July 23, 2017

Yellow Zucchini Sheet Cake with Chocolate Icing PLUS a Vanilla Bean Paste Giveaway

Sheet cakes are one of my favorite things to make.  Not only are they SO easy to make, but they come together super fast from start to finish and they feed a bunch of people.  Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting is such a classic flavor.  It was about time I made a zucchini version.

You will have no idea there is zucchini hidden inside this moist yellow cake.  I even fed it to three picky kids that asked for seconds and thirds and had no idea what was really inside.  It took me a few tries to get it just right.  The cake is so soft with a sweet amazing vanilla flavor and it's topped with a rich and chocolaty icing.  It really is phenomenal and it tastes great for several days.  
Let me just say . . . Good vanilla really does make all the difference.  I have tried many different brands of vanilla bean paste and Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co.'s Mexican Vanilla Bean Paste is THE BEST that I have tried.  I'm serious, not only does it come in a big jar, but it has the best flavor.  Ever since I first tried it, it's the only brand that I use.  They also have the best Mexican Vanilla Extract.  Mexican Vanilla makes everything better :) 
I have some great news . . . I have a jar of Mexican Vanilla Bean Paste to give away to one lucky reader.  Enter using the rafflecopter below the next image.

If you would like to purchase some Mexican Vanilla or Mexican Vanilla Bean Paste, visit www.mexicanvanilla.com and enter discount code: Jenn20 at checkout for 20% off your order.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yellow Zucchini Sheet Cake with Chocolate Icing
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe)

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 Tbl. Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co. Mexican Vanilla Extract
     or 1 Tbl. Mexican Vanilla Bean Paste
2 c. shredded zucchini, peeled or unpeeled

Chocolate Icing
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co. Mexican Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  For the Cake:  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and zucchini.  Whisk together until combined.  Pour into a well greased 13''x18''x1'' jelly roll pan and spread out evenly.  Bake for 18 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Top will be browned.   Remove from oven and top with icing while the cake is hot.

For the Chocolate Icing:  Add powdered sugar to a large bowl; set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; add the cocoa powder and buttermilk and stir until smooth and no lumps of cocoa remain.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and pour over the powdered sugar.  Add the vanilla and whisk together until smooth and creamy.  Pour over hot cake and spread out evenly.  Top with sprinkles, if desired.  Allow to cool, slice and serve.  

This post is sponsored by Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co. All opinions expressed herein are my own.  Thanks for allowing me to work with the brands that I love and use in my own kitchen.

July 21, 2017

Cinnamon Sugar Wedges with Cream Cheese Dip

I have a fantastic appetizer to share with all of you today.  If you were to serve this at a party I was at, I would be your new best friend . . . just sayin  :)  

I have always been a sucker for cinnamon sugar breadsticks dipped in cream cheese frosting.  Growing up, there was a local pizza place that served big, thick and chewy cinnamon sugar breadsticks that came with cream cheese frosting to dip them in.  These were my absolute favorite and I was so sad when they closed their doors.  I occasionally will make a copycat version of those breadsticks at home, but sometimes I want something a little easier.  These cinnamon sugar wedges are way easier than breadsticks, because you don't have to shape them into breadsticks and you don't have to let them rise.  

From start to finish (including baking and photographing), I was done in one hour.  That is super fast. This treat is so yummy and one of my favorites.  The cinnamon sugar wedges are soft and chewy and the cream cheese dip is rich and velvety and delicious.  Perfect combo.    

Let me show you how easy these are to make . . . 
First, get all of your ingredients ready.  You will need thawed Rhodes dinner rolls, cinnamon, sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, milk and a little salt. 
Grease two large baking sheets and set aside.  Roll out thawed dinner rolls into a circle and place 6 onto each large baking sheet.  Brush tops of each circle with melted butter.  
Sprinkle tops of each circle with a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar.  
Bake until lightly browned and then cut into wedges.  I like to cut each circle into eight triangles.  Dunk into prepared cream cheese dip and enjoy.  

I am sharing this mouthwatering RECIPE over at the RHODES BLOG today.  Click HERE to get this delicious RECIPE.

This post is sponsored by Rhodes Bread.  I have always been a fan of Rhodes Rolls.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.  Thanks for allowing me to work with the brands that I love.  

July 15, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars with Strawberries

Sometimes you just know you will absolutely love a recipe before you even taste it.  I knew it the second my friend told me about these amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars that her sister makes.

They are a soft and chewy, homemade, chocolate chip cookie bar covered with a smooth and creamy cheesecake mixture and topped with fresh strawberries.

They are so so so good.
I used to always be a milk chocolate girl, but lately, I have been liking semi-sweet chocolate.  I added semi-sweet chocolate chips in the cookie base of this recipe and let me tell you . . . the rich chocolate mixed with the buttery cookie bar, silky smooth topping and sweet strawberries is the perfect contrast of flavors and textures.

This is such a delicious dessert that is perfect for Summer when strawberries are in season.

