Monday, November 28, 2011

REVIEW: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

For Bryan's birthday I made a cake I had found on Pinterest. Everyone LOVED it. In fact, the reason I am updating with it right now is that one attendee of his birthday party requested I do so. This cake is so deliciously moist (due to the sour cream). The post I'm directing you to has a ton of peanut butter in it. I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter desserts so I just took out anything that said "peanut butter." You may leave it in-- that's your prerogative. It's just much better without, in my opinion. The frosting might need to be a little bit adjusted for the lack of peanut butter but that's about it. Bryan and I both LOVE cream cheese frosting so when I found this cake I thought it was perfect!

So, here you have it: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

Happy Thanksgiving! What a time for delicious food. I helped out this year by making two pumpkin pies, an apple pie and sweet potatoes (Bryan made rolls). I got both pies off of the internet but the sweet potatoes are something my mom has made for every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner that I can remember (among a few other dishes). I love these sweet potatoes. It's really the brown sugar topping that makes it. After it was done cooking and I took it out of the oven, I leaned down and took in the aroma. Immediately it felt familiar and warm, accompanied by a rush of family memories. Anyway, onto actually making it. See below for full recipe. Here's what you'll need:

 This includes the entire recipe, filling and topping. We'll start by making the filling.

 The recipe calls for 3-4 cups of mashed yams or sweet potatoes (either is fine). What is really the difference anyway? I found that two 29 oz cans worked perfectly.

 The first thing you'll want to do is pour the yams/sweet potatoes in a larger saucepan with all the liquid. Bring the contents to a boil and then use a strainer or the lid of the saucepan to drain off the liquid and then put it in a bowl.

 The yams/sweet potatoes are pretty much covered by the rest of the ingredients here. Place all filling ingredients in a bowl to be mixed.

 Mix it up! You can use a hand mixer-- I used my KitchenAid. Maybe this picture wasn't necessary but I thought it looked pretty cool.

Place the filling in a 9x13" casserole dish and move on to the topping.

Chop your pecans..

.Mix all the ingredients together. It might be useful to mix all the dry ingredients first and then add the butter but I didn't and it turned out great!

Here is the result.

Crumble onto the filling and then bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Ah, delicious end result.


3-4 C. mashed yams or sweet potatoes
1/4 C. milk
2 eggs
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. butter

1 C. pecans, chopped
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. flour

1. Pour yams/sweet potatoes into a saucepan with liquid and bring to a boil. Drain off liquid.
2. Mix yams/sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and butter together with an electric mixer.
3. Place filling in 9x13" casserole dish.
4. In a small to medium bowl, mix pecans, flour, butter and brown sugar.
5. Crumble topping onto filling.
6. Cook at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whitney Chicken Enchiladas

One thing Bryan and I had in common growing up was a love for chicken enchiladas. In both cases, it was our most requested meal-- especially for birthdays. I remember writing my favorite meal for something in elementary school and calling it, "Chicken Chiladas." However, our family had two different enchilada recipes that are different only a few ingredients and steps. This is the recipe Bryan grew up loving. True to form, he requested it for his birthday this year. One thing to note when reviewing these pictures is that I doubled the recipe for our dinner party. See the full recipe below. Here's what you'll need:

(These tortillas are very much not round because they are homemade.)
You may use canned chicken, rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken that has been baked. I baked mine and shredded them with a very handy tip I learned from Pinterest. Put your chicken in your KitchenAid with the paddle attachment and turn it on for 20-30 seconds. You will soon have perfectly shredded chicken! I would not have believed it had I not tried it. Anyway, add your green onions to the shredded chicken.

In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream, cream of chicken soup, green chilies and green taco sauce.
You may notice the green taco sauce is full here. I accidentally left that out for the filling process and added it later when I topped the enchiladas with the remaining sauce. As a result, your soup mixture may look more green than mine. It was still good, by the way. I usually buy my cheese in blocks and shred it myself so you can see I've done that already.

On each tortilla, put some chicken, cheese and a tablespoon or so of the soup mixture.

You can pack them tighter than this, I was filling up several casserole dishes and had extra space. Whether tight or loose, it still tastes just as good.

Top with remaining soup mixture and the rest of the cheese. I forgot to take a picture after it had cooked because I made it the night before and cooked it when I got home from work. Sorry! Just imagine the cheese all melted.

Make sure you cover this with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


10-12 lg. flour tortillas
About 1 C. shredded chicken
1/2 a bunch of green onions, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz . sour cream
1 can diced green chilies
1/2 a small bottle of green taco sauce
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded

1. Combine shredded chicken and green onions.
2. Combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream, taco sauce and green chilies. Mix well.
3. On each tortilla place some chicken, cheese and a tablespoon of soup mixture.
4. Roll up and place side by side in a 9x13" casserole dish.
5. Pour leftover soup mixture over top.
6. Top with remaining cheese.
7. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

REVIEW: Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers

If you've never been to Our Best Bites you must go! All of their recipes are so delicious. I always trust that my recipes will turn out well and taste great whenever I make anything from them. This is one of our absolute favorite dishes from them.

