Friday, November 25, 2011

Super Easy Pizza Dough

Pizza is my favorite food besides chocolate (and cookies). My madre is the best pizza maker West of the Mississippi as far as I'm concerned, and this is her recipe. It is very quick, and very easy. Even non-cookers/bakers can do it if they put their mind to it (no rhyme intended).

No Rise Instant Pizza Dough

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast (.25 ox or 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix in water and vegetable oil. Divide dough in half. Begin using gravity to stretch the dough. Spread it on an oiled baking sheet and use a rolling pin to roll to desired shape and size. Bake 5 min, remove and poke air bubbles with a fork. Add your favorite toppings and bake another 10-20 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.

Pizza Sauce

Per Pizza-
1 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp oregano

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Easy Pudding Cake

This is a favorite from my growing up years. My mom used to make it all the time, and I think it was the first thing I ever learned to bake. It is very easy, and very tasty. I made it on Sunday, and probably ate the half of the cake by myself...for better or for worse... :)

Pudding Cake aka Best Chocolate Cake EVER.

Prep Time: 10 Min
Baking Time: 30 Min

1 small pkg. chocolate pudding (cook and serve)
1 cake mix (chocolate)
1 c. nuts, chopped
1 c. chocolate chips

Make pudding in medium saucepan according to package instructions. Remove from heat. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add chocolate cake mix (dry) to pudding and mix just well enough to incorporate (small powder bits are fine). Spread quickly into greased and floured 9X13 inch pan. Sprinkle nuts and chips over the top and press into the batter with the back of a spatula. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if you please.

Variations: Lemon cake mix with vanilla pudding and white chips, spice cake mix with butterscotch pudding and butterscotch chips.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We have some cakey winners!!!

I apologize for the delay in the cake mix contest winner decision. Without further delay, I'd like to proudly announce the winner is....

Submitted by Hannah

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 cups milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
assorted sprinkles
Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. This will vary greatly on the brand of cake mix you use. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed. I suggest a small taste test as well to see if the pancakes are flavored enough.
Preheat a skillet on medium heat (I use an electric grilled and turn it to 250 degrees). Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
assorted sprinkles
Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms. You may need to add a little more sugar or water/milk to reach desired consistency. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes.
*Hannah found her recipe here, which includes many other great sweet treats, as well as pretty pretty pictures. Check it out! 

2nd Place- I plan on making this every day. 

Dorm Room Cake
Submitted by Taylor 

Cereal Bowl
Cake Mix of choice

Put desired amount of cake mix into a bowl
Add desired amount of water
Microwave until baked (about 50 seconds)
I have never measured it out, but it makes a pretty darn good microwaved cake once you figure out the proper proportions.

If you would like to make icing use the same or a different flavor cake mix and add less water so it is thicker. Spread on top of microwaved cake.

3rd Places in no particular order ( I couldn't choose between these three, so there are three third places whether you like it or not.)

Healthy Chocolate Cake
Submitted by Tyler 

1 can black beans
1/2 can water
1 chocolate cake mix 

Drain the beans and rinse them so that you don't get gas as a result of eating this delicious cake. Blend the beans with 1/2 can of water (using the original bean can). Mix this with the cake mix and put her in the oven and sha bang! You have a cake with virtually no fat and still all of the original tastiness. Your friends won't even be able to taste the difference. 

Peach Cobbler
Submitted by Maddison 

1 large can of peaches (29 oz)
1 lemon cake mix
1/2 cup of melted butter or margarine

 Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan, then pour in peaches and their juice. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the fruit, then melt butter and pour over cake mix. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes (or at like 400 for 30 minutes or something like that, I don't remember). Serve it hot or cold. It is delicious.

Sprite Cake
Submitted By Liz 

You can make a cake by mixing a cake mix with a 2-liter bottle of Sprite! It's rather amazing, and fairly delicious. You leave out the other ingredients that the cake mix calls for and use Sprite instead, then bake the cake at the allotted temperature for the allotted time. That's it!
Congrats to these lucky finalists, and thanks everyone who participated!

