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6 Easy and Delicious Recipes with Ground Beef

Cooked Ground Beef is a great staple to have on hand for your meal planning!  Cook it ahead of time for easy meal assembly.  Here are 6 Easy and Delicious Recipes with Ground Beef!

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Life is busy.  Kids are busy.  Work is busy.  Just trying to stay on top of laundry, schedules, appointments, and school is tough enough, but then we have to deal with meals!  But don’t worry, I want to help you.  By taking the time to do meal prep ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of stress during hectic weeks.

When I can, I like to set aside an afternoon on Sundays and do some meal preparation.  I’ll cook up a batch of ground beef, prepare some cooked shredded chicken, chop vegetables for lunches, make a batch of cookies, all in an attempt to make our week ahead easier on everyone.  It can seem daunting, but the pay off is SO SO worth it.  The kids have ingredients at their fingertips for lunches, and I have meal prep taken care of, so when 4:00PM rolls around, I’m thankful I did most of my meal prep on the weekend…it’s such a relief.

Recently I shared how making shredded chicken ahead of time for meals was a life saver for me, and now I’m going to share another one of my favourite meal planning time savers…cooking ground beef ahead of time.  Ground beef is a staple in our home, especially on busy weeknights.  I like to have batches of cooked and seasoned ground beef in the freezer that I can take out and add to soups, stews, tacos and casseroles.  It’s so hand to have ready to use.

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How to Prepare Cooked Ground Beef

I like to buy the big packages of lean ground beef (the ones with about 8 lbs of meat), and cook it with diced onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  That way when I need to use the cooked beef it’s already seasoned, and ready to use right away.  Once it’s cooked I will store it in ziplock bags or plastic containers and freeze it, usually 1 1/2 to 2 lbs per package, so it can go right into a recipe.

How to make a big batch of ground beef
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Ingredients

  • 8 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. To a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the ground beef, onions, garlic and salt & pepper.
  2. As the beef cooks, use a spoon to break up the meat so it cooks evenly.
  3. Cook until the ground beef is no longer pink.
  4. Drain the fat.
  5. Now you can portion the meat into 1 - 2 lb portions and use accordingly.
http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/6-easy-and-delicious-recipes-with-ground-beef/

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6 Easy and Delicious Recipes with Ground Beef

Now that you’ve got all of this cooked ground beef, what are you to do with it?  Here are some of our family favourite recipes:

Cabbage Roll Soup {A Pretty Life}

Cabbage Roll Soup  //  This Cabbage Roll Soup is a hearty, healthy and delicious dinner…and it tastes just like cabbage rolls!  Ready in 1 hour!

Hamburger Soup {A Pretty Life}

Hamburger Soup  //  Hamburger Soup is a simple and delicious weeknight meal!  It’s hearty because it is loaded with seasonal vegetables and ground beef.  This recipe is great because it makes a big batch.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce {A Pretty Life}

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce  //  This spaghetti sauce recipe is simple to make, and results in a big batch of sauce that makes enough for two meals (love that!).  It’s great served over spaghetti or in lasagna recipes.  So good!

Easy Ravioli Lasagna {A Pretty Life}

Easy Ravioli Lasagna  //  This Easy Ravioli Lasagna is just what it says…easy.  Taking a few simple shortcuts with the ingredients, and you can have this hearty and healthy dinner on your table in just over an hour.

Homemade Taco Seasoning {A Pretty Life}

Taco Seasoning  //  Homemade taco seasoning is so simple to make, and tastes so much better than the store bought packages.  Use it to season the ground beef for tacos on a taco night.

Best Beef Chili {A Pretty Life}

Best Beef Chili  //  Chili is one of our family’s favourite meals!  It’s easy to make, it’s filling, delicious and so versatile!  Serve it with homemade cornbread or rice.

 

Having cooked ground beef on hand makes dinner preparation easier than ever!  PIN it for later!

6-easy-and-delicious-recipes-with-ground-beef-a-pretty-life

I hope you found some dinner inspiration here!

Have a delicious day!

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easy-shredded-chicken-and-8-recipes-to-use-it

Easy Cooked Shredded Chicken and 8 Recipes To Use It

Shredded chicken is a powerful dinner time ingredient!   Here is how to prepare Easy Cooked Shredded Chicken and 8 Recipes To Use It!

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If there is one ingredient that saves me the most at dinner preparation time, it would definitely have to be cooked shredded chicken.  If you have it prepared ahead of time, dinner planning is easier than ever, because it’s easily added to soups, stews, and casseroles.  I have to admit though, I used to hate the process of shredding chicken, but I have tried a new method and now I swear by it!  I use a mixer.

