Sour Cream Coffee Cake

One of my husband’s favorite breakfasts is coffee cake and scrambled eggs, often with bacon. We’ve been on the look out for the last few years for the perfect coffee cake. We’ve had a lot of really good ones, but until this weekend didn’t have one which we really thought was perfect. I’m happy to say this sour cream coffee cake is amazing. It’s got a tender crumb, and a rich flavor, and the addition of Ultra Gel and cake flour make for a nice moisture which has continued for three days. It also freezes beautifully, all in all a perfect coffee cake.

The funny part… I’ve had this cake in my recipe book for years. I just had to play around with the Ultra Gel. Thanks mom!

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream (I like the reduced fat)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups cake flour

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 cup milk

Filling and Topping

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

2-4 Tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and add to sour cream mixture. Fold in lemon rind. Gradually add milk to make a smooth batter, but do not over beat.

Combine ingredients for filling. Spread half of the batter in a greased and floured 8×8 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with half of the filling. Spread with remaining batter and top with remaining filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tests done.

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

I’m not going to give this recipe a lot of lead in. It’s decadent. It’s marvelous. It was a hit at an event with about 50 women who all wanted a piece. It’s that good.

It’s not for those on a diet. So use this knowledge responsibly.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

1 family sized brownie mix

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

8 ounces light cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

6 ounces fresh raspberries

Mix 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips into brownie mix. Prepare brownie as per the box. Spread 2/3s of the brownie mix in the bottom of a glass 9×13 inch pan. With an electric or stand mixer beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel until smooth. Add raspberries and beat until well mixed. Spread cream cheese mixture over brownie mixture. Top with remaining brownie mixture and swirl. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-40 minutes until tests done with a toothpick. Cool and serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a light layer of chocolate buttercream to push it right over the top!

Pork Chili

Spring in Utah is always an interesting beast. The weather can rarely make up its mind and 20-40 degree temperature swings are nothing. This last week was one of those. I’d just started getting comfortable with temperatures in the mid 60s and it bottomed out and headed for freezing with a side order of snow. Given this temperature shift and the fact I had some really nice lean ground pork in the fridge it was a night which called for an amazing pork chili.

One of the fun things with chili and Ultra Gel is the ability to make up your own spice packet. I make these 6-12 at a time and keep them in the cupboard so that chili is as easy as brown meat, add beans, toss in spice packet and warm. I love that this spice packet is all ingredients I choose so I can avoid allergens or flavors we don’t like, and cut back on sodium and sugar! It’s a win no matter how you look at it!

Chili Spice Packet

1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel

1 1/2 Tablespoon Chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a resealable bag. Label. Good for upto 6 months.

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Pork Chili

1 pound ground pork

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 can tomato sauce

1 can drained northern white beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 chili spice packet

1-2 teaspoons Lousiana hot sauce (if desired)

Brown pork and onion in a medium sauce pan until pork is browned and onion is translucent. Add all other ingredients and cook until warmed all the way through. Serve hot with bread. Yum!

Pie Day!

It’s a throw back pi Day, with one of our favorite spring time pie recipes.

Five minutes.

Fresh strawberries.

Perfect.

Five Minute Fresh Strawberry Pie

One of the sure signs of spring, at least in this neck of the woods, is when the strawberries return to the store fronts. They will also return to my garden, but that’s admittedly closer to summer. Anyway…there are strawberries and I was fortunate enough to find a sale where I could get a full flat of 8 pounds for $7.49! Around here that’s a fantastic price so I got a full flat. Having a full flat lead to deciding that there must be fresh strawberry pie in our house, and fortunately with Ultra Gel it only takes 5 minutes.

Now, a couple of notes before I share the recipe. First of all the recipe calls for sliced strawberries. How sliced you want them is upto you. If you like a chunkier pie then cut your strawberries in halves or quarters. Otherwise slices or even diced will work just fine. It’s all according to your taste. Secondly this pie is an oddball as far as how long it keeps. The problem is that when the strawberries are refrigerated they tend to weep and this adds a lot of moisture to the glaze which will end up thinner than when you started. You can combat this by either making your initial gel thicker knowing it will thin down a little, or by cutting the strawberries and letting them sit in the fridge for upto an hour to pull the moisture out (which you then drain off and use, don’t waste strawberry juice!) before adding the gel, or by eating the pie all at once as soon as you make it. That last option is my favorite!

And make sure to always top off with lots of Ultra Gel Whipping Cream and a strawberry fan for flair.

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Five Minute Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

1-1.5 pounds of fresh strawberries, sliced (1 pound for a 9 inch crust, 1.5 or more for a 10 inch crust or a deep dish)

1 cups sugar

1 package strawberry Kool Aid

2 cups water

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice – to taste

10 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine sugar, kool aid and water and mix until sugar is complete dissolved. Whisk in Ultra Gel one tablespoon at a time until completely combined. This will give you a medium set. You can add more or less Ultra Gel to taste, but remember Ultra Gel will keep thickening for 3-5 minutes after you stop adding more. So start with a little less than you think you need, see how it sets and then add more a little at a time.

