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Fruit Cocktail Cake Recipe

Fruit Cocktail Cake

Fruit Cocktail Cake Recipe

By: Gigi Howe

I lived in NJ my whole life up until a year and a half ago.  Now I am in the Mid-West!  You just never know where life is going to bring you!  Things are different here where I live.  Its as flat as a pancake.  If someone honks their horn at you, its because they are saying hi.  And some of the food is a little different.  I haven’t found a good bagel here yet, but I have been trying some different recipes.  And I am sharing one of those recipes today.

This cake is unique. My honey made it for me.  It was his grandmother’s recipe.  It is pretty quick to prepare.  And yes, it does have a can of fruit cocktail in it.  Once the cake is finished baking, you prepare the topping by boiling butter or margarine, sugar and evaporated milk. You pour that over the cake, let it cool and then enjoy.  Like I said, this cake is unique and delicious too! You can add coconut and nuts to the topping if you like.  We kept our cake plain and I thought it was great.  A definite tasty Mid-West cake!

Fruit Cocktail Cake

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup oil
– 2 cups flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 can fruit cocktail in juice – 14 – 15 oz. (don’t drain)

Topping
– 1 stick butter or margarine
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup evaporated milk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 cup coconut (optional)
– 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Beat sugar, oil and eggs. Add flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add fruit cocktail, mix and pour in a 9×13 greased baking dish.  Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.

2. Prepare topping – put butter, sugar and evaporated milk saucepan.  Boil together for 1 minute.  Remove from heat; add vanilla.  Add coconut and nuts if desired. Pour over caked while still warm.

 

Enjoy!!

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Fruit Cocktail Cake




Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

By: Gigi Howe

I make this recipe often.  Its a good weeknight meal because its simple to prepare and tastes good.  We always have some leftover for either lunch or another meal.   I always use regular white rice but it would be real tasty with brown rice.  You could even use Minute Rice if you’d like. And even though the recipe is called Chicken “Fried” Rice, it only uses a few tablespoons of oil which is not bad.

chicken fried rice veggies

Cook the chicken first, then in the same pan you will cook all the vegetables.  Once you combine the vegetables, chicken and rice, you stir in 2 beaten eggs.  When the eggs are absorbed and cooked, your dish is ready to be served.  The eggs seem to keep the whole dish nice and moist.   I let everyone put their own soy sauce on the meal, then everyone is happy.  :)

To make this dish a little simpler, you can used frozen peas and carrots, or even mixed vegetables, rather than shredding fresh carrots.  And if you don’t care for celery, or any of the other vegetables, you can substitute in your own favorites.

Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients:

– 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into approximately 1 inch pieces
– 2 tablespoons oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 cups cabbage, chopped or shredded
– 2 carrots, shredded
– 1 cup frozen peas
– 2 stalks celery, chopped
– 2 cups cooked rice
– 2 eggs, beaten
– soy sauce to taste

Directions:

1.  In a large non-stick frying pan cook chicken in 1 tablespoon of oil.  Remove chicken from pan; add second tablespoon of oil, onion and cabbage.  Cook for 5 mins.  Add remaining vegetables and cook for approximately 5 more minutes or until desired tenderness.

2. Stir in chicken and cooked rice.  Mix well and add beaten egg.  Cook for 1-3 minutes, stirring in the eggs until eggs are absorbed and cooked.  Serve with soy sauce.

 

Enjoy!!

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Chicken Fried Rice




Fruit Pizza Recipe

Fruit Pizza

Fruit Pizza Recipe

By: Gigi Howe

I don’t think a dessert can get much prettier than this one.  Its easy to make and tastes delicious.  With all of the berries coming into season, you can create quite a beautiful “pizza”.   Use whatever fruits you prefer and arrange them in any design you would like.  This would be a fun cooking project to get the kids involved.

You used refrigerated cookie dough for the crust which gets pressed into a round pizza pan.  The crust is baked and then you spread a mixture of cream cheese, sugar and vanilla over the crust once its cooled.  Then you arrange you fruit!  Once you arrange the fruit, you brush the fruit with apple jelly.  Have fun with it.  If you make this recipe, send us a picture!  We would love to see your creation.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients:

– 16.5 oz package of refrigerated sugar cookies
– 8 oz. package cream cheese
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
– approximately 4 cups of fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sliced kiwi, grapes, etc)
– 1/2 cup apple jelly

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 12 inch pizza pan with cooking spray.  Break up the cookie dough and press it into the pizza pan to form a crust.  Bake for 16 – 20 mins.  Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Spread over cooled crust.  Arrange fruit on top of cream cheese.  Stir jelly until smooth and brush over fruit.  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.  Cut into wedges or squares.

