Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Berke's Amazing Chocolate Cake

While in Turkey I learned many family recipes. This is the most amazing chocolate cake recipe that my 3 year old cousin enjoys baking with his mom. It is a very fast and easy family favorite. Throughout the day, they drink tea and coffee. This cake is the perfect compliment.

Berke's Amazing Chocolate Cake
"Cayli Kek" (Tea Cake)
3 Gals and a Kitchen

3 eggs (whisked)
2 1/4 c water
2 c sugar
3/4 c brewed tea
1/3 c veg. oil
1/3 c margarine (mixed together with veg. oil)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 TBSP Cocoa (or more if you like)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 c flour (add last)
strawberries to garnish

3 c powdered sugar
2 TBSP water

6 TBSP butter
1 egg
1 TBSP cocoa
dash of salt

Cream butter, egg and salt. Add sugar until spreading consistency. Add sugar and beat a little at a time. If chocolate icing is needed add enough cocoa for color.
Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs so almost foamy; add all ingredients except for the flour and mix. Slowly add the flour and mix. Grease a Bundt pan and pour the cake batter into the pan. Cook 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait until it has completely cooled before you flip the cake.

Meanwhile, let's get started on the icing. Combine powdered sugar, water, softened butter, egg, cocoa, and a dash of salt; mix until it is moist and smooth. Add water if the consistency is not quite right.

Flip the cake onto a plate and drizzle with chocolate icing. Serve with strawberries.

**We did not use icing in the picture above since the children would have been on a sugar high.**

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quesadilla Cups with Nectarine Salsa

After hosting a Pampered Chef party I received many new recipes. I included the Pampered Chef tools that I used to create this recipe. The recipe below can be used with various fillings: chicken salad, nectarine salsa, bean salad, etc.

Quesadilla Cups with Nectarine Salsa
Recipe Courtesy of Pampered Chef

4 oz Monterey Jack
3 (6-in) flour tortillas
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium, firm nectarine
¼ c roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 serrano pepper, seeded
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut cheese into twenty-four ½ in cubes using a utility knife. Brush both sides of tortilla with oil. Stack tortillas and cut into eight wedges using a pizza cutter for a total of 24 wedges. Press tortillas into cups of a mini-muffin pan. Place one cheese cube into each cup. Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges of tortillas begin to brown and cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, for salsa, dice nectarine and roasted pepper using a utility knife. Finely chop Serrano pepper, onion and cilantro. Juice lime to measure 1 tbsp. Combine nectarine, peppers, onion, cilantro, juice, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.

Remove pan from oven to a cooling rack. Cool cups in pan 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan to serving platter. Divide salsa evenly among cups. Sprinkle with additional finely chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.

Cooking tips:
Be sure to choose a firm, ripe nectarine for this recipe. They are easier to dice and will prevent the salsa from becoming watery. If desired, 1 medium peach can be substituted for the nectarine. Wear plastic gloves when working with Serrano peppers. The juice can cause a burning sensation on the skin.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2 Great Recipes...1 Delicious Sauce!

I just discovered this little jewel of a product at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago.  Ever since then, I've been stock-piling it!  It's less than $2, full of flavor and can be used in a number of ways.  Below, are two simple recipes that I created that I hope you'll love.

Warm Red Pepper Crostini with Goat Cheese Crumbles

1 sliced, french baguette (white or multi-grain)
1 jar Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread
1 container of Trader Joe's Goat Cheese Crumbles
olive oil

Set oven to Broil.  Drizzle olive oil in a skillet and heat to medium high.  Brown baguette slices on each side until they are light and golden brown.  Remove them from heat and place on a cookie sheet.  Place a tablespoon of Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread onto each baguette slice and top all of them with a spoonful of goat cheese crumbles.  Broil them for about 5 minutes, but keep a watchful eye on them because they can burn easily.  You want to broil them just until the goat cheese begins to look bubbly. 

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!


1 jar Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
spring onions, for garnish
serve with cous cous 

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil to medium high heat in skillet.  Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper (to taste).  Brown all chicken breasts for 5-6 minutes on each side.  Cook time depends on the size of your chicken breasts.  If they are thick, you might want to use a mallet or cover with wax paper and pound thinner with the back of another pan to reduce cook time.  Once the first side turns golden brown, turn your chicken to cook the second side.  Place a few spoonfuls of Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread on top of the chicken (cooked side of the breast).  Lightly tent your chicken with a piece of aluminum foil to keep the most of the heat in while you finish cooking the chicken.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot prepare your couscous according to package directions.  The Near East Garlic and Olive Oil is the brand I use.  It's as simple as bringing your water to a boil, adding couscous, removing from the heat and stirring in the seasoning packet.  

Serve chicken over couscous and top with chopped spring onions!  It's easy, flavorful and healthy! 

Alison J.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Honey Apple Brie Bites

Here is a total homerun Pampered Chef appetizer for your recipe repertoire...quick and light! Oh...and it's pretty too!


1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (saute in a pan on low heat for just a few minutes - be careful not to burn or it will ruin your recipe)
2 medium red baking apples (I used Gala - my fave)
1/4 cup honey
1 4" round Brie, cubed in 1/2" pieces
2 packages prepared mini phyllo shells (30 total shells)

Preheat your oven to 400. Line your phyllo shells on a baking sheet, sprayed with Pam. Mix together apples, walnuts, lemon zest and honey. Place one cube of Brie in each phyllo shell. Spoon a little of the apple/nut mixture into each shell until distributed evenly. Bake shells until cheese is melted, approximately 6-8 minutes. Serve warm!

Note: If you aren't a fan of the bitter taste of the rind, I would suggest trimming it off the Brie before baking.

Alison J.

Fusilli with Scallops in Vodka Sauce

While I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, I found some scallops on sale. Deciding to get adventurous, I created a new recipe. I just finished eating my portion of dinner, and I'm ready for seconds!


Fusilli with Scallops in Vodka Sauce
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 red onion (diced)
1 pound baby scallops
2 to 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup cream
1 Tablespoon chili powder (if you like spicy food)
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 box Fusilli (13.25 oz)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat a deep saucepan or skillet over medium heat with EVOO and butter. Add onions, scallops, and garlic to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Add vodka and reduce a minute or 2. Heat the mixture through. Then, add cream and let reduce at a low, bubbling simmer while pasta cooks. Finish seasoning with chilli powder, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, and parsley. Cook pasta in boiling salted water to al dente and drain. Add sauce to pasta and toss 1 minute to combine. Serve pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top.

A few notes:
*Only add the chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes if you like a spicy kick.
* You can use skim milk instead of cream and whole wheat pasta to lower the calories and fat.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Yum! Yum! Yum!

What you have all been requesting... peanut butter pancakes! One of my favorite foods has always been peanut butter, and well, who doesn't like pancakes? I decided to combine them and see how they'd turn out. I made this for Allison a year or so ago and had forgotten all about it until she mentioned it the other day. This one is for you Allison!

Peanut Butter Pancakes
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (I love buttermilk, but you can use 1 cup milk instead)
1 egg
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 ripe banana (sliced)
Powdered sugar
Chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Slowly stir in buttermilk, egg, and 3 T melted butter. Beat until creamy and smooth. Then, stir in vanilla and peanut butter. Heat 1 T butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour batter onto the non-stick skillet, using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve with sliced bananas and walnuts on top.

*If you are tight on time, you can cheat and use the instant Just Add Water Aunt Jemima Pancakes. Just follow the box directions and add 1/3 c peanut butter. Cook and top the same as above.