Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meatloaf Muffins

My family loves meatloaf. What a fun idea to take meatloaf and make it into personal-sized muffins. My kids loved this. Except my oldest. He didn't like the fact that it had barbecue sauce instead of  ketchup. I don't think he realizes how similar barbecue sauce and ketchup are. Kids can be funny sometimes. But it was a hit with the rest of the family. I loved it!

Printable Recipe

Meatloaf Muffins
2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into a few pieces
1 large egg plus a splash of milk, beaten
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grill seasoning (Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 450. Place onion, celery, and bell pepper into a food processor. Pulse until vegetables are finely chopped. Place vegetables and ground beef in a large bowl. Add egg, beaten with milk, bread crumbs, and grill seasoning. In a separate bowl, mix together barbecue sauce, salsa, and worcestershire sauce. Pour half of the sauce mixture into the meat mixture. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Use an ice cream scoop to fill each tin with meat. Top each meatloaf with a spoonful of extra sauce. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes about 15 muffins

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Past recipes:
One year ago: German Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy
Two years ago: Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grasshopper Brownies

One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate and mint. So when I tried these brownies I was in love! My sister-in-law Joyce gave me this recipe after she made these for a few different family parties. Everyone always goes nuts over these brownies. This might even be my new favorite!

Grasshopper Brownies
2 boxes brownie mix

Mint Frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Topping:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

To make brownies, follow the recipe for "cake-like" brownies. If there isn't one, add 2 more eggs. Pour into a large, greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 32 minutes. Cool completely.

To make mint frosting, combine powdered sugar, butter, water, peppermint extract, and food coloring. Beat together until mixed well. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate until hard on top.

To make chocolate topping, microwave chocolate chips and butter for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes until mixture thickens and is no longer hot. Spread over mint topping on brownies. Refrigerate until hard. 

Makes about 35 brownies

Past recipes:
One year ago: Stuffed Poblanos

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Costa Vida Sweet Pork Burritos

There are a lot of different recipes for Costa Vida and Cafe Rio burritos and salads floating around the internet. I've tried a few different variations and I have to say that this one is by far the closest to the original. If you want, you can mix and match with the Costa Vida Salad recipe for different variations. Costa Vida is one of my favorite restaurants so I'm so glad I found a recipe that's so close to the original. 

This recipe has been moved to my new blog
The Traveling Circus

Click the link below for the recipe

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thin Mint Cookie Truffles

I made this for dessert on St. Patrick's Day and they were heavenly! They're very similar to Oreo Truffles but I think I like them better because I love mint! I love St. Patrick's Day and making everything green. It's so much fun!

Thin Mint Cookie Truffles
1 (9 oz) pkg Thin Mint Cookies or Keebler Grasshopper Cookies
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) bag Guittard's green mint chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until they are crumbs. Pour cookie crumbs into medium sized bowl and mix with cream cheese until well combined. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Melt green mint chips in the microwave for 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Dip truffle balls into chocolate until completely covered, using two forks to make sure the excess chocolate drips off the truffles. Place on wax paper covered baking sheet. Melt white chocolate chips the same way you melted the green chips. Add a tiny bit of vegetable oil if the chocolate isn't thin enough. Dip a fork into the chocolate and drizzle over the truffles. Refrigerate until hardened.

Makes about 25-30 truffles

*If you can't find green mint chips you can use white chocolate chips. You also might be able to find green colored chips at the craft store.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff

Past recipes:
Two years ago: Fettuccine Cacciatore

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Punch

I know the color of this drink isn't very appealing but it's green and that's the point. It was actually really good, a lot better than it looks. It was very refreshing. It was perfect for our all green St. Patrick's Day dinner and I think I'll be making this drink every year.

St. Patrick's Day Punch
1 (3 oz) pkg lime gelatin
2 cups hot water
1/2 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
1 (12 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 1/4 cups cold water
1 liter ginger ale

Dissolve lime gelatin into hot water. Cool completely, then pour into a punch bowl. Stir in pineapple juice, orange juice concentrate, and cold water. Mix well. Just before serving, pour in ginger ale.

