Monday, October 22, 2018

Pumpkin Apple Cake

A lot of people have been coming through my house lately, and even though I've been testing recipes for books, the dishes disappear in no time. I thought a 9 x 13 cake might last a little bit longer.

I was torn between pumpkin cake and apple cake, so I decided to merge them. The cake is pumpkin but there are apple slices in the middle. Mmm, the best of both worlds.

This is a very moist cake. The oil and melted butter help the pumpkin make it moist. It's the perfect breakfast cake!

Pumpkin Apple Cake

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

 4 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup regular sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin

1-2 apples (about two cups sliced, depending on size of apples)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Set aside.

Beat the eggs with the 1 cup dark brown sugar and the 1/2 cup regular sugar until thick (about 2-3 minutes). With the machine running, slowly pour in the vegetable oil and the butter, then the pumpkin. Slowly add the flour mixture until well blended, scraping the sides of the mixer as necessary.

Combine the 1/2 cup dark brown sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Lay the apple slices in a single layer. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture. Top with remaining batter. Smooth it out to the sides so the apples are covered. Bake 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

I served this with sweetened whipped cream, but if you want to dress it up, you could mix lemon juice with powdered sugar and drizzle it in a zigzag over the top.

Pour 1/2 of batter into the prepared pan.

Arrange the apples in a single layer.

Sprinkle with the dark brown sugar and cinnamon.

Cover with remaining batter

Sunday, October 21, 2018


LUCY BURDETTE: Today I'm so happy to welcome my pal and wonderful writer Hank Phillippi Ryan. With her new book just out and working on a million other things, how does she have time to cook? But she does when it counts, and here's one of her favorite recipes. Don't forget to enter a comment and you might win a copy of TRUST ME!

HANK: Even though it's decadent, this recipe is such a staple for us.  The yummy crunchy outside and the gooey buttery inside--fabulous. And I use almond flour instead of regular flour.  Pair this with a super-simple fettuccini Alfredo and a green vegetable and salad--and add white wine if you're celebrating. And hey--what's not to celebrate?  


Chicken breast cutlets pounded flat (one per person--maybe two)
Two sticks of very cold butter

One cup almond flour  
Two egg whites
Salt and pepper to taste

3 T. Olive oil and 2T butter for sautéing each batch


Put egg whites into a flat saucer.
Put flour into a different flat saucer.
Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350.
(You may want to start the pasta water now--see below.)

Pound chicken breasts flat.   

Place a chunk of cold butter (less than 1T)  in the center of each flattened piece of chicken.  Season with salt and pepper. Flap up the sides, then the top and bottom, to form a roll. 

One at a time,  roll each pocket into the egg whites to coat it, then into the flour. The egg whites will make the flour stick.  Place each roll onto a wax paper covered plate. 

(You will have to do this one at a time, rinsing your hands in between, because they will get very gooey. If the pockets aren't staying closed, you can secure them with a toothpick.)

When all the pieces are coated and place on the waxed paper, put the plate in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or so.  (Or! You can freeze some of these now and use another time!)

Prepare a large skillet by covering the bottom with olive oil, then adding a tablespoon or so of butter. Heat to medium.  Saute the rolls over medium heat until they are golden brown on all sides--2 to 3 minutes.  

Transfer to a baking tray and bake 20 minutes (at 350) or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, make:


Pasta of your choice  (fettuccini works)
Heavy cream (up to one-half cup)
Grated high-quality parmesan cheese (keep some aside for topping)
Butter (up to 3 Tablespoons)

Bring a pot of water to a vigorous boil.
Add the pasta, cook al dente.
Drain the pasta, and return to hot pan.  (Reserve a little pasta water just in case)
Add a chunk of butter, a scant third cup of cream, and however much parmesan you want. Stir until mixed--you might want to add a bit more cream if needed. Or a little of the pasta water if it is too thick.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Sometimes I add cooked frozen peas to the pasta--it's very pretty! And you can sprinkle with parsley. 

You are trying to make the pasta finish at the same as the Kievs.  (The pasta will hold, for a little bit, if it's covered, and you can rejuvenate by adding hot cream.)

Serve one Kiev per person, accompanied by the pasta.  It's good to include a green vegetable as a side--steamed broccoli works well, and makes the whole dish beautiful.   When you cut into the Kievs, the melted butter comes's so yummy!


TRUST ME by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The first psychological standalone from nationally best-selling author Hank Phillippi Ryan. 

Everyone's talking about it--notorious party girl Ashlyn Bryant is accused of an unspeakable crime.
But If Ashlyn is innocent, why doesn't she say so on the witness stand? Convinced of Ashlyn's guilt, journalist Mercer Hennessey fanatically writes the true story of this provocative case.

Everyone agrees--only the despicable Ashlyn could have committed this crime.

But did she?

One obsessed journalist. One troubled mom. Two smart women facing off in a high stakes psychological cat and mouse game  prove their truth about a terrible crime. But which one is the cat? And which one is the mouse? I dare you to find the liar. 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston's WHDH-TV. She's won 34 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. The nationally bestselling author of 10 mysteries, Ryan's also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, two Macavitys, the Daphne, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. Critics call her "a master of suspense" and "a superb and gifted storyteller" and she is the only author to have won the Agatha in four different categories: Best First, Best Novel, Best Short Story and Best Non-Fiction. Her novels have been named Library Journal's Best of 2014, 2015 and 2016.  Hank's newest book is the acclaimed standalone psychological suspense thriller TRUST ME (August 28, 2018), which Suspense Magazine's reviewer calls "By far one of the best thrillers I've read in years."  The Booklist starred review says “It’s a knockout,” and New York Post, BOOK BUB, PopSugar, CrimeReads and Real Simple Magazine named it one of the Best Thrillers of Summer 2018.
Hank is a founder of MWA University and past president of National Sisters in Crime. Visit Hank online at, on Twitter @HankPRyan, on Instagram @hankpryan and Facebook at HankPhillippiRyanAuthor

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Skillet Pasta and Chicken Alfredo #Recipe @PegCochran

I love one pan dinners, don't you?  This came together so easily and was really delicious.  Much better than the Alfredo sauce you buy in a jar.  I cut the recipe in quarters since there are only two of us, but I imagine this would freeze well if the whole recipe was more than you needed.

One-Skillet Chicken Alfredo Pasta
Serves 6 to 8 – measurements in parentheses are for ¼ the recipe. I didn’t reduce the garlic.
1  1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces)
    Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2  2 tablespoons unsalted butter (about ½ tablespoon)
1  1 teaspoon minced garlic
4  4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (1 cup)
1  1 pound dried penne or ziti pasta   (4 ounces)
1  1 1/2 cups heavy cream (6 ounces)
1  1 cup freshly grated Parmesan  (1/4 cup)
1  1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)

Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté until nicely browned on the outside but still a bit pink inside, about 4 minutes . Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the garlic to the pan and sauté over medium heat until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Turn the heat to high, add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a simmer, lower to medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta, stir well, and simmer until the pasta starts to soften, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the cream and the chicken with any juices that have accumulated. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes more.

Stir in the Parmesan.  Sprinkle with the parsley, if desired
*** I found I needed to add a bit more broth while the pasta cooked but I cut the recipe in quarters so that could be why.  Also my pasta took a minute or two longer to cook, but I used that Protein Pasta by Barilla.  I didn’t bother with the parsley.  Next time I’ll add peas or broccoli for some color. 

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