Monthly Archives: October 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Frosting

I wanted to make cupcakes to take into work for Halloween but found myself not being satisfied with the chocolate cupcake recipes I was finding. So I decided to combine two recipes, one for the cupcakes and one for the frosting, to come up with these Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Frosting. The cupcake recipe comes from Shape Magazine and is lighter in calories than normal cupcakes but you would never know it. The cake, which includes a wee-bit of coffee, is light and chocolately, just what I wanted. And the frosting (which I colored orange), while not lighter in calories, is thick and sweet. I made these cupcakes while The Rocky Horror Picture Show blared on my television in the background and the whole scenario got me into the Halloween spirit. Happy Halloween!

The cake ingredients:

Cream butter together with the sugars (I forgot brown sugar in my ingredients picture).

Slowly add in the dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk.

Pour into cupcake pan lines with paper liners and back at 350°F for 20 minutes.

The frosting ingredients:

Cream together the butter and combine with the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.

Drop in food coloring, if desired.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Almond extract

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Shape Magazine and Coastal Living Magazine

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Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse

I’m forgoing a Friday cocktail this week and opting instead for this deliciously seasonal Halloween gem, Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse. You don’t have to like candy corn to like this dessert. In fact, if you like cheesecake or cream cheese frosting, you will be in sweet, fluffy, creamy heaven. Cream cheese is mixed with powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and whipped topping to make a sinful yet light treat. The layers of yellow, orange, and white make for a cute-as-a-button presentation but, like any Halloween costume, this is just a facade: they are all the same flavor. Leave the food coloring out to make these desserts any time of the year. Make these this weekend and you’ll impress kids and adults alike. Get a spoon and dig in!

The ingredients:

Beat cream cheese until smooth and add in powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.

Fold in whipped topping and separate into three different bowls.

Add yellow food coloring to one bowl and orange food coloring to another bowl. Scoop each color of mousse into freezer or storage bags for easy layering into glasses.

Carefully pipe yellow mousse into the bottom of 4 glasses. Tap the bottom of the glass with your palm to help even out the mousse, if necessary. Repeat with the orange mousse and then the white mousse. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a piece of candy corn.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Glorious Treats blog

Latin Baked Chicken

Here is a simple recipe for chicken that only has five ingredients: Latin Baked Chicken.  A short marinade of lime juice, honey, soy sauce, and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, a quick trip to the oven and you’ve got dinner.  If you’ve never had chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, they are nothing more than smoked jalapeno peppers.  These little firecrackers are deliciously smoky in flavor and very spicy.  The lime juice and honey in this marinade cuts the heat of the peppers slightly but if you don’t like spicy food, you probably won’t like this.  I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts instead of bone-in-chicken thighs and used a meat thermometer to tell me when they were done (165°F!).  I served this with a side of spanish rice (Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Spanish Style to be exact!) as per Cooking Light’s suggestion and had a smokin’ hot dinner!

The ingredients:

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, honey, and chiles in a large bowl. 

Add chicken to the marinade, coating well, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake in a 400°F oven.  Reserve marinade.

Meanwhile, place reserved marinade in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Base chicken with marinade half-way through the baking process.  Pull chicken out once it reaches 165°F, approximately 15 minutes.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken breasts for chicken thighs

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Manchego, Herb, and Sun-Dried Tomato Scones

When I was 24, I lived in Denver, Colorado, worked two jobs and lived paycheck to paycheck. Since I couldn’t afford to eat out at restaurants, I cooked at home a lot and ended up often making scones. I’m not really sure why but I think this was the beginning of my curiosity on how to make food I’d never made before. Now, whenever I make scones, I think of that tiny kitchen in that tiny studio apartment on Poet’s Row that I called home. I thought of that time again when I made these Manchego, Herb, and Sun-Dried Tomato Scones. Scones are a quick bread and since they don’t have yeast, they are easy to make. These are baked with sun-dried tomatoes, manchego cheese, and basil. The sun-dried tomatoes are little bursts of flavor in these scones, the basil adds an herby freshness and the cheese provides a slightly nutty undertone. Eat these plain, toasted, or with a little butter for breakfast, as a snack or a nice side to any dish.

