Earthquake Cake

mudslide-cakeEarthquake cake is

  • Chocolate Cake
  • Coconut
  • Pecans
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter

Is it just me or does that sound like it has to be a winning combination?  I found this recipe on The First Year and I think that I tried pinning it at least a half a dozen times (I always get that little “oops! looks like you’ve already pinned this!”) I finally got around to making it and here’s what I thought.

AnneOpinion

This was good.  It really was, but it wasn’t “I’m dying to have this again and need to think of an excuse to make it today” good.  I think that if I were to make it again that I would use a regular chocolate cake mix and not a German chocolate cake mix.  I wanted more chocolate flavor in the cake.

The chocolate chips add a rich chocolate taste and the crunch from the pecans add a nice texture to this rich dessert.  The melted butter and cream cheese is good but I can’t decide if it’s worth the calories.

Raspberries or strawberries were a delicious addition, when serving, that complimented the flavors in the cake well.

This would be a great dessert to take to a potluck.  It would go over well in a crowd and it looks like something that you just want to dive into.

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Earthquake Cake
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Earthquake Cake
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans on the bottom of the pan. Mix the German chocolate cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water using a spatula or hand mixer on low. Pour the cake mix on top of the coconut/chocolate chip/pecan layer. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese. Using a spatula or hand mixer on low, beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar until it's smooth to the butter/cream cheese. Spread this mixture on top of the uncooked chocolate cake in the pan, and swirl into the cake mix using a knife. Bake for 35-45 minutes. It is done when it doesn't wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test shouldn't work because the cake should be more gooey in nature. Enjoy! Store any left over cake in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion from The First Year

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Healthy Banana Chocolate Muffins

banana-chocolate-muffinsToday is the last of our healthy muffins for this week.  I got this recipe from my sister years ago and it’s great go to when you have ripe bananas.

AnneOpinion

These are half white flour/half whole wheat flour.  That gives you the benefit of having whole wheat without everyone turning up their noses at it because the muffins are too grainy. In fact, if you don’t tell, no one will guess that they’re have whole wheat flour in them.

You really need the bananas to be ripe.  They provide a good amount of the sweetness and moisture to the muffins that won’t be there if you use under ripe bananas.

You’ll be surprised at how far the 1/2 Cup of mini chocolate chips goes.  I love using mini chips in my baking because I get all of the chocolate flavor with less calories and sugar.  Always a staple at our house!

I hope that you’ll give these and the Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins and the Morning Glory muffins a try!  Let me know what you think.

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Healthy Banana Chocolate Muffins
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Healthy Banana Chocolate Muffins
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place paper liners in 12 muffin cups and preheat oven to 350. Mash bananas and place in a medium sized bowl. Add all ingredients to the bowl and mix until everything is incorporated together. Evenly distribute between muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
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Hot Dogs- taken up a notch

hot-dogsI’ve been wanting to make these hot dogs from Plain Chicken for a long time.  Memorial Day seemed like the perfect excuse to try them out.  Barbequing is a requirement for us and hot dogs and hamburgers are always on the menu.  I’ve heard of many different kinds of topping that you can put on your hot dog but I never considered putting something on them before the grilling process.  Here’s what we thought of them if your looking to do something new this weekend.

AnneOpinion

When prepping the hot dogs you make slits down the side.  Make sure that these are more horizontal and not vertical.  I did some with one row of slits and some with two.  It didn’t seem to make a difference on flavor, so save yourself the trouble and only make one.

Make sure and oil your grill before putting the hot dogs on, otherwise the slits that you’ve cut will stick and tear off when grilling.  Yes that is personal experience talking.

These were super easy to make.  You start by putting the ingredients into a gallon sized bag, cut your hot dogs and then let them marinate for at least twenty minutes.  After that, it’s grilling time!  You could even prep them the day before so they’re ready to go when you need them.

When grilling these hot dogs they smell amazing!  Like, everyone in the neighborhood will smell the scent wafting over from your house and wish that they had been invited over for the fun.  If you’re having a party and want to get people excited for the food, cook these and they will be lining up.

When you actually try the hot dogs, they are really good, but the flavors were not as strong as I had hoped for.  Mild really.  I was disappointed that it wasn’t an “in your face flavor” but I’ve decided that the strong scent while they’re cooking outweighs the mild flavor and I’ll definitely be making them again!

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Hot Dogs- taken up a notch
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Servings
8 hot dogs
Servings
8 hot dogs
Hot Dogs- taken up a notch
Print Recipe
Servings
8 hot dogs
Servings
8 hot dogs
Ingredients
Servings: hot dogs
Instructions
  1. Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and oil together in a gallon sized bag. Cut slits into the hot dog at an angle in 2 rows down, about 1/2 inch apart, cutting partway into the hot dog. The cuts should look like rounded half circles. Put the hot dogs into the bag and marinate for at least 20 minutes. Heat up grill. Oil the grill. Cook hot dogs until nicely charred, about 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion- Recipe from Plain Chicken

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Mongolian Beef

mongolian-beefI’ve saved the best for last in my Chinese food week.  Sometimes in life, I just feel like some steak and Mongolian Beef is my favorite thing to get when I go to Pei Wei’s (PF Chang’s mid priced restaurant chain).  I love the simplicity of it: beef with sauce, and green onion.  Very simple and very good.  I went looking for a comparable dish that I could make at home and I have to say that Spend with Pennies PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef recipe was pretty spot on. I really didn’t change this recipe at all, which says a lot.  I just have a couple of tips that I learned along the way.

AnneOpinion

The sauce for this came together in minutes.  The part that took a little while was browning the outside of the beef.  I think that my batches were too small at first.  I figured out that I should have been able to do it in 3-4 batches.  You may want to divide the meat into batches ahead of time so you don’t make my mistake.

I used a top round roast because that was what was on sale.  It tasted great.  I would say to use whatever is on sale and you think would work OK (sometimes top sirloin is cheaper than anything else; watch the sales 🙂 ).

My tip for slicing the meat thin is to have it slightly frozen.  This will help immensely with keeping the thickness uniform.  You also want to make sure to cut against the grain, no matter which cut of meat you are using.

At Pei Wei’s they serve their Mongolian Beef with green onions and mushrooms.  I didn’t have any mushrooms available when I made this, but it would be a welcome addition if you enjoy mushrooms.

Overall, I really loved this recipe from Spend with Pennies and I loved that I could make enough for my family for about the same price as one serving would have cost me in a restaurant.

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Mongolian Beef
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Mongolian Beef
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Instructions
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small pan over medium low. Add ginger and garlic and stir just until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add soy sauce, water and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside. Slice the flank steak into ¼" slices and toss with cornstarch. Gently shake off any excess. Place 1 tablespoon at a time of oil in a pan or wok and heat over medium high heat. Cook the beef in small batches for about 2 minutes. (It doesn't need to cook all of the way through, it will cook completely when combined with the sauce). Once all the beef has been cooked, combine with the sauce and heat over medium until hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in green onions. Serve over rice. Chopsticks optional. 🙂
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion courtesy of Spend You Pennies

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