Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spicy Penne alla Vodka

Spicy Penne alla Vodka

Posted by: Maggie

Congrats to Nicole/comment #2 for winning our Anthropologie apron giveaway! Nicole has been contacted and will receive her prize shortly. Thanks to all who entered!

Annie makes amazing penne alla vodka. I've been asking her to blog about it ever since we started A Bitchin' Kitchen, but she's oddly protective of the recipe and refuses. Generally I despise food that is not at its intended temperature - for example, I'd rather eat boogers than cold pizza or cold fried chicken, but I actually ate a bowl of cold penne alla vodka while visiting her in Philly last fall. It's just that stinkin' good. 

Anyway, since Annie is keeping her recipe on lockdown, I was forced to find another version to satisfy me. I turned to The Curvy Carrot, since I enjoyed the Pasta Puttanesca recipe that I got from her site earlier this year so much. Fortunately, her penne alla vodka recipe was also perfect, and I loved that it contained a generous portion of red pepper flakes. The added spice just made one of my favorite pasta dishes even better!

Here's what you'll need:

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound penne pasta (I recommend making the whole box if you like your pasta less saucy)
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded

Set up a large pot of water to boil while you start the sauce.

Divide your can of tomatoes into two halves. Place one half in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Chop the remaining tomatoes into small pieces, and set aside. Combine your pureed tomatoes, and chopped tomatoes to equal 2 cups. Add the reserved juice to get to a full 2 cups if necessary.

In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add in minced garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt.

Remove pan from heat, and add vodka. Return the pan to the heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook your pasta. At this point your water should be boiling. Add in pasta, and cook according to package directions.

After sauce has cooked for 8-10 minutes and reduced slightly, stir in the cream, and cook until heated through. Add the cooked and drained penne to the sauce, and stir to combine. Add additional salt to taste, and top with fresh basil.

Source: The Curvy Carrot / Cooks Illustrated

Monday, November 28, 2011

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Posted by: Annie

I made these delicious cupcakes for my best friend's birthday. Thanksgiving often falls on or around her birthday, and I know that many of her birthday celebrations have involved a slice or two of apple pie. Two years ago I made her these filled Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. This year I chose to stick with the Thanksgiving theme and fill vanilla cupcakes with apple pie filling, and then top them with a delicious buttercream. 

These cupcakes were actually part of a much larger gift. Back in October, one of my best friends, Dana, made me the most thoughtful birthday gift. She titled it "Annie's Favorite Things" and compiled a bunch of items that were specific to what I appreciate and love in life. Dana filled a colander with a vanilla cupcake candle, a cookbook, cocktail mix, Keurig pumpkin spice coffee, Diet Coke, and more. It was such a thoughtful gift that I totally ripped it off and reused the idea (thanks Dana!)

The birthday girl was thrilled with the cupcakes and her other "favorite things," and even though Thanksgiving has passed, these cupcakes still make a fabulous addition to any dessert table during the holiday season.

Lastly, don't forget to enter our blogiversary giveaway! It closes at 11:59 p.m. tonight!

What you will need:

For the cupcakes:

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the apple pie filling:

2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
3 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced

For the vanilla buttercream:

2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

To make the cupcakes, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (approximately 2 minutes.) Next, beat in eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla extract. Alternate beating in the dry ingredients and milk, in small increments, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly among cupcake tins. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack.

To make the apple pie filling, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add cinnamon and sugar and heat until bubbly. Lower the heat and stir in apples. Coat thoroughly with cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until apples are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy. Stir in sugar and salt and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla and heavy cream. Mix on medium-low speed for approximately four minutes, until frosting appears light and fluffy.

To assemble, use a paring knife to cut out the center of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with apple pie filling, and frost with buttercream.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Fatty Fat Fats

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Posted by: Maggie

Things have been kind of cupcake heavy around here lately. Last month we had Annie's homemade funfetti, and my pumpkin spice cupcakes for two. A couple weeks ago, Annie shared some deeeelicious looking peanut butter cupcakes that had me wishing I lived up in NJ, just so I could try one. 

Hopefully you guys are cool with the cupcake excess. I figure as long as we're bombarding you with sweets, and not like...liver, or haggis you'll keep coming back.

