Monday, January 27, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

Every year for New Year's Eve, we head to my aunt's house for a lovely time ringing in the next year of memories and excitement! There is always tons of food, fireworks, games, and friends to help celebrate. I knew we were planning to play a bunch of board games, so I figured finger foods would be something useful to bring. So I used a variation of my grandma's baked macaroni and cheese and instead of baking it in a large rectangular pan, I used cupcakes pans and colorful wrappers. It made mac and cheese into a portable and cute savory cupcake. Make these for your next party and see them disappear!

For January's What's Baking Challenge, Eva from Eva Bakes, gave us the challenge to make something with small portions. So I figured these macaroni and cheese cupcakes were perfect! You get your own 'lil cup for just yourself! Of course, you can have more than one if you really want. In fact, I recommend it.

1 lb mini shells
2 1/2 cup 1% milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp black pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz Velvetta
1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

1. Heat milk, heavy cream, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, nutmeg, and paprika in a large pot over medium heat. Stir to combine all ingredients.

2. Add pasta and continue stirring constantly until it reaches a simmer. Then turn the heat down to low.

3. Continue stirring while the cooking the mac and cheese on low for about 12-15 minutes. The macaroni must always be submerged in the milk mixture, if the liquid evaporates too quickly add a little more milk and make sure the heat is on low.

4. Remove from and immediately stir in cheese until melted and combined. Let the pasta cool for a few minutes and prepare the pans. Line the muffin pans with cupcake liners.

5. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners with mac and cheese.

6. Pop pans into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Ideas

For myself and my husband, February is like the month of love. We are super into celebrating! We kinda love making presents for each other, surprising the other, and making fun treats! Since Valentine's day and our anniversary are only a week apart we basically celebrate all week. If you enjoy Valentine's day or just spoiling your significant other (or just yourself), try these favorite foods!

Valentine's Day Menu Ideas


(delicious! perfect for breakfast-in-bed)

(everything you could want; stacked and smothered)

(a yummy little morning delight)

Appetizers Ideas:

(a cute appetizer dish just for two)

(simple and elegant; a little Italian for St. Valentine)

Dinner Ideas:

(a dinner sure to make any meat lover swoon)

(a portion-friendly stack-up of everyone's favorite eggplant recipe)

(an amazingly romantic dinner that begs for a glass of wine)

Sweet Treats:

(perfect for two spoons)

(my husband always fawns over these)

(a classic valentines themed cupcake)

Superbowl Favorites

It's almost that time of the year where people get super excited to watch men in very tight pants run back and forth across fake grass. Yep, that's right, it's Superbowl season! With the approaching football fun, you may be preparing for a Super Bowl party, which is indeed the very best part of football. You get to eat wings and watch commercials. If you need some ideas for yummy Superbowl party treats, check out these favorites of mine!

Potato Skins
(seriously, what's not to love, potatoes with cheese and bacon?)

(got crackers, check. got wings, check.)

(simple and easy... plus its vegetarian friendly!)

(cupcakes + football = :)

(an easy to share savory treat)

(just like at the Cheesecake Factory: buffalo style chicken and cream cheese in a wonton)

Happy Football'ing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Football Pull-Apart Cake

With football season upon us, it's time to start thinking about the best part of football season, the food. Here is a fun little cake I made for a Packer's game. My family have been long time Packers fans and I am a fan of making football theme food. So enjoy this football pull-apart cake.

For cupcakes:
My Vanilla cake mix
3/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup softened butter
3 eggs

For chocolate ganache:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
white decorating icing
colored candies (M&M, Reese's Pieces)

1. Mix all ingredients for cake in a large bowl to combine.

2. Line cupcake pan with wrappers and scoop batter in each cup (about 2/3 full).

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 mins. Let cool.

4. While cupcakes cool, heat heavy cream in microwave for about 2 minutes. Pour over chopped chocolate and let it sit about 5 minutes.

