Texas Sheet Cake

Thus cake comes together in minutes and is so moist! You don’t even have to wait for the cake to cool to frost.

  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ICING:
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Toasted pecans for garnish


  • In a large saucepan, bring the butter, water and cocoa to a boil. Remove from the heat. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; add to cocoa mixture. Stir in the sour cream until smooth.
  • Pour into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter; add milk and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour over warm cake. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Mashed Yams with Brown Sugar

Sweet and crunchy – mmmm.

6 lb yams
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c half and half
6 tbsp butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp groubd allspice
1 TBSP vanilla
1/2 c toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325.

Place the yams on a baking sheet. Pierce in several places. Roast until very tender about 1 hour. Let cool.

Halve the yams and scoop into a food processor. Add 3/4 the brown sugar, butter, half and half, spices and salt. Process until smooth. Spoon into a 2 qt oven proof dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and remaining nuts.

Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. 

Serves 8 – 10.

Salad with Pears, Pecans and Gorgonzola

What makes a great salad? A simple dressing, some fresh fruit, cheese and crunchy nuts!

3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp walnut oil
1/2 c olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 bag mixed salad greens
1 firm pears, sliced thin
1/4 c pecans, toasted
1/4 lb gorgonzola

Toss salad greens with a litfle dressingto coat. Top with cheese, nuts and fruit.

Serves 6 – 8.

Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans


I can’t resist the gorgeous Brussels sprouts at the farmers market. I love shredding them in the food processor for a quick meal. This one is packed with lots of flavor and texture.

1 1/4 lb Brussels sprouts, shredded
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/3 c pecans, toasted and chopped
1/3 c dried cranberries
1/3 c grated Pecorino
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Salt to taste

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet, then add the Brussels sprouts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are tender, but still bright green.
Stir in the pecans, dried cranberries, cheese and pepper. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired.

Serves 4 – 6.

Coconut Lime Mexican Wedding Cookies


Who doesn’t love Mexican Wedding cookies? Add lime and coconut and they are perfection! This is adapted from Fine Cooking.

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c confectioners’ sugar; more for coating
1/2 c coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 c sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
Zest from 1 lime
1 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a food processor, combine the confectioners’ sugar, the pecans, and the coconut. Process until the pecans are finely ground. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the pecan mixture and beat until well blended. Beat in the lime zest and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm, about 3 hours.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Measure the dough into heaping teaspoon-size pieces and roll each piece between your palms to form a ball. Put the balls 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets; bake until the edges of the cookies barely begin to brown, 12 to 14 min. Let cool on the sheets for 3 to 4 minutes and then roll in confectioners’ sugar while still very warm. Repeat rolling to create a delicate powdery coating.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Avocado and Pecans


Do I need to say more than Jean-Georges Vongerichten? For those who may be unfamiliar, he is hands down the most amazing chef in Paris!!!! And this recipe is amazing – Brussels sprouts and avocado? YES!! This dish is amazing!

1/2 c pecans, toasted
2 1/2 lb brussels sprouts, halved
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tsp thyme, chopped
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400.

On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the brussels sprouts with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and turn them cut sides down. Roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until just tender and nicely browned on the bottom; switch the baking sheets halfway through roasting.

In a large bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with the pecans, avocado and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with the vinegar and serve.

Serves 4.

Honey Roasted Figs


Our fig trees have just started their second crop – yeah! Today I decided to keep it simple and roast them with a little honey and pecans for some crunch. Serve topped with a little whipped cream, over vanilla ice cream or just plain.

20 figs
3 – 4 TBSP honey
3 – 4 TBSP pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 400. Cut figs almost in half and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with honey and top with nuts. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve.

Serves 2 – 4.

Pecan Crusted Salmon with Spinach Cream Sauce


This recipe comes from Epicurious.com. I made some changes to the sauce, increased the spinach, reduces the cream, used creme Fraiche instead of whipping cream – this is a great little dish!

6 oz spinach
1/2 c dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
1/2 c cream fraiche
Juice of 1 lime
ground white pepper

1/2 c pecans
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 TBSP butter, room temperature
4 6-ounce salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 425.

For Sauce:
Combine spinach, wine, creme fraiche, lime juice and shallots in 12 inch skillet. Stir over medium heat until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to blender. Purée until smooth. Return sauce to same saucepan. Season
with ground white pepper and salt.

For Fish:
Finely grind pecans, tarragon and basil in processor. Blend in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Oil large baking sheet. Arrange salmon on prepared sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon equal amount of nut mixture over top of each fillet.

Bake salmon until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring sauce to simmer.

Using spatula, transfer salmon to plates. Spoon sauce around fish.

Serves 4.

Pear & Duck Salad


Costco sells a great Duck Confit – just heat and serve! This is a wonderful salad I found on Epicurious. It comes together super quick so it is great for lunch or weeknight meal.

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 TBSP Sherry vinegar
4 TBSP olive oil
1 shallot
1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped, toasted
2 confit duck legs
2 firm-ripe pears
8 c mixed greens
2 ozs crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 425.

In a small food processor, chop shallots, add mustard, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Heat duck for 15 – 20 minutes until skin crisps.

Halve and core pears and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add pears, greens, duck, cheese, and nuts to dressing with salt and pepper to taste, then toss gently to combine.

Serves 2.

Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes with Pecan Frostig


This recipe is adapted from a Sprinkled cupcake recipe. I changed the frosting and substituted most of the butter for applesauce. These are an amazing low fat treat!!!

1 c bourbon
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c butter
3/4 c cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 c flour
1 c sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2/3 c fat free sour cream

8 oz lite cream cheese
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c toasted pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

I a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer bourbon, applesauce & butter. Slowly whisk in cocoa powder, until mixture is creamy, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk dry ingredients together. In a mixer combine eggs and sour cream, slowly add chocolate mixture, then flour until well combined.

Spoon into prepared cupcake pans, filling about 1/2 way. Bake 20 minutes.

Combine powder sugar, cream cheese & pecans until smooth.

Frost cupcakes.

Makes 34.
3 WW PP per cupcake