Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Favorite Chocolate Cake

So, this is just for your benefit. A sort of public service announcement. (Ok, and it’s for me, too, so I don’t lose track of these recipes.)


If you are looking for an awesome chocolate cake recipe, go here. It’s absolutely, positively awesome. Perfect for cupcakes and layer cakes.

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You’re welcome.


(PS – If you want my favorite white cake recipe, go here.)



You’re welcome!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

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Of all the dishes I made for a recent House Party featuring Philadelphia Cooking Crème, this was the least favorite.


That said, I also had it ready about 40 minutes too early, and it was nearly impossible to serve by the time the guests arrived. Heh. Oops!


This is a really simple take on something I prepare quite often for my family.


Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli


1 pound bowtie, or other shaped, pasta

3 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced or diced, and cooked in a little olive oil

1 tub Italian Philadelphia Cooking Crème

Milk (optional)


Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to directions. Three minutes before the pasta is scheduled to finish cooking, add your broccoli to the pasta water and finish cooking. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.


Return your pasta, broccoli and chicken to your pot and stir in Cooking Crème. If needed, stir in enough pasta water (or milk) to loosen up the sauce.


PS – This recipe was made with Philadelphia Cooking Crème, which was given to me free of charge for review purposes. The coupons came in a box full of “swag” for me and my guests, including a new skillet, and other kitchen wares and coupons. I was not otherwise compensated.

Creamy Sausage Breakfast Casserole

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I think Breakfast Casserole is the best thing to call this. It’s a pot of potatoes, onions, peppers , cheese, crème and sausage, baked until it’s all melty and delicious. It’s very rich, and insanely comforting. It was a favorite at a recent House Party highlighting Philadelphia Cooking Crème, and there was just enough left over afterwards for me to have a bowl when I came home late that night from a speaking engagement.


(Ok, yeah. That sounds way fancier than it was. I gave a ten minute presentation to a large group at church about how to use blogging and our online presence as a good example and represent our church. Still, I came home at 9:30 starving, and this hit the spot!)

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Creamy Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole

5 potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 small onions, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 tub Original Philadelphia Cooking Crème

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 sausages or bratwurst, sliced

2 cups grated cheddar cheese


Preheat your oven to 375. Spray a covered baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onions, bell pepper and Cooking Crème. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Dump your potato mixture into your baking dish and top with sliced sausage. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, top with cheddar cheese, and return to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is golden and crispy around the edges.



PS – This recipe was made with Philadelphia Cooking Crème, which was given to me free of charge for review purposes. The coupons came in a box full of “swag” for me and my guests, including a new skillet, and other kitchen wares and coupons. I was not otherwise compensated.

Creamy Teriyaki Rice

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This was hands-down my husband’s favorite dish at a recent House Party featuring Philadelphia Cooking Crème. My brother liked it as well. The combination of teriyaki sauce and crème isn’t an obvious one, but it definitely had fans! We left the rice plain and had this on the side as a topping, but if your entire crowd is dairy-loving, then you can go ahead and mix this together. It is good either way.


Creamy Teriyaki Rice

(Adapted from original Kraft recipe, found here)

Cooked Rice

3 cloves garlic, sliced

4 slices ginger, minced

2 tbsp. oil

1 package frozen peas

4 carrots, julienned or shaved

1 tub Original Philadelphia Cooking Crème

Teriyaki sauce, to taste


Put oil, ginger and garlic in a skillet and place over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and cook until tender, about two-three minutes. Remove carrots, garlic and ginger to a bowl and set aside. Cook peas until thawed and bright green, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Add carrot mixture back in and stir to combine. Add cooking crème and stir. Season to taste with teriyaki sauce and serve over rice.


PS – This recipe was made with Philadelphia Cooking Crème, which was given to me free of charge for review purposes. The coupons came in a box full of “swag” for me and my guests, including a new skillet, and other kitchen wares and coupons. I was not otherwise compensated.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Perfectly Awesome Party Cake


Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, from Baking, From My Home to Yours

Makes two 9” round cakes, or 30 cupcakes. These are lovely little white cupcakes, flecked with orange zest and flavored with vanilla. The crumb is small and tight, and they are just fabulous.



2 1/2 cups AP flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups milk (I used homemade buttermilk – 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus milk to 1 1/4 cups)

4 large egg whites

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 tsp. orange zest (optional) (originally lemon) (I used orange, but might leave it out next time and simply make a vanilla cake.)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (originally pure lemon extract)


Preheat oven to 350 and prepare pans. Prep with butter and flour if you are baking round cakes, or line muffin pans with paper liners. I made cupcakes and filled two 12-pocket muffin pans, plus an extra 6 cupcake liners on a baking sheet.


In a medium bowl, sift together flower, baking powder and salt. Don’t cheat and use a whisk this time. Go with the sifter.


In a small bowl, combine your milk and egg whites.  Whisk these up, and set aside.


In the bowl of your mixer, combine your sugar and zest, if using. Mix with your fingers until it smells fabulous and looks slightly damp, then add in your butter and beat on medium speed in your stand mixer for 3 minutes, at least, or until light and fluffy. (This took about four minutes for me, as my butter was still a little cold when I put it in.) Add your extract.


Add in 1/3 of your flour mixture, then half of your milk, 1/3 of your flour, the rest of your milk, then the rest of your flour. You want to beat this cake well, but (experience has taught me that) no matter how carefully you add your flour and milk, it will FLY if your mixer is still humming along on medium. Slow it down, add your next ingredient, then speed it up as quickly as you are able to, without slopping your ingredients out the sides.


When everything is in the bowl, leave it on medium and give it a good mix for another two minutes. This makes a rather sturdy, and fluffy, cake batter. It reminded me of un-set marshmallows.


Spoon your batter into your prepared pans, and bake, on the center shelf in your oven. 30-35 minutes for 9” rounds, or about 25 minutes for cupcakes. They are done when a toothpick, inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out batter-free. Cool in the pans for a few minutes, then carefully remove your cakes to wire racks to finish cooling.


I will warn you – my cupcakes puffed up just above the edge of my paper liners and looked adorable. When they cooled, however, the cakes shrank back on themselves, giving me a perfectly flat plain to pipe my icing onto. Some of them were filled less than others, and actually pulled away from the paper liner. You want them 2/3 full.


This makes a sturdy, but light, cake with a tiny crumb. Just what I was looking for! This is a cake that can be sliced, stacked, filled or (possibly?) carved. I’ve found my vanilla cake recipe!


PS – I frosted these with Bright White Icing, from Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a basic shortening/powdered sugar/milk frosting, with vanilla, almond extract and added pink food coloring. Quick and easy!