Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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My baby turned 3 this week -sniff. His cake request was “light chocolate cake” as opposed the dark. So I looked for a sheet cake that was “light chocolate”. This recipe fit the bill, it appeared on about 40 different websites, the Pioneer Woman came up #1, so lets give her credit (she’s also a great food blogger)! I used a light cream cheese frosting that worked wonderfully and opted for a thicker cake so I used a 13×9 pan. This cake is very moist and most important of all – approved by the birthday boy. The non-birthday boy requested it for his birthday next month.

FOR THE CAKE:
2 c Flour
1 1/2 c Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
5 TBSP Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 c Boiling Water
1/2 c Buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla
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FOR FROSTING:
8 oz light cream cheese
4 TBSP Cocoa
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 c Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 & spray your pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minute then you can flip out or allow to cool completely in pan. Frost when cool.

FROSTING:
Combine all ingredient in a food processor. Process until combined. Frost your cake.

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Herbed Green Beans with Feta

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This one is from Epicurious.com. Another great make ahead dish that keeps well as leftovers. I use the authentic Greek style feta sold in liquid, it’s flavor is mild and slightly acidic a nice balance to the mint and dill.

1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
Salt
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c chopped fresh mint leaves
2 TBSP chopped fresh dill
Zest from 2 lemons
3 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 c feta, crumbled
Pepper

Cook beans in a large pot of boiling, generously salted water just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain well, then pat dry with paper towels.

Toss beans, oil, mint, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, and feta in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Chill.

Serves 8 – 10.

Nectarine, Tomato and Quinoa Salad with Arugula

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This one is adapted from Epicurious.com and it is a winner winner chicken dinner! The best part it’s a make ahead dish and keeps well as leftovers, just add the arugula as you serve it. I love the contrasting flavors in this dish, next time I might add some nuts for crunch.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c quinoa,rinsed well
4 tsp salt
1 medium red onion, sliced 1/4″ thick
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
3 TBSP sugar
2 large nectarines, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 c baby arugula
2 c small cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c 1/2″ pieces chives, divided
Pepper

Cook quinoa according to package. Fluff with a fork and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool.

Meanwhile, place onion in a small bowl. Bring vinegar, sugar, and 4 tsp salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over onion and let stand 20 minutes. Drain, reserving pickling liquid.

Toss pickled onion, peaches, tomatoes, oil, 1/4 c chives, and 3 TBSP reserved pickling liquid in a large bowl; season with salt, pepper, and more pickling liquid, if desired. Fold in quinoa.

When ready to serve fold in arugula, topped with remaining 1/4 cup chives.

Serves 8 – 10.