Sunday, December 22, 2013

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Day 12. Hallefreakin'lujeah!

Honestly I haven't eaten these tonight but the early reviews from Randy and Bri are positive. Moist cake made with pie filling. Sort of like the muffins that you mix a cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Sort of the same idea only with eggs and apple chunks. And caramel apple pie filling is probably not NEARLY as "healthy" as pumpkin would be. Ok, it's not really the same at all but I tried. The frosting is my caramel cream cheese and that is always a winner. I'm always looking for things I can slather it on.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
2 1/2 doz cupcakes

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 can caramel apple pie filling
1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1 stick butter
1 8oz brick cream cheese
1/4 c. (ish, I honestly just squirt) caramel ice cream topping
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your pan with liners.
2. Open pie filling and run a knife through the apples several times to cut them into chunks instead of the slices.
3. Mix cake mix, eggs and pie filling until well blended.
4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c batter and bake for 17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool completely.
6. Cream butter and cream cheese.
7. Add caramel and vanilla and mix well.
8. Gradually add powdered sugar mixing well until frosting is the right consistency.
9. Frost cupcakes and drizzle more caramel over the top.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blueberry Pancake with Maple Cream Cheese

My mom made breakfast every single morning that I can remember growing up. This wasn't a granola bar or dry cereal kind of breakfast, it was eggs and bacon and pancakes. Now, I always preferred waffles to pancakes but if there was any kind of berry involved I was all for pancakes. As a kid we had mostly huckleberries but one of my favorite books when I was little was "Blueberries for Sal" so I could pretend those huckleberries were blueberries. And in my imagination I could hear those berries hitting the bottom of the bucket of the person that picked them. "Kaplink, kaplank, kaplunk". Anyway these definitely brought those memories back as I was taste testing the batter and frosting.

These cupcakes are really rich, like it's a good thing that they aren't oversized rich. The maple cream cheese frosting is delicious and the bacon is the perfect garnish. The saltiness helps cut the sweetness of the frosting and really ties the cupcake together with that breakfast for dessert taste.

Blueberry Pancake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/2 doz cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1/2 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 T. apple pie spice
3/4 c. sour cream
1 12 oz bag frozen blueberries

1 stick butter
1 8 oz cube cream cheese
1 T. maple flavoring
3-4 c. powdered sugar

Bacon for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix and apple pie spice  into a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine  eggs, oil, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in cake mix and spices.
5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese. Add maple flavoring and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add 1 Tbsp. milk if it becomes too thick.
7. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes
8. Garnish with a piece of bacon.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Day 8. These have been on my list of treats to make for a while. I love anything pumpkin and the minute it starts to get cooler I'm thinking about pumpkin cake, cookies and bread. These were made from the recipe at I made no changes and mine aren't as pretty as hers but they still taste pretty darned good. I'll definitely do them again.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

1 box yellow or white cake mix (you can use Spice mix and omit spices)
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
15 oz. pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 C. applesauce or oil
1/3 C. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 C. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 C. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 C. powdered sugar
Extra cinnamon and sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon into a bowl an set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, applesauce, milk and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in cake mix and spices.
5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Place your melted butter in a small bowl.
7. Combine sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl.
8. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter on the tops of your cupcakes (they can be cooled or nearly cooled), then roll the tops of the cupcakes into your cinnamon-sugar to get that "snickerdoodle" look.
9. Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add 1 Tbsp. milk if it becomes too thick.
10. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkles extra cinnamon-sugar on top

Monday, December 16, 2013

Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

Day 7 and I'm too tired to expound on this one except to say the banana cream is fab.u.lous and I may have just squirted it into my mouth straight from the piping bag when I was done doing the cupcakes...Maybe. Possibly. Probably.

