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Chocolate Mocha Cake

Chocolate Mocha Cake

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Chocolate Mocha Cake 2
If you’ve been following my posts, I think It’s no secret to you that my family loves chocolate. The kids want it and so do I. But the better half, well, he’s got a craving like no other. And you can easily guess what it is. He craves for a different kind of “chocolate” cake.

Chocolate mocha is his weakness and that’s partly because of me. He never used to have liking for them but something has changed in the past few years. I suspect it has something to do with this cake. He’s not a cake person in general because he prefers ice cream more than any other types of desserts. Somehow, ever since I made this, he’s always wanted to have a piece every once in a while. He looks for it and asks if I got around to making one.

The other day he did muster up some courage to ask me to make it like how I manage to make dozens of cookies for the kids. And when he asks, I oblige (because he seldom requests for food related things). And like all things traditional in this household, I dedicate a space for it in my kitchen wall. This is the recipe I keep for him – the one who claims no dessert will ever make him crave for food.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup hot water

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F or about 175°C. Grease up two 9-inch cake pans (round).
  2. In a mixing bowl, dump in all the measured dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix that. Add in the oil, eggs and butter milk. Give that a go in the mixer. Next, dissolve instant coffee in hot water and add to the mixture. Beat this at medium speed for 2 minutes or until batter is smooth. Then, pour this into the prepared pans.
  3. Place inside of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Use the wooden toothpick method to determine if the cake is done. When the toothpick comes out clean, it’s ready to be taken out and cooled off. Turn out into wire racks for 10 minutes to cool completely.
  4. Use Coffee Icing to frost the cake. After frosting, melt semisweet chocolate baking squares or chips in a double broiler. When completely melted, drizzle this on the outside edges making it run down to the sides and over the top of cake. Serve when done.

Baked Potato with Mushrooms and Cheese

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I don’t know about you but watching cheese as it melts makes me hungry. Anyone who can resist a cheese and potato combination must dislike food or something. But for the life of me, why would you? There’s nothing to disapprove about this recipe. This dish is basically hyped up mashed potatoes with just a bit more cheese added to it (abundantly so). It would be the perfect complement to steak or fried chicken dinners. Yum!

It’s healthier too because you left the skins on the potatoes not just for presentation. Now some people may not want to eat the skins and that’s perfectly fine. They’re missing out though because I’ve learned that potato skins contain more nutrients than the flesh itself. It really is more nutritious to eat the skin. Anyway it’s perfectly clean. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly before you start baking at all.

If you’re the world’s biggest fan of mashed potatoes like I am, then this recipe will knock your socks off. It’s flavorful and the mushrooms give it a new texture. Plus, the cheese is just heaven. The kids will love this recipe as much as you do. I can tell you that!

Ingredients

  • 6 small russet potatoes (about 7 ounces each), scrubbed
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large green onions, chopped
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely grated white cheddar cheese

Description

  1. Start by baking the potatoes. Set the oven to preheat at 375°F. Using a fork, pierce each potato several times and place them directly on the rack. Bake for at least an hour. When done, they should break open easily just don’t destroy the skins on them.
  2. While potatoes are baking, melt a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms for about 7 minutes or until golden brown. Stir frequently. Then add the green onions, cook until wilted and set aside.
  3. Take the potatoes out from the oven using your mitts and cut them in half, lengthwise. Slowly scoop out all of the cooked flesh, place it on a bowl and leave the skins intact. Add sour cream, cream cheese and 4 tablespoons of butter (not melted) to the bowl and mash all ingredients together. Mix well after.
  4. Then take the mushroom and green onion and add them to the mashed potatoes. Add half a cup of cheddar cheese and mix well. Season to taste using salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven again to 375°F. Then take a spoon and mound in the mashed potato mixture gently into the skins. Sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of cheese. Place each potato half on a baking sheet. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate just before baking.
  6. Bake the potato halves until all the cheese melts through. That takes about 25-35 minutes depending on how long the potatoes have been refrigerated. Serve hot.

