Sunday, September 1, 2013

White Bean and Leek Soup


I admit. I love soup. Probably more than most people. And yes I like it even in the summer when it is 100 degrees outside. Soup is good anytime of year and just seems to warm the soul. For me that love all started with this soup, my favorite soup. This was one of the soups that I fell in love with back when I had to take Culinary classes (long time ago). I never really learned how to make the soup, sadly I was not assigned that station that day, however, the chef did tell me what was in it. So, I went home a while later and recreated it, pretty closely I would say. Of course my version doesn't have all the elegant toppings that one had, but the taste is totally there! Check it out for yourself if you don't believe me.

White Bean & Leek Soup


2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Slices of Bacon, Sliced or Cut with Scissors
3 Leeks, halved, washed, sliced
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
3 15.5 oz. Cans of Great Northern Beans, rinsed
6 C. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 C. Heavy Cream

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cut bacon. When the bacon starts to cook, it will start to curl and change color, add the leeks and 1/2 a Tablespoon of kosher salt. This will help extract the juice from the leeks and help break them down. Once the leeks have cooked for about a minute, add in the rinsed Great Northern Beans and saute until the beans just start to heat through (about 5 minutes). Then add the chicken broth, stir and cook until the beans are tender (you should be able to smash it with a fork). This is what the soup will look like before you blend it....




Now with either an emulsion blender, blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth (it will not be 100% smooth). An emulsion blender is easier because you don't have to remove the soup from the pan, but if you don't have one any blender will do. Just make sure that you only add a little soup at a time, and cover the lid with a towel. Hot things in blenders tend to made a mess. You can also use a food processor, but the soup won't be as smooth. Once you have blended the soup you can either strain it using a china cap or chinois, or just leave it. (I leave it. I love the rustic look of the soup), but they are great if you want a completely smooth soup. After the soup is at your desired smoothness taste it, if desired add the other 1/2 Tablespoon of salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Then top it off with a 1/2 a cup of heavy cream, stir and heat for another 5 minutes to allow the cream to incorporate. 

Now you are ready to serve it up. You can top this soup with almost anything, fried leeks, crispy bacon, cheese, scallions, and croutons. Really anything! Now enjoy! 

See nice and easy, really the only hard part to this recipe is the blending! Happy cooking and happier eating! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Au Gratin Potatoes


I love potatoes! I mean seriously love potatoes. I have never met a potato I don't like. Raw, baked, fried, boiled, mashed, it doesn't matter potatoes rule the world in my eyes. Mashed of course is my favorite, but I also love Au Gratin Potatoes. Umm, they are so creamy and cheesy.....excuse me a minute I'm drooling. 

Now I will admit, I was raised eating these lovely things from a box. You know what I'm talking about and I bet you have had them too. Now the reason most make these from a box is because Au Gratin Potatoes are intimidating. But I promise you they are easy. They just take a little time, but they are soooo worth it! Promise.

Individual Au Gratin Potatoes

4 Russet Potatoes (Sliced thinly)
3 Cups Shredded Cheese (I use whatever blend I have in the fridge)
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated, you know like what you use for spaghetti)
1/4 Cup Cream for each dish OR 2 1/4 Cups Cream

In an 8 oz. oven safe dish, spray with cooking spray. This recipe will make 9 8oz. individual servings of Au Gratin potatoes. If you don't want to make individual servings just take a 9x9 baking dish and do the same. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a small layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of dish. Potatoes will overlap and won't lie flat, but that's okay. Once you have a layer of potatoes sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese over the potatoes, I use a medium pinch. Then sprinkle about 1/2 Tablespoon of parmesan cheese on top of the shredded cheese. Do this for another 2 layers, but don't add the cheese on the last layer. Then take 1/4 cup of cream and pour over the potatoes. If you are using a 9x9 dish slowly pour the cream in the pan. Pour about half the cream in and let it settle to the bottom. Then you can add more cream. You do not want your cream to come all the way to the top of the potatoes. Instead you want the cream to come about 1/2 way up. This will ensure that you don't have too much cream and your potatoes don't turn out soupy. After you pour in the cream, top with your remaining cheese, like this...



Bake in the oven for about an hour or until a butter knife easily goes through all the layers of potatoes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes. Warning: If using individual dishes the dish will still be hot after 10 minutes.

Now serve with your favorite Main course and eat up!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Green Chile Wontons


Can you guess what that is? If you guessed wontons then you are correct. And if you read the title of this post then props to you. And yes it says Green Chile. Living in the Southwest we have this little obsession with Chile. You know how most states have a state bird, state flower and that sort of thing? Well ours has a question...Red or Green? (Um, that question is in reference to the type of Chile, red or green). Yes Chile is that big a deal here in the grand state of New Mexico and yes that question causes fights and arguments bigger than the Grand Canyon.

And if you live in New Mexico those little diddies above are something that you can get just about anywhere that serves Chinese. I know weird huh? But it is what it is.

So you know, this recipe is super easy and rather quick. How do you make them you ask? Well here ya go.

Green Chile Wontons

1 8oz. Package Cream Cheese at room temperature
2 oz. Canned Green Chile (Whatever you can get your hands on. You can also use fresh)
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
Wonton Wrappers
Oil for frying
Small bowl of water

In a large stock pot heat approximately enough oil to fill the pan about 2/3 full over medium heat. While the oil is heating combine the cream cheese, green Chile, garlic and salt in a medium bowl. Once you have your mixture take a wonton wrapper and place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the middle. Then dipping your finger in the water, run you wet finger around the edges of the wonton wrapper and fold the wrapper in any shape you like. Then just press the edges together to make sure they seal. (That's what the water is for). Then place them on a sheet pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. In order to keep your wontons from drying out the best thing to do would be to cover them with a slightly damp towel. Place that wonton aside and keep assembling wontons until all the mixture is gone. Once the oil is hot enough, you can test this by placing in a small corner of a wonton wrapper in the oil. If the oil bubbles and the wrapper rises then the oil is ready, if it sinks and doesn't bubble, let your oil heat longer. When the oil is ready begin placing wontons in the oil, but you don't want to fry them all at once. I would start with anywhere between 5 and 6 depending on the size of your pan. Fry them on one side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and then flip over in order to brown the other side. Once the entire wonton is golden brown remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to help remove the excess oil. 


Now you can serve them with you favorite dipping sauce or just eat them as is. Trust me they don't need a sauce.

