Cooking Adventures and the Life of a Texas Girl

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

I love chocolate, like most people. I could eat it in any form really :: cake, cookies, melted, bar, on strawberries, with peanuts, with caramel, with cream, in wine. But adding it to a fruit makes it a nutritious dinner, right? I know! So I ate this Chocolate Avocado Mousse one night for dinner. You love it.

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You don’t want to be that kind of person that’s like “oh my gosh, why would you ever try to add chocolate and avocado together? Because it’s good, duh.” The avocado makes it creamy and rich, so you can’t overdue it.

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados

1/4 c agave nectar

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted*

1 tsp coconut butter or coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Dash of salt

*If you listen to anything I say :: BUY GOOD QUALITY CHOCOLATE! It really makes a difference in the quality of this mousse, so I spent a little extra and bought Ghiradelli.

Melt your chocolate bar in the microwave or over a double boiler on the stovetop. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend for a few minutes, until all the ingredients are creamy and the avocados have broken down completely. You may have to stop it every minute or so and scrap the sides. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before eating. It will get thicker and creamer, once it is cold!

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Too easy, am I right? This is dangerous and soooo delicious! I topped mine with whipped cream.

With love, from Texas!

Miniature Red Velvet Cupcakes

February is the month of love, right?! Well if you haven’t figured it out, one of my loves is desserts ;). To celebrate St. Valentine, I decided to make red velvet cupcakes. This recipe was handed down from my great grandmother, so of course it’s good if it comes from a fine Southern lady 😉 . The original recipe called for butter flavoring, but I nixed that out and it came out heavenly.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes:

1/2 c shortening

1 1/2 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

3 tbs cocoa

1 oz red food coloring

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 c buttermilk

1 tbs vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

1 lb confectioners  sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

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Preheat oven to 350. First, cream together shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, beat until smooth. Mix cocoa powder and food coloring in a separate bowl until they make a paste, then add to sugar & shortening mixture.

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Next, slowly add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two. In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda and vinegar together, then mix into the batter. We’re done with the batter! Fill mini-muffin tins three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake in oven for 12 minutes.

To make the cream cheese frosting, mix the cream cheese and butter together until it appears to be fluffy. Next, slowly add in all of the sugar. Mix until the mixture is thoroughly combined, then add vanilla!

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Hope that you are able to woo your honey with these cupcakes for St. Valentine’s Day 😉

With love, from Texas!

Buttermilk Cookie Salad

If yall haven’t figured this out yet, I LOVE cooking! So when placed with the opportunity to cook and serve the Lord all at the same time, I am one happy girl. 

I was e-mailed asking to volunteer a dish for a family at our church. I chose ‘fruit salad’, but I didn’t want to make the same boring fruit salad. I searched google and found some recipes, combined them, and made this gem of a dish. It’s cool whip, pudding, fruit, and cookies! Oh my gosh! 

Buttermilk Cookie Salad Ingredients:

2 boxes vanilla pudding

1 pint buttermilk

1 tub Cool Whip

2 small cans mandarin oranges

1 large can crushed pineapple

1 package fudge striped cookies Image

Whisk the pudding and buttermilk together, until it there are no lumps. Stir in the cool whip, so everything is distributed evenly.

Drain the cans of fruit and add to pudding mixture, stirring well. 

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Break cookies into pieces, then mix into fruit and pudding mixture. It is best to leave the pieces kind of big, so they still have a little crunch.

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You could make this recipe better suited to your needs: add in maraschino cherries, fruit cocktail, bananas, marshmallows, nuts . . . Anything that you would prefer 🙂 .

Enjoy this crazy delicious salad to please a crowd or yourself !

With love, from Texas!

Chocolate Coke Cake

This weekend was my sister’s 30th birthday, so I decided to make her a Chocolate Coke Cake. This is really suppose to be called a Chocolate Cola Cake, but I have a hard time remembering the word ‘cola’ because I call a Coca-Cola a ‘coke’. Deal with it.

This is pretty much a dense chocolate cake with a subtle hint of cola flavor with a chocolatey, cola glaze. This can be topped with peanuts, much like the flavor of salted peanuts in a coke (which is so good!), or pecans. I chose pecans because my nephew is allergic to peanuts.

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Chocolate Coke Cake Ingredients:

2 c flour

2 c sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 c butter

1 c coca cola

1/2 c buttermilk

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda together. Set aside.

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Mix butter, coca cola, buttermilk, and cocoa powder together in saucepan on the stovetop at medium-high heat until all the ingredients come to a boil.

Take saucepan off heat and let cool for a minute or two. Then pour liquids into the dry ingredient mixture and whisk until combined well. Add both eggs and vanilla. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

While you still have 10 minutes left on your timer for your cake, start making the glaze.

Chocolate Coke Cake Glaze:

1/2 c butter

1/4 c coca cola

3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

3 c powdered sugar (confectionary sugar)

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Mix butter, coca cola, and cocoa powder in saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Take off heat and add powdered sugar. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and heavenly.

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before you pour the glaze over. If you wish, top with the nuts of your choice!

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I know that this cake will not last long as any event!!

With love, from Texas!