 

Lemon And Herb Roasted Chicken With Baby Potatoes

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I had a dinner party on the eve of spring last year and this was an absolute hit! I didn’t quite expect it because I knew many of my guests were big on organic food and vegetables. I remember having a difficult time deciding what to serve. I had to source out all the ingredients on this dish including the chicken from an organic store. I originally planned on having 2 chicken dishes for the night but decided otherwise. I settled on this one because it had potatoes so I no longer served the mashed ones.

It worked out pretty well. I already knew that adding herbs on chicken would be good. That’s a winning combination altogether. If you have to roast chicken you need the aromatics to go alongside it. Now adding the baby potatoes just completed the dish.

I found out soon after that what they loved about the dish was the texture of the meat. The chicken was juicy and tender on the inside, not to mention the rosemary smelled so good on it. I remembered that I served it last and it had just come out of the oven so it was piping hot. To me, that sealed the deal. After my guests had smelled the aroma, they probably didn’t want to try anything else.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) free-range chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1/4 bunch each fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 11/2 pounds red new potatoes

 

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 400°F.
  2. Make sure to clean the chicken by rinsing it with cool water. Pat dry with toilet paper towels.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper including the cavity before stuffing the lemon, garlic and herbs inside it.
  4. Take a roasting pan and place the chicken breast side up. Next, using a kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together in order to hold its shape.
  5. Arrange the potatoes around the roasting pan. It should surround the chicken well and then season everything with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Then drizzle on olive oil.
  6. Place the whole thing in the oven and roast for about an hour or a little over (half an hour will do just fine). It’s best to rotate the pan every 20 minutes to make sure the browning of the skin is even. Baste the chicken on its own sauce after every turn.
  7. Insert a meat thermometer to the thickest part of the bird and check to see if the temperature reads at 165°F. That’s how you’ll know the chicken is done. Check to see if the legs would wiggle out easily from the sockets.
  8. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and arrange the potatoes. Baste everything with the sauce left on the roasting pan. Best served hot.

Chicken with Roasted Potatoes 2

Baked Pork Chops

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Never mind the long wait but the dish is so delicious and succulent, you’ll soon forget how long it took to make. I know you’re probably imagining the smell of baked pork chops wafting through the air right about now. The first time I made this, the kitchen smelled so good everyone in my family couldn’t wait to eat.

Everyone loves pork chops, right? I know my family does because we’re a serious bunch of carnivores. We’d consider this dish a staple in our household really. Not only does it make a perfect dish that you can serve either for lunch or dinner at home, you can also have your husband take it with him to the office. All it takes is a quick reheating on a microwave and it would smell just as inviting.

Because it takes a bit of time to make, I take this opportunity to catch up on my reading while this one bakes in the oven. Sometimes I make this head, shove it into the fridge and reheat when meal time comes. However you prefer it, it’s still best to serve this dish hot to a family of hungry mouths waiting at the table. And then, I take a moment to watch them smile after each bite. To me, that’s worth all the trouble to prepare and cook.

Ingredients

  • 6 pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup white wine

Description

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 °F or about 175°C.
  2. Clean the pork chops with water and then pat dry. Place them on a dish to marinate with garlic and salt. Season it to taste.
  3. Prepare the beaten eggs, flour and bread crumbs. Take one pork chop, drench it in flour and then dip it into the eggs. Next, coat it with bread crumbs liberally and set aside. Do the same to all the remaining pork chops.
  4. Take a medium skillet and heat it up over medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil and fry the chops for 5 minutes on each side. Cook until the bread crumbs are well-browned. Then transfer the cooked pork chops into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and cover with foil.
  5. Bake the chops in the oven for over an hour. While doing that, combine the cream of mushroom soup, milk and white wine in a medium bowl and mix them well.
  6. When the meat is done, pour this mixture on top. Make sure all the meat is coated. Replace the foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Baked Pork Chops 2

Chicken Meatballs

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I’ve been serving beef meatballs for years on plenty of occasions. My children loved them when they were little and used to request them almost once a week. Well, that was the case until yesterday. I was preparing a chicken recipe for lunch. My daughter has always been very interested at helping me in the kitchen and sometimes she gets the brightest ideas on the things I am making. It isn’t new to me that she suggests a lot of things like adding ingredients when they’re not supposed to.

