One Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope it’s been a happy one so far. I know it’s a little late in the day for posting this recipe, but I’ve had a list of things to get done on my to-do list. I always set so many goals for Mondays only to realize I only get about half way through the list. Can anyone else relate? Ugh…

Well as you know, I am continuing the freezer-friendly meals series, and today I am starting this week off with another favorite for us, Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta. And not to forget to mention the bonus, “one pot” preparation that makes this meal an easy and less messy situation (yay!). Honestly, I was never a fan of spicy foods, but this Cajun kick is perfect for me, along with the hot Italian sausage. Although I have to mention, I think I’m over exaggerating on the word “spicy”, I have a pretty low tolerance, so for many people, it really wouldn’t be considered “spicy”. 😛 It may be an overwhelming mouthful, but it’s so savory, it’ll have you go back for seconds. My husband and I sure did.

Pasta is sooo easy to freeze and freezes quite nicely if you ask me. So that’s why I thought it would be perfect to add to the list. This portion will make about 10 servings, so it can easily be divided into two meals. So freeze up, and enjoy making this easy, quick (under 30 minutes), one-pot goodness.

See freezer instructions in the recipe below.

Note:

If you just came across this recipe and realized your taste buds are watering for this meal, but you seem to be out of Cajun season, don’t fret! I’ve got you covered. I once had the same dilemma, I realized I was totally out of Cajun seasoning and didn’t want to settle for anything else for dinner, so I made my own Cajun mix! Easy-breezy.

For this portion, you’ll need the following amount each seasoning to make your own…

Homemade Cajun Mix:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 

One Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 raw hot or mild Italian sausage links, cut up
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of milk (any %)
  • 1 pound of dried penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning* (see note)
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Begin by frying the onion, and garlic in olive oil until translucent with a large cooking pot.
  2. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper and brown in butter over medium high heat.
  3. Add sausage and continue to cook until browned.
  4. Add chicken broth, heavy cream, milk, lemon juice, dried pasta and cajun seasoning to pot.
  5. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let cook covered for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  7. Remove pot from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  8. Stir in chopped parsley and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese to taste.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. *Freezer-friendly: divide portions into desired freezer safe trays, and place in freezer. Once ready to use, thaw for 1 hour, sprinkle with parmesan and place in oven at 375 F for about 30-40 minutes.
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Beef Pork Sausage Shepherds Pie

Hey everyone!

I’m excited to share that I am starting a new series on the blog today! With only 2 1/2 weeks to go in my pregnancy, I thought I’d share some of my favourite frozen meal recipes!

Since we moved away from home for my husband, Sebastian’s masters program, we are away from all of our dear family and friends. Although I have a great community of friends at my church that are willing to help, I thought it would be best to be prepared for the first few weeks…at least. Since I am a first time mom, I have noooo idea what to expect (even though I’ve heard so many stories and suggestions). I think motherhood- especially for the first time around, is just something you have to go through yourself in order to really understand and explerience.

So I thought if I could make some frozen meals, it would be very helpful, especially since my husband is not to handy in the kitchen, he he. I mean, we could have eggs and peanut better toast for days… but I rather not, haha! AND not to say he isn’t helpful- he could always go out and grab something, but I know we would both appreciate a good home cooked meal. I mean, who wouldn’t?!

Whether you’re expecting your first baby, or second, or third… or not expecting at all, I am sure you’ll find these recipes handy! I know some people like to make/prepare all their frozen meals at a time, but that sounds like wayyyy to many dishes for me in one day. I like to spread it out throughout my week. I made double the portions, had some for dinner with night, and the other portion I froze. I found it easier and more enjoyable this way. Plus, there is no way my feet would be able to take all the pressure of standing up for hours on end in the kitchen! I would have probably gone into labour… lol!

I will try to post about 2-3 recipes for the next couple weeks (unless I deliver early!). All of which have been tested and true. If you want to follow along, make sure you subscribe, and stock up on a few supplies; mainly aluminum trays or tupperwear and labels for storing in the freezer. I like using aluminum trays because after being thawed, they can easily be thrown in the oven, and thrown out into the garbage. No mess, no clean up, no effort. Now that’s my kinda thing. 😉

The first recipe I wanted to share is one of our favorites… Shepherd’s pie! Mmmm mmm mm. I feel like shepherd’s pie doesn’t get enough recognition, a lot of people think this dish is boring, but it’s really not! Especially when it’s done right.

