Hot Cocoa Bundt

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This recipe caught my eye while I was searching for a good sticky bun recipe. (I still haven't found the right sticky bun recipe so if you have any suggestions I would really appreciate it.) Think of a cinnamon roll and then replace all the cinnamon and frosting with chocolate and that is what you have in this recipe. It smells divine while it is baking, your home will be filled with smells of hot chocolate and warm bread just in time for the cold season. It is best served warm and needs to be covered well to keep leftovers from going stale; but you may not have any leftovers because it is so delicious. It does not cut well because it is so moist, so don't try to slice it like a cake with a knife; it pulls apart like monkey bread! Each little bundle has a chocolate surprise in the center.

Serves: 10 servings
Start to Finish: 1 hour to prep and cook + 1 hour for rolls to rise
Recipe By: Taste of Home Magazine, Rhodes Rolls


24 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold (the more they warm up the stickier they are to handle)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (the milk chocolate are good if you like it really rich)
1/2 cup hot cocoa mix
1/4 cup pecans
2/3 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar


1. Cut rolls in half.
2. Wrap each half around 1 teaspoon chocolate chips and completely enclose (approximately 10 chocolate chips per bundle).
3. Dip each bundle in cocoa mix until well coated.
4. Combine pecans and toffee bits.
5. Alternately place bundles and toffee bit mixture in a large bundt pan, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Sprinkle any remaining cocoa mix over rolls.
7. Combine butter and brown sugar in a small microwave safe bowl.
8. Microwave 30 seconds.
9. Stir until completely combined and pour over rolls.
10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until almost to the top of the pan (approximately 1 hour)
11. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.
12. Cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
13. Invert immediately onto serving platter (Be Careful! The topping is very hot and runny still and will likely spill all over the place when you invert the pan. You could wait a few minutes for it to harden up).


Friday, September 26, 2008

Favorite foods: Enchiladas, BBQ chicken and rice, and anything from Cafe Rio or Tito's Tacos.
Favorite sweets: Mike does not really like sweets (I know it sounds crazy but there are people in this world who can walk away from sweets, I am not one of them... but Mike is.) If you forced him to choose it would be Reese Sticks or apple pie. Mike makes the best apple pies I have ever tasted.
Favorite drinks: Pina Colada and Cherry Limeade.

Amber (Me)
Favorite foods: Stroganoff, nectarines, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy.
Favorite sweets: It is a toss up between a Snicker's bar and a icecream cone. I love when the bottom of the cone become soggy with icecream, it is my favorite part.
Favorite drinks: Voss water and fruit juice. Although I like all cold, crisp water; Voss is my favorite. Some of you may be wondering how one water could be better than others but if you have ever tried Voss you can agree there is something different about it.

Favorite foods: Peanut butter, yogurt, and juicy fruits.
Favorite sweets: We have tried to keep Van away from sweets as much as possible but there are times when we cannot resists his cherub smile and begging eyes. Icecream seems to be his biggest weakness.
Favorite drinks: Milk. Van will agitate with excitement anytime he sees milk.

The Unnamed One
No, he has not been born yet. But these are the foods I crave this pregnancy :)
Favorites: Fruit juice, Cocoa Puffs cereal, and salt & vinegar chips.

Favorite foods are wonderful. They may change over the course of our lives but that just means we have experienced more tastes. The thought should make our mouths water. The smell should bring back happy memories. And the taste should make us smile and sigh with pleasure. I believe the right foods can create a sense of security, give tradition to holidays, and define a culture. Here is a fun test: See how well you know your spouse, family, or friends by guessing their favorite foods. You will be surprised at what you learn (most people have a story behind their favorites, it is a great way to get them talking). I only missed one of Mike's favorites... Yeah, me!

Seasoned Fan Potatoes

Monday, September 22, 2008

I hate to admit it but potatoes are often overlooked in my house. They are inexpensive, store well, and make a filling side dish so I am not sure why I have such a hard time cooking them. It is like I have a strange fear I am going to mess them up. But, for the most part, it is difficult to make a mistake with potatoes. When I saw a picture of this recipe I knew I wanted to try it. The potatoes look so pretty and delicious. They were full of salty-buttery flavor and made a lovely presentation.

Serves: 4 potatoes
Start to Finish: 1 hour bake time + 30 min prep time
Recipe By: Tressa Surdick


4 medium baking potatoes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP butter, melted
1/4 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP minced fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley flakes


1. With a sharp knife, slice potatoes thinly but not all the way through, leaving slices attached at the bottom. (See picture below for a helpful idea.)
2. Fan potatoes slightly.
3. Place in an ungreased 9 in x 13 in baking dish.
4. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt.
5. Drizzle with butter. Surprisingly enough, this step took me the most time. It was difficult for me to get the butter to drizzle into the slices. The more you fan out the slices the easier this will be. And I used more butter than it called for to try and get even coverage.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 50 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with cheeses and parsley; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here is another fantastic option for a make-ahead dinner. This meal can be prepared early in the day or even the night before, and then assembled for a quick dinner. I am sure everyone has tried this salad in some version or another. I particularly like this recipe because I grew up eating it at all the ward potlucks. Kim Fortuna would bring her famous salad every time there was a ward dinner or picnic. She got many requests for the recipe and the bowl was always empty by the time the event was over. It is tried and true.

