Carrot Cake Roulade

Here’s a carrot cake for Easter that tastes great, doesn’t require a lot of work, and is just slightly different from the average carrot cake. I even decorated it with a few carrot gummies I found at the dollar store. But you don’t have to only use this recipe for Easter. Make it all Spring long and decorate it with anything you want.

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Carrot Cake Roulade

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2 T EVOO

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup flour

2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)

powdered sugar, for rolling the cake

For the Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

5 T butter, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

powdered sugar, for dusting

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1. Preheat oven to 350*. Line a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) with parchment paper or foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray and then dust with powdered sugar.

2. Beat eggs at high-speed for 5 minutes, until frothy. Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla.

3. In separate bowl, whisk together salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into egg mixture just until blended. Add carrots.

4. Spread in prepared pan. Use a rubber scraper to smooth the batter into the corners.  Bake for 10 minutes.

5. Lay out a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over onto the towel.  Remove paper/foil gently.

6. Working at a short end, fold the edge of the towel over the cake and began to roll tightly. You can sprinkle some powdered sugar or flour on this side of the cake as well, if needed.

7. Leave cake rolled up in the towel at least one hour, until completely cooled.

8. While cake is cooling, make the filling. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in sugar and vanilla until combined.

9. When cake is cool, careful unroll the towel. Spread about 50 -60% of the frosting over the cake evenly. Re-roll tightly. Use the rest of the frosting for the outside of the cake.

10. Chill another 30 – 60 minutes at least. Dust with powdered sugar and decorate as desired. *Cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen up to a month.

Easter Blessings!

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Creamy Lobster Risotto with Green Peas

This is a very rich and filling meal. I love risotto any way, but the lobster gives it a bit of an elegant twist that makes it suitable for a main course even for guests. Make sure you serve it with a light salad and some crusty bread (or my Cheesy Pesto Bread!)

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Lobster Risotto

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup white wine

2 (6 oz) lobster tails, frozen is fine

1 cup frozen green peas

2 T EVOO

4 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided

salt & pepper

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1. Heat EVOO in skillet over medium heat and saute onion for about 3 minutes.  Put dry rice in skillet and saute/toast for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.  Pour in wine and simmer until absorbed.

2. In a sauce pot bring 1 cup broth to a soft boil and throw the lobster tails in. Cover and allow to steam about 4 minutes, or until shells turn bright red. *If using frozen lobster it may take a few extra  minutes, but don’t worry if you see they are not completely cooked through when you shell them. You can get to that later.

3. Start putting broth into your rice 1/2 cup at a time while keeping the liquid at a gentle simmer. Stir frequently and allow broth to absorb. Salt & pepper a bit. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time.

4. Shell the lobster meat and cut into small pieces. Any bits not cooked through  can go back into the sauce pot broth for a minute or two.

5. If the rice isn’t cooked enough (it should be slightly al dente) you can add some of the broth from the sauce pot. Your rice should have about 3 1/2 cups of broth in it, plus the 1/2 cup wine.

6. Stir in the cream cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, the lobster, and the peas. Allow everything to combine and heat through thoroughly.

7. Salt & Pepper again if needed, and serve with a sprinkle of the reserved parmesan on top.

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Black Bean & Chicken Oven Fried Chimichangas

Wow- it’s been a while since I’ve done a Mexican dish, and I have really missed it. Ya’ll know how much I love Mexican food around here. This chimichanga is just another simple tex-mex dish that you can pull together in no time, but while I was making this it gave me an idea for another version of the chimichanga- so stay tuned 🙂

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Black Bean & Chicken Chimichanga

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded

1 can organic black beans

1 cup salsa

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 T dried onion flakes*

1 (4 oz) can of green chilis

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

8 flour tortillas

2 T butter, melted

sea salt

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1. Preheat oven to 400*. Line a cookie sheet with some foil and give it a light coating of coking spray. Wipe off any excess if needed.

2. Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl. *You can use fresh onion, about 1/4 cup diced, if you’d rather. I used onion flakes because I wanted everything to cook together for some time in the crock pot {except for the cheese, of course} and my prep time was limited. 

3. Combine the cheese with the chicken and beans mixture when ready to start rolling up your chimichangas. Melt the butter in a small bowl and have it ready.

4. This mixture will yield 8 chimichangas, so divide it evenly into each tortillas. Fold the sides over the mixture, then fold in the bottom and the top. Place seam-side down on the cookie sheet.

5. Brush each chimichanga over the top and on the side folds with the butter. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Garnish with any number of the following toppings:

sour cream

salsa

avocado/guacamole

shredded cheese

diced tomatoes

sliced black olives

green onion

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White Chocolate Strawberry Pie and a Sunshine Award


Welcome to Spring!

It doesn’t feel much like Spring, does it?

I heard that the weather is getting frisky all over the place. Here in NC we had snow flurries for several hours on the second day of Spring. Pretty wild. And the temp hasn’t gotten much better since. We’re keeping our fingers crossed over here that it warms up soon. I’m pretty sure that pesky groundhog has had his 6 weeks, right? Time for us to get some Spring-like weather going on over here.

Well, if you’re in need of some Spring like me, this pie should do the trick. It is as delectable as it looks – truly. And it was super easy to put together. So the next time you need a dessert or just a pick-me-up, this is the recipe for you.

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White Chocolate Strawberry Pie

9-inch graham pie crust*

12 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1 1/2 T fresh OJ

2 cups cool whip

dash of salt

1 lb strawberries, sliced

3 T white chocolate chips

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*If you do not want to use a pre-made crust and would prefer to make your own it is really easy. All you need is 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs. This would be roughly 1 1/4 packages of cracker sheets. You can crush them up in your food processor, or even a blender. Pour 5 T of melted butter into the crumbs and a dash of salt, then combine real well and press into a pie pan. Make sure it’s even and you go up the sides a bit.

1. In a small bowl put 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds; stir, and microwave an additional 30 seconds until melted. Set aside.

2. Beat the cream cheese using mixer, until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.

3. Add the cool whip, the OJ, dash of salt, and the melted white chocolate. Mix until ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth.

4. Spoon the mixture into the crust.

5. Lay the sliced strawberries on to of the pie filling, starting around the edges and working toward the middle in a spiral motion.

6. Melt 3 T of chocolate and drizzle over the strawberries and pie.

7. Place pie in the refrigerator and let chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!

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Now It’s Time For The Sunshine Award!

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I’d like to thank the The Food Gypsy for nominating me for The Sunshine Award. It was such a lovely start to my weekend 🙂 And just for fun I’m going to answer the questions with pictures instead of words.

Rules for the Sunshine Award:

  • If you are nominated you must include the link in a blog, linking to the person/blog that nominated you.
  • You must answer some questions and nominate 10 fellow bloggers and link their blogs in your post. Let the people you have nominated know that you have nominated them!
1. Who is your favorite philosopher?

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2. What is your favorite number?

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3. What is your favorite animal?

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4. What are your Facebook and Twitter URLs?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehomeheart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheHomeHeart

5. What is your favorite time of day?

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6. What was your favorite vacation?

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7. What is your favorite physical activity?

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8. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

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9. What is your favorite flower?

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10. What is your passion?

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~ 10 Nominations ~

1. Half Baked Harvest

2. Lovely You

3. Angel’s Homestead

4. Gluten Free Gus

5. Hesitantly Healthy

6. Happiness Stan Lives Here

7. Yes To Cooking

8. A Small Insight

9. Kalamity Kelli

10. At 350 Degrees

A very big Thank You to everyone who visits, reads, and comments here. Obviously, you know that there wouldn’t be much point to any of this without you. To see people liking and commenting really means a lot to me.

Food on Friday: Pies and Tarts

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Cheesy Pesto Bread

Need a little something extra for your dinner table? Perhaps a covered dish meal at church? Maybe a neighborly get-together? Or maybe you’re just craving something savory and cheesy and oh, so yummy.

