Tuesday, June 17, 2014

King of the Castle...but just for a day! ;)

Well, Father's Day has come and passed.  This year, I decided to make our "King" feel like just that.  Since the oilfield NEVER sleeps, "B" had to work on Father's Day.  So, in an attempt to make the day special regardless of him spending 13 hours working in 100+ degrees heat, the sidekick and I got up early and started our day of cooking a feast for our King of the Castle!!!  Ok, let's be honest...our 5 year old's internal clock has an alarm that goes off no later than 7am (even in the summer)!  So, we just told the King we got up early.  ;)  So let's talk menu.  A couple weeks back, Mama had posted something about Hummingbird cake.  This grabbed the eye of the hubs, which by the way has NO sweet tooth!  He said he wanted me to make it sometime for him.  So, it was the perfect time to whip one up for him.  My grandma used to make this when I was a child, but I had never even thought of baking one.  I am not fruit and nut in baked goods kind of girl.  Give me chocolate any day!  But, being the good wife, I pulled out all the stops for my man! I found a version of the recipe from Southern Living.  Confession time....it's to die for!  I take back all my comments about fruits and nuts in my food!  Hummingbird cake is like banana bread with cream cheese frosting.  If someone had described this sweet treat in that way, I would have been Betty Crocker'ing it up in the kitchen on a regular basis. Keep in mind though....just because there are fruits and nuts in this, it is a far cry from making the Top 10 healthy snacks list.  Below is the recipe and you will see why.  Don't let this deter you from getting flour all over your kitchen.  You need to make this.  Do it on your next special occasion.  It will make your Love feel special and you are secretly treating yourself!!!

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c sugar                               
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1  1/2 c  vegetable oil                               
1 1/2 tsp vanilla                               
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 c chopped pecans + a handful for decoration on top of cake                              
2 c chopped bananas 
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (16oz) box  powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 (8oz) block cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Gradually add powdered sugar, until light and fluffy.
Stir in vanilla.
Combine first 5 dry ingredients in mixing bowl.    
Add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.)
Mix in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into 2 greased 9" round cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting.
Spread frosting between the two layers and around the cake.
Top with extra pecans.

Since I like to do things backwards, I then started on a special dinner for our King.  On the menu was homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs!  Yes, HOMEMADE!  Nothing frozen, in a jar, prepared by your fave Italian spot around the corner.  The only thing not homemade is the pasta.  Let's face it...I can only amaze myself so much!  This is by far our favorite spaghetti meatballs.  The hubs has even said it is a restaurant quality.  So, I hope you and your family find it just as tasty and special!!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef(I use 80/20)
1 c Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbs. parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbs. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (heaping)
1 egg
1/4 olive oil
1 c onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28oz) cans tomatoes (either diced or whole and peeled)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
In a bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients.  Form into golf ball size balls (approximately 15 balls). 
Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  I usually make them a couple hours before I start the sauce.
When ready to make the sauce, pull out your dutch oven.  Over medium heat, sauté your onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are transparent.  Make sure you stir often to keep garlic from browning.
Next, stir in the tomatoes, salt, sugar and your bay leaves.  Cover, simmer on low for 2 hours.
Stir in remaining ingredients and the meatballs from the fridge.
Simmer another 30-45 minutes.

Now, no spaghetti dinner is complete without a wonderful green salad.  A couple weeks ago, I was up visiting my parents and Mama pulled out a jar of homemade ranch dressing that my just be the tastiest  ranch that has crossed my lips.  The men in my house think that ranch is nectar of the Gods.  The dip anything and everything in it.  So, since it has received rave reviews from these two Ranch Judges, I figured it is only right that I let you in on our newest family secret.

Ranch Dressing
1c Mayo (Hellman's is our fave)
1/2c buttermilk
1/4t black pepper or to taste
1/8t or so garlic powder
1/8t paprika
1t Ranch dressing mix-Buttermilk Recipe
Combine all ingredients in a jar or whatever you carafe you can find that has a lid.  Tighten lid and shake the hell out of it.  Refrigerate.  (Easy, right?!?!?)



SO, there you have it ladies!  This is how I made my man feel like a King while I made memories with my sidekick creating a special meal to bring our little family even that much closer.  We shared laughs, dances in the kitchen and a dessert that will change the way you view old classic sweets.  Run to your closest grocery store, get all the ingredients (which you more than likely already have everything in the pantry), and make your family a meal that hopefully will provide you moments to remember.

Until next time...Ciao!!!

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