Bourbon Street Beignets



1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 F – 115 F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
4 cups all purpose flour
oil for deep frying
powdered sugar, the more the better









1. Dissolving one packet of dry yeast in 1/4 cup of water (temperature between 105 – 115 degrees F).



2. With the yeast and water mixture set aside, you mix the sugar, shortening, salt and boiling water (see recipe below) in an electric mixer until the shortening is fully dissolved (about 3 minutes). Next, add the cream, beaten egg, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour to the mixing bowl.



3. Using the dough hook, stir the dough for about 2 minutes, then slowly add the remaining cup of flour and continue to knead the dough for 2 – 4 minutes longer, until the dough forms a ball around the hook.



4. While the oil is heating in a cast iron skillet to 360 degrees F, place the dough on a lightly floured cutting board. The cookbook directions suggest you roll the dough into a 10 x 24 inch rectangle but there are two problems with this. 1) I’m not searching the house for a ruler and 2) dough in the shape of a rectangle? …. which led to me to just rolling the dough out until it was between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.



5. Once the oil is fully heated, drop the dough squares in about 4 at a time and fry on each side for about 3 minutes total. Drain the fried beignets on paper towels and dust coat well in powdered sugar. Give them a minute or two to cool off before popping one in your mouth.





Different Ways to Wear Your Scarves

How many different ways do you know to wear your scarf? If you want to stay warm and still look fashionable through the winter, you need to learn some new tricks for wearing your scarf. You’ll be surprised that the function of scarves is not just for keeping you warm, but also can be a creative self expression to make the winter more fun and colorful!

Hazelnut Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: approximately 4 dozen cookies 




1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, chopped









1. 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or 12 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
4 ounces English toffee candy (i.e., Heath bar), chopped



2. Place oats in a food processor and chop until fine. Add oats to a bowl and mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.



3. Beat butter and sugars in the stand mixer until just fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and stir in until just combined. Use a rubber spatula and stir in the hazelnuts, toffee, and chocolate chips.



4. Preferably, transfer the dough to a medium size bowl and chill for 24 hours or up to 4 days. (If you would like to freeze any of the dough, roll into logs and wrap tightly before chilling and freezing for up to a month to slice and bake at a later date.)



5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Drop tablespoonful of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Let cookies stand for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.





Crostini with Brie Cheese, Strawberries, Honey & Basil



12 thin slices French baguette (sliced on diagonal)
4 oz. Brie cheese, cut into 12 slices
6 medium strawberries, sliced
1 to 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
4 fresh basil leave, thinly sliced




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Lay the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Top each piece of baguette with a slice of Brie cheese.


3. Bake in oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, 5 to 6 minutes.


4. Top each with 2 slices of strawberry, 1/2 to 1/2 teaspoon of honey and a few slices of basil. Serve.






Isabella’s Shrimp Scampi

Yield: 6 Servings




3 oz extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs large shrimp; peeled and deveined
1 lb whole wheat linguini
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (around 1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil









1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.



2. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Working in batches; sauté shrimp 2 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a side plate and repeat with remaining shrimp. Drain any excess oil from the pan.



3. At this time, the water should be boiling. Cook linguini according to package. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking.



4. Meanwhile, add white wine, lemon juice, chicken broth and garlic to the sauté pan. Cook over medium high heat until liquid has reduced by half, approximately 6 minutes. Whisk in the tomatoes, salt and pepper.



5. Reduce heat to medium and add shrimp and linguini to reheat. Toss to evenly coat with sauce and heat through for about 1 minute.



6. Transfer to a large serving bowl or individual bowls. Sprinkle evenly with parsley and basil. Serve immediately.





Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake



40 Nilla wafers crushed
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3 (8 oz) pkgs of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 eggs
Vanilla mousse topping:
1 (8oz) pkg of cream cheese softened
1 (8 oz) tub of Cool Whip thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Strawberry topping:
1 pint of strawberries, sliced
2 oz semisweet chocolate melted









1. Preheat oven to 350°.



2. Mix crushed cookies and butter and press into the bottom of an ungreased spring-form pan.

3. Mix on medium the 3 pkgs of cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until combined and smooth.

4. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated.


5. Pour mixture over the crust and bake 45-50 minutes until center is set.
If it cracks, don’t worry.


6. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen from sides.
Cool completely in pan.


7. When the cheesecake is cooled make your mousse topping.


8. Mix your 8 oz softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl with the sugar and vanilla with mixer until smooth.


9. Whisk in your Cool Whip until combined. Don’t over mix.


10. Spread the mousse layer on top of cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.


11. When cheesecake is completely chilled arrange your sliced strawberries on top.


12. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top of strawberries.
Slice and serve!





Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls



2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (about 24 total)











1. In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers. Mix well to blend. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place ¼ cup of the filling in the center.


2. Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center. Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free.


3. Dip a finger in water or beaten egg and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner. Finish rolling and press to seal closed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.



4. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray.


5. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking. Serve warm with salsa.





