Saturday, March 26, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2 –inch size)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.

  2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.

  3. Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
From whence it came:  My sister-in-law, Geralene, told me about a woman named The Cake Doctor.  Have you ever heard of her?  I hadn't either, but she has the coolest name ever.  I want her name.  I want to be called the cake doctor.  It's so much cooler than just being called Pam.  Anywho, The Cake Doctor takes regular old cake mixes and doctors them up.  She turns regular into really really yum-e!  Geralene made this recipe into a cake, and it was fabulous.  I've made it into a cake and into cupcakes, and both were divine!  When I made the cake I baked it in a 9"x13" pan at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes. 

Why it's blogable:  I served this cake to company and the little six year old girl who was visiting ate three pieces!  Three!  She is a little tiny girl and she ate three pieces!  And took another one home!  That just shows you how good this recipe is, and how much you need to try it!  Also, when The Spy Who Love Me saw that I was making Red Velvet Cake he kind of made a scrunched up face.  That's one way The Spy lets me know he's not thrilled.  He has other ways, but that's just one way.  Well, The Spy had to swallow his pride and beg for my forgiveness once he tasted this cake.  He was instantly sold, and you will be, too!

I frosted the cake and cupcakes with this heavenly frosting:
That's the Best Frosting I've Ever Had
I can't say enough about this frosting on top of this cake and cupcakes.  I can't say enough about this frosting.  Period!

I like to serve this cake and frosting refrigerated, but it's really good at room temp, too.

Click here to get the printables:
Red Velvet Cupcakes
That's the Best Frosting I've Ever Had

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dutch Baby Pancakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put 2 T. butter in pie pan and melt in oven.

1 c. flour
¼ c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients.

Add 1 c. milk and 4 eggs; mix well.

Pour over melted butter.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  Slice like a pie and serve with syrup.  (You can double the recipe and cook it in a 9x13 pan.)

From whence it came:  Here's another great recipe from Sue Burns.  I've mentioned Sue before.  She is a great cook, and a fancy one, too.  Everything she makes looks as good as it tastes.  Although, I must admit, this recipe isn't the prettiest recipe in the whole wide world.  But it is one of the tastiest!  The pancake will fall (or reduce in puffiness - or be puffiness challenged) after you take it out of the oven.  Don't worry.  That's normal.

Why it's blogable:  Every single one of my three children love and adore this recipe.  Actually, love and adore aren't even strong enough words for how my kiddies feel about these funny pancakes.  The Spy Who Loves Me is a big fan, too.  My married daughter called and asked for the recipe last weekend, and that's when I realized I hadn't posted it on my little cooking blog.  So here ya go, and you're very welcome!

There's nothing healthy going on here folks.  Unless your talking about emotional health.  This recipe is sure to enhance your emotional well being.  Talk about feel good food!  I have no idea why the word Dutch is in the title, but I know exactly why the word "Baby" is included.  Just take one bite and then get ready to say the words, "Oh baby!"  You can say "Oh Dutch Baby" if you want to, but in my experience, just the two words will do the trick.

Could this recipe be easier?  No!  Could this recipe be yummier?  No!  Should you make it right now?  YES!  

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
6 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
5 cups frozen mixed vegetables or your favorite frozen vegetable blend
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed according to package directions
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme and/or oregano)

Heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Stir the turkey and vegetables in a 3-quart (13 x 9-inch) shallow baking dish.

Heat the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook and stir for 3 minutes. Gradually stir the broth into the saucepan. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the black pepper. Pour the broth mixture over the turkey mixture.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle. Place the pastry over the filling. Press the pastry to the rim to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture and sprinkle with the herbs.  Cut several slits in the pastry.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbling.  Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

From whence it came:   My wonderful mom cut this recipe out of a magazine and gave it to me to try.  My wonderful mom doesn't cook much these days, she's too busy having fun.  But I'm glad she has my back when it comes to good recipes.  Actually, I'm glad she has my back in general!

Why it's blogable:
  This recipe has great flavor, and it's so easy to make.  It looks kind of fancy with the puff pastry on top, people will think you slaved over it.  And you should let them!

Click here to get the printable:
Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How to Cater a Pity Party

I know.  I know.  It's been over a week since I've blogged.  My goal is to share a new recipe at least once a week and preferably twice, but this week my mind was less on my goals and more on throwing myself a pity party.  Have you ever done that?  Thrown yourself a whoppin' pity party?  No need for guilt here, every now and then a good old fashioned pity party is in order.  Every now and then we're all entitled to a little pity, accompanied by a party.  Not too often, just every now and then.