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Search for Yellow Cake Perfection

My love and obsession with cupcakes is no secret. Hence the reason my recipe list is full of cupcake recipe after cupcake recipe. But I also have another obsession, okay, quite a few actually, but right now we are only going to talk about one of them.....my obsession for the perfect yellow cake recipe. 

Currently when I make any cupcake that requires any batter other than chocolate I use a cake mix, *gasp* I know. But my use of cake mixes has spurred me to try and create the perfect yellow cake recipe. And this is where my obsession comes in. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to food. And I don't like to use recipes, I like to create them, but until I can create a recipe that I think is perfect, or pretty darn close I become obsessed. Such is the case with my search for the perfect yellow cake.

If you are a baker then you may know that finding a good yellow cake recipe is hard. Well at least for me it was. I tried many recipes before I really enjoyed baking and never found a recipe that I liked. They all seemed dry and severely lacking. So I resolved myself to using the always easy cake mix, but that get's expensive and then I feel like I'm cheating. Well sometimes. Now I know there is nothing wrong with using a cake mix, believe me, I love them, but I still want to create that perfection.

Of course in my search for perfection I have had my fair share of fails. And boy do I mean fails. I am now on version 7 of the recipe. With every attempt altering one ingredient at a time, so that I know which ingredient needed to be changed. 

I am happy to report that on my last attempt I came pretty dang close. The taste is there, but the cake is a little dense for my liking. So now on to attempt number 8. Yikes! 

Want to know a few things I have learned through this process? (Well I'm going to tell you anyway)
1) Creating a yellow cake recipe is harder then creating a chocolate cake recipe. (That recipe came to me while I was sitting in a boring lecture)
2) I am wwwaaaaaayyyyy obsessive
and 3) This yellow cake might be the death of me

What is it that you obsess over? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Slacker

Wow! It has been a really long time since I have posted anything here. I am so sorry! But things have been kind of crazy as of late. In the span of a month I got a job, had to find a new place to live and had to relocate my family of seven to a new city. So needless to say I have been busy. I haven't even done much cooking with all this mess. But I do promise that I have some recipes in the works that will be coming your way. Once I get my kitchen settled and my life back in order that is. But it shouldn't be too long now.

Sorry for not being around too much, but thanks for all the support and sticking around.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Banana Oat Raisin Pancakes with Honey Cinnamon Butter


I am going to let you in on a little secret. Pancakes are a lot like cupcakes. As in they both are easy to add flavors and special touches to that really take them up a notch or two! If you can dream it, you can make a pancake our cupcake out of it. 

I think we have pancakes at least twice a month in my house. But I am not a huge pancake fan, unless they are so drenched in syrup that all I taste is the syrup. But I have discovered that I like different flavored pancakes and so I set out to make a pancake that I would hopefully like just as much as I like cupcakes, only not as sweet and hopefully not as bad for me! Not really sure how that better for me part turned out, but I did like them as much as I like cupcakes, so that is saying something!!

Banana Oat Raisin Pancakes

Yield: ~16 Large Pancakes

3 Cups Pancake Mix
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cups Oats
2 Smashed Over Ripe Bananas
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Cup Raisins
2 Cups Water

In a large bowl combine the first 4 ingredients. Add the water and mix thoroughly, I prefer to use a whisk. Stir until you are certain that there are no large lumps in the batter. Then add the remaining ingredients (bananas, raisins and vanilla) mix it a couple of times. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Once pan is hot pour some of the pancake batter in the pan until you reach the size pancakes desired. I made mine rather large. Cook until bubbles appear in the pancake and you can see the edges firming. Slightly lift up one edge, if the pancake is lightly brown, then flip over and cook until that side is also golden brown. Remove from pan and add more batter. Continue doing this until all the pancakes are cooked. Place to the side.

Honey Cinnamon Butter

1/2 Cup Butter, sofetened or Margarine
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Honey

In a small bowl mix the above ingredients together until well blended. You can use a mixer if you need to, but if the butter is soft enough you should be able to mix it with a spoon. 

Now you can take one of those awesome pancakes and lather it with this yummy butter! Drizzle or smother with syrup and eat up! You can also top with pecans or walnuts to add a nice crunch! 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Green Chile Stew


I have lived in New Mexico for a very long time, and enjoy most of the food that this culture has to offer. One of them just so happens to be Green Chile Stew, but no matter how much I enjoy it, I have never attempted to make it on my own. Frankly I don't know why, but the other day I bit the bullet, finally took the plunge and made the Green Chile Stew that my taste buds have been dreaming of. 

Green Chile Stew

Yield: ~12 servings

2 Tbsp. Oil
1 lb. Beef Stew Meat (can also use pork or chicken)
1 Cup + 1 Tbsp.  All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Season Salt
2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Ranch Powder
2 tsp. Black Pepper
4 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled, cubed
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 Large Red Onion, chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
2 4oz. Cans of Hatch Green Chile
32 oz. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 14.5 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
4 Beef Bouillon Cubes

In a large stock pot heat oil over medium heat. While oil and pan are coming to temperature take 1 Cup of flour (reserve the 1 Tbsp. for later) and the next 4 ingredients and 1 tsp of pepper. Mix together in a shallow pan like a 9x9 pan. Take your stew beef, pat it dry and lightly coat each piece of meat in the flour, being sure to shake off the excess flour. Once the oil is hot (test by sprinkling some flour in the oil, if it bubbles then it is ready) place about half the stew beef in the pan, leaving enough room around each piece being sure not to crowd the pan. Cook until that side has browned, then turn and allow the other side to brown. The goal here is not to cook the meat completely but to get a nice sear. Once the meat is seared remove from the pan and place on a platter. Cook the remaining meat the same way. Once all the meat is cooked and removed from the oil add the potatoes, onion, garlic, kosher salt and 1 tsp. black pepper. Saute until the potatoes are slightly tender. Add green chile and heat through. Then add the 1 Tbsp. of flour set aside earlier and add to the vegetables. Stir the vegetables thoroughly to ensure that they are all coated in flour and that the flour taste is cooked out, about 30 seconds. Then add the last three ingredients and the stew beef, cover and cook for a minimum of a half an hour. But the longer you cook it the better the flavors will meld. 