Serves 10

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

Past recipes:
Two years ago: Stuffed Manicotti

Friday, March 16, 2012

Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers

I've made baked chicken fingers before and my kids always go nuts over them. But these chicken fingers were even better. They have a crispy texture because of the panko bread crumbs. Mmm... they were so good. My kids literally started cheering when I brought more to the table. I also served this with Baked Oven Fries. This was definitely a kid friendly meal but it was so good for us parents too.

Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch wide strips
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 475. In a large skillet, toss the panko bread crumbs with the oil. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to shallow dish.

In another shallow dish, whisk together flour, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, dijon mustard, and thyme.

Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and play over a rimmed baking sheet. Using a few pieces of chicken at a time, dredge in flour mixture, then egg whites, then bread crumbs, shaking off excess in between each step. Lay chicken on prepared wire rack and repeat with remaining chicken.

Spray chicken lightly with cooking spray. Bake until cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Annie's Eats

Past recipes:
One year ago: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
Two years ago: Hamburger Stoganoff

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ladybug Cake

I've never considered myself to be a great cake decorator but I love making fun cakes for my kids' birthdays. My baby turned 2 last week so I made her this cute ladybug cake. It was so easy to make and I thought it turned out great. 
Side View

My cute girl with her cake.

Ladybug Cake
1 cake baked in a 1 1/2 qt bowl
1 cupcake
Junior Mints or Mini Oreos
chocolate or black licorice
red frosting

After baking the cake and cupcake, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for easier frosting. When ready to frost, remove plastic wrap. Cut the top of the bowl cake to make it flat on the bottom when you turn it upside down. Turn the cake and cupcake upside down and frost with red frosting. Top with Junior Mints or Mini Oreos for the dots. Place the M&M's on the cupcake for the eyes and the licorice for the antennas. 

*Note: I used the recipe for Vanilla Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. I poured half of the batter into a 1 1/2 qt bowl and made a dozen cupcakes with the remaining batter. I baked the cupcakes as directed and baked the bowl for about 50-55 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Family Fun

Past recipes:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vanilla Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

When I made these red velvet brownies for Valentine's Day, I loved the frosting so much that I decided to make it to frost my daughter's birthday cake. I made her a ladybug cake with some extra cupcakes. I'll post the recipe for the ladybug cake later. This cake was delicious but it's the frosting that I love so much!

Printable Recipe

Golden Vanilla Cake
2 cups sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
2 tsps vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour baking pans or place cupcake liners in muffin tins. In a bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and beat at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy. Combine the milk and vanilla and add to the mixing bowl. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. With the mixer running at low speed, add 1 egg. Increase speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Repeat this process with each egg until all 4 are added. After the last egg is added, scrape the bowl once more, then beat at medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Pour mixture into prepared pans or muffin tins. Bake for 40 minutes for a 9x13 pan, 27 minutes for 9" layers, 24 minutes for 8" layers, or 23-25 minutes for cupcakes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. 

Recipe source: King Arthur Flour

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz good quality white chocolate (not chips), melted
3-4 Tbsp heavy cream

Food coloring, if desired

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream butter until soft and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup. Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add the heavy cream 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Add desired food coloring and mix well.

Past recipes:
One year ago: Oven Baked Chimichangas
Two years ago: Porcupine Meatballs

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baked Oven Fries

I've made oven baked fries before but they've never turned out exactly the way that I wanted them too. Plus they take way too long. Then I tried this recipe. It's a fairly simple recipe, but it's the technique that's different. By soaking the potatoes before cooking, it shortens the cooking time. Plus they're baked at a high temperature to give it a nice crispy texture. They actually tasted like real french fries!

Printable Recipe

Baked Oven Fries
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into even sliced wedges
5 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste

Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water and soak for 10-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 475. Drain the potatoes. Spread out onto paper towels or clean dry towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the empty bowl so it's dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp oil.

Put 4 Tbsp of the oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan. Sprinkle the pan evenly with salt and pepper. Place the potato wedges in a single layer on the baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after ten minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip the potato wedges, keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until potatoes are golden and crisp, about 5-15 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe source: Annie's Eats

Past recipes:
One year ago: Butterfly Cake
Two years ago: Ranch Chicken


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