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes
Your Cup of Cake

Chocolate Banana Cake:
1 box Devil's Food cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 C. oil
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 C. milk or buttermilk
1/4 C. sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream:
1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. milk
3-4 C. powdered sugar

Banana Cream Filling:
1 small pkg. banana cream instant pudding mix (jello mix)
2 C. heavy whipping cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, bananas, milk, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Stir in cake mix until smooth.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 16-22 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
  5. Chocolate Buttercream: Beat butter until smooth. Add cocoa, vanilla and milk and beat again. Slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Filling: Using a whisk attachment on your Kitchen Aid or hand mixer, whip cream and pudding mix until stiff peaks form.
  7.  To Assemble: Pipe a ring of chocolate buttercream around the edge of the cooled cupcakes. Then use a food scoop or a spoon to place the filling in the middle.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pineapple Cream Cupcakes

Day 6, I think. I've lost count. These are a little bit of summer in this super frozen month. I followed the recipe on Your Cup of Cake pretty darned close. The only variation I made was I added pineapple juice to the frosting and because I didn't have actual crushed pineapple I zapped a can of tidbits in the blender and used that instead. It appears to have worked just fine.

Pineapple Cream Cupcakes
adapted from Your Cup of Cake
2 1/2 doz cupcakes\
Pineapple Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 C. melted butter, cooled
3 eggs
1 1/4 C. crushed pineapple with juice
3 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 C. butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T. pineapple juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 C. powdered sugar

Maraschino Cherries for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line pans with liners2. combine butter, eggs, pineapple, and vanilla extract3. Stir in cake mix and blend until smooth4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c. batter and bake for 15-17 minutes5. Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and pineapple juice. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe onto cupcakes6. Top with sprinkles and a cherry. Pretend it's summer outside :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Day 5. Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes. My most requested cupcake never mind the time of year. These didn't get the pretty raspberries on top as it is December and they are expensive like gold but the pink sprinkles are pretty too.

The original post was for a scratch lemon cake. Tonight I used lemon cake mix as my base instead. I have a much more consistent result if I start with a mix and then add stuff to it. When I'm baking in bulk it's the only way to go. I also used the leftover raspberry Jello to flavor the frosting.

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
2 1/2 doz cupcakes

1 lemon cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Raspberry Lemonade Frosting

1 stick butter
1 8 oz cube cream cheese
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 T. Milk
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T. raspberry Jello

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix cake mix with eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and lemon extract
3. Stir until smooth
4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c. batter and bake for 15-17 minutes
5. Cream butter and cream cheese
6. Add extracts and Jello and mix well
7. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk until right consistency
8. Beat until fluffy. Frost cupcakes.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Day 4? I think so. It's starting to run together, the cupcakes I've done and the ones that are still on the plan. The things that I know I am going to do to a recipe and all the little tweaks that I consider before I actually do it. Mostly, right now, I'm sticking pretty close to the plan as I can't afford a major flop at 8:30 at night.

These are super rich but super yummy and as an added bonus chocolate frosting is so pretty piped onto the cupcakes.  I also have a weakness for raspberry pie filling and have to confess I ate the left over right out of the can. Add it to a chocolate cupcake and you've pretty much got heaven in a paper liner. The chocolate raspberry buttercream just takes it to a whole other level.

Enjoy. Feel free to moan a little :)

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream
2 1/2 dozen cupcakes

1 Devils Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 c. oil
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Raspberry Pie Filling (Wilderness brand)

Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream:
2 sticks softened butter
1/2 c. Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp raspberry Jello
2-3 T. milk
3-4 c. powdered sugar

Jet Puffed Hot Chocolate Marshmallows to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix cake mix with eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream, and vanilla
3. Stir until smooth
4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c. batter and bake for 15-17 minutes
5. Cream butter for a couple of minutes until fluffy. Add cocoa, vanilla, Jello, and milk. Mix until smooth.
6. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach your desired thickness. Add a little more milk if needed
7. Once cupcakes are cool, use a knife to cut a cone shape out of the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with a spoonful of pie filling
8. Pipe frosting over filling and garnish with marshmallows

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Orange Cream Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

It's Day 3. I had a day off yesterday as Mr. Jiggle is out of town and couldn't deliver the cupcakes this morning. But...tomorrow is a new day and he comes back tonight so cupcakes for dinner!

