Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemon Tart

(The picture doesn't do this justice)
Submitted by Melanie

I will be honest I have NEVER made a lemon dessert before. I am trying to branch out and try new things. I was very happy that I did. Anyways we were having people over for Easter and I wanted to WOW them. I think this did the trick. The fresh lemon flavor of the tart and the fresh whipped cream blended very well together. Our guests really enjoyed the tart. Try it and I think you will to.


1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Lemon Filling:
5 ounces (140 grams) cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer lemon skin)

1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (contains 35-40% butterfat)
2 tablespoons (20 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar


Shortbread Crust: Butter or lightly spray with a nonstick vegetable cooking spray, an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.

In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Place the pastry in the prepared tart pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) Pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.) Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
When the pastry is completely chilled, place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees (177 degrees C).

Lemon Filling: In a food processor or electric mixer, place the cream cheese and process until smooth. Add sugar and process until incorporated. Add the eggs and process until thoroughly combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and process until well blended and smooth. Pour filling into pre baked tart shell and bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes or until filling is set. Transfer tart to a wire rack to cool and then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.
Always remove the zest first before halving and squeezing the lemon. 
Use a fine strainer to remove the seeds and pulp from the juice.

Topping: Put your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Then beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Can just spread the whipped cream over the filling or transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with star tip (#1M), and pipe stars over the entire surface of the tart. Refrigerate until serving time.

Serves 6 - 8 people.

Source: www.joyofbaking.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicken Lettuce Cups

This may be a familiar flavor in your house holds but it is a new one in mine!  ( I know, poor sheltered children of mine )  Not surprising though...they loved it.  There was a bit of mumbling going on over the lettuce part, but once they embraced that, it was gobbled up.  I did make a couple off additions and omissions from the original recipe.....

Submitted by Lisa

Source:  www.epicurious.com

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion ( I used yellow onion)
  • 1 cup chopped canned button mushrooms ( I didn't use any )
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts, minced ( I didn't use these, I used broccolie, carrots, cauliflower chopped fine)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, minced
  • 8 to 10 inner leaves iceberg lettuce, edges trimmed and chilled
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews, coarsely chopped (I used slivered almonds)
Combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl and mix together until the sugar dissolves.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry the garlic and ginger for 10 seconds. Add the onion, mushrooms, and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove the contents of the wok.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok. Swish the oil around, add the chicken, and brown for 1 minute, or until no longer pink. Add the cooked vegetable mixture back to the wok, decrease the heat, and stir in the sauce mixture. Stir for 1 minute, or until the sauce is heated and the chicken is cooked through.
Spoon the filling in equal amounts into the lettuce cups. Top each lettuce cup with cilantro and sprinkle with chopped cashews. Serve warm.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Submitted by Melanie

I love to bake on Sundays. A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were in the mood for chocolate cake. I didn't have a whole lot of ingredients on hand so I took an inventory of what I had and started looking for a recipe that would work with the ingredients I had on hand. I came across this recipe, and boy am I glad I did. This is one of the most moist cakes I have ever had. It's a great cake for a chocolate lover! It was so good, that I had to give some to my neighbors because I was afraid I was going to eat it all. I have since made this cake 2 other times.

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.               
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Rich Chocolate Frosting
  • 2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 9 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency.               

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Submitted by Heather

When I was newly married I had a recipe for white chicken enchiladas that I really loved.  I used to make it for my family, guests and for friends who had new babies.  As the years have gone by and I've learned a few things about cooking, I've tried to get away from using canned, condensed cream of "whatever" soups.  Oh, I've used one here or there, but I generally try not to use it.  So, I was really excited when I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I hadn't made the white chicken enchiladas in years, so it was so fun to rediscover it and have it be improved.  I love a good red enchilada too, but there's definitely a place for these on our table.  They're creamy, have a slight spiciness without being overwhelming and just comforting. And the homemade sauce is so much better tasting than the canned variety.  If you're planning ahead, it works really well to make the chopped chicken in the crockpot the night before.  That way it's all ready to throw together the next day!

*Serves 4-6

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean you prefer here)

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream

8 ounces (about 2 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 -10 corn tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside. 

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream. 