Follow along to see what makes shepherds pie so special for us.

*Remember this is for a double portion, meaning there will be enough for 2- 9 inch pie dishes. Don’t feel like making twice the amount? Simply cut the ingredients in half!

Freezing instructions: this will apply for most of my upcoming freezer meals (unless suggested otherwise)- after placing divided portion into a freezer safe tray/container, make sure to seal with cover or aluminum foil. Label with date, name and instructions. I have listed the freezer instructions on the recipe. Scroll down to access recipe. 

Beef Pork Sausage Shepherds Pie

   

 

Beef Pork Sausage Shepherds Pie

Ingredients

    Meat mixture:
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 garlic gloves
  • 1 cup frozen vegtable mixture (peas, corn, carrots)
  • 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 pieces Italian sausage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic seasoning
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp parsley seasoning
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Potatoes:
  • 8-10 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 5 cloves of roasted garlic (see instructions below)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese for topping

Instructions

    Potatoes:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash, add listed ingredients and set aside.
  2. Roasted Garlic:
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) While oven is preheating, prepare roasted garlic by placing 5 cloves of garlic onto a piece of aluminum foil with 1 tsp olive oil. Wrap up the foil, and place in oven for about 15-20 minutes. Add into potatoe mixture.
  4. Meat Mixture:
  5. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until clear. Add ground beef and sausage, cook until well browned.
  6. Then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add spices. Next, add tomato paste, sour cream, lemon juice and beef broth. Finally add in the frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Spread the meat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of 2 pie dishes.
  8. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Freezing instructions: divide portions into freezer safe Pie tray. Place lid/cover and label with title, instructions and date. Once ready for use, let meal thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.
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Perfect Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting With Almond Milk

Happy Friday!

I love sharing my favourite dessert recipes on Fridays- it really does seem like a suitable day seeing that the weekend is upon us, and it’s time to celebrate with guilt free cheat days, savouring delectable desserts! Are you with me?

So today I finally decided to share this wonderful pipe-able cream cheese frosting with a touch of almond milk, that is perfect on/in …everything. Cupcakes, cakes, cinnamon rolls, macarons, filling, pizza (just kidding) well you get the point. And the best part is…its pipe-able and fail proof. That means, it will stay firm, and won’t melt at room temperature like most cream cheese frostings do. I was inspired to post this cause I went through sooooo many trial and errors with different cream cheese frostings that I have tried. Let’s just say there were a lot more errors than expected. I really wanted to come up with a go-to cream cheese frosting that I could wipe up in seconds. So I finally came up with a recipe that turned out wonderful every time! However if cream cheese frosting isn’t your thing, try my mascarpone cream cheese icing. It’s a slight alternative, airy, and very light. But if you want a nice thick, smooth traditional cream cheese frosting, keep reading.

After making my favourite red velvet cupcakes with this delightful cream cheese frosting for recent events, and get-togethers, I have been asked to share this recipe because it became a little popular. This past week I ended up making a cake, and instead of using buttercream, I decided to ice the cake with this smooth cream cheese frosting. It was a total hit. AND the best part was that the icing held its shape the whole time. I didn’t even have to worry. Also, I have to mention that I much prefer a cream cheese icing than buttercream. But that’s just me.

Step-By-Step ⇓

Follow along to achieve the perfect pipeable-firm cream cheese frosting, and make sure you scroll at the bottom for the full recipe, and helpful tips. 

This is a paddle attachment. Read more information on why I use and recommend it for this recipe (although a regular whisk tip will still do the job).

Step 1: beat the butter until fluffy and light. Depending on your mixer, this should take about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.

Step 2: Add the cream cheese and mix again only until combined. Then add the remaining ingredients. Your outcome should look like this picture below: firm and thick, ready for piping.