These are kind of summery but in this super cold, ucky, freezy, weather I'm willing to take any glimmer of summer I can get. As an added bonus they are lighter than chocolate which seems to be better received for whatever reason. Apparently I'm not the only one in the world that prefers other flavors to chocolate!

These are flavored with orange juice and orange zest and the cake is really yum. The real star of course is the frosting. Seriously, orange cream cheese?? Gah, so.good. It reminds me of the frosting on orange rolls without the cinnamon and those are some of my favorite treats.

Orange Cream Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/2 doz cupcakes

1 white cake mix
1 small package vanilla pudding
4 eggs
2/3 c. oil
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. orange juice
2 T. orange zest
2 T. pure vanilla extract

1. Mix dry ingredients together.
2. Add eggs, oil, sour cream, buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well for 2 minutes.
3. Add orange zest and mix.
4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c. batter and bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

1 stick butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 T. milk
2 tsp orange zest
1 T. orange jello mix
3-4 c. powdered sugar

1. Cream butter and cream cheese together.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk.
3. When right consistency add vanilla and orange jello mix.
4. Blend in orange zest and beat until fluffy.
5. Frost your cupcakes!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Day 2 of the 2013 Cupcake Palooza. Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream. I've made these a couple of different times and they are always good. And they always make me want a big glass of milk even though I'm pretty lactose intolerant and that would make my stomach hurt. I think it's the peanut butter, it makes me think of the peanut butter sandwiches I ate when I was little!

And, funny story, I tried to take some of these to the neighbor's as a thank you and got almost to the front step, slipped on some ice, did that crazy cartoon save yourself dance, and proceeded to drop the plate of cupcakes on the sidewalk. It's a good think this recipe makes a few extra!

Anyway. This is my basic devil's food cupcake. Pretty much my go to chocolate. The frosting is straight up peanut butter tonight but as I was frosting I was thinking that the next time I will swirl chocolate buttercream and the peanut butter cream together. There's always a next time for me :)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
about 30 cupcakes

1 Devil's Food cake mix
1/2 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. sour cream
3 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 bag peanut butter chips (opt)

1/2 c. butter softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1 T. pure vanilla extract
2-3 T. milk (I eyeball it, there isn't a whole lot of measuring)

1. Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, sour cream, and butter milk.
2. Add vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth.
3. Fold in peanut butter chips if using.
4. Fill cupcake liners
5. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes
6. Cream butter and peanut butter together
7. Gradually add the powdered sugar and milk alternating until frosting is the right consistency.
8. Add vanilla. Beat until fluffy.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Somehow, I've once again managed to get myself in the position of agreeing to do something that now seems like a Herculean task. Last year I did "The 12 Days of Cupcakes" for the people at Randy's work. Twelve different cupcakes, the last 12 work days of the year, 4 dozen a day. I truly didn't even consider at the time that they were going to think that was a "tradition" that would continue. I haven't thought about it again since Jan 1 2013. Apparently I'm the only one that was operating under that assumption. After multiple requests and inquiries from Randy's coworkers I've agreed to give it another go.

So. Twelve more kinds of cupcakes (I can't repeat myself), twelve more marathon baking sessions and a whole lot of butter and cream cheese....YUM! I've planned 12 different kinds than last year so we will see how it goes. I'm sure that the photography will be sketchy as I will for sure be taking pictures in the middle of the night. :)

Here's Day 1.  I drizzled warmed Nutella over the top of the cupcakes but you could melt chocolate chips or make ganache or just use chocolate sprinkles. I would have garnished with banana slices but I was afraid they would go brown and neglected to buy dried bananas at the store so those are just in my head.

