Archive | November, 2011

Sour Cream Coconut Layer Cake – A Tribute to Grandmother

20 Nov

This is one of my grandfather’s favorite cakes. Last time I went to visit, he mentioned he had a “hankerin'” and I thought I would make it for him for Christmas but my grandmother passed away on Tuesday and so I decided to make it now.

My grandmother was the most amazing woman and cook of all time. Some of my very first and fondest memories with Grandmother include cooking together. She would let me do anything…even if it meant spending more time on clean up than cooking. Whether it be rolling out sausage balls or biscuits waaay too big or small, putting too much real sugar in boiling oatmeal, or making messy mud pies in the back yard, if I was with her, she was letting me find my way.

To this day, I’ve never in my life had better chicken and dumplings, butter beans, or anything else, for that matter. You know how people say things taste better when they are made with love? She showed her love through cooking. We all felt it. In fact, showing love through cooking is definitely something she passed down to all of her daughters. My mom and aunts are great in the kitchen and have, in turn, passed it down to all of us.

Although Grandmother is no longer with us, the memories we have will live on forever.

I love you.

This coconut cake takes 3 days to set in the fridge so don’t make it if you are in a hurry. Patience is a virtue with this one. The longer it is left to set up, the better and moister it becomes. It turns out absolutely gorgeous.  I hope you enjoy it as much as PawPaw. Yum!

Sour Cream Coconut Layer Cake

Servings: A Zillion
Level: Easy/Medium
Time: 1 hour + 3 days to set in the fridge

1 package (18½ oz.) butter flavor cake mix
2 cups sugar
1 carton (8 oz.) commercial sour cream
1 package (12 oz.) frozen coconut, thawed (unfrozen from the baking aisle works, too)
1½ cups whipped cream (thawed)

Prepare the cake according to directions, making two 8-inch layers.

Split both layers horizontally after they have cooled. Blend together the sugar, sour cream, and coconut, and chill. Spread all but 1 cup of the sour cream mixture between the four layers. Blend the remaining cup of the mixture with the whipped cream and spread on the top and sides of the cake. Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for three days before serving. Keep refrigerated after cutting. Yum!

(This is what happens when you cut into it with a butter knife instead of a sharper one… whoops!)

-Duncan Hines butter flavor cake mix works VERY well with this recipe.
-Sprinkle any extra coconut over the iced cake to hide any icing imperfections!
-Make the sour cream mixture and put it in the fridge to cool while the cakes are baking/cooling. This will help the mixture thicken up so it won’t ooze out from under the layers.


Bacon and Cheese Frittata

16 Nov

Frittatas are quick and easy and delicious served for breakfast. lunch, and even dinner. By simply adjusting the add-ins, you can create a completely different taste experience that can fit almost any occasion. For this frittata, I used bacon, cheese, bell peppers, and onions, but I could have  just as easily used sausage, spinach, broccoli, or even ham. Just think quiche without a crust. Anything that sounds good in a quiche, would work here as well.

This dish is perfect to make for breakfast when having overnight company. It takes no time to whip up and tastes great even at room temperature!

I served our leftovers as the protein for a torta (See Chicken Torta for the recipe.) I put slices of the frittata on soft baguettes with sour cream, re-fried beans, and salsa. I also added slices of fresh avocado. Yum!

Bacon and Cheese Frittata

Servings: 6
Time: 35 minutes
Level: Easy

6 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. bell peppers and onions, frozen and chopped
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, butter, salt, and pepper.

Pour into a greased 11×7 baking dish. Sprinkle with onions, bacon and cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yum!

– Adjust the add-ins. Add any type of meat, cheese, or veggies for a different twist!

Mexican Casserole – Quick, Easy, and Cheap!

9 Nov

This casserole was one of the easiest things I have ever put together. It was also one of the most delicious. When I started to make this casserole, I didn’t have high hopes. I knew it would fill us up but it just seemed to be a run of the mill casserole, nothing too exciting. Thankfully, I was wrong. Jason loved it, went back for seconds that were as big as his first serving, and nibbled on it after dinner until there were no leftovers for his lunch the next day. Whoops.

I have recently become obsessed with my 8×4 baking dish. The 9×13 and 8×8 sizes are just too big for the two of us, especially when you take into account adding side dishes to a meal. The following recipe has been bulked up to fit an 8×8 baking dish because, apparently when I make it next time, the 8×4 simply won’t do.

Quick, Easy, and Cheap Mexican Casserole

Servings: 4-6
Level: Easy
Time: 30 minutes

1/2 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. corriander, optional
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 c. tortilla chips, crushed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 can nacho cheese condensed soup, or any brand of cheese dip will work as well
1 can rotel, drained
1/3 c. cheese, shredded

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook onions, ground beef, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, corriander, and red pepper flakes together until beef is browned throughout. Drain off excess fat. Pour crushed tortilla chips in a greased 8×8 baking sheet to coat the bottom. In a large bowl, mix together browned beef, beans, corn, condensed soup, and rotel. Pour over chips. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake, covered, for 20-25 minutes. Yum!

– Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa on top.
– Serve along side a green salad.
– Use taco seasoning instead of listed spices to flavor the meat.

Beef Empanadas made from Taco Night Leftovers and Biscuits

1 Nov

Taco night is a favorite around here. Most of the time there aren’t any leftovers but this time there were and so I decided to turn them into something a little different.

These little guys took 15 minutes to make and were perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. They reminded me of a Mexican flavored calzone. Originally, empanadas are made with a flaky dough that roughly resembles pie crust. For this recipe, I used canned biscuits. I bought them to make a super quick version of chicken and dumplings… stay tuned for the recipe!… and had one can left over.

We ended up topping them with a little sour cream and we wished we had made more! Enjoy!

Beef Empanadas

Time: 15 minutes, if you are using leftover taco meat and veggies
Level: Easy
Servings: 3

1 c. leftover taco meat and veggies (mine was a mix of cooked ground beef, black beans, corn, rotel tomatoes, and taco seasoning)
1 can buttermilk biscuits (I used Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits and there were 6 biscuits inside)

Preheat oven to temperature indicated on the biscuit can. Lay biscuit rounds down on a cutting board and roll them out as thin as you can. Put 1/3 c. taco meat and veggies in the middle of a flattened biscuit.

Top with another flattened biscuit. Crimp edges together so it is sealed shut all the way around. Repeat until all biscuits have been used. With a fork, poke 3 holes in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 10 minutes.


– Add cheese.
– Use chicken, pork, or any other meat.
– Leftover fajita mix would also be good.
– Top with sour cream.
– Dunk in salsa.

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