After you have waited ever so patiently for that half an hour, ladle up some soup and top with your favorite toppings such as cheese and sour cream. Now eat up!!! And to let you in on a secret, this stew is just better the next day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream


A while back I threw a birthday party for my two oldest boys, nothing special, just some kids at the park with cupcakes. That is the special part. I allowed them to each pick the kind of cupcakes offered at their party. One chose Mountain Dew and the other chose Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream! You could also call these Chocolate Dream Cupcakes! Cause seriously that's what they are.....a chocolate dream! Well at least they are mine! 

So here it is....First you need to start with my basic chocolate cupcake recipe. Which you can find here: Basic Chocolate Cupcakes

Then you make my Nutella Chocolate Mousse, which you can find here: Nutella Chocolate Mousse

Keep the Mousse in the fridge for a minimum of an hour. This will allow it to set. Now you get to make chocolate buttercream, which is a breeze and my absolute favorite. I would eat just this if I didn't feel so guilty. (Psst....I eat a bunch of it when I make cupcakes, but don't tell anyone).

Chocolate Buttercream

1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
2 Sticks Butter (salted or unsalted)
1 Cup Butter flavor Crisco
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups Powdered sugar

In medium saucepan, combine chocolate and 1 stick of butter, place over medium heat and melt chocolate; whisk until butter and chocolate combine. Remove from the heat and allow chocolate to cool completely, you don't want your buttercream to melt! In a large bowl, or in your stand mixer cream together Butter Flavor Crisco and the other stick of butter. Add vanilla and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix on medium speed. Add another 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Once chocolate is cool pour some chocolate into the creamed mixture and mix together. (Make sure you scrap the bowl before you add the next ingredient). Now continue to add 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and chocolate until both ingredients have been completely used. Mixture should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon and easy enough to pipe. If the mixture is too soft add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 Tbsp. of water, until the mixture reaches the desired thickness. Keep in mind that the temperature and humidity in your kitchen will effect the amount of powdered sugar needed to reach your desired thickness.


Once all elements are made now you get to assemble these yummy cupcakes. Using a melon baller remove a good portion of the cupcake, make sure not to remove too much and ruin the stability of the cupcake. Then using a spoon or a piping bag fill the hole with Nutella Chocolate Mousse. Make sure you fill it to the top of the cupcake. Then using a piping bag and whatever tip you like pipe the chocolate buttercream on top of the cupcake making sure to cover the chocolate mousse. Now they are ready! Chow down!!!


Store in the fridge in order to keep mousse stability. But can still be at room temperature for a while before the Mousse will loose it's stability! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Buttercream


I love cookie dough, and I love chocolate cake, so naturally I had to find a way to combine the two. This idea is nothing like my idea to combine chocolate cake and peanut butter. That was just a disaster. This, this is good!

I did learn a few things doing this. First, I keep forgetting when stuffing cupcakes not to fill the liners as much. When you do this you end up cupcake volcanoes! And second, I love, love, love cookie dough with chocolate cake!! 


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

To begin go here and pick up the Basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Fill cupcake liners only 2/3 of the way. Remove from oven once they have been cooking for 15 minutes, in order to stuff with cookie dough (See below). 

While cupcakes are baking make cookie dough.
*Recipe from Crisco 

3/4 Cup Butter Flavor Crisco
1 1/4 Cups Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 Egg (Use egg beaters, find equivalent on package)
1 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

*The use of egg beaters allows you to safely consume the cookie dough without cooking it first. 

Combine Butter Flavor Crisco, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Remove cupcakes from the oven once they have been cooking for about 15 minutes. Take about a Tablespoon of cookie dough and push in the center of each cupcake. (You will use 2 cups cookie dough to make the buttercream, so make sure you place that aside) Place cupcakes back in the oven and cook until the area around the cookie is firm. Remove from the oven and place on cooling rack.

Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Buttercream

1 Cup Butter, at room temperature (2 Sticks)
1 Cup Butter Flavor Crisco
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Cup Cookie Dough

In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and Butter Flavor Crisco. Add vanilla and blend again. Scrap the side of the bowl and add brown sugar, cream together. Then add powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time until the icing reaches the desired stiffness and sweetness. If you need more, just keep adding powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach your desired sweetness. Remember, that the humidity and heat in your house will directly effect the amount of sugar needed. Then add cookie dough and only mix a little. You don't want to break up the cookie dough. You want people to find chunks of cookie dough in their buttercream. 

Once cupcakes have completely cooled, using a large ziploc bag with a large corner cut off, pipe buttercream on cupcakes and then eat!! 

And don't forget to make cookies with the leftover cookie dough! I got a full dozen cookies out of my leftover dough. 

Due to the egg in the cookie dough make sure you store these in the fridge. 

Basic Chocolate Cupcakes

It seems that I make a lot of chocolate cake and to save myself from having to type out the recipe every time I make a new chocolate cupcake I am going to put the basic recipe here and just link to it every time I use it.

Basic Chocolate Cake

1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
1 Cup Milk + 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice (This will make buttermilk)
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 Cup Vegetable oil
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

Heat oven 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan melt chocolate and milk mixture and heat over medium heat, until the chocolate is completely melted, whisk together, then add cocoa powder. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In small bowl combine eggs, and oil. Once the chocolate is cool add a little to the flour mixture and combine. Then add the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Slowly add chocolate into mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Mixture will be a little runny. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way; I like to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to fill my liners, bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake springs back in the middle, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beef Fajitas


Fajitas. Fajitas are this great little food that just so happens to be an absolute cinch to make! Living here in New Mexico they are pretty common, but I haven't really cared for them until recently. So, for today I give you my recipe for Beef Fajitas and later I will give you my recipe for Shrimp Fajitas.

Beef Fajitas

2 Chuck Steaks
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 Tbsp. Season Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Fajita Seasoning
1/2 Tbsp. Lemon Pepper
5 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke

1/2 Large Red Onion, sliced
2 Bell Peppers any color (I used a orange, half a yellow and half a red)
1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Pinch of Kosher Salt

Fajita Tortillas

In a large bag place the first seven ingredients, seal the bag, shake and set in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Remove from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Remove from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. On a grill cook for about 5 minutes on each side. If you don't want to use a grill you can pan fry them as well, they just taste better on the grill. Once steaks are done cooking place on a platter and allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. 


Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Once the pan is heated, add the bell peppers and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the onions and saute until the onions are translucent and peppers are as tender as you desire. I like mine with a little crunch so I only saute them for an additional 3 minutes. 


Once everything is done, place meat on a cutting board and cut against the grain. That means find the way the lines run and cut the meat the opposite way. Imagine it looks like a piece of wood. This helps ensure the meat is tender. Make sure the slices are thin so they are easier to eat. Then place some meat, peppers and onions, tortillas, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and whatever else you like with your fajitas on a plate and eat it up!!! 

