Saturday, October 16, 2010

Texas Sheet Cake

Here is an easy cake to make for a crowd. I make this cake to take to work for birthdays. I started baking this when I was around 12 years old. Ingredients, preparation and cooking times are not difficult or time consuming.

Texas Sheet Cake


2 C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
1/4 t. Salt
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
1 C. Water
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 C. Buttermilk
3 T. Cocoa Powder
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray (I use an 11 x 16 size pan).

Sift flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add the water and cocoa and bring just to a boil. Pour the chocolate mixture over the flour mixture. In another bowl, mix eggs, baking soda, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat into the flour/chocolate mixture (by hand, no mixer required) until well incorporated.

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.


1 stick butter
3 T cocoa powder
6 T milk
1 pound box of confectioner's sugar
1 t vanilla
1.5 C walnuts, chopped

In a medium saucepan, melt butter with the cocoa powder and milk over low heat (do not boil). When the butter has completely melted and the ingredients are combined, remove from heat. Immediately add the sugar, vanilla and nuts. Mix well and pour over the cake. Smooth out carefully with a knife. Let the frosting harden up (about 30 minutes) before serving. Cake can be stored, covered until ready to serve.

Since there are no preservatives, this cake is best if consumed within 24 hours of making. You can also cover it and store in the refrigerator where it should last several days. Yields approximately 24 servings.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tomato, Pepper & Mushroom Lasagna

I like to make big dinners on the weekends when I have a little extra time to spend in the kitchen. I bastardized a Weight Watchers recipe this past Sunday and ended up with a really good and healthy lasagna. The original recipe only called for roasted pepper strips tucked into layers of cheese and sauce. I added a layer of sauteed mushrooms and another layer of fresh wilted spinach tossed with lots of garlic. You need to have at least a couple of hours available to make this. You have to dirty up a few pans but when you smell it cooking, its totally worth it.
Jennifer's Bastardized Veggie Lasagna

24 oz store bought marina sauce
1 cup canned, diced fire roasted tomatoes, well drained
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup egg substitute (Egg Beaters or use real eggs to measure 1/4 cup)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. dried oregano
6 lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat noodles)
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, cut into narrow strips
8 0z container mushrooms, sliced
6 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 t. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Stir in salt, pepper and oregano. Set aside.

In a medium pot, combine the marinara sauce and fire roasted tomatoes. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms begin to soften. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. To the pan add the fresh spinach and garlic, cover with a lid and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Drain the spinach well and set aside.
Once the noodles have cooked, spray an 11 x 7 inch glass pan with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle about one cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of the pan. Add two lasagna noodles. Top the noodles with half of the cheese mixture. Next layer on all of the red pepper strips and the cooked mushrooms (avoid adding the mushroom cooking liquid, if possible). Ladle on another cup of sauce and top with two more lasagna noodles. Top with all of the remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle spinach over the cheese and top with the final layer of noodles. Ladle on remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top and a little more Parmesan cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 20 more minutes. Remove lasagna from oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 8 servings.