Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Honey- Orange Pork Tenderloin

We love Pork Tenderloin and have it quite often. It is low in fat, and fairly healthy. We have had it grilled on the rotisserie and braised, but hardly ever baked. What  have we been missing?  This recipe is so easy, and it's a Cooking Light recipe. The tenderloin is browned in an ovenproof skillet, and then finished in the oven. The total prep and cooking time is 40 minutes. that's it! And my hubby doesn't have to run out to the grill to check the rotisserie. There is  an amazing Honey-Orange Saucy glaze with bits of garlic,  that is brushed on after the pork is browned and before baking. Seriously, the sauce is wonderful, and would work well with chicken or shrimp, too. As you can see my hubby likes his pork on the pink side. The safe temperature has been lowered to 145F by the USDA . Check it out here.  If you like your pork, less pink, then I would go to 150 F or higher.  After the pork reaches 145F , it's a matter of personal preference.

The  sauce has orange marmalade, honey, low sodium soy sauce, vinegar, and fresh garlic.  What's not to love, right? Be sure you have enough saucy glaze to serve at the table. too. The sauce is sweet, but not too sweet with a hint of orange, sour, and a bit salty, so many layers of flavor, and the pork tastes wonderful. We cooked  the whole tenderloin, 2 pieces, so we doubled the recipe for the saucy glaze.  We sauteed Brussels Spouts and Sweet Potatoes for sides. The Sweet Potatoes had been par cooked in the microwave, to speed the cooking.  This was a marvelous dinner, and of course we love leftovers, if you have any.  These leftovers would be great in a stir fry  If you make this wonderful Pork Tenderloin you won't be disappointed.

We woke up this morning to this Winter Wonderland.  Yes, it is beautiful, but it is almost March, and I'm getting Spring Fever.  Granted, we have had a mild winter by all standards, but I want SPRING!  Are you with me on this one?  At least you can make this wonderful Pork Tenderloin and feel  a little better.
 Honey-Orange Pork Tenderloin From Cooking Light

  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1.      Preheat oven to 350°
2.      Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside 2             tablespoons marmalade mixture.
3.      Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn pork over; brush with 1/4 cup marmalade mixture. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
4.      Turn pork over; brush with 1/4 cup marmalade mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 150°**.
5.      Remove pork from pan; brush with reserved 2 tablespoons marmalade mixture. Let stand 10 minutes; slice.*** Always let your meat rest for at least 10 minutes, so the juices return to the meat, and keeps meat moist and juicy.

  l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #56
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins with Swerve Sweetener

I wanted to make muffins to serve with the Spinach Quiche with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms  that I made last week.  I knew that I didn't want an overly sweet muffin, so I made these Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins, sweetened with Swerve Sweetener , and topped with Cinnamon Swerve topping.  I may have gotten a little carried away with the cinnamon.   I love cinnamon in anything, and these muffins are no exception.  I had won a cute lunchbox with Swerve products including these cute cupcake liners, and wanted to use the Swerve Sweetener as well. These muffins turned out so well, moist and flavorful with cinnamon flavor and the addition of  Greek yogurt and coconut oil. They are just sweet enough using the Swerve Sweetener. Do you like to drink coffee or tea with your muffins?

I love to make muffins because you can eat them for breakfast, a snack, or as a light dessert.  My hubby is always looking for something sweet for dessert, and these muffins are the perfect light dessert with fewer carbs, due to the Swerve. They are lower in fat due to the Greek yogurt and coconut oil, as well. Now he is enjoying these muffins, and doesn't know how healthy they really are,  just like a kid. 

Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins with Swerve Sweetener

1 3/4 c All Purpose flour
1/3 c Swerve Sweetener or sugar
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk I used almond milk
3/4 c plain Greek yogurt
1/3 c coconut oil

Cinnamon topping:
1 tbsp Swerve Sweetener
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine above ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, Swerve sweetener, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In another bowl combine egg, milk, coconut oil, and yogurt. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. If desired, sprinkle Cinnamon topping over muffin batter in cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for  serve warm.