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 
2 1/2 doz cupcakes
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1/2 c. flour
3 ripe bananas smushed
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs (I used extra large eggs so 4 large would probably be ok)
3/4 c. sour cream
2/3 c. oil
3/4 c. buttermilk (this makes a huge difference in the texture)
1 T. pure vanilla extract

1. Mix the dry ingredients.
2. Smash bananas and sprinkle baking soda over them, stir.
3. Mix the dry ingredients with the eggs, sour cream, oil, and buttermilk. Blend together well. Add the smashed bananas. Stir in but don't over stir.
4. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 c. batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter
1 8 oz cube cream cheese
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Cream softened butter and cream cheese together.
2. Add powdered sugar gradually mixing well
3. Add vanilla.
4. Beat until fluffy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baked Tortellini

I always have these great and grand plans to make the fabulous recipes that I have pinned on Pinterest or stumbled across and printed from the internet when I go grocery shopping. Then, real life happens and I come home from work tired and grouchy, or I'm the only one home to feed and cooking doesn't sound nearly as fun. So then, because I was such a good little grocery shopper and followed my carefully planned menu from my wish list of recipes I'm quite often left with ingredients that I am too tired to use as they were originally intended. This package of tortellini was in this category.

For whatever reason my kids have never really like spaghetti in any variety. I've tried different shaped noodles, tortellini, ravioli etc with sauce but it isn't ever received with loud shouts of praise. But, they do like lasagna type dishes. So, I dug through the pantry and refrigerator and did a dump and hope for the best kind of dinner. It was pretty tasty and for the energy challenged after work it was a win. It was good for lunches the next day too! Bonus!

Baked Tortellini

1 package refrigerated tortellini
1 jar marinara sauce
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 T. Italian seasoning
1 cup Ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese or Italian Blend
  • Cook tortellini according to package directions, drain well. 
  • In a med saucepan mix sauce, tomato sauce and seasoning and heat through. Pour over pasta and mix well.
  • In a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish layer half the tortellini, the ricotta cheese, a good handful of mozzarella cheese and the remaining pasta. 
  • Top the pasta with the rest of the mozzarella.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is gooey and melted.

Clear Punch

When I was a little girl I used to go to my Grandma's to visit and we would quite often get to have lunch with her. We'd scooch up to the bar and she would feed us whatever she had in the fridge and we would always get to have "clear punch" with our meal. Now, we all knew it was really water but it was waaaay more fun to call it clear punch. Even now I will catch myself or one of my sisters offering one of the kids clear punch and I kind of laugh inside because it's such a happy little memory!

This really is "clear punch". It's flavored with lemon extract and citric acid so it's really lemonade-esque but it is definitely in the punch category and is definitely clear unless you choose to make it something else. We made this for Jeff and Jessica's wedding reception and it was a hit. And even more importantly it was EASY. I just made it all up in coolers the day before and added ice and lemon slices when I put it in the dispensers that night. We also had flavored syrups that people could use as an add in and that seemed to go over well.

I think this would be awesome with some crushed raspberries or strawberries added to the lemon slices. Seriously yummy....

The picture is kind of sketchy, I just snapped it at the reception because I didn't plan ahead and take one at home but it's better than nothing, right?

Clear Punch

4 1/2  quarts water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 T. citric acid
1 T. lemon extract (I added a little more because it was going to be diluted with ice)

Float lemon or lime slices in the punch for color. Or berries, or oranges...the list is endless.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nutella Rocky Road Krispy Treats

It's that time of year again that we are hosting weekly block parties in our backyard. Well, I have to figure out easy treats for each week so that I can cram them in while I'm still working regular hours. Sometimes that works better than others...

My neighbor has been diagnosed with Celiac disease and so I have been trying to be more aware of that when planning what I'm going to take. There's nothing fun about going to a pot luck and not being able to eat anything either because it has the dreaded food element in it or you're worried about it being cross contaminated. At least this way she knows she can eat what I bring.

I've been playing with Rice Krispy Treats and this is a good version. One I will definitely do again.

