Recipes from the Heart

Sweetwater resident, Irma Cantu, has been cooking and baking for the majority of her life. The oldest of five children, Irma was born in Lamesa, raised in Roby, and has resided in Sweetwater for the last 35 years. She is married to Adam Cantu and has two daughters, Jennifer and Monica Cantu, and three grandchildren.Irma started in the kitchen at a very young age, cooking and baking for the rest of her family. One of her specialties, Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice), was her father's favorite. Sadly, her father has passed away, but her children and grandchildren enjoy Irma's Arroz con Pollo just as much. With the addition of a son-in-law, Irma's family is continuing to grow and she continues to enjoy cooking at meal times. The holidays are her favorite time of year, and baking for them is something she looks forward to every year. In addition to her traditional recipes, Irma took specialty classes at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital on how to cook for diabetics. Her husband, Adam, suffers from diabetes and Irma wanted to be able to make delicious meals that are safe for him to eat. Layered Toffee Cake (pictured)Ingredients2 cups whipping cream1/2 cup caramel or butterscotch ice cream topping1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract1 prepared angel food cake (16 ounces)9 Heath candy bars (1.4 ounces each), choppedPreparationIn mixing bowl, beat cream just until it begins to thicken. Gradually add the ice cream topping and vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Cut cake horizontally into three layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup cream mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 cup candy bar. Repeat. Place top layer on cake; frost top and sides with remaining cream mixture and sprinkle with the remaining candy bar. Store in refrigerator.Tip: Your favorite candy bar can be used instead of Heath candy bars.Butterscotch BrowniesIngredients1/4 cup butter, melted1 cup brown sugar1 egg3/4 cup flour1 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon vanilla1/2 cup pecans, choppedPreparationPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, sugar and egg together in a medium-size bowl. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in the vanilla and pecans; then spoon into a well-greased 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes.Tip: If you like the taste of chocolate in your brownies, try adding 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.Spice Apple Bundt Cake (Diabetic Recipe)Ingredients1 spice cake mix1 can “no sugar added” apple pie filling1 egg2 egg whitesPreparationChop apple pie filling. Add cake mix and eggs. Mix for two minutes. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes.Herb Stuffed TomatoesIngredients5 beefsteak tomatoes1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs1 cup grated provolone1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1 teaspoon butter, softened2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilPreparationPreheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half, horizontally. Use a small soon to gently hollow out the inside of the tomatoes, discarding the seeds and reserving the pulp. Be careful not to puncture the outer shell. Chop the reserved pulp and put in a medium bowl. Add the parsley, bread crumbs, cheese, and pepper and mix gently to combine. Place the tomato halves in a buttered casserole dish and fill with the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle the top of the tomatoes with olive oil. Bake until the tops are browned, about 20 minutes.Cornbread SaladIngredients1 8.5 ounce package cornbread mix1 envelope ranch-style dressing mix1 cup sour cream1 cup mayonnaise1/2 cup green pepper, chopped1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped1/2 cup onion, chopped3 large tomatoes, chopped1 16 ounce can into beans, drained2 cups fresh or frozen corn2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)PreparationBake cornbread mix according to package instructions and crumble. Combine ranch-style dressing mix, sour cream and mayonnaise in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix together peppers, onion, tomatoes, pinto beans and corn. In a 3 quart salad bowl, layer 1/2 of the cornbread, 1/2 of the vegetables, 1/2 of the cheese, 1/2 of the bacon and 1/2 of he dressing. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.Tip: Use low or no-fat sour cream and mayonnaise to reduce the calories in this dish.