Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate Waffles With Caramel Sauce and Ice Cream

Oh yesss...dessert for breakfast. That is my favorite thing in the entire world.  And what could be better than a waffle sundae for breakfast?  I can answer that ----> absolutely nothing! I woke up a few mornings ago craving something sweet, so I browsed through some of my recipes, and when I saw this - I knew it was the one.  Who can resist a chocolate waffle with home made caramel sauce, and ice cream??  Ice cream for breakfast is something I have a little too much(:  I guess you can say my sweet tooth was satisfied after I made these waffles. This recipe was absolutely heavenly.  The caramel sauce especially was the best caramel sauce I've ever had.  I'm gonna keep the recipe handy for future dishes, because it makes an incredible dessert topping and goes perfect with ice cream.  I used Ben and Jerry's American Dream Ice cream because that was what I had on hand (vanilla ice cream with caramel swirl and fudge covered waffle cone pieces...yum!!)  My parents and I gobbled these waffles up.  And my mom declared it the best thing she'd tasted in a long time.  I didn't disagree.

For the Caramel Sauce:

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Waffles:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
Vanilla (or your choice of) ice cream, for serving
Chocolate shavings, for decoration


Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes.

Combine the melted butter and cocoa powder and stir until well combined. Add the sugar and egg yolk and beat well.

Sift together all the dry ingredients and add to the chocolate mixture alternately with the milk. Beat the egg white until stiff. Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Heat a waffle iron and cook the mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately with the Caramel Sauce, ice cream, nuts (optional) and shavings of chocolate.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mexican Black Beans

Mmmm...I love beans.  And I loveeee Mexican food!  I never would have thought one dressed up can of black beans could taste so good.  This recipe transforms a boring can of beans into a fancy, flavorful, perfect side dish.  I served these with a beef taco salad, and it made the most amazing, Mexican meal.  Boiling the beans in the liquid from the can, and adding all the other spices makes these beans incredibly flavorful.  And the addition of lime juice really brings all the flavors together.  These beans would taste awesome in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or just straight up.  They're also the best dip when you add cheese, avocado, and salsa.

Yield: about 4 servings


  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • salt to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine beans, onion, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Season with cilantro, cayenne, and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the juice of 1 lime, and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Serve.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Philly Cheese Steaks

Jersey Mikes's Philly Cheese Steak:

And mine:

Philadelphia cheesetake

so cheesy...

Have you ever had Jersey Mikes's legendary Philly Cheese Steak??  If you haven't, then you have no idea what you're missing.  That sandwich (ordered with just steak and cheese, and some mayo if you like mayo...I don't like it with the added peppers and mushrooms) is definitely one my top 3 best sandwiches I've ever had (I can't decide if it's first, 2nd, or 3rd compared to my triple decker flutternutter found here and my classic flutternutter found here).  I received an email from America's Test Kitchen with some recipes, and this Philly Cheese Steak recipe was one of them.  I'd been wanting to make this amazing sandwich ever since my first bite into Jersey Mikes's four years ago.  Of course, there was no doubt in my mind that the America's Test Kitchen one wouldn't be incredible, since they test it so many times.  And I was right....this recipe is the bomb.  It tastes so much like the philly cheese steak at Jersey Mikes!  They only difference is the meat.  The Jersey Mikes meat is a little more tender, probably because it's marinated much longer.  This recipe has thicker cuts of meat, but it's super juicy and every bite is filled with the cheesy goodness from the white american cheese - my favorite cheese of all time.  A Philly Cheese Steak has to have white american cheese for it to be me.  I also wrapped up a left over sandwich and stuck it in the fridge to have for lunch cold the next day, and it was sooo tasty.  I know...a philly cheese steak cold???  Yeah.  It's just that good.


If skirt steak is unavailable, substitute sirloin steak tips (also called flap meat). Top these sandwiches with chopped pickled hot peppers, sautéed onions or bell peppers, sweet relish, or hot sauce.


