Caramel cake with caramel-pecan topping

Delicious Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce, flavorful King Hawaiian “Mini” Reuben Sliders and Grilled Shrimp Verde Quesadillas, all from Chef William Gerstenberger at Crossroads Hy-Vee, are perfect for fall parties and tailgating.

And don’t forget dessert — our best-ever bar cookies will vanish fast, and the rich Caramel Cake is certain to be a hit!

Caramel Cake with Caramel-Pecan Topping

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 containers Whipped Cream-style cream cheese frosting

1 jar caramel ice cream topping

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine sour cream and milk.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at medium-low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool 1 hour or until completely cool.

To decorate the cake, empty frosting container(s) into mixer bowl and beat on low to medium speed. This will fluff the frosting and make it seem more like homemade. Place a dot of frosting on cake stand and place first layer. Frost to edges. Add second layer and frost entire cake. Drizzle caramel ice cream topping over cake and sprinkle chopped pecans on top and sides.

Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce

Serves 6

4 half chicken breasts


2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon red curry paste

1teaspoon fish sauce

1tablespoon dried chives

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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1 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter

13.5-ounce can coconut milk

1 tablespoon chili sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients. Slice each chicken breast into three lengthwise slices to make 12 chicken tenders. Place chicken tenders in marinade bowl; marinate for 2 hours. Remove chicken from marinade and skewer on wood or metal skewers; set aside. Discard remaining marinade.

For peanut sauce, place 1 cup peanut butter in saucepan over low heat. Add coconut milk, chili sauce and vinegar; stir constantly for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to scorch bottom. If you want more coconut flavor, add a bit more. Set aside to cool.

If transporting to tailgating site, place marinaded, skewered tenders and peanut sauce in separate plastic storage containers with lids, and take along a small saucepan. On site, spray grill with cooking spray. Preheat on medium-high heat. Place tenders on grill; turn after 2 minutes because they cook quickly. Tenders are done when internal temperature is 165 F and juices run clear. Use saucepan on grill to warm peanut sauce. Serve tenders with sauce.

Grilled Hawaiian “Mini” Rueben Sliders

Serves 6

12 King’s Hawaiian cocktail buns

1 pound corn beef, thinly sliced

1 small can sauerkraut

6 slices thin-sliced Swiss cheese

½ cup melted butter

Thousand Island Dressing, as desired

Assemble sandwiches: Slather bun bottoms with Thousand Island Dressing as desired; then add layers of corn beef, sauerkraut, cheese, another dollop of dressing and the top bun. Gently press down on each filled bun. Preheat clean grill to medium-high. Brush both sides of each sandwich with melted butter and place on grill. Watch closely; grill 1 to 2 minutes per side to melt cheese. Serve immediately.

Grilled Shrimp Verde Quesadillas

Serves 4

1/2-pound 51-60 count cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

8 flour tortillas

3 small cans green chilies

1/2 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

8 slices provolone cheese

Ground cumin (a shake or two)

Juice from 1 small lime

Hot sauce or salsa

Mix together shrimp, green chilies, onion, cumin and lime juice. Top 4 tortillas with shrimp mixture, then top each with slices of cheese. Top tortillas with remaining 4 tortillas. Preheat clean grill to low-medium heat. Place tortillas on grill, watching carefully, and flip after about 15 seconds. When quesadillia has a golden brown char and cheese is melted, remove from heat. Serve immediately with hot sauce and salsa, if desired.


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