4. Makes 12 muffins.

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #56
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  



Friday, February 22, 2013

Spinach Quiche with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Lent is now upon us, and this is the season of meatless meals for some.  I made this glorious quiche for a lunch, that I was having for a dear friend. Quiche is now cool, or so I  read in the cooking magazines. Over the years, I have made many a quiche, but I never made my own pie crust, but I am now. Why is it, that when I heard the words pie dough or bread dough, I would  freeze?  Now I made this crust, and it didn't shrink, due to some tips that I read on Epicurious, thanks to Lizzy, @That Skinny Chick Can Bake.

One of the things that I never knew was to refrigerate the pie shell in the fridge, after placing in the pie or quiche pan. for one hour, before "blind baking".  Also, use a large square of aluminum foil or parchment paper, buttered, and place butter side down, before you add the pie weights or beans. Bake for 20 min, then remove foil, and pie weights, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork about 10, and bake about 10 more until golden.  When the crust is removed from the oven, brush hot crust with one beaten egg white. Cool and set aside.  Once the baked pie shell is cool sprinkle about 1 /2 c of the cheese over the bottom of the crust, before adding the filling. Whew, there are a lot of steps, because the crust was the best one that I ever made, no soggy crust here, just a flaky, tender, melt in your mouth crust. You can also used the refrigerated or frozen pie crusts, which I used for years, and are even better than they used to be.

Quiche is such a versatile dish, because you can make this with meat or meatless, just by varying the ingredients. I made this quiche with Baby Spinach, Caramelized Onions, Cremini mushrooms, and I added  4 slices of turkey bacon, crumbled with Swiss Cheese.  to make this a meatless dish, just omit the bacon. The caramelized onions really add another depth of flavor. You can add any vegetables that you and your family like, broccoli, green pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, yellow squash, etc.and any type of hard cheese that you like. Quiche is a great for any occasion, for Brunch, Lunch, or even Dinner. What is your favorite type Of Quiche?  My hubby loved this quiche, because there is a lot of filling, and "Real Men eat Quiche. Enjoy!

Spinach Quiche with Caramelized Onion and Mushrooms   Adapted from the Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Whitecap Books

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and cut in half
  • 8 oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced I used Cremini
  • 2 C Baby spinach, washed and stems removed, chopped
  • 4 slices of cooked turkey bacon crumbled (optional)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1 single pie crust rolled out  1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust Recipe here, from Brown Eyed Baker
  • 1 large egg white, beaten for crust
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1tsp. nutmeg
 Quiche Crust Preheat oven to 400F degrees
Roll out dough for single pie crust and chill in refrigerator one hour. Press into 9” pie plate or quiche pan. Place pie pan on a cookie sheet. Butter a large square of aluminum foil and cover pastry with aluminum foil, butter side down. Spread a layer of beans, rice, or pie weights over the aluminum foil on crust Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Using fork, pierce bottom of crust all over (about 10 times). Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Brush lightly with egg white. Cool, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To prepare the filling, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large nonstick pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil to the pan and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and, cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their water and begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the onions back to the pan, and add chopped spinach to wilt, and crumbled bacon, if used.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, and

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese into the pie crust. Top with the spinach- mushroom-onion mixture and pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 35-50 min. or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, and cheese is golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #55
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Making Munch Bark, with Leftover M amd M's, Emma and Anna

If you have leftover Valentine M and M's, and are wondering what do do with them, besides just eat them out of the bag, you can use them to make "Munch Bark". Munch Bark can be whatever you have leftover in your pantry.  I was going to see my friend Carolyn, and  her Granddaughters, Emma and Anna. I wanted to make something with girls, so I looked in my pantry.  I found leftover M and M's, partial boxes of  Corn and Rice Chex,, microwave popcorn, and mini pretzels, as well as some almond bark.  I didn't have any peanuts, or I would have added them, too. If you have dried fruit, candy bars, cookies, etc, put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.

When you have all of your ingredients on the cookie sheet that you want, Take your squares of almond bark, place them in the a  microwaveable bowl, and microwave until melted.  You can also use white chocolate baking chips, also, just be careful, because white chocolate burns easily. Then just pour the melted bark, or chocolate over the ingredients on the cookie sheet, and stir until well combined and coated. Cover cookie sheet with foil, and refrigerate until bark is set and hard.  If you live in the Midwest, you can place the cookie sheet, in your "winter refrigerator", your garage. Having extra "refrigerator" space is about the only benefit of enduring zero temps.

