Fettuccine Alfredo With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This week has been a busy week for us!  I’m still playing catch up with school and housework while prepping for an upcoming and much needed getaway!  Last night I made chipotle turkey burgers with white American cheese and turkey bacon on toasted onion rolls.  I used frozen turkey patties that I seasoned with chipotle powder then toasted the buns on the same griddle that I used to cook the turkey bacon.  Quick, easy, and delicious!  I didn’t take pictures as it was a late night coming home (Suga Booga needed new clothes and shoes for the second time this summer!) and it was nearly 8pm when I sat down to eat.  😦

Tonight was supposed to be a late night because I need an oil change but I went there and they were booked!  I had planned this meal because I knew we would be in late but since we’re here early and I don’t have any meat thawed or a contingency plan, I’m dressing it up!  Publix had sun-dried tomatoes on a buy one, get one sale a couple of months ago and mine have been staring at me in my pantry, reminding me that I hadn’t done anything with them.  A nice slice of garlic bread would be a nice addition to this dish for a crunch.  You could even cut the ends of your loaf of bread into sticks and toast them with a little garlic powder.

Ingredients: 

1 jar Alfredo Sauce

1 package Sun-dried tomatoes (I found mine in the produce department)

1/2 package Fettuccine  pasta

Milk (I used about a 1/2 cup)

Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Cook your pasta your pasta according to the instructions for “very firm” tenderness then transfer to a skillet and add both the tomatoes and Alfredo sauce with the milk then simmer until your pasta is at your family’s desired tenderness.  Once my pasta was al dente, I added a handful of Parmesan cheese for added creaminess and taste.

Alfredo has a tendency to thicken when you add your pasta which is the reason for the milk.  If your family likes a thicker pasta dishes, omit the milk but we prefer creamy and cheesy.

sundried tomato alfredo

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Buttercream

Hiiiii!!!  “How you doin’?!” (Wendy Williams voice) I’m back!!!  It feels like it’s been forever since I posted but I am here!  I’ve just been sick.  Nothing sucks worse than a summer cold and add in a sinus infection with clogged ears, I was down for the count.  Feverish, barely able to speak, and my head was soooo congested that I felt like I would tip over.  It took me nearly 10 minutes to text my boss that I couldn’t come in!  But I’m baaack!  And this time it’s with fall in mind.  I know, August isn’t over yet.  I know this but this post will get you ready for fall, right?  This will make you want a warm cup of coffee (or tea) with a blanket curled up on the sofa with your A/C set on 77 (this is still Florida after all and it’s still in the 90s!).  This recipe calls for no oil but I’m not going to say it’s healthy, nope.  Not going to lie.  But it’s yummy and that has to count for something, right?

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 and 1/3 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup of canned or pureed pumpkin (not pie filling, straight up PUMPKIN!)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (by in the spice aisle or make your own)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your 12 count cupcake pan with liners (or those brave people, oil then flour).

Add your sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin spice to your mixer bowl and beat until your sugar is dissolved.  After that sift in your flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mixing until all ingredients are well combined.  At this point the batter will be thick and you’ll want to add liquid but don’t.  Add your eggs, one at a time until your batter becomes smoother and eventually take on a more liquid texture.  You are ready to fill your cupcake pan now.  For this step, I use a large ice cream scoop, the kind with the little bar in the middle and you have to squeeze the handle.  Know what I mean?  Good because I don’t know how else to describe it.  LOL

Fill your liners until they are a little less than 3/4ths the way filled.  You don’t want to fill to the top, otherwise they will not rise properly and spread then you’ll be left with muffin top.  Bake for 25 minutes and cool for another 10 minutes in the pan.  After that let them fully cool and get ready for the icing!