Serves: 5 Servings
Start to Finish: Prep time: 30 minutes/Refrigeration time: 3+ hours
Recipe By: Kim Fortuna


1 head of cabbage, chopped (Personally, I don't like the rubbery texture of cabbage so I use romaine lettuce as a substitute)
Sugar snap peas, halved
1 pkg. chicken flavored Ramen Noodles, broken up (seasoning packet will be added to sauce)
Sliced almonds
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (You can use canned chicken which is already cooked and shredded, it will cut down the number of steps in the recipe but you lose some flavor)
2-3 green onions, chopped
2 tsp. sesame seeds
3 TBSP rice vinegar
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp pepper
Seasoning packet from Ramen Noodles


1. Cut chicken breasts into chunks for quick cooking.
2. Over medium heat, cook chicken until juices run clear.
3. Remove from heat allow time for chicken to cool so it can be safely handled.
4. Shred chicken into small pieces using a fork and knife.
5. Chop cabbage, chop chives, and half sugar snap peas.
6. In a Tupperware container combine: sesame seeds, rice vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper, seasoning packet from Ramen Noodles, green onions, and shredded chicken.
7. In a separate Tupperware container combine cabbage and sugar snap peas.
8. Place both Tupperware containers in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
9. To serve toss salad, dressing, broken up Ramen Noodles, and almonds.

Tropical Pork Chops

Monday, September 15, 2008

This recipe has a similar taste to Sweet and Sour Pork, except you don't fry the pork in a crispy batter first so I like to think it is a little healthier for you. I enjoy the way the flavors blend, like the name of the dish implies, it is very tropical. I tend to cut up the pork for this recipe into bite-sized pieces (as you can see from the pictures below). I think it makes the meat appear to go further; but it is meant to be presented as a pork chop with sauce.

Serves: 4
Start to Finish: 1 hour
Recipe By: Jeanette Babineau


1/3 cup ketchup
2 TBSP prepared mustard
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp onion salt
Dash cayenne pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits (tidbits work a little better but you can also use rings or chunks)
Hot cooked rice


1. In a saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients.
2. Cover and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat; set aside.
4. Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
5. In a skillet, cook pork, onion and garlic in oil until meat is browned.
6. Add water and reserved sauce.
7. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink, adding more water if needed. I like to add the juice from the pineapple tidbits instead.
8. Stir in pineapple and heat through.
9. Serve over rice.

Cooking with Dad

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Every so often, Michael will make me dinner. It is a wonderful treat! I can just sit back and relax, before you know it the house will be filled with delicious smells of cooking. Have you ever noticed that the food always taste better when you don't have to make it? Here are a few cute pictures of Van cooking with his dad. He is inspecting the zucchini and onion with his fingers and eating all the grated cheese.

Kitchen Gadget: Part II

Friday, September 12, 2008

My next kitchen gadget highlight is a spoon holder thingy. Okay, the real name is utensil pot clip. It is really handy. Instead of setting your spoons down on the stove when you have finished stirring your pot, you can set them in this nifty doohickey and they won't make a mess on your counter top or stove.

Made by Trudeau, the clip is a stainless steel clamp that fits most saucepans. It attaches to the side of a pot and holds your spoon at the ready. The silicone-coated hook is heat resistant and dishwasher-safe. They come in a WIDE variety of colors. You can buy one just about everywhere that sells kitchen items; they cost approx. $6.50

Wow, that really sounded like a commercial ... I should go into advertising ... hee hee. I don't get anything when I post stuff like this, I just do it because I think it's fun and other people may like to know what is out there.

Red Pepper Soup

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This soup has a bit of a kick to it and great depth in the flavor. It is a perfect fall soup to put you in the mood for brisk air, fires, and the leaves changing colors. The bacon adds a nice smoky flavor that will warm you right up inside. I make lots of soups in the fall (you will definitely see more as the season draws near) and I am always looking for another fool-proof recipe to add to the mix. This soup is not too spicy but if you don't like hot at all just eliminate the cayenne pepper and it should be just right for you.

Start to Finish:
Recipe by: Bessie Hulett


2 bacon strips
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/8 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne pepper the more you add the hotter it gets, you can eliminate it all together
1 cup chicken broth, divided
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt
chives and additional chopped red pepper optional garnish


1. In a deep skillet, cook bacon until crisp
2. Remove bacon to a paper towel to drain
3. To the pan drippings, add red pepper, garlic, and onion. Saute until tender, about 4 min
4. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, and cayenne pepper until well blended
5. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, reduce heat and simmer for 5 min
6. Remove from heat and cool for 10 min
7. Puree mixture in a blender and set aside
8. In your skillet melt butter over medium heat
9. Stir in flour, cook and stir for 2 min
10. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat
11. Cook and stir for 2 min
12. Reduce heat to low and gradually stir in whipping cream and salt
13. Add puree and heat through
14. Crumble bacon over the top of the soup
15. Optional: Garnish with chives and red pepper if desired

Quick-Stuff Pork Chops

Monday, September 8, 2008

Van is getting old enough were he can start "helping" me as I cook dinner. He does little tasks such as inspect the vegetables with his fingers and lick things. It is very cute, although sometimes not helpful at all. But I can appreciate that he wants to be doing whatever I am doing, so I try to include him as much as possible. I can't wait until he is old enough to really participate. I think cooking with your kids can be really fun. And if making dinner is something I have to do anyways I might as well be doing it with them. With only seven steps, this dinner is really simple. But it also looks nice and tastes good. The way the recipe is right now it is only meant serve two people (and that is all it serves) but it can easily be increased to serve more.

Serves: 2
Start to Finish: 20 min
Recipe By: Katie Koziolek


1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp rubbed sage
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 boneless pork loin chops (3/4 inch thick)
1 TBSP butter or margarine
4 TBSP chopped celery
4 TBSP chopped onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup herb-seasoned stuffing


1. Combine thyme, sage, salt, and pepper
2. Sprinkle on both sides of pork chops
3. In a skillet, cook chops in butter for about 5-6 min on each side or until juices run clear
4. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
5. In the pan drippings, saute celery, onion and carrot over medium heat until tender
6. Stir in broth and stuffing; heat through
7. Spoon over chops; serve immediately.