rumcakeAll my brother wants for his birthday is this cake.  He cuts it in several pieces and freezes it, eating it a little at a time over several months.  It is a very rich, moist “boozy” cake.  Perfect for the holidays!  Enjoy!

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 18 1/2 oz. package yellow cake mix
1 3 3/4 oz. pkg. Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie filling
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup Wesson oil
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum
1/4-pound butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan, or 12 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert cake onto a serving plate. FOR GLAZE: melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the water and sugar. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the rum. Prick all over the top of the cake. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow the cake to absorb the glaze completely. Repeat until glaze is used up. Have waxed paper underneath and continue to scoop up the glaze and add it until the cake is saturated.


Source: Bacardi Party Book


My New Favorite-Sliders!

My new favorite way to make burgers is in slider form.  Out of all the things I slider2can cook, I can’t grill a decent full size hamburger.  I’m paranoid about them not being fully cooked and getting e coli.  One thing I learned when I worked in the food industry is unless you ground your own beef; don’t even chance eating a medium/rare burger.  Not worth it.  On a more up-beat note – sliders are delish and very quick to make.  And I’m all about instant satisfaction – especially when I’m hungry.

Hamburger Sliders

1 – 1 ½ lbs 80-20 ground beef

2-3 tablespoons of Worchester sauce

1 tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic salt (I like Lowry’s California Garlic Salt)

Hawaiian Bread dinner rolls

Topping of your choice i.e. chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, finely sliced sweet onion, sliced mini dills, etc.

Mix ground beef with Worchester sauce, onion powder and garlic salt.  Form into patties that are thin and bigger than the Hawaiian rolls (80-20 beef will shrink).  I used one of those cheap plastic patty forms and made the patty just shy (1/2”) from the edge.

Heat grill on high.  Place patties on grill to sear first side and turn heat down to medium.  Cook 2-3 minutes, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until juices run clear.  Top with cheese of your liking to melt.

Serve with rolls and toppings.  Enjoy!

A Dish to Impress with Ease…

I love to entertain. And when I do, I try to pick out a menu that is simple but sure to please so I can take part in the “party”. This recipe was handed down to me by my mother-in-law. She happened to come across this one on an Italian Bread Crumb container. So easy and quick to make, but when you taste it, you would never know it. A restaurant-quality dish for sure.

Chicken with Wine & Mushrooms

4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts pounded to a ¼’’ thickness

1 – ½  cups Italian-flavored bread crumbs

 ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 8oz. container mushrooms sliced

1 large sweet onion sliced

1 stick butter (divided)

2 tbsps. Olive oil

1 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt ½ stick of butter and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Mix parmesan cheese and bread crumbs together. Dredge chicken in bread crumb mixture and brown on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and place in 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Add remaining butter to sauté pan and caramelize onions. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and let simmer for about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and pour mixture over the chicken breasts. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.


Let’s NOT Talk Turkey II…

I was out of town last week, so I didn’t get around to posting more side dish recipes for the biggest “food” day of the year.  So here are a few more of my favorites.

This first one, Baked Spiced Butternut Squash with Apples and Maple Syrup, was published in Bon Appétit, 1998.  Growing up on a farm, we had an abundance of squash from the garden and apples from a local orchard. Tired of the same ol’ way of preparing squash, this is a nice change using the two ingredients.  And for all those who don’t like sweet taters (can’t imagine who doesn’t…but I’m sure there are a few out there) it is a nice replacement for that traditional Turkey Day dish.

Baked Spiced Butternut Squash with Apples and Maple Syrup (Bon Appétit, 1998)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 small butternut squashes, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices

4 6-ounce Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Stir butter, maple syrup and apple juice in small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts. Increase heat and boil until mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cinnamon, allspice and salt.

Arrange 1/3 of squash slices in prepared dish. Top with half of apple slices, then 1/3 of squash slices. Arrange remaining slices of squash and apple atop, alternating squash and apple slices and overlapping slightly. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Pour maple syrup mixture over. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.

Bake casserole until squash is almost tender, about 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until squash is tender, basting occasionally with syrup, about 20 minutes longer. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Re-warm, covered, in 350°F oven about 25 minutes, or microwave on high about 8 minutes.) Spoon syrup from dish over vegetables and serve.


Now…if butter is forbidden in your diet – this is not the recipe for you.  But, if you are like me, and butter is a staple, you iz gonna like it!  This is just a basic stuffing recipe – add whatever else you like.  I’m a simple gal and like it just the way it is.

Ma’s Basic Buttery Onion Stuffing

1 bag unseasoned bread cubes

2 large sweet onions diced

1 – 3 sticks of butter

Chicken stock

1 ½ tbsp. Bells Poultry Seasoning

Giblets – cooked and chopped (optional)

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 glass casserole dish with butter.  Preheat oven to 350 F-degrees.  Sauté onions with 1 stick of butter until carmelized.  Add giblets until heated through.  In a large bowl, combine bread cubes and Bells poultry seasoning.  Melt remaining butter and add to bread cubes along with the onion mixture and salt/pepper.  Mix well.*  Add enough chicken stock to moisten, but not to the point where it gets mushy.  Mix well – place in casserole dish, dot with butter.  Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.  At this point, remove foil and bake until golden brown on top for about another 15 minutes.

(*At this point, you can refrigerate overnight and finish the next day.)


Here’s one more for ya – I don’t make it every year – but if I’m in a bind and have a big crowd coming over – it’s an easy, crowd-pleasing dish.  It’s so easy to double this.  This recipe is provided from Jiffy® mixes…

Corn Souffle

1 can whole corn, drained
1 can cream corn
1 stick butter
1 Jiffy® corn muffin mix
1 (8 oz.) container of sour cream

Mix all ingredients together. Grease dish with butter. Pour corn mixture into dish. Bake at 350 F degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m outta town again next week…

Meet Me in St. Louie…For Some Toasted Ravioli

I recently returned from a trip I took to St. Louis, MO.  I actually went down there to tour wineries; but during my visit, I learned that Toasted Ravioli was invented there the 1940s.  Some say  the dish was invented in 1943 at Oldani’s on “The Hill” by chef Terry Lane. Others claim that toasted ravioli was first cooked up in 1947 by a chef at Angelo’s when he accidentally dropped ravioli into a tray of bread crumbs, then decided to fry it up.  However and whoever invented doesn’t matter.  What matters is, it’s good eatin and easy to make!

Toasted Ravioli

2 tbsp. milk

1 egg

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

1/2 (25 oz.) package frozen cheese ravioli, thawed

vegetable oil for frying

grated Parmesan cheese

1 (16 oz.) jar spaghetti/marinara sauce – heated

Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and salt in a shallow dish. Dip ravioli in milk mixture and then dredge in breadcrumbs.

In a large heavy pan, pour oil to depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350-degrees. Fry a few ravioli few at a time making sure not to crowd the pan. This will lower the oil temperature. Fry 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with hot marinara sauce.