The final product will look smooth, and thick. Make super you mix thoroughly to ensure the perfect outcome. Oh, and don’t forget to taste-test. 😉


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes/Alternatives:  

  • I like to use a paddle attachment when making most of my baking and frostings. It helps cream the ingredients together more efficiently by allowing enough air to pass through the batter. It’s kinda technical, but it really is used for the best outcome in your batter/frosting. Although a whisk attachment will do the job too.
  • Over mixing will cause the texture to go soft and it will not have a desired pipe-able outcome. However if over mixing does occur, quickly pipe your dessert, then immediately place them in the fridge- the icing will be just fine after sitting for about 20 minutes or so.
  • Butter: “room temperature” or “softened” means that the butter should be soft enough to pass the “poke test”. This means, when you poke your finger into it, there should be a indent. If you didn’t get the chance to keep your butter out, then cut it into cubes, place in the microwave for 10 second intervals…keep an eye on it at all times! It won’t take long to melt.
  • Salted vs. unsalted butter: I like to used salted for my frosting because I find it gives a good balanced taste. But, you can definitely use unsalted butter too.
  • Icing sugar: I used 2 1/2 cups. In the recipe I mentioned 2-3 cups. That is because some of you may like it a little sweeter, or you may need to thicken up the texture.
  • Almond milk: I love using a tad because it really does make a difference in taste as opposed to regular milk (which will work too). Again, you can add another tsp if the texture is a little too thick for your liking.

Perfect Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting With Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 8oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temp, or see note
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (see note)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsp almond milk (as needed see note)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (see note), cream the softened butter until light and fluffy (see picture).
  2. Add cream cheese and continue to mix just until combined.
  3. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, always making sure to scrap the sides of the bowl, making sure not to over mix.
  4. Pour the vanilla and 2 tsp of almond milk evenly over the frosting and mix slowly to combine.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl then mix on high for about 10 seconds.
  6. Test the consistency of the frosting, if it is too thick add another teaspoon of almond milk and mix only until incorporated, if it is too runny, you can add a little more icing sugar. Make sure the ingredients are fully combined yet, do not over mix. See notes for more details.
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Salted Pecan Chocolate Cake

Hello, friends! I can’t believe it’s March already. Time does fly when you’re having fun! Well, ok…maybe it hasn’t been too fun lately (to be honest) ever since I hit my third trimester, things are slowly starting to turn for me. 🙁 This big bump is getting a little more uncomfortable each passing day (and night), and I am trying to overcome this minor cold. So, in order to enlighten my mood, I thought baking would do just the thing. Baking always makes me feel better- oh, and shopping. 😛

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So maybe you’re thinking this is just another chocolate cake recipe. Sure, chocolate cake is good, but whats sooo special about this particular recipe? Well, let’s see… the fact that this chocolate cake has a layer of pecan, and the easy 4-ingreident chocolate buttercream is made with salted butter, which makes every bite smooth and savoury. It’s not too overwhelming with the chocolate taste. It’s just right. I personally looooove nutty flavoured desserts (if you haven’t already noticed), so I thought this middle pecan layer would be a perfect touch. And it was. Now, there are times when a chocolate cake, and I mean allll chocolate- is necessary to fulfill your overwhelming craving for chocolate, so I am not dismissing that at all. But other times, change is good. 

I have experimented with different chocolate cake recipes in the past, all which were just…not exactly to my liking. Chocolate cakes have to be done right. My definition of “right” is moist, rich, smooth, and extra chocolatey in flavouring! That’s right. When my husband first tried it, he said, “oh nice! The Duncan Hines box cake recipe and cream never fails in flavour and texture.” I was a little offended at first, but I realized it was a compliment, because the traditional Duncan Hines box cake is a easy, no regrets, easy to please, for those days when time is of the essence. Duncan Hines has never failed to disappoint me. The flavour, and the texture are just perfect, and the batter??? Well I’ll just stop there. Haha. I have to admit, I like having this cake mix in my pantry whenever I have unexpected guests coming over, or don’t have any time to bake anything. But I felt really guilty, especially since people know me for my baking. And when they would ask, “Wow can I get this recipe…”, I awkwardly hesitate, and quickly try to change the topic. 🙂 AND if they incessantly ask, I mention, I’ll post it on the blog one day. So, here it is. The perfect chocolate cake with a kick of pecan flavour (but better than Duncan Hines, promise)!

