Recipe: Moist Carrot Cake

 Carrot Cake

  • The-Best-Carrot-Cake-Ever-OR--1--
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; lightly flour the pans.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine granulated sugar, oil, eggs, baking soda, flour, cinnamon, salt, coconut, carrots, and walnuts, beating 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until a smooth, thick batter forms. DO NOT OVER-MIX! Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the tops are golden. Let cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, make frosting by combining cream cheese and butter; mix well. Add vanilla; mix well. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, continuing to mix until well combined.
  5. Place one cake layer on a serving platter and frost top of cake. Place second layer on top of frosted layer. Frost top and sides of entire cake. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

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Cooking Tip: Choosing Healthier Cooking Oils

Cut Back on Unhealthy Cooking Oils
Some oils contain higher levels of saturated fat, which is considered the “bad” or unhealthy fat because it can clog arteries and lead to high cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease. 
Avoid these oil varieties, some of which are so high in saturated fat that they have more of it than some meat sources: 

  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Safflower oil

In general, keep the amount of saturated fats you eat to a minimum; check the labels before you buy any cooking oil to see what types of fat it contains. You also want to avoid any oil-based products with trans fats and hydrogenated oils — even worse for you than saturated fats. 

Healthy Alternatives to Cooking Oil
You don’t always have to cook in oil — there are other options that are even lighter and healthier. Try these alternatives: 

  • Lightly coat your pan with cooking spray rather than adding liquid oil
  • Bake by wrapping food in parchment paper or aluminum foil to steam it and keep it moist
  • Use broth, such as a low-sodium vegetable, beef, or chicken variety, as a cooking medium and sauce base
  • Steam food above boiling water
  • Season food with lemon juice for a citrus flavor
  • Marinate or cook with balsamic vinegar for a tangy, rich flavor

A variety of heart-healthy cooking oils can give your meal great flavor. Experiment with light saute or marinades; if you avoid frying foods or using heavy amounts of oil, nut or vegetable oil adds taste and valuable nutrition to any meal. Just. And remember: A little oil goes a long way. 
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Recipe: Slow Cooker Cider Braised Pot Roast

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup(s) apple cider
  • 3 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon(s) flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 medium parsnips, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch- thick wedges
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 4 clove(s) (large) garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprig(s) fresh rosemary
  • 1 (3-pound) bottom round roast or chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat


  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, whisk together the cider, tomato paste, flour, Worcestershire, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the parsnips, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, and rosemary and toss to combine.
  2. Season the roast with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper and nestle among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender, 6 to 7 hours on high or 8 to 9 hours on low.
  3. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and slice. Serve with the vegetables.  

Credit ©2015 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Recipe: Spaghetti With Roasted Zucchini

Spaghetti With Roasted Zucchini

Serves 4


12 ounce(s) spaghetti

  • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 1/2 slice(s) fresh bread,  torn into 1-in. pieces
  • 2 clove(s) garlic,  smashed
  • 4 small zucchini (about 1 lb total),  sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan (1 oz)
  • 1/4 cup(s) flat-leaf parsley,  chopped
  • 1 tablespoon(s) grated lemon zest


  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with 1 Tbsp of the oil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the bread and garlic until the bread forms coarse crumbs and the garlic is chopped.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, red pepper, remaining 2 Tbsp oil and ½ tsp salt. Add the Parmesan and bread crumb mixture and toss to combine. Spread the zucchini mixture on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast until the zucchini is tender and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Toss the pasta with the zucchini mixture, parsley and lemon zest.

tips & techniques

For a one-pan meal, skip the pasta and toss 1 lb large raw peeled and deveined shrimp with the zucchini and bread crumb mixture before roasting.

Slow Cooker Recipe:Roasted Salmon with Crispy Potatoes & Broccoli

Roasted Salmon with Crispy Potatoes and Broccoli

Serves 4


  • 1 head(s) (large) broccoli, cut into small florets (about 6 1/2) cups)
  • 1 pound(s) Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 pound(s) skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup(s) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove(s) (small) garlic, mashed into a paste


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the broccoli, potatoes, and onion with the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in an even layer and roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Season the salmon with 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper, nestle it among the vegetables and continue roasting until the vegetables are golden brown and tender and the salmon is opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and garlic. Serve with the fish and the vegetables.

©2015 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Recipe: Pasta with Meat balls and Spinach


12 ounces short pasta

3 cup(s) baby spinach

1 large egg
Kosher salt
1 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan
8 ounce(s) (85-percent lean) ground beef
8 ounce(s) Italian sausage, casings removed
1 jar(s) (24- to 26-ounce) marinara sauce (we used low-sodium)
6 ounce(s) (about 1 1/2 cups) part-skim mozzarella, coarsely grated
1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta.


  1. Heat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, chop 1 cup spinach. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, 2 tablespoons of water, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic and parsley, then the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Let sit for 2 minutes. Add the beef, sausage, and chopped spinach and mix to combine.
  3. Form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 20 total) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Broil until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Toss the pasta with the marinara sauce. Fold in 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup of ricotta, then the remaining 2 cups of spinach and the meatballs. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and dollop with the remaining 1/4 cup ricotta. Broil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

©2015 Hearst Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Recipe: Salted Caramel Strawberries


Salted Caramel Strawberries



20 large fresh strawberries

40 caramels

3 tablespoons whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped mixed nuts

Wax paper


Prep: 15 Minutes

Stand: 15 Minutes

1. Pat strawberries completely dry with paper towels.


2. Microwave caramels, 3 Tbsp. whipping cream, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a 1-qt. microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 3 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring at 1-minute intervals.


3. Dip each strawberry halfway into caramel mixture. Roll in nuts, and place on lightly greased wax paper. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.


Note: For testing purposes only, we used Kraft Caramels and Planters NUTrition Heart Healthy Mix.




Recipe: Hand Pies

 1050388Original recipe makes 4 hand pies
1 pound prepared pie dough, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large green apples, peeled and cored

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon water, or more if needed (optional)

  • 1 egg

  • 2 teaspoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar, or as needed – divided

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • Cut peeled and cored apples into quarters, cut each quarter into 3 wedges, and cut wedges into chunks.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; let butter brown to a light golden color and until butter smells toasted, about 1 minute. Stir apples into hot butter; sprinkle with salt, white sugar, and brown sugar. Cook and stir apple mixture until apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in cinnamon and water; continue cooking until apples are soft and sticky, 1 to 2 more minutes. Spread apple filling onto a plate to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Form a dough piece into a ball, place on a floured work surface, and roll into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup apple filling in the center. Fold dough over filling, leaving about 1 inch of dough on the bottom side visible below the top side. Gently press dough closed around filling, using your fingertips.
  • Fold the overhanging bottom part of the dough up over the top edge, working your way around the crust, and pinch the overhang tightly to the top part of the crust.
  • Crimp the edge tightly closed, pinching a little bit of dough with the thumb and forefinger of one hand and using your index finger on the other hand to push a small notch into the pinched dough. Continue pinching and notching all the way around until the crust is tightly crimped together. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Transfer pies onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Whisk egg with milk in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Brush top of each hand pie with egg mixture and sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon white sugar. Cut 3 small vent holes in the top of each pie.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until pies are golden brown and filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
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