You might also like:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars with Strawberries
Adapted From: Vanessa C.
(Printable Recipe)

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (around 2 cups)

Cheesecake Layer
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip, thawed

For Garnish
1 (16 oz.) carton strawberries, stems removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a large 12''x17'' jelly-roll pan (or similar size); set aside.  For the Cookie Base: Combine flour, soda, salt and cornstarch; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Mix in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Press cookie dough evenly into prepared pan.  You might not think there is enough dough to fill the entire pan, but there is.  Bake in preheated oven for 17 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

For the Cheesecake Layer:  Combine cream cheese and sour cream and mix, using a hand mixer, until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix together until smooth and creamy.  Fold in the Cool Whip.  Spread over cooled cookie bars.  Top with chopped strawberries.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve (remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving).  Slice and serve.             


July 9, 2017

Orange Pineapple Punch

It is SO HOT . . . to all of you out there that live in Arizona, Texas, Florida or any where else that is super hot . . . how do you function???  All I want to do is drink ice cold drinks and jump into a swimming pool.  The second I step outside, I start sweating.  Thank goodness for air conditioners.     

This orange pineapple punch has been helping me cool down.  It's a super delicious and very refreshing drink.  

The pineapple and orange flavor mixed with the bubbly lemon-lime soda hits the spot on a hot Summer day.  AND for all the adults, this is also great with Diet Mountain Dew (my fave) :)

What have you been doing to keep cool this Summer?

You might also like:

Orange Pineapple Punch
slightly adapted from: Taste of Home
(Printable Recipe)

2 c. pineapple juice, chilled
1 envelope unsweetened orange drink mix (Kool-Aid)
3/4 - 1 c. sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
2 1/2 c. cold water
1 (12 oz.) can lemon-lime soda 

In a blender, blend pineapple juice, orange drink mix, sugar and water until sugar is dissolved and mixture is frothy.  Pour into serving cups (or punch bowl) and add the soda.  Serve immediately.  Makes around 2 quarts.  


July 6, 2017

Cream Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

I was at the grocery store the other night, after a long day of work, and I was not in the mood to cook dinner.  So, I picked up some chicken tenders, potato wedges and fried jalapeño poppers from the deli.  I had no idea if I was going to like the jalapeño poppers, but when I got home and took a bite . . . oh man . . . it was so good and it wasn't too spicy.  That got me thinking about how I could create an easy homemade version.

I decided instead of dipping stuffed peppers in batter and then deep frying them, I could wrap them in Rhodes Dinner Rolls, brush with melted butter and bake them.  Think about it, a crisp sweet mini pepper, stuffed with a creamy filling all wrapped in a buttery strip of dough and baked to perfection.  

They turned out SO DANG GOOD.  I could probably eat the entire batch by myself.  The flavor is incredible.  I have been thinking about these since I first made them and I have been dying to make them again.  You have really really got to try this recipe, I know you will be glad you did.

Let me show you how easy they are to make . . .
First, get all of your ingredients ready.  You will need thawed Rhodes Dinner Rolls, cream cheese, shredded cheese, green onions, butter, a little Worcestershire sauce (not pictured) and mini sweet peppers.  
Wash and dry all of the mini peppers and then cut in half lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds.  I left the stem on mine, but you can cut it off if you prefer.  
Combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, green onions and Worcestershire sauce and fill each pepper with creamy mixture.  
Combine all of the thawed dinner rolls and roll out into a rectangle and cut into thin strips.  
Wrap a strip of dough around each pepper, starting under the pepper and working your way around.  Pinch the ends to another piece of dough.  Brush tops with half of the melted butter.   
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, remove from oven and brush with remaining melted butter.  Serve.  

I am sharing this incredible RECIPE over at Rhodes Blog today.  Click HERE to get this mouthwatering  RECIPE.

This post is sponsored by Rhodes Bread.  I have always been a fan of Rhodes Rolls.  Thanks for allowing me to work with the brands that I love.


July 1, 2017

4th of July Cookies

Only a few more days until the 4th of July!  I love the 4th and I look forward to it every year. My family always has a BBQ and we make homemade vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries and we light fireworks.

Speaking of fireworks . . . they are going non-stop outside my house right now . . . boom boom pop pop . . . that is all I can hear.   Do you have any fun traditions for the 4th?  Do you prefer to light your own fireworks or go out to a firework show?    
Last Fall, I made these Candy Corn M&M Funfetti Cookies and I loved them.  So, of course, I needed a fun 4th of July version.  

These rich and buttery cookies are soft and chewy and so dang good.  I did leave the sprinkles off one of the batches for my hubby, but he actually ended up eating the ones with sprinkles and said, "These are really good cookies."

Make sure to plan ahead, because the dough does need to chill.  I usually make my dough the night before I plan to bake them, so it's all ready to go.  These  cookies are amazing :)

I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday.  
You might also like:

4th of July Cookies
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe)

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbl. vanilla extract
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 (11.4 oz.) bag Red, White and Blue M&M's
around 1/2 c. red, white and blue sprinkles

Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cornstarch and mix until combined.  Stir in 1/2 of the bag of M&M's.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.  After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Scoop around 1 1/2 - 2 Tbl. of cookie dough and roll into a ball, press a few more M&M's into the top of the dough ball and dip the top in sprinkles; place on a greased baking sheet.  Repeat.  Place 9 dough balls per cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Edges will be slightly browned.  They will look under done, but end up just right once they cool.  Remove from oven (if there are some empty spots, press a few more M&M's into the warm cookie).  Leave on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes around 3 dozen cookies.