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chinese Soup


You all know I love to experiment with cupcakes and I am sure that most of you know that I also like to just flat out experiment in the kitchen. This recipe is just one of those lovely little experiments. The first time I made this, I didn't know if it would turn out the way I imagined it in my head so I didn't bother to write it down or take pictures, and boy am I kicking myself in the butt for that one! It was amazing! The picture above is attempt number 2, still good, but I think I might have missed something. Lesson learned, never cook without my notebook....NEVER!

So, here it is......

Chinese Soup

2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Bunch Chives, roughly chopped (as you can see I didn't in this picture, but in the original recipe I did)
64 oz. Chicken Broth
6 Cups Water
6 Beef Bouillon Cubes
6 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
6 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. Ground Mustard
1 tsp. Powdered Ginger
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Ground Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Carrots
2 Cups Fresh Bean Sprouts
2 8 oz. Pkg. of Chinese Noodles

In a large stock pot, place chicken broth, water, beef bouillon, chives, garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, and soy sauce (first 7 ingredients) and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally and smash the bouillon cubes every once in a while. Bring to a boil, add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the noodles! Cook until the sprouts and carrots are hot. Fill another large stock pot with water and place over high heat, bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add both packages of Chinese noodles and cook for 3 minutes, drain and rinse. To assemble your soup, take a tong full of noodles (however much you want) place in the bottom of the bowl and then ladle broth over the noodles. This will allow you to control the amount of broth and noodles each serving gets. The chicken I made for my potsticker recipe, which can be found here: Potsticker Perfection was also used in the soup. Feel free to put any meat you choose or go meatless!!! 

Another super simple recipe! Enjoy! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Super Easy Guacamole

Okay, I know it has been a while since I have posted anything on this blog, and for that I am truly sorry. Life was crazy as I was studying for finals and writing papers for what was the last couple of weeks of Graduate School, but I am happy to report that school is now over, so I now have a little free time. This should mean more food blogging....I hope.

For my first day blog on the food blog, I have decided to keep things simple and easy.


Guacamole

3 Avocados, chopped
1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 Cup Sliced Jalapenos
3/4 Cup Diced Tomatoes, seeded
Juice of 2 Limes
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Jalapeno Juice

In a medium bowl combine the above ingredients and mix with a fork. I like my guacamole with chunks of avocado, so I do not mash my guacamole, but if you like your's smooth then feel free to use your fork and mash the mixture as you mix it. Note: as you mix it, a majority of the avocado's will smash anyways. Then all you do is taste it and check for spice. Add more salt, jalapeno or lime juice if needed. Serve it with your favorite chips, or with Fajitas, like I did. To store your guacamole, place the seed of the avocado in the middle of the guacamole, cover and refrigerate, in order to prevent browning. Or cover it with plastic wrap making sure to push the plastic wrap down on top of the guacamole and up the sides of the bowl. The key here is to keep out the air to prevent it from browning. Note: the lime juice will not prevent it from browning.

What do you think? Simple, huh?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Potsticker Perfection


This weekend was international house of food at my house! Saturday I celebrated all things Chinese with homemade potstickers and Chinese noodle soup, while Sunday I celebrated Mexican by making homemade Beef and Shrimp Fajitas! So we traveled far this weekend, well our taste buds did anyway. And I am going to share all these lovely little recipes with you! I know, I'm nice right?! Well don't tell anybody. 

So here's the deal with these potstickers.....

Potstickers

2 Chicken Breasts, small dice
1 1/2 tsp. Season Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Ginger (powdered)
1 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. Ground Mustard
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire 
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil

3/4 Cup Carrots, shredded
3/4 Cup Cabbage, shredded
Wonton Wrappers

2 Tbsp. Oil for frying

In a large skillet heat canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add chicken and all the seasonings, and cook until the chicken starts to turn white. Then add the Worcestershire and soy sauce and continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked. The chicken will be white in the middle or an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Then add in the shredded carrots and cabbage, saute for another minute and then remove from the heat. 

Fill a large pan with water, just like you are going to boil pasta, and bring to a boil. Fill a small bowl with water and set near your potsticker assembly station. Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper, dip your finger in the water and run your finger around all four outer edges of the wrapper. Then fold in half like a triangle and crimp closed. Repeat about 100 times....okay so not quite 100 but it will feel like it by the time you are done. I made 24 before I gave up and we all grubbed on the leftover mix. Once the potstickers are done, place about 6 in the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from the water and place aside. Continue until all the potstickers have been boiled. At this point you can eat them, but I like mine crunchy, so I pan fry them. In the skillet you saute'd the chicken, place 2 Tbsp. canola oil, place about 8 potstickers in the pan, if you can, and cook until the side is golden brown, then turn on another side and cook until it is golden brown. Repeat until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on some paper towels. Repeat until all the potstickers are fried. 

They should look something like this.....

Don't they look yummy??? Well they are and now you get to do the fun part, EAT THEM!!! Enjoy! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Toffee Crunch Cheesecake


This weekend, I was a baking and cooking fool! Just one of the things I made this weekend was this little number. Now it has been over 10 years since I have made a cheesecake and it was never something that I really perfected. But after growing into something of a baker I decided to give the elusive cheesecake another try. But as you all know, I don't post recipes on this blog that aren't original to me so naturally I had to create my own cheesecake recipe too. (The real reason I created my own was because I couldn't bear the thought of putting sour cream in my cheesecake).

So here is my version of the cheesecake!

Graham Cracker Crust

Yield: 2 9 inch cakes

16 Graham Crackers, crushed
4 1/2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
8 Tbsp. Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Take two 9 inch round cake pans, grease and coat with powdered sugar. In a medium bowl mix together the above ingredients with your hands. Mixture should feel slightly wet and should clump together. Take mixture and divide it in two. Place half of the mixture in each of the cake pans. Then using your hands press the graham cracker mixture down, until it completely covers the bottom of each cake pan. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and place to the side.

Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

Yield: 2 9inch cakes

3 8oz. Packages of Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
3 Eggs 
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Milka Toffee Crunch Candy Bar, chopped (Can use any candy bar you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream cream cheese. Then add the sugar and cream together until the sugar is incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add vanilla and one egg, mix thoroughly. Then add another egg, again mixing thoroughly. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining egg and mix again. Add in candy bar and mix with a rubber spatula. Pour half the mixture over on graham cracker crust and the other half in the other pan. If you want a thick cheesecake just pour the entire batter in one pan. Place in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the middle of the cheesecake has set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before eating.

