Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweet & Sour Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes. Messy, yummy, and....sloppy! Sloppy Joes are always an easy go to meal, but most just open a can of the premade stuff. Yeah, it's good...but after so many cans of that, do you ever tell yourself, "I need to shake it up. Put a twist on these sloppy joes." ? I have had this recipe for a long time (although I don't remember which magazine I got it out of), and cannot tell you how many times I've made it. I also can't recall the last time I bought a can of that stuff. This isn't your typical Sloppy Joe. Regular ones are very tangy and have a strong BBQ taste. Not these! They are tangy, but slightly sweet. SO GOOD. I have tweaked it a little bit. The original recipe uses regular granulated sugar. I, personally, like the taste of brown sugar. Also, I'm sure you could use any color bell pepper.

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 scallions, trimmed & chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken - I used ground turkey.
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup regular barbeque sauce
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar - I use light brown sugar.
  • 4 hamburger buns or soft rolls

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add red pepper, scallions, garlic, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add ground chicken. Continue to cook, breaking apart with wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
3. Stir in tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, and sugar. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and spoon into hamburger buns or rolls.
Serves 4.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

White Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

I LOVE me some white chocolate...LOVE LOVE LOVE. I don't know what it is about white chocolate, but I just love it in any way. My favorite memory of eating white chocolate...yes, I know what you're thinking, She remembers a certain time she ate white chocolate?, but I'm telling you, anyone would remember...anyways, it was on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel tower (yes, THE Eiffel tower) while on my HS Senior trip in Paris. We had stopped on the 2nd floor before going all the way to the top of the tower. While there, a couple of us went into a gift shop. I didn't really see anything I wanted to get except this little tin of chocolates. I thought...hmmm, French chocolate...gotta try it. Inside this little tin was the BEST white chocolate I have ever had. Anyways, enough reminiscing. On the other hand, I'm not a coffee drinker. Well, I'm not a regular coffee drinker. I'm a "wimpy" coffee drinker. I like the sweet drinks like frozen cappucinos, iced lattes, etc. etc. (Still can't get that dang creme brulee latte out of my head...that thing was SO good!) Fortunately for me, these cupcakes didn't have a strong coffee flavor, just a little hint. If you like strong coffee flavors I would try and rework this recipe. Maybe you could use brewed espresso instead, or 1/2 espresso 1/2 coffee. You could brush coffee flavored syrup on top of the cupcake (saw that idea on one of the comments from the blog post that I got this recipe from). The white chocolate whipped cream is SO good. I could eat it alone. I bet it would be awesome on ice cream or a brownie...I could go on. So, on to the recipe. Enjoy!

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
5 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped - I used Baker's Semi-Sweet.
2 cups cake flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup sour cream
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups hot coffee - I used regular ole Folgers.
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar

For the whipped cream:
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped - I used a Lindt White Chocolate bar.
1 ½ cups cold heavy cream

For decorating:
4 oz. chocolate, finely chopped - I used left over Baker's Semi-Sweet.
chocolate sprinkles - I didn't use these because I had none on hand.

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, cocoa powder and baking soda. Mix to form a paste and then slowly whisk in the coffee. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add the egg and vanilla mixture and beat until combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the liquid mixture, beating just until all ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the white chocolate whipped cream, place the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Melt, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is almost melted, bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Once the chocolate is fully melted, transfer the bowl to a counter, pour in the hot cream and let it sit for one minute. Then stir gently with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth. Let the chocolate sit until it reaches room temperature – the chocolate can’t be the least bit warm when it is added to the whipped cream.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 cup cream only until it holds the softest peaks. With the mixer on high speed, add the white chocolate all at once and continue to beat just until the mixture holds firm peaks. Transfer the cream to a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

While the cream is setting, make the chocolate decorations. Spread a piece of wax paper on a flat work surface. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. Allow the chocolate to cool for several minutes. Transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic squeeze bottle (a plastic bag with the corner cut off would also work). Carefully squeeze the melted chocolate onto the wax paper in the desired shape. Allow to set completely. Carefully peel off of the wax paper.

Frost the cupcakes with the now set white chocolate whipped cream, top with chocolate sprinkles, and garnish with chocolate decorations. Store in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature for best flavor.

Side Note: As you can see from the picture, I did not have any cute swirly decorations on top of my cupcakes. I tried to make them, and they didn't turn out. I didn't wanna make any more so I just left em plain. If you wanna see how they look with the decorations, go to the link below.

