Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Candy Cupcakes

Easy & Yummy, my two favorite elements of a recipe.
I don't know why I always make these cupcakes in the Fall except that a Brach's candy pumpkin fits perfectly in the center.
But my family doesn't like the candy pumpkin, they prefer candy corn,which I'm pretty sure is made from the same "candy" substance.
The tiny candy sprinkles are another alternative but beware:
if you don't get them on the melted chocolate cup at the exact right moment you may have more decoration on your floor than your cupcake.
But still, easy & yummy gets my vote!

brownie mix + whatever the brownie box says you need (mine says eggs, oil & water)
miniature peanut butter cups candy
your chosen candy topping
That's it!

Prepare brownie mix according to directions on box.
Fill a paper-lined cupcake pan with brownie batter.
A mix for a 9x13" pan will make about 12 cupcakes.
Unwrap miniature peanut butter candies & place one in center of dough in each cup.

Bake at temperature suggested on box for 15-18 minutes.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Add candy topping while chocolate center is still warm.

Sorry this picture is kinda blurry but you get the idea of the yummyness inside the brownie cupcake!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Potato Corn Chowder

I'm back from a long blogging break with one of my favorite hearty soups, perfect for a cool Fall evening meal.
The little boys don't like it much, too many vegetables.
But I cook what I like and there's always peanut butter & jelly for the vegetable haters!

1/2 c butter
1 c chopped celery
1 c chopped onion
2 lg cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
1 c chopped carrots
4 c chopped potatoes (I use unpeeled small red potatoes)
4 c chicken broth
1 t rosemary
1 t thyme
1 c corn
4 c milk
cornstarch, optional
2 c shredded cheese (I use American or cheddar)
1 lb ground sausage, browned
Melt butter in large stock pot, add celery, onion, garlic and salt & pepper to taste.
Saute for 2 minutes.
Add carrots, potatoes, chicken broth and enough water to cover vegetables, if necessary. Add spices.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add corn during the last few minutes of simmering.
If you like your chowder thick mix some cornstarch into the milk and add to cooked vegetables.
Or you could smash the potatoes but I like my chowder (and peanut butter) chunky.
Stir over medium low heat until thickened.
Remove from heat.
Add cheese & sausage, stirring until cheese is melted.
Serve hot with biscuits.
*Ham may be substituted for sausage.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Zucchini Cake (disguised as bread)

This is the recipe I pull out each summer when the zucchini is plentiful.
I have no zucchini this year 'cause I managed to kill both plants in my garden.
The local garden shop was all out of zucchini plants but gave me seeds and the resident "expert" said I could expect to see some zucs in October.
That's not going to work for me.
Since I can't really shop at another garden center (they might expect me to pay!) I settled for the Walmart variety this time.
I am planning a trip to the farmer's market next week.
Maybe someone will trade zucchini for grape tomatoes.
I have a bushel of those, I don't suck at growing everything!

Zucchini Bread
3 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
3/4 c chopped pecans
3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c oil
2 t vanilla
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, well drained
2 c shredded zucchini
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease & flour 2 8x4" loaf pans.
Combine dry ingredients and pecans; set aside.
Beat eggs lightly; add sugar, oil & vanilla. Beat until creamy.
Stir in pineapple & zucchini.
Add dry ingredients, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened.
Divide batter into loaf pans.
Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until top tests done.
Cool 10 minutes in pans; turn out onto cooling rack & allow to cool completely.

Note: Sprinkle with course white decorator sugar (big sugar) before baking to add a sweeter, crispier top crust.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, Oh Yeah!

After announcing on facebook that my 10 yr old had 9 different dishes of macaroni & cheese on a 6 day vacation my cousin suggested we try macaroni & cheese pizza.