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Warm the corn tortillas by wrapping a few in a damp paper towel and microwaving them for a few seconds (this will help them resist cracking when you roll them). Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan). 

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

Source: slightly adapted from melskitchencafe.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Norwegian Leek Soup

Submitted by Heather

This soup may not look too exciting or impressive, but boy is it delicious.  Ever since I was a kid, our family would have a big Norwegian dinner to celebrate our Norwegian heritage (just one of the many countries our ancestors hail from). And at every celebration, we had this soup.  I think I could have done without the lutefisk or even the lefse, but not this soup.  It's creamy and flavorful and unlike any of the other soups I usually make.  My kids love it too, which is a plus, or I might eat the whole pot of it myself.  

3 large leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (discard dark green part)
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 medium carrots, diced or sliced
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 C. flour
6 C. beef broth
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
chopped parsley
1 large egg yolk (optional)

Melt butter over medium heat.  Add sliced leeks and diced vegetables.  Cook 5 minutes while stirring occasionally, to prevent vegetables from browning. Add flour, stirring constantly; remove from heat and add beef broth all at once. Add salt. Return to heat and continue cooking gently until vegetables are tender. Beat egg yolk into soup tureen. Pour soup over egg yolk, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Serve at once.
Note: I don't ever use the egg yolk and it always turns out wonderfully.

Source: I have no idea because we've used it for so many years.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Strawberry Cake

submitted by Heather

When my sisters were visiting last month, we made this as a birthday cake to celebrate all of our birthdays. I love good excuses to make yummy desserts! I usually choose chocolate cake for my birthday, but this one looked so springy and delicious that we just had to try it.  It was very good.  I liked how it tasted like real strawberries, unlike boxed versions that give an artificial strawberry flavor.  The real star was the frosting, though.  It was very smooth, creamy and strawberry-y. It almost tasted like strawberry ice cream.  If you make this cake, make sure that the cake is cooled and ready to frost when you make the frosting.  We made the frosting and set it aside for a little while before frosting the cake.  While it still tasted wonderful, it didn't spread as beautifully as it would have, had it been used immediately.

Strawberry Cake

For the cake:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¼ cups sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1 cup milk
2½ cups finely chopped fresh strawberries

For the frosting:
1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped*
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For garnish:
Additional fresh strawberries

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds and butter the pan and the parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the cake pans.  Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Decorate the cake immediately for best results. Garnish with fresh strawberries

Source: Adapted slightly from Annies-eats.com who got it from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chicken Won Ton Bites

Submitted by Lisa
Adaptation from my Aunt Julies recipe

It was one of those nights where dinner wasn't planned ahead so I rummaged through the fridge and cupboard and created these...sort of!  My aunt Julie makes something similar but uses ground beef.  I had cooked chicken in the fridge so I decided to change it up a bit and use that.  They were a hit.


won ton wrappers (found in the produce section)
1 lb. cooked shredded chicken
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pkt dry ranch seasoning mix
1 cup milk


Take the won ton wrappers and place them inside a small muffin tin.  Bake them at 350 for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly browned.  

While those are baking, mix the cheese, chicken and ranch mix together.  Once blended, pour the milk over it and stir to moisten all ingredients.  

Take the won ton out of the oven and fill each one with the cheese/chicken mixture and return to the oven until heated through and melty...about another 5 to 7 minutes.  I had enough filling to make about 30 or so of them.

**the recipe my aunt uses is:  1 lb cooked ground beef, black olives, red peppers, cheeses, ranch and milk...follow same directions as above**

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chicken Piccata Pasta

Submitted by: Lisa
Adapted from Rachel Ray Food Network Recipe

You really can make this meal in 1/2 an hour!  I had some chicken already cooked in the fridge and not much time to get a meal together.  I did a little search on www.foodnetwork.com and found a recipe that I adjusted below.  I was really pleased with it and the kids gobbled it up too.
Most of these ingredients are staples around the house so it is an easy one to whip together.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish


Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. 
Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat.
 Reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic and onions to the skillet. Saute garlic and onions 3 minutes. 
Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 c chicken stock and reduce liquid 1 minute. 
Whisk lemon juice and 1 cup broth into sauce. Stir in parsley. 
When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauce to give it a little shine.
Stir in the parmesan cheese.
Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped green onions.