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Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Recipe: Chocolate Cream Extreme Bundt Cake

This cake screams delicious. The paring of a chocolate pudding cake with a cream cheese and whipped cream blend filling, all topped with a milk chocolate icing makes this the perfect Bundt cake for the upcoming holidays.



A slice of Heaven
Ingredients (Cake)
1 box Pillsbury chocolate cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
1 small box Jello brand chocolate instant pie filling
1 can Pillsbury milk chocolate frosting
2 Tbl water
 Filling
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 8 ounce Philadelphia cream cheese
1 8 ounce Kraft Cool Whip


Directions
Prepare cake according to directions. Mix in package of chocolate instant pudding and mix well. Batter will be stiff, add 2 tablespoons of water and finish mixing.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake according to directions.
While cake is baking prepare filling.
Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla with mixer until smooth and fluffy. Fold in Cool whip until well blended. Set aside.
When cake is done, remove from oven and place on wire rack. Take a knife and run it along the outside of the cake to prevent sticking.
Invert cake onto a plate and cool completely.
Using a sharp knife, slice cake evenly from side to side. Gently separate the top half of the cake from the bottom half and set aside.
Spread filling evenly on bottom half of cake and gently replace top half.
Completely frost entire cake with milk chocolate frosting.
Now enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Driscoll's Strawberry Shortcake Skillet Cobbler

Dorie  Greenspa
Photo by Vicki Arsenault/Recipe and berries courtesy of Driscoll's.
n has a story to tell.
It’s a "berry" sweet story of strawberry shortcake. The ‘culinary guru’ and award winning cookbook author, together with Driscoll’s offers everything you ever wanted to know about shortcake but were afraid to bake!
For over 100 years, Driscoll’s farm fresh strawberries have been a part of some variety of a shortcake recipe. Greenspan, who says she adores baking for the love of creating and the joy of sharing, serves up shortcake in a variety of desserts.
Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan
Photo courtesy of Driscoll
One recipe that really caught my eye was the Strawberry Shortcake Skillet Cobbler. I’ve had many varieties of shortcake, but never one that incorporated corn meal into the batter. My interest was peaked, and what better day to give it a try than National Strawberry Shortcake Day!
I was won over with this recipe. I made a slight change by adding two pints of Driscoll’s fresh red raspberries (my love of raspberries!) and the next time I may even add a pint of fresh blueberries.
This is a wonderful summer time recipe. It’s not too sweet and the corn meal shortcake goes well with the juiciness of the berries. Top it off with a dollop of sweet whipped cream and you’ll be back for seconds.
Check out my step-by-step photo gallery of this recipe here.



INGREDIENTS
Cobbler
·       2 packages (16 ounces each) Driscoll's Strawberries, hulled and sliced
·       3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
·       2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       1 tablespoon cornstarch
·       1 cup all-purpose flour
·       1 cup cornmeal
·       2 tablespoons baking powder
·       6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Photo by Vicki Arsenault
·       Pinch salt
·       1 large egg
·       1/2 cup milk
Whipped Cream
·       1 cup heavy whipping cream
·       1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
DIRECTIONS
1.Combine strawberries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Let sit 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add butter and salt and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter is incorporated. Whisk egg and milk together in a small bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture.

Scrape strawberries and juices into prepared skillet. Drop batter by the spoonful on top of strawberries.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the shortcake cobbler is golden brown. Remove pan from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Use a hand mixer to beat cream and confectioners' sugar until thickened. Spoon cobbler into serving dishes and top with sweetened whipped cream. 
For more Strawberry Shortcake recipes, click here!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pure Michigan: Hudsonville Double Berry Pie Ice Cream Cake

Hudsonville Double Berry Pie Ice Cream
Summer time. Warm weather, ice cream, dreamy desserts and Mackinac Island. Hudsonville Ice Cream, Michigan’s largest manufacturers of branded ice cream offers a full line of ice cream flavors. From their rich and creamy Vanilla and Chocolate Cravings flavors to their specialty and Limited Time only line.