Fold gel into strawberries until desired ratio of gel to berry is achieved. Pour coated berries into pie crust and top with whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This doesn’t cut really crisp, but it tastes oh so good!

Peach Habanero Salmon

I was recently asked for one of my favorite fast recipe using a Cornaby’s product. It took almost no time at all to share this recipe for Peach Habanero Salmon. The Peach Habanero cooking sauce is an amazing combination of heat and sweet and delicate enough to match perfectly with fish. Salmon is a great fleshy fish with a lovely flavor and nutritional punch, easy to cook and reasonably priced. I generally figure about 1/4-1/3 pound of salmon per person because it’s just that good.

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Peach Habanero Salmon

1/3 pound salmon per person

Cornaby’s Peach Habanero Cooking Sauce

Salt

Pepper

Prepare salmon by rinsing gently (if needed) and check for any pin bones. You’ll lay the fish out depending on your method of cooking. Oven: Place fish on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, skin side down. Grilling: Lay out on a plate for preparation before being moved to the grill, or prepare on cedar plank. Smoking: Same as Grilling. All methods: Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and then spread with a generous layer of cooking sauce. Cook until fish is done through at the thickest part, opaque and flaky. Serve warm.

Shepherd Pie with Sweet Potatoes

As we’ve been looking for ways to eat better we’ve become big fans of sweet potatoes and yams. Yes, there is a difference. Real yams come from Africa or Asia and are rarely actually seen in American mega marts. What the store calls yams are the colored starchy root which most of us picture as a Thanksgiving side covered in marshmallows…usually to be avoided at all costs. Sweet potatoes are a similar root, but grown in the US and are usually white or off white in color and only a little sweeter than traditional potatoes. Both yams and sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and flavor and nutrition and they can be cooked in a lot of different ways, all of them pleasing, though few of them with marshmallows.

So now that we’ve dealt with sweet potato stigma let’s get down to our recipe. This shepherd pie recipe is one of my family’s favorites, and our go to anytime we have left over mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. It’s a simple recipe, easy to make ahead and, thanks to a bit of Ultra Gel to hold it all together, even freezes well.You can use various vegetables in it, though I’ll give you measurements with string beans.

Shepherd pie is also sometimes called cottage pie and is very popular in the UK. Some of the earliest recipes featured ground lamb and whatever veggies were available. I tend towards ground turkey or beef because those are easier to come by, but if you have lamb on hand, give it a try!

This recipe is gluten free and you can make it with more vegetables and no meat for a vegetarian option! Change over the cheese for a soy cheese and you’re dairy free and vegan too. I love a recipe with options!

shepherd pie

Shepherd Pie with Sweet Potatoes

1 pound ground meat (turkey, lamb, beef or a combination)

1 medium onion, diced

1 can tomato soup (I prefer low sodium)

2-3 cups drained string beans (These can be home canned or store purchased. I also like adding diced carrots or zucchini squash if I have them on hand. It’s a good way to clean out your veggies)

1 small can tomato sauce

1/4 cup water

1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes or potatoes, thinned slightly

1/2-1 cup shredded cheese

In a medium saucepan brown ground meat and onion until meat is cooked through and onion is transparent and soft. Drain grease. Add soup, vegetables, tomato sauce and water and mix well. Add Ultra Gel and spices and cook until ingredients are warmed through. You can adjust the amount of Ultra Gel depending on how thick you want your mixture. Sometimes when you add extra vegetables it will increase the moisture level of the mix and you’ll want extra Ultra Gel to keep the mixture at the thickeness of a thick stew. Remove meat mixture to a 9×9 inch baking dish. Cover with potatoes and top with cheese. (If freezing, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and date. Freeze for upto 4 months).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until all ingredients are warmed through and cheese has melted.

Serve warm.

Tzatziki sauce

Okay….I screwed up. This was totally supposed to post over a week ago. But save draft is not the same as schedule draft. Le sigh.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for killer homemade tzatziki sauce. We use Ultra Gel in this Tzatziki sauce as it will keep the water in suspension from the cucumber, and it means you don’t have to drain your greek yogurt, so it speeds up making the recipe as well.

With the Super Bowl around the corner Greek Meatballs with this sauce would make a killer appetizer. Serve them up with some naan bread and you’re in business!

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Tzatziki sauce

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (Fresh is best)

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

3 cups plain greek yogurt

1-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

salt and pepper

Combine cucumber pieces and salt in a colander and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse gently and shake dry. Combine cucumber, lemon, garlic and dill in a food processor and pulse until well combined and cucumber pieces are well chopped. Add mixture to greek yogurt and mix well. Allow to sit for five minutes, then whisk in Ultra Gel until just thinner than desired consistency is reached. Let sit for three minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. Yum!