Thursday, January 26, 2017

Entertaining and Trying New Recipes (Recipes Included)

I love cooking and I think if I had a love language it would be expressed in feeding people.
We had a great visit tonight and I really enjoyed the company.
I started the morning out by baking a carrot cake.
This is a modified version of a Betty Crocker recipe.
Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease either a 9x13 pan, or two 8 or 9 inch pans and set aside.
Open an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple (in juice) and drain.
Set aside
Grate carrots -- 3 cups total.  (This took me 3 decent sized carrots)
Add 1/2 cup of coconut to the carrots and set aside.
In large bowl combine:
2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps. of cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix together.
Set aside.
In mixer bowl:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
Mix on low until blended.
Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and blend on medium speed for 1 minute.
This is a thick batter.
Stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla
Stir in the carrots, pineapple and coconut.
Divide evenly between greased round pans or pour into a 9 x 13.
For the 9 x 13 bake for 40 to 45 minutes and cool on rack
For the 9 inch pans bake 30 minutes, cool on rack 10 minutes, and then flip out.
For the 8 inch pans bake 35 minutes, cool on rack 10 minutes, and then flip out.
Let cool completely before frosting -- at least an hour.
Frost with cream cheese frosting.
I had purchased chicken over the weekend, but knew I would use veggies from my freezer for the sides.  A bag of frozen corn from Aldi, seasoned with chicken broth and chopped bell pepper was one side dish and I steamed broccoli for the second side dish.  (Sorry I didn't get photos of full bowls, but such is life. I took some but the first ones were blurry.)


The main dish was this chicken and rice casserole, which is one of the recipes I marked in my library book as one to try.  My kitchen lighting isn't great, but everyone liked the dish so I am considering it a keeper.  It wasn't difficult to pull together and it cooked rather quickly.  I did change a few things from the original recipe, so I am sharing what I did here.  The original recipe is from Taste of Home.
Italian Chicken and Rice
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a plate or shallow bowl, mix:
2/3 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheee
2 tsps. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. paprika
In second bowl, pour 1/3 cup of evaporated milk.
(You will use a whole 5 oz can for the entire recipe.)

Cut up 4 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) into roughly equal sized hunks.
I basically went for thirds.
Dip chicken in milk, then coating, and set on a platter.
Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Pour in 3 cups of Instant Rice.
Pour in 2 cups of boiling water with 2 tsps. of chicken bouillon added.
Dot with 2 tbsp. of butter.
Pour the remaining milk into your measuring cup and add enough boiling water
to make another cup. 
Pour that over the rice.
Arrange your chicken on top and bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes or until your chicken is done.
(Mine took about 37 minutes.)
(This fed 5 adults and I have two pieces of the chicken left and the rice that was under them.)
Notes -- In the future, if I was not serving corn with peppers, I would add diced bell pepper to the rice for a pop of color.  Another thing I would consider is adding green peas or perhaps broccoli if I wanted an all in one casserole.


  1. The dinner looks delicious! I do love a good carrot cake, the orange sprinkles are a nice touch.

    1. Thank you! I love carrot cake, too. This one has a really good texture.

      Like you, I somehow amass a lot of sprinkles in my cabinets. The orange seemed appropriate and it saved me time because I didn't feel obligated to decorate it. A win because I used something on hand and saved a carrot for another day. (I usually make carrot "rosettes" for a topping.)

  2. Both of those recipes sound terrific! I love carrot cake, but have actually never made one. And the chicken and rice bake sounds very comforting.

    1. The cake was great. I think if we hadn't had guests over I would have frozen one layer for later. Instead I sent some home with them and some with my husband.

      The best thing about the casserole was that I knew I would be running errands just before everyone got here. Having something that would take care of itself and let me refresh myself before everyone got here.


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