Chocolate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking sod
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 cups finely shredded carrots

Line two 9-inch round baking pans with wax paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, oil and carrots; beat until combined. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 2-tablespoon pieces
Two packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until soft. Add the cream cheese and beat until blended and smooth. Blend in the sugar and vanilla. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half of the frosting. Repeat layer. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips.

Yields: 12-16 servings

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat peanut butter, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by tablespoon fulls onto a large baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 13-15 min. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.


Author: The Caldwells // Category:
These were better than any Ribs that I have had at Chili's!

1 1/2 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika

4 racks ribs

Make the BBQ sauce by combining all of the ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer sauce, stirring often for 45-60 minutes or until sauce is thick. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Brush sauce over the entire surface of the ribs. Wrap each wrack tightly in aluminum foil and arrange the packets on a baking sheet with the seam of the foil facing up. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the meat on the ribs has pulled back from the cut ends of the bones by about 1/2 inch. When the rib are just about done, preheat your barbecue grill to medium heat.
Remove the ribs from the foil and grill them on the barbecue for 4-8 minutes per side or until the surface of the ribs is beginning to char. Brush sauce on both sides of the ribs a few minutes before you remove them from the grill (if you do it to early the bbq sauce will burn because of the sugar in it). Serve the ribs with extra sauce on the side.

Yields: 4 racks of ribs

Clam Chowder-Red Lobster

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
2 1/2 cups water
3 cans (6.5 ounces each) minced clams, reserve liquid
1/2 cup all purpose flour1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leafdash dried thyme
2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup heavy cream

Combine water and liquid drained from all 3 cans of clams in a large saucepan. Stir in flour, parsley, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and thyme. Turn to medium heat. When water begins to bubble, add the potatoes and continue to cook for 5 min. Stir ten to keep the potatoes from sticking to the pan. Add the clams and celery to the saucepan and cook for 10 min., stirring often. Add the cream and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Watch the pan carefully to be sure the chowder doesn't bubble over. Turn down the heat if the soup begins to erupt.
Yields: 5 servings

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
12 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
4 slices Swiss Cheese
8 ounces Sliced turkey
4 slices American Cheese
8 ounces Ham

4 egg yolks
2 cups ice water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Heat 8-12 cups of shortening in a large saucepan to 375 degrees (medium heat). You will need the hot shortening to be at least 4 inches deep. Make the sandwich by arranging a slice of bread, then Swiss, then turkey, then bread, then ham, then American, then bread. Make sure the meat is not hanging over the edge of the sandwich. Press down on the sandwich with the palm of your hand to flatten it.
Make the batter by beating the egg yolks. Stir in the ice water. Measure the flour and baking soda into a sifter, and sift the mixture into the ice water and egg yolk. Stir with a large spoon, but do not over mix. You will still have many visible lumps in the batter.
Slice the sandwich in 1/2 from corner to corner. Dip on half of the sandwich in the batter, while holding it together with your fingers (the batter will hold the sandwich together in the shortening). Coat the sandwich well and drop into the oil. Add other sandwiches until the pan if full. Fry the sandwich for 6-8 minutes, turning t over halfway through cooking time. It should be golden brown when done. Remove the sandwich halves to paper towels to drain. Dust the sandwich with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry preserves (optional).
Yields: 4 whole sandwiches

Ranch Salad Dressing

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
1 teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Cover bowl and chill for at least 30 min. before serving.
Yields: 1 1/2 cups

Fabulous French Toast-Denny's style

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
8 eggs
1 1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 slices Texas Toast
6 tablespoons butter

Whisk together eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium/low heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter. If butter smokes, your pan is too hot, turn down the heat. Drop each bread slice into the batter for about 30 seconds per side. Let some of the batter drip off then drop the bread into the buttered pan. Cook each battered bread slice for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Add more butter to the pan as needed to cook all the French toast. Serve three slices of French toast per plate. Dust each serving with a little powdered sugar and include some maple syrup on the side.

Onion Peels-Applebee's

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
This was a good mock recipe, but the horseradish sauce was a little strong with ketchup!