Easy Cooked Shredded Chicken and 8 Recipes To Use It

I’m sure you have seen various videos and posts about this method, you may have even seen one of my recent Instagram stories where I showed how it works.  Basically all you have to do is cook chicken breasts ahead of time, then when they’re cooked, you add them to a mixing bowl and use the paddle attachment to shred it.  Once it’s shredded you can portion it and freeze it for when you need it!

Easy Cooked Shredded Chicken and 8 Recipes To Use It

Here’s 9 second video I made just to give you a quick idea of how to do it:

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How to make Cooked Shredded Chicken

Easy Cooked Shredded Chicken
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Ingredients

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • a little olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Bake:
  3. Lay 8 chicken breasts onto a sheet of tin foil.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Season with salt & fresh ground pepper.
  6. Wrap the foil into a tight package.
  7. Bake the chicken for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  8. When the chicken is cooked through, it's ready to shred.
  9. Shred:
  10. Shred 2 chicken breasts at a time by adding them to your mixing bowl, and using the paddle attachment. Mix until the chicken is shredded (it's very quick). Don't mix it for too long or the chicken will get mushy and won't have the texture of shredded chicken.
  11. Transfer the shredded chicken into a separate bowl, or a freezer container (see below).
  12. Repeat until all of the chicken is shredded.
  13. Store:
  14. Once the chicken is shredded and cooled down you can freeze it in ziplock bags or plastic containers. I split mine into 4 containers.
  15. Use as desired!
http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/easy-shredded-chicken-and-8-recipes-to-use-it/

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8 Recipes with Cooked Shredded Chicken

Now that you have all that cooked shredded chicken, what are you to do with it?  Here are 8 of my favourite recipes:

Easy Cooked Shredded Chicken and 8 Recipes To Use It

 

Chicken and Rice Soup {A Pretty Life}

30 Minute Chicken and Rice Soup  //  This chicken soup is a great way to use up leftover chicken and vegetables from dinner the night before!  It’s especially delicious made with homemade chicken stock.

Cheesy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Cheesy Mexican Stuffed Peppers  //  The original recipe for this uses ground chicken, but shredded chicken can easily be substituted.  These hearty stuffed peppers make for a delicious meal!

Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole  //  This enchilada casserole is quick to make so you can have it ready for your family in an hour!  Serve it with fresh salsa, slices of avocado, tortilla chips for dipping and a fresh green salad.  So good.

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup {A Pretty Life}

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup  //  This soup is hands down my family’s favourite soup!  It has all the flavours of Thai food…coconut, green curry, ginger, lemongrass…oh my.  A perfect way to use shredded chicken.

White ChickenChili {APrettyLife}

White Chicken Chili  //  This White Chicken Chili is hearty, full of beans and has a nice kick of spice.  SO good.  And it’s ready in less than 1 hour!

Summer Roll Salad with Peanut Satay Sauce

Summer Roll Salad with Peanut Satay Sauce  //  This salad is a deconstructed summer roll, which is so much easier to assemble than rolls!  Add shredded chicken and loads of peanut satay sauce…delicious!

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup  //  This soup is loaded with deliciousness…taco seasoning, cream cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, green chilies, shredded chicken and tortilla slices!  And on your table in less than one hour.

Creamy Chicken & Green Chili Enchiladas {A Pretty Life}

Creamy Chicken & Green Chili Enchiladas  //  This dish is creamy, cheesy and so delicious!  It looks complicated but you can assemble it in minutes, using shredded chicken, and have it ready to eat in under 1 hour.  Serve it with a side salad.

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I hope try this shredding method, it really is so easy!  And you’ll love having shredded chicken in your freezer to help you at meal times!  Enjoy.

Have a delicious day!

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cabbage-roll-soup-a-pretty-life5

Cabbage Roll Soup

This Cabbage Roll Soup is a hearty, healthy and delicious dinner…and it tastes just like cabbage rolls!  Ready in 1 hour!

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Well here in Alberta it turned from summer into fall overnight.  One minute the air smelled like sunshine and lazy days, and the next it was all fall leaves and routine, but honestly I’m ready for it.  We had an amazing and busy summer, but now I am craving routine, sweaters, brown nail polish, shoes with socks, all things pumpkin, and fall comfort food.

I’m also finding myself in a nesting mode of sorts.  I think it’s due to back to school jitters and the fact that I now have two kids in junior high, and I’ve been worried about the transition to a new school and all the stuff that comes with teenagers.  Le sigh.  So I cook and bake to calm my worries.  Last week I made zucchini loaves, chocolate zucchini cake, monster cookies, chocolate chip cookies, bran muffins, hamburger soup and this cabbage roll soup.  See what I mean?  Nesting.  But at least the freezer is stocked.