That’s it, isn’t it? I knew it.

Well, then I’ve got just the thing for you. This pull-apart bread is fabulous, and the best part is you really can pair it with any number of other dishes. There’s just no wrong time for this sumptuous bread.

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Cheesy Pesto Bread

1 large loaf bread (I used whole wheat Italian)

1/2 cup prepared pesto

3 cups shredded cheese, any blend*

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1. Preheat oven to 400* and cut a piece of foil big enough to wrap the bread in. Spray surface with cooking spray.

2. Place the bread on the foil on the baking sheet and cut lengthwise in 1-inch strips. DO NOT cut through to the bottom.

3. Now cut in the width direction in 1 -inch strips so that your bread has 1-inch cubes cut all over it, but make sure that it’s all still intact at the bottom.

4. Using a knife, spread the pesto inside each slice, in all directions so that every bit of sliced bread has pesto on it.

5. Pull each bit apart carefully and stuff the cheese into every little space. *I used a mozzarella and parmesan blend combined with a cheddar blend. It’s best to start with the edges of the bread and work your way toward the middle.

6. Wrap the foil around the bread (Make sure it’s all sprayed so the cheese doesn’t stick) and bake for 10 minutes.

7. Unwrap the bread and place back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and the bread has slightly browned.

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Beef Filet with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

This was really delicious.The most time consuming part was making the reduction. Someone please tell me there is an easier way to do that!? Also, I used cuts of London Broil instead mignon because Harris Teeter had a ridiculously awesome BOGO sale the other day and I couldn’t pass it up, but ideally the filet would work best.

I pan-seared the meat and served it atop wilted spinach with mushrooms and caramelized onions, and of course, the wine glaze. It was pretty awesome. I apologize now about the pictures. It was too dark by dinnertime to take any decent pictures and most of the meal was eaten, so there’s no spinach to show how beautiful the plate really was (hence the peas), and what’s left over of the filets is more crazy-medallion-like slices. So…just use your imagination 🙂

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Beef Filet with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

4 (5-7 oz.) filet steaks

salt & pepper

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (any kind or blend)

1 clove garlic, minced

4 T EVOO, divided

1 tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

3 cups red wine

2 cups beef broth

12 oz. baby spinach leaves

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1. salt and pepper your filets and set aside.

2. Heat large skillet and put in 2 T EVOO. Saute garlic and onion for about 3 minutes.

3. Add the red wine, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over high heat. reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until liquid has reduces and resembles a glaze.

4. Add the beef broth/stock and bring back to a boil. Simmer for another 30 minutes, until the liquid reduces again by at least half.

5. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and add them to the sauce. This will only take a few minutes to cook them down.

6. Strain and reserve the sauce from the mushrooms, onions, and herbs. Keep it all for serving.

7. Heat up a heavy skillet with 1 T EVOO and sear all sides of the filets. This should be about 4 minutes per side, until the steaks are golden brown.

8. Pour the sauce over the meat and deglaze the pan while the filets are finishing up. Then remove the steaks and let rest. Let the sauce continue simmering.

9. Heat 1 T EVOO in another skillet and wilt the spinach; about 3 minutes.

10. Plate some spinach, top it with a filet and some mushrooms and caramelized onions. Spoon some of the glaze over the top and around the plate.

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Plum Crumble

I made a super easy and tasty dessert and it wasn’t even dessert night. I just couldn’t wait! I’ve been holding on to this recipe for several weeks. First, I had to wait for plums to come into season (and then be worth eating). And then I finally had my grocery shopping day and here it is 🙂

Now, I have never baked with plums and the thought never crossed my mind. Is this you, too? Well, I can testify that this was amazing. Hubby scarfed it up, praising the whole time, and I was ridiculously pleased with it myself.

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Plum Crumble

4 large plums, halved & pitted

1/3 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks*

1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease an 8×8 baking dish.

