Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Flaming Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes

This post is a little late, but here's what I made for Valentine's Day -- flaming cupcakes! How fun is that?! I used our tride and true Vanilla Almond cake mix (or "wedding cake" as we call it in my family). It's pretty much the best white cake recipe ever. Anytime there's a cake made in my family...this is the recipe used. All credit due to mom...of course :)

  • 1 box white cake mix (mom says Duncan Hines is the best)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 4 large egg whites

Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low for 2 minutes. Bake at 325 until done - use box for idea.

While their baking, mix up the frosting. I used my regular buttercream recipe:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (crisco)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

I added about 3 tbsp cocoa powder to the recipe to make a chocolate frosting, and I have to say...I wasn't crazy about it. I'd never made chocolate frosting before, so next time I think I'll look around for a recipe. Something more chocolate-y...the cocoa powder didn't do it for me.

To do the flaming strawberries, hull out the inside and sit the strawberry down in the frosting.

Fill with liquor (something 80 proof, I used vodka), light and enjoy the show! The flame lasts about a minute or so. Happy belated Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicken Ceaser Pasta Salad

This dish is on the regular rotation at our house. Danny and I could probably eat it every day. If I had to guess, I'd say it's bi-weekly...or weekly. Point is - we love it.

Start out by heating a drizzle of olive oil in your skillet and cook 2 chicken breasts (or however much chicken you want depending on how many you're serving). Season 'em up to taste. I often have the strips, so I'll use about 4 or 5 depending on the size. Cut in bite size pieces once cooked.

Cook about a cup of pasta...whatever kind you have on hand will work.

Add lettuce to a big salad bowl, dump in the chicken and cooked pasta...

Drizzle on some ceaser dressing and give it a good toss. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits

I've been wanting to make some type of super supreme loaded breakfast biscuit or muffin for quite some time now. I had some leftover bacon in the fridge from the stuffed jalapenos that I needed to use up, so I decided that was definitely going to be an ingredient in these super supreme muffins. I stumbled across this recipe from the fabulous Pioneer Woman, and let me tell does not disappoint.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (crisco, Etc)
  • 10 tablespoons milk
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 10 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
First step, fry that bacon up. Just 'til it's done and still a little chewy - not burned and crispy. Which by the way, is usually how I like it...crispy. Oh well.
Remove and sit aside to cool. Try not to eat it all and keep the pan out, we're going to use it later.
In a good size bowl, mix together the flour, 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda, and salt. Throw in the 1/4 cup crisco, and cut in until it's incorporated into the flour mixture. For some reason, I hate this step. Just ask my mom. When we make pies together, I always have her "cut" in the crisco.
Ok back to biscuits.

In a separate bowl combine 10 tbsp milk, 4 tbsp vegetable oil, and 1 egg. Whisk it up...

Grate 1 heaping cup of cheddar cheese...

Chop up around 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup onion. Remove the majority of the bacon grease from the skillet and then throw the onions in. Saute the onions until done and nice and colorful...

Grab the bacon, which should be cooled by now, and chop it up.
Pour the egg/oil mixture into the flour mixture, and fold it together until just combined. Don't stir it to death. Should be pretty thick and sticky.
Add in the cheddar cheese and browned onions...

Don't forget the bacon...

Fold together until just barely combined. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan...

Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes or until done. Nice and golden brown.

Mmmm...look at the inside of this bad boy...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

First off, I have to say, the above picture is my Uncle David' is this recipe. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the finished peppers we made, as they were pretty much inhaled as soon as we took them off the grill. Oh well. Can't blame us.

Here's what you need to make these bad boys:
  • Jalapenos

  • Breakfast sausage

  • Velveeta cheese

  • Cream cheese

  • Bacon

When buying the jalapenos for this recipe, make sure you pick out the really big ones..."stuffin size" as we call 'em. Get as many as you want.

Chop off the ends and core the insides out. After you core them, rinse them under water to make sure all the seeds are outta there.

Cook the breakfast sausage. I used about 1/3 of the roll of sausage for a dozen peppers. We usually cook a few dozen peppers, and in that case use about 1/2 of the package of sausage. Mix up 1 pack cream cheese, the cooked breakfast sausage, and grated velveeta cheese (a handful or two). I used cheddar here, as I didn't have any veveeta on hand...