Cabbage Roll Soup {A Pretty Life}

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make a cabbage roll soup for so long, and I finally made one, and I have to say this soup is delicious!  It tastes just like a cabbage roll, but without all the fuss of having to roll them in cabbage.

Cabbage Roll Soup {A Pretty Life}

I think one of my most favourite things about this soup is the fact that is has a little bacon in it, which adds such a nice smoky flavour to the tomato base.  That and the fact that it’s loaded with delicious ingredients…ground beef, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, bacon…mmmmm, all the makings of cabbage rolls.

Cabbage Roll Soup {A Pretty Life}

I served our cabbage roll soup with a homemade braided pumpkin bread.  A perfect fall dinner, and comfort food for stressful days.

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Yields 8

Cabbage Roll Soup

20 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 6 - 7 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 6 slices of cooked bacon, chopped finely
  • 2 - 10 oz cans beef consomme
  • 1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 5 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups plain tomato sauce (basically 1 - 23 oz can)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a stock (soup) pot, brown the ground beef with the onions, garlic and carrots.
  2. When the beef is cooked, drain any excess grease.
  3. Return the pot to low-medium heat, and add the chopped cooked bacon. Cook for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage and cook for about 2 minutes more.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients: consomme, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, sugar, rice and salt & pepper.
  6. Simmer for 25 - 30 minutes (or until the rice is tender).
  7. Enjoy!
Recipe Type: Soup

Notes

This soup will thicken over time, so you may want to add more water or a water/consomme mix.

http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/cabbage-roll-soup/

Inspired by Spending With Pennies

Cabbage Roll Soup {A Pretty Life}

I hope you try this soup and love it too!

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Want more soups?  Here are more great recipes!

Turkey Meatball Soup  {A Pretty Life}

Turkey Meatball Soup

Hamburger Soup

Hamburger Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup {A Pretty Life}

30 Minute Chicken & Rice Soup

Have a delicious day!

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Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}F

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

This Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette can be made in 15 minutes, and is the perfect summer side dish.  Summer ripened tomatoes paired with fresh basil, it just doesn’t get more delicious than this.

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Don’t you just love summer produce?  I can’t get enough.  This is the time of year when I load up at the farmer’s markets and bring home loads of produce to cook with.  All the cases and boxes of fruit and vegetables just call to me to take them home.

I especially have a thing for the cases of summer ripened tomatoes, all of the different and beautiful varieties to choose from.  Cases and cases that smell like tomatoes…you know that smell?  Mmmmm, is your mouth watering?  We’ve been buying a lot of tomatoes this year so we’ve been enjoying them at almost every meal.  I’ve also been busy thinking up new ways to serve them.  But really, there is no other time than summer when tomatoes taste better, so I like to serve them fresh as much as I can.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}

Last week when we visited our local farmer’s market they were taste testing a fresh tomato salad, and I almost didn’t try it because it didn’t look like much, it was almost too simple.  But am I ever glad I did, because this was a classic case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.  It was dee-licious.  So good in fact that I knew I wanted to try to make it at home, so that’s what I did.  I don’t really know what was in the original dressing, but I recognized most of the flavours, and figured I could pull something together that tasted almost as good.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}2

The result is this Fresh Tomato Salad with a Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette, and it is scrumptious.  A tomato salad is a perfect way to showcase beautiful summer ripened tomatoes.  It’s even better when you pair them with a simple vinaigrette with fresh basil, it’s basically have a match made in heaven.  Think of this almost like a Caprese salad, but without the cheese, and with the tomatoes as the star of the show.  This is a really nice dish because the tomatoes are lightly coated in the dressing, so you get all of the flavours of this dish in every bite.  So good.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}3

This salad would be perfect served alongside any type of BBQ chicken, steak, sausages, or pork.  Add a loaf of garlic bread and this is a great summer meal.

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Yields Serves 6

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 10 - 12 medium vine ripened tomatoes
  • Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • ~ 10 fresh basil leaves (more if you like!)
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them to a salad dish.
  2. Combine the olive oil, vinegar and sugar and mix with a hand blender.
  3. Add the fresh basil leaves and blend again.
  4. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes, and lightly stir the salad.
  5. Add more chopped fresh basil if you like!
  6. Season with salt & fresh ground pepper.
  7. Enjoy right away!
Recipe Type: Salad

Notes

Make sure to serve this salad right away! If it sits too long the tomatoes will release their juices which will dilute the dressing.

http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/fresh-tomato-salad-with-basil-balsamic-vinaigrette/

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}4

Now you should hop on over to the Kendall-Jackson blog for my latest recipe, a Roasted Tomato, Gouda Cheese & Basil Dip.  SO good.

Roasted Tomato, Gouda Cheese & Basil Dip

Have a delicious day!

