Tasty Tuesday–Kitchen Sink Blondies

Perhaps “Kitchen Sink” is a bit of a misnomer, because I’m not suggesting you put ALL the things in the blondies at once. But what makes these blondies great is that you can add whatever mix-ins you want in whatever ratio you want (I did half dark chocolate and half dried cranberries here), and you can even frost them (cinnamon frosting is especially good!), and not only will they turn out great every time, but it seems like you’re never making the same blondies twice!

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 lb. dark brown sugar (you can use light, but I think the dark gives it a better flavor!)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups of mix-ins (baking chips, nuts, dried fruit…you name it!)
  • Frosting of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease (or cover with parchment paper) a cookie sheet with sides (about 15×10 inches…if your pan is a different size, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time).

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. When it’s completely melted, remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Let cool slightly, then stir in the eggs. Stir in flour mixture and mix-ins until just blended. Spread into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes (don’t overbake!)

Let cool completely before frosting (if desired) and slicing…make about 2 dozen blondies.

Tasty Tuesday–Spiced Apple Rings

I was very disappointed when I went shopping for our New Year’s dinner and discovered that there are no longer jarred spiced apple rings available in my area. I really, really love spiced apple rings, so I decided to make my own. Most of the recipes I found included large amounts of Cinnamon Imperials, which doesn’t surprise me based on the taste and color of apple rings, but they were almost impossible to find at Christmas, so I had to come up with a recipe that had the right flavors without them. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and they weren’t even that hard to make!

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3-4 drops red food coloring (optional…it adds that recognizable color)
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 3 large cooking apples (I used Granny Smith because they’re my favorite, but if you prefer a uniform red color, you could certainly use a different kind!)

In a large skillet, heat first nine ingredients to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.

While syrup is simmering, core, but don’t peel, apples and slice into 1/4 inch thick rings. Cook half of rings at a time in the syrup. Simmer until tender but firm, 5-10 minutes…you don’t want the apples to get mushy or fall apart. Remove first half of apples rings and cook second half in same syrup (if it gets too thick, add a little extra water).

Discard lemon slices. Place all the apple rings in a wide, shallow dish (I used a pie plate) and pour syrup over. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.

Tasty Tuesday–Banana Cake

I have been baking this banana cake for literal decades…it’s probably one of the first recipes I learned how to make. I’ve changed it a bit over time…I used to include walnuts in the cake, but since Moose it allergic to nuts, now I leave them out, and just offer them as a topping for those that like them. To compensate for that, I started adding extra banana, and the flavor is unmistakable!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed, overripe bananas (about three bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter in bowl of mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and eggs; mix well. Add buttermilk, bananas, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tasty Tuesday–The Kirby Mocktail

I came up with this drink for Kirby Day, and it’s too good not to share!

  • 4 cups white cranberry-strawberry juice
  • 12 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 4 cups 7-UP, chilled
  • Raspberries for garnish

Mix white cranberry-strawberry juice with lemonade concentrate in pitcher and refrigerate overnight. Stir in 7-UP just before serving and float raspberries on top.

Tasty Tuesday–Jäger Sauce

I don’t always make Jäger sauce to go with schnitzel, but when I do, this is the recipe I love!

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 8 oz. can sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube or 1 tsp. bouillon granules
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 oz. sour cream

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes until onions are soft. Add water and bouillon and simmer for about 20 minutes. Combine cornstarch and sour cream and stir into sauce. Cook over low heat until sauce thickens, taking care not to boil. Serve with schnitzel.

Tasty Tuesday–Linguine with Clam Sauce

It’s been so long since I made linguine with clam sauce, I had to start from scratch on the recipe. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’ll definitely be making it again!

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 cloves garlic. minced
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 10 oz. cans clams, undrained, plus 1 10z. can drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or you can cheat like me and use a few Tbsp. dried)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 16 oz. linguine, cooked and drained
  • Parmesan cheese

Melt 1/2 cup butter in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until golden. Stir in salt and pepper, then deglaze the pan with white wine. Add clams and juice and cook until heated through. Add parsley, remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter, and lemon juice and cook until butter is melted. Serve over linguine and top with parmesan cheese.

Tasty Tuesday–Portillo’s Chocolate Cake

This recipe for a copycat of the famous Portillo’s chocolate cake is hardly new…you can find it all over the internet. And the special ingredient, mayonnaise, is hardly unique to Portillo’s…I’ve seen decades-old cake recipes use mayo as an ingredient. But just in case you’ve never run across this recipe for an amazingly moist chocolate cake with tons of frosting, I thought I’d share it here, too! It’s perfect for a birthday or other celebration!!!

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tubs milk chocolate frosting (yes, canned frosting, and you really can’t use too much!)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease and “flour” (since it’s a chocolate cake, I used cocoa powder) two cake pans.

Combine cake mix, eggs, water, and mayonnaise in large bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase to high and mix for 5 minutes more.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness.

Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn out cakes and cool completely.

Level cake tops and frost the cake with lots of chocolate frosting. Seriously…Portillo’s uses two pounds of frosting in each of their chocolate cakes, so use more than you think you should! Top with sprinkles if desired.

Tasty Tuesday–Carrot Fritters

I adapted this recipe from Mount Vernon’s website…their recipe is for a more sweet carrot fritter, and I wanted something a bit more savory…no matter how you look at it, though, they’re basically carrot donuts!

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed carrots
  • vegetable oil for frying

Mix together flour, baking powder, egg, salt, lemon juice, and carrots. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Carefully drop mixture by spoonful into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain, sprinkle with additional salt, and serve.

Tasty Tuesday–Perfect Party Punch

I don’t have a lot of occasions to make punch (really, just for confirmation celebrations), but when I do, it’s the perfect punch. I’ve been making it so long, I don’t even remember where or when I found the recipe, but I sure am glad that I have it! I think the lemon juice is what makes it really special, and the Jell-O is another unusual and delicious addition!

  • 2  1/2 cups white sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 3 oz. packages strawberry Jell-O
  • 1 46 oz. can pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 quart orange juice
  • 2 2-liter bottles 7-Up or Sprite

Bring sugar, water, and strawberry Jell-O to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for three minutes. Stir in the pineapple, lemon, and orange juices. Divide mixture between two containers (I like to use a bundt pan to get a nice ring shape) and freeze.

Combine one container of frozen juice mixture with one bottle of soda in a punch bowl and allow to become slushy (you want to prepare this at least an hour before you plan on drinking it). Repeat with remaining portions, or save for another event.

Tasty Tuesday–Eggnog

I know…Christmas is over. And I know…eggnog can be kind of controversial. It seems you either love it or you hate it. But here, we love it. I’ve made it several times since Christmas because we enjoy it so much. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to perfect my recipe, and I think I’ve finally got it just the way I want it.

  • 4 cups milk
  • 10 whole cloves (more if you like the taste of cloves as much as I do!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1 tsp. vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Raise heat and slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until fluffy. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into the eggs. Pour back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about 1 hour.

Stir in cream, 2 tsp. vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight.