Monday, August 11, 2014

Happily Ever After Cupcakes

Oh. My. Gosh. These cupcakes taste AMAZING!!!

A month ago we traveled back to the East coast to celebrate my inlaw's 50th wedding anniversary. My sister-in-law made a gorgeous and delicious wedding cake, which got me thinking about how much I love the flavor of wedding cakes. Unfortunately, there are no wedding receptions on my calendar for the near future.

Luckily, I'm a problem solver. After some visits to my Pinterest boards, I put together these little gems by combining a couple different recipes. The rest is history.

A light White Almond Wedding Cake recipe (made with a cake mix!) which is super duper moist, filled with homemade fresh raspberry preserves, and topped with a fluffy Almond Buttercream Frosting. You can thank me later - when you're enjoying your cupcake(s).

And we all lived Happily Ever After.

Wedding cupcakes, almond cake, raspberry filled

Happily Ever After Cupcakes

White Almond Wedding Cupcakes:

1 package white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Stir together the white cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Pour in the water, sour cream, vegetable oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg whites, and beat with an electric mix on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain, 4 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pans, and bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.


1/2 cup raspberry freezer jam or raspberry preserves

Fill a pastry bag or Clear Plastic Squeeze Bottle with raspberry filling. Poke the tip into the top of each cupcake. Squeeze approximately 1 tsp filling into each. Remove and continue until all cupcakes are filled.

Almond Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract  
4 cup powdered sugar

Beat butter and heavy cream in mixer for 3 minutes. Add in almond extract and powdered sugar. Beat an additional 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe on cupcakes.

Wedding cupcakes, almond cake, raspberry filled

Wedding cupcakes, almond cake, raspberry filled

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Asian Market Soup

One of our favorite family "field trips" is a trip to the Asian Market in Plano.

Beautiful colors in the produce section

We always seem to come home with new foods and ingredients to try.

So many new foods to try!

I have always enjoyed Asian soups. The flavors are delightful and light. So armed with some shrimp, mushrooms, and Banh Canh noodles, I came up with this recipe. It was a hit!

Asian Market Soup
Serves 6

1.5 pounds raw shrimp - peeled and deveined
8 green onions, washed and chopped
1 large thumb sized piece of ginger - 2/3 grated and 1/3 chopped
2 stalks lemon grass - remove rough outer stalks and finely chop tender inside
3 T olive oil
10 cups water
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T sugar
3/4 cup baby carrots chopped
2 - 3.5 oz. packs organic beech mushrooms - cut off of stem so pieces are 1-2 inches long
2 packages Vietnamese noodles (Banh Canh)

Smash 1 pound of the shrimp using the flat of your knife then roughly chop along with the white parts of the scallions and some salt and pepper until finely ground.  

Heat olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Cook ground up shrimp along with grated ginger and lemon grass until no longer pink and slightly browned…about 3 minutes.

 With heat still on high, add 10 cups of water and deglaze the pan. 

Season broth with sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, lower heat add mushrooms and carrots and allow to simmer until carrots are crisp tender about 5 minutes. 

While soup is simmering - in a small frying pan cook remaining 1/2 pound of shrimp over low heat in olive oil with the chopped up ginger.  Cook until shrimp just barely turn pink.  Set aside to use to garnish each bowl of soup.

Add remaining chopped scallions (green parts) and banh canh noodles to the soup pot and continue to cook until noodles are slightly translucent. Remove from heat.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with your cooked whole shrimp/chopped ginger mixture.  Serve and enjoy!

*Instead of adding Vietnamese noodles you can add frozen chinese dumplings or potstickers and cook until heated through.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Calzones - Recipe of a Busy Housewife

So "this is how we do" when I find out last minute that the family won't be going out for dinner  tonight...

First my mind started spinning - what ingredients do I have around?  What will the kids and husband like? What will I like? What's fast and easy?  What can I take pictures of for the blog with the new camera?  Even though I've never made them before?  Or even ordered one at a restaurant?  Seriously.

Voila.  Of course.  Calzones.  That's what you would have thought of right?!?!

