Snack Cupcakes – Simple and Delicious

Food Network Magazine has 50 cupcake recipes in their May issue.  I love baking cakes.  They are just too much for our family.  Coworkers can only handle so many baked goods.  Cupcakes seem like a great idea.  Not too much, or too little, but just right!  Eric started us off with the first one to try; Snack Cupcakes.

Snack Cupcakes

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Ingredients – Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup crushed potato chips
1/2 cup chocolate covered pretzels (I had trouble finding these.  I ended up buying a bag of mini pretzels.  Melted 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate. Added 2 cups of pretzels to melted chocolate.  Voila – chocolate covered pretzels!)

Directions

1.  Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.
2.  Heat milk until hot but not boiling. (I used a double boiler)
3.  In a large bowl pour warm milk over unsweetened cocoa, whisk until smooth.  Let cool slightly.
4.  Add sugar, oil, egg and vanilla to whisked cocoa/milk.  Whisk all until smooth.
5.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined.
6.  Add crushed potato chips and pretzels.  Fold into batter.
7.  Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups.  Bake until the tops spring back, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely.

While cooling make the frosting!

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients

1 stick butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted (I used a double boiler to melt chocolate)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Place all in food process and mix until smooth.  This frosting is awesome!

This makes the perfect amount – exactly 1 dozen cupcakes.  We all loved these cupcakes. april 002 Great one to start with!! Next…

Chicken Wing Pizza – Simple and Delicious

One of Eric’s favorite pizzas is the Chicken Wing Pizza.  I make wings most Fridays.  If I know I am making a pizza I make some extra wings.

Chicken Wing Pizza

April 006

6-8 Spicy Chicken Wings, chopped  (try my recipe if you don’t have one of your own)
Chicken Wing Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s or Frank’s Original HotSauce, depends on what we are in the mood for that evening)
Mozzeralla Cheese (we use other cheeses too.  Sometimes we use Pepper Jack)

Directions

1.  Spread sauce over pizza doughApril 004
2.  Put wings on top of sauceApril 007
3.  Spread the cheeseApril 008 (OOPS!!  I forgot to take a pic of the pizza baked. Sorry about that. Next time I will do that for you.)  🙂

4. Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

That’s it.  Simple and Delicious pizza.  Enjoy!!

Chicken Wings – Family Favorite

This recipe has been in our family forever.  Kent and I have had beers and wings at home for many years.  We love them and so does the rest of our family.  Honestly, 3# is not enough if they are all over at one time!!

Chicken Wings

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Ingredients

3# Chicken Wings (I get mine at Costco.  10# bag Kirkland Chicken Wings)
1/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup Sweet Baby Rays Chicken Wing Sauce (sometimes with a squirt of sriacha sauce, sometimes not)

OR

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Sweet Baby Rays Chicken Wing Sauce
1/4 cup Franks RedHot Original Cayenne Sauce
1/4 cup Sriacha Sauce

Lately we have been doing the 1/4 cup one.  It is quite delish!!

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Mix together the melted butter and wing sauce.
3.  Place the wings on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Place in preheated oven.  Let bake for 15 minutes.
4.  After first 15 minutes, brush the wings with the sauce and bake for 15 minutes.
5.  Flip over the wings and brush with the sauce.  Bake other side for 15 minutes.  Check, brush with sauce again, bake 10-20 more minutes.  Should be browned and done.

That is it and everyone loves them.  Simple and Delicious!!

Unstuffed Cabbage – Simple and Delicious

Kent loves this dish.  I have been making this for many years.  Way before we moved to Green Bay.  It is so easy and takes less than an hour.  If you like cabbage you will enjoy this meal.

Unstuffed Cabbage

April 029

Ingredients

April 021

1 medium onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 cup long grain rice
1 26 ounce Jar of Tomato and Basil Sauce (I use 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil (or when I have fresh basil I chop 2 Tablespoons, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese – mix together and you have tomato sauce!)
1 medium head of cabbage, sliced thin
1 1/4 cup of water (I use 1 15 ounce can of beef or chicken broth if I have on hand)

Directions

1. Cook ground beef and onions in a large nonstick skillet on low until the meat is no longer pink. April 022

2.  Add the rice, sauce, cabbage and water (broth).  Salt and pepper to taste. April 024April 025The cabbage cooks down quite quickly.  You will think you have way too much but you don’t.

