Pineapple Upside Down Cake

We just got back from Maui.  I miss the islands.  The warm sun, the ocean, and all the wonderful fresh fruit and fish.  We came back to Fairbanks to find snow and minus 0 temps.  Booooo.  Winter is here to stay this time.

I thought I would make a nice cake to remind me of the Islands.  And my hubby loves pineapple!

Here goes


1 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick of butter
4-5 pineapple rings
Marachino Cherries

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pineapple juice (i used the juice from the can of pineapple rings)

Melt butter and pour in bottom of the pan. I like the bundt cake pan, but any will do. Add pineapple rings and put the cherries in the center.

Prepare cake

Add all dry ingredients and sift. Combine all wet ingredients in a separate bowl and lightly wisk. Add dry to the wet ingredients. Use a hand mixer and mix on med for about 2 minutes. Poor over the pineapple.

For bundt pan, bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350. I have a dark colored non stick pan, so it brown to fast, so I pull the heat down to about 310 and bake and check at 30 minutes and adjust cooking time. For light colored or glass pan use 350. Round or square cakes should be done in about aprox. 25 minutes depending on size of pan used.

Cool cake for 5 minutes and remove from pan onto serving platter. Serve and enjoy!

Short Ribs….these were a slice of heaven

A nice cozy dinner to end the day with.

After a unsatisfying day at work, there is something about coming home to a nice, warm, hearty meal.

On the menu were beef short ribs with wine sauce, fresh green salad, and homemade dinner rolls.  Yummy.  I will share the recipes for the beef ribs and the rolls.

The beef ribs were fall off the bone succulent, combined with the wine sauce it was heaven.  The wine sauce reduced to a wonderful sauce that was good enough that I wanted to drink it out of the pot!  It may not look that great, but the taste was out of this world 🙂

1 and 1/2 tsp. Olive or Veggie Oil
all purpose flour for dusting
1 package of beef short ribs, fat trimmed, about 6 ribs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 yellow onion
1 cup rough chopped carrots
1 and 1/2 cups of good dry red wine
1 and 1/2 cups of Low Sodium chicken or beef stock.  I used my homemade chicken stock, as it was all I had
6-8 large cremini mushrooms halved with stems, or 1 portebello rough chopped
4-6 whole small red potatoes
1/4 tsp rosemary, dried
2 cloves smashed garlic
1 tbls. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. franks red hot sauce
chopped fresh parsley

Season ribs with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour.  Heat olive oil in heavy dutch oven or heavy stock pot.  I used the stock pot for a top of the stove cooking method.  Brown the ribs on all sides, till a nice crust forms.  Remove ribs leaving any oil or drippings in the pot.  Add in rough chopped onions and carrots and quickly sautee for about 3 minutes.  Add wine and reduce about half.  Add stock, and all remaining ingredients.  Do not add additional salt at this time!  Bring sauce to a boil, reduce to simmer and add back the ribs.  Cover and simmer.

If you are using a dutch oven you can then move to the oven at 325 for about 3-4 hours, checking for tenderness after 2.5 hours.

I use the top of the stove method.  Simmer for about 2.5 hours and remove lid, check ribs for doneness and tenderness.  Simmer uncovered about 30-50 minutes longer depending on the ribs.  Sauce should reduce to about half and become thick.  You want a nice sauce consistency but not gravy like!  Taste for seasoning, and add salt at this time if not salty enough.

The veggies will become very mushy, but I like this as they almost fall apart and give the sauce body.  Ribs should be fork or fall apart tender. Plate up, and top each with some finely chopped fresh parsley and enjoy.  I enjoyed this with a nice fresh green salad with homemade croutons!

Next were the rolls.  These are a nice crusty roll that I formed into a small crescent moon shape. But these are not butter crescent style rolls.  This makes about 2.5 dozen rolls depending on size.  These turned out very crusty on the outside with a lovely soft creamy inside.  Perfect for butter and jam.  Or what I did was dip it in the wine sauce.  I think I ate 4 of these little guys before I could stop.