I usually laugh them off but this time she made good sense. Suggesting that meatballs be made from chicken wasn’t a bad idea after all. Following the original meatball recipes of old, I got to work experimenting on this one. What came off the idea was a brilliant alterative that you can use to serve on pastas or as a plain meal. It’s also a very good on its own.

Serve this with a side of sautéed vegetables and you’re good to go. Or, you can make your favorite dipping sauce ahead if you prefer not to use this dish on pasta. Actually anything you add to it will do. It’s the most versatile meatball recipe which doesn’t cost a lot to make. It’s very easy too. If my 8 year old can make it, so can your own kids.  All it takes is a little practice and some love and patience. I bet any meal prepared with those would taste just as good.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano (or the equivalent dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Description

  1. Start by having your chicken pieces ground and washed thoroughly. Then place it on a medium-sized bowl, with egg, ½ cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and oregano.
  2. With clean hands, knead the mixture and make sure all the ingredients are evenly combined.
  3. Roll them into 1-inch balls. Bigger if you prefer them that way.
  4. Warm up olive oil over high heat in a large non-stick skillet.
  5. Place 8 pieces of meatballs into the skillet and cook them until they turn gold brown. That’s approximately 8 minutes per meatball.
  6. Once cooked, remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and add to your favorite pasta or any dipping sauce you wish to make.

Chicken Meatballs 2

Classic Baked Chicken

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I no longer worry about what to do with a few chicken pieces left on the fridge. I have just the recipe for it. It takes a few minutes to cook and just about the simplest of ingredients you can find in your cupboards. Actually, it takes just 3 basic ingredients. Bake it and you’ll see what I mean.

Chicken doesn’t need an over-complication of ingredients and cooking techniques. I’ve always believed that baking is the best way to cook chicken. And this is the perfect chicken recipe – humble, delicious and high on the taste points.

I’ve received plenty of high fives on this one. No one believes that it took no more than 3 major ingredients and that’s it. I can’t explain it any simpler than this so I’ve always suggested to friends that this be served on dinner parties. It’s guaranteed to make every mom curious. And they’ll want to keep making it for as long as chicken would never go out of style. I don’t see that happening anytime.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 lb chicken, cut into 8 parts (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings) excluding the back
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock or white wine for the gravy (optional)

Description

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Next, rinse chicken pieces in water and pat with paper towel to dry them off. Then, proceed by coating the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. And then you can rub some olive oil over all the chicken pieces. Then sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the pieces with the skin-side up on the roasting pan. Put the largest pieces like the breast in the center. Make sure there’s room between the pieces so they won’t crowd in the pan.
  2. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes on the same temperature and then reduce the heat down to 350°F and cook for 10 to 30 minutes. It takes approximately 14 to 15 minutes per pound total for cooking time. Cook until the juices run clear when poked with a sharp knife. You can check the internal temperature of the chicken breast at 165°F and the thighs at 170°F. If you find the chicken pieces not browning to your satisfaction, cook them under the broiler for 5 minutes.
  3. Take the roasting pan out of the oven. Remove the chicken pieces and transfer it on a plate. Cover it up with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  4. You can make gravy for the chicken by taking the roasting pan with all the drippings and heating it on top of a stove. Scrape the drippings that got stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add a half cup of white wine or chicken stock in order to help deglaze the pan.
  5. Pour this mixture of wine/stock and drippings on a small saucepan and warm on medium to high heat and reduce its thickness to a gravy consistency.

Classic Baked Chicken

Beef Fajitas

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Ingredients

Description

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