Once the bark or chocolate is set, about one hour, break into small irregular pieces by hand, and eat! Store in covered container.  I don't know, if we had more fun making them, or eating them?  Enjoy!

 Munch Bark
1. Assemble all of the yummy ingredients that you want, popcorn cereal, candy, pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, etc on a foil, parchment, or wax paper lined cookie sheet.

2. I package Almond Bark or white chocolate chips

3. Place Almond Bark or chocolate chips in a microwaveable bow.  Microwave in 30 sec intervals, stirring often.  Watch carefully, because white chocolate burns easily.

4. Pour melted bark or chocolate over ingredients on cookie sheet, stirring to coat.

5. Cover cookie sheet,and place in refrigerator, until bark is set. When bark is set, break into small, irregular pieces by hand, and  store in covered container.

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #55
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  



Monday, February 18, 2013

Turkey Bolognese with Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Pasta

I can't believe that I haven't seen any mention of the Gluten free pasta from Trader Joe's on the blogosphere.  I saw the GF free pata, which is made from corn, on my last trip to TJ's.  At first I was a little leary of the taste and texture, but I asked one of the crew members about it, and she said that "it was pretty good."  That was good enough for me, so I bought a bag,  I was anxious to make the pasta, to try it out.  I have been trying to eat gluten free foods, whenever I can to see if gluten is part of my tummy troubles.

You can see that the GF  pasta has a golden yellow color from the corn. When you cook it the water turns a little yellow, also.  However, the only ingredients listed on the bag are corn flour and water.  No gluten ingredients were used, and this is printed on the bag. How does it taste?  This pasta  tastes so good, and it doesn't taste like corn at all. The texture is just like wheat pasta.  I cooked mine about 8 minutes, al dente, it's wonderful and holds the sauce well.   As you can see, my bag is almost empty, and I'll be buying another one on my next trip to Trader Joe's.

The sauce I made was a Turkey Bolognese, with  vegetables, and changed it up a bit by adding diced carrots, celery, onion, and mushrooms. this sauce is GF, low fat, and low sodium, but so full of flavor. The sauce was a perfect complement to the GF pasta. If you are trying to eat GF, I would try this pasta, if you are near a TJ's.  I have never had any other GF pasta, so I don't know how it stacks up against them.  I just know that I like this GF pasta. If you try this pasta, let me know, how you like it.  Enjoy! 

Turkey Bolognese with  Vegetables and Gluten-Free Pasta


  • 1  pounds lean ground turkey  
  • 2 Tbsp or so, olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced We like carrots
  • 1 onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms sliced, We used Baby Cremini
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dry
  • 1 cup chicken stock, regular or low sodium stock
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes (28 ounces each), regular or low sodium
  • 1 pound Trader Joe’s GF pasta,  whole wheat, or multi-grain spaghetti
  • 1/2-1 cup low fat Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.

Pre-heat a large Dutch oven or deep pot over medium-high heat with about 2Tbsp olive oil, 1-2 turns of the pan. Add in onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent, not browned.  Add in the turkey and, using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat into small pieces. Cook 5-6 minutes to start the browning process, Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoningAdd bay leaf and cook five minutes more; then stir in the stock and the tomatoes. Bring up to a bubble, then drop the heat to low and simmer while you cook another 5-6 minutes more.

Salt water and cook pasta to al dente, with a bite, about. 8-9 min. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, and mix back into your sauce, to keep pasta from getting sticky... Serve pasta in shallow bowls with an extra ladle of sauce on top. Sprinkle with low fat Parmesan cheese.

I received no compensation or product from Trader Joe's to write this post.  The opinions expressed here are of the the author.

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #53
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie! 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cookies for Valentine's Day!

Tomorrow is the big day, Valentine's Day, the day of chocolate, pink and red.  Maybe flowers,  candlelight.  and wine.  Whatever you do, it should come from the heart.  What do you do with your Sweetie? Stay home and have a romantic dinner, go out to dinner, or celebrate with the kids?  Since my husband and I have been together, we have always stayed home, and had a romantic dinner.  Long ago we learned that on Valentine's Day it is overcrowded, more expensive, you get  bad service, and the food usually isn't that good.