I made these cupcakes earlier this month for my dad's birthday, and we were both in agreement that they're mighty tasty! They're a dark chocolate cake, filled with a bittersweet chocolate ganache, and topped with a chocolate sour cream frosting. They're intensely rich, but not excessively sweet thanks to the use of bittersweet chocolate, and dark, dutch-processed cocoa powder.

I hope all of our U.S. readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow with your friends and families! Don't forget to enter our Anthropologie apron giveaway if you haven't already. The winner will be randomly selected next week!

For the cupcakes (yields 13-14)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

For the ganache filling:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

For the frosting:

(if you don't like a 1:1 cupcake to frosting ratio like me, cut this recipe in half!)

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted after measuring
6 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons full-fat sour cream

To make the cupcakes, adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a non-stick cupcake tin.) Line 14 cupcake wells with paper liners. Important note: obviously this recipe makes too much batter for one cupcake pan. I do not recommend baking the extra cupcake pan containing two liners at the same time as the full pan. The cupcakes will bake unevenly.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa. Microwave on 50% power for 30-second increments, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted. Set aside to cool until slightly warm to the touch.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer on low speed. Add in sugar, vanilla, and salt, and beat until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and beat until combined. Pour about one-third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined, and then mix in the sour cream. Add in the remaining flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined. The batter will be thick and mousse-like.

Divide the batter evenly among cupcake tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake!

Cool cupcakes completely before filling with ganache and frosting.

To make the ganache, combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on full power in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir, and continue heating at 15 second increments until fully melted. Remove from the microwave, and transfer to freezer. Allow the mixture to chill for 30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to promote even cooling. When the mixture has cooled and thickened, and is no longer runny, fill the cupcakes.

To fill the cupcakes, remove the core using one of the many handy cupcake coring doodads on the market these days (I got one at Target for about $6,) or just use a knife. Or an apple corer, whatever strikes your fancy. Fill the hole in the cooled cupcakes with the ganache, and set aside while you make the frosting.

To make the frosting, add the chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring after each increment until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool until barely warm. (This is important - if you add it to the other ingredients when it's too warm it will melt the butter and ruin your frosting!)

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese for 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat in the cooled, melted chocolate, and lastly, the sour cream. Continue beating on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined. Use immediately, and refrigerate any leftover.

Recipes adapted from: Cupcakes - Cooks Illustrated, Ganache - Post Gazette, Frosting - Annie's Eats

Monday, November 21, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

Posted by: Annie

The quest for the perfect potato soup began almost two years ago...in this embarrassing blog post where I was still at the mercy of my point and shoot camera. Since that post, I never made homemade potato soup again, but did sample potato soup from practically every chain restaurant on the East Coast (thanks boyfriend.)

I decided that with the crisp weather and my somewhat improved photography skills, this weekend would be a perfect time to try a different potato soup recipe. I browsed the internet for so many potato soup recipes, and was struggling between a copy-cat chain restaurant recipe, and Paula Deen's southern potato soup recipe, and ultimately sided with the Queen of Southern Cooking. I am so glad I did. The soup was better than any restaurant's I've had, and was full of bacon AND cheese...what more could a girl ask for?

P.S. Don't forget that we're giving away an Anthropologie apron! Click here if you'd like to enter!

What you'll need:

For the soup...

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup flour
3 14.5 ounce cans chicken broth
5 potatoes (baked, peeled, and diced into bite-sized pieces)
8 strips cooked bacon
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

For the garnish...

6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 bunch scallions, diced
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

In a large pot, melt butter over low heat, taking care not to burn. Add in onions, and cook until tender. Add in flour, and stir constantly for one minute. Gradually add the chicken broth, continue to stir. Heat until the mixture has thickened and is bubbling. Next, add in potatoes, bacon, parsley, and heavy cream. Continue to cook for ten minutes. Stir in sour cream and cheese. Before serving, garnish with bacon, scallions, and more cheese if desired.

Source: Paula Deen for Smithfield

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two-year Blogiversary Giveaway!!!

Posted by: Maggie 

Today marks the two year blogiversary of A Bitchin' Kitchen!!!

Annie and I are so tremendously appreciative of each and every one of our readers, and we want to thank you all for your visits, comments, and support by doing a celebratory giveaway today!