How could it be that we had never heard of this cheesy mac pizza??
The boys have had 2 cooking classes this summer at a local kitchen store.
They wanted to start cooking their own lunches this summer and this seemed like the perfect first project!
Now, most kids like pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce but my boys aren't most kids.
They would rather eat cheese bread sticks at the pizza parlor and when they eat spaghetti it is topped only with cheese.
So there will be no pizza sauce on their Macaroni & Cheese Pizza but feel free to add your own.
We started with these ingredients:

Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
Butter the crust and boil some water.

Add 2 cups of pasta to boiling salted water; cook pasta & bake crust for 7 minutes.
Drain pasta.

Add 2 T butter, American cheese & milk (amounts of cheese & milk depend on your love of cheesyness)
Top pizza crust with cheesy macaroni.

Sprinkle with garlic pepper, optional (I told you my kids were different!)
And now it's time for more cheese!
Sprinkle your favorite pizza cheese blend over the macaroni & cheese.

Bake for an additional 7 minutes or until cheese is all melty & gooey.

Yum! Approval of the 10 yr old.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One more picnic with Kate

For the last 2 weeks my son was able to have lunch with me & his daughter.
We would often eat outside 'cause Kate loves the outdoors!
But now my son & wife are moving away and think they need to take their daughter with them.
I have been keeping her during the day since she was 2 months old.
I think I might miss her :(
So I made this tasty salad for our last picnic lunch.
and on a positive note I may be able to blog more than once a month!

Asian Chicken Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 Minutes

3 T hoisin sauce
2 T peanut butter
2 t brown sugar
3/4 t hot chile paste
1 t grated fresh ginger
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T sesame oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
16 (3.5") wonton wrappers - shredded
4 c romaine lettuce - torn, washed and dried
2 c red or chinese cabbage - shredded
2 c shredded carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 c cucumber - sliced
1 c fresh pea pods
1 c fresh bean sprouts - rinsed
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c peanuts, chopped

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, chili paste, ginger, vinegar and sesame oil. (this dressing is mighty tasty, you may want to double it)
Grill or broil chicken until cooked, cool and slice.
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a large shallow pan with nonstick vegetable spray, arrange shredded wontons in a single layer.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

I fried them in a deep fat fryer 'cause I'm pro fat.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Toss with dressing & baked wonton strips and serve.
I also made little won ton "bowls" for a side salad option.

And then I thought, how can I make something sweet?

and an after school snack 'cause my boys like sweets too.

and you thought wonton wraps were just for wontons!

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 197kcal; Protein 22g (45%); Total Fat 6g (10%)(Sat. 1g (6%)); Chol. 43mg (14%); Carb. 14g (5%); Fiber 4g (16%); Sugars 7g; Calcium 60mg (6%); Iron 2mg (10%)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Grass Cupcakes

This isn't so much of a recipe but a technique.
I'll get to that later.
First I wanted to show you my favorite part of the cupcake, the cute wrappers.
My friend Roni (you all remember Roni) gave these to me.
I took this picture since I filled them with chocolate fudge cake batter you can't see the cute pattern after they are baked.

I also found these fun "baskets"

Enough about the part that ends up in the trash, on to how you make grass.
All you need is some green buttercream frosting, a decorating bag (I use the disposable kind) and Wilton decorating tip #233.
Which brings me to another cool thing I found on the www.
I have a bunch of decorating tips and have trouble remembering exactly what design each of them make.
Now I can just look at this.
I could tell you all you need to do is squeeze the bag and out comes grass but the official Wilton tutorial is so much better.
After you've planted the grass you can top your lawn with M&M speckled eggs or jelly beans.
I have also made a few hundred of these cupcakes with foil wrapped soccer balls on the field.
Side effects of eating grass: green tongues :)
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One new pan, two recipes!

I bought a new pan from this great store so of course I had to bake something!

First I made Almond Poppy Seed Cake for my Daughter's birthday, because it's her favorite.