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk, I used 1%
1/2 oz of yeast
1 room temp egg
2 tbls veggie oil
6 tbls sugar
5-6 cups of flour

I’m not a precision baker, so I added all ingredients, but only about 2 cups of the flour.  I beat this with my electric mixer for about 3-4 minutes.  Then slowly added in the remaining flour about 5 cups total to form a soft sticky dough.  I moved to a floured board and began kneading mixing in more flour till the dough was not sticky.  Kneaded for about 8 minutes.  Placed in greased bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Let rise for about 45 minutes in my warmed oven.

Removed and punched down the dough. Cut the dough into thirds, put 2/3 in fridge for later use and rolled the remaining 1/3 out to about 1/2 inch thick dough.  I cut these out with a round cookie cutter about 2″ size.  To get the crescent shape I folded the circles in half.  Moving them to a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.  Covered and let rise for about 30 minutes till almost double.  I found mine did not rise as much as I would like, but I think my yeast may have not been good.  Good idea to prep the yeast in sugar and water first to check to make sure its activated!  Bake at 375 for about 10-12 minutes till golden brown.

Red Beans, Rice and Corn Muffins, OH MY

A perfect day for warm and spicy red beans and rice with andouille sausage.

Spicy, warm and filling.  I like to slice up my andouille and brown it with green peppers and some jalapeño and then add it to my beans and rice during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  And I like my rice to be saucy!

So, I needed something to go with my beans and rice.  What better than corn muffins!  I wanted to make corn muffins with a little more umpf than just plain.  And I hate sweet tasting corn muffins.  I am picky about my corn bread products.  So I thought I would add some extras to make it special.

I like to call this Susie’s Spicy Corn Bread

Here goes:

1 cup of corn meal
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of sugar (less if you like it less sweet)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 room temp large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup of warmed milk, I use 1%, buttermilk also works great if you have some leftovers hanging around!
1 tbls. melted butter
1 seeded and ribbed jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 cup of prev. frozen or tinned whole corn
1/2 to 3/4 cup of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, I like the White Vermont kind
1/8 tsp. dried dill
1 clove pressed garlic, this needs to be super fine pressed, chopped or paste

Mix all ingredients together.  Let mix stand for about 5 minutes to let the baking soda do its work, then stir lightly and place in greased muffin tins.  Or you can use a square baker or small loaf pan.  I like to use regular sized muffin tins.  Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full. This makes about 6-8 generous sized muffins.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the muffin or type of pan.  I sometimes like to top each muffins with a small chunk of cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking. I love a good cheesy corn muffin.

Serve with softened butter and honey. This went so well with the red beans and rice.  It was a hit. And the muffins make a great snack later or for breakfast the next day, if there are any left over.

Pot Pies, Nascar, and Football

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways 🙂  Time to clean out the fridge and get rid of all the odd and ends.  You know…that quarter of an onion and the left overs you didnt want to throw out.

So, that leads me to my favorite thing for cleaning out the fridge….Pot Pies.  And I even had half a puff pastry sheet left over in the freezer from the apple tart from last week!

Here is my easy recipe for my pot pie last nite.

one puff pastry sheet
onions, green or yellow
one par boiled red potato cubed
1 tbls ap flour
1 tbls butter
2 cups chicken stock

I like to chop up all the veggies and any meat you may have and lightly sautee in a small amount of olive oil.   If meat is raw, then sautee it first till done then add the veggies. Remove from pan.  Add flour and butter and make a roux.  I like to take mine to a dark blonde color.  Add stock and wisk till thickened.

Prepare your ramikins or you can use one big bowl or baker.  I like to use the individual ones that way no one steals my crust.  Roll out the puff to about double the size.  I like to cut out a bottom and top crust.  Cut out bottom crust, slightly larger than the actuall bottom as it will shrink as it cooks.  Blind bake this at 375 for about 10 minutes till golden.  Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes.  Add your meat/veggie mixture then top with the sauce, up to the top of the veggie mixure.  Then drape the top crust over the top. I like to make mine bigger than the container, so it drapes over the side for maximum crust! 

Lower heat to 350 and bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Till top is golden brown to your liking.  Since the veggie/meat mixture was already hot it doesnt take long. Be sure to place you ramikins or container over a foil lined baking sheet, as you will get a lot of bubble over.

Let sit for about 5 minutes and enjoy!  This time I made it with a mac and cheese.  Talk about a calorie fest and comfort food to boot.  It was the perfect combination.