Buttercream Ingredients:

1 stick butter (softened)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

5 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Add your butter and vanilla to your mixer bowl and beat until creamy.  It will have a shiny tan color to it when it’s ready then add 1/2 of your whipping cream, whip for a 30 seconds than add one cup of your powdered sugar along with your pumpkin pie spice.  Once the sugar has combined with your butter, continue to add the powdered sugar until it comes to a firm whip.  You may need to add more sugar and more of your heavy cream, depending on how high your cupcakes actually rose.  When I make buttercream, I gauge how much I need by the look of my cupcakes and how big or fancy I want them to look.  5 cups and 1 full cup of heavy whipping cream did the trick for me with a little left over.

Oh and here’s a tip:  Try not to pipe the buttercream on while holding your iPhone to your ear with your shoulder, talking to your mama.  Otherwise you’ll find it difficult to find acceptable cupcakes to post on your blog.  I love my mama and will answer her call no matter where I am and what I’m doing because, well, she’s my mama and I love her.  Here’s the best three of twelve so you can imagine what the other look like but guess what?  That Guy and Suga Booga didn’t care.  They just wanted me to hurry up and take the pictures so they could eat them!

pumpkin cupcakes

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie is thick and fluffy yet dense and chewy, loaded full of chocolate and all you need is one!  I will warn you, this cookie takes longer to bake than your normal chocolate chip cookie but it’ll be worth it.  The reason for this is because you use a regular ice cream scoop versus a teaspoon or a small cookie scoop to create a substantial cookie.  If you follow this recipe verbatim, make sure you freeze the dough overnight.  It will prevent the cookie from spreading.  Just a little tip, if you don’t know…if the recipe calls for softened butter, make sure your other ingredients are as well.  For instance, this calls for softened butter so you want to make sure that the eggs are room temperature as well and if you store your sugars in the refrigerator, make sure that you let them come up to room temp as well.  Otherwise your dough will get clumpy!

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs room temperature

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

As much chocolate chips as you like!

As I mentioned above, you should freeze your dough overnight or at least refrigerate for a few hours.  This dough is very soft and sticky when it’s ready so your cookies will spread if you attempt to bake them right out of your mixing bowl.

In your mixer bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until it is fluffy.  Add your eggs and vanilla then beat until well combined and whipped, almost like buttercream icing.  Next add in your cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, giving each time to mix well before adding the other.  Once they are combined, add in your flour in 1/2 cup increments to ensure that it is well mixed then stir in your chocolate chips.

I scooped this onto a parchment lined cookie sheet then covered with plastic wrap and put the entire cookie sheet into the deep freezer for a full 24 hours.

For frozen dough:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and once it reaches that temperature, put your frozen cookie dough onto a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the cookie is starting to brown.  Turn your oven off and let the cookies continue to bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Once your timer goes off, immediately remove from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

soft baked chocolate chip cookie

Do It Yourself Dole Whip

A little background:  Our family loves Disney.  Our very first visit was for Suga Booga’s third birthday and we’ve been hooked every since.  It’s almost as if the second you see that “Welcome to Walt Disney World” sign, the outside world ceases to exist, especially when you stay on property.  You unload the car and never see it again until it’s time to pack it back up for the trip home.  Since the first of the year, we’ve visited 3 times and plan at least two more before Suga’s birthday.  She opted to spend b-day #4 at Disney again instead of a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party and her very own iPad.  She loves it that much.  I love it for the getaway feeling.  Even though it’s in state for us, when you’re there, the themes transport you to a place much further away than a 3 hour drive.  Our first stay was at Port Orleans Riverside and it felt like we were down in New Orleans with the decor, foliage, river, the working mill, and seeing the transportation boats.  I think that will always be my favorite place to stay.  It was calm, quite, and serene plus the fiber optic fireworks in the headboards of the royal rooms really excited all three of us.

One of my favorite food items at Disney is Dole Whip.  It’s sweet and creamy and sooo refreshing, especially when it’s June, 90 degrees, humid, and the line to meet Tinkerbell and her sister Periwinkle is out the door.  I usually split it with Suga Booga.  That guy likes it but he doesn’t love it like the two of us do.  He’s more partial to Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace and would wait in the hot, burning sun without sunblock and hat for the turkey legs from the cart in Frontierland.