Almost anything with the word 'coconut' in it is definitely worth a try. We love these chicken fingers! They have just the right amount of spices to give it a little zing and the perfect amount of sweetness as well. We make these fairly regularly-- definitely a family favorite.

Stir-Fry Tips

One thing we both love is a good stir-fry. Bryan especially loves them after spending two years in Thailand! I don't have a specific recipe for it because it is generally just a bunch of things thrown together but I do have some tips!

  1. My very favorite stir-fry sauce ever is "Mr. Yoshida's Original Gourmet." It can be found at Costco and select grocery stores. I was once pleasantly surprised to find it at Winco! It is the perfect sweetness. 
  2. I heat my sauce up in a sauce pan prior to pouring it into the stir-fry.If you want it to be thicker, you might add some cornstarch.
  3. When I decide to use broccoli in my stir-frys I like to steam them a little first so they are less crunchy.
  4. Nuts! We looooove nuts in our stir-frys-- particularly cashews. They add the perfect final touch to the flavoring. They should be added last of all. If you are keeping some stir-fry in the fridge for leftovers, don't add the nuts to that because they soak up all the sauce and lose their crunchiness.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

REVIEW: Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Happy autumn! One thing I meant to do in starting this blog was to review those recipes I found on the internet that were so delicious we want to add them to our family favorites. Today, I have my first review of such a recipe.

It seems especially appropriate for this time of year. I made this a month or so ago but, on my suggestion, my sister made it for her book club and told me it got rave reviews. I thought it only prudent to share it here.

This cake is so delicious. With it's apple cinnamon flavoring it is just perfect for this time of year. Or really, any time of year! It is so moist, too! That is something I definitely strive for in cake making. No one likes a dry cake, do they? I do have a word of advice, though. My sister called me worried she had done something wrong because the batter was pretty thick rather than the more liquid-like cake batters we're used to. That is perfectly normal! If your cake batter is thick, that's good for this particular recipe.

Happy eating! I hope you find this to be as delectable as I did!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Killer Rice Casserole

This was one of Bryan's favorite meals that his mom made while he was growing up. It was printed in a magazine/newspaper (he can't remember which) as, simply, "Rice Casserole." However, it kept being described in the article as a "killer" recipe and they definitely found it to be so after giving it a try. So, it was dubbed "Killer Rice Casserole." He told me that his mom lost the recipe for several years and when she finally found it again and made it, it was still delicious as remembered. This recipe lives up to the "killer" hype!

See the end for the full recipe. Here's what you'll need:
(you can see I was getting pretty low on rice...)
The first thing you'll want to do is to cook your rice. I always find it helps to let your rice rest a while after it is done cooking, so whipping up the rest of this recipe gives it ample resting time.

Next... Yes, I know this picture is terrible quality... and you probably all know what it means to chop an onion, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway. So go ahead and chop your onion! (You'll probably want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees at this point as well.)

Melt a stick of butter in a skillet over medium to med-high heat.

Stir in the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.

Then, add the sour cream, cottage cheese, salt, pepper and cooked rice (everything but the cheese and green chilies) and fold the mixture together gently.

This is just a picture of the end result after it has been folded gently.

Take one third of that mixture and spread it across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Now take half of your cheese and spread that in a layer over the rice mixture.

Now take half of you green chilies and sprinkle them on top of the cheese. After this, take half of the remaining rice mixture and spread another layer over the cheese/chilies. Spread the rest of the cheese on top and follow with the rest of the green chilies. Now, spread the last of the rice mixture over the top for your final layer.

Cover this with foil and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Hurray for cheesy goodness! I should mention that Bryan's Aunt Jeanette put together a Whitney/Gillmore family cookbook and marked all of Bryan's favorite recipes as a present for my bridal shower. It was a great idea and I've really cherished it. It's great to add a whole new set of favorite recipes to my own.


1 1/2 C. uncooked rice
1 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
1 (8 oz.) carton cottage cheese, small curd
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. grated cheddar cheese
1 can chopped green chilies, drained

1. Cook rice, set aside.
2. Melt butter in a skillet and sauté onion until translucent.
3. Add cooked rice, sour cream, cottage cheese, salt and pepper and gently fold everything together.
4. Spread one third of this mixture on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
5. Top with half of the cheese and half of the green chilies.
6. Put another of the third of the rice as another layer (half of what is left of the rice).
7. Top with remaining cheese and then remaining chilies. Spread the rest of the rice on top as the final layer.
8. Cover with foil and cook for one hour at 350 degrees.