Irishotto 

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Irishotto is all you love about risotto with an Irish accent.  You don’t need the luck of the Irish to make it and you definitely don’t need to wait until St. Patrick’s day to make it.  It’s easy enough to make for a week night dinner and classy enough for a dinner party. 

  I usually share my ideas for new recipes with my daughters for their opinions. For this one I got my inspiration around St. Patrick’s day when I bought a head of cabbage and I had a bottle of Jameson out to make car bomb cupcakes.  I asked them what they thought of risotto made with Jameson instead of white wine, cabbage instead of peas and bacon because bacon is amazing. They were a bit skeptical but said it could be good.  Well, let me tell you, my girls, my BFF and I thought it was absolutely delicious.  My bff, Cherise, said it should be on the menu in a restaurant.  

Put on your apron, sharpen your knife and let’s make Irishotto!

Irishotto 

4 slices bacon

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided

1 small onion, small dice

1 cup chopped cabbage

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 cup arborio rice

1/4 cup Jameson

3 – 3 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Pepper

Pour the chicken broth into a medium saucepan and heat on medium low. Fry bacon until crispy. Place on a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Pour off almost all of the bacon grease, leaving only about a tablespoon as well as all the brown bits in the skillet. Place 1 Tbs butter in the skillet and heat on medium heat until melted. Add the onion, cabbage and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent about 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it’s all coated with the butter/bacon grease combo., but not browned. Carefully stir in the Jameson to deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off of the bottom of the skillet. Add the warm broth one ladleful at a time allowing each addition to cook off before adding the next, stirring occasionally. This process will take between 20-30 minutes. Taste the rice after 20 minutes. The texture should be al dented with just a little bite to it. If it’s too firm continue cooking and taste again after 5 more minutes.  Taste again at the 30 minute mark. Now stir in the other Tbs of butter, the Parmesan cheese and the salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon on top and stir in. Serve immediately.   Makes approximately 4 servings. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda 

Kahlua Brownies

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Yes, you read that correctly. Kahlua. Brownies. Do I have your attention now?  I thought so. These brownies are intense, fudgy and moist. There’s three kinds of chocolate involved so they satisfy the chocoholic in us all.  And the kahlua just adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to the chocolate and espresso flavors. These won’t last long so make sure to save one for yourself. 

Two very important things about brownies-don’t over mix and don’t over bake. You don’t want them to turn out like little brown hockey pucks. 

Put on your apron and let’s get baking!

Kahlua Brownies


Brownies

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 oz. milk chocolate chips

1 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules

1 Tablespoon kahlua

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs at room temperature 

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces milk chocolate chips 

Ganache

3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

3 Tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 Tablespoon kahlua

Drizzle

1 1/2-2 ounces milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper allowing it to hang over the side of the pan. You can use the overhang as handles to easily lift the brownies out of the pan when done. Spray the foil or parchment with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Place the butter and 2 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Melt in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between times, until smooth. Stir in the sugar, espresso powder and vanilla.  Next add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour and salt until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Do not over mix!  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40minutes. Do not over bake!  In the meantime, prepare the ganache by melting the semi sweet chips in a small microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until melted. Add the cream and kahlua and beat until smooth and glossy. Set aside. Remove brownies from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using the foil handles remove them from the pan. Pour ganache over the top and smooth it to the edges. Place the remaining 1 & 1-2-2 ounces of milk chocolate chips in a zip top bag and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and knead the bag to mix the chips. If not completely melted microwave for 15-20 more seconds. Cut a small snip from the tip of one side of the plastic bag. Drizzle melted chocolate over the ganache. Either place in the refrigerator to chill and set up or place in a cool spot and allow the chocolate to set. Cut into 12-16 pieces. Enjoy!  

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda

Very slightly adapted from The Half Baked Harvest here

Sunday Afternoon French Fries

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This really isn’t going to be a recipe. I mean potatoes, oil and salt are all you need. Simple, right?  This is all about the memories rather than the recipe. 


Homemade French fries are becoming a thing of the past. With crinkle cuts waiting in the freezer section and fast food joints on every corner, there doesn’t seem to be a need to take all the time to peel potatoes and cut them by hand. Don’t get me wrong. When you’re in a hurry to get a meal ready there’s nothing wrong with throwing some Ore-Idas in some hot oil or a hot oven. But for me, there’s memories in them thar taters. 

