Thursday, May 23, 2013

The crazy grocery store man's Pork Chops with Scalloped Potatoes

As I mentioned in a previous post, I ran into a stranger today at the grocery store who proceeded to verbally give me 3 of his favorite recipes.
Since I am attending a pot-luck event this evening, I thought I'd try his Pork Chops with Scalloped Potatoes recipe.  I doubled the recipe for my pot-luck.
Granted, I don't know if I've ever made pork chops in the past 8 years, and I've never made scalloped potatoes that weren't from scratch.  I was a little dubious, but it sounded simple and non-labor intensive (great for a busy day - more time to blog).

8-12 pork chops
1 box Betty Crocker scalloped potatoes
1 Tablespoon butter
Betty Crocker seasoning packet
1/2 c. milk
2 cups boiling water

Heat oven to 350*
In a skillet or frying pan with 2 t. oil, brown pork chops, on each side, but don't cook completely.
(If serving a large crowd, cut chops into smaller pieces).

Place in bottom of 9x13 baking dish.

Mix scalloped potatoes, butter, milk, seasoning packet, and boiling water, and pour mixture over pork chops.
Bake at 350* for one hour.

Texas Sheet Cake

Pork Chops & Scalloped Potatoes, Low Country Boil, and Pig Picking Cake

I was picking up some supplies for a community bike ride, a Memorial Day church activity, and a birthday party this morning, and as I was breezing through the produce aisle, an older gentleman stopped me by the oranges and carefully looked over my cart (which really - was loaded with water and paper products).  He then looked at me and asked, "Do you like to cook?"  Maybe he was wondering if I knew how!
I replied, "yes" and he went straight on to walk me through three of his favorite recipes.
Low Country Boil, a Pig Picking Cake, and Pork chops with scalloped potatoes.

I wondered what kind of crazy he was, but since I needed something for a cub scout potluck tonight, I wondered if he was heaven sent, and thought I'd try his pork chop recipe, as well as pick up some spice he mentioned for the Low Country Boil (why not?)

I came home and googled his recipes, and was surprised to see that they are pretty popular recipes - and his seemed to be spot on with some pretty well known chefs.

So, I'll be trying these out and posting about them in the very near future.  As soon as the chops are out of the oven in fact.  AND after I throw a Texas Sheet Cake into the oven.  I've yet to compare it to my original recipe, but a friend brought this to church for Mother's Day, and it was devoured.  I'll be posting it soon as well.

Happy cooking to me!  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

4 Layer Checkerboard Cake

It has been forever since I blogged.  I have been cooking - sort of.  My friend talked me into a healthy lifestyles challenge, so for most of this year so far, sugar has been cut down to once a week (yes, torture) and I'm enjoying lots and lots of raw fruits and vegetables - nothing very exciting to blog about. 

Here's my latest culinary experience:  

 (it got a little messy as everyone was clamoring for some - I will use a different vanilla cake recipe next time)

While there are special pans you can buy to do a checkerboard cake, I just made two cakes - my normal chocolate, and a vanilla - making 4 layers (uncut - this could easily be 8, but I wanted the larger definition - but now that I think of it - 8 could really blow your mind! time maybe).  
Now, while I could have bought a nifty special cake pan, I went the cheap route - I used the lid to a sour cream carton, and stuck it into the middle of the cake and cut around it with a knife.  
I used a small bowl for the next ring, and then my measuring spoon turned upside down for the final inner ring.  
Then I carefully took each layer apart and replaced the rings with an alternating color etc. etc. like this - and yes, each layer looks like the top, or like and inverted version of the top layer here.  
Afterwards, I just frosted the cake as normal.  
Here's the recipe I used for the chocolate cake as well as the frosting - my own adaptation from Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake and Frosting


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

    ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

    THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

    BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

    CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

    "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING - Double this recipe for four layers.

    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
    2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
    Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.