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Orzo Stuffing with Celery, Cranberries, & Pecans

I've had these cranberries and a box of orzo in my pantry for a while now, trying to figure out a different way to use either of them. I wanted to do something besides a dessert with the cranberries and something other than an herbed orzo...just different. Well, the other night I bought some celery. After I was done cutting it up for snacking, I went to throw away the bag that it came in. I happened to glance on the back and caught a glimpse of the recipe title. I knew I had to try it. I had just about everything for it. So, I did...and I loved it. I think this was so yummy. I LOVE the cranberries and pecans in it. It was also REALLY easy and super quick. I would love to try this for Thanksgiving. It has a very "Fall-ish" taste. I know that's not a word, but work with me. Enjoy!

• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 cup diced onion
• 1 ½ cups diced celery
• 1 ½ cups orzo pasta, cooked in chicken broth, drained
• ¾ cup dried cranberries
• ¾ cup sliced, toasted pecans or almonds - I used pecans, roughly chopped.
• 3 tablespoon sliced fresh basil - I used a pinch of dried basil, and it tasted just fine.
• 2 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Melt butter with olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until onions are translucent and golden brown. Add celery; cook 4 more minutes
2. Combine orzo, celery mixture, cranberries, pecans, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; toss gently to combine.

Recipe Source: Dandy Celery package

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chocolate Eclair Crepe Cake

Everyday with Rachael Ray is one of my favorite magazines...just might be my fave. I should probably subscribe to I am always looking for the new issue when I go grocery shopping. When I came across this recipe, I was so excited to try it. I love making crêpes. They are so versatile! You can put just about anything you can dream of in one...savory, sweet, etc. etc. Crêpes are actually not very hard to pull off. I always say the 1st one never comes out. I'm not sure why, but it never does for me. Maybe because it's the one that "warms up" the pan for the rest of the batter...who knows! My favorite way to eat a crêpe is to fill it with a sweet cream cheese mixture (just some cream cheese and powdered sugar mixed up), fresh strawberries, rolled up, and topped with whipped cream. Simple but OH SO GOOD! Anyways, back to the recipe. This was definitely not the best dessert I have ever made. In my book, this is a flop. Did not taste like an éclair to me. Though, it was okay, just wasn't saying "éclair!" My parents said the same as was okay. So, if you try this out...lemme know how it came out for you and what you think! Couple of things I would do differently: 1) I would cook the crêpes a tiny bit longer to make them a little more crisp, and not so flimsy. 2) I would use less pastry cream in between the layers. Mine tended to slide to one side a little. I think the pastry cream played a role in that. Hey, the less you use in between each layer, the higher you can go, thus more awesome presentation! It is a very good looking cake. ;) Ok, so now that I've written a short novel...on to the recipe! Enjoy!

  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 3 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dark rum - I used Captain Morgan.
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped - I used Baker's Semi-Sweet.
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1. Using a blender, mix 2 cups flour, 2 cups milk, 4 eggs, ½ teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon salt until smooth; refrigerate.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, remaining 1 ¼ cups milk, ½ cup sugar and 1 pinch salt. Cook over medium heat until steaming, 2 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and ½ cup sugar, then whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup flour until smooth. Gradually whisk half of the hot cream mixture into the flour-egg mixture, then whisk into the remaining cream mixture. Cook, whisking, over medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes; stir in the rum and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
3. In an 8-inch crêpe pan or nonstick skillet, melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 cup chilled crêpe batter and swirl to coat the pan. Cook until set on the bottom, about 1 minute; flip and cook for about 30 seconds more. Turn out onto a rack to cool. Repeat with the butter and remaining batter to make 10 crêpes.
4. Place a crêpe on a cake stand or flat plate; spread 1/3 cup pastry cream on top. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and pastry cream, ending with a crêpe. Refrigerate.
5. In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate, 3 tablespoons water, the corn syrup and remaining 2 teaspoons butter over medium-low heat until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes, then spread on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before slicing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cheeseburger Pasta

I'm always looking for quick and easy meals. Now, more than ever, because my 10-month old is into everything, so cooking has to be quick. This recipe was so easy and quick...and quite yummy! Will be making again!

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cheddar cheese soup.
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked medium shell pasta
  1. Cook beef in skillet until browned. Pour off fat.
  2. Add soups, water, and pasta. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until pasta is done, stirring often.
Serves 4.