3.  Cover and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.April 026April 027 All done and ready to serve.  Enjoy!!

Molten Chocolate Cakes – Oh so Simple and Delicious

Martin2 has a March birthday.  He requested a lava cake for his birthday.  (I found this recipe on Food and Wine website.) He and Martin were in New Orleans on his special day.  Then, when they returned I was sick. Can’t bake when I am not healthy.  I promised him I would take on the challenge and bake these cakes.  I decided to try a test run on this cake tonight before I actually baked it for him.  Wanted to be sure I didn’t bomb. 😉 This is the easiest cake I have ever made.  (Well, maybe the flourless cake was the easiest.)

A nice accompaniment with this chocolaty dessert would be fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or some berries. I was just making sure I could pull this off so I just ate the cake.  It was delish.  Any time Martin2 is ready for chocolate and coffee I will bake it again.  Here is the recipe;

Molten Chocolate Cakes

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Ingredients

april 009

1 stick of butter (4 ounces)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I think you could use any chocolate you want.  Variety is the spice of life!)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
pinch of salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Butter and lightly flour four 6 ounce ramekins.  Tap out excess flour.  Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.  (I did one ramekin with butter/flour and another with butter/cocoa.  Next time I will use butter/cocoa. Just my personal preference.)
2.  In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. april 010
3.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the egg yolks, sugar and salt at high speed until thickened and pale.  (I used my electric mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed.  It took 2-3 minutes on high speed. april 013The mix was bubbly and thicker.)
4.  Whisk the chocolate until smooth. april 015
5.  Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. (I added the flour to the chocolate before adding to egg mixture).
6.  Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins april 019and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers soft. (Next time 10 minutes)
7.  Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, april 020 then cover each with an inverted dessert plate.  Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold.  april 021Serve immediately.

The 6 ounce serving is perfect.  Not too much, not too little.  It was just right!  Enjoy!!april 025

**The batter can be refrigerated for several hours; bring to room temperature before baking.**

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie – Simple and Delicious!

One day Eric sent me a pic of a meal he just made in his new cast iron skillet.  It was a Skillet Chicken Pot Pie recipe.  He said it was delicious.  I had to give it a try.  That was a few months ago.  I have made this meal several times since.  You have to give it a shot.  Here goes;

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

January 006

Ingredients

January 003

3 Tablespoons butter
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
3 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

Cheesy Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup whole milk

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2.  Melt butter in a 10 inch oven safe skillet (I use my cast iron skillet) over medium heat.  Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook until chicken is browned, about 5 minutes.
3.  Add flour and stir to combine.  Slowly add chicken stock while stirring in skillet.  Mix until combined. Add in vegetables and cheese.  Mix until combined.  Reduce heat to medium.  Allow mixture to come to a boil, stirring occasionally.January 0044.  Meanwhile; In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cheese, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Mix to combine well.  Add butter and milk.  Mix until combined.
5.  Drop biscuits by rounded tablespoon on top of pot pie.  January 005
6.  Place skillet on baking sheet and slide into oven.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.

This is an easy weeknight meal.  Simple and Delicious!! January 009

 

Chicken Empanada – Simple and Delicious

According to Foodimentary, one of my favorite foodie websites, today is National Empanada Day.  I checked a couple of recipes and thought I would give it a try for a quick Wednesday meal.  I roasted a chicken last evening.  What a great way to use it up, Chicken Empanadas.  Here is what I whipped up this evening.

Chicken Empanada

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Ingredients

Dough – I used Pillsbury Pie Crust tonight.  On the weekend I would make my own pie dough (maybe). 😉

Filling

3 cups roasted chicken (I cut into bite size pieces), you could use chicken breasts or thighs
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 Tablespoon jalapeno pepper, chopped fine (I had pickled ones on hand tonight)
1 1/2 cups monterey jack pepper cheese (or cheddar, monterey jack or whatever you have on hand)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Add 2 Tablespoons of oil to skillet, over medium heat.  Add diced onions, red pepper, salt and pepper.  Saute until onion and red pepper are soft, about 8-10 minutes.