What do you think? Do you like cheesecake?

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

S'more Cupcakes with Swirled Chocolate Buttercream and Whipped Cream Frosting


Okay, about two weeks ago I promised you a recipe for these beautiful cupcakes right up there, and of course things got crazy and I slacked on my food blogging duty! And I am sorry, as I sit here hanging my head in shame and eating my last S'more cupcake, I want you to know that today I am blogging a bunch of recipes, just for you lovely little people!!

Graham Cracker Crust

Yield: 18 cupcakes

5 Graham Crackers Crushed
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl combine the above ingredients and mix with your hand. The mixture should feel slightly wet and you should be able to clump the mixture together. Then take your cupcake liners and place a small handful of the mixture in the bottom of each liner. Using your fingers, press the mixture down until the bottom of the liner is covered. If you would like you can press some of the mixture up the sides of the liner, but you don't have to. This will add a nice crunch on the bottom of your cupcake. Plus it acts as that graham cracker element! Place in the oven and cook about 8 minutes or until they start to turn a nice golden brown color, remove from the oven and set aside.



S'more Cupcake Recipe

1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
1 Cup Milk + 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice (This will make buttermilk)
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 Cup Vegetable oil
3 Eggs
1 Bag of Large Marshmallows 


Heat oven 325 degrees. In a medium sauce pan melt chocolate and milk mixture and heat over medium heat, until the chocolate is completely melted, whisk together. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In small bowl combine eggs, and oil. Once the chocolate is cool add a little to the flour mixture and combine. Then add the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Slowly add chocolate into mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Mixture will be a little runny. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way; I like to use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to fill my liners, bake for 20 minutes, until cupcakes are just about done, then place half a large marshmallow in the middle of each cupcake. Place back in the oven and allow the cupcakes to cook for another 5 minutes. *Note* The marshmallow's will melt into the cupcakes, so don't freak out when you pull the cupcakes out and the marshmallows disappear! Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.




Chocolate Buttercream

1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
2 Sticks Butter (salted or unsalted)
1 Cup Butter flavor Crisco
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups Powdered sugar

In medium saucepan, combine chocolate and 1 stick of butter, place over medium heat and melt chocolate; whisk until butter and chocolate combine. Remove from the heat and allow chocolate to cool completely, you don't want your buttercream to melt! In a large bowl, or in your stand mixer cream together Butter Flavor Crisco and the other stick of butter. Add vanilla and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix on medium speed. Add another 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Once chocolate is cool pour some chocolate into the creamed mixture and mix together. (Make sure you scrap the bowl before you add the next ingredient). Now continue to add 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and chocolate until both ingredients have been completely used. Mixture should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon and easy enough to pipe. If the mixture is too soft add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 Tbsp. of water, until the mixture reaches the desired thickness. Keep in mind that the temperature and humidity in your kitchen will effect the amount of powdered sugar needed to reach your desired thickness.


Whipped Cream Frosting

2 Cups Heavy whipping cream
1/2 Cup Powdered sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cream bouquet emulsion (optional)

Place stainless steel bowl and whisk (beaters) in freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from the freezer and pour in the heavy whipping cream, vanilla and cream bouquet emulsion (if you have it, don't worry if you don't, it can be hard to find), on medium speed whip mixture for about 2 minutes. Then add sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Making sure to whip well after each addition. At this point, taste the mixture, if it is not sweet enough add another 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to whip mixture until the cream stands up when you remove the beaters.

This is where I cheat. I have piping bags that have two compartments so that I can pipe with two different frosting's at once. I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but I am sure you can find them other places. They come with a special coupler. Fill your bag with both frosting's and then pipe away! But if you don't want to buy the bags, just pick a frosting and go with it! Then top with some crushed graham crackers! (I forgot them for the picture!)


There you go! Eat and enjoy!! Let me know what you think, sound like something you would enjoy???

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

As you know from my post titled Cupcake Mania I have had a lot of cupcake inspiration lately. And one of my latest inspiration came from apples. Before my little cupcake obsession, probably a year or so ago, I had this obsession with perfecting the apple pie. And when I say obsession, I mean obsession, I am pretty sure I made apple pie every weekend until I felt that I had the recipe just right. So when I see apples I have a tendency to think apple pie! And well nothing quite goes with apple pie like caramel! And considering my cupcakes obsession as of late, when I saw the apples sitting on my table, I immediately jumped to the idea of an apple pie cupcake! 

And let me tell you, that was the best idea I have ever had! Seriously, these were the best cupcakes I have ever eaten, my husband had 5 and tried to convince me to let him eat my childrens! That is how good they are. In fact as I am sitting here typing this blog post I am thinking about the possibility of making them tomorrow.

And now I am going to pass this little recipe to all of you! 


Apple Pie Cupcakes

Yield: 18 Cupcakes

Apple Pie Mix
2 Gala Apples, cored and cubed
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

Cake
1 Pillsbury Classic Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1 Cup Water
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Oil

In a medium sauce pan, combine: apples, brown sugar, corn starch, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and heat over medium heat, mixing every once in a while. Cook until apples are just fork tender. Remove from heat, set aside and allow to completely cool. In a large mixing bowl combine, cake mix, flour, eggs, water, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Then add the apple pie mixture and mix it a couple of times. You don't want to mix it too much and smash the apples. Fill cupcake liners a little more than 3/4 of the way, the fruit will prevent it from overflowing. Cook according to directions on the box. Once the cupcakes spring back or a toothpick comes out clean, remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Caramel Buttercream

Caramel
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

In medium, heavy sauce pan, heat the sugar over medium heat, until the sugar liquefies. Do not stir, once the sugar turns to liquid swirl the sugar around the pan and cook until the sugar turns a nice amber color. *Warning: this next part can be very dangerous. It is always a good idea to wear oven mitts for the next part. Once the sugar has turned a nice amber color, add in 1 Tbsp. of butter and whisk. Then slowly add in the cream, make sure you lean back from the pan for this, it will be extremely hot! Don't worry, the sugar will solidify, then add the last tablespoon of butter and whisk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly until the sugar has remelted. Remove from heat and allow to cool, completely, otherwise you will melt your buttercream.