The reasons for my personal pity party this past week will not be the subject of this post.  I will tell you this, the reasons total more than one, and they're not super small reasons.  They are what I consider to be legitimate pity party issues.  Hang nails don't count.  Split ends don't either.  Legitimate pity party reasons are ones that keep you up at night, ruin your eye makeup, and make you go running to the kitchen for comfort food.  Which brings me to the subject of this post.  Comfort food.

I thought I'd give you help in planning your next pity party, with the hope that you won't need it soon, but with the knowledge that sooner or later, for one reason or another, we all need to ease our troubles, and here, my friends, are some trouble easing recipes.

Nothing brings comfort to my soul like chocolate.  It's my number one (and to be honest, my number two, three, four and five) choices of comfort food.  I realize that not everyone is comforted by chocolate, but most people are, and I fall into that group of most people.

This recipe:  Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies is as good as it gets when it comes to comfort food.  And I'm gonna give you a little tip, if you are in need of extreme comfort, don't bother baking, just eat the dough.  Somehow, for reasons that can't be explained, the dough is more comforting than the baked cookie.  So make a batch, get a spoon, and let this magical dough work your worries away.  You'll also need to run a marathon to work off the fat and calories, but when you're in need of comfort, you don't think consequences, you think cookie dough!

This recipe:  My Favorite Brownie Recipe was my drug of choice this past week.  It's what I catered my pity party with, and I think I chose wisely.  I had actually made these brownies for a whole different reason and then put them in the freezer so they wouldn't be a temptation.  Let me just say that I found out this week that they taste delicious frozen!  When a pity party is needed, there's no time for thawing.  No time at all.  The risk of breaking a tooth on something frozen is once again a consequence that cannot be considered when the pity party moment comes upon you.  At least that's my experience.

This recipe:  White Chocolate Cheesecake is the bees knees when it comes to food that brings comfort.  The texture alone is one of the most comforting phenomenons on earth!  Add to that a taste that will make your eyes roll back into your head and you've got a prescription for comfort.

This recipe:
  Heavenly Cinnamon Rolls screams comfort!  And, if your reason for pity includes anger and rage, using a rolling pin can be very therapeutic.  Not on the person, just on the dough.  Work out that anger and frustration on the dough, cover it in butter, sugar and cinnamon, then send it into your mouth, through your tummy, and straight to your buns and thighs.  Yep, that's where it will eventually end up, but I must say again, consequences are not considered during pity parties.  In order to throw the perfect pity party you must throw caution to the wind and embrace the calories.

This recipe:  Corn Chowder might be your ticket if sweets aren't your first choice in the comfort department.  It's rich, it's creamy and it's very delicious.  Let's do a little math, shall we?  Rich + Creamy + Delicious = Comfort.  That's a fact!

This recipe:  My Favorite Macaroni and Cheese is an American classic when it comes to comfort food.  If you don't believe me, just ask my BFF Paula Deen.  It will comfort your soul.  Honest!

This recipe:  Amish Bread is another little ditty that will lift your load and help you drown your sorrows.  It's a terrific pity party choice.  I highly recommend it.

This recipe:  Buttermilk Pancakes, no pity party would be complete without 'em!  If you're not comforted by pancakes, I don't even know what to say.  For one thing, pancakes start with the letter P, and so do the words perfect, pity and party.  Enough said!

I guess the bottom line here is that my little cooking blog is full of very comforting recipes.  And for me, just being in the kitchen, stirring something up, usually helps a lot.

Everyone has hard times.  No one is exempt.  The hard times help us truly appreciate the not so hard times, and that's a good thing.

This week I said to The Spy Who Loves Me, in regards to the reasons that made me throw a pity party in the first place, "I think we've had our share."  He knew just what I meant, our share of troubles.  And then The Spy said something very annoying.  Super annoying.  (He's lucky I didn't have a rolling pin in my hands.)  He said, "I think we are very blessed."  Ugh!  That is not what I wanted to hear at that very moment.  I was in the middle of a world class pity party, and everyone knows that nothing will bring a pity party to a screeching halt like counting your blessings.  And so, that's just what I'm trying to do.  That's what we need to do when all we want to do is sit on the couch and eat cookie dough, start counting our blessings.  I am blessed.  I truly am.  But I do at times find myself saying, "Lord, please give me the patience to deal with my blessings!"  When you have those times, stir up something comforting, and then start to count.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!