushrooms
3 or 4 slices hot capicola cut into pieces
4 cheese slices mozzarella, provolone or fontina
3 eggs beaten
salt pepper to taste
olive oil plus 1 tablespoon butter
Italian seasonings
Cayenne pepper
grated cheese
granulated garlic

Beat the eggs, season with garlic powder just a pinch, salt pepper to taste, pinch of Italian seasonings, cayenne if you like the heat. 
Add in a heated fry pan 3 tablespoons olive oil and butter. Add one layer hot capicola and mushrooms add the mozzarella cheese on top. Cook until a little crispy. Pour eggs over the top, another layer of mozzarella more hot capicola and mushrooms. Cook and keep flipping until cheese is crispy.  Flip in half sprinkle with grating cheese. 

Best Chocolate Chips Ever Recipe




I have made so many kinds of cookies over the last 20 years so and so many chocolate chip cookie recipes you wouldn't believe it. Chocolate chips are loved by many but oh so many different ways to make them and all seem to say they're the best!

Some like them soft, crispy, chewy, gooey, hard, thin, thick. The list goes on and on. So the actual preference is an opinion on what the best  cookie is. Well this chocolate chip cookie in my opinion is the best I ever made. I won't say it will be the best for you. I can only say this is a thick, rich, buttery, soft inside crunchy on the outside chocolate chip cookie. In closing I feel it's the best of both worlds! Of course don't let me be the judge of these, you need to try them and let me know what you think good or bad I would love to hear from you!



Best Chocolate Chips Ever Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter softened
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips over flowing

Cream the sugars and butter for 3 minutes in a heavy duty mixing bowl using an electric mixer.
Add the egg and yolk then add all dry ingredients. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips.



I use a medium size meatball scooper to make these. They are high and thick.  Bake at 325 degree preheated oven on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or heavily sprayed with oil cookie sheet) for 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the size you make them) until golden brown on top.  Cool and add to wire rack or on wax paper. The are soft inside and crispy outside. Love these cookies. Will never try another chocolate chip cookie recipe but you decide if they are the best to you.  They were gone the first day!


Zucchini Balsamic Tomato Salad Recipe


When I want a light healthy lunch this is my go to recipe. I just throw everything in it I like and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar, a few of my favorite herbs and spices and I feel great about eating healthy! Of course you can add whatever you like and make some garlic knots or hot Italian crusty bread slathered with dripping butter if you like too!  


Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil (extra virgin)
Jalapeno Peppers Tamed
Grape Tomatoes
Slices of Zucchini cut thin
Avocado slices
Oregano, Basil
Minced garlic to taste
salt pepper to taste

Optional additions: sliced onions, sliced olives, chunks of your favorite cheese, slices of cucumber, olive oil packed tuna

In a large bowl place as much as you like of all the vegetables including options.
Drizzle evenly with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with all the herbs spices and mix in the garlic.

Top with Tuna if using and cheese.
Serve with garlic knots. Click here for the recipe.

Nutter Butter Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe


If you're a  fan of peanut butter cookies, this vanilla bean ice cream will be a hit in your home like mine. My kids raved on the creamy texture then the delicious crunch of their favorite cookies. A keeper for sure that we will make time and time again.


Nutter Butter Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

2 cups half and half or whole milk
1 egg yolk
1 -1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium sized saucepan add the sugar, cornstarch and salt mix to combine.  Add the milk and cream and stir. Cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes.  Mix around 1 cup of the mixture into the egg yolk whisking till smooth. The whisk the egg mixture into the milk add in the vanilla bean mixing until blended smooth. if any lumps occur strain before refrigerating. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight or to spend the method add to the freezer in a bowl for around 2 hours.
Place into the ice cream maker to instructions of maker. Last 5 minutes fold in 8 to 10 crumbled nutter butter cookies to the mixture. Place in a freezer container until firm in the freezer.

Easy Italian Meat Sauce Recipe


Perfect sauce when making a lasagna or baked ziti recipe. This one with leftovers can also be used for making rice dishes, stuffed cabbage or anything else that requires a meat sauce. Perfect for freezing or as a starter to many meals.  Perfect slow cooked in your crockpot. Put everything in and set on low until you get home from work! See my suggestions below.


 Easy Italian Meat Sauce Recipe

olive oil
minced garlic
4 pounds of fresh plum tomatoes put through the food processor or 4 cans of plum tomatoes pulsed till still a little chunky
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound loose Italian sausage
1 teaspoon fennel seed
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
dried oregano
2 fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

In a large fry pan add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the hamburger, loose sausage meat and garlic. Saute until pink is gone. Add the tomatoes, spices, herbs, salt, pepper and cook for 30 minutes on simmer. You can also add to your slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 2 to 4 hours.

Use for recipes that require a meat sauce. Perfect for topping stuffed peppers, casseroles,  baked ziti, used for tex mex chili starters, add rice  or vegetables ( IE cabbage, zucchini, summer squash, green beans, peas) poured over pasta of choice.

Italian Pizza Dough Recipe Video


Any shape you make it, this is the start of a fabulous
Italian pizza dough. Check out my tip in the video below.

Half tomato sauce and pepperoni
the other half is mushrooms and spinach!