Once you got it mixed up, stuff each pepper. You're going to have to use your fingers here...

Wrap 1/2 a piece of bacon over each one. By the way, check out this cool jalapeno rack! It's a "custom design" by Uncle David. :) You just stick each jalapeno on a shish kabob, sit it on the rack...
and then sit the rack on the grill. I also didn't get a picture of the jalapenos cooking, so this one is from my sister. Steph, where's your bacon?!

Leave on the grill until they're how you like 'em. The longer they cook, the less hot the jalapenos become. We made some for superbowl and Danny was smoking a big Boston Butt (yum!), so we let them hang out on the smoker for quite a while. Obviously, they took a lot longer on the smoker since it's indirect heat, but boy were they good!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is my absolute favorite soup. Any time it's even slightly chilly outside, I make this soup. Actually, I even make this soup in the middle of summer. It's just that good. I don't really have a recipe with exact measurements...I just make it the way I've seen my mom do it a million times.

  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 3 cups chicken broth (if you use cans, I'd say a couple cans)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can corn (or frozen corn)
  • 1 can black beans (optional)
  • avocado (optional - for topping)
  • grated cheddar (optional - for topping)

Start out by sauteing your chicken breasts. Season with cumin and whatever you normally use for chicken. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and some chopped garlic.

While that's cooking, pour the cream of chicken soup and chicken broth into a big pot. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in the chili powder. Probably about 2 tablespoons or so, depending on how spicy you like it. This is what gives it the "kick." You're going to change the color from yellow to a nice orange-y the color of enchilada sauce :)

Taste the broth and add whatever you feel necessary...more garlic powder, salt&pepper, etc. I use quite a bit of chili powder as Danny and both like it pretty spicy. Suit your taste.

Once the chicken is done in the other skillet, cut it up and add it and the onions into your soup pot. Add in all the other ingredients - 1 can of Rotel and 1 can of corn (drained). If you want to add black beans, make sure you drain and rinse them well. If I have a can in the pantry, I'll add them...if not, I don't. That's pretty much it. Now let it heat up and cook for a few minutes.
Top your bowl off with some chopped avocado, salsa, and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snicker Brownies

These are uh-mazing! All you need is a brownie mix and snickers (or really, any candy bar of your choice). I think I used about 8-10 of the fun size bars. Just a side note...if the snickers have been in your freezer for months (leftover Halloween candy), they're pretty hard to cut up :)

Stir in the chopped snickers to the brownie mix. Pour it in your pan and bake according to your brownie mix.
There you have it. Snicker brownies!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese

The other night I noticed my big 'o (unopened) hunk of swiss chesse in the fridge wasn't going to make it much longer. I wanted to use it all rather than having to throw it out in a couple days, so what better way to use lots of cheese than Macaroni and CHEESE?? I got out my Pioneer Woman cookbook and used this new recipe.

  • 4 cups dry macaroni
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 lb cheddar (or other) cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to suit your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to suit your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Start out by cooking the macaroni until it's pretty firm - too firm to eat. In a small bowl, beat the egg. In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour.

Whisk it together over med-low heat and cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly so it doesn't burn. Pour in the milk. Add the mustard and whisk until smooth.

Cook for 5 minutes or until it gets pretty thick - whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Time to temper the egg. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup or so of the sauce into the bowl with the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth. If you haven't figured it out by now, you will be doing alot of whisking with this recipe. Maybe even enough to burn off a couple of these delicios calories you're about to consume :)
Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking until smooth. Now add it all but about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and stir until melted. Add the seasonings. Taste the sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Don't undersalt! I added several more sprinkles of both.
Pour in the cooked, drained macaroni and stir to combine. You can also add some extras to spruce it up a notch if you wish. I added a pint of fresh grape tomatoes and about 1/2 a red bell pepper I had sittin' in the fridge. I have to say, the fresh tomatoes definitely added a nice punch of flavor.
Pour into a large baking dish that's been sprayed with cooking spray...
Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Mmmm, homemeade mac and cheese...doesn't get much better than that!