Monday, December 28, 2015

Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake recipe is from my friend Lynette and it is wonderful. It is rich and has just the right spice mixture. I really love the flavor the chopped pecans give this cake. You can either make this cake in a half sheet cake pan or make it thicker in a 9x13 baking pan. It feeds a lot of people when made in a half sheet pan - at least 20. I actually made this for a church training meeting and everyone loved it. So yummy! Oh and the frosting is fantastic!

Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup finely chopped pecans

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 lb or 16 oz package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions for Cake:
In a mixer combine vegetable oil and sugar and beat well. Add eggs and mix well. Add carrots and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer and mix well. Add in pecans and mix well. Pour into a greased half sheet cake pan or a 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before frosting with cream cheese frosting below.

Directions for Frosting;
Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined and creamy. If it's too thick add milk by tablespoonfuls until it is the right spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Crock Pot Beef Tips & Gravy

This is such a great and delicious crockpot meal! It tastes like beef stroganoff without the mushrooms so my kids absolutely loved it (when will they start liking mushrooms - probably never). It is so good served over mashed potatoes, but you could serve it over rice or egg noodles also. This is definitely one of my new favorite Sunday dinner recipes.

Crock Pot Beef Tips & Gravy

1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, or chuck roast cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
14 oz can low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour

Place cubed beef in slow cooker and sprinkle evenly with lemon pepper. In a large bowl whisk together dry onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, and beef broth; pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove meat from crockpot with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl, and cover with foil. Set aside for now. In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour and whisk well. Cook for about a minute. Whisk in the gravy/juices from the crockpot and heat until thickened and heated all the way through. Add in the set aside beef and simmer for a few minutes. Serve the beef tips and gravy over mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chocolat Chaud (Hot Chocolate - Stove Top or Crock Pot)

I back-packed Europe the summer after I graduated from high school. I treasure the memories I made on that trip. Some wonderful memories are the breakfasts in France. French food is amazing. Even poor backpackers get hot chocolate, or "chocolat chaud" in French, and fresh croissants for breakfast at youth hostels. It's a beautiful thing and I remember that hot chocolate so well. This homemade recipe for hot chocolate is the closest thing I've ever made to the hot chocolate I remember drinking in France. It's rich, creamy, and oh so chocolatey. I love it. The quality of the unsweetened cocoa and chocolate chips mean a lot to the flavor. I don't have Valrhona chocolate in my pantry to use in this recipe, but when I want it to be really good I do use the best chocolate chips I can find at the grocery store (I really like Guittard) and Dutch processed cocoa powder. It's the perfect cold weather and Christmas time treat.

Chocolat Chaud (Hot Chocolate for Stove Top or Crock Pot)

2 cups heavy cream
6 cups whole milk
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)

Fast Stove Top Directions:
In a large saucepan combine heavy cream, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and vanilla if using. Heat, whisking constantly, until you just bring it too a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Check taste. You can dilute it a little with a cup or so of milk if you like a less rich taste (I add more milk when making for my kiddos).

Crock Pot Directions:
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on low for 2 hours, whisking every so often to combine the chocolate with the milk.