Monday, August 31, 2009

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

Lemon-Raspberry Cupcakes
yields 24 cupcakes

I LOVE lemon desserts, so when I came across this recipe on My Happy Meals, I had to try it. I also love recipes that also allow me to use my handy, dandy Kitchen-Aid mixer......yay!! These cupcakes turn out super tasty, and look like a professional baker made these. Just make sure you make enough frosting as I barely had enough to cover 22 cupcakes (2 got eaten before I could finish making them). Great idea for a large get together, the compliments will come pouring in....I promise you!

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar-I may use slightly less sugar, or Splenda next time
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons

Filling:Raspberry preserves

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. raspberry preserves
24 raspberries

Wash and drain raspberries. Allow to dry on a paper towel. (This will prevent excess liquid dripping onto the frosting.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Continue beating and gradually add sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Gradually drizzle in the eggs, and beat in between additions, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat until batter is no longer slick.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk on low speed, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Divide batter between 24 cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a small cone out of each cupcake using a small paring knife. Fill with 1 tsp. raspberry preserves and replace each cone. (You may need to cut a small part of the cone off so it sits evenly.)

To prepare the frosting, in a large mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until frosting consistency. Add preserves and continue to beat until a pinkish hue and raspberry flavor is achieved. Pipe onto cupcakes as desired. (Smoothing with a knife will not work as well with the cone.) Put a raspberry in the center of each cupcake.

Anytime Vegetable Salad

This is really a 3 bean salad-green beans, wax beans (yellow green beans), and edamame beans. The colors looks look so pretty when mixed in with the cherry tomatoes. The vinagrette for this salad came out sooooo yummy, I would even put it on a standard house salad. Hope you enjoy!

2 cups shelled edamame soy beans
8 ounces thin green beans, trimmed
8 ounces yellow wax beans, trimmed
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil or tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the edamame in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water, then drain well and pat dry. Repeat with the green beans and yellow beans. Combine the vegetables in a bowl.
Add the vinegar, oil, herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to a glass screw-top jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to mix the vinaigrette.
When you're ready to serve, shake the jar again to re-mix the vinaigrette and pour it over the vegetables. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Alternate Method: Whisk the vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Add all of the beans, tomatoes, basil, and thyme, and toss to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with more salt and pepper, and serve.

Recipe: Giada De Laurentiis

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

Photo: Food Network (photos shows the "Anytime Vegetable Salad" as well)

I came across this recipe while watching Giada's show on Food Network. I could not wait to make this recipe! This is perfect for a date night in, so delicious and you get to look like a pro while making it.

2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Apple & Pear Crisp

I threw a birthday party for a close friend, and decided to make this for dessert since someone else was already bringing a cake. The balance of the apples and pears came out so delicious!!! As always, this was a very easy dessert to make. It's even better the next day as all of the flavors really come together overnight.


2 pounds ripe Bosc pears (4 pears)
2 pounds firm Macoun apples (6 apples)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel, core, and cut the pears and apples into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

For the topping:
Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

Recipe: Ina Garten, "Back to Basics" cookbook

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Oranges and Rosemary

I was looking for a yummy way to cook up some dark chicken meat, and came across this recipe on I love recipes that have ingredients I already have in my kitchen. Todd was skeptical since he is not a fan of citrus w/ chicken, but he LOVED this (I mean eating 5 pieces of chicken loved!). The meat came out so juicy and flavorful. I highly recommend adding the OJ & chili oil to give it extra flavor (did not come out too spicy). I paired this with couscous, and veggies.

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 6

1/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons rosemary leaves (I used about 5 stems)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (I used 3 teaspoons)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 thighs and 6 drumsticks)
1/2 medium orange, cut into 6 very thin slices and slices cut into half moons (don't peel, cut into circles, and then cut circles in 1/2)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

I added:
-1/4 cup of orange juice
-1/2 tablespoon of chili oil
-I sprinkled more salt and pepper on the chicken right before baking in the oven

Heat oven to 450 degrees F and arrange rack in middle.
In a large bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the oil, rosemary, salt, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper (I also added the orange juice and chili oil to the mixture). Add chicken pieces and turn to coat well. Slip 1 piece of orange under skin of each piece.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a cast iron skillet or large frying pan over medium-high heat until butter foams. Working in batches, add 3 or 4 chicken pieces (don't overcrowd the pan) and brown on both sides until skin is crisp and golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. As chicken is finished, place in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. I then sprinkled salt and pepper before placing in the oven.

Once all chicken has browned, place in oven to roast until juices run clear when pricked with a knife and meat registers 160 to 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. (I cooked for about 30-35 minutes)

Recipe: Aida Mollenkamp

Monterrey Cantina-Restaurant Review

This past weekend we ventured out to Royal Oak to meet up with a couple of friends, we decided on a mexican restaurant named Monterrey Cantina. Since they don't take reservations, we were put on a wait and decided to grab a drink at the bar. While at the bar I enjoyed a huge Mango Margarita...I think it came to about $8, our wait only lasted about 20-25 mins. Once seated we dove into the chips and salsa, and ordered our entrees. I ordered 3 beef tacos w/ rice, Todd ordered a burrito, and our friends ordered the fajitas (they smelled amazing!). I would say our food was pretty standard mexican fare (no big flavors, a tad dissapointed), the service was very prompt (extra kudos). I would rate the overall experience 3.75/5 stars. I would be willing to come here again during happy hour.

Our bill
1 taco entree
1 beef burrito
Total: approx. $25 w/out drinks

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Pockets & Onion Roasted Potatoes

I saw this recipe on Lindsay's "Love Deliciousness" blog a few months back (her interpretation of Shelly's chicken crescent pockets), and always wanted to try these out since the recipe uses two of my favorite things....buffalo chicken & crescent rolls. These turned out great, and will definitely make again.....thanks Lindsay & Shelly! I paired them with roasted potatoes.

* 1 medium size chicken breast
* Buffalo sauce (used Frank's Hot Sauce)
* Blue cheese crumbs (omitted)
* Shredded cheddar cheese (I used mild.....turned out perfect!)
* 1 container refrigerated crescent rolls

1. Marinate chicken breast in buffalo sauce.
2. Bake chicken in oven until fully cooked. Cut up into small pieces.
3. Roll out crescent rolls onto baking sheet so that they lay flat.
4. Add your blue cheese crumbles and your shredded cheddar cheese onto the centers of the crescent pockets.
5. Add pieces of chicken to each crescent.
6. Fold up crescents into little pockets. The easiest way is to fold up the 2 short ends and then fold the long end all the way over the top.
7. Bake according to directions on crescents.
8. Enjoy!!

Onion Roasted Potatoes

1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix
4 all-purpose potatoes, cut into large chunks (about 2 lbs.)
1/3 cup Olive Oil

1. In large bowl, toss all ingredients until evenly coated.
2. In 13 x 9-inch baking or roasting pan, arrange potatoes.
3. Bake at 425°, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

Serves: 4

Preparation Time:
10 Minute(s)
Cook Time:
35 Minute(s)