I’ll stop rambling and give you the recipe now but…I will ramble on more about Disney in the “Disney Food” posts.  You’ve been warned.  🙂

Tools Needed:

Ice cream maker

Whisk

Mixing bowl

Food processor

2 + hours for chilling

Ingredients:

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 can of pineapple chunks

Directions:

Start by draining your pineapple and reserve the juice in a separate bowl.  Once you have drained it, puree your pineapple in the food processor until is it pretty much mush.  Pineapple is very fibrous so you will want to make sure that it’s completely processed to mush or mighty close to it.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Once it is, add your dash of salt with the vanilla and heavy cream, mix until combined then add your pineapple juice and pureed pineapple.  Normally I break out the KitchenAid for everything but when I make ice cream, I like to do it by hand with a whisk to ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved and to make sure the mixture gets foamy.  This helps make your ice cream even creamier.

Chill your ice cream mixture in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.  Give it one last mixing to make sure any pineapple that didn’t get full pureed doesn’t settle then start your ice cream maker and turn it on.  Don’t be like me and think that you have at least twenty minutes to mop the tile downstairs and start a load of laundry upstairs.  You’ll have ice cream over the top of the freezer bowl.

Your ice cream will come out like soft serve.  This is because it does not contain all the other junk that store bought ice cream has.  You can most certainly eat it like this but for a harder texture, freeze for at least two more hours and you should have a more scoopable (yes, I know that this is not a real word but it works, aight?) texture.  If you leave it longer and it’s hard, just pop it in the microwave in 30 second increments.

While mine was in the fridge, the acid from the pineapple helped develop the foam even more!  When I removed the lid from the bowl, it was like it sang to me.  I’m talking First Sunday, Baptist Church, pastor’s anniversary sanging from the choir.  Whew!  I didn’t even want to touch it but I had to mix it again.

Dole Whip Blog

Creme De Menthe Brownies

I’ve been wanting to make brownies for a while but I wanted to make sure that I had fresh, homemade vanilla ice cream to go with it.  Then I went to World Market on my lunch break and this happened.  Creme De Menthe Brownies.  The Andies Creme De Menthe chips were on clearance!  How could I pass that up??  I let Suga Booga try a little square and she said “Mommy!  It tastes like peppermint in my cake!”  She doesn’t know the difference between cakes and brownies but I am definitely taking these to work on Monday…if they survive the weekend.  I can’t have them here.  Remember that post about “Finding Balance“???  Yeah, these throw my food balance waaay off and are products of evil designed to throw me off my game but then…what would that make me?  Don’t answer that.  Here’s your recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

2 cups sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 ounce espresso

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (1 bag) Andes Creme De Menthe chips

13 x 9 baking dish

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  (no convection)

Start by putting your chocolate and 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan.  Melt on medium until both are semisolid then remove from the heat.  Stir until both are completely melted and combined.  Set aside and put the 2nd stick of butter in your mixer bowl with the sugar and vanilla.  Whip until all three are well incorporated and have a light tan color.  Add your eggs by one, making sure each one is incorporated before you add the next.  After that you will add each of the remaining ingredients, leaving your Andes chips for last.

Now I prefer to use parchment paper in all of my baking for two reasons:  Easy clean up and there’s no need to add additional oil/butter/flour to your recipes.  I can remember when my mom would make cakes, there would be flour all of the edges and I thought it detracted from the deliciousness of the cake and the beauty of it.  My mom makes the most awesome caramel cakes.  I would lurve, lurve, lurve to post it here but I’m not stupid.  That’s her thing…not mine.

Okay, sorry.  Got distracted.  Pour your batter into your parchment lined or oiled dish.  Making sure to evenly spread your batter because it will be thick.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the very middle comes out clean.  Then allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before you transfer them to a line wire rack, if you didn’t use parchment paper.

Enjoy!!

