Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jambalaya and Pecan Pretzel Pralines

My family loves this dish and so does everyone that eats it. I based this recipe from  a cookbook recommended to me by a chef in New Orleans. I made this and some other southern foods in honor of Mardi Gras. I'll post those recipes later. It was all delish!

Chicken,Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

1lb. andouille or smoked spicy sausage sliced into 1/4 inch slices
3 chicken breasts cut up into bite size chunks
2c. onions chopped
1 green and 1 red pepper chopped
1 large tomato copped
4 celery stalks chopped
3T. oil
4 T. flour
1/2  6 oz can tomato paste
1 can of beef consomme'
2 bay leaves
1t. basil and thyme
1/2t. chili powder
1/4t. red pepper
pinch of black pepper
1t. salt
1/4t. cayenne
11/2c. chicken stock
3 cloves garlic minced
1c. chopped okra
11/2c. med. shrimp
6 green onions chopped
3T. parsley chopped

Brown the sausage in 1t. oil. Remove and set aside. Place chicken in pan and brown very well set aside. Add 3T. oil and 4T. flour and make a medium brown roux whisking until flour is all combined and turns brown. Add chopped vegetables except green onions and parsley and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, Add tomato paste and stir well, then add beef consomme and gradually add 11/2c. chicken stock while stirring. Bring to a slow boil, then add meats stirring well. Add seasonings and garlic and let simmer 15 minutes You can add rice at this point with 2-3 cans of broth and cook 25-30 minutes longer covered or do as I do and keep it as a sauce/topping to put on top of rice. I do this only because I am a big saucey girl. I love the sauce so I want more of it rather than having the rice soak it up.  I add green onions, parsley and a couple dashes of tabasco right at end. Serve over rice. Serves 8-10 people.

Pretzel Pecan Pralines
 I love love Pralines. They are so good and sweet. I've been on a sweet and salty kick big time and wanted to try something a little different so the pretzel praline was born. I looked on the internet to see if anyone else had tried this combo and found nada!
They were really good. I liked the extra crunch the pretzels gave and the slight salty factor. My pictures didn't turn out very good since it was at night and they were all gone next day so this is all I have.:( Not to mention this is not a pretty looking treat. So any light isn't going to help much. lol They kinda look like cow pies!! Even though still I will make them again for sure. Especially to go on top of my southern sundaes.

Pretzel Pecan Pralines
1c. brown sugar
1c. white sugar
1/2c. evaporated milk
2T. butter
1/4t. vanilla
1/4t. butter Pecan oil (optional) I add sometimes for more pecan flavor but great without too.
11/4c. pecan halves
1c pretzels broken up a bit for bite size.
Combine sugars and milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add butter, pecands and vanill and cook until the syrup reache soft ball stage 238'. cool without disturbing for a few minutes then add pretzels and stir vigorously until starts to thicken but not losing it's gloss. Drop by spoonfuls on greased surface or silpat. They will flatten and harden. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers in Homemade Pitas

I love this meal! It is healthy and so fresh tasting. I think I'll have another one for lunch too. My kids really like this a lot as well. Some eat it with tzatziki sauce and some with mustard.

Med Turkey Burgers
1/2c. panko 
1/4c. feta cheese
2T. minced red onion
2 heaping tablespoons of pesto
1/4t. salt
1/4t. pepper
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 -1/2c chopped sun dried tomatoes
1lb lean ground turkey
6 Calamata olives chopped (optional)
Mix all together and press into patties
Cook in skillet with cooking spray for 6 minutes flipping after 3 minutes and cooking rest of time on other side.
Place in pita with romaine, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, red onion and cucumbers. Yum!!

