Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chocolate-Candy Cane Cupcakes

Everybody loves desserts -- especially this kid. And what better time to enjoy them than over the holidays? Winter desserts are typically awesome. Full of chocolate and calories, none of the fancy schmancy reduced-fat "need-to-lose-weight" desserts. Nope, these are the actual thing. See, in winter, you can just throw a loose sweater on an nobody will notice those extra couple pounds. No bikinis allowed this season. :)

These cupcakes definitely embody the holiday season. (Okay, well, the peppermint candy canes definitely help out.) I'm really turning into a fan of including sour cream in my chocolate cake mixes. I think it really adds to/holds in the moisture.

Chocolate-Candy Cane Cupcakes
From: Kraft Foods

5 squares Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) Chocolate Instant Pudding
4 eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
6 small candy canes, crushed, divided
1 tub (8 oz. ) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

Heat oven to 350°F. Chop 4 chocolate squares; set aside. Beat cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water with mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Stir in chopped chocolate and 2 Tbsp. candy. Spoon into 30 paper-lined 2-1/2-inch muffin cups.

Bake 20 to 23 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely.

Frost cupcakes with Cool Whip. Melt remaining chocolate; drizzle over cupcakes. Top with remaining candy.

Makes: 30 cupcakes

These were fairly easy to make, as most dishes have been from Kraft. And not only are they tasty, you can take out a little frustration smashing the candy canes.

The one thing I wasn't a huge fan of, was that I had to refrigerate the cupcakes after they were made (due to the cool whip topping), which kind of made them hard and dried out. (I wasn't sure, can you leave those out?)

But overall, we rated these:

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 188Calories from fat 105
% Daily Value
Total Fat 11.7g18%
Saturated Fat 4.1g21%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 214mg9%
Total Carbs 20.6g7%
Dietary Fiber 0.8g3%
Sugars 12.7g
Protein 2.5g
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 5%Iron 6%

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ramano's Macaroni Grille Vodka Rustica

As I have mentioned before, I love Google Reader. However, I have the unfortunate habit of starring recipes and then completely forgetting about them. Such as this fabulous recipe from Simply Tasty I starred back in August, and didn't get around to making until November.

And all that time, I was definitely missing out. This dish is definitely rich and very tasty. I recommend having a nice loaf of bread with some dipping oil to break up the heaviness of the dish a bit.

Ramano's Macaroni Grille Vodka Rustica

3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp marsala wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cold milk
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp chicken bullion
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh minced thyme (used dry)
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1lb penne pasta cooked
12 medium shrimp (omitted)
2 skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Prosciutto, about 2 oz thick-sliced, chopped

3 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1.5 tsp Paprika

GARNISH (omitted)
12 sliced pimientos
4 sprigs of rosemary

Preheat bbq grill to high.

Prepare gratinata sauce by melting 3 tbsp of butter over medium/low heat. Add garlic and sweat it for about 5 minutes. Be sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add the marsala wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a simmer and keep it there for 10 minutes or until it's thick. Cover sauce and remove from heat.

Cook past following directions on the package (7-9 minutes in boiling water). You want the pasta tender, but not mush (al dente). Strain pasta and set it aside when it's done.

Pound the thick end of your chicken breast a bit with a kitchen mallet to make them a uniform thickness. Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper. Spear the shrimp on skewers (6 per skewer should work fine), then rub them with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Grill shrimp for 2 minutes per side. When chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Build each dish in a large shallow baking dish. Or you can use a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Load 3 cups of pasta into each baking dish. Add one quarter of the chicken, 3 shrimp, and 2 tbsp of prosciutto onto each serving. Spoon 3/4 of a cup of gratinata sauce on each serving and toss to coat. Combine 3 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese with 1 1/2 tsp paprika, then sprinkle about 1 tbsp of this mixture over the top of each serving. Bake the dishes for 10-12 minutes, or until tops begin to brown. Arrange 3 pimentos on the top of each serving, then jab a sprig of rosemary into the center and serve.

