Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes!

These are so, so yummy! I prefer to use sour cream in these because it makes them heavier, like a pound cake, but if you like your cupcakes light and airy use buttermilk instead. The coconut flavoring is found in the baking aisle by the vanilla extract. I always just throw my frosting together without measuring so the measurements for the frosting are approximate, you may have to add more milk or powdered sugar to reach the right consistency. These turn out beautiful!

Coconut Cupcakes

1 1/2 c. butter, room temp
2 c. sugar
5 extra large eggs at room temp (or 7 regular sized eggs)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut extract/flavoring
3 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk or 1 heaping cup of sour cream
1 c. sweetened and shredded coconut


1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c. milk
6-7 cups powdered sugar

Cream together butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and coconut extracts.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of dry mix to batter and mix until incorporated, mix in sour cream or buttermilk until incorporated, add remaining dry mix. Gently stir in coconut.
Fill 24 muffin cups almost to the brim with the batter. Bake at 325 for approximately 20-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to determine if they are done. Let cool.

For frosting cream together butter and cream cheese, add vanilla and milk. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach the right consistency.
Generously frost cupcakes and immediately sprinkle coconut over top. (I did about four a time)

Greek Isles Pasta Salad

I needed to make a pasta salad for a church get together and I wanted something different. I found this recipe and thought it looked so good, my husband was so proud of me for putting spinach in it!

Greek Isles Pasta Salad

3 c. farfalle (bow-tie) pasta uncooked
2 c. baby spinach leaves
1 c. crumbled feta cheese (I don't like feta so I used cubed Monterey Jack)
1 small container cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. drained and rinsed chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 c. Kraft Greek Vinaigrette (or more to taste)

Cook pasta according to directions, al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water, place in large bowl. Add spinach leaves, cheese, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Chicken Spaghetti

I don't make casseroles very often but this one looked so good I had to try it. I loved it! It was creamy and delicious! I would highly recommend grilling or roasting the chicken breasts.

Chicken Spaghetti

2 c. chopped cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c. finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 c. finely diced onion
3 c. dry spaghetti, broken in half
2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 additional cup grated cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti to al dente, drain. Combine all ingredients except the additional cup of cheddar cheese. Pour into a large casserole dish, top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly or freeze up to six months.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Best Lasagna from PW

I know this takes a little time to prepare, but after the mountain of dirty dishes and the sore feet, you can sit down to a delicious dinner, and think Yes! It was worth it! I don't make homemade lasagna very often (I like Stouffers frozen meat lasagna!), but when a recipe claims to be the best I have to try it, and I can honestly say this is the best homemade lasagna recipe I've ever tried. Very meaty and cheesy, and if you're going to make this for a dinner with family or friends, I would highly recommend preparing it the day before and refrigerating it until ready to bake the next day, that way you won't have all of those dishes to do right before company comes.

The Best Lasagna

1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 pound hot breakfast sausage (I always use the Jimmy Dean that comes in the 1 lb. tube)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 14.5 oz. cans whole tomatoes
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1/3 c. chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
1/3 c. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
8 lasagna noodles
1 Tbs olive oil
3 c. lowfat cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. sliced mozzarella (You can shred your own but sliced is so much more convenient! I would not recommend using the pre-shredded kind)

In a skillet combine the beef, sausage, and garlic cloves. Cook until brown, draining off half the fat. Pour in cans of whole tomatoes (with juice) and tomato paste, parsley, basil, and salt. Mix together thoroughly and simmer, uncovered.

In the meantime, boil lasagna noodles. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 Tbs. olive oil to water. Cook the noodles "al dente" (I cooked mine for 8 minutes). When noodles are finished, drain, rinse with cool water, and lay flat on aluminum foil.

Mix together cottage cheese, eggs, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, and 2 Tbs. parsley and 1/2 tsp salt.

Preheat oven to 350.
Set up your "assembly" line: meat mixture, 1 lb. sliced mozzarella, cottage cheese mixture, and lasagna noodles. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.

Place four noodles on bottom, overlapping edges. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture over noodles. Place 1/2 lb. of mozzarella cheese slices over that, overlapping if you need to. Spread a little less than half of the meat mixture over the mozzarella and then repeat; noodles, cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella, and meat. Sprinkle parmesan cheese generously over the top and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

I served this with my homemade breadstick recipe, I think I posted it on this site last year around May or June.