5. Stir thoroughly until chocolate and cream are fully incorporated. Let cool. Beat on medium high speed for a minute or two, until fluffy and spreadable.

6. Arrange cupcakes in a football shape on a cake plate or baking sheet. Spoon dollops of whipped frosting all over the cupcakes. Use a knife to carefully spread frosting across all the cupcakes tops, like they are one unit. If the frosting is not spreading easily, dip the knife in a cup of hot water and then try again.

7. Fully cover the cupcake cake with frosting and even out the frosting. Sprinkle candies around the edge and pipe on football ties in the middle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bloomin' Pepperoni Bread

Well, I know the holidays are officially over with the passing of Epiphany, and all that is left is football. Now, I'm going to be completely honest with you. I couldn't care less about football. The only appeal it has for me is the food. I watch the Superbowl for the commercials, but everything else you can take. I do, however, enjoy Superbowl parties. I like themes, and themed foods. I have made football pull apart cakes and even attempted those football Oreo truffles from pinterest (which I failed at). That is what I like about sports. The food. So without further ado, here is a great Super Bowl/football appetizer to share.

1 round loaf of french or Italian bread (I used a french boule)
1 pkg or stick of pepperoni, thinly sliced and halved
8 oz soft provolone, thin sliced
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper or peperoncini flakes if you are feeling daring
1 tbsp pecorino or Parmesan cheese
marinara sauce for dipping

1. Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise, very carefully, without cutting through the crust. It doesn't have to be perfect so don't stress!

2. Stuff the bread with provolone, mozzarella, and pepperoni. Place stuffed bread on a parchment lined baking sheet.

3. Combine butter, olive oil, and seasonings. Brush over the bread to cover entire loaf and then sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with foil.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes and then unwrap and continue baking another 10-15 minutes until the cheese and pepperoni are slightly crispy.

Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Monday, January 6, 2014

Maple Bacon Pancakes

Try this new spin on classic pancakes for a delicious Saturday morning breakfast. I love bacon. Everyone loves bacon. In my house, it's pancakes and bacon or no pancakes at all. I mean, pancakes are good, but they need a counterpart, another component to make them perfect. And bacon happens to fill that spot.
And my husband will never eat pancakes with maple syrup, ever. So I decided to embrace our love of bacon and maple syrup and try adding it to pancakes. It turned out great!

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp melted butter
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Mix all dry ingredients, except the bacon, together in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir all the wet ingredients together.

2. Combine both mixes together and stirring only enough to incorporate the two batters.

3. Fold the bacon into the batter gently and let batter rest for about 10 minutes.

4. Pour it onto a heated griddle or electric skillet and flip pancakes when bubbles form on the pancake tops. Eat warm, served with butter and maple syrup. Happy breakfast time!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Vegetable Tian

The new year has come and everyone is busy racking their brain with resolutions, changes, and new ideas. Many people will plan to become healthier and more food conscious in the new year. If eating your veggies and enjoying them is one of your goals for the new year, then this is perfect for you.

People always say how kids hate eating their vegetables. I know this because I was that kid. I ate maybe ten foods, none of which were nutrient rich. I was such a picky eater and I'm not entirely over that. There are still plenty of foods that make me squirm, but I did finally embrace veggies and found such delicious and healthy ways to prepare them. This is one of my husband's favorite veggie sides for dinner.

Happy New Year and may 2014 bring everyone many blessings and happiness!

2 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
3 red potatoes
3 large tomatoes
1 yellow zucchini
1 green zucchini
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded

1. Saute the onion and garlic with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt over medium heat until softened. Set aside to cool.

2. Slice the potatoes and vegetables into thin round disks.

3. Spray a square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop half of the onions and garlic into the bottom of the baking dish.

4. Layer the veggie and potato slices vertically, in an alternating pattern. Then top with salt, pepper, and tbsp of olive oil. Spread the remaining garlic and onions over the veggies and cover with foil.

5. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Adapted from Budget Bytes