If you want to double up on the chocolate recipe, and make it all chocolate, I totally understand. No harsh feelings. 🙂

Scroll down for the recipe, while I tempt you with these mouth watering pictures.



Oh darling, do be generous with the cream!

Stack ’em up! And lets work on the outside!

Vio-la! Behold the masterpiece. 🙂

Up close and personal, just how I like it!

Who wants the first piece?

Serve this baby with a nice cup of tea or coffee, and every day will feel like Sunday. 🙂

Alternatives:

As always, I love to give suggestions and alternatives to my recipes. It’s always fun to be creative and change it up based on your preferences. 

  • If you want more of a nutty flavour- add 1/3 cup of Nutella to your middle layers, or 1/2 cup to the cream mixture.
  • If you want to change up the cream for a lighter taste, check out my cream cheese frosting here, its made out of mascarpone, and tis delightful.
  • If you want to go full out chocolate, double up on the chocolate cake measurements!
  • Unsalted butter will work fine too; although I find that the salted butter is more balancing with he chocolate-pecan flavour, and much more savoury.

Note:

I like using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment because I find it really helps achieve the perfect texture- and it’s great for whipping butter. But, you can definitely use a hand mixer with regular whisks too- it may take a little longer, but will still do the job.

Salted Pecan Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

    Chocolate Layer:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pecan Layer:
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk)
  • Salted Chocolate Buttercream:
  • 1 1/2 cup salted (sweet cream) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup of Cocoa Powder
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two, 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. (I used 8-inch)
  2. Chocolate layer:
  3. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
  4. Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla into the dry mixture. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes. Do not over mix.
  5. Place all of the batter into the pan. (Do not divide batter, or else it will not fully rise, I simply cut mine into two, after cake has cooled off)
  6. Bake for 40 minutes (ovens may vary). Stick a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, it's done.
  7. Cool for 15 minutes and then turn out the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, slice the cake into two (if your desire).
  9. Pecan Cake:
  10. Start by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted add pecans and cook until slightly browned and fragrant, tossing frequently, about 4 minutes. Pour and spread onto a sheet of parchment paper or a baking sheet. Set aside and allow to cool.
  11. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  12. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (see note) whip together softened (not melted) butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy, keep scrapping the bowl to ensure the butter is fully incorporated.
  13. Mix in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
  14. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined, then add the buttermilk, and milk until combined. Make sure to batter is well combined, but do not over mix.
  15. Lastly, add the buttered pecans by folding it into the batter.
  16. Place batter into baking pan.
  17. Bake for 35-40 minutes (ovens may vary) until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  18. Remove from oven and let it cool.
  19. Salted Chocolate Buttercream:
  20. Begin by mixing butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment (see note) until light and fluffy.
  21. Next, slowly add the icing sugar and cocoa powder, one cup at a time.
  22. Once fully incorporated, add vanilla, and milk if you find the consistency to thick. You can adjust the consistency by adding more powder for thicker consistency, or thinner with milk.
  23. Combine:
  24. Slice the chocolate cake in half, and arrange the cakes in between the pecan layer.
  25. Start by adding cream to the layer in between, and work your way on covering the rest of the cake with the cream on the outer side with a icing spatula.
  26. I like to pip the top with any remainder cream, and top it off with pecans.
  27. Enjoy!
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Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Chocolate Banana Bread

Ok, the title may sound a little over whelming, but this one-bowl banana bread is simply, amazing. I mean, who doesn’t looove banana bread? Especially when it’s done right? This super moist, fall-apart savoury banana bread is kinda a big deal among my friends and family. It’s delicious, easy to make, and a saving factor for those browned bananas (’cause when those bananas are browned, there is simply no hope for them, unless it’s a good banana bread). 🙂

I have always loved banana bread. It tastes great for breakfast, and a filling snack to munch on throughout the day. It’s one of those desserts that you don’t feel overly guilty about when you’re eating it. I mean… it has bananas…and bananas are good for you…so there! It’s justified- lol.