Sometimes on Sunday afternoons my Mom would fry up 2 or 3 huge platters of homemade French fries for lunch. Just the fries. Maybe a little catsup. Nothing else. Mom, Dad and the four of us kids would devour the perfectly golden fried potatoes. They were slightly crispy on the outside but pillowy soft on the inside.  Good times, good fries, food memory made. 

I’ll never forget the first time I made homemade fries for my dear in-laws. Once again, they were devoured lustily with yummy sounds and omgs coming from their lips. Afterward my mother-in-law asked how I made them. I chuckled a little inside and told her it was just potatoes, oil and salt. She seemed astounded that something so delicious was so humbly and simply made. Like magic, another French fry memory was made. 

Take a moment to make a memory. Not only will your heart be filled, but also the ones you love will have a bit of magic and a story to tell. 


French Fries                                      Generously serves 2

3 medium to large russet potatoes

Vegetable oil

Iodized table salt, to taste

Peel and cut potatoes into 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick planks. Place in a bowl and fill with cold water. Allow potatoes to soak in the water for 30 minutes to one hour. Drain off water and place on a clean dish towel. Blot off excess water. Fill a large, 12-14 inch, skillet halfway with oil. Heat oil on medium high and heat until oil is hot. Carefully place the potatoes in the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Season immediately with salt to taste. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda

Fruity Crispy Rice Roll Ups

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My daughter and I made these beauties today. I think kids of all ages love Rice Krispie squares. Moms have been making them since 1939.  Personally, I’ve been making them since the 80’s. The first fruit flavored variation of the crisp rice cereal came about in 1971 when Fruity Pebbles were born. I love Google, don’t you?  Of course the fruity version of the beloved bars had to happen.  Add frosting, roll them and slice them. Cha-Ching!  We have a winner. These are fun, colorful and kid approved.  I don’t think the kiddos would disapprove if you changed out the fruity cereal for the cocoa kind. I’d grate a little milk chocolate over the frosting before rolling them. Put on your apron. Let’s make some fun!


Fruity Crispy Rice Roll Ups

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

10.5 oz. bag mini marshmallows 

10 oz. bag fruity crispy rice cereal, 7-7 1/2 cups (I used Malto Meal fruity dyno bites.  $1 per bag at Walmart.)

1-2 cups of your favorite frosting (I used homemade cream cheese frosting)

Spray a jelly roll pan, 16″ x 12″, with non stick spray. Line pan with a piece of parchment paper longer than the pan so that it hangs over the sides. You’ll use that to pull it easily from the pan when it cools. Set aside.                                        Place the butter and mini marshmallows in a Dutch oven on medium high heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cereal until the marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed. Quickly spread the mixture onto the prepared pan. Spray your hands with non stick spray and firmly press the cereal mixture evenly in the pan. Set aside to cool completely. When cooled, use the parchment paper handles to pull the bars from the pan. Spread the frosting onto the bars leaving a 1/2-1 inch border on all sides.  Starting from the larger side, roll up the bar. Cut off the unattractive, but totally tasty, end pieces. Eat one of them and set the other aside. Cut the remaining roll into 3/4-1 inch slices with a sharp knife. Eat the other end piece. Place the slices on a serving tray or place in an air tight container to store. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

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My big sister had a big birthday early this month.  I told her since it was such a milestone, we should have a big party.  She said she’d rather have a family reunion with relatives who live near enough by that they could come spend a few hours together on a Saturday.  I said ok and started making the plans.  She lives in the lovely town of Bardstown, Kentucky (learn a bit about Bardstown here) which is about 230 miles from Fort Wayne.  We held the reunion north of Fort Wayne in Kendallville at Bixler Park.  It was a wonderful day!  💜💜💜 There were children, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, babies and one great grandmother in attendance.  We ate, talked like it hadn’t been about 40 years since some of us had seen one another and laughed until our sides hurt.  One thing I brought away from the day is that life is too short to be away from each other that long ever again. Love you fam!!

One dessert I made was this pineapple upside down bundt cake.  I’d seen it all over the interwebs (original recipe here) and decided to try it with a couple Good Witch touches.  I started with a pineapple cake mix and ramped up the pineapple flavor by using the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple slices instead of water.  To me, all good PUD cakes have 3 things-pineapple, maraschino cherries and pecans.  The butter and brown sugar glaze that cools on the fruit and nuts is divine.  Baking it in the bundt pan makes for a dramatic and original presentation.  Put on your apron.  It’s cake time!


Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

20 oz. can pineapple slices in juice not syrup (reserve juice)

1 jar maraschino cherries

16-20 pecan halves

1 box pineapple supreme cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup vegetable oil

milk, as needed when added to reserved pineapple juice to equal 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with non-stick pan spray with flour and set aside.  Melt the butter in a small pan.  Pour into the bundt pan and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar.  Set aside.  Place the pecan halves in a small skillet on medium heat and roast for 5-10 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.  Set aside.  Cut pineapple slices in half and drain all the juice into a measuring cup.  Add enough milk to equal one cup.  Set aside.  Arrange the pineapple slices in each of the bundt pan’s grooves with the cut sides up. Place one maraschino cherry and one pecan half (flat side up) between each pineapple slice. Set aside. Pour the cake mix and pudding mix into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the eggs, oil and juice/milk mixture to the bowl. Mix with an electric hand mixer on low for about 30 seconds to combine. Turn speed up to medium high for 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides if the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure there’s no dry mix remaining. Pour carefully over the prepared Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (mine took more like 50-55 minutes but each oven bakes differently) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge and center. Turn the cake over onto the wire rack leaving the pan on so that the glaze can set for 10 minutes. Remove pan and allow to cool completely. Or serve still slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda

 

“Cooked to death” green beans 

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Once you try them you’ll know the name of these green beans is deceiving. They aren’t really cooked to death. More like cooked to life.  My green-eyed Irish guy and vegetables are not friends. He will grudgingly eat green beans, hiding them in the main course. Not these. He ate all of them before he ate his au gratin potatoes and ham.  He even said they were the best he’d ever had and asked why he didn’t try them before. I’m trying to pull him to the green side.  The resistance is great within this one. They’re super simple to make and only 5 ingredients including a secret ingredient. That secret is…bacon grease. Remember I always tell you to save that bacon grease and the brown bits in the bottom of the pan when you’re finished frying bacon. It is a flavor enhancer extraordinaire. Put that brown gold into a closed container and store it in the fridge. You won’t regret it. If you’d like you can also throw a ham hock or ham bone into the beans for flavor. Before serving, pull the meat from the bone and stir in. 

“Cooked to death” green beans

1 lb. fresh green beans

2 Tablespoons bacon grease (with brown bits in it)

2 Tablespoons finely diced onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2-3/4 cup water

Wash the beans thoroughly. Cut off the ends. Cut or snap into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Heat the bacon grease in a medium sized pan on medium heat until hot. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the green beans. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Taste to see if you need to adjust the salt and pepper. Enjoy! 

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda

White Texas Sheet Cake

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I’ve been under the weather this week. I caught the hookie flookie after babysitting my grandson for a few hours Monday afternoon. My daughter calls him a germ monger and for good reason. It’s settled in my chest and I’ve been coughing like crazy. My voice quickly went from mine to Minnie Mouse to nothing. You never know how much you miss things like talking and singing until you can’t do it. I’m sure hoping my voice returns soon.  I warned my green-eyed Irish guy to be prepared for lots of noise when it does. I haven’t done much of anything in the kitchen until today. I tried to atone for the absence of home cooking today by making a biscuit and sausage gravy breakfast, a cheesy chicken and rice casserole for dinner and this lovely cake for dessert. I’ve seen this on several websites for years but hadn’t gotten around to trying it. Boy oh boy am I glad I finally did!  My green-eyed Irish guy said it tastes like the ultimate sugar cookie but in cake form. You know what?  I think he summed it up pretty well. It sounds strange boiling the butter and cream on the stovetop but it works. The cake is light and moist and has an excellent crumb to it. It was still slightly warm when we ate it. Oh my goodness!  It melted in our mouths. Put on your apron and let’s make some cake. 

 

Hello beautiful!  Where have you been all my life?

 White Texas Sheet Cake
Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

2 large eggs

Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour. Set aside. Place all the dry ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside. Place the butter and cream in a medium sized sauce pan. Heat on medium until the mixture boils, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined. Add the sour cream, the almond extract and vanilla bean paste and whisk until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared pan. Rap the pan on the counter 3 or 4 times to remove air bubbles. Bake st 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile make the frosting by placing the butter and milk in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Pour over warm cake and spread evenly over the cake. Allow the frosting to set up before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,

Glenda