  • 2pounds skirt steak , trimmed and sliced with grain into 3-inch-wide strips
  • 4(8-inch) Italian sub rolls , split lengthwise
  • 2tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/8teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8slices white American cheese (8 ounces)


  1. 1. Place steak pieces on large plate or baking sheet and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread split rolls on baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. 3. Using sharp knife, shave steak pieces as thinly as possible against grain. Mound meat on cutting board and chop coarsely with knife 10 to 20 times.
  4. 4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of meat in even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on 1 side, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir and continue to cook until meat is no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer meat to colander set in large bowl. Wipe out skillet with paper towel. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sliced meat.
  5. 5. Return now-empty skillet to medium heat. Drain excess moisture from meat. Return meat to skillet (discard any liquid in bowl) and add salt and pepper. Heat, stirring constantly, until meat is warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle with Parmesan, and shingle slices of American cheese over meat. Allow cheeses to melt, about 2 minutes. Using heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, fold melted cheese into meat thoroughly. Divide mixture evenly among toasted rolls. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Perfect Waffle Recipe

Waffles are a wonderful thing.  And I've been looking for the perfect waffles recipe for a long, long, long time. of yesterday morning...I finally found it.  These waffles are absolutely perfect. The difference between this recipe and every other boring, non-crispy waffle recipe is beating the egg whites and adding lemon zest.  The beating of the egg whites makes the waffles wonderfully crispy, and the lemon zest ties all the flavors together and gives the result an amazing taste.  Crispy on the outside, yet soft and fluffy on the inside, with a delicious flavor even plain. But who eats waffles plain?  These taste so amazing any way you dress them up.  I had sections of mine with a little peanut butter and maple syrup, strawberries and whipped cream and maple syrup, and the magnificent maple butter.  If you've never had maple butter, you have to try it!  It's absolutely phenomenal in oatmeal, on pancakes, waffles, or toast, and I also recently tried it in a sweet potato and it was sooo incredible.  My dad and I tasted it at a food festival downtown, and we were totally blown away and bought it instantly.  You can check it out here.  Also, I froze the leftover waffles I had and popped them in the toaster a few days later and they still tasted sooo delicious!  The lemon zest was a little more pronounced, giving them an amazing flavor, and they were perfectly crispy.

Yield: about 5 Belgian waffles.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat a waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowl; set aside. Beat egg whites until foamy in a separate large glass or metal mixing bowl (not until stiff peaks form...but right before that). Whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla extract together in a third bowl; whisk in the milk. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Fold in the melted butter and then the beaten egg whites until just incorporated.
  3. Cook the waffles according to manufacturer's instructions until golden brown.  Top with desired toppings and serve immediately. 

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Do those pictures look yummy or what?  Well, the pictures are nothing compared to the taste of this heavenly banana cake.  My friend and I made this a few days ago for a party at school, and it turned out fabulous!  A ton of people tried it, and everyone was "mmmm"ing like crazy and telling me how delicious it was.  I had never made banana cake before - just banana bread - but I'm definitely gonna make it again soon.  This cake was unique because it was cooked at a very low temperature of 275 degrees (as opposed to the usual 350) and then after it was cooked, it was immediately put into --- get this --- the freezer.  Weird, right?? The reason for this is so that the cake cooks evenly in the oven, with a soft outer crust and tender interior. Also, to prevent it from cooking any more when you pull it out, it's put directly into the freezer...making the result extremely soft, fluffy, and incredibly moist.  Putting it in the freezer also allowed it to be frosted and ready to be eaten in no time;  My friend and I were eating our first slice just two hours after stepping into the kitchen. And it looked absolutely beautiful with the cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of chopped nuts!  Perfect for any occasion.  I can't wait to make more banana cakes in the future.  With this perfect cake base, the flavors you could combine with it are endless...chocolate chip, peanut butter, nutella, peanut butter and nutella, chocolate marble, peanut butter chip, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chip, caramel/praline, strawberry, coconut...I could go on forever.  Try this won't be disappointed.