Horseradish Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon medium grind black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash garlic powder
dash onion powder

Make horseradish dipping sauce by combining ingredients in medium bowl with a whisk. Mix until creamy then cover and chill the sauce.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk

1 large white onion
6-10 cups vegetable shortening (for fryer and you may substitute vegetable oil)

Heat the shortening to 350 degrees in a deep fryer. Create batter by combining all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk in milk until batter is smooth then let the batter sit for 5 minutes. It should thicken (if you would like it thicker add a little bit of flour and let sit another 5 min). Whisk batter again. While batter is sitting slice the stem end and the root end off onion, then, with the onion resting on a flat side, cut down through the onion slicing it in 1/2. Slice each half 4 more times in a spoke fashion to create wedges of onion. Separate the onion pieces. Dip each onion piece in the batter, then carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry eight to twelve peels at a time for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a rack or paper towels. Repeat until the onion is used up, stacking the newer batches on top of the old ones to keep them warm. When they're all done, serve the fried onion slices on a plate or in a paper lined basket with horseradish dipping sauce on the side

Yields: 2-6 servings

5 Alarm Burger- Red Robin

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
Rich loves this when we go to Red Robin so I figured we would create it at home. For mine and the kids we kept it mild (in the chipotle mayo we left out the chipotle chile pepper until the mayo was on mine and the kids. Then Rich added it to taste), but Rich went all out and cleared his sinuses right up!

Chipotle Mayo:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle Chile pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Make the chipotle Mayo spread by combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until you are ready to use it.

4 (5.5-ounce) ground beef patties
1/4 teaspoon Seasoning-Red Robin (see below)
8 slices pepper jack cheese (2 per patty)
4 hamburger buns

Preheat barbecue or indoor grill to medium heat. Shape ground beef into a round patty that is slightly larger than the bun.Sprinkle a bit of the seasoning blend over both sides of the patty. Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, or until the patty is cooked the way you like it. About 1 min. before the burger is done place a couple slices of pepper jack cheese on top of the patty to melt. As the hamburger is grilling toast the face of the top and bottom bun. Stack the hamburger bun patty on the bottom bun.

16-20 bottled jalapeno slices (nacho slices)
8 tablespoons fresh salsa or pico de gallo
1 1/3 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

Stack 4-5 jalapeno slices on the patty. Spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa or pico de gallo over the jalapeno slices. Add 1/3 cup shredded lettuce next, then finish the burger off with the top bun.

Yields: 4 Burgers

Seasoning-Red Robin

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon instant tomato soup (knorr Tomato with basil is great)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon gound black pepper

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Stor in a covered container. Goes great on French Fries!

Yields: 1/3 cup seasoning

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon banana extract (you can also use vanilla extract if you don't have banana)
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • cooking spray
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set bowl aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the skim milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold in the banana, chocolate chips, and nuts.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Yields: 10 pancakes

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
Teriyaki Marinade
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 5-ounce skinless chicken breast fillets
4 canned pineapple slices
8 slices Swiss cheese
4 hamburger buns
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
4 tomato slices
1/2 cup shredded iceburg lettuce

1- Make teriyaki marinade by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/high heat. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Cover and chill marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2- Cover the chicken breast fillet with plastic wrap and pound on it with a kitchen mallet so that it is about 1/2 inch thick. The fillet should be a little larger than the diameter of your sesame seed bun. Pour a little of the teriyaki glaze into a plastic container with a lid, then drop the chicken in. Add enough teriyaki glaze to cover the chicken, but make sure you have some to marinate the pineapple slices. Seal up the container and pop it into the fridge for at least 4 hours, but not more than 10 hours. Put the pineapple slices into another container and chill it in the refrigerator for the same time as the chicken.
3- When you are ready to make your sandwich, preheat the barbecue to medium heat.
4- Start grilling the chicken breast first. Cook the chicken for 4-6 minutes per side or until it's done. When you flip the chicken add the pineapple slices to the grill. The pineapple will take less time to cook- about 3-4 minutes. You'll know the pineapple slices are done when they have some nice grill marks on each side. Be careful not to burn the chicken or the pineapple. The teriyaki contains sugar, which may char if grilled to long. About 1 minute before the chicken is done place 2 slices of Swiss cheese on top of the fillet to melt.
5- As the chicken is grilling toast the face of the top and bottom of the bun.
6- Build your sandwich by first spreading mayo on the top and bottom of the bun.
7- Stack the chicken breast on the bottom bun.
8- Arrange the tomato slices on the top chicken.
9- Stack the grilled pineapple on top of the tomato slices.
10- Add shredded lettuce on next, then finish the sandwich off with the top bun.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Author: The Caldwells // Category: ,
2 1/2 cups bisquick baking mix
4 tablespoons cold butter
1 heaping cup grated Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cold whole milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
pinch salt

1- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2- Combine bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add Cheddar cheese, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.
3- Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
4- When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter.