Almond Poppy Seed Cake
Category: Cakes
Yield: 1 10-inch cake or 18 mini cakes
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 c oil
1 t almond extract
4 eggs
4 T poppy seeds
1 c hot water
Mix cake mix and dry pudding. Add oil, almond extract, eggs (one at a time), poppy seeds and hot water. Pour into Bundt pan or mini bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or 15 minutes for mini pan.
1 c powdered sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 t almond extract
Mix together and pour over warm cake.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 5161kcal; Protein 55g (110%); Total Fat 317g (487%)(Sat. 32g (162%)); Chol. 846mg (282%); Carb. 538g (179%); Fiber 8g (33%); Sugars 409g; Calcium 1628mg (163%); Iron 14mg (79%)

Next I wanted to try my favorite Pound Cake.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Category: Cakes
Yield: 1 10-inch cake or 24 mini cakes
1 c butter
8 oz cream cheese
3 c sugar
6 lg eggs
3 c cake flour, sifted
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
powdered sugar
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each. Stir in flour and salt, mixing just enough to incorporate the flour. Add flavorings. Spoon into a greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan or mini pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours or 15 minutes for mini cakes. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack. When cool, move to serving platter and dust with powdered sugar. May be served with fresh fruit & whipped topping.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 6691kcal; Protein 90g (181%); Total Fat 296g (455%)(Sat. 176g (878%)); Chol. 2003mg (668%); Carb. 934g (311%); Fiber 7g (28%); Sugars 609g; Calcium 457mg (46%); Iron 38mg (213%)

Now I need a new diet!

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Little Sweatheart

Another late post.
Valentines picture of the Granddaughter from Camera Angles.
I'm getting caught up on all kinds of things today.
I even cleaned some windows!!
Must be the weather :)
Happy Spring, finally!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tardy Rainbows

It's been quite awhile since I published anything on the blog.
Sorry but it's time you all knew how lazy I really am.
But I have been baking & trying to take pictures so when I do find the motivation to blog I will have projects to show you.
My daughter was home for Spring Break so we decided to make rainbow cupcakes for St Patrick's Day.

I found these fun spring cupcake wrappers at my favorite cake decorating supply store.

Everyone added a layer of their favorite color.

I frosted & added shamrock sprinkles & packaged up a few for giveaways.

It was a fun family activty!

Rainbow Cupcakes:
I used a recipe I found on the Family Fun web site.
They listed complete directions so I didn't need to guess how to make purple & orange.
My box of assorted food coloring came with pink instead of red for some reason so the orange & red didn't come out so good.

Category: Cupcakes/Muffins
Yield: 16 cupcakes
Source: Family fun
White cake mix - (we used an 18-1/4-ounce box)
Food coloring - (red, blue, green, and yellow)
Whipped cream or Buttercream frosting
Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.

Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
Blue 12 drops
Green 12 drops
Yellow 12 drops
Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
Red 18 drops

Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups.
Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown.
As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.
Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions.
Frost & decorate as you wish!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ranger Cookies

One of my favorite cookies, chewing and crispy at the same time...What??

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 lg eggs
2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c oatmeal
1 c coconut
2 c Rice Krispies cereal
1 c Toffee Bits or Cinnamon Chips - optional
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add vanilla extract; beat until creamy.
Mix in eggs, one at a time.
Stir together dry ingredients and add to batter.
Stir in oatmeal, coconut, cereal, & chips.
Roll into small balls and flatten slightly.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes or till light brown.
Yield: 4 dozen

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 5213kcal; Protein 69g (138%); Total Fat 234g (359%)(Sat. 146g (728%)); Chol. 911mg (304%); Carb. 729g (243%); Fiber 30g (119%); Sugars 423g; Calcium 566mg (57%); Iron 27mg (148%)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Category: Cookies
Yield: 4 dozen
Source: Martha
Melt in your mouth goodness!