Alterative cooking method: After straining the pasta, placed it in a 9x13 glass pan sprayed with Pam. Mix in the chicken and bacon, then stir in the sauce until the pasta is coated. Bake the dish for about 5 min, stir, and sprinkle on the topping. Bake it for another 5 or so minutes.

Serves: 8

Well, as Stacey did, I cut out a couple things, such as the shrimp and the garnish. I also cheated with the chicken, and just sauted cubed chicken over medium-high heat instead of grilling it. (I'm all about saving some time, okay?) I also took her cooking suggestion (the alternative method) and baked it in a 9x13 pan instead of three separate dishes.

Adam for sure fell in love with this dish and instantly rated it:

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 591Calories from fat 227
% Daily Value
Total Fat 25.2g39%
Saturated Fat 13.6g68%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 371mg124%
Sodium 851mg35%
Total Carbs 35.6g12%
Sugars 1.1g
Protein 48.5g
Vitamin A 24%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium 27%Iron 36%

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cheesy Tomato Chicken Skillet

Every once in a while I have a craving for comfort food. However, it's usually a rare and short lived occasion. No, I don't crave Denny's or IHOP, or Waffle House. I'm pretty sure my husband is going to disown me at some point over this.

I saw this recipe a while back on Julie's Foodie, and it just sounded so creamy and delicious that I had to try it. This is my idea of comfort food -- rich and creamy, and just melt in your mouth. Not that over-fried greasiness business.

Cheesy Tomato Chicken Skillet
Pillsbury Best of 2007

2 cups of pasta (I used radiatore, isn't it cute?)
3/4 lbs chicken, cut into pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used the Healthy Request)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a can of diced)
1 1/2 cup of milk
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Cook the pasta as directed

Heat 10 in skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken & cook thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium; stir in soup, tomatoes, milk & basil.

Stir in cooked pasta. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until bubbly & heated through. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat, cover & let stand about 5 minutes.

I am sure this recipe has an ungodly amount of calories and cholesterol (and a ton of anything else bad) because it is just that good. (And anything good has to have those requirements, right?)

We've already made this a couple times... this is definitely a comfort food I can crave.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 450Calories from fat 113
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.5g19%
Saturated Fat 6.3g31%
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 531mg22%
Total Carbs 40.0g13%
Dietary Fiber 2.5g10%
Sugars 8.3g
Protein 42.9g
Vitamin A 23%Vitamin C 13%
Calcium 34%Iron 15%

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

Ever since last February (yes, that long ago), I have been craving banana pancakes topped with peanut butter. Peanut butter goes so well with so many different things: chocolate, apples, bananas, english muffins... you get the idea. I heart peanut butter. As a kid I used to eat it straight out of the jar. Yeah, I was that kid.

Well, as usual, Adam and I were watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Guy happened to be featuring a breakfast/brunch place up in Pittsburgh which specialized in pancakes. Lo and behold, the craving for those pancakes came back. I remembered I had seen a recipe for these and luckily, I had all the ingredients. Guess what we had for breakfast the next morning?

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

1 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
3T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ C sour cream (I used light)
¾ C plus
1T milk (I used skim)
2 Extra-large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Chocolate chips

In medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing until combined.

Melt 1T butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle batter into pan. Distribute a rounded T of bananas on each pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear and the underside is browned. Flip and cook another minute until browned. Wipe pan, add more butter and continue cooking. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

Tip: keep pancakes warm in preheated 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes

Makes: 12 pancakes

I was so excited to try these... after all, I had waited a very long time to give in to my craving. Annnnd, I was a little disappointed. The batter was super thick, and we definitely had to up the cooking temp from med-low (it was taking forever).

I added in the chocolate chips, because, well, I figured why not? Bananas and chocolate go good together; chocolate and peanut butter go good together, and bananas and peanut butter are awesome too.

I'm not sure if we just ladled these on the griddle too thick or what happened exactly, but they were just okay. Good, but I think I'm still searching for THE recipe.