Nutella Rocky Road Treats
¼ cup  butter
1 (10½-oz) bag miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup Nutella
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup miniature marshmallows
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, extending foil 2 inches beyond the edges (this is the best trick EVER!!)
2. In a 6-quart pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and stir with a rubber spatula until almost melted.
3. Stir in Nutella and vanilla and continue to stir until mixture is blended and smooth.
4. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal until it's evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture.
5. Press mixture into pan in an even layer and cool completely.
6. Spread Fluff over cooled cereal in pan. Evenly scatter mini marshmallows, pecans, and chocolate chips on top, gently pressing down to adhere.
7. Remove from pan and peel off foil. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This casserole was created in response to a request for chicken enchiladas for dinner and my lack of desire to stand and roll them in traditional enchilada form. It's messy to coat the tortillas with sauce before you fill them so they don't break and this is was easier...shocking :) If you were to want to stand and roll the enchiladas this filling will still work, just use a little of the soup mixture in the chicken, dip your tortillas in soup before filling and then top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Either way is good!

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
10-12 servings

2 c. chicken broth
2 small cans diced green chiles, drained
1 cup chopped onion or 1/4 c. dried minced onion
1 c. sour cream
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup (fat free)
1 clove garlic, minced
PAM cooking spray
20 (ish) corn tortillas cut in half
4 cups cooked chicken breast
2 cups shredded cheese (I use Mexican blend)

Preheat oven to 350

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large saucepan, stir together using a whisk. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Spray baking dish with PAM. Spread 1 cup of the soup mixture in the bottom of the dish. Arrange tortilla halves over the soup, top with chicken and shredded cheese. Repeat layers 3 times ending with the cheese. Spread remaining soup mixture over cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

PMS Cupcakes

This post should really be written by Bri, she is the pastry chef of the day but she's otherwise occupied at the moment. (Shocking right?) She's been doing all the grocery shopping since my crash (I'm still working out how to get her to keep doing that indefinitely) and picked up all the parts for Better Than Sex Cake. This morning as she was assembling it however she kept saying "This is such a chick treat" and "This is like PMS medication" so we renamed them PMS Cupcakes. That felt a little better for my 17 year old and they are in smaller doses than the actual cake so maybe they are just the right size for PMS and that's about it....

She used a German Chocolate cake mix, I think it would have been good with Devil's Food too. We couldn't find a poking device that was the right size so next time I'm planning on making bigger holes but overall it was super good. Definitely a do again.

PMS Cupcakes
24 cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix
4 eggs
1 cube butter melted
1 cup milk
1/2 c. flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz caramel topping
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup (ish) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
crunched Health bar for garnish
caramel topping for garnish

Prepare cake batter with cake mix, eggs, butter, milk, and flour. Mix until fluffy; about 3 min on med high speed. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full (1/4 c.) and bake for 18-20 min at 350 degrees.

While cupcakes are baking mix caramel and sweetened condensed milk in a mixing bowl. Remove cupcakes from pan and place on cooling rack over a baking sheet. With a skewer poke holes in the warm cupcakes and using a spoon drizzle caramel mix over the cupcakes. Be patient and use most of the caramel. On a cake you would just pour it and walk away but you do have to babysit the cupcakes and give them a couple of layers.

Whip whipping cream, add vanilla and powdered sugar. Pipe onto cupcakes. Garnish with candy bars and caramel drizzle.

Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

Ah cupcakes, how do I love thee?? With lots of frosting and served on the regular! I had knee surgery a few weeks ago so food at my house has been consisting of things I can throw in the crock pot that I put in the freezer pre-surgery, pizza, or burgers. There hasn't been a huge amount of yummy treats coming from my kitchen. You'd think that would reflect in a positive way on the scale but so far my chubbiness has increased exponentially with my limited mobility despite the lack of treats. Boooo!!

I was feeling pretty good and had a Sunday afternoon to kill while we waited for ribs to smoke (another post altogether) so these cupcakes made their debut. I think that the lime could have been a little bit stronger...possibly use regular margaria mix instead of strawberry or just increase the lime juice but overall I really liked them. I loved that there was a little salt on the frosting to help cut the sweet and give it that bit of margarita authenticness. Well,  authentic as a virgin margarita can be :)

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes 
2 dozen cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1/2 c. flour
4 large eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 c. strawberry margarita mix
1/2 c. pureed sweetened strawberries (I used frozen)
1/4 c. lime juice
1 small box strawberry jell-o