 

Enjoy!!

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Fruit Pizza recipe - verticle




Flan Recipes

Flan

Flan Recipes

By: Gigi Howe

Happy May! I’m posting this recipe today in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  Last year, we posted a recipe for Crock Pot Mexican Soup, which is more of a meal than a soup and we have a Mexican Tortilla Pie which would be tasty to make on May 5 but what is for dessert!?   We are solving that problem by posting a dessert to go along with the soup or the pie, if you decide to make one!

Today we have a recipe for flan.  Actually, I am sharing two flan recipes.  They are very similar, except for the calories!!  One is definitely richer – it has cream cheese, condensed and evaporated milk.   The other uses regular milk.  Both are good.  One will fill you up faster.  There are many different flan recipes out there and I am sure if you did a search you would find one that fits somewhere in between these two recipes.

Both recipes have you caramelize sugar which is really simple.  You put sugar into a sauce pan and melt it.  You don’t stir the sugar, just shake the pan around until its all melted and once it starts to melt, it goes pretty quickly.  You can use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the sugar off the sides of the pan.  The sugar will turn into a nice caramel color.

Flan - caramelize sugar copy

As soon as the sugar melts you need to pour it into your baking dish.   This becomes the sauce when its time to invert your flan.  Just a tip.. soak the pan you used in hot water and the hardened sugar will dissolve for an easy clean up!

Once your Flan is ready to serve you can top it with fruit.. blueberries or strawberries are nice, or you can serve it plain.   Let me know if you try one of these recipes!

Creamy Flan

Ingredients:

– 3/4 cup sugar
– 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
– 12 oz. can evaporated milk
– 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
– 5 eggs
– 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Caramelize the sugar.  In a saucepan melt sugar over a medium heat.  Do not stir sugar, shake the pan.  Once the sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low and cook until completely melted and golden brown.

2. Immediately pour the caramelized sugar into a ungreased 2 quart round baking dish or souffle dish, tilting the pan to coat the bottom.  Let cool for 5 -10 mins.

3. Meanwhile in a bowl, beat cream cheese, condensed milk and evaporated milk until smooth.  Beat in vanilla and eggs until the eggs are blended in.  Pour over caramelized sugar.

4. Place dish into a larger baking pan.  Pour very hot to boiling water into the pan around the dish to a depth of approximately 1 inch.  This hot water bath will help to keep your flan creamy.  It helps to even out the heat.  Bake in 350 oven for 55-60 mins, until center is set – it will be somewhat jiggly.   A knife inserted halfway between the center and edge should come out clean.

5.  Carefully remove the dish from the hot water bath and let cool on a wire rack.  Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

6. To unmold the flan, gently loosen edges with a knife or spatula.  Invert onto a large rimmed platter.  Spoon caramelized sugar that remains in the baking dish on top of the flan.  Garnish with blueberries, strawberries, if desired.

 

Flan (lower calorie)

– 1 3/4 cups sugar (separated)
– 8 eggs
– 4 cups milk
– 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

1. Caramelize the sugar.  In a saucepan melt 3/4 cup of sugar over a medium heat.  Do not stir sugar, shake the pan.  Once the sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low and cook until completely melted and golden brown.

2. Immediately pour the caramelized sugar into a ungreased shallow 3 quart oval casserole. Tilt and rotate the pan to coat the bottom and sides evenly.  Let cool for 5 -10 mins.

3. Meanwhile in a bowl, beat eggs gradually adding the remaining 1 cup of sugar.  In a saucepan heat milk until mixture bubbles.  Slowly add milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly.  Stir in vanilla.   Pour over caramelized sugar.

4. Place dish into a larger baking pan.  Pour in very hot to boiling water into the pan around the dish to a depth of approximately 1 inch.  This hot water bath will help to keep your flan creamy.  It helps to even out the heat.  Bake in 325 oven for 40 mins or until a knife inserted halfway between the center and edge should come out clean.