 

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

A while ago, I made the Grieving Cowboy Casserole and some of y’all asked for the recipe for it’s chicken sister. So, I made it!!! It’s called King Ranch Chicken and it’s made exactly like the other casserole, but with chicken instead of beef.

This casserole is a true Texas staple, taking the name of the largest ranch in the United States, which is 30 minutes from my hometown. This dish has been featured at many church potlucks, funerals, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find on the ‘special’ menu at a cafe in Texas.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked

1/2 onion, minced

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

Dash of garlic

Dash of black pepper

3 cups monterey jack cheese

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First, boil or saute your chicken and then shred it up into bite-sized chunks. Mix it with both soups, Rotel tomatoes, garlic, and black pepper.

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Fry up corn tortillas until they’re soft and stack a layer on the bottom of an 8×11 pan. If you have leftover tortilla chips that may be a little stale, you can use these in place of the tortillas.

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Next, layer half of the chicken mixture and then repeat with half of the cheese. Now, repeat so you’ll have two layers! 

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Bake at 325 for an hour, so the cheese and other flavors marry together.

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I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as my family and I enjoyed it!

With love, from Texas!

You Got Nutella in My Peanut Butter Cups

The only reason I like having or attending get-togethers is for the food. I love hors d’oeuvre and dessert as my actual meal, of course.

I was invited to a girls night thing at a friend’s house this weekend and I knew this was a perfect time to make these cute little hand-held desserts that I’ve been having my eyes on. Peanut butter cookie cups with a ton of Nutella inside. These are perfect for a party because guests can grab one and walk around with it and who doesn’t love Nutella?!?! Also, this dessert can be very simple, in case you don’t have much time to prepare before the party.

The cups can vary, according to your preference. You can use any cookie as your base, homemade or store bought, and put any kind of candy or other dessert-y goodness inside. I think chocolate cookie base with a miniature Reeses cup inside would be delightful. 

You Got Nutella in My Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients:

Peanut butter cookie mix (like in powder form)

2 tbsp oil

3 1/2 tsp water

 1 egg 

Nutella

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First, mix your cookie mix with the egg, oil, and water. Then put a spoonful in a muffin tin that is lined with cupcake liners. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes or until they’re nice and golden on top. Now, we’re going to make our little wells. Once the cups have come out of the oven and they’re still hot, take a shot glass and press down so that a well forms in each cup. Easy, huh?!

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Here’s the fun part. Spoon the Nutella into the cup. You can put in as much or as little as you want. The Nutella will get all warm and gooey, but resist the urge to eat them yet :). You need to save some for others!

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Everyone at the party LOVED these cups and most people ate two, but I won’t say who ;).  

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Now, go get the ingredients right now, plan a party for yourself, and make these cute little things!!

 With love, from Texas!

Baked Southwestern Eggrolls

When I go out to eat, I would rather not order appetizers. Not because I don’t like them.. Ha, who am I kidding?! I love any food. But I would rather fill up on savory foods, like entrees, and sweet foods, like desserts. With appetizers, it’s usually just savory and savory and I get BORED. There is an exception though.

Whenever I go to Chili’s, I love ordering their Southwestern Eggrolls. They’re crispy little things stuffed with chicken, black beans, corn, spinach and served along side a yummy helping of avocado ranch.

Last Saturday, I went over to my sister’s house for my nephew’s 2nd birthday party. He was having a fiesta-themed party, so I decided to recreate these eggrolls for la fiesta! I made them the night before and just popped them in the oven right before the party, so it didn’t take anyone’s time away from partying ;). Everyone raved about them though and I was really hoping I would have made more…. For myself!

Baked Southwestern Eggrolls Ingredients:

Can of black beans, rinsed and drained

Can of yellow corn, drained

Half red bell pepper

Can of chopped green chiles

4 green onions

2 c cheddar cheese

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

48 Wonton or 24 eggroll wrappers

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So, the original eggrolls call for a 10 oz package or thawed and squeese-dried frozen spinach, but my nephew is allergic to spinach so I replaced that with the bell peppers. First things first, slice the green onions and chop the red bell pepper to little pieces. Then, add all of the ingredients, sans wrappers, in a bowl and mix together.

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Looks so beautiful and fresh and vibrant, right?! I know.

Now, we’re going to make our eggrolls. I used won ton wrappers because that’s all my grocery store had, but you can use eggrolls also, just use more filling of course. First, lay your wrapper on a plate, dab your finger in water and run it along all sides of the wrapper. Next, put about a tablespoon of filling in the middle.

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Next, fold the bottom corner in so that it is on top of the filling and then pulling over the right side of the wrapper on top of the bottom. Seal the little edges if you see an opening.

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Now, repeat the other side of course and roll that baby on up!!! After you have finished rollin’, press the end so that it sticks and stays shut.

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Voila! Now you have learned how to roll an eggroll and you don’t have to waste all of your money at Panda Express.. ;).

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Spray the bottom of your cookie sheet with pam, lay your eggrolls down, and then spray the tops of the eggrolls with pam so that they crisp up. Bake for 12-15 minutes, turning the eggrolls one throughout the cooking process.

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You can serve these eggrolls with queso, salsa, guacamole, or make ranch dip like me with some mashed up avocados.

With love, from Texas!