Thursday, August 18, 2011

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp key lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest (about 1 lime) plus extra for garnish
Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Crushed graham crackers for garnish

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. Combine cake mix, eggs, water, oil, and key lime juice in a bowl with a hand mixer. Fold in lime zest.
3. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full with an ice cream scoop.
4. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package cream cheese (room temperature)
4 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp key lime juice (may need extra to thin out the icing)

1. Combine softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a mixer.
2. Slowly add in powdered sugar.
3. Add key lime juice one tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency for frosting.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Smores Brownies

Smores Brownies
Recipe adapted from Sugar Cooking
  • 1 box brownie mix (prepare as directed)
  • 1 cup graham crackers, roughly crushed with your hands
  • 50 mini marshmallows or 12 big marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Prepare brownie batter.
  3. Mix in graham crackers
  4. Pour into prepared baking dish and dot with marshmallows.
  5. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.
  6. Marshmallows will be browned and puffy but will deflate as the brownies cool. Cool for at least 20 minutes then slice with a sharp knife. Be careful, it gets messy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Peanut Butter-Banana Bread
Adapted from Simply Recipes
(makes 1 large loaf)

3 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the bananas, peanut butter, and melted butter by hand or with a hand mixer on low speed.
2. Mix in the sugars, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, and spices over the mixture, then mix to combine.
3. Fold in the flour in 3 parts by hand. Do not over mix.
4. Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown. When a toothpick inserted comes out clean, it's done.
5. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing and slicing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is our go-to meal during the week. I usually make it ahead of time and freeze it. By the time I get home from a long day with crazy is the last thing I want to do! 

Although this lasagna is meat-free, there’s nothing boring about it. Every layer is designed for maximum flavor: a spicy tomato sauce with an extra kick from sriracha, pesto-infused ricotta, grilled summer vegetables, and freshly grated mozzarella.

You can any variety of vegetables you have on-hand rather than the combination in the recipe. I used zucchini, eggplant, spinach, and onions, but mushrooms and/or squash would add a lot to the mix.

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Grilled Vegetables (recipe follows)
  • Pesto Ricotta (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then spoon 1/2 cup of Tomato Sauce onto the bottom of the dish.
  3. Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles.
  4. Top the lasagna with a layer of pesto ricotta, then a layer of grilled vegetables, a layer of spinach, a layer of mozzarella, and a layer of Tomato Sauce.
  5. Repeat layering the lasagna, ricotta, vegetables, mozzarella and sauce in this manner until all ingredients have been used, ending with mozzarella on top.
  6. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
Pesto Infused Ricotta 
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a food processor or blender place the ricotta, garlic, and basil and process on high while adding the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue to process until well blended, season with salt to taste and set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
Grilled Vegetables
  •  2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  1. Light the grill or preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large shallow bowl, toss the vegetables with oil, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. If using the broiler, arrange the vegetables in a single layer on 2 lightly greased or non-stick baking sheets. Grill or broil in batches, turning the vegetables once, until they are tender, lightly browned, and have released most of their moisture, about 5 to 6 minutes per side.
  3. Thaw and drain the spinach. 

    Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    I got a hankering for cupcakes while watching Cupcake Wars on Food Network the other day. One of the contestants made a strawberry cupcake that looked amazing! Once I have a recipe in my head I am bound and determined to make it. I only made 12 cupcakes and used the rest of the batter to make a small cake. Enjoy! :)

    Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
    Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen
    • 1 white cake mix
    • 1 (3 oz) box of strawberry gelatin
    • 2/3 cup canola oil
    • 1/2 cup of frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 4 eggs
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 1/2 stick butter, softened
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    *Sliced strawberries for garnish
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with 12 cupcake liners.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cake mix, gelatin, oil, 1/2 cup of the strawberries, and water until combined.  Then beat in the eggs 1 at a time until well incorporated.
    3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter, do not over fill.  With the extra batter fill an 8 inch cake pan that has been greased and floured.
    4. Bake at 350 for about 21 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool.
    5. Place the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract in a bowl and using a mixer beat until smooth.
    6. Add half the powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture and beat until all combined and fluffy. 
    7. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar until combined and fluffy.  Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Top with strawberry slices.
    *I used the remaining cream cheese frosting on top of the mini cake. I cut the strawberries length wise and placed them around the top of the cake.  

    Veggie Burgers

    I love burgers. Veggie Burgers.

    If there's a veggie burger on the menu, look no further. The problem is that I can never find one at the grocery store that doesn't taste like cardboard. So, it was time to find a recipe for a good homemade veggie burger. I wanted something with big flavor that would form real patties. I also wanted it to be made with things I would normally have on hand. AND it needed to be so good that Evan would eat it too! :)

    I finally found this recipe. As soon as I saw Guy Fieri's name attached to this burger, I knew it would be a hit. A veggie burger that’s delicious, moist but firm, and made with things you probably already have in your kitchen. I modified the ingredients to suit our taste buds and added some extra heat! 

    Start with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sautéing a mix of onions, green bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and corn. 

     While the vegetables cool, grab a bowl and combine the dry ingredients – rolled oats, bread crumbs and all of the seasonings. 

    Then in a food processor, and combine the black beans and chickpeas. Add the vegetables to the beans and pulse them in the food processor until combined. 

    Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the dry ingredients. Add an egg to help bind everything together, and mix it with your hands.
    Form eight patties by hand and place them on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before grilling. 

    *We added caramelized onions and provolone cheese to our burger and it was ahh-mazing! 

    Veggie Burgers
    Adapted from Guy Fieri (“Guy’s Big Bite,” Food Network)
    Makes 4 big burgers or 8 smaller ones
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    • 3 tablespoons diced yellow onions
    • 2 tablespoons diced green bell peppers
    • 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno (optional) 
    • 4 ounces corn
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons diced garlic
      Dry Ingredients: 
    • 1 cups (6 ounces) rolled oats (or old-fashioned oatmeal)
    • 6 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
    • 1 teaspoon grill seasoning
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 4 ounces black beans, drained
    • 4 ounces chickpeas, drained
    • 1 egg
    1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a a saute pan over medium heat. Add all of the raw vegetables except the beans. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
    3. In a food processor combine the beans. Add the sauteed vegetables, and pulse until just mixed. Stir in the dry ingredients, along with the egg.
    4. Using your hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients. Form into 4 patties for large burgers or 8 patties for smaller ones. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    5. Heat the grill and brush with olive oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.