Over the past couple years, I was on the search to find a banana bread that was an easy, go-to recipe I could use when I had to make use of my browned bananas, or something I would wipe up quickly when I had last minute guests coming over. And, after a little bit of trial and error over the past years, I finally came up with the ultimate recipe. It’s not too dry, not too sweet, not too bland, it’s just right. And you can be the test of that yourself. 😉

Make sure you bake this loaf for your loved ones this Valentines day, because nothing can be better than gifting the one you love by filling their stomach with this deliciousness. 🙂

Banana bread = love. 

  

Note: Alternatives

  • You can substitute the greek yogurt for plain yogurt or sour cream. Both have been tested and are still true to the overall taste.
  • Sometimes I like to change the chocolate up and use dark or Nutella. The Nutella will taste much sweeter, but it’s super delicious! For this recipe, simply switch the chocolate chips with 1/3 cup of Nutella and swirl it into the batter in conjunction with the cream cheese. YUM!
  • I like to use raw sugar, but white sugar will do as well.
  • Do you prefer muffins instead? Switch it up, and make muffins. Bake the muffins at the same temperature for 15-20 mins. And top it off with this amazing light mascarpone cream.

Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick of butter), melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (*see note*)
  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup semi-sweet/ dark chocolate chips or Nutella (*see note*)
  • Walnuts for topping
  • *see above for more details/alternatives

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf dish and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir the melted butter and sugar together.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and cinnamon extract and mix well.
  4. In the same bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt and mix together until combined.
  5. Add in the yogurt and the mashed bananas and mix until just combined.
  6. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Place half of the batter into the baking dish, add the softened cream cheese (and Nutella if your choose-see note) all over the first layer, swirl with a butter knife, and then add the remaining batter on top.
  8. Top with the batter with walnuts.
  9. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  10. Cool the loaf in the pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.
  11. Enjoy!
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Baked French Toast

The 12 days of Christmas baking ends off with overnight Baked French Toast. 

I can’t believe how quickly Christmas came around. I wish we started celebrating Christmas in September! 😛

I thought I’d save this recipe for last because this breakfast dessert is perfect for Christmas or boxing day breakfast/brunch. I am sure many of you will have left overs, but this is a great touch to your celebrations. After making this for the first time last year, I think It’s safe to say that I will never be able to compare waffles or pancakes to this moist, crunchy, mouth-watering french toast. It also bets regular french toast because this one has a different texture. It’s a must try. Eat up! There is no excuse around this holiday. 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed this 12 days of Christmas baking series! Thank you for all of your sweet comments and shares. Make sure to tell me your favourites, and tag me into your posts if you end up trying any of these desserts!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! xox

You can find the baked French Toast recipe below!

Soon moist, but crunchy on the outside…

Baked French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 loaf of thick sliced toast
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and add the brown sugar. Mix well.
  2. Pour the butter/sugar mixture into a pan, or glass dish. Spread evenly.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Lay a single layer of the toast in the pan/dish (over the butter/sugar mixture).
  5. Spread half of the egg mixture on the first layer of toast.
  6. Then add the second layer of toast, and spoon the remainder of the egg mixture all over.
  7. Cover and place in the fridge over night.
  8. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. And cover the pan for the first 30 minutes with foil or lid.
  9. Serve with sprinkling icing sugar, whipping cream, syrup and fruits!
  10. Enjoy!
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Traditional Moldavian Plakea (Rice Pudding)

The 11th day of Christmas baking continues, even though everyone may be rushing last minute Christmas shopping, and preparing for family get-togethers (like me!). Continue to stay tuned, especially for tomorrow ’cause you don’t want to miss the last (breakfast) dessert!

Today I’m sharing another popular traditional Moldavian dessert. My mom informed me that this dessert was common and varied among different villages growing up. My mom said that her mom’s plakea was well known among relatives, visitors, and friends. Many people were excited to attend family weddings and Christmas celebrations, knowing that there would be an abundant amount of plakea. A saying arose among common villagers that was translated to, “when are you getting married?” Implying when are we going to eat the traditional plakea. Many women attempted to make plakea, but my grandmother was well known for hers.

