Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Before I discovered the slimming effects of black, I was a pink to the heart kinda girl. My mom would joke that my entire closet, bedroom, locker and car were as pink as one could get. I even remember piling all the stuff I was hauling up to college for my dorm in our living room and only 3 items weren't pink; the totes (they were my mom's and coming home), my textbooks and my toothpaste! You can imagine how excited my husband was when we merged our belongings for our first apartment!

Anyways, with Spring in full force, I have seen all kinds of adorable pink desserts that just scream, "Make me!" Far be it from me to deny them this honor. I made these cupcakes for class treats and was a little worried about bring Champagne to class. Yes I know, we are all of legal drinking age, but I didn't want to be that crazy girl bringing alcohol to class! Luckily everything turned out good and they were well received! These make great little Easter treats as well with the pastel pink!

Pink Champagne Cupcakes
Source: Betty Crockers, "Cupcakes, cakes, and more" pg. 36

For the cupcakes:
1 box Betty Crocker super moist white cake mix
1 1/4 c champagne (cheap will do, I think my bottle was $5 or so)
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 egg whites
4 or 5 drops red food coloring (I used a little pink Wilton color gel)

Champagne Frosting
1/2 c softened butter or margarine
4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c champagne
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 drops red food coloring (or pink color gel)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking liners into 24 regular sized muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix and champagne. Add oil, eggs and food color. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

In a medium bowl, beat frosting ingredients with electric mixer on medium spread until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Overloaded Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

So, I got a little excited when making this cheesecake (Hello!?!?! It's cheesecake, I think we have already determined my weakness for this dessert) and proceeded to add the entire package of Oreo's. Upon review, I found out I wasn't suppose to. Result.....Overloaded Cookies and Cream Cheesecake! This made for a pretty rich dessert....very good but very rich. You won't hear me complaining but some 'weaker' people may prefer the original Oreo recommendations ;)

Overloaded Cookies and Cream Cheesecake
Slightly adapted from Philadelphia Cream Cheese Classic Recipes

1 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (about 12 cookies)
1 tablespoon butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
16 chocolate sandwich cookies, quartered, divided
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs and butter in the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes, if using a silver pan or bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes if using a dark pan.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and mix on low just until blended. Fold in 12 quartered cookies. Pour over crust. Place remaining cookies on top of batter (This is where I went wrong and add the REST of the cookies, i.e. the rest from the package)
Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Bake at 300 degrees if using dark pan. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake and cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

This is ANOTHER recipe that my mom would make occasionally when I was younger. So when I started cooking for my then boyfriend/now husband, I was so excited to serve him this. He was all jazzed too because he had been raving about a breakfast pizza that he had tried at a gas station (ick, only boys eat that food don't they?) However, when he came to dish up his 'pizza' he was upset because it, "doesn't look like pizza." I cook my breakfast pizza in a 9x13 inch pan because that's how the recipe told me to do it and I usually screw up when I don't follow the recipe.

Besides they make rectangle pizza don't they?

Anyways, if you think that you simply cannot eat breakfast pizza without it being in a pizza pan, then make it in a pizza pan. Really, it will taste the same and that taste is amazing!

I have made this for potlucks and it goes SO fast. Best part is, it's so easy!

....still can't believe my pizza lost to gas station food....

Breakfast pizza
Source: Mrs. O's mom
1 tube crescent rolls
1 lb pork sausage
1 cup frozen shredded hash browns-thawed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
5 eggs
1/4 c milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage. Pat crescent rolls into lightly greased 9x13 in pan (or pizza pan). Crumble on sausage. Add hash browns. Sprinkle on cheese. Beat together milk and eggs. Pour over top. Bake for 30 minutes

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mini Cheddar Garlic Popovers

These were good. Like pretty dang good. And pretty dang simple. I made these for brunch one weekend and think they would be amazing paired with a great soup so you could dunk them. But then again, I love to dunk things.

