Friday, September 30, 2011

Sangria Recipes

White Sangria
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup peach schnapps
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 6 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 3/4 pound nectarines or peaches, pitted and sliced (or frozen!)
  • 1 green apples, cored and sliced
  • diet ginger ale
  1. In a large pitcher, combine the white wine, liquors, and lemonade concentrate. Stir until the lemonade is dissolved. Add the peaches and apples. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight to blend the flavors.
  2. Serve over ice with a 1:1 ratio with the ginger ale. Use a slotted spoon in include fruit in each serving.
Red Sangria
  • 2 bottles Spanish red wine
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 3/4 cup triple sec, peach schnapps or orange flavored liqueur 
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar*
  • orange slices
  • lemon slices
  • apple slices
  • 4 cups club soda, ginger ale or 7-up (optional)
  1. Combine the wine, brandy, triple sec, oj, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, and fruit. Refrigerate overnight. 
  2. Before serving, add club soda (if you'd like a fizzier sangria) or ginger ale (if you'd like a sweeter sangria). Serve over ice.
*Ginger ale and 7-up will add a little bit of sweetness, so you can omit the sugar if you choose to go with either of them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been sorta crazy about hoarding canned pumpkin these past few years after.. you know, the Libby's canned pumpkin puree shortage of 2009. Oh, you don't know? Oh, I'm the only one who went to five grocery stores to find pumpkin puree..? Oh.. Mock me all you want, but I'm fully stocked with pumpkin for the year, and I'm totes excited about it.
I'm especially excited because it's officially fall (even though it's still 100 degrees outside) and I am celebrating autumn. I purchased pumpkin cupcake liners, autumn leaves sprinkles, pumpkin spice coffeemate, and even wore a sweater to class today (bad decision- it was HOT. I was dying in that thing!). And to top everything off.. my first pumpkin recipe of the season!
These cookies are cakey and delicious- I 'lightened' them up to make them a little healthier with the addition of whole-wheat flour, and the substituted unsweetened applesauce for oil. If you really wanted to make them healthy, you could substitute the chocolate chips with raisins, but.. seriously? Who would want to do something like that?


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet or milk-chocolate chips (your preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecan, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 365 degrees.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, sugars, applesauce, egg, and vanilla- stir until well-mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, bs, bp, and salt. 
  4. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. For each cookie, mound about two tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Space them about two inches apart.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly brown and firm 
  7. These cookies taste best warm from the oven, or straight from the fridge. After they have cooled, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. 
*Don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand? Check your spice cabinet, you probably have all the components for pumpkin pie spice. Make your own and keep it in an old spice jar.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • big pinch of ground cardamom

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes



Chocolate Cupcakes 
  • 1 box of Devil's Food cake mix (my preference is Duncan Hines)
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) package of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules (optional)
  • 30 Reese's minis (frozen. MUST be frozen!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand-mixer), combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and water (if using espresso granules, dissolve them into the water),- beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Don't forget to scrape down the sides occasionally! 
  3. Distribute the batter among the muffin wells, about 3 tablespoons per cupcake. Press one frozen Reese's in the center of the batter- you don't have to press it down all the way, just a little bit. Gently smooth the batter over the top. 
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the tops spring back when you touch them lightly with your finger. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. *The cupcakes will sink a little in the middle, that's okay.
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream/half&half/milk (I used half&half)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand-mixer), cream the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. 
  2. About a cup at a time, slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar with the butter/pb. 
  3. Once all the sugar has been moistened, add in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat on high speed until light (at least 1 minute)- add in additional cream one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Pipe (or spread!) onto cupcakes. 
Keep these cupcakes stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bacon Ranch Chicken

I made this the other day and I had really low expectations. Such low expectations that I didn't bother taking a single picture... Then we ate it for dinner. And it was delicious. Then I ate the leftovers for lunch. And it was just as delicious. Then Michael ate the leftovers for dinner again. Do you know what that means? That means it was still so delicious that MICHAEL ATE LEFTOVERS. That is unheard of in this house.

It's a recipe from theCrockPotGirls.com. It's chicken in a creamy sauce over egg noodles- nothing fancy, but super simple and delicious.

My only request when you make this meal? Invite some vegetables to dinner. Some fresh vegetables. And not vegetables covered in butter or sauteed in oil. Plain, steamed veggies or a salad. I like to pretend veggies counter-act sodium and creamy sauces; I lie to myself all the time.

Bacon Ranch Chicken
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix (or 1 packet)
  • 2 Tbsp. real bacon bits (didn't have any so I crisped two strips of bacon then chopped them up)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Egg noodles
  1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, ranch mix, bacon bits, garlic & black pepper- pour over the chicken. 
  2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. 
  3. Boil the egg noodles according to the package's instructions. 
  4. Remove the chicken; shred it, put it back in the pot, then add the egg noodles and stir to combine. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes


Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) box of Devil's Food cake mix
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tray with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or in a large bowl, with an electric mixer), combine all the ingredients and beat for about two minutes on medium speed, until smooth.
  3. Distribute the batter between the cupcake liners, approximately 3 tablespoons each.
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the tops spring back when you touch them lightly with your finger. 
  5. Allow to cool completely.
*Makes approx 30 cupcakes.

Cookies 'n Cream Frosting
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 12 Oreos, crushed
  1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light. Add in the vanilla, and mix until smooth. 
  2. Add the powdered sugar in batches until you reach your desired consistency, then add in milk and fold in the crushed Oreos. 
  3. Frost cupcakes with a pastry bag. I topped each cupcake with a mini oreo.
It's chocolate cake. And there are Oreo's in the frosting. 
Of course they were amazing.

Crock Pot Girls' Mediterranean Chicken

Have you heard about the Crock Pot Girls? It's such a great idea- 3 moms decided to make a Facebook page to share crockpot recipes, and before they knew it.. a MILLION FOLLOWERS!
The wall has a sense of 'community'. People can post recipes, or requests recipes, and almost instantaneously there will be 5-10 responses.
If you're not into Facebook, they also have a website- CrockPotGirls.com.

Originally, I was planning to make this recipe tomorrow because I didn't have time to put it together before class.. But then.. the Franc/Block Wall/Fire Dept incident happened and voila! I was home early enough to make a crock pot meal.


Mediterranean Chicken
adapted from the Crock Pot Girls' Recipe
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olives (I used pitted kalamata & a few green)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, in oil (julienned or chopped)
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 T. lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 t. chopped garlic 
  • 1 t. Greek seasoning (from WorldMarket)
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  1. Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
Our spunky little girl.

What is the Franc/Block Wall/Fire Dept incident, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
Franc is our dog. She is a delightful, hilarious, sweet little creature.. except for the fact that she's a neurotic little turd. She stuck her head in a drain in our block wall and got stuck. Like, head in the front yard-rump in the backyard stuck. She yelped her little heart out until a neighbor called 911. The police & fire department were at out house chipping away at the wall until she was released. Luckily, this little fiasco had a happy ending- she's totally fine, and napping on the couch next to me right now. Ah, the joys of puppy-motherhood...