Caramel Buttercream
1 Cup Butter or 2 Sticks Butter at room temperature
1 Cup Butter Flavor Crisco (can use regular Crisco if can't find butter flavor)
1/4 tsp. Vanilla
Caramel
~2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, cream together butter and crsico. Once they have been creamed together add vanilla and 1/2 cup of sugar, mix thoroughly. Then add another 1/2 cup of sugar, mix again. Scrape the side of the bowl  and add a quarter of the caramel, mix thoroughly. Then add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and more caramel, mix completely. Continue to do this until the caramel has been incorporated and/or the frosting has reached the desired consistency and flavor. You want a frosting that will not fall off a spoon and one that is soft, if you add too much sugar it get's harder. If the buttercream is not thick enough add more sugar. Remember that the humidity and heat in your house will directly effect the amount of sugar you will need to add to your buttercream. Then add to a large ziploc bag, cut off a small tip and pipe onto your cupcakes! To push these right over the edge of awesome drizzle a little caramel over the top! 

There you have it folks, my favorite cupcakes thus far! Now I dare you to eat just one! 


So, what do you think? Sound like something you might want to try?

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Peach Mango Cupcakes with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

As you all know it is cupcake mania here at the blog. I love cupcakes and it seems that lately all my inspiration comes in the form of a new cupcake recipe. But I'm not complaining and neither are my friends and family!

So, what do I have for you today, you ask? Today I offer you this little number.....


And do you know what is so awesome about this cupcake, besides the incredible flavor? The fact that it has actual fruit in it! And because of that you could totally say it is healthy! Well at least that was my excuse as I devoured two of these for breakfast, don't judge me! I like to think that it covers quite a few of the major food groups, you got the cake for grain, the cream cheese for the dairy, and the peach, mango and pomegranate for the fruit, BAM, it is now a healthy cupcake! 

Peach Mango Cupcakes

1 Cup Frozen peaches and Mango's
1 Cup Water
4 Tbsp sugar
1 Pillsbury White cake mix
1/4 Cup flour
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup oil

In a sauce pan, combine the fruit, water and sugar, and heat to a boil over medium heat. Once sugar has dissolved and mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool completely. In large mixing bowl combine the other ingredients and the cooled fruit mixture. Mix thoroughly, then fill cupcake liners a little over 3/4 of the way, the fruit will prevent the cupcakes from rising too high, cook according to instructions on the cake box. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz. Packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 Cup Pomegranate juice
5 Cups Powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, with a mixer or stand mixer cream the cream cheese over medium speed until the cream cheese is smooth. Then add a little of the Pomegranate juice and 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar, mix thoroughly until both the powdered sugar and the juice have been integrated. Then add a little more of the juice and another 1/2 cup of sugar, mix thoroughly, then scrape the sides. Add more juice, if there is only a little left just add it all, and another 1/2 cup of sugar, again mixing thoroughly. Continue to do this until the mixture is stiff enough that it does not fall off a spoon and is as sweet as you desire. Remember that the heat and humidity in your house will determine the amount of sugar you will have to add. Then you can pipe or spread over your cupcakes. I just use a ziploc bag for my piping, by cutting off a small corner, sometimes I place a tip in, to add some flare. 

*Special Note: In order to cut down on the amount of sugar you have to add you could always reduce your pomegranate juice to a syrup by boiling it over medium high heat until it has reduced to half, or it coats the back of a spoon. I didn't, but next time I will. 

There you have it, a fruit-a-licious cupcake that is good enough to eat for breakfast!! Doubt me? Then try it!

So, what do you think? Sound like something you might try? Have you ever put fruit in a cupcake?

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting


As promised....cupcakes!!! Today I am going to treat you to the recipe for this little number......who doesn't like caramel and chocolate? If you don't, then don't answer that!

Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 18 cupcakes
1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
1 Cup Milk + 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice (This will make buttermilk)
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 Cup Vegetable oil
3 Eggs

Heat oven 325 degrees. In a medium sauce pan melt chocolate and milk mixture and heat over medium heat, until the chocolate is completely melted, whisk together. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In small bowl combine eggs, and oil. Once the chocolate is cool add a little to the flour mixture and combine. Then add the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Slowly add chocolate into mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Mixture will be a little runny. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when touched, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Once cupcakes have completely cooled, using a melon baller, remove small portion of cupcake.

Caramel

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 Cup Heavy whipping cream

In medium, heavy sauce pan, heat the sugar over medium heat, until the sugar liquefies. Do not stir, once the sugar turns to liquid swirl the sugar around the pan and cook until the sugar turns a nice amber color. *Warning: this next part can be very dangerous. It is always a good idea to wear oven mitts for the next part. Once the sugar has turned a nice amber color, add in 1 Tbsp. of butter and whisk. Then slowly add in the cream, make sure you lean back from the pan for this, it will be extremely hot! Don't worry, the sugar will solidify, then add the last tablespoon of butter and whisk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly until the sugar has remelted. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once caramel has cooled completely, spoon caramel into the holes of each cupcake.

Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

2 Cups Heavy whipping cream
1/2 Cup Powdered sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cream bouquet emulsion (optional)

Place stainless steel bowl and whisk (beaters) in freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from the freezer and pour in the heavy whipping cream, vanilla and cream bouquet emulsion (if you have it, don't worry if you don't, it can be hard to find), on medium speed whip mixture for about 2 minutes. Then add sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Making sure to whip well after each addition. At this point, taste the mixture, if it is not sweet enough add another 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to whip mixture until the cream stands up when you remove the beaters. Then place in a large ziploc bag and cut a small corner off, now pipe. If you have any piping tips, then cut a small corner, add the tip, then fill with the frosting. Now pipe those cupcakes and eat up!

These cupcakes are best stored in the fridge because of the whipped cream. 

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cupcake Mania

Okay, I think it is safe to say I am obsessed with cupcakes. It's okay, you can say it. I can take it. I am obsessed. But that's okay.

I have come to accept my cupcake obsession and turn it into blogging perfection! Like my rhyming there? Yeah, me neither, but oh well, I'm not taking it back now.

Well anyway, back to why I am writing this post. I know that I have been kind of absent from this blog lately, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I have not had a lot of culinary inspiration the last couple of weeks. I know, sad right?

But the good news is, that my culinary inspiration is back!! Can I get a fist bump?! Oh yeah! So what can you expect from me in the upcoming weeks.......cupcakes of course!

First I will give you a recipe for my Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting....Yup that's this lovely little cupcake right here!


