Friday, September 23, 2011

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes

Yes, you read that right...two ingredients.  Count ‘em. One. Two. (three. four. get your woman on the floor...anybody? Mic check 1, 2?) When I saw these cupcakes online I thought, no way these are going to turn out.  How the heck can you get a good, moist cupcake with no eggs? I just had to see for myself...and man were they awesome! It was the perfect start to fall and pumpkin season.  Not complicated at all! But I couldn't just leave them be, I had to add a cream cheese twist of course.  I had all these grand plans of making a maple cream cheese frosting, but that would have required me going to the store to buy maple syrup and cream cheese…And seriously, once these things were baking, the smell kept me prisoner in my own home.  So I went with the easy alternative, cream cheese frosting from the pantry.  Someday I’ll make my own frosting…but for now I’m just going to enjoy this easy treat!  Let's hope there's not another pumpkin shortage this year, because I may be making these very often! 


Pumpkin Cupcakes
printable recipe
makes 12 cupcakes
1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin puree

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix pumpkin puree and cake mix together.  Spoon into greased muffin tin and bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool, then frost with favorite frosting.  Dust with pumpkin pie spice (optional).

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Beef & Bean Burritos


Every once in awhile, when they go on sale, my husband buys the big pack of frozen beef and bean burritos at the grocery store for lunch.  He can go through an entire package in a few days, so I knew he would be happy about these.  I was looking for a way to make my own version, but include far less salt than the packaged variety.  By using my own taco seasoning, our family farm raised ground beef, and rinsed black beans, I am able to control the salt content in this meal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some salt…I just hate having to lay down on my bed to button my pants the next day.  We decided that these tasted so much better than the ones in the package, and we had leftovers.  I wrapped each leftover burrito in foil so that we could each have one for lunch the next day (well more like me have one, and he the rest.)  I think next time I am going to make a double batch and freeze all of them.  Just one more thing to add to the list of freezer winners for basketball season! 


Start out by browning one pound of ground beef (ground turkey or chicken would work great in this!) along with one medium diced onion.  Drain the beef and then add 3 Tablespoons of taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of water.  Drain and rinse one can of black beans and stir in.  Heat until the beans are cooked through, then remove from heat.  I added in a handful of cheese at this point just to make it creamy and dreamy. 


Put a large spoonful (about 1/4 cup of the mixture) onto a flour tortilla and top with cheese.  Then for good measure, go back and add a little more cheese, and then grate some more and sneak a bite.  Then accidentally drop some in the dog bowl, wonder where all your cheese went, and run to the store for more.


Roll up your burritos and make sure you fold in the sides so none of the goodness gets out during cooking.  I like to roll up all my burritos as this point so that the cooking goes faster and I can clean up while they are grilling….Ok I totally lied about that last part.  And those are my knuckles, but they are looking incredibly freaky at this moment…ignore.


Then cook your burritos on either a Foreman Grill, a griddle, hot pan, or the oven.  I use the grill for sake of time and not heating the whole entire house, and feeling like I’m starting to experience “the change.”  After you cook them, either devour right then, or freeze/refrigerate for later!

Beef & Bean Burritos
printable recipe
makes 10 burritos
1 pkg (10) flour tortillas
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cups cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt/pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno
3 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 cup water

1.  Heat a pan to medium heat, and sauté the onion in the olive oil until onions begin to get soft.  Add in the hamburger and cook until done.  Drain and return to the pan.  Add the taco seasoning, water, jalapeno, and black beans.  Cook until heated through.  Add in optional cheese at this point and remove from heat.

2.  Put a large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) of the mixture onto a flour tortilla and roll up while folding the edges in.  Cook on a hot grill or griddle until brown on both sides. 

Freezing Instructions:
For precooked burritos to be warmed in the microwave –
Grill burritos then wrap in aluminum foil and freeze/refrigerate.  When ready to eat, remove from foil, wrap in paper towel and microwave.
For uncooked burritos – Prepare the filling as directed, then make the burritos but do not grill them.  Wrap each individual burrito in foil and freeze.  Bake in 350° for 20-30 minutes from frozen. 
*Another option is to freeze the burritos on a cookie sheet then store them all in a gallon Ziploc bag
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hot Crab Dip

Crab Dip 1

I have made this dip several times and had it posted on a previous blog I co-wrote on.  I bust it out every once in awhile, and people are constantly texting me for the recipe.  I have tweaked it a bit, but I think I've got it now.  For those of you that know already, I go to the local Chinese restaurant and have them fry me won ton strips almost like chips and used to walk out with 2 big bags for $4!! Yes you heard me right, four dollars!  *This has since changed...not sure if it's due to the fact that they realized they should charge more, or the fact that all of my town has gone in asking for chips, but it's now $3 for one bag (which is plenty)... I say don't blame me, blame the dip.  I cannot be held responsible for a sudden shortage in cream cheese, crab meat, and wontons.  Buying the "chips" is significantly cheaper than me making my own (which you could very well do, and would probably be healthier)  Enjoy!