Tzatziki Sauce
1c. Greek yogurt
1c. grated cucumbers with out seeds
 a pinch of dill
1-2 T. lemon juice
11/2T. chopped fresh mint
1T. chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove minced
3T. diced fine red onion.
Mix altogether and adjust seasonings if needed.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
11/4c. Warm water
1T. oil
1t. salt
1t. sugar
2 3/4c. whole wheat flour
1/3c. gluten
11/2t. yeast
 Mix altogether until smooth elastic dough. Let rise 1 hour then cut into 8 pieces. Form into balls and roll into 6-7 inch circle. Let rise covered with a towel for 25-35 minutes.  While they are rising preheat oven to 500.
Place 2 rounds on wire rack in middle of oven or right on racks. Bake 3-5 minutes until puffy. Remove and wrap in damp towels. Continue baking rest layering in towels after baking.  Cut in half and fill.

I don't remember where I got this recipe. I think I got in online somewhere but I have been making it for a while now. I have a great white pita too but I try to eat my breads in whole wheat only except on the weekends. Then I indulge a little.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

I love Strawberries and these cupcakes a really good. They are moist, and fresh tasting with no jello added even though I like that recipe as well. The frosting is yummy and tastes like melty strawberry shake.

Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield: about 18 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped strawberries
For the frosting:
½ c. strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in chopped strawberries.  Fill cupcake wells ¾ full with batter.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting, puree strawberries in food processor.  Strain through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, and set aside. ( I didn't do this I was too lazy) Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree.  Adjust the amount of puree to achieve your desired consistency.  Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

source: Good things Catered

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This one is good and not dry. I use to not care for red velvet because every time I had one it would be rather dry or too much chocolate flavor when it should only be a hint. I really like these. I did these for Valentines Day.

Red Velvet Cupcake Balls dipped in white chocolate and milk chocolate

Red Velvet Cake, Cupcakes and Balls

21/3c. flour 
2T. heaping Cocoa
2 1/4t. baking powder
1 1/4t. baking soda
3/4t. salt
1 1/2c. buttermilk
1/2c. oil
2 oz. red food coloring
2t. vinegar
1/2c. butter softened
2c. sugar
2 eggs 
2t. vanilla
Combine butter and sugar  until fluffy add wet ingredients then alternate with buttermilk and flour. 
Pour evenly into 3 8 inch pans greased and lined with parchment or 24 cupcakes give or take a few.
bake 350 35 minutes for cakes and
18-20 minutes for cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
5 T. butter
2t. vanilla
2 1/2c. powdered sugar

 Frost and fill cakes or cupcakes
 I love cupcakes with fillings so I always fill them using a decorator bag or the cone method. I have a new handy tool called the cupcake corer by Cuisipro. It is quick and perfect. I love it. I use that and then fill.

For Red Velvet Balls rip up cake and stir in frosting. Roll in balls Chill until firm and then dip in melted white chocolate or almond bark  and or melted chocolate or almond bark. Then drizzle with red tinted white chocolate.
I'm starting to like Cake balls more than I like cupcakes. Probably because I love frosting and you get good equal amounts of both.
Happy Baking

Carrot Cupcakes

I do love Carrot Cake and cupcakes. They are so moist and flavorful.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling

2C. flour
11/2c. sugar
1/2c. brown sugar
1t. baking powder
1t. baking soda
1t. cinnamon
1/2t. cloves
1/2t. nutmeg and allspice
1/2t. salt
4 eggs
3c. finely chopped carrots( about 5 carrots)
1c. oil
1/2c. nuts
mix dry ingredients together and add eggs, oil and carrots mix until well mixed then stir in nuts.
Pour into 2 greased and parchment lined 9 inch baking pans or 30 cupcakes.
bake 350 30-35 minutes for cakes and 20-24 minutes for cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. Cream cheese softened
5 T. butter softened
2t. vanilla
21/2c. powdered sugar
mix with handheld mixer til combined and creamy.

cut out a cone of the cupcake and fill with frosting and frost top. Or insert decorator bag with tip into cupcake and fill til starts to bulge at top and then frost top.