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Disclosure:  I am working with Kendall-Jackson wines to bring you some delicious recipes!  But as always the recipe, my voice, all content, and opinions are mine alone.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread Pancakes  {A Pretty Life}FB

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

These Zucchini Bread Pancakes are a delicious way to use up any extra zucchini you have around!  They’re hearty and SO good!
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I updated an old favourite!  Enjoy!

I’ve always been very open about my love of pancakes and zucchini.  There’s no sense in hiding a love affair if it’s a good one right?  Then I thought what would happen if I brought two loves together and made them one?  Voila…Zucchini Bread Pancakes.  I used my basic oatmeal pancake recipe as a base, then I added grated fresh zucchini.  I love how they turned out! 

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}2

When you think about it, zucchini bread is delicious, so why wouldn’t the same flavours work in a pancake?  Well, let me tell you that they do in fact work.  These pancakes are so good.  So good that even the self proclaimed zucchini haters in my family love them, and will eat many.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}

These are great for breakfast but I also like to serve them up sometimes for backwards dinner!  I do that sometimes, because some days when Dad isn’t home for dinner, I get a little more relaxed with my meal planning.  Does this ever happen to you?  Who ever decided that pancakes weren’t acceptable for dinner?  I think they are a perfectly acceptable dinner idea and my kids love the change in routine!  

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}4
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These pancakes are hearty, doughy, and have extra nutrition with the added zucchini and oats.  Winner winner pancake dinner.

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Zucchini Bread Pancakes
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (if you want you can use 1/2 cup all purpose, and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (a Balkan or Greek works great, or even sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)

Instructions

  1. Grate the zucchini. Then between a towel, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and butter.
  4. Stir in the grated zucchini.
  5. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry. Combine.
  6. On a low to medium heat preheated griddle, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake.
  7. Serve with syrup or a cinnamon/sugar mix.

Notes

Tip!
I used a small zucchini for this recipe. My thoughts on this are: the more zucchini you use, and the less you wring it out, the more mushy your pancakes will be. So the amount of zucchini you use, is up to you. If you would like them more dry, I would suggest half of a small zucchini.

http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/zucchini-bread-pancakes/

 
Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}4
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These pancakes go really well with syrup, but they are the BEST with a little cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top!
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If you’re looking for more delicious zucchini recipes, I’ve got some great ones here!
9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try
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Have a delicious day!
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Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake  {A Pretty Life}Feature

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake

This Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake is a perfect recipe for all of your garden fresh rhubarb. It makes a great brunch or snack cake!

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I cannot get enough of rhubarb, seriously.  I could bake with rhubarb for days…so when ever I am able to get my hands on any, I make sure that I bake as much as I can with it.  I often have good luck finding rhubarb in our local grocery store, but early this spring I planted a small rhubarb plant, and amazingly it grew into a huge plant so I had plenty of rhubarb to use!  And this is a good thing for you because I made this Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake and I think you’re going to love it. Love love it.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}4

I find that rhubarb can be substituted into all kinds of recipes pretty seamlessly, and especially recipes with strawberries.  But I really love the tart and unique flavour of rhubarb on it’s own so I wanted to make something with rhubarb as the star of the show.  Rhubarb always bakes nicely into a cake, so I knew that was what I wanted to make, and I had the perfect recipe for it.  For this cake I used my Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake recipe as a guide, and instead of the blueberries, I substituted in fresh rhubarb, and it came together beautifully.  The cake is tender and tastes like vanilla, then you get scrumptious bites of the tart rhubarb with the brown sugar topping, oh my it’s cake heaven.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}2

This cake will definitely be on my baking go-to list for years to come.  Aside from a snacking cake, I think it would be perfect for brunch served alongside eggs, bacon and fresh fruit.  Delicious.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}

This cake is a really easy cake to make.  The ingredients are simple, so if you’ve got rhubarb to use, I bet you could make this in no time.  You won’t regret it.

You want a bite don’t you?  I don’t blame you one bit.

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Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake

15 minPrep Time

60 minCook Time

1 hr, 15 Total Time

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Ingredients

    Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • Brown Sugar Topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9x9 baking pan with a flour/oil spray. Set aside.
  3. Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake:
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  5. With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  6. Add the eggs, and one at a time.
  7. Add the vanilla. Mix well.
  8. To the butter mix, add 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat until all combined.
  9. Gently stir the chopped rhubarb into the cake batter. Don't use a mixer, just hand mix it with a spoon.
  10. Pour/press the batter into a 9x9 baking pan.
  11. In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the brown sugar topping: brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.
  12. Sprinkle the cake with the brown sugar mix.
  13. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/rhubarb-buttermilk-cake/

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}3

If you’re craving more rhubarb, here are some delicious recipes!

Strawberry Rhubarb Recipes {A Pretty Life)

Have a delicious day!
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