Crab Dip 2

Hot Crab Dip
printable recipe
serves 12 people

8 oz. cream cheese softened
3/4 cup sour cream
4 Tbsp. mayo
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. diced jalapenos (I think I added more than that just because I like things spicy)
1 tsp. seasoned salt (you could also use Old Bay)
cracked pepper to taste
dash of hot sauce
1/2 tsp. Paprika
2 (6 oz.) cans white crab, drained
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Blend first 4 ingredients until smooth, add salt, paprika, pepper, and hot sauce.  Blend.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bake @ 350 for 20 min.  I put more mozzarella cheese on top for the last 5 minutes of baking. 
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

CR Pancakes 1
Oh sweet baby Jesus these things were quite possibly the best thing I have eaten in a very long time.  A very long time I tell ya'.  With the hubs out of town, I had my little sisters (in-law) over for a slumber party and had these on the menu for breakfast.  Timothy isn't a big breakfast man, and to be honest I like more of a savory breakfast, but one of the little sistas has a major sweet tooth.  Major.  So I knew these would be the way to her heart.  She is hilarious, with a great wit and sense of humor.  When a 12 year old looks at you after one bite and says, "if I'm ever in the hospital I want this to be my last meal," you know you've got a winner.  It does take awhile, but the results are amazing! An honestly we both agreed that you could use the pancake batter recipe and have great pancakes on their own!  Before I give you the recipe though, you have to look at this eye candy...

CR Pancakes 2
CR Pancakes 3
CR Pancakes 4
CR Pancakes 5
CR Pancakes 6

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
printable recipe
makes 6 pancakes
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Cinnamon Roll Filling
1/2 cup softened butter, almost melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon


4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a squeeze bottle (I used an old mustard bottle) or small zip baggie and set aside. You don't want this to remain super-liquified. It's best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.

2.  In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
3.  Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes to "sour".

4.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.  If not consistency you like, add a splash more milk.

5.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet, and cook for a minute to let the bottom set up.  Squeeze a spiral of the filling on top of each pancake.  When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, about 3-4 minutes more.  Transfer to baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. 

6.  When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each stack.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Taco Seasoning

taco seasoning1
If you have ever looked at the ingredients on the back of a packet of taco seasoning (or if you're like me you avoided looking for years), you may or may not have noticed that there are a lot of funky-named ingredients on the back of the package.  Not to mention the sodium...Oy Vey!  Now, I know that a package of taco seasoning is cost efficient.  As a cheap college student, and newlywed, I figured out where to cut costs.  And taco seasoning was one of them.  Not only was it cheap, but give me something in which I just need to add water and I'll take that any day!  So before you start pumping your fist at the computer and screaming about how I am "out of touch with reality" and "who the heck has time to make something like that?", I have good news for really truly can make your own taco seasoning and you can keep it in your cabinet for quick access.  Oh, and you just have to add doesn't get much easier.

taco seasoning2

Taco Seasoning
printable recipe
makes about 6 servings

4 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. paprika
3 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Mix seasoning and store in airtight container for future use.  To make taco meat, brown 1 pound of hamburger.  Drain.  Stir in 3 Tbsp. of the seasoning and add 2/3 cup water.  Cook until combined and thickened. 

**I modified this recipe because I like to chop up 1 small onion and sauté it with the burger.  If your kiddos don't like onion, grate some in they'll never know!  But if you absolutely can't stand onions but like the flavor it adds, then add an extra teaspoon of onion powder to your mix.

Slightly adapted from Annie's Eats
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Queso Chicken Penne

queso chicken penne
Let me start off by apologizing for what could possibly be the worst picture in the history of food blog pictures.  Not only was/is the lighting in my house horrible but while I was trying to get “just one good shot” my dear hubby was standing in the background moaning and groaning because he was starving.  Geez.  I have learned through blogging that the worst thing you can do with a dish is plate it up while it is still crazy hot.  All it is going to do is run all over the plate.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Sorry, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice my hungry husband for the sake of the blog.  And thus the ugly picture was born.  But while the picture was less than stellar, let me tell you the pasta was FAB. When the hubs requested it 3 days later, I knew we had a keeper. 
queso chicken penne2

Queso Penne Pasta
printable recipe
makes one 9x13 casserole dish or 2 square casserole dishes

1 lb. penne pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave some seeds for heat)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 tsp. salt (more to taste)
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 cups shredded cheese of choice (I used a Mex-blend)
1 can Rotel
4 cups shredded chicken

1.  Heat the oven to 350° and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray (I separated this dish into two smaller casserole dishes and froze one for future use)

2.  Cook the pasta according to the directions for al dente.  Drain and set aside 

3.  In a large pan over medium heat, cook the onion and peppers until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes.  Add the cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook until spices become pungent. 

4.  Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to cook the flour taste out.  Gradually whisk in the milk and stir until smooth.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to thicken.  Turn heat to low and add the cream cheese and a handful of the shredded cheese.   Whisk until completely melted.  Stir in the can of Rotel. 

5.  Mix the chicken and cooked pasta and pour into prepared casserole dish.  Pour the sauce over the top, moving the mixture around slightly to let the sauce run through the pasta.  You can mix it all together if you prefer.  Top with remaining shredded cheese. 

6.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until bubbling.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Adapted from Evil Shenanigans
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