A Whole Bunch of Cupcakes

 It was my son's birthday party so I made a bunch of cupcakes. Yum! They were all great but my favorites were the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes. I've made these a few times and love em!

 Smore's Cupcakes

 Banana Split Cupcakes

 Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes

Here's the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie dough Cupcakes.  I like these cause they are different than the regular assortment of cupcakes, they taste just like cookie dough (I love the dough more than the cookie.:)), and they are so cute! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Yield:24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)
For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. - 10 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
For the frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
For decoration:
Tiny chocolate chip cookies
Mini chocolate chips
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour. This is where I changed it a bit. The first time I made these I didn't like the filling so firm so I added more condensed milk to make it softer. So do this to your liking.
To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake.  Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.
To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.
Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.

recipe adapted slightly from Annies Eats

Smore's Cupcakes
I have tried a couple kinds of these cupcakes. These were good. Always love the frosting. I think next time I will  marble graham cracker and chocolate cupcake batters and fill with a chocolate ganache marshmallow filling. The first time I tried them I did just the graham cupcake with a ganache filling. They were good but needed more chocolate. These here are too much chocolate cupcake with not enough graham cracker. They are good don't get me wrong I'm just trying to get more of the Smore's flavor across. It's always fun to try right?!

S’mores Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the graham cracker crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the cake:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1t. gelatin (optional : if you want a thicker and firmer frosting)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.  Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom.( I used the bottom of a cup.)Sprinkle a small amount of the chopped chocolate on top of the graham cracker crusts.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
To make the cake batter, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed just to combine.  In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract; whisk together.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full. I sprinkled leftover crust on top and swirled into cupcake batter. Return the pans to the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar , gelatin and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. This can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. If you want them to have a little more stability. Add 1t. of gelatin to the egg whites when on stove.  Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.  Brown with a kitchen torch and garnish with chocolate and graham cracker segments (optional).
adapted from Hersheys and Annies eats

CWaC's Banana Split Cupcakes

In a large bowl, combine:

2 sticks of butter

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 very ripe banana

1 tsp. banana flavoring

Cream until very well mixed, then add:

1 tsp. baking powder

1 c. milk

Place 2 cups of batter into a smaller bowl.


In one bowl, add:*************************** In other bowl add:

1/3 c. Hershey’s Special dark cocoa powder ****************1 1/3 c. flour
3/4 c. white flour***************************************1 tsp. vanilla


Beat each bowl just until mixed, then lightly fold chocolate batter into vanilla batter to create marbled effect. Spoon into prepared cupcake liners. Bake 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.



While cupcakes are cooking, prepare cherry cream topping
by combining:

8 oz. cream cheese

1/4 c. finely chopped maraschino cherries

1/4 tsp. cherry extract

8 oz. Cool Whip

1/2 c. sugar

Refrigerate until ready to assemble cupcakes.


Once cupcakes are cooked and cooled, assemble them by scooping a hefty amount of cherry cream atop each one, then dipping them in the following chocolate topping:

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. butter + additional, if needed

To prepare topping, place all ingredients in a medium plastic bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir, repeating process JUST until chocolate is melted. It should not be very warm to the touch. (Following this step will allow your topping to maintain a shiny sheen, rather than a blotchy, overcooked finish. Even cupcakes don’t like blotchy.) Add additional butter by the tablespoon, if needed, until chocolate mixture will run freely if tilted off a spoon. Once you’ve got the mixture just.right, dip cherry cream topped cupcakes in the chocolate mixture, then allow them to cool at room temperature until chocolate topping is firmed. Cover well and store in fridge overnight, if needed.

These cupcakes were good but the cake was a little to dense for me. I like them a little lighter. But the frosting and topping were very good.  They were so cute looking I couldn't resist. You could change the cupcake out with your favorite banana cake recipe and marble in some chocolate cupcake batter and you might like it more. I don't know you be the judge. In all fairness I halved the recipe and so maybe that made it different.