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Strawberry Cake

Next to pineapples one of my favorite fruits is strawberries. I remember growing up and my home ed teacher, Mrs. Burns would sell this extra large cupcakes after school for $0.75 cents. Without fail every afternoon she would sell of this delectable delights of lemon, vanilla and strawberry. So this past Labor Day weekend I decided to re-visit an old friend, the Strawberry Cake. So as our farewell to summer until 2013, we celebrated with a delicious, scrumptious strawberry cake.  It was fresh, fruity and full flavor.  Just like I remembered.

Ingredients

Strawberry Cake

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed; Reserve 1/4 cup for frosting
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup reserved strawberry puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
  • 7 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • red food coloring, optional
  • Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

3. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

4. Time to make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the reserved strawberry puree and the strawberry extract. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth.

5. Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.

*Chef’s Note – 1) You can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If you use frozen, let them defrost first and then place in a food processor and pulse until pureed. If you want puree to be seedless just run through a medium-sized strainer to remove the seeds.

2) Some chefs avoid using red food coloring, I did however add some food coloring to achieve that perfectly pink color. If you don’t care about getting the pink color, feel free to leave it out. I used about 5 drops, but you should add them one at a time until you achieve the color you are looking for.

Peanut Butter Fudge Cake

Now you know I love me some peanut butter and chocolate. And any way I can get, I have it. This cake is so rich & so delicious. Don’t forget the milk. You will definitely need it! It’s like having a BIG OLE’ peanut butter cup in your mouth.

Ingredients

for cake:

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Devil Food Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

for frosting:

  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, soften
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, soften
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, chopped (optional garnish)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (on chocolate cake mixes I love to use cocoa instead of flour) two 9 inch circle cake pans.

2. Place cake mix, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla and oil in large mixing bowl. Blend on low for 1 minute, scrape bowl, and blend on medium 2 more minutes. Batter should look thick and well combined. Lightly coat chocolate chips with flour and fold into the batter, making sure they’re well distributed. Pour batter into greased and floured pan.

3. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched and cake just starts to pull away from sides of pan. Place on rack to cool for 20 minutes.

3. While cake is cooling make frosting. In medium bowl beat the peanut butter, cream cheese and unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, whipping cream and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Beat well and continue to add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time  mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and it reaches your desired consistency. About 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Now for the  assembly, place bottom circle on cake stand or plate. Spread top with 1 cup frosting. Add the second circle to the top. Spread the rest of frosting on sides and top of chocolate cake. Carefully garnish cake by pressing chopped peanut butter cups into frosting. Chill for a few hours, or overnight, before serving. Serve & Enjoy!

*Chef’s Tip – This cake benefits from some refrigeration due to the cream cheese & heavy whipping cream in the frosting. It helps the entire enterprise of cake while melding the layers together. Maybe an hour. Not a lot. Or forget it and just dig into the cake. Perfect slices are for when you need to appear fancy. Get over it and just eat the darn thang. Nobody really remembers how good it looked. Just how good it tasted.

Peanut Butter “Cheese Ball”

Well the time has come and I am ready for some football baby. And what goes perfect with football? Snacks of course. So here is a yummy recipe that takes the savory cheese ball and turns it into something sweet. Like I said before anything with peanut butter & chocolate; I’m All In!

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • Graham cracker sticks, teddy grahams, and/or apple slices for dipping

Instructions

1. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until blended.

2. Spoon onto a large piece of plastic wrap; bring up all four corners and twist tightly forming into a ball shape.

3. Freeze for 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm enough to keep its shape. Place peanut butter and chocolate chips in flat dish. Remove plastic wrap from ball and roll ball into morsels to completely cover, pressing morsels into the ball if necessary.

4. Place ball on serving dish; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until almost firm. (Can be made ahead. If frozen overnight, thaw at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.) Serve with graham cracker sticks, teddy grahams, or apple slices for dipping or spreading.

*Chef’s Note – Celery sticks and/or carrots make for an excellent dipper for this dip also.

Hot Bean Dip

The first time I had bean dip I was blown away. It was in my 1oth grade Spanish class. We had to do a presentation for class and one of my classmates had brought a bean dip for extra credit. I think he was just trying to kiss up to the teacher. Such a Show-off. Making us all look bad with his fabulous, oh so good bean dip.. Anywho, it was a big hit and everyone loved it. The only regret I have about it was I wish I got the recipe. Even though I have not found an exact replica, I have discovered this concoction that is Easy. Peasy. Hot and Cheesy. Just absolutely delicious. Try this hot cheesy delicious dip at your next gathering! Your friends will thank you!

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 5 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 (8 ounce) block Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (8 ounce) block Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix in the refried beans, taco seasoning, hot pepper sauce, parsley, green onions, 1/2 the Cheddar cheese and 1/2 the Monterey Jack cheese.

3. Transfer the mixture to an 8×12 inch baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

4. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned.

Southern Pimento Cheese

Fried Chicken, Sweet Tea, Barbecue, Catfish, and Grits— are all some examples of true Southern culinary icons. Which brings me to two of my favorite words “comfort” and “food.” Put them together and it’s magic, just like the simple blend of cheese, mayonnaise and sweet peppers known across the South as pimento cheese.

