Sunday, October 31, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Happy Halloween!
I made these bite-sized treats for a Halloween party we went to, and they were perfect for the toddlers and adults to enjoy. I saved this recipe that The Novice Chef posted last year. These are simple to make, but they look like a bit more effort was required. If you still have candy corn around then I recommend you use it to top these desserts. I forgot to take a picture of the inside, but the colors are layered like a candy corn-yellow bottom, orange cake top, and the white frosting tip.

You will need:

*1 box white cake mix

*Ingredients required on box to make cake mix (I needed vegetable oil, 3 egg whites, and water)

*Red and yellow food coloring
1 can white frosting
Candy corn for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your mini cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. Prepare cake batter as directed on the box and separate batter into two different bowls. Add food coloring to each bowl of batter until you reach desired orange and yellow colors.
3. Pour yellow batter first into your mini cupcake liner. Slowly add orange batter on top.
4. Bake as directed on the cake mix box.
Once the mini cupcakes has cooled completely, add a swirl of white frosting and a cute little candy corn for decoration.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Apple BBQ Crockpot Chicken

We get together with friends to watch the Patriots Game almost every Sunday during football season. Last week's game start was at 4:00 which formed a plan to have dinner at halftime. I made this crockpot recipe and was not disappointed. This recipe was posted on What's On My Menu last fall. I think I slightly overcooked my chicken because it much more shredded than I expected. This is probably because I butterflied the chicken breasts. Next time, I will use thicker pieces of chicken or alter the cook time. I noted this below in suggesting a cook time of 6-8 hours.

You will need:
*1/2 cup barbecue sauce
*2 apples - peeled, cored and grated
*Juice of 1 lemon
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
*8 slices of bacon

1) Combine barbecue sauce, apple and lemon juice.

2) Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Wrap 2 pieces of bacon around each chicken breast and place in crock pot. Top with barbecue sauce mixture; cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

Fall is fabulous. It is a time to indulge in all things pumpkin. The great pumpkin shortage of last year required me to stock up on pumpkin puree. No one, however, prepared me for this year's candy corn shortage around here! This weekend I will be hunting some down to try more delicious fall recipes.
I digress because pumpkin puree wasn't even needed for this particular recipe. Luckily, Shipyard Pumpkin Ale is easy to track down. These cupcakes were made for my friend's 30th birthday party, and I did not have any leftovers. The taste is more like a spice cake, and I really liked them paired with the cinnamon frosting. This recipe was posted on Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen last year.

For the cupcakes, you will need:
*2 1/2 cups flour
*1/4 cup cornstarch
*4 teaspoons baking powder
*2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 cup pumpkin ale
*3 eggs
*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*2 sticks salted butter, softened (Add about 1/2 tsp salt if you use unsalted butter)
*2 cups light brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set up cupcake pan with 24 liners.

2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla to butter/sugar mixture and beat until well incorporated. Alternately add flour, then beer to butter mixture, beating on low.

4. Pour batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

For the cinnamon icing, you will need:
*1 stick salted butter, room temperature
*1/2 block (4 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature (I always use low-fat)
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*3 cups powdered sugar

Please note: I always double icing recipes because I like to frost with the 1M Wilton star tip, and it always requires more frosting. The above ingredients are not doubled, but I recommend it if you are frosting with the 1M or a similar tip.

1. Cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.
2. Add cinnamon then powdered sugar one cup at a time; beat well.
3. Top cupcakes with icing and a light dusting of cinnamon.
4. Store iced cupcakes in refrigerator. Allow them to come to room temperature for serving.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Simple Spicy Sausage Dip

I made this dip for a friends birthday party, and it was another successful recipe from Annie's Eats. Because I was making cupcakes (which will be posted soon), I decided to look for a simple appetizer. Of course I was running late. It always takes me way longer to ice cupcakes than I think it will! So Dave gets the credit for making this app from the recipe below. The dip was delicious with some corn chips. This will probably make another appearance at a football get-together soon.

You will need:
*1 pound of spicy/zesty ground sausage (or break up your own frozen)
*1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
*2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
*Hot sauce, to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the crumbled sausage until browned. Drain off any excess fat.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, cream cheese, and hot sauce. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is warmed through and the ingredients are well blended.

3. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve warm.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saucy Pork Chops

It's official, fall is here! As the days start seeming shorter because darkness is creeping in earlier, I turn to quick to prepare dinners. This was perfect for a week night because it was easy to throw together. The cook time is lengthy, but that allowed me an opportunity to get some work done while dinner was cooking. These pork chops didn't dry out like many of my grilled attempts do. I recommend serving them over rice with a green veggie on the side. I discovered this recipe on Pineapple Grass who found it in the 5-Ingredients of Less cookbook.

You will need:
*1 can cream of chicken soup
*1/4 cup ketchup
*1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
*3-4 pork chops
*1-1/2 cups prepared rice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix soup, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce together. Set aside.

3. Arrange pork chops in an ungreased 8x8 pan. Pour soup mixture over the top of the chops. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.

4. Serve each pork chop on a serving of rice and top with remaining sauce.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cosmo Cupcakes

This recipe screamed bachelorette party to me when I spotted on Loves to Eat back in the spring. I saved this recipe for the perfect opportunity, and I recently made these treats for my friend Danielle's bachelorette party. I found cupcake wrappers matched our theme and her wedding colors perfectly. These cupcakes came out very sweet and definitely tasted similar to a Cosmo. I am not the biggest fan of pink, but I was really happy with the look of these. Give them a try for your next girl's event.

Recipe orginally from A Cup Full of Cake
For the cupcakes, you will need:
*1/2 cup butter room temp
*2 cups sugar
*2 eggs, room temp
*1/2 tsp salt
*2-1/2 tsp baking powder
*3 cups all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup buttermilk
*1 1/4 cup Cosmopolitan ( recipe below)
*zest of 1 lime
*Optional red paste or gel food coloring- if you would like a reddish tint to the cake (I used pink dye)

1. Allow all ingredients to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

2. With a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until well combined. Add the lime zest and buttermilk.

3. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside

4. Make the cosmopolitan (recipe below) and measure out 1 1⁄2 cups in a separate bowl.

5. Add in 1 cup each of the dry and wet mixtures alternately, beating on low until the whole mixture is well combined.

6. Fill cups with batter two-thirds full. Bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until cupcakes spring back in the middle when touched lightly. Cool for 10 minutes in pan.

7. Next, make the glaze (I think I may skip this step next time)
Heat the 1 1/2 cup cosmopolitan over medium heat until thickened and slightly reduced. Poke cupcakes with a fork and brush with cranberry/vodka glaze when cupcakes are still slightly warm.

8. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Frost with the frosting listed below.

Cosmopolitan Buttercream Recipe
For the frosting, you will need:
*3 sticks (1 1/2 cup) butter room temp
*4 cups confectioner’s sugar
*pinch salt
*1 tsp lime zest
*3-4 tbsp of the Cosmopolitan (or more until you reach desired consistency)
*coloring if desired- I used more pink dye

1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

2. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time beating well with each addition. Add the salt and mix in the zest.

3. Add the Cosmopolitan one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Garnish with lime zest, lime wedges, sugar crystals, or anything else you'd like to use. Enjoy!

Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe
You will need:
*1 1/2 ouncesvodka (I used absolut cranberry)
*1/2 ounce triple sec
*1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
*1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
*1 twist lime and zest

1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with lots of ice.
2. Shake vigorously for several seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.