We bought the above apron from Anthropologie a few months ago in anticipation of our blogiversary. It is so cute that I have been tempted to take it for myself numerous times, but I have managed to resist! It is even more adorable in person than the picture depicts. Annie and I both love fun aprons, and actually gave each other aprons for gifts back at Christmas 2009:

The Rules and Other Important Things:

- There are two ways to enter, both listed below. You must leave a separate comment for each entry, and you may only enter each way once.

- The contest is over at 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, November 28, 2011. The comment section will be closed at that time, and the winner will be notified Tuesday morning.

- I will be using Random.org to determine the winner. I will contact the winner, and they must respond within 72 hours or they will forfeit the prize and I will draw an alternate winner. After contact with the winner has been made, we will formally announce it here.

- We love our readers from all over the world, but we can only ship to the United States and Canada.

- This contest is sponsored by A Bitchin' Kitchen. Much to our dismay, Anthropologie does not know who we are.

- Last, and most importantly: I cannot see what your email address is when you comment, even if you're using a Blogger account. Please be sure to include an email address in the body of your comment, or a link to your blog (if you have one) if contact information is easily accessible on there.

How to Enter:

Required Entry: 

- Leave a comment on this post telling me your plans for Thanksgiving, or what you did for Thanksgiving if you're entering after the holiday. If you don't celebrate, just say hello, or say I like turtles, or tell me a fun fact about yourself!

Optional Bonus Entry:

- "Like" us on Facebook, and come back and leave a comment letting us know that you did. If you already like us, just let us know!

Thanks in advance for entering, and if any of these rules are unclear please shoot us an email and we'll clear things up!

*Image via Anthropologie.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Posted by: Maggie

I made this pumpkin pie cake two Friday nights ago. Jeff was over, and we decided to stay in instead of going to a late movie as planned. He was exhausted, and I was having flashbacks to the two previous, very, very bad times Jeff and I saw a movie together.

Back in April, Jeff and I went to see Scream 4 in Chinatown. You'd think that a rated R movie at dinnertime would be full of other adults, right? Well, you'd be wrong. The theater was full of loud teenagers, and every other seat was illuminated by a cell phone screen. Worst of all, during the pivotal scene of the movie, two young girls "snuck" in (I use quotation marks because the word "snuck" inaccurately implies that they were quiet) and one of them proceeds to call up a friend, and asks the friend to catch her up on the first hour of the movie that she missed.

Well, I was not about to let that happen. I didn't wait 11 years to find out Sidney Prescott's ultimate fate to have it ruined by a cell phone conversation. The girl on the cell phone was probably not even eating solid food when the first Scream movie came out. After politely asking her to hang up the phone twice, a scene similar to this ensued, with me being Dr. Evil, and rude cell phone girl being Scott Evil.

Of course, this was nearly as disruptive as her cell phone conversation. In hindsight, I kind of wish I'd had the cojones to pry her cell phone away and hurl it at the wall.

Nearly six months went by without Jeff and I seeing another movie together. He was probably afraid I'd go ballistic on another rude movie patron.

Last month we decided to see Paranormal Activity 3. We both loved the first two, and were unwilling to wait for the DVD. This time we ventured out to a theater in the 'burbs, where I fully expected a more adult clientele.

I was wrong. There was a group of about 15 teenagers in the front row of the theater, who were talking, texting, and only paying attention to the movie for the purpose of providing loud, inane, commentary throughout the entire thing. It was awful, and it completely ruined the movie. People near them were shushing them the entire time which didn't help. No one seemed to want to go get a theater employee and risk missing part of the movie.

Anyway, as I mentioned before I went on my rambling tangent about rude movie theater patrons, I made this pumpkin pie cake last Friday, in lieu of going to a movie with Jeff. After our lazy night in on Friday, we decided to risk it and head to the movie on Saturday instead. We both wanted to see the Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas movie. I am now sensing that our immature taste in movies may be part of the problem. Anyway...it was glorious. We were two of about 20 people in the entire theater - 20 people who remained silent throughout the entire movie except for laughter.

As happy as I am that our terrible movie going streak is over, I'm even happier that we stayed in Friday night and got to eat this. This is super quick to throw together, thanks to the inclusion of a cake mix, and is extremely delicious warm from the oven, or chilled. To compensate for using a cake mix as the base, I made the whipped cream from scratch. If you want to do the same, just use an electric mixer to beat 1 cup of whipping cream with 2 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar for about 3 minutes on medium high, or until stiff peaks form. Easy peasy, and better than Cool Whip!

