Monday, May 19, 2014

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes

The surprise is the cream cheese & chocolate chip 
filled center. Part chocolate cupcake, part
cheesecake with chocolate chips.
Two bites of heaven in one.
Fair warning! These are sooo good you'll eat
too many. OK, maybe that's just me.
These can also be frozen. 
These are cake-mix easy. 
 Mix the cake mix following the box directions.
Set aside. Mix the filling in a medium bowl.
 Fill the lined cupcake pan with 2/3 cake batter
and drop a heaping teaspoonful of filling in
the center. Bake @350º for 22 minutes.
 Remove from pan and let cool.
 Mix up the chocolate frosting.
Sample the goods! Have two!
I like to eat one while it's still a bit warm.
I refrigerate any left over that day and
bring them to room temperature before
eating. Larry on the other hand likes them
 cold. Crazy, right?
Here's a good tip if you want to bring one 
to a friend. Use a plastic cup inverted 
onto it's lid. 

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes
1 box dark chocolate cake mix
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 C sugar
1 egg
pinch salt
1 C chocolate chips

Prepare cake mix according to directions on the
 box. Set aside. Line cupcake pan with cupcake
 papers. In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese 
with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg 
and pinch of salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.  
Fill each cupcake 2/3 full with batter. 
Drop one heaping teaspoon of cream cheese
 mixture into the center of each cupcake. Bake at
 350º for 20-25 minutes, 22 works for me.
Remove and let cool then frost. 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/3 C cocoa
2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
4 T milk
Combine and beat until smooth.


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Juciest Turkey Breast

What is that wonderful smell? 
Roast turkey in the oven!

Roasting the breast is one the easiest dinners
 in my rotation. This is turkey 101 for anyone 
that's not yet convinced. Target always seems 
to have turkey breast on sale for 99¢ a pound. 
That's such a bargain! If you're a couple like us,
 or a small family you can get several meals out
 of it. Nothing is better than a real turkey breast
 sandwich during the week ahead. 
Use a V-shaped rack in a small metal roasting pan.
This one is 9X11. So easy! Just butter it up.
Season well.
 Roast for 1-1/2 hours at 350º.
 Take a peek after an hour and it should
be nice and golden brown; now cover it
loosely with foil and add a cup of water
to the bottom of the pan. Return to the
oven for the last 30 minutes.
When done remove to a cutting board 
and let it rest for 10 minutes, still covered
with the foil while you make the gravy.
I use cornstarch, chicken broth, or 
powdered bouillon and water. 
 Remove the rack and whisk the drippings
over a heated burner.
Combine the gravy ingredients in a jar
and shake to blend. Add to the pan.
Whisk to blend and cook until it begins to
 thicken. I usually make mashed potatoes
with this dinner, so when I drain the
potatoes, I reserve the potato water to
 use in the gravy.  It helps to thicken it
and adds more flavor. Stir in about a cup of
the potato water. Bring to a boil; simmer
 for about 2 minutes, adding more potato
water as needed until it reaches the
desired consistency. Keep warm on low.
 Slice the turkey.
I like the cripsy skin on the breast meat.
Serve with mashed potatoes, a vegetable,
and gravy. Look forward to great
sandwiches tomorrow. 

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
6-7 lb turkey breast (bone-in)
2 T butter, melted
salt & pepper
choice of seasonings
1 C water
Fit a small roasting pan with a V-shaped rack.
Rinse the turkey and dry well with a paper
towel. Rub the breast with the melted butter
and season with salt & pepper or your favorite
seasonings. Place on the rack and put into
a 350º oven for 1 hour. Add the 1 C of water
to the bottom of the pan and check
for to see if it's well browned. Lightly
cover the breast meat with foil to prevent
over-browning and continue to roast for
another 30 minutes. Remove the turkey
to a large cutting board leaving it tented with
the foil for about 10 minuted before carving
while you make the gravy.
optional seasonings: Poultry Rub, seasoned salt,
Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder,
tip: If you're making baked sweet potatoes
instead of mashed, just pierce them and pop
into the oven for the last hour.

Easy Gravy
2 T cornstarch
2 t chicken bouillon
1 C water
1 C reserved potato water
Place the roasting pan over heated burner, and
whisk scraping up any pan drippings into the water
in the bottom of the roasting pan. Combine the
 2 T cornstarch and the 2 t bouillon to 1 C water
 (or use 1 C chicken broth, and no dry bouillon)
in a jar and shake to combine; add to the pan
and whisk to combine, Add the reserved 1 C of
potato water (or plain water) whisking until it
starts to boil and thickens; about 2 minutes. Add
more potato water, up to 1 C as needed to reach
a desired consistency. Reduce heat to low to keep
warm. Pour into a heated gravy boat.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Apricot Chicken

Just 3 ingredients poured over chicken.
Couldn't be easier!
A pretty dish to serve in the Spring.
 Season the chicken and put into a casserole
that's been sprayed with Pam.
 Mix the ingredients.
 Pour over the chicken. You can use boneless
breasts or cut up chicken.  I skin the pieces.
 I mix this up after lunch, then cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate until
time to pop into a 350º oven for 1 hour.
I also cut the chicken breasts in half for easier
serving. Serve over rice with lots of sauce and
a nice green vegetable.

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2 lbs.
  • 8 oz. (1 C) bottle of Catalina, Russian,
  •   or French dressing
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • (optional 2 t curry powder)
1. Place the chicken breasts into a casserole dish. 
   Season with salt and pepper.
2. Combine the dressing, jam, and dry onion soup. 
3. Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken. 
    You can make it ahead to this point, 
    then cover and refrigerate to bake later.   
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 
    or until chicken is done.

5. Can also use a cut-up chicken (skinned), 3 lbs.
Serve over rice.