2.  Cut each plum half into 6 slices.

3.  Toss the plums with the sugar and cinnamon sticks. *If you don’t have any cinnamon sticks you can put in 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

4. Arrange the mixture evenly in the baking dish, making sure the cinnamon sticks are underneath the plums.

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Crumble Topping:

3/4 cup flour (I used my 1/2 & 1/2 blend)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oats

1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1/2 cup sliced almonds

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1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and oats together.

2. Using hands, mix the butter pieces into the flour mixture, making sure each piece is coated separately.

3. Mix in the almonds. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the plum mixture.

4. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the juices bubble. After 35 or 40 minutes, use a fork to rake the crumble topping gently to mix it up a bit and make sure everything gets cooked properly. Bake longer to slightly brown the top, if needed.

5. Allow the crumble to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

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Easter Brunch & Dinner Ideas

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Easter is almost here and that usually means a big spread for your table. If you will be celebrating, and possibly even entertaining, you may want a few extra ideas – I know I am always looking for new ideas 🙂 Here is just a simple round-up of breakfast/brunch, sides, main dishes, and desserts for you.

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No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

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Quiche Lorraine

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Blueberry Bake

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Roasted Potato Frittata

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Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce

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Strawberry-Peach Pancakes

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Chicken Salad with Grapes & Pecans

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Sweet Cherry Caprese Salad

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Wild Rice & Corn Muffins

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Chicken in Cream

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Lemon Chicken Piccata

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Dijon Dill Salmon

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Auntie Mary’s Meatballs (Porcupine Balls)

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Apricot & Tequila Glazed Turkey

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Maple Mustard Chicken

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Parmesan Pesto Green Beans

Creamy Skillet Veggies

Creamy Skillet Veggies

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Carrot Mash Bake

Cheesy Rice Fritters

Cheesy Rice Fritters

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Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

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Brown Sugar Butternut Squash Tart

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Luscious Tropical Dream Cake

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

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Apple Pie Bars

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Crock Pot Blueberry Cobbler

For this cobbler I used some frozen blueberries I had in my freezer, however you can use any blend of berries you’d like. I also only had just a tad over 2 cups for this recipe, which worked fine, though I would stick to the recommended 4 cups.

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Crock Pot Blueberry Cobbler

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup organic sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

2 T EVOO

 4 cups berries, fresh or frozen

1 cup organic sugar

1/4 cup unbleached flour

1/8 tsp sea salt

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1. In a medium bowl combine the first 4 ingredients (1 cup flour, 5 T sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon); use a fork to stir well.

2. In another bowl whisk the egg then add the milk and oil.

3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix well. Batter will be thick.

4. Spray the inside of a crock pot (at least 3 qt. preferably 5 qt.) and spread the batter along the bottom.

5. In medium bowl combine the last 3 ingredients (1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/8 tsp salt).

6. Place the berries in the sugar mixture and toss to coat.

7. Pour the berries and sugar mixture over the top of the batter in the crock pot; Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, or until batter is cooked through.

8. When done cooking turn off the crock pot and uncover, allowing the berry juice to thicken for 5 – 10 minutes.

Serve with ice cream. Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Beef

This is a really simple but satisfying meal that pulls together easily with just a few minutes of planning ahead. Throw your ingredients into the crock pot and come home several hours later to an awesome aroma and a great sandwich. Make sure to serve it on some hearty bread like Ciabatta with a thick slice of sharp cheddar and some extra BBQ sauce drizzled on top. Yum!

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Pulled BBQ Beef

1 (3 lb) boneless chuck roast

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

salt & pepper to taste

1 (18 oz) bottle BBQ sauce

water, as needed

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1. Place roast into slow cooker. Sprinkle with garlic and onion powders. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Pour on your favorite BBQ sauce. Add anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup water (or add a little as you need) to help the meat cook evenly.

3. Cook on low for 8 hours.

4. Remove meat from slow cooker and shred. Return to crock pot and cook for 1 more hour. Add more water if needed.

5. Serve hot with cheddar cheese and extra BBQ sauce over a whole wheat hoagie roll.

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