Mini Cheddar Garlic Popovers

3 tsp oil
3/4 c milk
1 egg
1 egg white
3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp- garlic salt (or any garlic seasoning)
1/3 c cheddar cheese (shredded)

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Add 1/8 of tsp oil to bottom of each cup. In a small bowl combine the milk, egg and egg white, mix well using a whisk. Add the flour and garlic seasoning then mix well, once fully combined stir in the cheese. Warm the muffin pan in oven for 5 minutes. Once heated, divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove popovers from the pan and serve warm.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

These are my absolute MOST favorite bars of all time. They are easy to make and incorporate my two favorite things; cheesecake and cookies! I have brought these numerous times to potlucks or for class treats and I have left empty handed every time. Yes, they are that good. Rich and good.
Cheesecake Cookie Bars
Source: Pillsbury

2 (18 oz) packages of chocolate chip cookie dough, divided
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let dough stand at room temperature for 15 mins to soften. Press 1 1/4 packages of cookie dough into bottom of a 9x13 in pan. Combine other ingredients in a medium bowls and pour over cookie mixture. Break up remaining cookie dough into small, flat pieces and place over top of cheesecake mixture.
Cook for 35 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hamburger Soup

Spring has arrived so I kind of missed the boat on making this amazing soup but I figured better late than never! This is a soup that is best served with fresh baked bread on a cold night. It has amazing powers that instantly make your nose run and if you weren't cemented in your chair eating this soup, maybe you would go catch it. The liquid portion of this recipe is mainly a guesstimation (mixture of a guess and an estimate, a term that my high school science teacher swore would get us through college exams) so fell free to add more vegetable broth. This time my 'soup' was a little more 'runny casserole' but it was good none the less.

Hamburger Soup
Source: Mrs. O's mom

1 lb hamburger. browned and drained
1 med onion sauteed with hamburger
1/2 c celery chopped
1/2 c carrots chopped
1/4 c barley (instant)
1 can stewed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
8 c water
6-10 ounces vegetable broth (this is where you can guesstimate, anywhere between 1/2 to a full can)
1 envelop Country Vegetable soup mix
1/2 c macaroni

Combine all ingredients-except soup mix and macaroni-in a large stock pot. Cook for 1 hour on med/high heat allowing for a simmer. Add soup mix and macaroni and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Brulee

Strawberries are my favorite fruit so anytime I can incorporate it into a recipe I am in love. I have also been trying to try some new breakfast recipes that aren't as heavy as a casserole. This oatmeal brulee was the perfect dish both because it was light and I got to use the kitchen torch the hubs gave me for Valentine's Day!
I thought this oatmeal was very good but it defiantly taste like original oatmeal. I am more of a maple and brown sugar kind of gal. So next time, I think I will try adding more brown sugar to bring out the taste.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Brulee
Source: Annie's Eats

3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Swirl of honey
1 banana, sliced thin
6-8 strawberries, sliced thin
Granulated sugar

Combine water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the oats and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally and allow liquid to become mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey.
Divide oatmeal between serving bowls. Top with sliced bananas and strawberries in an even layer. Sprinkle the sliced fruit with granulate sugar in thin layer. Heat with a kitchen torch until the surfaces are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coca-Cola Roast

School has been so busy lately that I am searching for the easiest recipes possible without sacrificing the taste. Enter crock pot, the most efficient method to cooking the juiciest meat. Also, with the crock pot bags, there is no simpler clean up. Exit, happy college housewife. This recipe has been made so many times in my family and they don't come much easier. This roast is also the reason we registered for an immersion blender for our wedding and is still the only meal I have ever used it for! That needs to change....but anyways, this roast is great and the gravy that comes after it...ohhhh even better!

Coca-Cola Roast
Source: Mrs. O's mom and there are also several varieties floating around the Internet

1 roast- any size
1 12 ounce can of coca-cola
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 medium onion

Place roast in crock pot.
In a medium bowl, combine soda and soup. Place immersion blender in the bottom of the bowl and press on. Mixture will foam up (hence the need for a medium bowl). Pour over roast.
Slice onion and place on top of roast.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chicken Yum Sticks

The hubs loves salt. I mean LOVES salt, as in, he adds salt to his McDonald's fries which are already overloaded and thirst inducing. It's a wonder the man doesn't need to be hooked up to a water IV to keep his body hydrated. So when I was meal planning for a weekend visit from our favorite couple, my best friend Kari and her amazing boyfriend Mitch, I remembered these salty wings that my mom use to make. I have past visions of these being served on New Year's eve with my dad and I sitting down to devour a bowl of them. The flavor is mind boggling salty heaven, which was a perfect combination for the night. They are also very easy to make with the prep working being completed the day before. Just bake, serve and enjoy!

