Thursday, March 31, 2011

I love making cute food!

I've been craving chocolate cake like no other lately. I wasn't looking for anything fancy, just chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I decided my best option, was to make cupcakes...good portion control! I also decided to give half of them away so I wouldn't eat them all!!!

First off, I bought mini vanilla wafers and regular. The Wal-Mart brand "regular" size were smaller than the mini. I ended up using just one size after that! These supplies were used to make Monkey Cupcakes for my little Monkey :)

You need 2 vanilla wafers for each cupcake. I microwaved mine for about 30 sec so I could cut them without having them crumble. Cut 1 wafer in half to make 2 ears, and take just the very edge off one to make the monkey mouth.

I just used boxed cake mix and made 24 Devil's Food cupcakes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frost cooled cupcakes with the chocolate frosting of your choice. I love the Whipped frostings!

Next, build your monkey. Place one vanilla wafer with the cut edge up. Place the halved wafers on either side to make the ears.

Using tubed frosting (I was too lazy to make homemade), draw 4 dots of blacks and a smile of red to form the face. Pretty simple!

A festive platter on Monkey Cupcakes! They were super easy to make, totally adorable and cured me of my need for Chocolate least for today :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back from a break with more food to love!

Sorry gang- I got in a cooking slump, life got busy and I went on vacation. As a result, it's been WAY too long since I blogged last :) Have no fear, I'm back...and ready for Spring to inspire some new recipes!

On my last trip to the grocery store, I found some Sirloin Steaks that were priced "Managers Special". I bought them along with some veggies to make a stir fry. Hubby said stir fry did not sound appealing, so I tried another take on the Philly Cheese Steak.

For this recipe, I used about 1 lb of Sirloin Steak, 1 Green Bell Pepper, 1 Pkg of White Mushrooms (8 oz), French Bread, Cheez Whiz and various seasoning.

To get extra tender meat, cut into paper thin slices and just sear in your skillet. My steak turned out so great this time!

In a large skillet, heat the oil of your choice over Medium High heat. Add veggies and cook until they start to become tender. Then add your meat.

Cook meat until it just turns brown. Don't over cook it or it will become tough. Season with salt, pepper and a little Worcestershire Sauce. I put my bread in the oven for a few minutes to heat while I cooked the meat and veggies.

I'm not one for processed foods, but I did go traditional this time and top mine with Cheez Whiz. I must admit, it was super tasty :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I love homemade pasta!

I've been wanting to try my hand at homemade pasta for a long time! After watching an episode of Ciao Italiana on PBS, I decided I was going to start with gnocchi. Gnocchi is a pasta made from potatoes and they are like little pillows of deliciousness!


Start with plain old Idaho Potatoes....I used 6 small potatoes to make 3 servings.

Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour- until soft. Remove the skins and let the potatoes cool. Use a fork or a ricer to finely mash the potatoes.

Stir in 1 egg (beaten), a good pinch of salt, and flour a little at a time until the dough forms a ball.

I used about 1 cup of flour...and probably should have used a little more. Don't over knead the dough- just work it together until it's no longer sticky.

Cut the dough into quarters and roll each section into a rope. Using a sharp knife, cut about 1/2 inch pieces.

At this point, I put on a big pot of boiling water and started my Alfredo Sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter with half a cup of cream. I also added 3 cloves of finely minced garlic and LOTS of black pepper.

Heat the cream and butter over Medium heat until it starts to thicken, then stir in 1 cup of fresh grated Parmesan Cheese and another 1/2 cup of cream. VERY LOW FAT :)

After cutting the gnocchi, flour a fork and roll each piece down the back of the prongs. This gives the gnocchi little grooves to hold the sauce. Drop into boiling water and cook about 3 minutes...remove as soon as they start to float!!!

Add to the thick and creamy Alfredo sauce. Wouldn't you love to see the finished product??? I know, but I forgot to take a picture :) I was too anixious to eat it!!

Overall a great 1st experience with homemade pasta- one I will be making again very soon!