So easy to make and the crust is the best part don't you think? Ok besides  of course the mounds of cheese and the homemade sauce plus great toppings!!  Are you hungry yet? 
Check out one of my tips that makes this even easier!





Recipe for my homemade dough can be found by clicking here


     Topped with mushrooms peppers and pepperoni
        
                                                                 Tomato Basil Pizza



More Recipes:

Mom's Dutch Apple Pie Recipe




One of the pies I really loved warm or cold is Dutch Apple Pie. I just love the soft but slightly crunchy topping on the apples it reminds me of cobblers more than pie. Either way with a scoop of ice cream you got one heck of a pie alamode. Mom use to make this with graham cracker crust and by brushing an egg yolk on the bottom so it wouldn't get soggy from the apples but through the years I adapted this one as I prefer regular 
homemade pie crust.
You can do either one.





Mom's Dutch Apple Pie Recipe adapted

1 - 9 inch unbaked pie crust (Note: in the original recipe my mom made she used graham cracker crust I prefer regular pie crust if you like graham cracker crust brush the bottom with 1 beaten egg yolk and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degree before adding the apples) homemade or store bought
5 cups sliced apples I used either McIntosh or Rome Apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg

Mix all together in  a bowl and add to the raw pie crust. 

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Dutch Apple Topping for Pie:

In another bowl add:

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup each white sugar and brown sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix until crumbly and add to the top of the raw apples in the pie plate.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly around 50 minutes. Cool before serving.

Grilled Hawaiian Pork Chop Recipe


This is a wonderful tropical tasting dish actually we had in Hawaii when we were there. The pineapple and peppers along with this amazing marinade for these boneless pork chops are drool worthy and you won't be able to wait when you smell them cooking to eat them. I just love this recipe. I recreated it best I could and it really is almost exactly what we remembered!





6 to 8 boneless thick cut pork chops
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 bell peppers sliced
1 cup cubed pineapple
Salt, pepper to taste

Cooked white rice to packed instructions

Place the pork chops in a large covered container with all ingredients except peppers and pineapple cubes.
Marinate around 6 to 8 hours.
Heat grill to medium heat. Reserving the marinade, place chops on the grill.
Grill pork chops basting with juice.



Place the pineapple and peppers on a oil sprayed piece of foil to cook until heated through.
Cook the pork until white in center around 400 degree heat for 20 minutes.
Serve the pork with cooked white rice.

Zucchini Squash Pizza Recipe




I was amazed how delicious this was. It reminds me of eggplant Parmesan but better. I have now tried this with both green and yellow squash and they both come out great! If you are looking for a healthy alternative this is it! Of course you can add olives, peppers or any of your favorite toppings to a regular pizza on this but I love it the way it is and lowering the calories! It totally satisfies the urge to eat a lot of carbs in regular pizza. The bottom is soft not crispy like a pizza crust. I have also substituted cauliflower it isn't as delicious as this but you be the judge.




Zucchini Squash Pizza Recipe

1 shredded medium zucchini or yellow squash  ( I put mine either in the food processor or grate it. Then blot dry with paper towels if its very wet)
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 egg white or whole egg
1/3 cup Parmesan Romano cheese grated
3 tablespoons Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 cup tomato sauce any kind for the topping ( I used 1 fresh large plum tomato put through the food processor left a little chunky)
1 cup low moisture mozzarella cheese grated
salt, pepper to taste
optional : red pepper flakes to taste

Mix the grated squash, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley cheese and eggs in a bowl, add the bread crumbs last mix till blended. Spread into a greased pie plate and bake at 350 for around  15 to 25 minutes till browned on the edges depending on thickness. Remove from oven. Add the sauce and cheese and any other topping you like.  Broil for around 3 minutes on high or until the cheese is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Balsamic Green Bean Pistachio Salad Recipe



Here is a simple green bean salad perfect alone or as a side dish with your meals. Served cold or hot it's delicious! I just love green beans and with this aged balsamic vinegar they are over the top great! The pistachios give them such a great crunch. 
A pretty dish to serve during the holiday too!



Balsamic Green Bean Pistachio Salad Recipe
2 lbs green beans cleaned and washed
Balsamic vinegar we use 18 year aged
Pistachios out of shells
3 garlic cloves minced fine
salt, pepper
Oregano
Basil
Extra virgin olive oil
After cleaning the beans steam or boil them until desired doneness. We like ours soft so it takes around 35 minutes steaming.
Drain.
In a medium sized bowl add the beans. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons vinegar and the same for olive oil. Sprinkle with a small amount or oregano, chopped or dried basil,  salt and pepper to taste.
Fold in the garlic and blend together.
Before serving place on a plate sprinkle with whole pistachios. We love our balsamic vinegar so we drizzle a bit more on the place for dipping.

Homemade Sour Cream Recipe



Did you think you had to buy sour cream when you just may have these ingredients already in the refrigerator to make it in no time at all? Well check this out and maybe next time you have some leftover heavy cream you will know just what to do with it.



Check out how simple this is to make and using what you may already have had leftover from another recipe you made!

Homemade Sour Cream Recipe
1 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
Whisk in a bowl the heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice until this start to thicken add another teaspoon if it isn't thickening.
After that place a dash of salt into these and stir in. That's it your done!