Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

Easter is fast approaching (can you believe it?) and I found the most amazing dessert recipe that incorporated my all-time favorite Easter candy:  The Cadbury Creme Egg.  I'm addicted to them, although I was on a mission to avoid them and their high amount of calories, but then I found this recipe.  My version of the cupcakes didn't turn out nearly as pretty as the blog that I found them on, but these were still heavenly!  They're a little extra work to make and assemble, but trust me, the end result is worth it!

Source:  Culinary Concoctions by Peabody


Devil’s Food Cake  (Cake recipe from David
9 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup water
½ cup whole milk


Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter (or use the baking spray) two regular size cupcake/muffin pans or two mini. I personally made 12 large cupcakes and 20 mini cupcakes.

Sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)

Mix together the water and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the water and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 of the way full with cake batter. For regular size bake 20-22 minutes. Mini bake 13-15 minutes.

Crème Egg Filling Buttercream Frosting

The centers of 20 Cadbury Crème Egg scooped out (save the chocolate shells for décor and filling)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 to 8 cups powdered sugar  (I used 4 1/2 and it was plenty)
1 TBSP vanilla extract
milk to thin frosting

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add 4 cups of the sugar and vanilla extract.

On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. If too thick, thin out with milk.

You can take half of the icing and color it yellow for effect. You will also probably have little bits of chocolate that stayed with the crème filling, no worries, it’s tasty.

Chocolate Shell Ganache

10 ounces of chopped up Cadbury Crème Egg Shell, if you don’t have enough to make 10 ounces, then add some milk chocolate chips to it
1 cup heavy cream

Put chocolate in a medium bowl.

Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Pour over chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes.

Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Let set up at room temperature.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Take chocolate shell filling and place into a pastry bag fitted with a small tip.

Take tip and place into cupcake squeeze filling into cupcake using the cone method (or just poke into center and fill if making mini).

Frost cupcake and top with chocolate shell piece. If making the mini, they do make mini eggs. Cut those in half and use as décor.

Camping Potatoes

Although the ingredients in this recipe are very easy to assemble, the actual cooking time was a little more difficult.  Stephanie's blog advised to cut the potatoes in small pieces so that the cooking time would not take as long and the A-1 sauce wouldn't burn in the skillet.  I did this and I still had a problem with the potatoes taking too long to cook.  Like Stephanie, I also put the potatoes in the microwave for several minute to make sure that they were completely cooked through.  Once I conquered that obstacle, the potatoes were very tasty and had some great heat to them.

Source:  Stephanie Cooks


Red potatoes, diced small
A1 sauce
Hot sauce
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Red pepper flakes
Worcestershire sauce


In a non-stick skillet heat the potatoes over high heat for a few minutes.

Add a generous coating of A1 sauce until all of the potatoes have a thin coating over them. Next add some red pepper flakes, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and Lawry's. (Use as much or as little of each until it is the desired flavor.)

Continuously flip the potatoes until they are cooked through. The sauce will form a crunchy outer layer.

If desired, finish the potatoes off in the oven to continue the cooking process.

About 5 minutes before finishing add a little more A1 and hot sauce, tossing to coat.

Grilled Venison Backstrap

The massives amonts of venison is getting smaller in our freezer!  I have 2 6 lb venison backstraps so my husband and I decided to try a new recipe with part of them.  I never knew this but the backstrap/tenderloin is the best cut of the deer.  This recipe received 5 stars from those that tried it on AllRecipes, and I have to agree.  The meat was so flavorful from the apple cider marinade and I couldn't even tell that I was eating deer. It truly tasted like filet mignon or another tender cut of meat.  We will definitely make this again!

Source:  AllRecipes


2 pounds venison backstrap (tenderloin), cut into 2 inch chunks
1 quart apple cider
1 1/2 pounds thick sliced bacon
2 (12 ounce) bottles barbecue sauce, your choice


Place chunks of venison into a shallow baking dish, and pour enough apple cider in to cover them. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove, and pat dry. Discard apple cider, and return venison to the dish. Pour barbeque sauce over the chunks, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 more hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Charcoal is best, but if you must, use gas. Remove meat from the refrigerator, and let stand for 30 minutes, or until no longer chilled. Wrap each chunk of venison in a slice of bacon, and secure with toothpicks.