I will also give you my recipe for Mango Peach Cupcakes with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting.....that's this one.......


And I plan on creating.......an Apple Pie Cupcake with Caramel Buttercream and a Smores' Cupcake with Marshmallow filling and a Graham Cracker Crust. I haven't figured out the frosting just yet, but you can bet your yumminess that it will be delish! 

Well there you have it, my cupcake obsession! What can I say, when I walk in my kitchen it screams CUPCAKE!!!

Have a good one! And I will catch you on the blogging flip side!

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."




Saturday, April 6, 2013

Buttery Mashed Potatoes


As you can see from the picture above, today I am going to give you one of my recipes for mashed potatoes, and as you can also see, my mashed potatoes are not lump free. And I am okay with that! 

I love mashed potatoes, and personally I think they could make a meal all on their own and that they really don't get enough respect! Mashed potatoes are good dang it! So good that we should eat them all the time! Okay well maybe not all the time, but a lot!

Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 12-15 Servings (depend on size)

12 Yukon golden potatoes, peeled, cubed
1 8oz. Package cream cheese
1 Cup Butter/Margarine
1/2-3/4 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

In a large stock pot place cubed potatoes and cover with water, enough to come above the potatoes at least an inch. Pour in the kosher salt, place on medium heat and cook until the potatoes can be smashed with a fork, making sure to stir them from time to time. Once the potatoes are tender remove from heat and drain. Place the potatoes back in the pan and add the cream cheese. Using a hand masher or a hand mixer, smash the potatoes, then add the butter/margarine and continue to smash, ending with 1/2 a cup of milk. Continue to smash the potatoes until they reach the desired creaminess. May need to add more milk. (I personally prefer to mash my potatoes with a hand masher, not only do I get a good work out, but I kind of like the lumps.)

Once they reach your desired consistency, serve up and eat. If you want to really indulge then top with bacon, cheese, and chives for a loaded mashed potato!

I love these potatoes and so do my kids, there are never any leftovers and we always fight over who get's to eat the last of them. So, how do you do your mashed potatoes? Do you like lumps or no lumps?

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

I think we have established that I have a small obsession with creating cupcakes! Hello, have you seen my blogs?! Well, I also love peanut butter and chocolate together, so I thought why not combine all three of these loves???? Now I see that look on your face, and I know what you are thinking...."you put peanut butter in a cupcake?" And my answer would be.....Yes, I put peanut butter in a cupcake, and no it did not turn out the way I planned!

So here's what happened on the first attempt.....


Does this look like a chocolate cupcake to you? No, well me either. And the taste.....it tasted like peanut butter! So I guess I scored there, but the peanut butter completely over powered the taste of the chocolate, and since I was kind of going for a CHOCOLATE peanut butter cupcake I decided that I had to make them again! 

And finally I got something that looked like a chocolate cupcake and tasted like a chocolate cupcake, but with a hint of peanut butter! 


Alas! I had done it, and I perfected my chocolate cake recipe while I was at it! Total bonus!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
1 Cup Milk + 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice (This will make buttermilk)
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 Cup Vegetable oil
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Peanut butter

Heat oven 325 degrees. In a medium sauce pan melt chocolate and milk mixture and heat over medium heat, until the chocolate is completely melted, whisk together. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In small bowl combine eggs, oil and peanut butter. Once the chocolate is cool add a little to the flour mixture and combine. Then add the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Slowly add chocolate into mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Mixture will be a little runny. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when touched, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Chocolate Buttercream
1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
2 Sticks Butter (salted or unsalted)
1 Cup Butter flavor Crisco
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups Powdered sugar

In medium saucepan, combine chocolate and 1 stick of butter, place over medium heat and melt chocolate; whisk until butter and chocolate combine. Remove from the heat and allow chocolate to cool completely, you don't want your buttercream to melt! In a large bowl, or in your stand mixer cream together Butter Flavor Crisco and the other stick of butter. Add vanilla and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix on medium speed. Add another 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Once chocolate is cool pour some chocolate into the creamed mixture and mix together. (Make sure you scrap the bowl before you add the next ingredient). Now continue to add 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and chocolate until both ingredients have been completely used. Mixture should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon and easy enough to pipe. If the mixture is too soft add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 Tbsp. of water, until the mixture reaches the desired thickness. Keep in mind that the temperature and humidity in your kitchen will effect the amount of powdered sugar needed to reach your desired thickness.



And there you have it.....Peanut Butter in a cupcake! What do you think? Is this something that you would try? Have you tried to put in any unusual ingredients into your cupcakes?

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chocolate Covered Nutella Peanut Butter Balls


I have been making Chocolate covered Peanut Butter Balls since I was old enough to roll a ball with play dough. Peanut Butter Balls have been a great family tradition, one that I gladly pass on to my children. Peanut Butter Balls are so simple and so delicious and I am always looking for ways to change them. With my love of Nutella it only seemed logical to combine the two. And let me tell you, they are totally AWESOME!! I'm not just saying that either, these really are awesome.

Chocolate Covered Nutella Peanut Butter Balls

Yield: ~150-200 

2 Cups Creamy peanut butter
1 26.5 oz. Jar of Nutella
1 Stick of butter melted, OR 1/2 cup butter/margarine
3 1/2 Cups of powdered sugar
1 1lb. 8oz. Package of Almond Bark (Chocolate)

In a large mixing bowl place peanut butter and Nutella and mix thoroughly, then add melted butter and mix again. Once everything is mixed slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. This will help prevent lumps of powdered sugar. Keep adding powdered sugar until all the powdered sugar has been used or until you can roll the mixture into a ball without it completely sticking to your hands. If the mixture still sticks to your hands, then add more powdered sugar. The humidity and heat in your house will directly impact the amount of powdered sugar needed to form the balls. Once the mixture is ready roll into balls about the size of a quarter. Really you can roll them as big or as little as you want, but a quarter seems to be a good size. Roll the balls and place on a sheet pan (cookie sheet). 

In a microwave safe bowl melt 6 of the Almond Bark squares in the microwave for 1 minute at a time, until the chocolate is completely melted. You do this in 1 minute intervals to make sure that you don't burn or scorch the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted then roll the Nutella Peanut Butter Balls around in the chocolate until they are completely coated. Place back on the cookie sheet and continue until all the balls are covered. (You will have to melt more chocolate). Once all the balls have been covered place them in the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden. 


