Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lemon-Up Cupcakes

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been SUPER busy preparing for our lil man's 1st birthday. I am so SUPER EXCITED. I can't wait to share pictures! Ok, for the recipe. I have so many cookbooks...a ton, plus some that I get from my mom every now and then. So, whenever I feel the need to bake, I sometimes look through my baking books. I have had this one marked in a cupcake book for a while now, and decided to try it just because it sounded yummy. My dad & I like a lot of the same tastes...cheesecake, jalapenos, lemon, etc. So, if they sounded good to me, I knew at least one person would try. =) The cake part was really good, but the frosting was a tad too sweet for me. My dad loved them, and said he wants them for his birthday. I may try a cake instead though for him. Anyways, enjoy!

• 1 pkg (about 18 oz.) butter recipe white cake mix with pudding in the mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
• Grated peel of 2 lemons, divided
• ½ cup lemon juice, divided
• ½ cup butter, softened - I used unsalted.
• 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
• Yellow food coloring
• 1 pkg (9½ oz) lemon-shaped hard candies (like Lemon Heads), coarsely crushed - I used yellow sugar sprinkles.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper baking cups.
2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions but use ¼ cup less water than directions call for. Stir in half of the grated lemon peel and ¼ cup lemon juice. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake 23 minutes or until light golden brown and toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
4. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar. Add remaining lemon peel, ¼ cup lemon juice, and several drops of food coloring; beat at high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.
5. Frost cupcakes; sprinkle with crushed candies.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Source: 100 Best Cupcake Recipes

Thursday, May 6, 2010

AJ's Mac-n-Cheezy

Everyone loves a good mac and cheese, right? I know I do! I have never been a fan of those recipes that include bacon, or ham, or even broccoli. I like good old fashioned mac & cheese! I guess I just don't like it messed with. =) This is a recipe that I came across in my April issue of Woman's Day magazine. It's from Joy Bauer's new cook book called Slim and Scrumptious. It being a lighter recipe (having fewer calories and less fat than traditional recipes), I knew I wanted to try it. I was very pleased with it. This one's going in my recipe book! Enjoy!

• 1 (10-oz) block reduced-fat sharp Cheddar (made w/2% milk)
• 1 box (14.5 oz) multigrain elbow macaroni pasta
• 2¼ cups 1% milk
• 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tsp onion powder
• ½ tsp dry mustard
• ¼ tsp paprika
• 1 bay leaf (optional)
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• 1/8 tsp black pepper
• 3 to 5 drops hot sauce
• 1 Tbsp cornstarch
• 2 Tbsp trans-fat free reduced-fat soft tub margarine spread

1. Shred the cheese using the large side of a box grater, and set it aside to warm to room temperature. (Having the cheese closer to room temperature helps it melt more easily.)
2. Bring a 6-qt pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and follow the directions on the package for al dente.
3. While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. In a 3-qt saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with the soy sauce, onion powder, dry mustard, paprika, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Place over medium heat and cook until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer.
4. In a small bowl or cup, mix the cornstarch with the remaining ¼ cup cold milk. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should thicken slightly.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and add the shredded cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted and no lumps remain.
6. Add the margarine spread to the cheese sauce and stir until it is completely melted and combined.
7. Drain the macaroni (do not rinse), and return it to the 6-qt pot.
8. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir until everything is coated. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and allow the macaroni and cheese to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, to allow the sauce to thicken before serving.

Serves 6 (about 1½ cup servings).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

German Chocolate Cheesecake...& Some COOL News!!!

I'll start off with some really AWESOME news! I will be guest blogging for the FIRST time on Miss Crafty Pants!!! I am so excited!!! I will be guest blogging there this upcoming Tuesday. 

Now, to the recipe! I am a follower of Mommy's Kitchen, and I came across this recipe one day while browsing her blog. I knew I HAD to make it. My 2 favorite cakes are Red Velvet and German Chocolate. Also because I had coconut that I was wanting to use. This cheesecake is really decadent and YUMMY! Do NOT even take ONE bite of this if you are watching what you eat or on on a I SHOULD be.  I mean look at it. Does it look like it is healthy? I don't even think it should look! Only thing I was disappointed about was having to wait SO long to eat it...haha! It takes a little over an hour to bake + chill time. So, this isn't a quick dessert.

  • 1 package (18¼ oz) German Chocolate cake mix
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups flaked coconut
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans

1. Prepare cake batter according to package directions; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
3. Pour half of the cake batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Gently pour cream cheese mixture over batter. Gently spoon remaining batter over top; spread to edge of pan.
4.  Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
5. Cool on a wire rack (in pan) for 1 hour.
6. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened and a thermometer reads 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat.
7. Stir in vanilla; fold in coconut and pecans. Cool until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake. Refrigerate leftovers.