The ingredients:

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and cut in the butter.

Mix in chopped sun-dried tomatoes, shredded cheese, and basil.

Stir in buttermilk and egg whites until just combined. Don’t overmix.

Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 times.

Pat the dough into a round disk and cut into 8 wedges.

Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone

Last week, I was in San Diego for a work conference and had dinner one evening with a group of people at a restaurant called Searsucker.  Because this restaurant has a lot of meat dishes and I’m incredibly picky when it comes to meat, I settled on a very delicious dish of barley risotto with mushrooms and manchego.  This dish reminded me that I had a recipe for Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone tucked away in my recipe book that I needed to make soon.  Of course, food made at home is generally never as good as in a restaurant but this one comes pretty darn close.  Arborio rice is cooked with garlic, shallot, and white wine (I used chardonnay) before being simmered in a mushroom broth and topped with mascarpone cheese.  I have to admit, I’m not the biggest mushroom lover (it’s a texture thing) but I like the flavor of mushrooms.  Dried porcini mushrooms look downright nasty but they provide a ton of flavor for the broth.  This recipe calls for beef broth but I used chicken broth instead and it worked out fine.  I’m sure beef broth provides an added depth to the dish so I’d say stick with it if you like it.  As I’ve mentioned before, risotto can’t be rushed and is a slow process so take your time.  This comforting dish is worth it.

If you like this, check out Risotto Primavera.

The ingredients:

Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes.  Drain the mushrooms, reserving the mushroom water.  Combine 1 1/2 cups of the liquid with chicken (or beef) broth and simmer in a small saucepan.  Chop mushrooms and set aside.

In a large saucepan, sauté rice, garlic, and shallot for 5 minutes.  Add in the white wine and cook until it evaporates.

Slowly add in the warm broth mixture in small portions, letting each portion absorb completely before adding the next portion.  Stir frequently to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Once all broth has been completely absorbed, add in chopped mushrooms, parmesan cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine until cheese melts.

Top with mascarpone cheese and serve.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken broth for beef broth

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

I’m a sucker for stir-fry so this Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry was a no-brainer. The original recipe from Cooking Light is actually a beef stir-fry but since I don’t eat beef, I adapted it to my liking and boy, do I like it! Thin slices of chicken are cooked and then mixed with a salty, sweet, spicy sauce and then with baby spinach. Yum! If you are watching your carbs, or even if you aren’t, please consider making this. You could easily serve it over rice to make it an even heartier meal but I like it just the way it is. The stir-fry sauce is very tasty with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper. Because crushed red pepper doesn’t give me the kick of heat that I usually want, next time I make this (and there will be a next time!) I’ll probably substitute it with hot chili sauce like sriracha or cayenne pepper but if you have a sensitive tongue, you can leave it out altogether. If you don’t like spinach, the versatility of this recipe allows you to switch up the ingredients. Try making it with broccoli, or if you want it make it vegetarian, try this sauce with any of your favorite veggie combinations.

The ingredients:

Slice the chicken into thin strips and cook in a pan with sesame oil.

While chicken cooks, make the stir-fry sauce by mixing together soy sauce, ginger, garlic, dark brown sugar, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.

Remove cooked chicken from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add green onions and stir-fry sauce and cook briefly.

Add cooked chicken slices back into the pan and mix until well coated.

Into the pan, add baby spinach and cook until wilted.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken for beef

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes

Dessert and a cocktail in one? With ice cream?! Oh. My. Goodness.

I got this recipe for Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes from another food blog I like called How Sweet It Is. And my oh my, how sweet this is! Ice cream, milk, pumpkin, and bourbon? Who knew? Is it a dessert? Is it a cocktail? Who CARES?! It’s yummy!

Pumpkin week has come to an end :(. I think I can officially stick a fork in it. It’s done. Have a great weekend!

The ingredients:

Place all the ingredients in a blender.

Pour into your favorite glass with sprinkles, whipped cream or just keep it naked.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Fat-free milk
  • Fat-free half-and-half
  • Light ice cream
  • Vanilla wafers

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: How Sweet It Is Blog

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