They even have a specialty flavor for the sports fan - filled will chocolate covered baseball pretzels and smooth gooey fudge - Tiger Traxx made me a fan! Or how about taking a vacation without leaving the house with Grand Traverse Bay Cherry Fudge. A creamy amaretto ice cream, loaded with chunks of cherries and fudge.
A new addition to their specialty line this summer is Grand Hotel Pecan Ball.
Partnering with the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for the Grand Opening of Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, Hudsonville has replicated the deliciousness of the hotel’s famous pecan ball dessert. Starting with their very own rich Vanilla ice cream and adding genuine Grand Hotel fudge and pecan pieces - this specialty ice cream is served in the Grand Hotel’s dining room and five restaurants located on Mackinac Island - and of course – Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor.
My favorite has to be the Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie. Hudsonville's original creamy Vanilla loaded with swirls of blueberries and strawberries and filled with real pieces of pie crust.
And because it is my favorite, I turned it into a dessert that's perfect for a summer treat or that special birthday celebration.
Double Berry Pie Ice Cream Cake

Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie Ice Cream Cake
Ingredients
1 carton Hudsonville Double Berry Pie ice cream
1 box strawberry flavored cake mix
1 container Cool Whip frosting
1 pint fresh Driscoll's raspberries
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil

Directions
Prepare two or three 9 inch round cake pans by spraying bottom and sides with cooking spray.
In medium size bowl, prepare cake mix according to directions on box. Bake and completely cool cake layers.
While cake layers are cooling, empty carton of Double Berry Pie Ice Cream into large bowl and set aside to soften (do not let the ice cream melt).
Wrap cake layers individually in plastic wrap and place in freezer until frozen (about an hour). Once frozen, remove one cake layer from freezer and place on a cake plate. Ice cream should be soft but not melted. Gently stir and mix ice cream and spread onto first cake layer.
(Work fast, ice cream will start melting) Form, fill and smooth until you have a large layer of ice cream. Remove second cake layer from freezer and place on layer of ice cream. (If using three layers, divide ice cream between layers). Immediately put back in freezer and allow to refreeze. Once refrozen, remove from freezer along with the Cool whip frosting and completely frost top and sides using entire carton. Decorate with Driscoll's raspberries and return to freezer.



To serve
Cut desired number of slices and place on serving plates,  returning unused cake to freezer. Allow slices to thaw about 5 to 7 minutes before serving.

Note: Your freezer should be set very cold so that the ice cream begins refreezing immediately.
Enjoy!






Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blueberry-Orange Muffins: Florida Orange Juice isn't just your breakfast beverage

Blueberry-Orange Muffin/Photo by Vicki Arsenault
FLORIDA 100 percent orange juice offers many health benefits. With only 110 calories in an 8-ounce glass, it's sodium-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol-free and offers even more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
ADDING 100 percent orange juice to your daily diet can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, help with weight management and may help support the immune system.
USING 100 percent orange juice in your favorite recipe is just another way of getting your daily intake of nutrients and vitamin C. Here's a recipe that your entire family can enjoy. The orange juice and blueberries in this recipe complement each other well. Each and every bite of this muffin will have you thinking Florida. And with all the natural sweetness of the orange juice and the plump blueberries bursting with flavor, your taste buds are in for a delectable experience.
TRY one for breakfast with a glass of Florida orange juice, milk or your favorite hot beverage and start your day out right. To view pictures and step-by-step directions, view photo slide show here.
Photo by Vicki Arsenault
Blueberry-Orange Muffins
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Adding the Florida OJ/Photo by Vicki Arsenault
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Florida orange juice
2 eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Cupcake liners


Preparation
Preheat oven to 375° F.  In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In second mixing bowl, whisk together orange juice, eggs and melted butter. Add the orange juice mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners; fill two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins to wire rack to cool.
Variation

I used 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 teaspoon of baking powder in place of eggs. I love bananas and need the potassium, so I mashed a small banana and added it to my ingredients.
Recipe from Floridajuice.com.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Triple Berry White Chocolate Smoothie starts with Driscoll's farm fresh berries

Photo/Recipe by Vicki Arsenault
I was so excited on Christmas to find a brand new Ninja blender under the tree! I could hardly wait to try out all my favorite smoothies.

