Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake / Baker's Challenge 2013

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake / Baker's Challenge 2013

Welcome to the Crowded Kitchen Baker's Challenge 2013.

We have searched high and low for a fun, great tasting dessert that everyone will enjoy making.  Who doesn't love a warm, rich chocolate cake filled with a hot gooey, flowing chocolate center?   Our goal is to get everyone in the kitchen, so grab your loved-ones and let's have some fun.  In this challenge everyone is a winner, so send us your photographs, and we will publish them for everyone to see.

Please send photographs, and names to


4 ounce semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons flour

Caramel sauce
Vanilla Ice cream
Chocolate sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a medium, microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter together for 1 minute and 20 seconds.  Whisk the chocolate and butter together until the chocolate has melted.

Graham whisking the chocolate mixture
Once the chocolate and butter mixture is incorporated and smooth, whisk the following ingredients separately into chocolate mixture, in order.

Powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons flour

Gerard and Graham 2/24/13
Spray 4 custard, or ramekin cups with cooking spray.

Fill the cups evenly with batter.

Place the cups on a baking sheet, and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the outer edges are set and the center is soft set.

Let's bake the cakes!
Let the cakes cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Before inverting the cake on a dessert plate, drizzle caramel sauce evenly.

Drizzling the caramel sauce
Top each cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

4 servings.


The finished dessert!  3/20/13

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Portobellos

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Portobellos
Original recipe by Eating Well Magazine


4 large portobello mushrooms caps
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped black olives
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 1/2  cups "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce"


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.

Once the mushroom caps have been roasted, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps.

Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce" into each cap.

Divide the ricotta cheese mixture into 4 equal portions.  Fill each cap with ricotta mixture, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake until hot, about 10 minutes.

Serve with the remaining tomato sauce, bread, and a green salad.

4 servings

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jamaican Black Bean and Rice Soup

Jamaican Black Bean and Rice Soup
Original recipe by Sunset

This Jamaican soup is decorated deliciously with chopped radishes and green onions, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dollop of sour cream.   This soup is easy to make and delicious.


1 pound dried black beans
6 cups water
4 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 cups sour cream
4 green onions, sliced
6 radishes, chopped
Lime wedges


Rinse beans

In a 4 to 5-quart stockpot, bring 6 cups of water and rinsed beans to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Once the black beans have simmered for 45 minutes, pour the vegetable stock into the stockpot and continue simmering, covered for another 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-heat, and saute the chopped onion, garlic, cumin, and dried oregano for 10 minutes; set aside.

In a blender or food processor, whirl about 2 cups of the beans and a little broth until smooth; return puree to stockpot.

Stir in the salt, onion mixture, cooked rice, and vinegar.

Cook over medium-heat until soup is steaming.

Garnish with sour cream, green onions, radishes and lime wedges.

Serves 6 to 8

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spinach Lasagna

Spinach Lasagna


2 pounds fresh spinach (2 large bunches)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian stewed tomatoes w/ liquid
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup Merlot wine
Salt and pepper

12 lasagna noodles

1 egg
2 cups Ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Rinse spinach

Cook spinach over medium-heat for 2 to 4 minutes, until wilted.  Drain and chop spinach coarsely; set aside.

Saute onion, garlic, oregano, and basil in olive oil for 5 minutes, or until onion is tender.

Mix in the tomatoes w/ liquid (break up with a spoon), tomato paste, and wine.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil over high-heat, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

In a large bowl, beat egg, and then blend in Ricotta cheese and nutmeg; set aside.

Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Layer baking dish in this order

1/3 tomato sauce mixture
4 lasagna noodles
1/2 chopped spinach
1/2 Ricotta cheese mixture
1/3 mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 tomato sauce mixture
4 lasagna noodles
1/2 chopped spinach
1/2 Ricotta cheese mixture
1/3 mozzarella cheese
4 lasagna noodles
1/3 tomato sauce mixture
1/3 mozzarella cheese
1/2 Parmesan cheese

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until hot, bubbly, and lightly browned.

Cut into squares to serve.

6 to 8 servings

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

10,000 Page Views

Crowded Kitchen will be hitting 10,000 page views shortly, and we would like to thank everyone for all  your support, comments and feedback.  We love you guys, and you rock!!!  Who will be the lucky person to hit the magical number, . . . will it be you?

Black Bean and Rice Burrito

Black Bean and Rice Burrito


2 cups cooked rice
2 limes, juiced
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste

Sliced olives
Avocado slices
Sour cream

4 large flour tortillas


In a large bowl, combine the chopped cilantro and the cooked rice.  Drizzle the lime juice over the rice mixture, and mix well.

In a separate large skillet, heat the olive oil, and saute the chopped onion and minced garlic for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the black beans and the remaining ingredients. Stir the mixture and cook until heated through, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Spoon the rice mixture and the black bean mixture onto the flour tortillas.  Add additional toppings, such as, salsa, sliced olives, avocado slices and sour cream.

Wrap the burrito, and microwave before serving.

Serves 4

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

These stuffed bell peppers are delicious, and easy to make.  You can make the bell peppers early, and reheat them in the microwave before serving.


6 green bell peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 cups cooked white rice
1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes, drained
1 cup diced red and green bell peppers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Carefully cut the tops of each green bell pepper, or cut the green peppers length-wise in half.  Rinse and clean the insides of each pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large skillet over medium-heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the olive oil is hot, add the onions, mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are golden brown.

Add the zucchini, yellow squash, cooked white rice, tomatoes, diced red and green bell peppers and continue to cook until vegetables are tender.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in the 3 tablespoons of tomato paste.

Remove from heat and fold in the fresh spinach.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into each cooled green pepper.

Transfer the peppers to a heat-proof serving dish and top with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake the peppers for 15 to 18  minutes, or until heated through.

Serve the stuffed peppers with a green salad and vegetables.