Chicken Yum Sticks
Source: Mrs. O's mom

20-25 chicken fryer wings
1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 c pineapple juice
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Ginger
Break apart chicken wings at first and second joints (unless already disjointed). Mix all ingredients above and pour over chicken in a large shallow dish and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with tin foil (to make clean up easier). Bake uncovered on a flat cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender and brown.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups

Since the moment I laid eyes on these, I just knew I had to make them! We love breakfast foods but hate the mess and time required to use the electric skillet to make bacon, eggs and then toast. These little devils only dirty 1 fry pan (or I used my large soup pot to decrease the splatter) and a muffin tin. It was some of the easiest clean up I have ever done. When I saw this recipe I thought, "Yeah, I can probably screw it up," because I have been having quite a time with recipes lately. But guess what? I didn't and am so excited to make them again. I really can't explain how easy these were and how great they tasted! Plus, I think they are cute as sin!

Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups

6 slices of bacon
6 slices of bread
shredded cheese
6 eggs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 6 wells of a muffin pay with nonstick spray.
Cook bacon via your preferable method. Leave the bacon slightly undercooked as it needs to be bendable and will finish in the oven. Dab dry the grease after bacon is cooked on a plate of paper towels.
Cut out 6 circular rounds using either a 3 inch cookie cutter or the top of a glass. Place bread in muffin wells.
Wrap bacon around outside of muffin wells.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
One at a time, crack eggs over another bowl discarding half of the egg whites. Place yolk and other half of whites on top of shredded cheese. Be careful not to break the yolks!
Bake until eggs are cooked thoroughly or to your liking (6-10 minutes for runny and a little longer for hardened yolks) and bacon is crispy.
Run knife around edges and use another knife or fork to ease cups out of the muffin wells.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Pesto Penne

Since the hubs has been working out of town lately, I have been left with just little ole me to feed. It barely seems worth cooking for. However, the other night while I was rummaging through the cupboards, I came across my penne noodles and they just screamed, "EAT ME." So, I did and I loved it. This is my own little creation of ingredients I had in my kitchen. I think this would be great with some garden tomatoes or black olives as well. This makes two servings.

Pesto Penne
Source: Mrs. O

6 ounces penne noodles
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pesto
1 tsp minced garlic
a sprinkle of shredded Italian blend cheese to garnish

Prepare penne as directed on the box. Drain. Place noodles in a medium bowl, stir in pesto, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Stir until evenly distributed. Lay shredded cheese over warm noodles. Allow to slightly melt or place in microwave for 10-15 seconds. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

S'more Bars with Peanut Butter Cups

I had a bag of peanut butter cups left over after making the hubs peanut butter cake and despite vowing not to attempt anymore S'more recipes, I did and am quite happy I went back on my word! These tasted really good and were incredibly easy to make! My only complaint is that the crust was really crumbly. Next time, I plan to make it with more of a cheesecake crust base and maybe that will help soften it up a bit, then again, don't the bases of S'mores always break when you eat them? These may have renewed my love for S'mores!

S'more Bars with Peanut Butter Cups
My Adventures in Food
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c flour
Pinch of salt

15 mini-peanut butter cups
2 c mini marshmallows
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 13x9 inch pan with non stick spray.
Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl. Mixture will look slightly curdled. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, flour and pinch of salt. Set aside 1/4 c of the mixture.
Press remaining mixture into the pan, this layer will be quite thin.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and set oven on Broil setting.
Top the base with peanut butter cups, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Press toppings into crust slightly, but do quickly because chocolate will melt. Sprinkle the graham cracker mixture over the top. Broil just until the marshmallows toast. Only a minute or two.
Cool bars for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Coat a knife with non stick spray to avoid sticking when cutting the bars.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fudge Ribbon Cake

It is finally spring break and I am so excited to have a few days off! My plans for spring break are pretty uneventful because my partner and I hope to mostly wrap up our thesis! That will be such a good feeling. I do plan to throw some fun into the week though as we have a girls shopping trip planned to the outlet mall (hello, Coach store!) and I have quite a few new recipes I want to try! I haven't been spending much time in the kitchen lately due to school and the hubs has been working out of town during the week, so suppers have consisted of cereal or Jimmy John's.