When it comes to smoothies, most have a common ingredient. Fruit. And for me - fruit is a must to every great smoothie. Fresh, red ripe, sweet strawberries are the start of all my favorites. But whether I’m using just strawberries or a variety of berries, one name that is on almost all the berries in my refrigerator is Driscoll’s

Most people probably don’t think smoothies when planning meals or snacks. But if you want to get your family on board with getting more fruits and vegetables into their day - you may want to rethink the smoothie.

A recent survey sponsored by Driscoll’s - a family owned business for over a 100 years - revealed 97 percent of those surveyed, indulge in between-meal nibbling. Three fourths of those say they should be making healthier snack choices. People who snack between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. reach for fruit, according to the survey.


Driscoll’s works with independent farmers to produce the highest quality, premium berries in the world. Whether you reach for a hand full of fresh fruit for that afternoon pick-me-up or get your healthy snack in a creamy, fresh and fruity smoothie - be sure to hit the grocery aisle and pick up a variety of fresh wholesome Driscoll berries. 

You'll get all these nutrients from Driscoll's Berry Farm fresh berries. And if you want to add even more nutrition don’t be afraid to throw in a little protein powder or flax seed.


Strawberries: Vitamin C; potassium; fiber; iron; protein
Raspberries: Fiber; vitamin C; iron; calcium; protein,
Blueberries: Antioxidant protections; vitamin C, A; iron
What’s not to love!


Triple Berry White Chocolate Smoothie


INGREDIENTS
2 cups Driscoll's strawberries
Photo by Vicki Arsenault
8-oz package Driscoll's red raspberries
1 cup Driscoll's blueberries
2 cups Vanilla Almond milk
1 cup Nestle White Chocolate chips


DIRECTIONS
Rinse and cut strawberries into quarters - enough strawberries to make 2 cups. If using medium or small berries only cut into halves. Rinse and drain the raspberries and blueberries. Pat dry and place berries (in separate containers) into freezer. Berries should be completely froze, a couple hours should be fine. To save time, berries can be prepared the day before and frozen for future use. You should remove the berries from the freezer about a half hour before using so that the berries are not sticking together. Use can use a knife to gently separate large clumps.

Measure out 1 cup of the white chocolate chips (do not freeze) and 2 cups of cold Vanilla Almond milk.

Using a high powered blender (as I stated above, I love the Ninja - works fantastic for a very well blended Smoothie) pour 1 cup of the Vanilla Almond milk and white chocolate chips in blender. Add half of each container of berries and blend until you have small chunks. Add remaining Vanilla Almond milk and berries and blend until completely smooth. During the final blending process, you may want to stop about halfway and using a spatula, push down any large chunks of berries.
Pour Smoothie into serving glasses, garnish and serve. For this recipe I garnished with red raspberries and 2 tablespoons of melted white chocolate chips drizzled over the top.


Thinking about Valentine’s Day - this recipe, provided by Driscoll’s is straight from the “Heart”.
In just 20 minutes you can treat your “Sweetie” to the perfect pair for Valentine’s Day - fruit and chocolate!


Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Sprinkles


Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Sprinkles.
Photo/Recipe courtesy of Driscoll.
INGREDIENTS
1 package (16 ounces) Driscoll's Long Stem Strawberries, if available
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (chips, chunks or chopped bar chocolate)
1 package (2.5 ounces) Sprinkles