Honeydew-Kiwifruit Smoothie



2 cups cubed honeydew
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut up
1 kiwifruit, peeled and cut up
2 – 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup ice cubes
Honeydew and/or kiwifruit slices









1. In a blender container, combine honeydew, apple, kiwifruit, sugar, and lemon juice. Cover and blend until smooth.



2. Add ice cubes; cover and blend until cubes are crushed and mixture is slushy. Garnish with additional honeydew and/or kiwifruit slices, if desired.





Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad



1 large russet potato, peeled and quartered
1 large sweet potato, peeled and quartered
1 cup corn
1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts









1. Place the Russet potato pieces into a large saucepan, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potato, and cook about 15 minutes more.



2. Remove a piece of each potato, and cut it in half to see if it is cooked enough. Once the potatoes are tender, add corn kernels; cook another 30 seconds. Drain through a colander. Fill the saucepan with cold water, and drop vegetables into water. Cool for 5 minutes, and drain.



3. In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Slowly whisk in oil. Mix in salt and black pepper.



4. Cut cooled potatoes into 1 inch cubes, and add to dressing along with cucumber, and red onion. Toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Toss the peanuts in just before serving.





Rolo Brownie Bites

Yield: Makes about 48 brownie bites

(Butter wells or 8-inch square pan.)





4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1.7oz Rolo pack of candy



Chocolate Covering:

1/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons butter









To make the brownies:

1. Place egg in a stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars mix to combine. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.


2. Pour the batter into brownie bite pan or into mini cupcake pan and place a Rolo in the center and bake for 15 minutes. If you are using an 8-inch square pan place Rolos on top of and press into brownie mixture and bake for 45 minutes.


3. Check for doneness with the toothpick method: a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. If using brownie bite pan or mini cupcake pan, cool for 5 minutes then remove brownies. If using an 8-inch pan, let cool before slicing.

To make chocolate covering:

1. Place chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over (not on) simmering water.


2. Gently stir until melted.



To assemble:

1. Pour 1 tablespoon over tops of brownie bites or alternately dip tops of brownie in chocolate.


2. Drizzle caramel sauce on top.





Caramel Apple Trifles



Caramel Mousse:

1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup plus caramel (recipe follows)

Caramel Sauce:

½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons of heavy cream
½ teaspoons of kosher salt

Apple Crumble:

½ cup diced fresh apples
½ cup apple chips
½ cup crumbled granola











Caramel Mousse:

1. Place chilled heavy cream in a bowl and using a whisk or a hand held mixer on medium speed or medium strength (for stand mixers use a low setting with the whisk attachment).


2. Beat cream until soft peaks form and cream is light and fluffy. Gently fold in caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:

1. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side.


2. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly.


3. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a dark amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add salt and stir to combine.



Apple Crumble:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.




1. Fill two pastry bags, one with the mousse and the other pastry bag with caramel.

2. Pipe a mousse layer onto bottom of glass.

3. Pipe a second layer with caramel on top of the mousse.


4. For the third layer, sprinkle the apple crumble mixture on top of the caramel layer.
Continue layering by repeating steps 2-4.





Jay’s Jerk Jalapeno Pepper Chicken



6 green onions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves









1. In a food processor or blender, combine the green onions, onion, jalapeno pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, vegetable oil, brown sugar, thyme, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Mix for about 15 seconds.



2. Place the chicken in a medium bowl, and coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.


3. Preheat grill for high heat.


4. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook chicken on the prepared grill 6 to 8 minutes, until juices run clear.





Pecan Pie Caramel Cheesecake



3 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
½ cups Butter, Melted
½ cups Granulated Sugar


3 packages (8 Oz. Package) Cream Cheese, Softened
¾ cups Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 whole Large Eggs
½ cups All-purpose Flour
¾ teaspoons Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Nutmeg



1-½ cup Pecan, Halves, Lightly Toasted*
2 cups Good Quality Caramel Syrup (homemade Is Best)









1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the crust until moist. Press into a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

3. For the filling, in a stand mixer, whip cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.


4. With the mixer on low, stir in vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir again. Whip in flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Scrape sides and stir again if necessary. Pour filling into prepared crust and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until cheesecake is set and hardly jiggles, if at all, when moved. Remove from the oven and cool completely to room temperature.

5. Arrange pecan halves on top of the entire cheesecake in concentric circles. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

6. Once ready to serve, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake and remove the sides of the springform pan.

7. To serve you can either drizzle 1 cup of caramel syrup over the entire cheesecake and cut (with extra syrup to serve along with) or cut first and drizzle individual pieces.

8. Side note: I prefer to warm my caramel syrup to have a delicious contrast of hot and cold for this dessert. Totally optional!





Lavender Crème Brulee

Yield: 6~8 Servings
4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter (6-ounce) custard cups and set them into a glass baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom. Place custard cups in a shallow ovenproof roasting or baking pan.

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

1⁄2 cups olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp dry mustard
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 1-lb. pork tenderloin (silver skin removed)


1. Combine all marinade ingredients and reserve 2-3 Tbsp. Place the pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours.

Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad


2 ripe pears (conference pears, preferably)
1 sheet puff pastry
150 g – 200 g baby leaf salad (1 pkg)
1/2 cup walnuts
50 g blue cheese, chopped

4 tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs honey
1 pinch of salt

1. Peel pears and core from the bottom. Cut the bottom of the pears, so they will stand upright.

Rum Raisin Cheesecake


For the Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

For the Raisin-Phyllo Layer
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
Phyllo pastry sheets
1/4 cup butter; melted (1/2 stick)

For the Cheesecake
4 blocks of cream cheese, 8 oz each; room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs; room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (optional – see note section)

For the Caramel Topping
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablsespoons dark corn syrup
5 tablespoons unsalted butter


General Prep
1. Soak the raisins in rum overnight.
2. Tightly wrap a 10-inch springform pan in heavy duty foil. This step prevents leaks when using a water bath. You can also take the extra step of placing the foil wrapped spring form pan inside an oven bag while baking.

Moroccan Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Yield: for 35 meatballs, 4 servings


450g beef mince (can mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small purple onions
1 clove of garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Tomato Sauce:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
pinch of crushed hot peppers
1 purple onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
800g peeled
1 tablespoon of tomato concentrate
200ml water
1/2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper


For the meatballs:
1. In a bowl, mix the meat, finely chopped onion and garlic. Add grated fresh ginger and spices. Mix well, best hands, until a compact mass. Of a mixture of wet hands form the dumplings the size of walnuts. Place them on a tray lined with aluminum foil.

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake



3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sour cream or yogurt
melted chocolate for top of the cake

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2cup raspberries (frozen or fresh), plus extra for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour or spray a 9- to 10- inch Bundt pan.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

Green-Curry Chicken Potpie


For The Curry Paste (Makes 1 Cup)
1/2 cup chopped lemongrass (from 2 stalks)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
1/4 cup chopped scallions (about 2)
3 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, toasted and ground
Coarse salt for the curry sauce
1 cup spinach, rinsed well and dried
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, preferably Thai Kitchen (

For The Filling
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast and thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For The Topping
6 sheets (9 by 14 inches) frozen phyllo dough, thawed (from one 1-pound package)
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
Coarse salt
Garnish: basil leaves

1. Make the curry paste: Puree lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, scallions, chiles, ginger, lime zest and juice, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth.

Philadelphia Fruit Pizza

1 pkg. (16.5 oz.) refrigerated sliceable sugar cookies, sliced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups assorted cut-up fruit (kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, drained canned mandarin oranges)
1/4 cup apricot preserves, pressed through sieve to remove lumps
1 Tbsp. water

1. HEAT oven to 375°F.

2. LINE 12-inch pizza pan with foil; spray with cooking spray. Arrange cookie dough slices in single layer in prepared pan; press together to form crust. Bake 14 min.; cool completely. Invert onto plate; carefully remove foil. Turn crust over.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh “mini” mozzerella pearls
4 tablespoons olive oil
18 basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Add the cherry tomatoes and mozzerella cheese to a medium bowl.

Banana Split Pie

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked

1. Cream together butter or margarine and confectioner’s sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time; beat for 3 minutes after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Mexican Spinach Salad

Yield: Serves 2 large salads

4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup avocado, diced
1 cup fresh or canned corn [or sweet corn & lime salad]
1 cup black beans, canned – drained & rinsed
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
salt + fresh black pepper
Optional: corn tortilla chips
(For protein – add grilled chicken)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 lime, zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey or agave
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar


1. In a jar with a lid, (a mason jar works well) add olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, salt, honey, and vinegar. Seal and shake well. Place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until ready to serve

Pumpkin Lust Pie

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbs sugar
1 (8oz) package of cream chees, soft
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (8 oz) containers cool whip (or one 16 ozz container)
2 small packages (3.4oz) of Jello Instant Pumpkin Spice Pudding
3 cup cold milk
Nutmeg for sprinkling


For the crust:
1. Combine butter, flour, chopped pecans and sugar and press into a 9 x 13 in baking dish.

Neapolitan Layer Cake


For the chocolate cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the white cake:
2 large egg whites
1¾ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup very cold water
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract

For the strawberry cake:
1¼ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1½ oz. strawberry gelatin
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup sweetened strawberry puree*

For the filling:
Easy vanilla buttercream or good quality strawberry jam

For the strawberry buttercream frosting:
1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped*
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

*To make the strawberry puree, process partially thawed frozen strawberries with a bit of sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. If using sweetened frozen strawberries, no additional sugar is necessary.

1. To make the chocolate cake, butter and flour the edges of a 9-inch round pan, shaking out the excess flour. Line the bottom with a round of parchment. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

Mini Canoli Cups


2 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Flour for dusting surface

1 15oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Prepare filling by combining all ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl with an electric mixer.

Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 cup sweet chili sauce

1. Cut off any extra fat globules from your chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 6 strips, diagonally to prevent the end strips from being really short. See photos below.