Like most Southerners, I grew up with pimento cheese spread — from the processed stuff sold in supermarkets to the wonderful, chunky and flavorful varieties made at home. The popularity of this unique spread remains largely confined to the states below the Mason-Dixon line, where it assumes its place as a Southern delicacy. But you don’t have to travel down South to enjoy some authentic pimento cheese. Its basic ingredients are readily available everywhere, and it’s a cinch to make. With it only taking 15 minutes or less to make, why not whip up a batch today?

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, soften
  • 4 ounces vermont extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar of pimentos, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon Porter House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 dash hot sauce (or more!)

Instructions

1. Using a hand held mixer, beat cream cheese until soft.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until creamy and combined.
3. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
4. Serve as a dip or as a sandwich filling.

Porter House Seasoning

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder

1. Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

No-Bake Cheesecake

I love me some cheesecake. Cherry, Snickers, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Key Lime, Strawberry, Plain, ANY C-H-E-E-S-E-C-A-K-E! That’s why I can’t wait til my birthday. Anywho, whenever I get the chance to treat myself to something good; my go to is always cheesecake. Try this no fuss, no bake, easy as pie recipe today. It’s sure to please the senses.

Ingredients

for the crust
2 cups Nilla Wafers crumbs, finely crushed
1 stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup of sugar

for the filling
2 (8 oz) packs cream cheese, soften
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Put Nilla Wafers in a large resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine.

2. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl; stir in sugar. Add butter, and stir until well combined.

3. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer at least 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the soften cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

5. Pour the filling into the prepared crust; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

6. Unclasp sides of pan, and remove cheesecake.

7. Top with your favorite fruit topping or serve plain. Your Choice.

8. ENJOY!

*CHEF’S NOTE – The cookie pie crust can be made with any type of crunchy cookie like Oreos, graham crackers, shortbread, gingersnaps, chocolate chip cookies etc. Be creative & Let your imagination run wild.

Pineapple Delight

I remember the first time I had this dessert. I LOVED it then & I LOVE it even more today.  Its cool, refreshing and not overly sweet. Just perfect for a hot summer’s day. It’s even better the next day;  if by chance there are any leftovers. Truly a family favorite here in the Porter House.

Ingredients

2 cups of grahams crackers, crushed

6 tablespoons of sugar

6 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 – 8 oz of cream cheese, soften

1 – 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1  – 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained

1 – 8 oz container of cool whip

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom of 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake for 10 min.

In a large bowl, beat soften cream cheese and sweetened condense milk until smooth. Next mix in the drained crushed pineapple. Now fold in the cool whip. Spoon pineapple mixture over graham cracker crust once it has completely cooled. Garnish mixture with a few graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top. Refrigerate overnight. Serve the next day and enjoy!

Southern Banana Pudding

How many times have I made banana pudding for my family? Let me count the times. LOL. I can  remember the very first time I made this delectable delight as if is it was yesterday. And as fast as you can say banana pudding it was all gone.  That’s just how much they loved it. To this day I have been making it ever since. Countless times. Try this recipe today it will sure to become a family favorite.

  • Ingredients

  • 1 box of Vanilla Wafers
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 (3-oz) box instant Vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-oz) container of cool whip

Instructions

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend with a handheld mixer. Using another bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and condensed milk together until smooth. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Next fold in 3/4 of the the cool whip to the mixture.

Now line the bottom of a 13×9 dish with a layer of vanilla wafers. Then a layer of 3-4 bananas. Next layer half the pudding mixture on top of the wafers and bananas. Repeat the layers with the remaining wafers, bananas and pudding. Top dessert with remaining cool whip and garnish with a few crumbled vanilla wafers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*TIP: Give this dish a more elegant flare by using Chessmen Cookies

Strawberry Shortcake

I myself have never been a big fruity type pie person. However I do like them, I just don’t LOVE them like I LOVE chocolate. So when I was shopping in the market one day I was at a lost at what dessert I was going to fix for Sunday dinner. I wanted and craved something different. Something more than the ordinary. So I left the store and went home and Google away until I came upon a recipe I was intrigued by. It was something simple but yet classic. The good ole Strawberry Shortcake. This was perfect because strawberries were in season and I knew that this was going to be a good change.  Besides any recipe that has cream cheese and powdered sugar in it has to be good. With a little re-mixing I made this recipe a true Porter House Original. Try it today, You’ll be glad that you did.

INGREDIENTS

Yellow Cake Mix
Eggs
Buttermilk
Oil or Butter (Depends on Cake Mix)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
8 oz. Cream Cheese (soften)
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 container of Strawberries

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix the first five ingredients and bake cake according to box instructions (Note: I use a 9 x 13 pan)

2. Let cake cool completely … While the cake is cooling make the topping …

3. Blend soften cream cheese with powdered sugar … After the cream cheese/sugar is combined; Fold in cool whip … After everything is combined frost mixture on cooled cake ..

4. Next step is to wash & cut strawberries … Sprinkle evenly over entire cake …

5. Eat and enjoy … refrigerate any leftovers ..

*CHEF’S TIP : If strawberries are not your thing (BYOC – Be Your Own Chef) and use whatever fruit you like. Happy Baking!