Friday, November 27, 2015

Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake

Have you ever made dessert in the crock pot?
If you like your chocolate ooey-gooey-saucey 
warm, than this is the dessert for you.
 The nice thing is that you can prep and cook it 
before you make dinner and it will be done when
 you are ready to serve dessert.
 It uses cake mix and instant pudding mix.
 Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
 Cover and bake on low for 2 ½ hours. 
 Let sit a bit then scoop out while it's still
 warm and gooey. This definitely wants to 
be topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 ¼ C milk
½ C vegetable or canola oil
3 L eggs
1 box (3.9oz) instant chocolate pudding
2 C milk
1-2 C chocolate chips
Spray a 4 qt or larger crock pot with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine the first 4 
ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 3-4 
minutes, scraping the bowl as needed until 
the batter is nice and glossy. Pour the batter 
into the crock pot. Rinse out the mixing bowl
 and beaters and combine the pudding mix 
and 2 C milk to the bowl. Beat about 3 minutes
 to thicken slightly. Pour over the cake batter. 
DO NOT stir. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
 DO NOT stir. Cover and cook on low for 2 ½ hours 
or until the top of the cake is set. 
Serve by scooping out with a large serving spoon
 and add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Best Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is moist and full of
spicy goodness. It's wonderful still warm
from the oven.
The next day it's wonderful all over again warmed 
in  the microwave or toasted in the toaster and
served with a little butter.
Great with your morning cuppa Joe.
Here's how easy it is to make.
Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, sugar, salt,
 spices, and vanilla. Whisk to mix well.
I like my pumpkin bread loaded with spices.
 Add flour, soda, powder, and chopped nuts.
I also like it loaded with chopped pecans.
 Pour into a greased loaf pan.
 Bake for about 45-50 minutes. 
This recipe will give you 2 loaves. One for you
 and one for the freezer or a friend. It can easily
 be cut in half. You'll be left with ½ can (1 C) of
 pumpkin to use in another recipe.

1 can, 15 oz pumpkin
4 eggs
1 C oil
⅔ C water
2 ½ C sugar
½ t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground allspice
1 t vanilla
3 C flour
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 C chopped nuts
Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, sugar, salt, 
spices and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk to blend.
Add flour, soda, powder, and chopped nuts.
Whisk to combine. Pour into 2 greased 9x5 loaf 
pans. Bake @350º for 50-55  minutes or until
 a skewer comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes then
 turn out onto a platter.


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Friday, November 13, 2015

Everyday Lasagna

Everyone loves Lasagna but it always seems
 like a big production, but if you break it
down into 3 steps it's really quite easy.
If you have a favorite recipe and by all means
 please tweak this one to your liking. I find these
 proportions to be just the right consistency. 
The steps are easy and if you have a small
 family, you'll be lucky with the leftovers. 
 Sear the ground beef on both sides for about 2
minutes in the hot oil, then break up and saute
adding the garlic until beef is browned.
Use 2 large fresh garlic cloves, minced to
make at least 2 T.
Add the remaining sauce ingredients and
simmer for at least 20 minutes. While the sauce
simmers boil the noodles and have your cheeses
ready for assembly.  I like to boil the noodles in
a large fryer pan. The water boils faster and
the noodles fit in better. They take about 15
minutes. Drain off he water.
*A word here about the cottage cheese thing. 
Many would scoff at the thought, but if
that's what you have in the house, use it!
You're here making a homemade lasagna
dinner for your family. That's what matters.
I've used both. 
 Butter a large 9x13 pan and layer half the
noodles, overlapping to fit.
Add half the cottage and mozzarella cheese.
 Add half the sauce. Sprinkle with half the parmesan.
 Add the remaining noodles.
 Add the remaining cottage and mozzarella cheese.
Add the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top
with the remaining parmesan cheese.
I always make this in the afternoon then cover
and refrigerate until I want to bake it. Remove
 from the fridge 30 minutes before baking if you
 remember, if not add about 10 minutes to
the cooking time. 
Make sure it's hot and bubbly 
and the parmesan cheese is golden on top. 
Let rest 10 minutes to set up before cutting.
I make the whole thing for just the 2 of us. I can
have another meal later in the week or freeze half. 
See, if you think of it that way, it's very little
effort for 2 dinners.
First: Make the meat sauce and while 
that simmers, cook the 8 lasagna noodles in
boiling salted water about 15 minutes, then drain. 

Second: Have the cheeses set out and butter
 or spray a 9x13 casserole.

Third: Assemble the casserole layers like this:
4 noodles
½ of the ricotta or cottage cheese
½  of the mozzarella
½ of the meat sauce 
½ of the Parmesan cheese (¼ C)
remaining 4 noodles
remaining ricotta or cottage cheese
remaining mozzarella
remaining meat sauce
remaining (¼ C) Parmesan cheese

Easy and DONE!
Cover it to bake later or bake now.
Bake @350º for 30 minutes.

Meat Sauce:
1-2  T olive oil
1 lb ground beef
2 large garlic cloves, minced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
14.5 oz can tomato sauce 
1-½  t salt
½ t pepper
1 t Italian sesoning
(or ½  t oregano and ½  t basil)
I add a pinch or more of red pepper
 flakes, (optional)
Sear the ground beef on both sides for about 2
minutes in the hot oil, then break up and saute
adding the garlic until beef is browned. Add the
 remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. 
Other Ingredients: 
8 oz lasagna noodles, cooked
½  lb mozzarella, sliced or shredded 
(or Monterey jack or Swiss) 
1 lb ricotta (or cottage cheese)
½ C grated Parmesan cheese

Tip: You can skip the boiling the noodles
part and just layer the dry noodles, add
 a little water around the edge, then
cover the pan with foil and bake 1 hour.
 Click HERE for more info.

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