Nutrition Facts - Per Pancake
Amount per serving
Calories 229Calories from fat 93
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.4g16%
Saturated Fat 6.5g32%
Cholesterol 47mg16%
Sodium 346mg14%
Total Carbs 29.7g10%
Dietary Fiber 1.4g6%
Sugars 13.9g
Protein 4.7g
Vitamin A 5%Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 10%Iron 7%

Friday, December 5, 2008

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Okay, now does seeing this recipe appear on my blog really surprise anybody? Not me! :)

I saw this recipe in the holiday edition of Kraft Foods, and of course, I had to make it. It just looked so scrumptious. But I couldn't just have it sitting around staring at me... I knew I'd eat it all. So I convinced Adam to have a couple people over to watch a Pens game. (Same day we made those fabulous chicken nuggets.) I like having good excuses to make fattening food. And these definitely did not disappoint.

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
Kraft Foods

12 OREO Cookies, finely crushed
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 squares BAKER'S White Chocolate, divided
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup red raspberry preserves

HEAT oven to 350ºF. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 8- or 9-inch square pan. Melt 2 chocolate squares as directed on package.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 25 to 28 min. or until center is almost set. Cool 5 min.; spread with preserves. Melt remaining chocolate square; drizzle over cheesecake. Cool cheesecake completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Serves: 9

And the best part (besides them being awesome)? They're pretty easy to make too. Everybody really liked them, and I even made them again for Thanksgiving (merely to supplement the Pumpkin Pie, not replace, don't worry).
We all rated these:

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 395Calories from fat 240
% Daily Value
Total Fat 26.7g41%
Saturated Fat 15.3g77%
Trans Fat 0.7g
Cholesterol 106mg35%
Sodium 257mg11%
Total Carbs 33.9g11%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugars 26.2g
Protein 6.4g
Vitamin A 16%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 7%Iron 8%

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets

Mmmm I love Chick-Fil-A Nuggets. They are definitely one of my favorite guilty pleasures... right behind a Chick-Fil-A Cookies 'n' Cream Milkshake. There's something about their juiciness and crispy flavorful outsides that make them oh-so yummy. In fact, I never order anything else whenever we go there. And heaven-forbid that I order nuggets at any other fast food place. I mean really, why go there when there's no way they can compare?

A couple of months ago, I was sent the 2002 Insider's Recipes Master Edition and it had CHICK-FIL-A NUGGETS. I was so excited. The only thing truly barring my way from jumping on these was the whole deep frying thing. I am so not a fan of hot oil spatter. It really hurts. So when we did finally make these bad boys I had the hubby do the frying. ;)

Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets
Insider's Recipes Master Edition, 2002

2 Cups Chicken Breast (Boneless, Skinless, Cubed)
1 Cup Flour
1−1/2 Cups Cracker Meal
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
2 Cups Water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2−1/4 teaspoons McCormick Season−all

Place cool water in bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon season−all and dissolve bouillon cubes in mixture. Place cubed chicken in water, mix, cover and place in refrigerator for 12 hours or next day. When ready to cook nuggets, mix flour, cracker meal, 2 teaspoons season−all and paprika in bowl. Heat oil for deep frying. Drain chicken. Coat nuggets in flour, cracker mixture and fry until golden. Chicken will be flavorful and juicy.

We made these when we had a couple people over to watch a hockey game. Of course we didn't think to read the recipe the night before, so we only marinated these for about 4 hours. But it still made a huge difference in how juicy these were. (We made them the following night without marinating at all and they were pretty dry.) I can't imagine how awesome they would be if they had been soaking for the full 12 hrs.

While they weren't 100% Chick-Fil-A nuggets (we couldn't master the dark crispy tails), they were still super delicious. And they worked out pretty good for the protein at a group dinner as nuggets make great finger food. We would for sure make these again.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 659Calories from fat 305
% Daily Value
Total Fat 33.9g52%
Saturated Fat 6.1g31%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 849mg35%
Total Carbs 59.8g20%
Dietary Fiber 0.9g4%
Sugars 3.9g
Protein 27.3g
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 9%Iron 27%


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It button on image hover