5.  Carefully remove the dish from the hot water bath and let cool on a wire rack.  Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

6. To unmold the flan, gently loosen edges with a knife or spatula.  Invert onto a large rimmed platter.  Spoon caramelized sugar that remains in the baking dish on top of the flan.  Garnish with blueberries, strawberries, if desired.

 

Enjoy!!

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Flan




Baba Ganoush Recipe

Baba Ganoush recipe

Baba Ganoush

By: Gigi Howe

A few weeks ago, we posted a recipe for Homemade Hummus, which reminded me of this week’s recipe.  Baba Ganoush or Baba Ghanoush, Baba Ganouj, Babaganoush – many different spellings for one mighty tasty dip.  Its made with one of my favorite all time foods.. eggplant.  In my opinion, don’t think there is a bad way to make eggplant!

With this recipe, if you can, grill the eggplant or put it over a direct flame on your stove, like I did.  It will give the eggplant a bit of a charred flavor which is nice.  You can let the skin blister and crack, I just let it brown.  Its not necessary at all to do this step, but its an option.

charring eggplant

This is a recipe is by no means complicated, but it is one that I like to do over a period of time. Bake the eggplant; take it out and wait until it cools.  Scoop out the pulp then let it sit and drain.  If you don’t let it drain, your Baba Ganoush will be watery.  Then put everything in the food processor and its done.  Some people like to drizzle olive oil on top, my preference is to add it to the whole mix.

eggplant

 

This recipe calls for Tahini and if you can’t find it near you, some of our readers commented and offered alternatives when we posted our Homemade Hummus recipe which also lists Tahini as an ingredient.

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

– 2 medium or 1 large eggplant – about 2 lbs. total
– 1 – 2 garlic cloves
– 2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice
– 3 tablespoons tahini
– pinch of cumin
– pinch of chili powder
– 1 tablespoon parsley – fresh is preferred
– 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Optional step – Char eggplant on grill or over the flame of a gas burner.  Rotate the eggplant as the skin chars.

2. Prick eggplant with a fork and place in 350 oven on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30 -45 mins (depends on the size of the eggplant – could be longer) until the eggplant is very tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.

3. Scoop out eggplant pulp.  Discard skin and let pulp sit.

4. Drain any liquid from the eggplant then place eggplant in food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and blend well.  If you do not have a food processor, mince the garlic and then use a potato masher to mix all ingredients.  This is a nice alternative as it leaves the eggplant a little chunky.

4. Let cool and serve with pita, french bread, crackers or fresh vegetables for dipping.

Enjoy!!

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Baba Ganoush recipe




Cream of Asparagus Soup Recipe

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup

By: Gigi Howe

I had a bunch of asparagus that I bought and I just didn’t get around to cooking them, so I decided to try something different and make some soup!  Its good!  And if you like asparagus, I am sure you will love this soup.  Its easy to make and most of the soup gets pureed in a food processor or blender, except for the asparagus tips.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus (little more or a little less is ok)
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 3 medium onions – about 2 cups chopped
– 3 tablespoons flour
– 2 1/2 cups water
– 2 cups milk
– 1/2 – 1 teaspoon tarragon
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cut off and discard the tough asparagus bottoms.  Cut off the tops and set aside.  Slice the remaining stalks into 1 inch pieces.

2. Melt butter in saucepan.  Add onions and asparagus stalks.  Saute for 10 mins. over medium heat.  Once the onions are clear and soft, stir in 2 tablespoons flour.  Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring frequently for 5 more mins.

3. Add water, loosen any bits of onion that have stuck to the pan, stir well.  Heat to a boil, then simmer for 5 mins.  Sprinkle in remaining 1 tablespoon flour, mix well.  Cook another 8 – 10 mins.  This mixture will get thick so you will want to stir frequently.

4. Add milk to pan and remove from heat.  Puree in food processor or blender.

5. Saute asparagus tips in olive oil until tender.  Combine pureed soup, asparagus tips and tarragon.  Mix well, heat and serve.

 

Enjoy!!

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Homemade Hummus Recipe

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

By: Gigi Howe

I have been thinking about posting this recipe for a while and when I saw the Sabra Classic Hummus Recall a few days ago, I decided this would be this week’s recipe.

