Monday, February 25, 2013

Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my newest favorite right now.  I am currently obsessed with red velvet cake.  And I can't fully tell if it is of the mere fact that it is a chocolate cake, and being that I am a lady and all ladies crave the chocolate, or if it is because there is then the irrefutable excuse to slather on gobs of cream cheese frosting.  Because, truth be told, that is the ultimate craving of mine, anything cream cheese that is.  So it's kind of like fate that these two foodly desires of mine walk hand-in-hand in a cake.  Completely perfect in every way I say.

1 box of red velvet cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist)
1- 3.9oz. box of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/4 cups of water
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 eggs (at room temperature- so you get the proper rise on your cake)
8-10 drops of red food coloring (optional- I wanted it to be a brighter red)
1 recipe of my homemade cream cheese frosting
a handful of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for garnish

-Preheat your oven to 350*.  Grease the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix and the pudding mix.  Next, using a handheld mixer on low, beat in the water, oil, eggs and food coloring for a minute.  Then, beat it on medium for 2 more minutes.  Pour the batter into your greased baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted wooden toothpick pulls out clean.  While it is baking, go ahead and prepare my cream cheese frosting as directed in my linked above recipe, cover and set aside until ready to use.  Allow your cake to fully cool before spreading on the frosting and garnishing with the mini chocolate chips.  Serves 12.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sweetened Red Wine Marinara with Butternut Squash and Cheese Filled Ravioli

Talk about a flavor combination made in heaven when it comes to this delicious dish.  The warm cinnamon sweetness of the butternut squash filled ravioli's work perfectly with the deep roasted sweetness of the peppers.  And the sweetened red wine marinara works as a ribbon, threading both contrasting flavors together.

1 medium yellow onion (roasted according to my recipe: )
1 green sweet pepper (roasted according to my recipe: )
1-2 T. of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup or so of red wine (you should cook with what you like to drink- so I used a slightly semi-sweet red wine called Country Red by St. James Winery out of Missouri)
1- 14.5oz. can of sliced stewed tomatoes (un-drained)
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of dried basil
1 tsp. of sugar
1- 26oz. jar of pasta sauce (I used Prego's Tomato Basil Garlic)
1 bag of cheese filled ravioli (frozen)
1 bag of butternut squash filled ravioli (frozen)
fresh or dried chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

-Once your roasted veggies have cooled enough to handle, go ahead and chop them into short strips.  Heat up a large sauce pan over medium-high heat with the extra virgin olive oil.  Once you can smell the oil, toss in your roasted veggies and your minced garlic.  Saute until heated through (about 30 seconds or so), then pour in your red wine.  Bring this to a nice simmer and then add in the tomatoes, their juices and the pasta sauce.  Stir in the sea salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, basil and sugar. Again bring this all to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low until you are ready to eat (as always the longer the better).  Prepare your ravioli as directed on their packaging in boiling water, drain and plate with a heaping ladle full of your sauce and veggies.  Then sprinkle the top with a bit of fresh chopped parsley.  Serves 4-6.  Enjoy!