Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling and Milk Chocolate Glaze

My friend Kati shared this blog with me, and my mouth instantly started watering. Yum! I've never used cake flour before and it definitely is finer than all-purpose flour as it ended up all over the place when I began using the mixer. Be careful! I hope you enjoy!

Makes 12 cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves

Milk Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 lb confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat in butter. Beat in sugar and mix thoroughly. Beat in eggs, then vanilla, then milk. Beat just until mixed.
  3. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full. Place a spoonful of preserves in the center. Cover with batter.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean.
  5. Cool completely before icing.
  6. For glaze, melt butter. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa and sugar. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk and beat at low speed until mixed.
  7. Dip cupcakes in glaze.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sausage, Onion and Fennel Pizza

This recipe was so fun to make because it used ingredients I had never used before, let alone seen. Fennel bulb is kind of a cross between an onion and celery, but it taste like licorice (yum!). To use the bulb, chop off the stalks close to the bulb, take the core out, and slice vertically like an onion. I had also never used Gouda cheese on a pizza, and it was delicious. It's definitely "milkier" than mozzarella cheese which is a nice neutralizer to the sweetness of the fennel and onion. This dish is a little expensive for everyday weeknight meals, but well worth stepping outside of the box for pizza. I hope you enjoy!
  • 3 oz of chicken or turkey sausage, sliced then chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups vertically sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb, about 1 small bulb
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • your favorite pizza crust (I used Pillsbury from a can)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
  • chives (optional)
  1. Follow directions on Pillsbury can for pizza crust, or preheat oven to 450 degrees for pre-baked crust.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook for 4 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan.
  3. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in pan. Add fennel, onion, and 1/4 tsp salt to pan. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Top crust evenly with onion mixture, sprinkle with cheese, and top evenly with sausage. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with chives.
  5. Cut into 8 wedges (serving 2 wedges)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Delicious! This will become a monthly favorite in my household. It's a variation of a recipe I found online, but you can mix-in whatever you would like. I hope you enjoy!
Makes 4 servings (261 calories each).
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, chopped- I used ground chicken
  • 1 cup uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (10.75-oz) low-sodium cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 8" square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine chicken, spaghetti noodles, onion, and bell pepper (and celery) in small bowl. Combine chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, and salt and pepper in medium sized bowl, stirring with a bowl.
  3. Pour soup mixture over spaghetti mixture and toss.
  4. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Cover with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baked Coconut and Pecan Chicken and Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette

This recipe is a cool twist on your basic baked crunchy chicken. It's a good mix of sweet and salty as well as being a lot healthier for you than the traditional fried chicken strips. I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 cups plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1 inch wide strips
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Put yogurt in shallow bowl and set aside; In another shallow bowl, combine coconut, panko, and pecans.
  3. Dip chicken strips in yogurt to cover, then roll in panko mixture. Place on oil-sprayed baking sheet. Spray top of chicken. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 15 minutes. Make sure that chicken browns but does not burn. You may need to turn chicken over to prevent burning.

For spinach with garlic vinaigrette (makes 4 servings):
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves (about 6 oz)
  • 1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add spinach and red onion. Toss to coat.

Calories per serving (1 3/4 cups): 66

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Marsala and Asparagus

Delicious! This is a slow-cooker meal that you can start after work. I'm still amazed that the chicken cooked through in only one and half hours in the slow-cooker. Serve with some fresh asparagus and you'll have a meal worth waiting for. I hope you enjoy!
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • cooked fettuccine pasta
  • fresh parsley (optional)
  1. Coat slow-cooker with cooking spray or use a slow-cooker liner.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion. Cook and stir until translucent. Add Marsala and continue cooking 2-3 minutes or until mixture is slightly reduced. Stir in mushrooms. Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover; cook on HIGH 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours or until chicken is done.
  3. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let stand. Blend or stir with a whisk whipping cream and cornstarch until smooth. Stir into cooking liquid. Cover; continue cooking on HIGH for 15 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Slice chicken breasts and place on pasta. Top with sauce.

For asparagus, snap off ends of fresh asparagus and rinse thoroughly. Add to shallow pot of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Quickly remove from water and drain.