I began my return to the kitchen in pursuit of filling my craving for cheesecake. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. It was very easy and tasted pretty good!

Warning: Use spray on the bunt pan. I was in a hurry and left out this did not end well and resulted in me remaking the cake. When I was teenager I remember having multiple fights with my mom because I REFUSED to use cooking spray on the pans, insisting that it made no difference. I think it was my attempt to rebel and ever since then, when I cook, I typically do not use cooking spray. Well mom, are you happy?!? I don't think I will forget again.

Fudge Ribbon Cake
Source: Bake Me More

Ingredients for the cake:
1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients called for on the box
1 8oz package cream cheese (I used 1/3 fat)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the ganache:
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chips)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. SPRAY 10 inch bunt pan with no-stick cooking spray
Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Beat cream cheese, butter and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla until smooth. Pour evenly over cake batter. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan. Allow to cool and apply chocolate ganache.

Ganache directions:
In small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. In separate bowl, combine 3 oz of chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour hot cream over chocolate. and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Stir, if not all lumps are dissolved, place in microwave for 10 second intervals. Let ganach sit until think but still pourable. Pour ganache over cooled cake. Let set for 30 minutes or until glaze is set before serving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Course 1, class 4

Well course 1 of cake decorating has wrapped up. I have to admit, it was more stressful that I thought it would be. Mostly a result of my mistakes but I had such difficulties with my frosting! This week it was great for spreading but would NOT make roses! Oh well! I decided to go with strawberry filling and a white cake. I then flooded the top of the cake with strawberry filling. Little did I know...the filling did not want to stay on the top and made the black frosting bleed...making it look even more scary! When I finished this cake during class I thought it needed a little extra on top...hence the Till Death. Hope you get my sense of humor.....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cream Cheese Corn

Once upon a time, a 18 year old Mrs. O (back when she was Miss M) flew the chicken coop and ventured into the world as a college student. Home sick as could be, she decided to make one of mother hen's best recipes, cream cheese corn.

"What a simple recipe," she thought. After several conversations via the tin can and string, she had gathered her ingredients (shucked the corn, churned the cream and I don't even know where the sweetened milk comes from?!?!) and was ready to go. But poor naive Mrs. O (or Miss M, whichever you prefer), did not plan anything to accompany her yummy corn and proceeded to inhale the whole pot as her meal.

"Ohhhhh never again," she said as she laid sprawled across the kitchen floor rubbing her belly.

And from that day on, Mrs. O learned the value of moderation and sharing food with others, or a BAD tummy ache will be the punishment!

Cream Cheese Corn
Source: Mother Hen aka Mrs. M
Serves 4-6 hefty side servings (DO NOT EAT ALL BY YOURSELF!)

1 regular size bag of frozen yellow corn
1 4 oz bar of cream cheese (used fat free)
1 14 oz jar sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)

Prepare corn according to package. Do not drain. Leave over the heat and melt in the cream cheese. Then add jar of sweetened condensed milk. (My mom uses the whole can, I use about half. Depends on how sweet you like it.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

One of my favorite memories growing up was when my mom would have the day off (usually the first or last day of school) and she would make us breakfast! Until she became her amazing Carmel rolls, 'blueberry muffins with the crunch on top,' was always the most popular request. Funny thing was, they were from a box! Those muffins never disappointed but for the past couple years I have been unable to find them in the store! Tragic, I know. Lately, I have been searching for some tasty breakfast foods that I can take to class with me and I can't stop thinking about those muffins! I did a quick search and of course I found a recipe on Annie's Eats that looked like it could do the trick! These were very easy and made amazing, moist cupcakes! I made a double batch and even had them for supper one night when the hubs was gone. Best part is, you don't even need to spread butter on to make them delicious! Great huh, I consider that calorie counting ;)

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Source: Annie's Eats
yields 16 muffins

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 cups blueberries

streusel topping
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons and 4 teaspoons flour
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 16 muffin wells with liners.
2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a 2 cup measuring bowl combine vegetable oil, eggs and milk, enough to fill the bowl. Combine with flour mixture and proceed to fold in blueberries.
3. Fill muffin tins to top.
4. Make the steusel topping by combining the listed ingredients and mix well with a fork until mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle generously over muffins.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.