This recipe is a great Thanksgiving dessert if you want to deviate from the traditional pumpkin pie. It also makes a yummy breakfast. Don't judge, you know you want this for breakfast too.

Unrelated announcement: To celebrate A Bitchin' Kitchen's 2-year blogiversary, we're having our first giveaway here on Thursday! Make sure to come back and enter!

Here's what you'll need:

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup softened butter, divided
4 large eggs
2 15-ounce cans pumpkin
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Remove 1 cup of the cake mix from the box, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat remaining cake mix, 1/2 cup of the butter, and 1 egg. Evenly press into the prepared pan. In the same bowl, beat the pumpkin, the 3 remaining eggs, 1 cup of the sugar, the evaporated milk, and cinnamon. Pour mixture over crust. Using the same bowl (wipe it out first if necessary) combine the reserved cake mix, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle the pecans on top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until filling is set. If you want to eat it warm, cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it. Serve with whipped cream!

Source: Mom!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken-Shiitake and Wild Rice Soup

Posted by: Annie

Confession: I love casseroles. For some reason, I feel like this is an embarrassing confession. Casseroles seem like one of those foods that are eaten but not spoken about - like EZ Cheese, ramen noodles, and those awesome snowball cupcakes that are seasonally dyed. We all know we eat them, but we would never advertise it. :)

Growing up, my mom made an amazing chicken and rice casserole. I believe I was the only child in the family who liked it. I also loved my mom's chicken divan casserole, and basically any dish that had a can of cream of chicken soup in it, was smothered with cheese, and then baked.

This soup reminds me exactly of my mom's chicken and rice casserole. While it was simmering on the stove, it smelled exactly like it, and I had to stop myself from dumping the soup contents into a casserole dish and baking it. However, once I tasted it I realized it was just as good (if not better than, sorry Ma!) the childhood casserole I was craving. I almost topped it with a little cheese, but decided to try it without and it was delicious. This soup will definitely become a fall staple!

What you will need:

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
64 ounces low sodium, low fat chicken broth
1 cup pre-cut matchstick carrots (or if you can't find them, 2 chopped carrots)
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4.5 ounce long grain rice and wild rice combo (I used Rice-a-Roni)
1/2 cup white long grain rice
4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons light sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute 3-4 minutes until tender. Stir in flour, and saute an additional minute. Pour in water, chicken broth, carrots, celery, garlic, and chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add both types of rice and mushrooms. Cook for an additional 25 minutes. Remove chicken from the broth and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken to the soup. Stir in sour cream, salt and pepper. If too thick, stir in water as needed.

Adapted from Skinny Taste

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Posted by: Maggie

Ok, let me start by saying that this macaroni and cheese isn't really spicy at all, unless you're a total sissy. 

I don't use my own sense of taste to determine if something is spicy or not, because I have recently taken to eating sriracha on just about everything, and have burned off most of my taste buds. I'm pretty sure I'd eat a dirty shoe if I could eat it with sriracha. Jeff however, does not enjoy spicy food, and agreed that while very tasty, this macaroni and cheese does not qualify as spicy.

Now that I've made that disclaimer, I'll tell you that this macaroni and cheese is extremely flavorful, cheesy, and delicious, and absolutely worth making. Just be sure to leave in the jalapeño seeds if you want more of a spicy kick! 

Here's what you'll need:

4 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup jarred roasted red pepper, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, finely minced, seeds optional (wear gloves when cutting these!) 
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups of shredded cheese - I used a combo of about 2 parts colby jack, to 1 part pepper jack and 1 part sharp cheddar
Plain breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook until al dente (the pasta will cook a bit more in the oven.)

While the pasta is cooking, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in onion, red pepper, and jalapeño, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

At this point your pasta should be done - drain it and set aside.

In a large, deep skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. When the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour, and cook for two minutes, whisking constantly, until it turns light brown and starts foaming. Be careful not to burn it. Whisk in the milk until well blended. Cook mixture, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly and begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the spices.

Gradually add the cheese to the mixture, one handful at a time, stirring constantly until well blended. About four cups in you'll think the sauce can't handle more cheese, but just add it gradually and it will all melt! Remove the mixture from heat.

