Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peanut Butter ChocolatePudding Cake-Improv Challenge


I have been MIA from the Improv Challenge for a while, but when I saw that the ingredients for October’s challenge were chocolate and peanut butter, I knew I wanted to participate.   These are two of my favorite foods.

For Improv Challenge, you are assigned two ingredients each month, you make a recipe that contains those ingredients that is new to your blog, and post about it on the third Thursday.  Recently Lesa from Edesia's Notebook assumed hosting of the challenge from Kristin at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  I have subscribed to Lesa's blog for some time.  She has great recipes there.

One of my "go to" desserts is pudding cake, the dessert that bakes up with a cake on the top and a sauce on the bottom.  I have several different recipes for these, but have never had a recipe that combined chocolate with peanut butter.  Since I had a recipe for a chocolate pudding cake and one for a peanut butter pudding cake, it seemed reasonable that I could take part of each recipe and make a chocolate peanut butter pudding cake.  Because of the way pudding cakes are made it seemed best to make a peanut butter cake with the sauce being the chocolate.


The chocolate mixture left a little residue on the cake top which gave it a sort of mottled appearance which I liked.  This can be served slightly warm, at room temperature or chilled.  We liked it just slightly warm with the sauce spooned over the top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding Cake
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. chunky peanut butter
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 c. hot water

Combine flour, 2/3 c . brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir to mix well.  Add milk, peanut butter, oil and vanilla and beat with a wire whisk until well blended.  Turn batter into a well-greased 8x8-inch baking dish.  In a separate bowl combine 3/4 c brown sugar, cocoa.  Mix well.  Add hot water and  stir until sugar and cocoa are dissolved.  Carefully pour over batter in pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake part comes out clean.  Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.


If you think that Improv Challenge sounds like fun, you can find all the information about joining in on the Improv Challenge page.  You will find the list of ingredients through 2015 there, and you are not obligated to participate every month.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding-12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Already we are at week 4 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda over at Meal Planning Magic.  This week I am posting a great fall recipe.  I am not sure I would call it a Christmas Treat, but I would call it very good.

Bread Pudding is a dessert that I am very fond of.  I love it when I can take everyday ingredients, including some that might have been thrown out, to make something delicious.  I recently decided to add some chopped apple and caramel bits to my old stand-by bread pudding recipe which came from a Better Homes and Garden cook book.  This addition added a nice autumn taste to the dish that we enjoyed very much

I  dry my left over bread and use it to make bread pudding, stuffing or bread crumbs.


Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
4 beaten eggs
2 c. milk
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3 c. (4 slices) dry bread cubes (I just break the slices up with my hands)
1 medium to large, peeled apple, diced
1/3 c. caramel bits (Kraft) or caramels, cut into quarters

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Beat until sugar is dissolved.  Add bread cubes and let stand 5 minutes.  Meanwhile peel and dice apple and cut up caramels if necessary.  Stir apple and caramel into bread mixture.  Turn mixture into a 8-inch square baking pan or 2 qt. casserole.  (I use a round casserole dish and cut this like a pie to serve.)  Bake at 325 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Mixture will puff up and then deflate when it is close to done.  Let cool.  Can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.  This is great with some caramel sauce spooned over it and some whipped cream dolloped on top.  Store any leftovers, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.  Makes 6 servings.


What are some of your favorite Christmas treats?  You can find out how to share them with us by checking out Brenda's page here.  There are 8 weeks to go so there is still plenty of time to share some of your favorites.

Linking to 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Naan with Easy Cheesy Bean Dip-Secret Recipe Club


Sometimes when I am checking out the recipes at my assigned Secret Recipe Club blog I will come upon something that I have been thinking about making for awhile.  Such was the case with the blog Tasty Cheapskate, where I found not one but two different recipes for Naan and one for bean dip.  Since theses are something that I have been thinking about making, I decided that I need to get “off the fence” and just do it

Jeanie has been blogging since 2010 so has shared many great “tasty” and “cheap” recipes with her readers.  She feeds four children, one husband, and herself and shares my view that tasty food doesn’t have to mean expensive food

I did come upon a post that I want to point out that has nothing to do with food-How to Get Crayon Out of Washed and Dried Clothes Cheaply.  I have no children living here that I could blame that situation on if it happened now, but I would have loved having this information when it did happen when I had kids.

