Thursday, November 18, 2010

Easy and Delicious Lasagna

We had guests over this week, on a night that I had to work late.  While I knew that the hubby could pull together a wonderful meal of fajitas or something on the grill, the weather has been colder and I thought that it would be nice to have a warm cheesy casserole.  After doing a couple of internet searches for an easy make ahead casserole, I decided on this lasagna.   After assembly I placed in the refrigerator and the hubby was able to pop it in so that when I got home dinner was ready!   This was a wonderful dish and will become part of our monthly dinner rotation, which is saying a lot because I am not a huge fan of lasagna!  The meat filling had a very deep and rich flavor which is surprising since it only took 15 - 20 minutes to pull it together!

Adapted from Real Simple

  • 12 ounces extra-lean ground beef or ground round
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 26-ounce jar roasted-tomato pasta sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce)
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
  • 1 15-ounce container low-fat ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded provolone or Italian-blend cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 8-ounce package 2 percent milk mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Cook the beef in a large saucepan over medium heat, breaking into small pieces. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. 

  • In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, provolone, 2 tablespoons of the basil, the egg, and the crushed red pepper. Place 3/4 cup of the pasta-sauce mixture in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Top with 3 cooked noodles, then spread a third of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella and top with 3/4 cup of the pasta-sauce mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with 3/4 cup of the pasta-sauce mixture and the final 3 noodles. Spread the remaining sauce on top, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and cover with foil.

  • Bake for 30 minutes; uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. 

**Since I refrigerated the lasagna, I baked for 45 minutes and set the pan out on the counter while the oven pre-heated. **


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My first attempt at Royal Icing

I have been inspired!  I recently came across a great blog called Bake at 350.  This wonderful blog is filled with treats that look mouthwatering and make you want to RUN into the kitchen or better yet her kitchen to try them out!  After spending a really long time looking and drooling over all the creations on her site I became inspired to try my hand at making some cookies decorated in Royal Icing.  Her instructions make what seems at first glance an intimidating project straightforward and uncomplicated.  So when a family friend asked me to make some cookies for her daughters Hawaiian themed Birthday I know that I wanted to try these out!  (I did make a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip and a batch of oatmeal cranberry just in case!)
I followed her instructions on both making the Royal Icing, found here as well her instructions on flooding and decorating found here.  I highly recommend trying these instructions - once you make the first one and see how fun it is you will be hooked!  My hubby even got in on the action and was having a great time decorating!

I am deciding on a theme for some Thanksgiving cookies for next week and will post the cookie recipe later this week!  Jump on over to Bake at 350 for some inspiration!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I can't believe that it has been a month since I've posted!  What a busy month this has been!  I have had a massive work schedule which involves weekends and evenings, a wedding for dear friends which happened to be the day before our one year anniversary, a baby shower, Las Vegas Birthday trip, Halloween and a friends Thanksgiving! I am getting tired just thinking about it!!  It goes with out saying that my regular cooking and baking went a little out the window this month and it was a lot of meals of convenience (fajitas, tacos, soup and grilled cheese, etc.) and outside of making a pumpkin cake (YUM!) I haven't gotten in a whole of baking.  
The recipe below was made on one of the few nights when I didn't have to work late, I was actually working from home and it was a wonderful end to our day.  I would make this again, but I think I will pre-freeze half of it because it made a lot for the two of us!  This would also be delicious in muffin pans, the edges would get nice and crispy!  I am not sure where this recipe originated as it was emailed over to me - so I am sorry that I'm not giving credit to a delicious recipe!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
2 chicken breasts
12 oz. bottle buffalo sauce, divided
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 cup light sour cream
8 oz. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese
8 oz. crumbled blue cheese
3 T butter
3 T flour
3 cups skim milk
1 cup plain breadcrumbs

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and drizzle with a few splashes of buffalo sauce. Stir to coat and let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. When you're ready to begin cooking, pour chicken pieces and sauce into a medium-sized saucepan and heat until cooked through. Drain and set aside, sprinkling with a bit more buffalo sauce if desired.

In a large bowl, mix all three cheeses together. (Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture to use later for the topping.) Add sour cream to the remaining cheese mixture and stir well to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oven to 350º and begin cooking pasta per package directions. Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stirring constantly until combined. Remove momentarily from heat and whisk in milk. Return to heat and whisk milk constantly until thickened. This step should be done about the time your pasta is finished cooking/

When the sauce is thickened, pour over cheese mixture and stir well. Add cooked pasta and stir until well-combined. Stir in cooked chicken pieces and all but a few tablespoons of the buffalo sauce. Transfer everything into a greased 9x13 baking dish.

