October 2, 2015

Menu Plan Saturday #39







Menu-Plan Day and Take-Out Night



September 30, 2015

Apple Cinnamon White Cake

I think this is only the 2nd apple recipe I have on the blog.  The other apple recipe is my favorite Snickers Caramel Apple Salad.  It was about time I added another to the mix.     

This cake was loved by everyone that enjoys baked apples.  It needs to be cut into thick slices, otherwise, it falls apart.  It's a tender cake with a light cinnamon apple flavor that pairs perfectly with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  
I used Gala apples and they were sweet and had a soft texture when baked.  I listed the almond extract as an optional ingredient in the recipe, but I personally highly recommend it.  I could taste it in the finished cake and it went so well with the other flavors.  

What are your favorite ways to use up apples? 
Apple Cinnamon White Cake
adapted from: All Recipes
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

Apple Mixture
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. peeled, cored and chopped apples (about 2 small apples)

2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract, opt.
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk (or almond milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9X5-inch loaf pan (or line with parchment paper and  spray with cooking spray); set aside.  For the Apple Mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Add the chopped apples and toss to coat; set aside.  For the Cake: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended.  Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined.  In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add dry mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients.  Mix only until just combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Top with half of the apple mixture and pat into batter.  Spoon remaining cake batter over the apple layer, smooth out evenly and top with remaining apple mixture and pat in.  Bake for around 53-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 minutes.  Turn cake out onto a rack and cool.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Jenn's Notes: Thick slices work best.  The thinner the slice, the more likely it will be to fall apart.  

September 27, 2015

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting PLUS The Pumpkin Lover's Cookbook Review

I don't know about you, but I could pretty much live on pumpkin this time of year.  

If you love pumpkin, you need this cookbook.  It has everything you could imagine and so much more.  When I think of pumpkin, I think of sweet recipes like bread, cupcakes, cookies, etc . . .  but there is an entire savory section in this book.  Who would have thought you could make Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce?  And you know what, I trust that it's good and I would be willing to try it.  
The Pumpkin Lover's Cookbook, by Lyuba Brooke

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade pumpkin puree?  I have :) and I was excited to see the first recipe in the book tells you how to do it.  But don't worry, you can use canned pumpkin in these recipes, if you prefer.  

I love when books have photos and this book has a beautiful photo of pretty much every recipe.  All of the recipes use easy to find ingredients.  I usually have most of the ingredients on hand at all times.  The instructions are easy to follow, she has a description of every recipe and she includes tips with many of the recipes.  

The second I saw these Pumpkin Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting, I knew this was the recipe I wanted to make for my review.  I love pumpkin and Nutella together and the frosting sounded divine.  The pumpkin cupcake is light and fluffy and has just a light pumpkin flavor.  The frosting is sweet, tangy and has a yummy Nutella flavor.  These were great.  Lyuba says, "These are probably the best cupcakes I've ever come up with."

Some of the other recipes I cannot wait to try are:  Homemade Pumpkin Syrup, Pumpkin Pie Stuffed French Toast, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, Fall Vegetable Omelet, Pumpkin Crinkle Chewy Cookies, OREO Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars and White Chocolate Pumpkin Pound Cake.

Overall, I really like this cookbook.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from: The Pumpkin Lover's Cookbook
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
2/3 c. milk

Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
6 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. Nutella
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and spray lightly with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  Beat the sugar and eggs together on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.  Lower speed to medium and with mixer running, drizzle in oil and beat until well combined.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  Alternating, beat in dry ingredients and milk on low speed, starting and ending with dry ingredients.  Divide batter between the cupcake liners, filling 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.  

For the Frosting: Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, Nutella and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy.  Transfer to a piping bag with a decorating dip and frost cooled cupcakes.   

Jenn's Notes:  I got 15 cupcakes.  If you want to pipe a big swirl on top, I recommend making 1 1/2 batches of frosting.

I received a copy of this cookbook from the Publisher for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed herein are my own.

September 20, 2015

Creamy Chicken, Veggie and Rice Casserole

I have a lot of chicken casserole recipes and I love each one for different reasons.  This recipe is one of the first casseroles I learned to make when I started cooking.  I adapted it from the back of the evaporated milk can.  It's a perfect beginner recipe, because the only thing you have to cook before dumping all the ingredients into the casserole dish is some chicken.  If you don't want to cook chicken, you could always add rotisserie chicken. 

I love using rotisserie chicken, but when I do cook my own, I season two medium chicken breasts with some lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and bake for around 45 minutes, depending on if I use thawed or frozen chicken.

You can add whatever variety of veggies you like.  I always add broccoli and cauliflower and lately I like carrots.  You could add corn, peas, green beans, squash, etc . . .   

I usually stick with Cheddar cheese, but sometimes I do add Monterey and as I'm typing this I think Pepper Jack would be good! 

If you try any variations or have any favorite casserole recipes let me know :) 
You might also like:
Creamy Chicken, Veggie and Rice Casserole
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened (I use light)
1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (I use 98% fat-free)
1/2 c. water
3/4 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste
3/4 tsp. onion powder, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (14 oz.) bag frozen vegetables, thawed 
  (I like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
2 c. cooked chopped chicken
1 1/2 c. Minute Rice, uncooked
1 c. grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and cream cheese until mostly smooth.  Add cream of chicken soup, water, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper; mix well.  Add the thawed vegetables, chopped chicken, uncooked rice and cheese and stir to combine.  Pour into prepared baking dish and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 35 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until bubbly.  Serves: 4-5.

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