Makes a Dozen Biscuits

Chicken Scampi

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
Scampi Sauce
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons minced white onion
1/4 cup minced garlic (8-12 cloves)
1 1/2 cups Chablis wine (I substituted white cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1 cup heavy cream

5-6 quarts water
16 ounces angel hair pasta
4 Tablespoons olive oil
12 chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1 chopped red onion
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

1- Make scampi sauce by melting butter in a preheated pan over medium/low heat. Add 2 tablespoons minced white onion and saute for 2-4 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. if the butter begins to burn, turn down the heat. When the onion is beginning to brown, add the minced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Don't let the garlic burn. After about 30 seconds add the wine, salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 15-18 min. or until the sauce has reduced by half. Add parsley and heavy cream and simmer uncovered for about 10 min. Do not let mixture reach a boil.
2- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the angel hair pasta and cook for about 4 minutes or until pasta is al dente, or mostly tender with a slight toughness. Drain the pasta in a colander or sieve when done, then hit it with some cold water to prevent sticking and to keep it from cooking further.
3- Preheat the oil in 2 large skillets over medium heat. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken tenderloins, then coat each one in the flour that has been measured into a large bowl. Arrange all of the coated tenderloins on a plate before sauteing 6 tenderloins in each pan. Cook the tenderloins for 3-5 minutes on one side or until golden brown.
4- When the chicken is brown on one side, slip each of the pieces, and move them to the side of the pans, then add an even amount of the sliced peppers and chopped red onion to the center of each skillet. Continue cooking the chicken and vegetables for 4-6 minutes or until the chicken is browned and the veggies are beginning to brown on the edges.
5- Divide the scampi sauce in half and pour it over the chicken and other ingredients in each pan. Add 2 portions of pasta to each pan, then toss everything a bit and continue to cook for a couple minutes or until the pasta is heated through. Prepare each dish by serving equal amounts of pasta onto each of four plates. Use a spoon or tongs to add the peppers and onion on top of each pile of pasta. Arrange three chicken tenderloins onto the center of the pasta.
6- Sprinkle each plate with about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh parsley and serve it up with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Pumpkin Pancakes

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1- Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
2- Combine eggs, buttermilk, butter, pumpkin, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to blend ingredients.
3- Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend with mixer on medium speed until smooth.
4- Pour the batter in 1/3 cup ortions into the hot pan
5- When the batter stops bubbling and edges begin to harden, flip the pancakes. They should be dark brown. This will take from 1-3 minutes.
6- Flip the pancakes and cook other side for the same amount of time, until brown.

Makes 8-10 pancakes

Chili's Queso

Author: The Caldwells // Category:
1 16-ounce Velveeta Cheese
1 15-ounce can Chili (no beans, not chunky)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lime juice
pinch of cumin
pinch of cayenne

Cut the velveeta into cubes. Combine the cheese with the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until cheese melts, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot with tortilla chips for dipping.

Chili's Chicken Crispers

Author: The Caldwells // Category: ,
Honey Mustard Dressing
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
pinch paprika
pinch salt

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup self-rising flour

6-10 cups shortening or vegetable oil (amount required by fryer)
10 chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup flour

1-Make honey mustard sauce by combining ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until needed.
2- Heat shortening or oil in fryer to 350 degrees.
3- Combine beaten egg, milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk for about 30 seconds to dissolve salt. Whisk in 1 cup self-rising flour. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.
4- When you are ready to fry the chicken, coat each piece with dry flour (1/2 cup in a medium bowl), then dunk the chicken into the batter. Let a little batter drip off the chicken and lower it into the hot oil and fry for 7-9 minutes or until it's golden brown. Depending on the size of your fryer, you should be able to fry 3-4 tenderloins at a time. Drain fried chicken strips on a rack or paper towels for a minute or so, and serve with honey mustard dressing on the side for dipping.

Serves 3