Once the chocolate has hardened, remove from the freezer and devour!!! These great little diddies will keep in the fridge for a good month, in the freezer for a good 2 or 3 months and will last at room temperature as long as your house is not hot, for a couple of weeks. But I feel I must warn you, they won't last longer than the first week!!! 

This is my favorite sweet treat, Do you have one? If so, what is it?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Recipe: Leftover Remake: Pork Fried LoMein

In my house it is rare that we have leftovers, but there are times when I have a ton of leftovers. As was the case last week when we made Pork Steaks for dinner. We accidentally dethawed too many, and of course rather then let them go to waste we cooked them and were left with four pork steaks! So, I created this simple Pork Fried LoMein!



Pork Fried LoMein:

Yield: 14 bowls

Leftover meat, cubed (I used 3 of my leftover Pork Steaks, but you can use whatever you have)
4 Packages of Ramen noodles (won't need the season packet)
2 Cups Chicken broth
2 Cups Beef broth 
1/2 of a 4oz. can of mushrooms chopped (can use fresh, but I always have canned)
2 Large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Chives (or scallions, just the greens)
2 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 
3 Tbsp. Oil
1 Tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tsp. Soy sauce (for the pork)
2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
1 Tsp. Onion powder
1 Tsp. Powdered ginger
1 Tsp. Sesame oil
3 Eggs, scrambled

In a medium sauce pan place noodles, chicken broth and beef broth over medium heat. Then add the scallions, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp. of kosher salt and cook until the noodles are tender. Should take no more than 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place to the side.


In a large skillet or wok, heat the 3 Tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the meat and 1 Tsp. of soy sauce, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the meat is hot. Remove ingredients from the pan and place to the side. Drain noodles, keeping the scallions, and add to the pan you cooked the pork in. Saute the noodles, then add the onion powder, ginger and 2 Tbsp. Soy sauce, mix thoroughly, then add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce, the meat and bring everything together, then add the sesame oil. Form a well in the middle of the noodles.


Now this part is crucial, allow the eggs to cook a little before you mix them into the noodles, otherwise you won't actually see any egg, but if you want to sneak eggs in then by all means stir everything together. Once you see the eggs begin to cook then integrate everything together. Turn off heat and serve with a little scallions.


And there you have it! A great way to eat up those leftovers! And this way they don't really feel like leftovers. 

So, what do you do with your leftovers?


"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recipe: Pimento Cheese Sandwich

So far we have established that I love Mexican food and tacos, and I think in another post I declared my love for sandwiches, but just in case I didn't, allow me to do it now! My name is Danielle and I love sandwiches, all kinds of sandwiches! 

And this sandwich is no different! Now I know what you're thinking, pimento cheese???? Yuck! And you would be right if this was the recipe that my grandma would make, but it's not! So stick around and see what set's this recipe apart!


Pimento Cheese Spread:

Yield: 8 Sandwiches

2 8oz, Packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 Cup Pimentos, diced
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1 Garlic clove, minced
4 Turns of a pepper mill
1 Tbsp. Ranch dressing (optional)
2 Tbsp. Green Chile (optional)
8 Ciabatta rolls

In a medium bowl combine the first seven or eight ingredients. At first I only mix the first seven ingredients, make all my kids sandwiches, then add the green chile and make my husband's and mine. My kids are not big fans of green chile. If you have a panini press, now is the time to plug it in and get it heated up. Take your ciabatta rolls and cut them in half lengthwise, then spread approximately 1/2 a cup of the Pimento Cheese spread on the roll. Place the top of the roll back on and if you have a panini press place in the press and cook until sandwich is golden on top and has nice grill marks. If you don't have a panini press then heat a skillet over medium heat and cook sandwich in the skillet like a grilled cheese (if you are using a nonstick skillet you shouldn't need any oil or butter, if not place a Tbsp of oil in the pan of brush oil on the outside of the bread). In order to press the sandwich place another skillet on top and place something heavy in it like a brick or a couple of large cans. Cook until crispy and golden. Remove from the skillet or press and slice in triangles, and eat! 

These sandwiches are so simple, but so good and I promise no one will think about those old pimento cheese sandwiches! 


"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Follow Me on Bloglovin


Well I have decided to add Bloglovin as a way for you to follow my food blog if you would like! Now you will have more than one way to get your hands on my culinary creations!

Looking forward to chatting and sharing ideas with all of you!

Thanks,
Yell

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mexican Shredded Chicken Tacos with Cucumber Lime Salad

Confession: I make a lot of Mexican food. But in my defense, I do live in New Mexico, home of Green Chile! And if you don't know what this is, then you need to stop by this website: Hatch Chile Festival, and learn all about this awesome stuff!! 

On top of being a Mexican food fan I am a huge taco fan! Seriously, I think anything can be put into a taco!

So, here is a little diddy I cooked up! I hope you enjoy it! 


Chicken:

8 Chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless, but you can use bone in)
1 Tbsp. Fajita seasoning
1 Tbsp. Cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. Ranch powder
6 Tbsp. Worcestershire 
6 Tbsp. Lemon juice
4 Tbsp. Jalapeno juice
1 Tbsp. Liquid smoke
1 1/2 Cups Apple cider vinegar
3 Cups Low sodium chicken broth
1 Cup BBQ sauce

In a large stock pot place all the above ingredients, cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours, moving the chicken around regularly. Remove the chicken, keep liquid boiling, shred chicken and add back to the liquid. Simmer shredded chicken for another hour on medium heat to help evaporate some of that liquid, stirring regularly. 

Cucumber Lime Salad

1 English cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 Medium red onion, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Tbsp. Jalapeno juice
1/4 Cup Freshly chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl combine above ingredients. Place to the side and allow to meld for at least an hour. I usually make this after I shred the chicken and it is in its last cooking phase. And now we can build some tacos!!

Tacos

Flour fajita Tortillas (I double mine, when I make tacos, but you don't have to)
2-3 Fresh limes (depends on how many people you are feeding)

Take a fajita tortilla (you could also use white corn tortilla's if you wanted, but I like the fajita flour tortillas), place good chunk of shredded chicken in the middle of the tortilla and place a decent amount of Cucumber Lime Salad. And viola you have a taco! Serve with a wedge of lime and encourage your eaters to squeeze on top before devouring! 


As you can see I served mine with Spanish rice, but you could also serve it with my Southwestern Beans! The Spanish rice recipe is coming soon!

So there you have it an awesome kickin' chicken taco! Now go make it and devour it!!!

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."