Orange Cake

This cake is perfect for those warm summer days to come. A light citrus cake!

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Ingredients:
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 orange, sliced (optional)

Glaze:
1/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter

Directions:
1. Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in 3/4 cup orange juice, oil, eggs, and orange extract. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook 1/3 cup orange juice, sugar and butter for two minutes. Drizzle over cake. Place orange slices on top for decoration.

12 servings

Strawberry Cheesecake

Baking is not one of my specialties. I hardly ever bake cookies, cupcakes, or anything sweet. It might have to do with the fact that when I cook, I throw a bit of everything in, usually without measuring. When it comes to baking, it’s necessary to measure. Too much sugar or too little baking powder can result in an unsatisfied baked good.

However, once a blue moon, I find myself in a baking mood. Here’s a recipe for a strawberry cheesecake that I’ve made a couple of times on occasion. This cheesecake is lighter compared to the traditional cheesecake. I think it’s because of the addition of lemon juice. You can top the cake with fresh strawberries, and you have a dessert perfect for a beautiful spring day.

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Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries, thawed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Directions:
1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of an 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries and cornstarch. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan, and boil and stir for 2 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup strawberry sauce and cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Add eggs and beat on low just until combined.
4. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over crust. Drop half of the reserved strawberry mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto cream cheese layer. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce. Drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. With a knife, cut through top layer only to swirl strawberry sauce.
5. Bake at 300 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen and cool 1 hour longer.
6. Refrigerate overnight. Remove side of pan. Serve strawberry sauce with cheesecake. Store in the refrigerator.

12 servings

Cioppino

There’s nothing like a bowl of mussels, fish, and shrimp in a tomato broth on a cloudy, rainy day. 🙂

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Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 can tomato sauce
1/2 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup white wine
1 tomato, chopped
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 cod filet, cubed

Directions:
1. Over medium-low heat, melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onions and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft.
2. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, bay leaf, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, tomato, and wine. Mix well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
3. Stir in the shrimp, mussels, and fish. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams open. Serve warm.

2 servings