Truck stop food isn’t always the greatest, but every now and then, there’s something especially yummy. At the Iron Skillet at the Petro in Ontario, California, I found a gem: Pineapple M&M Cake. It was so pretty with colorful mini M&Ms on top and plenty of sweet pineapple filling between layers of yellow cake. John, the semi truck driver, got a piece and kindly allowed me to have a single, luscious bite.
Heavenly! I instantly had a very strong urge to dash to the buffet and haul the entire cake over to our table. Good manners kept me from doing it, but it was a close call! Here’s a recipe to try at home.
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk (to increase the pineapple flavor, sub 1/4 cup pineapple juice for part of the milk)
- 1/2 cup pineapple filling
- 1 can whipped white frosting (or your favorite homemade frosting)
- 1 bag mini M&Ms
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour two round nine-inch cake pans.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
- When well incorporated, add the baking powder, and then the flour and milk a little at a time, alternating the two.
- On medium speed, beat the batter for about 2 minutes, until thick and creamy.
- Split the batter evenly between the two cake cake pans.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Set aside cakes to cool.
- Spread about 1/2 a cup of frosting on the bottom layer of the cake, to about a 1/2 inch from the edge. Then top with the same amount of pineapple filling.
- Carefully place the top layer on, and frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Sprinkle the top with mini M&Ms.
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Gluten-free angel hair pasta with homemade pesto sauce, topped with halved grape tomatoes and shaved parmesan cheese
While Mike was holding down the RV last week, I was doing a tour of Spain, enjoying all the sights, sounds and food of the country. I never knew I liked pesto until I had it freshly made and served on the side in a gravy boat at Los Alfonsinos in Barcelona. As soon as I got back to the States and our coach, I knew I had to make it for Mike.
The two primary ingredients in pesto offer a lot of health benefits. Basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils have unique anti-bacterial properties and health-protecting effects on cell structure. Olive oil protects against heart disease, lowers cholesterol, normalizes blood clotting, and benefits insulin levels and blood sugar control.
To make this super easy, super healthy meal a snap, I used the RV-sized Magic Bullet Blender to make my own pesto sauce. I love, love, love the Magic Bullet because it handles all of our blending needs without taking up valuable countertop real estate. It also makes the perfect amount for two people.
Because Mike is slightly gluten-intolerant, we used gluten-free angel hair, but you could make this with any kind of pasta or even ravioli. I left out the pine nuts, but feel free to add a couple of tablespoons if you like. A little pesto goes a long way, so this batch should be enough for a half box of angel hair, cooked.
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/8 – 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Place all the ingredients in your Magic Bullet or blender.
- Process to a paste.
- Stir through cooked pasta and top with sliced grape tomatoes and more parmesan cheese.
When we’re boondocking, we keep the slide in, the jacks up, and conserve our water as much as possible. We often eat out during those times, but occasionally, after a a long day of driving, it’s nice to have a home-cooked meal. I handle water rationing by coming up with something semi-homemade that doesn’t take a lot of pots and pans.
These roasted potatoes are a great accompaniment to a store-bought meatloaf. I got both at Trader Joe’s. The meatloaf was in its own microwavable package, and the potato medley came in a mesh bag that let the colors shine through. I loved the multi-hued small spuds! Mike was a little thrown off at first because he thought the purple potatoes were rotten.
The bag held about 16 potatoes, so we had leftovers for breakfast potatoes the next morning. Dip into a bagged blend of greens from the fridge for a side salad, and you’ve got a complete meal that doesn’t dirty every dish in the rig.
- Medley of small potatoes (My bag had about 16 potatoes in it.)
- coconut oil, melted (about 1/8 cup, just enough to coat)
- Minced garlic, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash potatoes and cut into rough slices.
- In a medium bowl, toss potatoes with coconut oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Roast uncovered for about 30 minutes in the oven until they’re fork tender.
- Serve with a slice of meatloaf and a side salad.
Pasta, red sauce, ground beef and lots of ooey-gooey cheese. Yum! Lasagna is always delicious, but sometimes it’s a pain to make. That’s why I was excited to find a shortcut recipe over at Iowa Girl Eats. It takes all the hassle out of making this classic Italian dish but leaves all the scrumptious flavor in! Use reduced fat shredded cheese and lean ground beef for a healthier twist on comfort food.
Since we have no dishwasher in the RV (unless you count me!), I appreciate that this entree uses only two pans. Clean-up is a lot easier!
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds frozen cheese ravioli (Do not thaw.)
- Shredded reduced-fat Italian or Fiesta cheese blend (Mike is a cheese fanatic, so we use beaucoup fromage. Adjust for your tastes.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. (You can season with garlic salt and pepper if you’d like. I didn’t, though, and it was still very tasty.) Drain and set aside.
- Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish.
- Add 1/2 the frozen ravioli, ground beef, sauce, and cheese. Repeat layers one more time.
- Cover with a sheet of foil (spritzed with non-stick olive oil spray); then bake for 1 hour.
- Remove foil and then bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
This is an easy dish to make after a long day of driving and setting up the RV. Serve it with a side salad for a complete meal.
A caveat: Be sure your dining companion doesn’t mind mixing meat and fruit in their entree. I had forgotten that Mike prefers to keep the two separate. But, he was a troooper and ate one of the chops just because I’d taken the time to cook them. Personally, I liked ’em so much I ate two!
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add pork chops. Cook and turn until brown on both sides.
Reduce heat to low, and in a small bowl, mix together preserves, mustard and vinegar.
Pour sauce over chops, cover skillet, and cook for about 8 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the chops are cooked through.
Serve with a side salad.