To make the topping, add bread crumbs to the reserved cheese mixture, sprinkling with the reserved buffalo sauce to bring everything together. Sprinkle topping over mac and cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until nicely browned.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I love fall, it is my favorite time of the year!  I'm ready to pull out my sweaters and boots and sip my Pumpkin Spice Latte!  Unfortunately we have been hit with weather that is record breakingly hot so I have had to make do with just baking the flavors of fall!  I was so excited to see pumpkin back in the stores that I snatched up 4 cans right away and ran home to make these cookies!   The result was a very moist and flavorful cookie that smelled of all the wonderful spices that remind me of fall.  Delish!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Recipe from Allrecipes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle with glaze.


2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.  Drizzle cookies with glaze, reserving a small amount.  Add cinnamon to reserved glaze and mix completely.  Drizzle over glaze and let dry.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

  1. I love the peanut butter chocolate combination!  As my hubby noticed I seem to be on a peanut butter chocolate kick, especially when I need to take goodies to a pot luck!  Ever since I got these mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's I have been itching to throw them into some peanut butter cookies.  I finally did and I can't believe I waited so long!  I love the extra surprise of peanut butter when you bite into one of the peanut butter cups, I think that these might be my favorite cookies!  

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Recipe Adapted from Jif 

  1. 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. 1/2 cup Shortening 
  3. 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons milk
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 3/4 cups Flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 3/4 teaspoon salt

  10. HEAT oven to 375°F. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

  11. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

BAKE one baking sheet at a time 7 to 8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peach Shortbread

I happened to see a recipe for these Peach Shortbread bars on Smitten Kitchen last week, right when I had two peaches that were getting VERY ripe and knew what I needed to make!  My hubby loves my peach cobbler and I thought that these would have a similar flavor without as much work and I was right!  The shortbread bottom is deliciously rich and crumbly which I loved and the peaches balanced this out wonderfully.  I am always a fan of a crumble topping and this one didn't disappoint!   Overall this was a great recipe and it easier to share than cobbler because you are able to cut them into bars that store and travel nicely.  I do think that next time I will add more peaches as my bottom was a bit thicker than the one that Smitten Kitchen made and I would like more of the sweet peachy goodness!

Peach Shortbread
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1 cup softened butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. In a separate bowl mix the peaches with vanilla paste and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Brownie Bottom Coffee Ice Cream Cupcakes

I can't believe it's the end of summer!  This weekend was the perfect opportunity to make these ice cream cupcakes, and they were absolutely fabulous!  All of these ingredients were store bought and so simple to make but everybody was really impressed!

I always use Ghirardelli Brownie mix, in my opinion they make really chocolaty chewy brownies that I personally love.  I used just a teaspoon of batter for these mini cupcakes and topped them with some Haagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream and a topping of chocolate ganache.  The mixture was absolutely divine!  I hope that you go home and make a batch for those that are special in your life!

Brownie Bottom Coffee Ice Cream Cupcakes
Recipe from Joy the Baker

Brownie Batter of your choice
Ice Cream of your choice
Chocolate Ganache - recipe below

Line mini cupcake pan with foil cupcake papers.  Prepare brownie batter as directed by the box and drop one teaspoon of batter into each cupcake paper.  Bake 5 - 6 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.     

Transfer cupcakes to a tupperware container.  Add one scoop of ice cream to each brownie - I used a mini ice cream scoop.  Place all cupcakes in the freezer while you make and cool the ganache.   Once ganache has cooled add a dollop to the top of each cupcake, working quickly.  Once all are topped with the ganache place immediately back in the freezer until you are ready to serve.   Soften about 3 - 5 minutes before serving. 

Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat up cream to a simmer.  Once hot pour over chocolate chips, let sit 2 minutes and then stir until smooth.  Let cool.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gardening, kind of.....

I am a horrible gardener, it doesn't matter what it is that I'm trying to grow it always seems to die!!!  The lavender plant my good friend gave me that she said was unkillable, it lasted a month. Basil, rosemary, snap dragons all sent to the trash within months of being in my care!  I don't know what it is - sometimes I overwater, sometimes underwater - I just have the WORST luck with plants.

I had all but given up on plants,  until I bought the beautiful Hibiscus below, it has lasted me for two years.  There have been a couple of times when I thought that her time was up, but with a couple of days of tender care she bounced right back!   I get so happy when I walk up and see her wonderful blossoms!

The second plant was left over from work, we made a beautiful centerpiece with sand, river rocks and succulents.  I figured that since a succulent was similar to a cactus that it would be really hard to kill it, and I was right!  These beautiful plants have been thriving for six months and I love the shades of blue green!  I am so proud of my two plants that I just had to share! :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cupcake Challenge Round-up

This is the last post in the Cupcake Challenge over at Hooiser Homemade!  This month has flown by!  You would think that this had turned me away from making more cupcakes but I'm actually whipping up a batch as I type away!   This challenge has been a lot of fun!