Here we go.  Remember, only an hour until dinner time...

Make some pizza dough using the family standby recipe (click here for that easy recipe).  Understanding that it will only be able to rise for maybe like 15 minutes today.

Done.  Pop it in the oven using the ever so useful - but not necessary - "Bread Proof" function on my oven (I adore that little feature).

Grab some frozen pepperoni and Canadian bacon out of the freezer and set it on the counter to thaw.

Fold laundry.  Or rather a shirt before realizing that the mozzarella is frozen too! Return to the freezer and get out some grated mozzarella.  Set it on the counter near the pepperoni and CB.

Finish folding laundry.

Divide barely risen dough into 7 equal(ish) portions.

Roll out the dough balls one at a time into a circle(ish).

Put some pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and oh - look what I found in the fridge - crumbled bacon bits on half of the dough "circle."  Top with still partially frozen mozzarella.

Fold the dough over and try to seal it.  Realize that the dough is not sticking to itself. Have a flashback to a random Food Network episode where they made empanadas and recall that they wet the edges of the dough with water to make it stick (I really had that random helpful thought).  Wet the edge of the dough with water.  Refold.  Press to seal - hey it worked!

Crimp the edges to make it look fancy for photos.

Hmmm...well that didn't work out so well.

Try again.

Getting better.

Repeat with all of the dough and meat.

Sometime up above I started preheating my oven and pizza stone to convection bake (or you could just regular bake) at 400. Who KNOWS when I did that - just glad I did ;)

Pop those babies in the oven.  Peek after 10 minutes and realize they look kind of dry.  Brush with some olive oil and bake 5 more minutes. 

Remove from oven, slice in half and serve with a jar of Market Pantry pasta sauce for dipping.

I also made a salad.

Dinner took an hour and 15 minutes to make.  The natives were hungry and enjoyed their meal even more because it was 15 minutes late (and smelled delicious cooking).

Bonus:  laundry folded

Double bonus:  Eating out tomorrow night instead - crossing fingers :)

The kids and husband LOVED them.  I really liked them, but wished I had sprinkled a dash of italian seasoning or something inside before I sealed them up.
I know there is NO WAY you can follow that recipe. So in case you ended up here really wanting to make calzones click here for a REAL calzone recipe.

Phew.  I'm tired.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Mexican Pork Chile Verde

This recipe is one that my sister gave to me.  It is warm, hearty, filling and delicious!  My kids love it - even when I end up using hotter than usual green chiles and our tongues feel the burn ;)  We had it tonight for dinner, and ironically my sister called to visit right as I sat down to type this post (I am hearing the "Do do do do - do do do do" Twilight theme song in my head right now).  My sis lives in New Mexico and has much better access to fresh frozen green chiles than I do.  I have to use the ones from a can. If you ever spend any time in New Mexico when they are harvesting the Hatch chiles, you are treated to the experience of seeing them roast the chiles in giant roasters.  Cool to watch and it smells great too!

Green Chiles Roasting

New Mexican Pork Chile Verde
Click here for a printable version

Best made in a large Crock Pot

16 oz carnitas/pre-cooked, thawed, seasoned pork (see *NOTE below)
1  can chicken broth
1 pint mild chopped green chile (thawed) (or 1 can fire roasted green chiles)
4 oz hot chopped green chile (thawed) (or 1 can fire roasted green chiles)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch-or-less cubes (about 5 medium russett potatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp red chile powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder

1. Put all stew ingredients in Crock Pot. Stir. Turn on High.  After stew has been actively simmering for an hour or so, pull the pork pieces into shreds using 2 forks.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and shredding pork pieces until potatoes are tender.  Total cooking time is usually 4 ½ - 6 hours.

2. Serve with warm flour tortillas and fresh chopped cilantro.

*NOTE - The stores I normally shop at don't usually carry pre-cooked carnitas.  When I don't have the precooked, I will make my own:

Slow Cooker Carnitas

1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crumbled dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth

1. Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the pork on top. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.

2. Cover and cook on Low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat.

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