Inner Chef

Enjoy your kitchen, your food and your inner chef

Leave a comment

Ravioli in Red Cream Sauce

Ravioli in Red Cream Sauce

Kosher salt

1 pound frozen meat-filled ravioli

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

12 oz. mushrooms, thick sliced

2 medium shallots, sliced

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 reserved pasta water


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook ravioli as directed on package; reserving 1/4 of liquid when pasta is done. Drain pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and cook; stirring occasionally until softened; about 4-5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook mushroom mixture for 1-2 minutes, just until mushrooms begin to brown. Add the paprika, thyme, 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt and about 1/8 tsp. pepper. Turn heat back to medium. Stir to combine.
  3. Move the mushroom mixture to the side of the skillet and add the tomato paste to the center; cook, stirring until slightly darkened; about 1 minute. Stir the mushrooms into the tomato paste and then add beef broth and heavy cream. Stir until well combined and simmer until slightly thickened; about 2 minutes. Add reserved pasta water. Simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add ravioli to the sauce and gently toss.


Chef’s Note: This recipe can be used to meat-filled tortellini also.




Leave a comment

M and M Party Cookies

M&M’S® Party Cookies


1 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies


Heat oven to 375°F.

Beat sugars and shortening until light and fluffy.

Blend in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Stir in 2/3 cup M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press several additional M&M’S® Milk Chocolate Candies into each cookie. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I loved making these cookies, mainly for the Hershey Kisses. Opening each one and inhaling the aroma of sweet milk chocolate. Then…oops; one hits the floor (can’t use that one), oops…this one doesn’t look quite perfect enough (can’t use that one), oops…this one isn’t tall enough (can’t use that one)… Can you guess where those “can’t use” Hershey Kisses went?



48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Granulated sugar for rolling cookies


Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and sugars in bowl; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.




Apple Cider Donut Cake

This cake is light and fluffy with a delicate apple cider flavor.

Apple Cider Mixture
1 large or 2 small apples  (Granny Smith is recommended; use anything with a lot of tart flavor)
1 1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup milk
Cake Batter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best!)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
6 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Apple Cider Mixture
  1. Peel, core, and chop your apples. Combine with apple cider in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 10-12 minutes,  or until apples are tender. The mixture will foam up when it boils. Cool for 5 minutes, then puree, preferably with an immersion blender, although a blender or food processor will do.

  2. Combine 1 cup of apple mixture with milk; this allows the milk to curdle, like buttermilk. (You will have a little apple puree leftover.)

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

  2. Cream butter with sugar and brown sugar in stand mixer on medium speed using the paddle attachment for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one by one. Add oil and vanilla, and mix for another minute, until well incorporated.

  3. Alternate adding the flour and apple mixtures in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to make sure butter and sugar isn’t sticking.  Mix for 10 more seconds to make sure everything is light and airy.

  4. Pour batter into a generously greased Bundt cake pan and bake at 350F for 35-50 minutes. My cake took about 40 minutes.
  5. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto cake platter.

Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Coat cake with cinnamon sugar. I used my hand as a cup to help put the cinnamon sugar mixture up the sides of the cake; using a spoon to sprinkle the mixture on top and aiding to put the mixture on the sides.

    Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Use a very sharp knife and even strokes if cutting while still warm.

    Do not cover until completely cooled.

Leave a comment

Product Review: SMASH MALLOWS!

Recently I went to Michigan to visit my family and my sister was nice enough to not only introduce me to an amazing marshmallow, but give them to me as well!

Now, these are not your everyday regular white puffy marshmallow, oh  no! These are marshmallows 2.0!!! These are marshmallows made for people who love flavor, who love marshmallows, who want more than the puffy and sticky substance of those white things from the grocery store.  These are a piece of Heaven!

Smash Mallows come in several flavors and as soon as you open the bag the aroma intoxicating. What you smell is what you will taste! My favorite so far? ALL OF THEM that I tasted. The Root Beer float tastes like a root beer float, the Strawberries and Cream tastes likes fresh strawberries!

I cut up a Mint Chocolate Chip Smash Mallow this morning and tossed it in my hot cocoa. It made my cocoa a bit sweeter and the mint chip flavor was perfect; not over powering.

Smash Mallow has a site online and you can find them in stores (Wal-Mart and even Menard’s). Their website tells you what stores in your area carries them.

Please give these a try. You will not be sorry!!!

1 Comment

Banana Bread Muffin Cupcakes

Banana Bread Muffin Cupcakes

Makes: 12


2 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

3 ripe bananas

¼ cup sour cream + 1 tsp. white vinegar

¼ cup oil

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

Cream cheese frosting

12 oz. (1 ½ packs) cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar (use more is needed to taste)

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 355°F.

Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and coat with baking spray.

In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed, beat sugar and eggs about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and vinegar, stir until well combined.

With a fork, mash the bananas. Add bananas, sour cream mixture, oil and vanilla to sugar/egg bowl. Mix until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cups.

Bake at 355°F for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a bowl, beat cream cheese with butter. Add powdered sugar, lemon, and vanilla; mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Cool muffins completely.

Pipe frosting onto muffins.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container.

Chef’s Notes: Don’t expect the icing to be sweet. You may want to taste it and add more sugar to it. I added about 1/8 cup more sugar for my personal use than normal. The lemon really adds such a great flavor to the cupcake and icing!

Leave a comment

Taco Stuffed Baked Potato

I love tacos! I love baked potatoes! Ever find that one day when you don’t have enough leftover taco meat to feed everyone but you have the potatoes? That was me today! So, Don brought up the loaded baked potatoes that we had at the BBQ Fest last fall in Paducah. They were HUGE! I bet they weighed about 3-5 pounds each by the time they were loaded with everything.

So, I made my fresh salsa (cilantro, onions and tomatoes) rounded up the shredded Colby-Jack cheese, sour cream, White Cheddar Mexican cheese dip (served warm of course), the taco meat and the prepared potatoes.

I liked to take a spoon and carefully round out the potato from the skin then fluff it out a bit with a fork before adding all my ingredients; I don’t know why, I am just strange that way. I sprinkled on a layer of Colby-Jack followed by the taco meat, then fresh salsa and drizzled the warm white cheddar over the potato topping it off with a dollop of sour cream.

Who needs a taco shell! We didn’t use as much meat because we were using it as a topping for the potato; so it went farther. The potato gave us more to eat and with a large baked potato; it was not easy to finish this off!

Add whatever ingredients you add to your taco and enjoy!