First week (Taste of Summer) - Blueberry Hill Cupcakes
Second Week (Summertime Activity) - Baseball themed Cupcakes
Third Week (Cake Mix) - Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Fourth Week - Devil's Food Marshmallow Flowers

Hope you enjoyed this month as much as I did, now I'm craving some fall flavored pumpkin.... maybe next week!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Baja Style Fish Tacos

I have been craving good fish tacos for a while now and these did not disappoint!  I love fish tacos that are fried versus grilled, I know it's not the healthiest but they are so yummy!  I pulled together a couple of recipes and mixed them together to create this fabulous combination.  I will definitely make this again!

Baja Fish Tacos
Adapted from Love and Olive Oil and Broke Ass Gourmet

Avocado Salsa

1 large avocado, diced
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 diced jalapeno
juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Lime and Sour cream Sauce

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 chipotle in adobe sauce, finely chopped
1 minced garlic clove
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Season to taste.  Set aside.

Beer Battered Fish

2/3 cup flour
3/4 cup beer,  I used Newcastle
Pinch of salt
3/4 lb. tilapia, cut into 2 inch pieces

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a plate add a small amount of flour.  Heat one inch of oil in a heavy bottomed pan.  Dredge fish in flour and then drop in batter to coat.  Drop fish into pan and cook until golden brown, flip over and cook other side until golden brown.  Once fish are cooked, drain on paper towel lined plate.   Sprinkle with salt while they are still hot.

To serve, warm small corn tortillas.  Place 2 - 3 pieces of fish on each tortilla, drizzle a small amount of lime juice.  Cover with lime sour cream and avocado salsa.  Salt to taste.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cupcake Tuesday - Devil's Food Cake Flowers

It has been a really busy week and while I did a lot of cooking and baking I didn't have any time to post anything!   I did have my first venture into large batch baking and made 150 cupcakes as a favor for my really good friend this weekend.  That was an interesting experience and not as bad as I thought it would be - the key was organization!  

These are the last cupcake in the Cupcake Challenge over at Hooiser's Homemade and I have been wanting to make these flower cupcakes for a while!  They were really easy and fun to make!  All you need are some marshmallows (I used minis) and colored sprinkles!  

These cupcakes are the Hershey's chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting - yum!  The resulting cake is deliciously moist and chocolaty which is a great contrast to the tangy cream cheese frosting.   Once the cupcake is frosted with an off set spatula,  cut each marshmallow in half.  Dip the sticky cut side of the marshmallow in colored sprinkles of your choice.  Arrange the marshmallows on the cupcake in a flower design, the frosting will act as glue for the marshmallows.   

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake
Recipe from Hershey's

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F. 

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into paper lined cupcake pans. 
Bake 8 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

It's Tuesday!  Time for another Cupcake Challenge over at Hooiser Homemade!   This week the challenge was to take boxed cake mix and turn it into something special.  I've been seeing a recipes for peanut butter chocolate cupcakes for the last couple of months and have been wanting to make a version of my own.    I decided to try our the boxed chocolate mix in the same style as my favorite vanilla cake mix recipe.    This recipe calls for sour cream and pudding mix which gives the cupcakes a really rich texture and they don't feel like cake mix at all.   In addition I added these wonderful mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's that we always have around the house.  Topped with come peanut butter frosting these mini cupcakes were a very rich and delicious treat.   I was glad that I made these in mini form because they were so rich and I would make these again because they were so tasty!   Be careful because this recipe does make a TON of mini cupcakes!

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix
4 eggs
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package of Trader Joe's mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix all ingredients together.  Mix until well combined on low speed.  Beat on medium speed for 1 - 2 minutes.  Stir in peanut butter cups until well incorporated, reserving a handful for cupcake garnish.    Scoop into paper lined mini cupcake cups and bake 12 - 15 minutes until toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack before topping with peanut butter buttercream.

Peanut Butter Frosting
recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. Frost your cupcakes and garnish with a mini peanut butter cup.  


Friday, August 13, 2010

S'mores Cookies

I love to bake, but I usually don't care much about eating what I bake.  This is an exception!  I could have eaten them all, these are so delicious that my hubby ate a DOZEN in one day!  I had to make them again just so that I could get to eat one and because I had told the whole office about them and they needed to try them!  So far everyone who has had them loves them, the mixture of graham cracker crumbs, chocolate and marshmallows makes you feel like you are sitting around a campfire.

They are a little time consuming but they are SO worth it!  I will be making these next week for my sisters bake sale - I hope that people like them! 

