Friday, October 30, 2009

MSC Cupcake Club October Bonus Recipe - Halloween Cupcakes

OH my word I had an absolute blast making these cupcakes! I was really excited when I found out that we were having another bonus recipe for the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. I decided to get creative with what I had on hand instead of decorating the cupcakes with all of the candy that we could have used for the cupcakes in the cookbook. I guess I used my artistic freedom ha.

I chose to make the One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes from the book. I have to say that these are my favorite cupcakes that I have made out of the book so far. They are amazing! The chocolate is just right and they are so moist! I was surprised to see how watery that the batter was after mixing them. I actually used a measuring pitcher to pour the batter in instead of scooping it in. I loved how this recipe only used one bowl too. It took less time because you just throw everything together in the mixer. This cupcake recipe is definitely going into my file for a make again.

I decided not to use Martha's icing recipe. I haven't been a big fan so far of her buttercreams...they seem a little too buttery. I used the Wilton Buttercream recipe. It was good and very easy to work with. I haven't given up on Martha's recipes...I just decided to do my own thing this time.

My nieces are going to go wild over these tomorrow on Halloween. They love cupcakes and when you add the decorations, it will send them over the edge. I hope that everyone had as much fun making and decorating your cupcakes!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Duggar Family Tator Tot Casserole

One of my favorite shows on TV is 18 and Counting. It's a show about a family called the Duggars and they have 18 children and 1 on the way at this point. Their oldest son and his wife Anna just had a baby as well. I have so much respect for this family. They are such a good testimony on how we should live our lives and I am not talking about having tons of children. I am talking about how their lives are centered around living for Christ and doing all that they can to honor and glorify him.

I have heard them mention this favorite recipe of the family called Tator Tot Casserole. I have been very curious and decided that I would try it for myself. I got this recipe off of their website. The recipe was great! And it was sooo simple to really kind of freaked me out at first because I was worried that it would be too simple and wouldn't be that good. I tend to lean towards more complicated things to try to make. It was definitely yummy though and I plan to make it again sometime.

Duggar Family Tator Tot Casserole
1 lb ground turkey
1 bag of frozen tator tots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)

- Brown ground turkey in a skillet and season. (I used salt, pepper and cayenne pepper)
- Grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and pour in ground turkey to line bottom of pan
- Line the turkey with the tator tots. Do not just pour them in there...line them up.
- Mix together the 2 soups and the milk
- Pour the soup mixture over the tator tots
- Bake at 350 for 1 hour
- Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amazing Pumpkin Bread

I have used this pumpkin bread recipe for years and I absolutely love it! I love the fall of the year when this is appropriate to make due to the time of the season. (Of course...I do make this once in awhile during the rest of the year because it's so yummy)

I read on a couple of other blogs that there is a pumpkin shortage this year. This is the first time that I heard this and of course went straight to Wal-Mart and bought 6 cans of pumpkin. Maybe this was a ploy by the canned pumpkin companies to drum up business. Because heavens, we can't live without our pumpkin bread, pie, cheesecake, etc etc!!

This bread is super easy to make. As with a lot of other quick breads, you mix together the wet ingredients, combine the dry and then mix them together. The people that eat your "masterpiece" think that you are just the greatest cook ever. :-) I made this for a group of people that I was meeting with at work the other day. It was a big hit and didn't take long to disappear. I think that this would also make good muffins if that is what you prefer. The recipe that I have tweaked is listed below:

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup water
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin

- Combine the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
- Beat together the oil, eggs, water, pumpkin, vanilla and sugar
- Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients in thirds
- Bake at 350 until bread springs back when touched. The amount of time that it takes is really dependant on the size of pans that you are using.

**This made 2 large loaves and 3 very small loaves

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cabbage and White Bean Soup with Sausage

This week I decided to pull a recipe out of the ever growing folder of random magazine clippings that I always cut out with recipes that I want to try. This recipe is from the March 2008 edition of Bon Appetit (which happens to be my most favorite magazine...big surprise). This soup was amazing!! It's very simple and also good for you. I made a couple of tweaks, but I basically stuck with the original recipe. I also made this for under $10 so that made me happy too. :-) This is going into my recipe library to make again in the future.

Cabbage and White Bean Soup with Sausage
4 TBL olive oil, divided
12 oz fully cooked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2 thick slices
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
2 cups baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then halved crosswise
2 TBL tomato paste
2 TBL chopped fresh italian parsley
1 TBL sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
1 - 15 oz can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

- Heat 2 TBL olive oil in large pan over medium high heat.
- Add sausage and saute until brown around edges, around 5 minutes
- Add cabbage; saute 2 minutes and transfer to bowl
- Add remaining 2 TBL olive oil to same pot and heat over medium heat.
- Add leeks and carrots and saute until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes
- Add tomato paste, parsley and stir 1 minutes
- Add broth, sausage-cabbage mixture, sugar, salt, red pepper, pepper and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

**Chicken sausage comes in different varieties. The one that I used had mozzarella and artichokes. This recipe called for chicken-apple sausage but they didn't have that at my store. The variety that I got was great though
**I imagine that this could also be made with turkey kielbasa or even regular kielbasa if you can't find chicken sausage.
**I garnished my soup with grated Parmesan cheese. It was so yummy with that. I think that this would be awesome served with a loaf of crusty french bread.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

For this month's Martha Stewart Cupcake Club entry, Kim from What the Whisk selected for us to make Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting. The 15th definitely snuck up on me this month!! These were pretty good. My coworkers definitely enjoyed them.and it didn't take them long to disappear. Will I make them again? Ehhh probably not until I try a few more recipes. There were a couple of things that I wanted to make note of that I found when tasting them. They were really moist but mine ended up very very crumbly...almost crummy. I don't know if this was from overmixing, undermixing, or what.

I found that mine were similar in taste and texture to the zucchini spice cupcakes. These were a little more "muffin like" than my zucchini spice ones. I am looking forward to trying some other more cupcake like flavors in the future.

As with last time, I liked the flavor the icing. Cream cheese frosting is my weakness! My only wish with the frosting is that it was a little more firm. All in all though the people that ate them enjoyed them and that's what matters I guess! I hope that everyone enjoyed making these as much as I did!