Add the cooked pasta back into the pot, and add in cheese sauce, and the vegetables. Stir to combine thoroughly. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray, and transfer the macaroni and cheese to the dish. Top with breadcrumbs, and bake for 25 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting

Posted by: Annie

Usually when I bake, I have a motivation for doing so - such as I promised my students baked goods, or it's someone's birthday, or it is a certain holiday. However, with these cupcakes I simply was just craving a delicious peanut butter dessert. 

My peanut butter craving all started last week. Lately, I have been in an oatmeal rut. I eat oatmeal almost every single morning, and at the urging of Maggie I started eating my oatmeal with a spoonful of peanut butter mixed in (heaven!)

When I ran out of peanut butter I attempted to be healthier, and purchased natural peanut butter. For years, I had looked at this peanut butter, warily examining the liquid that sat on top, and always concluded that natural peanut butter just wasn't for me. Well, all those years I was right - I still don't like natural peanut butter. The texture and the watery liquid brought out my inner picky child and I promptly chucked the peanut butter in the trash.

As a result, the next few mornings consisted of oatmeal without my delicious peanut butter mixed in, because day after day I would forget to pick up peanut butter after work. Finally, by the end of the week not only did I need the biggest container of Jif I could find, but I needed a dessert that gave me my peanut butter fix. Enter, peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate cheesecake frosting. Ahhhh-mazing.

What you will need:

1 stick of butter (softened)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup skim milk
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins with 12 liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Add in sugar and eggs and beat until fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add half of the dry mixture to the peanut butter mixture, and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the milk, and beat until combined. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Stir in the peanut butter chips.

Fill each cupcake tin 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake 15-18 minutes. Cool completely, and decorate.

Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting:

1 stick butter (softened)
8 ounces cream cheese, one block (softened)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons milk, as needed

Using a mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and cream cheese until well combined. Stir in vanilla. Continue mixing, and add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar at a time. Mix in cocoa powder. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time if frosting is too thick.

Source: How Sweet It Is

Friday, November 4, 2011

1st Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap - Go Sign Up!!!

Posted by: Maggie

Hey everyone - no new recipe today, just a quick update. As I'm sure many of you know, Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen are hosting the 1st Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

I just signed up, and if you're a food blogger you should too! All the details are on the link above, but the basic idea is that you get the names of 3 other bloggers, send them cookies, and get cookies in return. The more people who participate the better, so go sign up now!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Posted by: Maggie

These tacos are super healthy, super delicious, and super cheap. They're also super full of flavor, and I made a super mess of my kitchen sink when I ate four of them while standing over it. Super duper. 

I'm at a super duper loss for words for words today. I have had a terrible cold since last Monday, and I think the amount of Nyquil I've consumed over the past eight days has turned my brain into mush. I have stared at this screen for about 20 minutes trying to think of what to talk about to accompany these tacos and am coming up empty.

Oh wait, here's a kind of funny story. When I bought the ingredients for these tacos on Monday (beans and cabbage...) the coupon that printed out at the register was for Beano. That simply cannot be a coincidence given the ingredients I was purchasing.

Have I ruined your appetite by discussing gas medicine? I hope not.

These tacos have four fillings that you'll need to make - the potatoes, the beans, the cabbage, and the sauce.  If it seems like a strange combination, just trust me and try it. I promise you'll love it.

For the potatoes:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Juice of 1 lime

For the cabbage:

2 cups shredded purple cabbage (I used my food processor to finely shred it)
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Kosher salt, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste

For the beans:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime

For the sauce:

6 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt
3-5 tablespoons pureed chipotles in adobo (I pureed them myself in my food processor)
Kosher salt, cumin, and cayenne to taste

For serving: 

12 small corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potato chunks, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and red pepper flakes until evenly coated. Spread potatoes in a single layer onto the baking sheet, and roast in pre-heated oven for 40 minutes or until soft, stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the cabbage. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and toss to combine. Set aside.

Now it's time to make the sauce. Combine your pureed chipotles, Greek yogurt, and seasonings in a small bowl, and stir well. This sauce has quite a kick to it, so gradually add the chipotle if your heat tolerance is low. Set aside.

To prepare the beans, heat olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Saute the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and stir until fragrant - about 30 seconds. Lastly, add in the beans and lime juice. Cook for about 5 minutes until beans have softened and the mixture is heated through.

Heat corn tortillas according to package directions (I just nuke mine for about 30 seconds between damp paper towels) and assemble tacos. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Joy the Baker and the sauce is inspired by Emeril.
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