Brush the grill grate with olive oil when hot, and place venison pieces on the grill so they are not touching. The bacon will kick up some flames, so be ready. Grill, turning occasionally, until the bacon becomes slightly burnt, 15 to 20 minutes.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

I LOVE banana bread.  I had forgotten how much I loved it until after I tried this recipe.  I had just gotten a Wilton loaf pan for Christmas so this was a great excuse to make a yummy dessert.  The bread came out as moist as can be so I really wouldn't change a thing.  Thanks, Stephanie Cooks! Another winner!

Source:  Stephanie Cooks, adapted from Simply Recipes


3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed (I used 4)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (I used regular chips)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Mix in 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Top with remaining tablespoon of chocolate chips. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.


I did a ton of cooking this past weekend and this recipe was one of the absolute best.  The meat balls turned out perfectly and the sauce was great.  The leftovers tasted even better and I thought I was eating leftovers from a great Italian restaurant.  I'm not trying to brag, but this was the absolute best and you need to try it.  The only thing that I had to do directly was alter the cooking time. The recipe called for leaving in the crock pot for 6-8 hours, but mine were done at 4 1/2 hours.

Source:  AllRecipes


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce  (use your favorite, one without meat)
1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree


In a bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, onion, and egg. Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs.

In a slow cooker, mix the spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato puree. Place the meatballs into the sauce mixture. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.

Buffalo Shrimp

This recipe combined three of the ingredients that I really enjoy:  shrimp, panko, and buffalo sauce.  I loved how the buffalo chicken tenders recipe turned out so I decided to try something similar with shrimp.  This recipe was another good one.  It was a little difficult to cook at first because the panko breading fell off some of the shrimp as I was cooking it in the skillet, but it tasted good none the less.  This is a great appetizer to serve to guests as well.

Source:  Stephanie Cooks


20 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of panko
1/3 cup of Frank's buffalo sauce (or similar)
Salt and pepper


Pat dry the shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Dip first in flour, egg, and then panko. Repeat until all shrimp are coated.

At this point you have a choice to bake or fry the shrimp. If you bake them preheat the oven to 425 and bake until cooked through and crisp on the outside. If you choose to fry them heat some vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet until the oil "speaks" to you. Put the shrimp in the oil and flip after 3 minutes or so, when golden brown. Repeat for this side.

Remove cooked shrimp to a shallow dish. Coat with buffalo sauce and toss until evenly coated.

Baked Brown Rice

I was looking for an easy, healthy side dish to go with some grilled chicken and I found a recipe off of my favorite blog.  The rice turned out perfectly and had great flavor.  A yummy dish and a great way to try brown rice if you haven't tried it before!

Source:  Stephanie Cooks, adapted from My Kitchen Cafe


1 cup brown rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Dash of Lawry's seasoning salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the above ingredients in a 3-quart baking pan or casserole dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shrimp Fra Diavalo

I took a break for a week since I went on a wonderful trip to Missouri, but now I am back in full swing!  I felt like treating myself to shrimp this week and I was glad that I did.  This dish has the perfect amount of heat in it.  I would have added a little more red pepper and a little less white wine.  It seemed to slightly overpower the taste of the shrimp.  Overall, a yummy and simple dish!

Source:  Apple A Day, adapted from Giada de Laurentiis


1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
3 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 c. dry white wine (I used 3/4 c.)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano


In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 tsp. of salt and red pepper flakes.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the shrimp and saute until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a large plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the same skillet and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Return the shrimp and accumulated juices to the tomato mixture and toss to coat.

Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over linguini.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Corned Beef

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  Well, almost.  I won't be able to celebrate too much on the actual day itself because my husband and I are leaving on our anniversary trip the next day!  We'll be celebrating our first year of marriage!  For today, I decided to cook the popular corned beef.  Corned beef reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom loved to make corned beef for us at least a few times each year.  My husband loves corned beef, but had only had it as a deli meat in sandwiches.  I knew I had to make this for us and it had to be in the crock pot.  The beef turned out absolutely perfect and the vegetables with it cooked so well and absorbed the wonderful salty flavor of the beef.  Now for the rest of the week I have plenty leftover for sandwiches and maybe even some hash for breakfast

Source:  Kitchen Beginnings, adapted from The Food Network


4lbs Lean Raw Corned Beef Brisket
3 tbls (or less) Pickling Spice  (I used the spice that came with the brisket)
1lb Large Carrots, cut into 4 inch pieces
1white onion, quartered
1lb Red Potatoes, quartered
1/3 C Horseradish
1/3 C Sour Cream


Put corned beef in a large slow cooker and sprinkle with pickeling spice.  Layer carrots, potatoes and onion, in this order for even cooking.  Add enough hot water to cover the meat by at least 1 inch

Cook on high for 7-8 hrs

For the sauce:

Boil 1 cup of the cooking liquid until it’s reduced by half
Mix with horseradish and sour cream

Chicken Pot Pie

I have been bringing a couple dinners to some close friends to help them with adjusting to life at home with their baby, who is also my great nephew.  He was born 3 1/2 months premature and recently came home from the hospital.  Both he and his parents have been so courageous during the time while he was in the hospital and I wanted to do whatever I could to help, even if it is just bringing dinners once in a while.  I wanted to bring them something that could easily be heated up, or frozen for another time.  I turned to my favorite source, Stephanie Cooks, and found a great casserole that was both easy to assemble and delicious.  Sorry for the shadows in the picture!  I had forgotten my camera and had to use my IPhone instead.

Source: Stephanie Cooks


1 pound of chicken breasts, frozen or fresh
1 bag of mixed veggies  (I used carrots, corn, and greenbeans)
1 tube of 10 refrigerator biscuits
1 can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of chicken gravy
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 375.

Place the chicken, cream of chicken soup, and chicken broth in the crock pot. Cook on low 5 hours or until the chicken is cooked, shred and set aside. Don't drain the chicken- you will use the gravy.

In a 9 inch pie dish combine the chicken and the gravy it is sitting in, the bag of frozen veggies, and the chicken gravy. Stir to evenly coat.

Open the biscuits and slice each biscuit into 4 pieces. Evenly distribute the biscuits over the chicken and veggie mix. Top with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden and the gravy is bubbling.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

I love making lasagna, but I decided to try a little variation of it and I tried making rollups instead.  These were so easy to make and a great way to clear out the frozen spinach I had in the freezer.  This was a great, healthy meal and I'll definitely plan on making it again!

Source:  Running Mama Cooks, adapted from Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes


8 lasagna noodles, cooked

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz marinara sauce
8oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water until tender.  Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove foil for the last 5 mins. Open the oven door and broil until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Makes 8 rolls.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spicy Baked Chicken Fingers

I often look through the What's Cooking? forum on The Nest to get ideas for new recipes.  Many of the girls there talk about how Panko bread crumbs are much better and easier to cook with than just plain bread crumbs.  Before going to the forum, I had never heard of Panko.  Panko is a Japanese style bread crumb where instead of using the brown crusts, the middle white area of the bread is used instead.  After trying this recipe, I don't think I will go back to regular bread crumbs again.  Panko is so much crispier and has a fluffier taste. 

Source:  Christine's Cuisine, adapted from A Year in the Kitchen


1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 cup of flour
1 cup of Frank's Red Hot Sauce
2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
bleu cheese dressing for dipping

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of oil and add 1 cup of the panko bread crumbs to skillet. Continue to stir until crumbs are a deep golden brown (but not burnt), about 7 minutes. Repeat with remaining 1 tbsp. oil and 1 cup of crumbs. Place in a shallow bowl until ready to use.

Put flour in another shallow bowl and hot sauce in another bowl. Season flour with salt and peppe
Dip chicken tenders in flour - shaking off excess. Then dip in hot sauce. Lastly - dip in panko and then place on a baking sheet.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 mintutes (or until chicken registers 170 degrees on an instant thermometer).

Serve with blue cheese and additional hot sauce.