Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopee Pies

I've had a box of red velvet cake mix in the pantry for a few weeks now and I've been trying to decide what to do. After thinking it over and googling a lot, I decided to make Red Velvet Whoopee Pies! Yes- a gooey red velvet cookie sandwiched between yummy icing sounded like the perfect combination!

Red Velvet Whoopee Pies

Recipe from Duncan Hines. 
1 box red velvet cake mix
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 butter, melted
Vanilla Icing- either your favorite can or use the recipe below to make your own. 

Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake mix, melted butter, egg and vanilla together until a dough is formed. Scoop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet using a medium sized cookie scoop. Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool. 

Meanwhile make the icing. You'll need: 
1/2c shortening
1/2 butter, softened
4c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tblsp milk

Cream shortening and butter together with electric mixer, scrape sides. Add vanilla. Gradually add in sugar, one cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Add the milk and beat until light and fluffy. 

Once your cookies have cooled, spread frosting on half of the cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Gently press together. The only disappointing thing about this recipe is that it only make a dozen whoopee pies! I was left wanting more! 

Cupcakes for Dinner & Dessert!!

CUPCAKES!!! Who doesn't love cupcakes! Did you know that you can have cupcakes for dinner AND dessert!? Check out this recipe and let your kids have cupcakes for dinner!!

Lasagna Cupcakes

What you'll need: 
ground beef
Italian seasoning
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I use my homemade spaghetti sauce- see my previous post for recipe)
wonton wrappers
ricotta cheese
grated mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

To Make: 
Preheat oven to 350. Brown meat, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning together in skillet. Stir in spaghetti sauce, set aside. Meanwhile, take wonton wrappers and line your cupcake pan with the wrappers, I used two wonton wrappers per cupcake. Then layer each cupcake with one heaping tablespoon of ricotta cheese, the spaghetti meat mixture, mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 15-20mins. 

Each little cupcake has the perfect combination of crunchy edge to soft 'noodle' center. I served mine with some sauteed zucchini and mushrooms. The kids had TWO cupcakes each!

And the only option for dessert with Lasagna Cupcakes is... more cupcakes of course! 

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

What you'll need: 

1 box yellow moist cake mix and ingredients called for on package
1 package Nestle mini chocolate chip break and bake cookies
Chocolate Icing- you can use your favorite can or make your own. 

Prepare cake mix as cupcakes and bake as directed on box. Let cool. Set aside 1/2 of the package of cookies for the dough stuffing and bake the other 1/2 as directed on the package. 
To fill the cupcakes- use an apple corer to core out the center of of the cupcake. Using the remaining cookie dough to fill each hole with one portioned size mini cookie. I found it easier to roll the dough into a small "snake". 

To make your own Chocolate Buttercream Icing you'll need: 

1/2 Crisco shortening
1/2 butter, room temperature
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk

Beat shortening and butter together with an electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Scrape sides. Gradually add in the sugar one cup at a time, scraping the side of the bowl often. Add in milk and beat until light and fluffy. Ice cupcakes and top each with one of the baked cookies. Enjoy!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

How I got my kids to eat ALL their veggies: Chicken Casserole

My kids are polar opposites when it comes to food likes and dislikes. Ethan is more like Dad- a meat and potatoes boy that likes salty snacks, while Caleb is more like Mom- we love our veggies and our sweets, especially chocolate! I always make the same dinner for the entire family, but that doesn't always mean we all eat the same. The kids will choose what to eat from their plates, but Ethan will always have more veggies left and Caleb will always have more meat left. It's a give and take, but they eat so I'm a happy Mamma. I recently discovered a meal that the entire family devoured! Both boys ate their entire bowl and my husband went back for seconds, I think he would've finished the dish off and had thirds, but he wanted some leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Here's how I got my kids to eat Broccoli, Water Chestnuts, AND Mushrooms ALL at one meal: 

Chicken, Mushroom, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole 

Recipe Adapted From The Girl Who Ate Everything
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1/2 onion
1 lb mushrooms quartered
1 (4 ounce) box of Long Grain & Wild Rice, prepared per instructions
1 lb package of chicken breast tenders, cut up into bite size pieces 
1 6-8 oz can of sliced water chestnuts, diced (optional, John liked them but I didn't)
steamer bag of broccoli
1 10 3/4 oz can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 10 3/4 oz can of Cream of Celery soup
1/4 cup Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice and broccoli per instructions on packages. I used my Pampered Chef Rice Cooker to cook my rice in 5 mins! Spray your pan with a little Olive Oil cooking spray and cook chicken, onion and mushrooms, add Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Celery and Mayo. In a large casserole baking dish, combine all ingredients and mix well. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Homemade: Spaghetti Sauce & Hot Sauce

Why buy what you can make at home for cheaper!? Here are some tastier options for you to enjoy. 

HOT Sauce

4 cans Rotel 
4 jalapenos, diced, keep seeds for a spicier hot sauce
1 small onion, diced
Sea salt, Chipotle seasoning and cilantro to taste (I like mine hot, so I use a good heaping teaspoon of each)

To prepare: mix all ingredients in a blender and "puree" together. 

Pour into mason jars and refrigerate. Serve chilled. This is perfect to dip with chips, it's also good to use in recipes that call for salsa or hot sauce like enchiladas, taco salad, tacos, and much more...

Spaghetti/Marinara Sauce 

1 Family Size can of Tomato Soup
1 Large can of Tomato Sauce
1 can of Tomato Paste
2/3c Parmesan
1/4c sugar
Italian seasoning garlic to taste

To prepare: mix all ingredients in a blender and "puree" together. Pour into mason jars and refrigerate. Use in place of spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce in your family's recipes. We love to use this sauce for spaghetti, ziti, meatball sandwiches, ravioli, pizzas, and many more...