Tomorrow we will probably have Sea Scallops, which we love, and see if we can get that elusive sear on them.  Our neighbor made some scallops, and put them in the broiler, so we are going try that method. We have a difficult time getting "dry" scallops, here in the Midwest. Along with the Scallops, we will have a little asparagus, roasted potatoes, and a salad. and of course dessert, the Coconut Cream  Squares with Cherry Sauce or Nutella Swirl Brownies with Nutella Ganache, and these cookies, along with wine, of course.

Do you like those chocolate covered cherries, with sweet cordial cream and the cherry inside? If you do like those chocolate covered cherries, these cookies will remind you of those confections. The cookies have with a chewy, chocolate, cookie outside with a maraschino cherry inside, and  topped with a cherry glaze.  Oh, my! These cookies not only look gorgeous, they taste wonderful. You make this yummy chocolate cookie dough, roll into a ball, then flatten, wrap the dough around a  a drained maraschino cherry, roll in sugar, and bake.  Once cool, drizzle with Cherry glaze.  The kids could even help with these.  Whatever you do to celebrate Valentine's Day, Enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cookies Adapted from Dash .com

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp rum extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, (I used 1/2 cup cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
30 maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry with paper towels
2 Tbsp sugar, for coating

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp rum extract
4 tsp maraschino cherry juice,mmore or less to get the right consistency

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg, and rum extract until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat well.

2. Flatten about 1 Tbsp dough. Place a cherry on top; mold dough around it. Roll in sugar. Repeat with remaining dough.

3. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Cool on a rack.

4. For glaze, whisk ingredients; spoon over cookies.

Monday, February 11, 2013

King Cake for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras!

Fat Tuesday is tomorrow, Chinese New Year Year was over the weekend. and Valentine's Day is Thursday, so many holidays, too little time. Sometimes you just have to clean your house.  Anyway I have a few ideas for tomorrow, Fat Tuesday. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, Let the Good times Roll.  Don't forget your beads!

To me dessert is always the most important part of any holiday, so check out the recipe for King Cake here.

Here are some more Cajun Recipes:

Of course you can't forget a Hurricane!

Whatever you do enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Coconut Cream Squares with Dark Cherry Sauce

Are you looking for a dessert for your Valentine Sweetie? Well look nor further. Coconut Cream Squares with Dark Cherry Sauce has coconut cream,  and  a Dark sweet cherry sauce, altogether in one delicious dessert on a coconut crust. This dessert is lightened up a bit, and gets extra coconut flavor by using a combination of low fat coconut and almond milks, as well as flaked coconut.  This dessert is low, fat, lower in carbs, and dairy free.  It could even be egg free, if you used an egg substitute, which I did not.  I used Swerve Sweetener , which is my favorite natural sweetener in place of sugar. I even used Swerve Sweetener to make the Dark Cherry Sauce with the frozen cherries.So Good! I couldn't find tart red cherries in can, so I used the frozen, dark sweet cherries, which are my fave, anyway.

 I made  this scrumptious dessert for my BFF and her husband, when they came over for dinner recently.  These squares were a big hit. and the flavor is amazing with the sweet coconut cream, covered with a sweet dark cherry sauce, on the coconut crust. Even my Hubby liked them. Make these for your family or for your Sweetie. You can feel better about these because they have been made more healthy, and they don't even have to know. Enjoy! 

Coconut Cream Squares with Dark Sweet Cherry Sauce Adapted from Taste of Home


Toast coconut first and set aside***

  • Crust
  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold reduced-fat butter
  • Filling:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener  or  Sugar substitute
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups fat-free milk, I used almond milk
  • 1-1/4 cups low fat coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted***

Dark Cherry Sauce:

  • 1T cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. Swerve Sweetner or natural sugar substitute
  • 1 12 oz bag frozen Dark Sweet Cherries


1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, coconut, and brown sugar. Cut in butter till crumbly.  Press in 9” square pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 7-10 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool on rack.

2. In saucepan, combine the flour. Swerve, or sugar substitute.  Stir in Coconut and Almond milks until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium high heat, until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. 

3. Stir a small amount of hot filling into eggs; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

4. Gently stir in toasted coconut. Pour over crust. Refrigerate until set. Top with Dark Sweet Cherry Sauce Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting, or freeze for one hour for easier cutting. Yield:  about16 servings.