I always looked forward to having plakea around Christmas time- that’s mainly when my mom would make it. The smooth tasting, rice pudding-like, chai tea latte flavour really hits the spot. And the best part is that it can be eaten for breakfast too! I love warming it up and topping it with fruits. Delicious! 

My mom definitely maintained and mastered the traditional recipe, and now she has passed it down to me.  I’m so grateful for traditional recipes! They’re unique, original, and always a hit!

 

Notes:

  • Best rice to use is round white for the best texture
  • It may seem strange to add pepper and bay leaves, but this gives a rich chia-latte-like taste- I promise!
  • The only way to get a smooth, rich texture is to use a ceramic or cast iron dish and to tightly seal during baking time
  • This dish is best served warm!

Traditional Moldavian Plakea (Rice Pudding)

Ingredients

  • 2 litres milk
  • 1/2 cup white round rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 packs of vanilla powder/sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter- leave 1 tbsp for topping
  • 10 whole black peppers
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and butter a ceramic pan or cast iron dish.
  2. Begin to boil milk on stove top at med-high in a large saucepan.
  3. Before it begins to boil, add washed rice to the milk.
  4. Continue to mix and be very attentive to not let milk rise.
  5. Once the rice is semi cooked through (test taste), turn off heat, and add the remainder of the ingredients. Stir until combined.
  6. Place mixture in dish and cut remaining butter into thin slices and place all over the mixture. (see picture above)
  7. Cover the dish tightly with foil, or lid and bake for 1.5 hours.
  8. Serve warm.
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Ferrero Rocher Truffles

On the  10th day of Christmas baking I made Ferrero Rocher Truffles…because who doesn’t looooove Ferrero Rocher chocolates?

Growing up this was my all-time favourite chocolate. I could probably eat 50 in one setting…it must be the Nutella ingredient. Nothing compares to this chocolate.

These truffles make perfect gifts, party favours, and snacks that you can freeze! I made double the portion and I’m saving the rest for New Years!

P.s. The Christmas countdown is on… only 3 more days! Yay!

Perfect Christmas dinner table favours…

Nutella is the bomb! 

Finely chop the hazelnuts, walnuts and wafers in a food processor:

Then, mix the remaining ingredients together and freeze.

Start by rolling tablespoon-balls, and place a roasted hazelnut in the centre of the truffle.

Place in the freezer to harden before covering in chocolate mixture.

Eek! These look like meatballs! 😛 

Ferro Rocher Truffles

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 3 cups crushed hazelnut wafer cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) Nutella
  • For the chocolate coating:
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1½ cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. Start off with the filling: Crush the walnuts, hazelnuts, hazelnut wafer cookies and add them to a bowl.
  2. Combine nuts, wafers and Nutella and mix well (it will be sticky).
  3. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes so the mixture firms up.
  4. Shape into tablespoon-sized balls and place a hazelnut and drop of Nutella in the middle of the ball, then place balls on a baking sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
  5. While waiting, stir together the chocolate and oil in a medium bowl.
  6. Melt the mixture in the microwave until fully melted, heat in intervals of 10 seconds.
  7. Add the hazelnuts and stir thoroughly to combine.
  8. When the truffle balls are ready, insert a toothpick into the truffle and dip into the melted chocolate mixture.
  9. Place the truffles onto the baking sheet. Once you've finished coating them, place back into the fridge for 15 minutes until hardened.
  10. Sprinkle some hazelnuts on top of each truffle.
  11. To serve, place truffles in cupcake liners.
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Nutella Puff Pastry Donuts

Only 4 days until Christmas! What a busy and exciting week. I hope everyone doesn’t forget the true meaning of Christmas even during this busy time.

Today I’m sharing puff pastry donuts filled with Nutella. Who doesn’t looove Nutella? I would be content if the only dessert I ever ate was Nutella flavoured! My husband and I can easily go through a jar a week. Yum!

As for the puff pastry- don’t get me started! There are so many variations with puff pastry, which makes last minute deserts, and creativity done easy!