Hummus is soooooo easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  I’ve been making this recipe for years.  Its simple and its one of those recipes where you can add or subtract ingredients depending on your taste.  You can make your hummus chunky, or smooth.  I like it smooth so I blend it for a while.  If you don’t have a food processor or blender you can mince the garlic and onion then use a potato masher for the chick peas.  It will most likely be a coarser hummus but that works too.

This recipe calls for tahini sauce which is made from sesame seeds.  If you can not find tahini, since not all stores carry it, you can substitute olive oil (which is something that I’ve had to do).

There are so many different ways to eat hummus.  I like mine as a dip with tortilla chips or vegetables.  :)

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients:

– 1 garlic clove
– 1/4 of a small onion (approximately 2 -3 tablespoons chopped)
– (2) 15 or 15.5 oz cans of Chick Peas
– 3 – 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 5 – 6 tablespoons tahini (or olive oil if you can’t get tahini)
– 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 3 sprigs parsley (optional)

Directions:

1. Put all the ingredients in food processor and blend until desired smoothness.  Transfer to a lidded container and let chill before serving.

Homemade Hummus - Chick Peas

Enjoy!!

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Coffee Crumb Cake Recipe

Coffee Crumb Cake copy

Coffee Crumb Cake

By: Gigi Howe

This recipe makes a large, delicious crumb cake.  Its great for a brunch or early get-together.  I like to make it on a holiday weekend in case we have any unexpected guests stop over.  If you like crumbs on your coffee cake, this recipe is for you!

Coffee Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

For the crumbs:
– 2 1/4 sticks butter or margarine, melted
– 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3 cups flour
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the cake:
– 2 cups flour
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup milk
– 1/3 cup vegetable oil
– 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9×13 baking dish.

2. Make the crumbs – combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter, combining to form large crumbs. Set aside.

3. Make the cake – in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a smaller bowl whisk together milk, eggs, oil and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.

4. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan (it will be thin). Scatter the crumbs evenly over the batter. Gently press them into the batter.

5. Bake for about 45 – 55 mins. until crumbs are crisp and batter is springy. Remove from oven and dust with powder sugar if using. Serve warm.

Serves 12.

Enjoy!!

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Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Red Lentil Soup LRWC

Red Lentil Soup

By: Gigi Howe

This soup is delicious, honest!  I’ve had this recipe for years and have made it numerous times.  You add lemon, which gives the soup a great flavor but doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.  The recipe calls for water; you could use chicken broth or vegetable broth if you prefer.  I’ve always used just the water and tastes great to me.

 

Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

– 1 large onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 5 cups water (or chicken or vegetable broth)
– 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 lemon rinds
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– salt and pepper to taste
– lemon slices (optional)

Directions:

1. In a 3 – 4 quart pot, heat oil and add onions.  Saute for about 3-4 mins.  Add garlic and cumin and cook until the onion is golden (about 5-6 more mins).

2.  Pour in water, then add in the lentils, bay leaf and lemon rinds.  Cover and simmer for 30 – 45 mins. until lentils are soft.

3.  Discard bay leaf (you can discard the lemon rind if you would like, some people like to eat it, others don’t) and add lemon juice.  Stir well and serve with a slice of lemon if desired.

Enjoy!!

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Swiss Chard With Creamy Pasta Recipe

Swiss Chard With Creamy Pasta

Swiss Chard With Creamy Pasta

By: Gigi Howe

If you are a fan of Swiss chard, like I am, here’s a recipe for you to try.  You really could substitute another leafy green vegetable, such as kale, escarole or spinach or even do a combination of different greens.  This recipe is easy to prepare and what doesn’t taste good with pasta and Parmesan cheese?! ;)  If you’d like, you can also add a can of cannellini beans to the mix.

 

Swiss Chard With Creamy Pasta

Ingredients:

– 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. Swiss chard
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 small onion chopped
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1/2 cup sour cream, plain yogurt or ricotta
– 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
– 8 oz. pasta cooked
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Wash and cut Swiss chard into small pieces.

2. Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add chard, onions and garlic.  Cook for 5 – 10 mins. or until desired tenderness.

3.  Add milk, sour cream, yogurt or ricotta and parmesan cheese.  Stir until combined and cook for 1 min.  Pour over cooked pasta, mix well and serve.

Options:  Add a can of white cannellini beans to the recipe.   Use different leafy greens – kale, escarole, spinach instead, or inaddition to the chard.

Serves 4.

Enjoy!!

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