1 c butter - softened
1 1/2 c sugar
2 lg eggs
2 3/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c sugar
2 T gr cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Beat in eggs.
Sift together dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture, beat just until combined.
Combine topping ingredients in shallow dish.
Scoop balls & roll in topping.
Place 2" apart on baking sheet.
Bake until set in center & begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes.
Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes.
Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Store in airtight container.
I often package these cookies as gifts.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 4627kcal; Protein 51g (101%); Total Fat 198g (304%)(Sat. 120g (602%)); Chol. 911mg (304%); Carb. 680g (227%); Fiber 17g (67%); Sugars 405g; Calcium 871mg (87%); Iron 24mg (134%)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cilantro-Pecan Pesto Layered Mediterranean Dip

Category: Dip/Appetizers
From her
Love cilantro? This dip is for you!
Very flavorful and easy to adjust to your taste
Can also layer on Naan (flat bread) for a Greek Pizza. YUM!

Cilantro-Pecan Pesto:
1 1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1/3 c olive oil - divided
2 T pecans, chopped
2 T pine nuts
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
Process cilantro, garlic, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until a rough paste forms. Add pecans, pine nuts, and cheese, and process until blended, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, pour remaining oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Cover and chill up to 5 days or freeze up to 1 month, if desired.
Yield: 3/4 cup

Layered Dip Ingredients:

3/4 c Cilantro-Pecan Pesto
2 c any flavor hummus (I like roasted red pepper)
1/2 c baby cucumber - chopped
1/2 c red onion - chopped
1/2 c kalamata olives - chopped
1/2 c grape tomatoes - chopped
garnish - feta cheese, roasted pine nuts & cilantro
Pita Chips

Layer all ingredients in order on platter.

Serve with pita chips.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 779kcal; Protein 3g (6%); Total Fat 82g (126%)(Sat. 11g (54%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 13g (4%); Fiber 3g (13%); Sugars 4g; Calcium 55mg (5%); Iron 1mg (8%)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Culinary Disasters

Ok, so maybe disaster is a little strong, no one died or anything. Disappointments may be more accurate but I got your attention with disaster, didn't I?
My husband, let's call him Mr. Marvelous, suggested I also post my recipe flops so you know I'm not perfect.
I'm pretty sure no one was under that impression!
Mr Marvelous & I joined a new supper club.
We met for the first time at Roni's house Saturday night.
(you remember Roni, the craft queen)
Well, her house is a testament to her craftyness. It feels like you are in one of those homey gift shops (not the tacky, packed to the ceiling ones)
Enough about Roni, whose blog is this anyway!! :)
My first mistake was volunteering to bring the side dish. I'm famous (in my own mind) for desserts NOT vegetables.
I googled high & low for fabulous side dishes and decided on Hasselback Potatoes.
Prep time, which involves thinly slicing each potato almost to the bottom took a lot more time than I had budgeted.
And another thing I'm famous for is being 10 minutes late. I think it's because my mind works faster than my body!
ANYWAY, I baked them for an hour in my oven, topped them with the way too thick buttered cracker crumb mixture & baked them for 30 more minutes in Roni's oven.
Long story short, they were underdone & not very flavorful.

Please don't kick me out of the Supper Club, I promise to do better next time!
And I'm bringing the DESSERT next month!!

And I managed to burn the marshmallows on the S'more Brownies I made for the super bowl party.

The party was at my son's house so I just pinched off the burned pieces.

They actually tasted pretty good so here's the "recipe":

Butter your dish, line bottom with graham crackers.
Prepare brownie mix, carefully pour onto graham cracker layer.
Underbake about 5 minutes.
Top with chocolate chunks & marshmallows.
Return to oven to toast marshmallows, 5-10 minutes.

I think I left them in the oven a little too long, duh, 'cause the marshmallows were a little tough to cut through.
It might be a good plan to cut while warm.
I think I found this idea on one of the many blogs I've been checking out for ideas on how to improve my blog.
Sorry if I stole this from your blog without giving you the credit but my old, feeble mind can't remember where I found it.
Wow! that was my longest post, what does that tell you?