I’m always a fan of sharing easy and quick desserts, that make baking fun and convenient. If you’re not a fan of Nutella, or want more variety, you can fill the pastry with different flavours! Make sure to check out the flavours below. Also, if you want to try another well loved puff pastry dough dessert, make sure to check out my Puff pastry cake! Easy, tasty, and perfect for any crowd!

I also used different fillings for more of a variety!

  • Peanut butter and chocolate
  • chocolate
  • Cream cheese and strawberries

Pinch them up and bake!

Done!

Ta-da!

Nutella Puff Pastry Donuts

Ingredients

  • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 cup of Nutella, or preferred filling
  • 1 cup chocolate sauce for drizzle
  • Icing sugar for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Unfold the pastry sheets on a clean, floured surface and use a round cookie cutter or cup to cut out circles of dough out on each sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water. Use a basting brush to brush the egg wash around the outer edge of the dough circles.
  4. Place 2 tbsp of Nutella filling in the centre of each of the egg washed dough circles. (Or preferred amount)
  5. Place the remaining circles on top of the Nutella filled dough and use a fork to pinch the edges of the two pieces of dough on the top and bottom of together.
  6. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet for about 13-15 minutes, until tops are lightly golden.
  7. Let donuts cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  8. Dip tops of donuts in chocolate sauce or drizzle and top with icing sugar.
  9. Enjoy. 🙂
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Lemon-Cranberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

This is an easy-peezy Lemon Cranberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Frosting. I know it doesn’t sounds or look easy, but believe me, it’s effortless…somewhat.

This delightful cake is light tasting, along with a tangy sweet-and sour taste. You can find my mascarpone cream frosting here, for the perfect combination. In my opinion, it’s not only a great dessert, but perfect for breakfast. Eating cake for breakfast always gives me a reason to rise and shine early in the day. 😛

I tried a couple lemon flavoured cakes, and they were a total flop. Some were too dry, and another didn’t rise. I almost gave up, but I was determined to make this cake that I had in mind. So I came across a very basic recipe, but built it from there. I guess less is more. But it was a little boring for my preference, so I made a few changes that I thought would make it extraordinary. And let’s just say, this is one of my favourite cakes. Not only is it simple to make without a long list of steps and ingredients, but its easy to decorate too. No cutting the cake in half is necessary (if you want a higher cake just make double the portion), or fancy frosting techniques are needed. Just bake and make! I also added some pretty “frosted” cranberry as a topping, along with snipping some twigs off of my christmas tree. Oh, Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging. Thank God for that.

And for some reason, I always associate cranberries with Christmas. Like I mentioned before red=Christmas to me.

Once again, I am using my favourite Mascarpone Frosting. You can find the recipe here.

See my recipe for making sparkling cranberries below!

  

Lemon-Cranberry Almond Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Ingredients

    Lemon-Cranberry Almond Cake:
  • ½ Cup butter, softened or at room temperate, not melted.
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1¼ Cups flour
  • 1/4 cup of ground almonds
  • ½ Cup milk
  • 1 cup of fresh cranberries
  • Sparkling Cranberries:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

Instructions

    Lemon-Cranberry Almond Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a cake pan. (I used an 8'3 round)
  3. In a bowl mix the sugar and the butter until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and mix for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the yolks and continue mixing.
  6. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds more.
  7. Add half of the flour and mix, add the milk and continue mixing.
  8. Incorporate the rest of the flour, ground almonds, and the baking powder and mix for 1 minute.
  9. Pour the batter in the cake pan and place in the oven.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes or until done, depending on cake pan.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  12. Sparkling Cranberries:
  13. Combine water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and heat on medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 2-3 minutes. Do not let the water boil.
  14. Once sugar has dissolved, turn heat low and add clean cranberries to the water/sugar mix making sure they are well coated. Let them set in water for 2-3 minutes.
  15. Transfer cranberries to a wire rack to dry using a slotted spoon, try to keep them separated as much as possible so they don't all stick together.
  16. After about 30 minutes, roll the cranberries in the remaining 1 cup of sugar.
  17. Place in fridge until using to harden.
  18. See link (previous post) to Mascarpone Frosting above.
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