Monday, October 17, 2011


In the next few days the winners of the cake mix contest will be announced. Thank you everyone who participated!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Desserts To Die For!

I love pumpkin. I don’t mean the literal pumpkin guts or anything. Just processed pumpkin with tons of preservatives and chocolate added. Mmmm, nothing says autumn louder than a pumpkin dessert. Last year around this time, my good friend Jesse C. brought over a plate of these divine cookies. I can still remember the blue tinted glass plate on which the cookies sat. Everything about these cookies was perfect- from their circular shape, to the balanced chocolate-pumpkin ratio, to the slightly crispy outside and the perfectly gooey inside. I highly recommend these cookies. Thanks for saving they day yet again, Jesse.

Total Prep Time: 7 Min
Total Cook Time: 10 Min
Total Price: $0.00 They were a gift. (I challenge you to find an unsuspecting pumpkin-a-holic to make them for you too!)

Perfectly Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 can (29 oz) of 100% Pure Pumpkin (I use Libby's brand)
2 boxes spice cake mix
1 bag (11 oz) of your favorite chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pure pumpkin and spice cake mix in a large bowl until even consistency. Mix in chocolate chips. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet (or I use parchment paper) using a spoon. Bake 10 min. However, I have found each oven may be different, so watch cookies and remove from oven after a toothpick/fork comes out clean in the middle of one of the cookies.

Another tasty yet easy pumpkin dessert is this Pumpkin Crumble. Check out the recipe here
I made this for my work meeting, and it was a complete success. Two thumbs up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cake Mix Contest!!!!!

Calling all bakers!!!!

I’d like to turn this Surprisingly Simple blog over to all you faithful readers, and open up a little friendly competition. The name of the game is cake mix.  
Cake mixes are for bakers who are accomplished at the art of not wasting their time mixing together ingredients that someone else already mixed for them, all for the price of $0.75!

This being said, I would like to see what you wonderful readers have to offer in terms of recipes that use cake mixes. For example, I’ve seen recipies for truffles, cookies, extra special cakes, and all sorts of other delicious treats. In order to entice you to participate, Surprisingly Simple will be having a contest with real live prizes. Wherever you are in the world, if your recipe wins, you’ll be awarded a $5 gift card to Cold Stone Ice Cream, or Jamba Juice (you choose) as well as your very own post on this blog, which we all know will lead to fame and fortune. This is just the second place prize. You can choose. Recipes will be judged on their simplicity relative to their deliciousness, as well as the overall “wow” factor. The judges will be an anonymous selection of cool people, yet to be determined.

Enter by 10:00am MST, Saturday, October 15, 2011!

email all entries to !

Tell your friends, tell your mom, tell your wife! Tell everyone so that we can share in the joys of not cake cake mixes together. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tomato Basil Pasta!- All the way from Italy!

Here is a recipe shared by a friend of a friend via the friend. Aka my super cool world traveling co-worker Liz. She spent the summer in Italy, so I think we can really trust her pasta cooking skills. This dish has some solid power house ingredients that really you can’t go wrong with. Plus, who isn’t in love with basil?

Tomato Basil Pasta

Total Prep Time: 15 min
Total Price: $5, but there was a lot left over ingredients that can be used again.

pasta of any variety
olive oil
a few leaves of fresh basil
cherry tomatoes

As you wait for the water to come to a boil, cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters, dice the garlic, and slice the basil leaves into strips. Once the water is boiling, put in your pasta. As the pasta cooks, simultaneously cook the other ingredients in a small frying pan with some olive oil. When the pasta is ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer it into the frying pan. Cook the pasta and the fresh ingredients together for a few minutes, as this will allow the pasta to better retain these flavors.

You can alter your ingredients from the classic tomato-basil combination as desired to use random vegetables that you may already have. Zucchini work well in this recipe and you could also add in onions or use different spices to suit your tastes.

*Liz is very, very cool. And it’s not just because she speaks Italian and had beautiful hair. She’s one of the nicest people I know too.