3.  Put diced chicken in large bowl and add the jalapeno pepper, cheese, cumin, paprika and chili powder. Mix together.  Add sauteed onions and red pepper.  Mix together.
4.  Now you are ready for your empanadas.  On lightly floured parchment paper place your dough.  Roll out.  I used a bowl that was 4 inches in width.  Using a knife I cut around the bowl to get the 4 inch disc.
5. After you cut out your discs you will want to place 2 Tablespoons for the filling in middle of disc.  Brush the edges with water.  This will help seal the empanada.005

6.  Fold over the filling.  .  Using a fork go along the edge and crimp the empanada.004
7.  Place empanada on lightly greased baking sheet.  I used my pizza stone.  I did not grease my stone.
8.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
9.  Enjoy your delicious empanada.  006

You can use shredded chicken, beef, ground beef, chicken pork, veggies only.  All kinds of filling.  Use your imagination.  Next time I will go Mediterranean…olives, pepperoncini, Parmesan Regiano.  YUM!!

This is a great weekday meal.  Actually it would make a great Friday Family night meal too.  Quick, painless and delicious!!

 

Coconut Cake – Simple and Delicious

I saw a picture of a Coconut Cake on Pinterest and it looked so pretty.  My new thing is cakes.  I really enjoy making them.  It is like an art project for me (therapy too) 😉  So, I thought I would give it a try.  I used America’s Test Kitchen recipe. I wll be serving for dessert tonight.  Will let you know what the crowd thinks. I thought it was AWESOME!!

Coconut Cake

April 006

Ingredients

April 004

1 large egg plus 5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut (you can find this in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store) (The cream of coconut will need to be stirred together.  You will need most of the can.  Don’t discard the extra after you put in the cake.  You will need some for the frosting)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) cake flour, sifted
1 cup granulate sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into 12 pieces softened, but still cool)
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of table salt
1 pound (4 sticks) (I KNOW!  Just try it.  I was scared too!!) – each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the Cake:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening/cooking spray and dust with flour.

2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature. (They came out really easy.  Be sure to loosen sides with knife)

7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature. (I checked every 5 minutes.  It took 20 minutes to get a nice brown.  DO NOT get distracted.  It doesn’t take much for coconut to look golden brown to burnt.)

For the Buttercream:

1. Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. (It is pretty quick that the temperature reaches 120)

2. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. (Took about 4 minutes for me) Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. (I was thinking this is going to be a disaster when I was adding all that butter) Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.  (You will have enough frosting for the entire cake. No worries.)

THIS FROSTING IS DELICIOUS.   If you fear the butter make a butter cream with confectioners sugar.  Use the cream of coconut for the liquid and coconut extract.  However, it is a piece of cake.  Just make it, just once 😉

To Assemble the Cake:

1. With a long serrated knife, cut both cakes in half horizontally so that each cake forms two layers. April 005

2. Put a dab of icing on a cardboard round cut just larger than the cake. Center one cake layer on the round.  (I put on the plate that I was going to use for serving.  I did place parchment paper down then put the first layer on top of the plate.  When I was done icing and sprinkling with coconut I carefully ripped away the parchment paper.)

3. Place a large blob of icing in the center of the layer and spread it to the edges with an icing spatula.

4. Hold the spatula at a 45-degree angle to the cake and drag it across the surface to level the icing. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining cake layers.

5. To ice the sides of the cake, scoop up a large dab of icing with the tip of the spatula and spread it on the sides with short side-to-side strokes.

6. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut. April 013Then press the coconut into the sides, letting the excess fall back onto a baking sheet.

I tried a piece right after I made it.  April 014  This was not as hard as it seems.  Honest!  It was certainly worth the time.  Store in the refrigerator if you and your family don’t inhale the whole thing.  ENJOY this simple and delicious cake!!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (or whatever you want to put in it)

Scalloped potatoes is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I have been making this recipe for years.  I got it from a Betty Crocker cookbook that I have had forever.  This doesn’t take long to put together but it does take time to bake.   It is worth the wait!!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

january 016

2 cups ham, diced
6 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon of butter to coat casserole dish or use cooking spray.

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.
2.  In medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until opaque, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. january 013 Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.
3.  Placed sliced potatoes and ham in casserole dish.  january 012Gently press down so surface is even. Pour sauce over potato mixture.
4.  Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 1-1 1/4 hours longer or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.january 014 Enjoy this Simple and Delicious meal!!