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.