2 pounds powdered sugar
2 cubes butter (1 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. pureed strawberries
3 Tbs strawberry margarita mix
1 Tbs lime juice

Margarita salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with wrappers and set aside
2. In mixer bowl combine cake mix, flour, eggs, oil, pureed strawberries, margarita mix, lime juice and jello. Mix on med for 3 minutes until batter is well combined and starting to get thick. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. I usually use a 1/4 c. measuring cup. Bake for 18-19 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on cooling racks
3. Prepare frosting: In mixer bowl beat butter until fluffy. Add strawberry puree on low and beat until smooth. With the mixer on low speed slowly add sugar. Alternate with the margarita mix/lime juice until well combined. Beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy. Pipe onto cupcakes. Garnish with a sprinkle of salt.

Black Bean Salsa

It's no secret that I love chips and salsa. Like it's possibly the worst kept secret in the whole world. I'd rather sit down with a bag of chips and a bottle of salsa and call it dinner than eat many, many things. Not that I've ever done that...ok, let's be real, that happens many, many, Sunday nights. This is a salsa that I've gotten as a neighbor gift at Christmas and because it never tastes the same when you do it yourself I resisted the urge to recreate it for literally years. But, whoever it was that brought it to me that year hasn't brought it again and I can't remember who it was to ask for the recipe so this is my version. Still pretty darned tasty if I say so myself. It's definitely better the second day but if you prefer your avocados bright green add them just before serving.
Black Bean Salsa

2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed
3 avocados, peeled, cored, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced fine
1 orange bell pepper, diced fine
1 green bell pepper, diced fine
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, diced fine
1 can yellow/white corn drained
3 cans regular Rotel
1 bunch cilantro stems removed and chopped finely
3 TBS garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste

Add all ingredient together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust flavors as you go. Chill several hours or overnight. Adjust seasoning level after the salsa sits overnight and the flavors blend together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunshine Chicken Salad

 I have no idea why this wasn't ever published...and no idea where the picture I took ended I'm posting it without a picture and maybe I will run across it in my travels. This was really good served with croissants. I love the chicken salad with the grapes and almonds but this was almost it's equal in my opinion, different but very good overall. I ate it plain with salad the second day and that was good too.

 Sunshine Chicken Salad
Servings 12

6 c. cooked chicken, diced
1 c. celery, finely diced
1 med green pepper, finely diced
8 green onions, sliced
1 can water chestnuts, diced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 c. reduced fat mayo
8 T. spicy brown mustard
2 1/2 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 large can mardarin oranges, cut into chunks and drained
1c. cashews (opt) I put mine on the side

Bake chicken, cool and dice. Combine with cut vegetables in a large bowl.
Mix onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, brown sugar, mayo and mustard. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Mix well.
Gently fold in pineapple and oranges. (You could also add grapes or craisins)
Chill overnight or for a couple of hours. Serve over lettuce greens or on croissants.
*Add nuts just before serving. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Enchilada Bake

I haven't actually died, just been extremely swamped with work stuff in my life. Lame. I've made lots of cupcakes...without photos, but not much actual food in the past few months so when I threw this dinner together the other day and it was so well received by all I thought I should probably at least write down what I did. I don't have a picture (of course) but it looks like Mexican lasagna. It was super simple, one of those "I only have 30 minutes and a pound of hamburger" kinds of meals. ;)

Enchilada Bake
10 servings

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 c. dried, minced onion
1 can spicy jalepeno refried beans
corn tortillas
2 small cans enchilada sauce (I used 2 1/2)
colby jack cheese shredded

  1. Spray 9x13 in baking dish with non stick spray.
  2. Brown ground beef with onions and season with garlic salt. Mix in refried beans and approx 1/2 can of enchilada sauce. I added more sauce because we really like the flavor, do what feels right to you.
  3. Dip tortillas in enchilada sauce and layer them on the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over them. Sprinkle a layer of cheese over that. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture. Top with a layer of tortillas, pour any remaining sauce over the top, cover with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 min at 375 degrees or until cheese is melted and bubbly.