Now, back to the cooking.  There were two recipe for Naan,  One with yeast and Quick Naan made with baking powder.  The Quick Naan uses yogurt which I did not have on hand so I made the one with yeast.  It took a little time because of the rising, but the rest of the process was easy  I used all white whole-wheat flour instead of a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat flour because I had it on hand.  The directions did not say how much or long to knead the dough so I kneaded it 100 times, turning the dough ball over after every 10 kneads.  After the first rising, I made 15 dough balls.  Mine may have been a bit smaller than Jeanie’s as she made 10.


I have a glass rolling pin so rolled the dough balls out between two sheets of waxed paper and was able to get them quite thin.  It took about 30 minutes to “bake” the Naan in a frying pan.  I would roll a new dough ball out while another one was “baking.”

I wanted something to eat with the Naan so made the Easy Cheesy Bean Dip.  I cannot begin to say how good these were together.  They definitely will a regular rotation at my house.

The bean dip recipe uses taco seasoning.  I never buy commercial taco seasoning as I always have all the necessary ingredients on hand to make it myself.  I use various homemade taco seasoning recipes and used the one Jeanie has on her blog.   I was hesitate to use the amount of salt called for since refried beans can be a little salty.  I did use that much salt and felt that the dip was just a little too salty for my taste.  I would recommend  omitting the salt in the seasoning recipe, tasting the dip and adding salt if it is needed.  Hubby is not much of a bean eater, and this makes a lot of dip so I am going to freeze some of it and see if that works.

Now I had a dilemma, should I post one recipe (and which one?) and just reference the other, or should I post them both.  I decided that it would be more convenient for my readers to post both recipes here instead of making them click around for the second one.

Of course there were lots and lots of other recipes on this blog that I am going to try.  Apple harvest is in full swing here and  I think Rebbeca’s Apple Cinnamon Rolls should be on my table soon.  There is a whole week of breakfast cookies posted back in 2010 that should be checked out.  Being one who has always liked fresh Brussels Sprouts, I loved the post on How Not to Hate Brussels Sprouts and am going to make them that way next time I have some on hand.

A visit to The Tasty Cheapskate will be well worth you time, and one thing you should check out is the Cheap Eats Challenge where Jeannie attempted to feed her family of six on $6 a day in 2011.


Naan
adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate
1 T. active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
14 c. sugar
3 T. milk
1 egg, beaten
2 t. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water.  Stir in sugar, milk, egg and salt.  Mix in 1 to 2 cups flour.  Add another cup flour and then add flour 1/2 cup at a time until you can’t mix it with a spoon any more.  Turn out onto a floured surface ( I use a cookie sheet) and knead.  (I kneaded 100 times, turning the ball over after every 10 kneads.)  Let rise, covered in warm place until dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch down.  At this point you may knead in minced garlic or herbs if you like.  Make balls of dough about the size of golf balls.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.  (This rising can be skipped if you’re pressed for time.)  Keep dough balls covered before rolling them out.  Heat a heavy bottom, oiled skillet until just above medium.  Roll dough balls out into rough circles and as thin as you can.  (I do this between two sheets of waxed paper, using new paper if the dough begins to stick.).  Place a dough circle in skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes until air pockets begin to form.  Turn and cook on the second side another 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to pie plate or platter and repeat with remaining dough balls.  Stack cooked Naan to keep them warm.  Makes 10 to 15 pieces.  Let cool if not eating right away and store in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator or freeze.


Easy Cheesy Bean Dip

adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened (Place cheese in a zip-top bag and immerse bag in a bowl of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes to quickly soften the cream cheese.)
1 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used sour cream)
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
2 T. taco seasoning (I used one recipe of the homemade mix here)
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
1 c. (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese-divided
choice of chips, veggies, etc. for dipping (I used torn pieces of Naan)

In a medium mixing bow, blend everything together until well blended.  Spoon half the bean mixture into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Layer with half the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Baking at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling at the edges.  May also be layered and cooked in a crockpot on low for about 4 hours.  Since I was eating this by myself, I placed some bean dip in a individual ramekin, sprinkled some cheese on the top and microwaved it for about 1 minute until the dip was hot and the cheese was mostly melted.  Makes about 10 servings.


Visit here to learn how to join in the fun of Secret Recipe Club.



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