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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

This week Kelsey and I made tie-dye cupcakes with butter cream frosting.We had fun adding different colors to the batter and the frosting was delicious. These groovy cupcakes turned out light and fluffy, an improvement from last week’s margarita cupcakes. This simple and creative recipe is guaranteed to brighten your day!

Cupcake Ingredients:
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 cup milk
• Food coloring

Makes: 12 Cupcakes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cupcake Directions:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  • While the oven is heating, cream together the sugar and butter in a medium bowl.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Note: To avoid dense cake be sure not to over work the mixture once you’ve added your flour.
  • For the tie-dye effect spoon the batter into four (or more) separate bowls and add food coloring. Don’t be afraid to try color mixing! Most food coloring boxes include red, yellow, green and blue; with these primary colors you can make virtually any color you want. We chose to do green, purple, orange and pink.

  • After you have created your desired colors there are two options for how to add the batter into the muffin cups.
  • Option One: Layering different colored batter on top of each other and spreading them out into are distinct and unmixed layers. As the layers are cooking they droop resulting in a very cool gobstopper effect. When you bite into the cupcake it looks like there is a ball of color in the center with rings of color surrounding it.

  • Option Two: Adding spoonfuls of different colors at random until the cups are ¾ of the way full. This option is less labor intensive than option one and creates a similar effect, although the colors are a little more mixed.

  • Bake for about 20 minutes. Note: Keep a close eye on the cupcakes ours were brown around the edges when 20 minutes were up.

Frosting Ingredients
• 2.5 cups confectioners' sugar
• 3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (or whipping cream if you have it)
• 1 drop blue food coloring (optional)

Makes: Frosting for 12 cupcakes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Frosting Directions:
  • While the cupcakes are cooling start on the frosting.
  • In a medium bowl use an electric mixer on low speed to mix together the sugar and butter until well blended.
  • Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until the mixture is a creamy consistency.
  • Add the vanilla and milk (or cream) then continue to beat on medium speed a minute longer. Note: Add more milk as needed to reach a fluffy spreadable consistency.

  • Helpful Tip: Did you know blue food coloring can help cut the off-white color vanilla extract often gives your frosting? For ultra white frosting, just mix it in half a drop (or more as needed) until the yellowish tinge is gone.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Easy Beef Taco Skillet

While flipping through an old copy of Everyday Food, my eye was caught by a recipe that turned out to be a Campbell's ad! Tricky, very tricky. But it looked great so I made a few slight changes and tested it on Xavier. Xavier approved (Meat and cheese, grrrr). Very easy to make and very few ingredients. I promise, if you can't cook you can still make this.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 cup mild salsa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 large tortillas, cut into 1 inch squares*
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar
  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Pour off grease.
  2. Stir in soup, salsa, milk, and tortillas on medium heat until it boils.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir and top with cheese. Let it sit on low until cheese melts. 
*suggestion: if you want clean cut squares use a pizza cutter

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Margarita Cupcakes

    After seeing a picture of Margarita Cupcakes, Megan and I decided we had to try them! Overall they were disappointing, but it was certainly a learning experience and it's opened the door to other cool cupcake recipes we want to try. Up next? Rainbow cupcakes with buttercream frosting! Watch out.

    The batter tasted amazing before we baked it, but the cake turned out slightly dense and didn't have as much of the lime flavor. MISTAKE #1: Don't over beat the batter! Next time I would say more lime and more baking powder. Another problem we ran into is that we beat the frosting foreverrrr and it still never peaked. Not sure whether to chalk it up to human error or the frosting gods. We chilled it in the fridge for roughly 15 minutes, tried again, and got small peaks.

    Regardless of the texture, the frosting tasted great. With the frosting the dense cake wasn't bad, but a glass of milk was needed. Because of the egg in the frosting we decided it would be a good idea to refrigerate the cupcakes (MISTAKE #2), however this made them stiff and ruined the consistency of the frosting, even after thawing.

    Disappointing but not discouraging! More cupcakes to come, and one day we've resolved to give this recipe another go with what we know now.

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    First Giveaway! [CLOSED]

    On the hunt for a new table, my roommates and I were looking at various dining tables online when we came across DiningRoomsDirect.com. My absolute favorite thing from the site was the wine rack below. They have a lot of modern wine racks that are functional and aesthetically pleasing. Their sister site Cookware.com had plenty to drool over as well. I didn't even know Rachel Ray had her own cookware line!
    A $50 giftcard to use on any CSN Stores website, such as Cookware.com. This is open to the US & Canada, though international shipping charges may apply in the case of a Canadian winner.

    1. Comment on this blog and tell us what you had for dinner last night along with your email address.
    2. Tweet the following: "RT @whattastyfood Enter our #giveaway to win a $50 giftcard to CSN Stores http://tinyurl.com/2a5n2lv" and comment below the name of your twitter. Remember, if you twitter is private we will not be able to see the @ reply.
    3. Post a blog about our giveaway and provide the link in the comments below.
    NOTE: These do not need to be separate comments.

    The winner will be picked at random using the Random.org number generator on Oct. 7 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Each entry gives you an additional number and makes it more likely that you'll win! Good luck.


    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Sassy Spaghetti

    A classic element of Italian cooking is using ingredients you have to create something delicious. This pasta recipe calls for pantry staples and can be changed based on what you have on hand.

    Basic ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pan)
    • 1 small onion (chopped)
    • One clove of diced garlic
    • 1 ounce can of mushrooms (or you can substitute fresh mushrooms)
    • 2 bell peppers (sliced into half inch strips)
    • One table spoon sugar(optional)
    • 1 ounce can of tomato paste
    • 1 table spoon of dried basil
    • 1 table spoon of dried parsley
    • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • ¼ teaspoon of powered cayenne pepper (if you don’t like spicy food you can leave this out)
    • ½ cup of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
    • One box of pasta (I used angel hair, but any long pasta will work)

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the vegetables, garlic, and onion. Note: Adding a spoonful of sugar helps to create an excellent caramelized flavor. Sauté until they begin to caramelize (about 3 to 5 minutes) then add in the dried spices and tomato paste. Stir so the vegetables are evenly coated with the sauce. Turn down the heat until the pasta is ready.

    Bring pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. When the pasta is cooked al denete take the pot off the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta into the frying pan. Don’t fully strain the pasta because the water will help to loosen the sauce. After the noodles are all in the frying pan turn the heat up to medium and stir in the chicken stock until the sauce is evenly distributed. Note: if the sauce is still a little too thick add some more of the pasta water or some chicken stock to help loosen it.

    This is an excellent recipe for food experimentation. Don’t be afraid to play around with this recipe and make it your own! Keep the fundamentals in mind, but try adding different vegetables or spices. If you don’t have mushrooms and peppers try some vegetable variations: carrots, broccoli, celery or any other vegetables you have on hand. If you happen to have sage or rosemary on hand you can try adding a ½ teaspoon of each to add extra depth to the flavor.


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