***Toasted Coconut To toast coconut, spread it in an ungreased pan and bake in a 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally Watch carefully, because it will burn quickly.  Set aside to cool.

Dark Cherry Sauce:

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and juices in medium saucepan. Heat to boiling.  Add cherries. Reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat to cool. Cool before pouring over set coconut cream

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #53
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nutella Swirl Brownies with Nutella Ganache for National Nutella Day

I didn't know that  today is National Nutella Day! How could I forget a  day to celebrate the chocolate nutty smoothness of Nutella?  Seems like I'm always a little late to the party.  In real life I and very puctual, and I hate to be late.  I arrive a places and apppointments early, so I'm not late. I was hadly ever late for work, barring an accident delay or a train stuck on the tracks. However, with my blog, I don't have that same sense of urgercy, sometimes. I did make thes Nutella Swirl Brownies this morning, which really do have Nutella in them, but it's hard to see.

I made my go to brownie recipe and swirled in Nutella to add another layer of flavor. I made several shapes to show the versatilty of brownies. You can make the brownies in whatever shape pan you have.  Because Valentine's Day is right around the corner. these brownies can do double duty, celebrate National Nutella Day, and give one to your Sweetie for Valentine's Day. there is so much chocolate goodness paired with Nutella, A chocoholic's dream!

After the brownies cooled, I swirled whipped cream in the can, the only kind I had in the house, on the brownies and topped with fresh strawberries and Nutella Ganache. The Strawberries were from Florida, at least. 

You can decorate your brownies anyway you want, MM's, whipped cream, raspberries, or strawberries.  No matter how you decorate them, they will taste so good, and be a special Valentine treat. Enjoy!

Nutella Swirl Brownies with Nutella Ganache Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 
1/2 c butter

2 squares, (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp .vanilla

3/4 c. AP Flour

1/2 c Nutella spread, more or less depending on pan size. 


Nutella Swirl Brownies 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a 8x8x2 pan or use a heart cake pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, edges overlapping. or use small heart pans,  mini ramekins, or mini cupcake pans. Melt butter and chocolate.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar.  Add eggs, and vanilla.  Beat lightly until just combined.  Stir in flour and mix well. For heat shaped pans, swirl in1 tbsp Nutella spread with a toothpick or knife tip. .For a mini ramekin use about 2 tsp Nutella spread, and for the mini cupcake 1 tsp Nutella spread.

Spread batter in pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes for heart shaped pans, 20-25 min for the mini ramekin, and 12-15 min for the mini cupcake.   Do not over bake. Cool on rack. Remove brownie from pan, and place on rack. 
Nutella Ganache  Adapted from Cake Duchess 

1/4 cup heavy cream

5 oz chocolate, finely chopped I used semisweet chips

3 tablespoons Nutella

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat. Make sure to stir occasionally. Remove pan from heat, and stir in the chopped chocolate until it is combined. Fold in the Nutella. Allow to cool and thicken. Drizzle over brownies.

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #53
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  


Monday, February 4, 2013

Tuscan Chicken Soup for #souplove

Are you ready for some Soup?  After all that heavy, calorie laden food yesterday, here is a lighter fare that's deeelicious! I love, love, love soup and eat a lot of it during the winter, especially. We are finally having snowy, winter weather here in Chicagoland, so now is the perfect time for soup. February is the #souplove time for the  Love Blog Hop.   I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and knew that I would be making this soon. 

Tuscan Chicken Soup is a Cooking Light Recipe which I changed a bit.  I used  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chicken stock, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cannellini white beans, and herbs, all cooked in a slow cooker, and topped with fresh Parmesan Cheese and fresh Baby Spinach. Easy peasy! You can opt to cook this on the stove as well, but I made this in the slow cooker, earlier in the afternoon, before the Super Bowl. This is a light tasty, soup bursting with flavor, and color, low fat,  low sodium, and gluten free. I love making soup with so many many bright colors. I used the chicken breasts, instead of the chicken thighs, and added diced tomatoes for more flavor and color to the soup, which  made more broth.  I like a lot of broth in my soup, and don't really care for creamy soups that much.  If your team didn't  win the Super Bowl, you can drown your sorrows in a steamy bowl of this tasty soup.
 Tuscan Chicken Soup Adapted from My

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (low sodium)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt  ( I didn’t add any salt)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (32-ounce) box fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice added, ( I used no salt tomatoes
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary  (I used 1 tsp Herbes de Provence)
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 8 teaspoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  1. . Combine first 10ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on    HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW; cook 3 hours. Stir in rosemary*** and spinach; cover and cook on LOW for 10 minutes.
  2. . Ladle soup into bowls; top each serving with cheese.
Cooks Note:
If using dried Hebes de Provence, add to the slow cooker with all if the other 10 ingredients in the beginning. 