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/8 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place directly into freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.
  4. For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tres Leches Cake

Premium Tres Leches Cake

If you've never had Tres Leches Cake before, you HAVE to try it!  And if you've never even heard of it before, it's a common Mexican dessert and it's literally made with what the title is: three types of milk.  And of course, the three types of milk it uses are the sweet, fatty types.  The cake is chilled and soaks up all those delicious milks and creates a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth, refreshing dessert like no other. I had it for the first time at a Cuban restaurant and I fell in love with it.   I made it for a Spanish presentation a few days ago and everyone wanted the recipe.  I definitely want to make this for a party/celebration/holiday sometime soon because it's my new favorite cake.  I did use a box..which I usually never do because I'm a "scratch is best" girl, but since I had to make it for school and I had never made it before, I really didn't want to mess up.  It is semi-home made because of all the things you add to it, though(:

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 can (15 oz)sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 cup evaporated milk or whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 tub of Cool Whip

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease and flour or spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
3. Bake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Poke top of hot cake every 1/2 inch with long-tined fork, wiping fork occasionally to reduce sticking.
4. In large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, whole milk and whipping cream. Carefully pour evenly over top of cake. Cover; refrigerate about 1 hour or until mixture is absorbed into cake. Top with desired amount of Cool Whip. Store covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quickest and Tastiest Chicken Alfredo

I can't believe how easy this was!!  Wanna know the secret ingredient? Cream cheese.  Whoever first thought of using this magnificent ingredient in Alfredo Sauce was pure genius. You can't tell it's in there at all!  The result is just perfect.  Not to mention it's super creamy and comforting.  It's everything you love about the perfect Alfredo dish.  I don't usually like the Alfredo Sauce you buy in the jar, but I like what most restaurants have and I absolutely LOVE this!! The next time I make this, I'm adding chopped asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms.  If you'd like to make this even richer (you totally don't need to, but some people think the richer the better), you can substitute cream in place of the milk.  

Yield: about 6 servings

1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/3 cups milk
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch of nutmeg
salt to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese, garlic, and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Set heat to the lowest setting, and place sauce over that when it reaches the low temperature to stay warm while you make the chicken.  Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long.  
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook chicken until it's no longer pink in the center and juices run clear.  Drain excess fat.  
  3. Stir chicken into prepared sauce.  Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cake Loaf


Ohmygoodness this is my new favorite bread...cake...loaf...whatever you wanna call it!  It's just my favorite thing ever.  It tastes like a mix between a coffee cake and a pound cake.  I absolutely LOVED it with coffee for breakfast! It's even better than Starbucks's iced, lemon pound cake! And that's one of my favorite things at Starbucks. The lemon and blueberry flavors in this loaf compliment each other so well, making the it a perfect spring dish.  It's so incredibly moist, and tastes amazingly fresh even up to the third day (it barely lasted that long in my house, though).  Don't use any more blueberries than the recipe states because it's the perfect amount as is.  Try this warm from the oven with whipped cream, and also when it's cooled. For some very strange reason, I thought it tasted best the third day, when I had wrapped a slice in a plastic bag.  Wrapping it made it even more incredibly moist and the texture was just phenomenal.  If I made it again, I would still have a slice warm with whipped cream because I loved that, but I would wrap the rest of the loaf when it's slightly warm and let it sit, wrapped overnight.  This would assure a melt-in-your-mouth, soft, moist, perfect texture and perfect, rich taste.  

Yield: 1 loaf (about 12 servings)


  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup powdered


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, 1 cup sugar, juice and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk. Fold in lemon zest and blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Combine lemon juice and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl, and pour over warm loaf.   Cool bread in pan for at least 10 minutes before serving.  If you choose to have some when room temperature the next day, then when the loaf is just slightly warm, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let sit overnight.