Oh, how do you like this picture?  I’m trying to improve my food photography/styling and was face down, bottom up on the family room floor in front of the ceiling to floor sliding glass doors trying to get a good shot while the sun was blocked by black rain clouds.  🙂

Creme De Menthe Brownies

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Remember when I told you that peanut butter was a food group in my house? This cake is all peanut butter with a little bit of chocolate in the icing. Pretty much it’s a basic yellow cake with added peanut butter and chocolate buttercream. This is the cake that Suga Booga pretty much forced me to make and I’m about 99.999% sure That Guy had something to do with her requesting that I make a peanut butter and chocolate cake.  This recipe is adapted from the KitchenAid stand mixer recipe book.

Ingredients:

2 and 1/4 cups flour

1 and 1/3 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup low-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 and 1/2 cup of peanut butter

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Sift together your dry ingredients and set aside.  In a bowl combine your oil, milk, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla then mix until foamy.  Slowly add your sifted dry ingredients and mix until your batter is completely smooth.  I like to let my batter sit for a few minutes…it seems to make for a fluffier cake.  After you have let it sit, pour it into your baking pan of choice.  For this cake, I used a 9 inch springform pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  I have a convection oven so mine took just over 45 minutes.

Buttercream:

1 stick butter, softened–not melted

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 cups powdered sugar

4 ounces dark or milk chocolate (your choice)

Instructions:

Cream your butter in your bowl then add your liquids, salt, and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Beat until mixed then slowly add your powdered sugar until your icing forms.  Let it sit then melt your chocolate.  To do this, I used a homemade double boiler:  A bowl of a pot of water.  I let the water come to just a boil then turn off the heat, remove it from the burner and stir the chocolate until it’s melted.  Once it’s melted, add it to your bowl of icing and mix until well combined.

When your cake is completely cooled, put your icing on it and enjoy!!

PB Choco Cake Collage

Creamy Spinach Farfalle Bake

Need a somewhat sorta kinda a lil’ bit sneaky meal to feed the kiddos who don’t want to eat their veggies?  Here’s a somewhat sorta kinda a lil’ bit sneaky recipe for you!  This calls for any veggie pasta you have on hand or can find.  We used Barilla and no I’m not being paid to use it or review it.  (Making sure this bloggity blog stays legal, ya’mean?)

Please hide the box if your kids can read.  Luckily Suga Booga can’t read words unless it’s her name, Disney, or Mickey.  When she saw the pasta, she gave me a crazy look and asked what happened to it.  I told her that it’s special pasta for good little girls who like cake.  She bought it and I made an peanut butter cake with chocolate icing because she fully expected cake after she finished her meal.  What am I going to do when she’s no longer this naive?  Am I the only parent out there that wishes there was some special drink to give our kids to make them stay young forever?  To keep her this small and this cute and forever have that little baby voice that just makes her so much more adorbs?  No? Forget I mentioned it.  Anyway, here’s what you will need:

2 cups of Veggie pasta of your choice (the one we used is carrot & squash)

2 cups of Tomato/Pasta sauce (seems like a lot but trust me, okay?)

1 cup of Ricotta cheese

1 cup of Mozzarella cheese

Spinach (this is where your personal preference comes in)

Olive Oil

Italian Seasoning

Parmesan Cheese

Boil your pasta according to the instructions on the package.  Once your water reaches a boil, add a bit of olive oil to a saute pan (or regular pan) but not too much.  We are sauteing this spinach, not frying it.  Saute the spinach until it is just starting to get that deep green color then remove from the heat.  We don’t want to lose the nutrients in the spinach by cooking it too long.

While you spinach is cooling and the pasta is cooking, start to layer your ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Ricotta, mozzarella, Italian seasoning, and olive oil.  Once your pasta is al dente, drain and add to the bowl before topping it off with your sauce followed by your spinach.  Mix together in the bowl then pour into an oiled baking dish then top with more mozzarella and  Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes until your dish is bubbling.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Farfalle