S'mores Cookies
Recipe from Baked Perfection
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of Hershey bar into each cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wilton Gum-paste Class

I have been taking the Wilton Classes at the Michael's near my house for the last 2 1/2 months.  I am currently in the Gum-paste and Fondant class which is SUPER FUN!!!!  Today was a lot of fun - we learned how to do carnations, roses and calla lilies, which was intimidating at first glance but ended up being enjoyable!  The classes are two hours long which fly by and leave me wanting to rush home and practice!  I am very proud of my results so I had to share! :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cupcake Challenge - Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake

So this is second week of the Cupcake Challenge over at Hoosier Homemade!  This week the challenge is all about summertime activities.  I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to make until my sister invited us to an Angels game!  We haven't gone to a lot of games this year but when we do it is always with family and friends and we have a wonderful time.  It's hardly ever about the game for us - while my husband is a true Angels fan, I could really care less!  For me it's all about the cold beer, peanuts and wonderful conversation!  :)

Since neither of us need or want a ton of cupcakes hanging out I decided to try this new small batch chocolate cupcake recipe that made only four cupcakes which was perfect!  The chocolate cake was deliciously moist and full of chocolate flavor!  The frosting on the other hand did not work out for me and I won't even try to post it.... you can't win them all. :)

I also tried out making these fondant pieces, I am currently taking my final Wilton class - Fondant and Gum Paste and thought it would be fun to try a few things out.   They definitely aren't perfect but we had some fun making them.  

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from The Cookie Shop

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons melted butter, cooled
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Line 4 cups of muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar.  In a separate bowl mix the yolk, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and butter.  Add wet ingredients into dry and mix until incorporated. Evenly distribute between cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

I saw this recipe on Rainy Day Gal a while ago and thought that this would be perfect for one of the nights that I have my Wilton class or have to work late.  I can get everything together the night before if I  know I'm going to be home late and just have the hubby pop in the oven before I get home.   I am so glad I bookmarked this one because the result was wonderfully delicious and very hearty!  It had a wonderful kick from the peppers and I used Trader Joe's taco seasoning which is a little spicy.   This makes a large amount that we had for lunch later in the week and that I froze in tupperware in individual portions that are perfect to take to work and pop in the microwave for a quick and filling lunch.   This will stay in my recipe box and I can't wait to make it again!

Mexican Lasagna
Recipe from Rainy Day Gal

1 lb. ground turkey
1 (15 oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 cup water
1 packet taco seasoning
2 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles
2 (14 oz) cans refried beans
1 (6 oz.) can sliced black olives
6 large flour tortillas
3 cups grated cheese - I used a Mexican blend

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a skillet brown ground turkey, I added a small amount of olive oil to add some fat to the turkey.  Add tomatoes, taco seasoning and water.  Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine beans, green chiles and black olives.

Coat a 9x13 pan with baking spray.  Spread half of the bean mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Cover with two tortillas.  Spread with a cup of the cheese and then cover with half of meat.  Add an additional layer of tortillas and remaining beans.  Add one more cup of cheese and the rest of meat mixture.  Add a last layer of tortillas and the remaining cup of cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until heated thru. and bubbly.  If you refrigerate the dish before baking as I did you will need to bake for 15 minutes covered in foil, then remove the foil and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving with a dollop of sour cream.   ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting - Cupcake Challenge

I love Hoosier Homemade's site, have you checked it out?  I especially LOVE Cupcake Tuesday!  So when she posted the Cupcake Challenge I decided to whip out my mixer and join in!

This weeks challenge is about Summertime flavors, and putting them into a cupcake.  When I think of summertime I think of all the delicious flavors that I can find at the Farmer's Market, especially the blueberries!  When I saw this recipe for Blueberry Hill cupcakes on Yumsugar, I knew I had to make them!   I did make a couple of changes, I didn't add the lemon in the cupcakes but used my new favorite product, vanilla bean paste.  I love the wonderful flecks of vanilla bean that it leaves in whatever you add it to and it is a lot easier/cheaper then adding whole vanilla beans.  I also made a lemon cream cheese frosting instead of the one that they recommended.  I love the tangy bite of the cream cheese and can't think of a better combination then blueberries, lemon and cream cheese!  YUM!

The result was a cross between a cupcake and muffin, the cupcake wasn't too sweet which was nice and they were very moist.  I loved the burst of blueberries in the cake and the gentle vanilla background.  I would make these again - maybe adding a little more sugar or maybe vanilla bean yogurt instead of buttermilk to the batter to make them feel like a cupcake.  Overall they are something that I recommend making while blueberries are still in season!

Blueberry Hill Cupcakes
Adapted from Yumsugar

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries, frozen for 4 hours

Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.  In a seperate bowl whisk together melted butter and oil until well combined.  Whisk in eggs one at a time.  Whisk in buttermilk, milk and vanilla bean paste until fully incorporated.  Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Stir in blueberries.  

Fill greased or paper lined cupcake pan 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from Real Simple

8 oz. room temperature cream cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add in lemon juice and zest.  Slowly incorporate powdered sugar until fully mixed.  You can add more cream cheese if you want a thicker consistency.