Sunday, October 31, 2010

candy corn cupcakes with perfect cupcake frosting

Recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites

1 18.25-oz white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow and orange Wilton food gel (about a heaping 1/2 tsp. of each)
A double batch of Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 24-cup muffin tins with white paper liners. Combine all ingredients except for food coloring in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 1 min. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium for 2 additional minutes. Divide batter equally into 2 bowls: about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of batter in each bowl. Mix about 1/2 heaping tsp. of yellow coloring into one bowl of batter and 1/2 heaping tsp. of orange coloring into the other bowl.

Divide the yellow batter evenly among the muffin tins, about 1 tbsp. Bang the tin a few times on the counter to level out the batter. Repeat the process with the orange batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

These "doctored up" cake mix cupcakes are sooo delish! And the frosting! It is divine. Definitely a little more challenging than a regular buttercream but worth it. So yummy!

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
recipe by

3 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best, I used a combination of 1% and heavy cream and it worked great - the recipe writer said they have used skim before to good results)
1/2 cup real butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom on the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still push it through a mesh strainer (whisk in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temperature. If it doesn't cool completely, it will melt the butter in the frosting.

In an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. Use the whisk attachment. Then while beating add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed possible without making a mess for 7 minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. It will look like a weird goopy mess and then towards the end it gets amazing.

Frost cupcakes and garnish with a candy corn.

Can store at room temperature in a sealed container.

Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

erica's blender pancakes

Erica made these for my family when we were visiting her this summer and they are not only delicious, but so easy for a from-scratch pancake. We love their texture and how they are a thinner pancake, not a big, fat cakey thing.
Erica's Blender Pancakes
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Dump everything into the blender and blend until smooth. The batter will be really thin. Just pour it onto a heated griddle straight out of the blender. Cook them as you would any pancake, just keep a close eye on them because they brown up fast. I like to make the entire batch at once and just cover them to keep them warm until ready to serve.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

key lime tarts

Easiest and cutest dessert ever!!

Key Lime Tarts
from Our Best Bites

10 mini graham cracker crusts
5 egg yolks
1 14-oz. cann sweetened condensed milk
Around 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (take the time to juice them yourself, makes all the difference!)
2 drops green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, milk and lime juice. Distribute evenly among crusts. Place full crusts on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Before serving, add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and maybe a fresh raspberry.

*You can bake this as a single large pie using a standard 9" graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

paige's tuscan meatball yumminess

A little while back I had a cooking class at my house for Relief Society. Everyone was supposed to bring a recipe to exchange but the only one who brought one was Paigers. I am so glad she did because I love this recipe! I have made it a few times now and not only is it a hit for my family, but easy and healthy.

Paige's Tuscan Meatballs
1/2 package frozen chopped spinach
1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup seasoned; 1/2 panko bread crumbs for extra crunch)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 handfuls shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
12 ounces spaghetti (I used Barilla thin spaghetti)
1 packet dry pesto mix or jarred, prepared pesto (this is what I used)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze water out of spinach. Mix spinach, turkey, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, mozzarella and garlic salt in a bowl. Shape mixture into meatballs. Heat oil in a pan over med-high heat. Brown meatballs, about 2-3 minutes each side. Once browned transfer to a baking sheet and bake in oven for about 20 minutes.

Cook spaghetti and prepare pesto sauce, if using packet. Add pesto sauce to pasta top with meatballs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

crispy southwest chicken burritos

We love us some Mexican food in our house and I love any kind of update that we can give to our usual repertoire. These are so yum and so easy. I love the nicely spiced rice and the fresh ingredients that really brighten things up. It can very easily be doubled to feed a bigger crowd or to have leftovers. Also, you totally have to use raw tortillas - they will make anything you cook taste like it came from a restaurant.
Crispy Southwest Chicken Burritos
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe
Makes 6 burritos
1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken on this day but have also made it with leftovers.)
1 green onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Reduced -fat sour cream
6 burrito-sized tortillas
*You could also add a 15 ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans to the rice mixture. I didn't do that this time.
Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese in the middle of the tortillas and dot with about 1-2 tbsp. of sour cream, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (If you're using raw tortillas, you will have just heated them on both sides in a skillet or on a griddle before filling them with the mixture.) Fold in 2 sides of the tortilla to enclose filling and roll up into a burrito. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Arrange 2 burritos seam-side down on griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining burritos.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

baked manicotti and make-ahead garlic bread

I'm having a bit of a dilemma. When you get a recipe from a recipe blog and then you make it, can you then post it on your own recipe blog? I was thinking the answer was no but then my friend Camie said the answer is yes. So here it is. Also, is the picture looking yummy or like a pile of glop?
It most definitely doesn't taste like a pile of glop. This manicotti is so fresh and delicious tasting. I think you will love it. It did take me a bit of prep (you could definitely cut down on prep by using your favorite store-bought marinara but I think this one was worth making for sure!) but I did it all in the morning and then put in the fridge. When it was time for dinner all I did was pop it in the oven and let it do it's thing. Do you ever do that? It makes things so much less stressful at the dinner-making hour, doesn't it?
Baked Manicotti
Tomato Sauce
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice
1-28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed (use fresh! It makes a HUGE difference.)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
Cheese Filling and Pasta
3 cups cottage cheese, pureed in a blender (I do this instead of ricotta cheese because I don't like it as well. I think this is really yummy but if you like ricotta use it instead.)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla)
Heat oven to 375.
Heat oil, garlic and pepper flakes in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 tsp. salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese (0r ricotta), 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and herbs; set aside.
To assemble, pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes. I didn't have any problems with my noodles sticking but if you do, separate them with a sharp knife. Remove the noodles from the water with tongs and place them in a single layer on sheets of foil. Discard water in baking dish and dry it.
Give the dish a little dust of cooking spray. Spread bottom of dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using a soup spoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. You'll be able to fit 8 in each row so all 16 will fit. Top evenly with remaining sauce making sure all the pasta is covered.
Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. For reals.
*The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. To bake, remove parchment, replace foil and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Make-Ahead Crispy, Buttery Garlic Bread
12 tbsp. (yikes!) butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, very finely minced or pressed
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 slices Italian or French bread
Using a fork, beat butter, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in small bowl until combined. Spread butter mixture evenly over both sides of bread.
Freeze the slices on a large baking sheet until firm, about 15 minutes. After they are firm, transfer the slices to a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for up to one month.
To serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the first side, about 10 minutes. Flip and bake until golden brown on the second side, 6-7 minutes more.
*To serve bread immediately instead of freezing, bake buttered bread on rimmed baking sheet at 425 degrees for 8 minutes then flip and bake 5 more minutes on the second side.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

chicken fettuccine alfredo

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
(but it's perfectly acceptable to make sans chicken)
10oz. to 1 lb. fettuccine noodles
2 grilled chicken breasts (making them the way we did in the previous post makes it extra delicious but you can use any leftover chicken you like)
3-4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup half and half
1 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 -1 cup Parmesan cheese (use the good stuff you grate yourself)
Have your hubby grill the chicken while you get started. Cook and drain pasta according to package. Start sauce with about 7 minutes left on pasta cook time. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. In a glass measuring cup, whisk half and half, flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir into butter. Whisking constantly, heat to boiling and boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Return drained pasta to pot; stir in sauce. After pasta is well-coated, stir in cheese until melted. Sprinkle with extra pepper and a dash of nutmeg, if desired.
I promise it is worth the butter, cheese and half and half. Just don't eat it every day.