Don't forget Join in on the #souplove fun linking up any soup recipe  from the month of February 2013.  Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #soupve event.  The twitter hashtag is #nuthlove:)  

Here's the list of the other Amazing cooks:

Helena @ Rico Sin Azucar | @ricosinazucar

Jennifer @ Leave No Scone Unturned | @Foodie2Choux

Serena @ Teaspoon of Spice | @tspcurry

Kimberly @ Badger Girl Learns To Cook  |@Bdgergrl

Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack | @Veganyackattack

Susan @ The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen | @littleredkitchn
 If you would like to share your favorite soup recipes this month, please add them to the blog hop, or add them to our Google+ community

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #53
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  


Friday, February 1, 2013

San Francisco Gold Rush Cupcakes

As you can see, the team I'll be cheering for  the San Francisco 49ers.  I am actually a Chicago Bears fan, but the Bears didn't quite make it to the Super Bowl this year.  Next Year!  However, the coach of the 49ers is Jim Harbaugh,,  was a quarterback for the Bears from 1987 to 1993, so there is a Chicago connection, and that's why I'm cheering for the 49ers.

I received an email from the Ad agency that I worked with for Oreo campaign last Fall, and they offered  McCormick Food coloring to me to promote the colors of the team I'm cheering for.  I gladly accepted. Yesterday I received via FedEx a big bottle McCormick Black and Red food colors, as well as a box of the neon food colors, and a box of the original food colors, too. If you want some party tips and recipes to show your team colors, click  here.   I used some of the McCormick Red food coloring in the Chocolate Frosting to try and match the colors of the 49ers jerseys.  There aren't any Ravens fans in our midst, so I  won't be using the McCormick Neon Food coloring to make a Baltimore Purple Twist Cupcake.  I made the San Francisco Gold Rush Cupcakes   
Go check out the new colors available from McCormick!

 I used  the Golden Vanilla Cake recipe from King Arthur Flour  to make the San Francisco Gold Rush Cupcakes instead of a box cake mix and canned frosting. I frosted the cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting, dusted with edible gold dust, and sprinkled with yellow sugar to complete the Red and Gold cupcake.  The cake is so moist with a wonderful vanilla flavor, frosted with a rich Chocolate Butter Cream frosting with a tint of red, and sprinkled with gold, hence San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cupcakes. Go 49ers!  Which team are you cheering to victory?

San Francisco Gold Rush Cupcakes inspired by McCormick
Golden Vanilla Cake Adapted from King Arthur Flour 

 Ingredients: Recipe yields 24 cupcakes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F). Line the muffin tins with papers,
1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
2) Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.
3) Combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
4) Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.
5) With the mixer running at low speed, add 1 egg. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
6) Repeat this procedure with the second egg. Continue adding the eggs, scraping after each addition, until all 4 are added.
7) After the last egg is added, scrape the bowl once more, then beat at medium-high speed for 30 more seconds.
8) Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full; Bake 23 to 25 minutes, or until pick inserted comes out clean.
9)  Remove cupcakes from the oven, and place on a rack to cool completely, before frosting.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting.

cup, 2 sticks, butter, room temperature
1/2 cocoa
4 c. confectioner's sugar
1/4 c. milk, more or less

1. Cream butter until fluffy
2. Add cocoa and 1c. sugar to butter mixture and beat until incorporated
3. Add half of the milk and remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
4. Continue to add milk until you get desired consistency
*** To get the color of the San Francisco 49ers jerseys, add 1 1/2 tsp. of McCormick red food coloring to the frosting.    

Dust cupcakes with edible gold dust  and yellow sprinkles.

I received free product from McCormick to use in writing this blog.  The opinions expressed here are those of the author exclusively.

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #52
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!  

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