DIRECTIONS
Rinse and dry the strawberries. Make sure you dry them well with a soft cloth. You do not want water on the berries when you dip them in chocolate.
Melting the Chocolate
Melting chocolate is a delicate but simple task that requires constant attention. Chocolate can burn quite easily, so it's important to melt at a low temperature, be patient and follow the right steps to ensure a bowl of smooth melted chocolate for dipping.
There are two trusted methods for melting chocolate: stovetop and microwave. The method you choose depends on your preference and comfort level, but you'll end up with the same result.
Stovetop
To melt chocolate on the stovetop, place chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. If you do not have a double boiler, place a glass or metal bowl of chocolate over a pot of barely simmering water. The gentle steam from the hot water will slowly melt the chocolate while you stir constantly to help the chocolate melt evenly. Don't let any water from the pot get into the chocolate as the water will cause it to clump and "seize", not melting properly.
Microwave
To melt regular chocolate in the microwave, place chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate at medium (50%) power for 1 minute then stir and continue to microwave at medium (50%)power in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. The total time will depend on how much chocolate you are melting but should only be a couple minutes.
Dipping the Berries
Line a baking sheet with wax paper, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place sprinkles in a shallow bowl or small plate right beside the baking sheet.
Hold berries by their stem or calyx (green leaves) and dip in bowl of melted chocolate, swirling until coated as much as you like. Gently shake off excess chocolate. Immediately dip chocolate covered berry in sprinkles. Place berry on prepared baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining berries.
Place baking sheet of chocolate-covered berries in refrigerator to set for about 15 to 30 minutes. If leaving berries in refrigerator longer than 1 hour, condensation may occur.
Chocolate-covered berries are best served the day they are made. Chocolate will hold up at room temperature for about 2 hours, depending on the temperature where they are being served. If you need to store overnight, do so in the refrigerator and let berries sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.

Thank you to Driscoll's for providing the berries for my recipe.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Recipes: Sweet Lorraine's Mac 'n Cheez! and Hudsonville Creamy Cappuccino Nacho

Photo courtesy of Hudsonville
Creamery & Ice Cream Company

I love the holidays and all the great food and recipes that come with it.
I'm a big fan of trying new desserts. And although ice cream on a cold day may not sound all that warming, you're in for a surprise when you try Chef Ray's Hudsonville Creamy Cappuccino Dessert Nacho. A perfect ending to any meal. And if you haven't had the privilege of trying any of Sweet Lorraine's Mac 'n Cheez! I have a couple simple, warm and delicious recipes to share with you.
Start your day with a Breakfast Mac 'n Cheez! and end it with a Winter White Pasta Dessert. They both say Cheez! and will leave your family saying Pleaze!

Chef Ray’s Creamy Cappuccino Dessert Nachos

Here is what you’ll need:
4 Flour Tortillas
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
3 scoops of Hudsonville® Creamy Cappuccino Ice Cream
4-5 tbsp. of Hot Fudge Topping 
Whipped Cream
2-3 Strawberries, diced

Preheat your oven to 400F
Cut your tortillas into triangles, place them on a lightly oiled cookie tray and lightly spray the tops of the tortillas as well. (Canola oil spray is recommended)
Combine the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the oiled tortilla triangles. Flip them over and repeat on the other side.
Bake for about 5 minutes on each side or until crispy.
Remove and let cool
Arrange on a large plate, top it with scoops of Hudsonville® Creamy Cappuccino Ice Cream, drizzle with hot fudge, whipped cream, and diced strawberries.

Breakfast All day Mac n' Cheez!
Photo courtesy of Sweet Lorraine's
Breakfast All day Mac n' cheez!
Yield 4 servings
16 oz. cooked pasta
4 oz. crumbled or sliced cooked sausage (your choice)
1/2 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup sweet onions diced
1/2 cup bell peppers diced
2 oz. shredded cheese your choice
2 organic or all natural eggs, lightly beaten with 1/4 cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste



Heat large non-stick saute pan with canola oil until hot. Add onions and pepper and cook until softened. Add sausage and pasta and heat over med-low heat. Lightly whip in egg mixture and quickly toss with noodles until eggs start to set add cheese and gently toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and top with toasted bread crumbs.



Winter White Dessert Pasta
Winter White Dessert Pasta
Photo courtesy of Sweet Lorraine's
Makes approximately 4 servings
1 cup cooked custard (like birds eye)
Whip in the following:
1/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add
6 oz. cooked pasta
1/3 cup grated white chocolate
portion into custard ramekins, sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp. sugar and place under broiler until bubbling.

Top with fresh berries

Recipes and photos all courtesy of Hudsonville Creamery Ice Cream Company and Sweet Lorraine's.