Peanut Butter Dream Buttercream Frosting


Peanut Butter Dream Buttercream Frosting

This is the lightest, most delicious frosting I've ever made (or tasted).  It's so light it feels like a whipped frosting.  It's simple to make and looks delicious when it's piped on to cupcakes.  This recipe makes enough frosting to generously frost 24 cupcakes, with a little extra to eat with a spoon later. ;-)

Slightly adapted from: Cake Central

What you need:
1 Cup Butter, softened to room temperature
1 Cup Creamy Peanut butter
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
3 Tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
A Pinch of Salt

What you do:
1.  Cream the butter and peanut butter together until light and fluffy.  Don't skimp on time here.  I let my stand mixer cream the butter and peanut butter for about 7 minutes. 

2.  Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Make sure all of the sugar is incorporated before adding the next cup. 

3.  Add the vanilla extract and mix well. 

4.  Add the whipping cream and mix well. 

5.  Add the salt and mix well. 

6.  Frost your favorite cupcakes. 


P.S.  I haven't tried this yet, but I think this frosting could be used as a cupcake filling or even as a sweet dip if y'all are feeling adventurous. 


Oven Roasted Sausage and Vegetables


We had a cold front come through that made it feel like Fall around here for a few days.  I've had this recipe pinned for a while and the cool weather inspired me to give it a shot.  It's a simple recipe that is easy to make, easy to clean up, and tastes great!  The picture doesn't do it justice, but all of the different colors from all of the vegetables made it very pretty to look at well.  If you use turkey or chicken sausage, it would be incredible healthy.  This is also one of those rare recipes that even tastes really good the next day.  Maybe even better than when I originally made it.  Which was good, because as I made it, it made two 9x13 pans of food.  You might want to cut the recipe down . . . 

I served mine this with corn casserole and it was a nice pairing.  I was a bit timid about the banana peppers as I was afraid they would make the dish too spicy, but it really turned out fairly mild and the banana peppers were not at all overwhelming.

Adapted From:  Lilasapron

What you need:
28 oz precooked Sausage (I used polish sausage)
2 Lbs New Potatoes
1 Small Jar Sliced Banana Peppers, drained
1-2 Bell Peppers (I used one green and one orange)
1 Large Onion (I used white)
8 oz Mushrooms
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper and Other Seasonings to taste

What you do:
1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Slice the sausage, peppers, potatoes, onion, and mushrooms and toss them into a large bowl. 

3. Drizzle the sausage and veggies with olive oil.  Toss until the sausage and veggies are evenly coated in olive oil. 

4.  Add salt, pepper and other seasonings and toss again until the seasonings are evenly distributed.  I added some garlic powder and Lawry's Seasoned Salt.

5.  Place the peppers and vegetables in a 9x13 baking pan (or two, depending on how much you've made).  Cover the pans with foil and bake for about 45 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for 5-10 more minutes, or until the potatoes are fully cooked. 



Healthy Tomato Pasta


A long time ago I bought this book.  Like, probably 6 or 7 years ago.  I went through and tabbed lots of recipes that I wanted to try.  And I'm pretty sure I had not tried any of them until last week.  I wanted pasta for dinner, but now that it's getting hot, I wanted a lighter pasta dish.  So, loosely following a recipe in this book, I created a healthy, light pasta dish that is filling.  Bonus -- it is quick and easy to make!

What you need:
12 Ounces Rotini Noodles (I used wheat)
1 1/2 Tsp Olive Oil 
2 Tsp Minced Garlic
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped
8 Ounces Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
1/4 Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Black Olives

What you do:

1.  Cook Rotini Noodles according to the instructions on the box.  

2.  When the pasta has approximately 5 minutes left to cook, heat the olive oil in a skillet on the stove.  Add the garlic and onions and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 

3.  Drain and rinse the pasta. 

4.  Combine the pasta and the onions and tomatoes.  Add the feta and parmesan and stir well.  

5.  Top with chopped fresh basil and black olives. 



Hot Chocolate Cupcakes


  Right after the holidays, I picked up a box of this cupcake mix on clearance.  When I eventually made them, I wasn't all that impressed.  They didn't really remind me of hot chocolate at all.  It was basically a chocolate cupcake with a marshmallow glaze.  I know, I know -- I can't expect perfect from a boxed mix.  Of course, I considered this a challenge, though, and decided I had to come up with my own hot chocolate cupcake recipe.  The result was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.  The cupcakes really taste just like a mug of hot chocolate and the marshmallow frosting is light and fluffy and dreamy.

     I usually take all the food that you see on here to work to be eaten, but I don't usually toot my own horn.  I just set it out and let it be eaten.  But let me tell you, when I made these and took them to work, I tooted my horn all over the whole building.  Seriously. I sent out e-mail blasts telling everyone how amazing my cupcakes were.  And they came.  And they ate them.  And they all agreed.  So, try them.  They're delicious.  

What you need for the cupcakes:
1 Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Cup Sour Cream
4 Eggs
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water
1 Box of Chocolate Pudding Mix 
12 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
6 Individual Hot Chocolate Packets

What to do for the cupcakes:
1.  Preheat the oven according to the directions on the box of the chocolate cake mix. 

2.  Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. 

3.  Put everything in a bowl and mix well. 

4.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake according to the directions on the box of the cake mix. 

What you need for the icing:
1 stick Butter, softened
1 jar Marshmallow Fluff (7 oz)
2 cups Confectioners Sugar
A Pinch of Salt 
1 tsp Vanilla 

Here's what you do to make the icing:
1.  Beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy. 

2.  Add marshmallow fluff and continue to beat until incorporated. 

3.  Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat on high for 5-6 minutes, scraping down the bowl.

I piped the marshmallow frosting on top of the cupcakes to make them pretty.  I also found that if you toss these in the microwave for about 15 seconds, they're even more delicious when they're just a little warm.



Snickerdoodle Bread


I never knew I had a thing for Snickerdoodles until I made these Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  And then, I had to try every Snickerdoodle recipe I found after that.  Some of them have been not so great.  Others have been okay.  And then ones like this one turned out fabulous.  So I share it.  I also have a recipe for Snickerdoodle Blondies that I should be sharing soon. 

This is a sweet bread that I think can serve as a snack, a dessert, or breakfast.  It is delicious and super moist.  And, of course, it's easy to make.  Give a shot, you'll like it, I promise!

Slightly Adapted from:  Creations by Kara

What you need:
1 cup Butter at room temperature
2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla 
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 bag of Cinnamon Chips
Cinnamon and Sugar Mixture for Topping (I don't have specifics here -- I just winged it.  Combine the cinnamon and sugar to taste)

What you do:
1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

2.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add in eggs, vanilla and sour cream. 

3.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (or vice versa) and mix until fully combined. 

5.  Add the cinnamon chips and mix until chips are fully integrated. 

6.  Divide your batter among 4 mini loaf pans. 

7.  Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the loaves. 

8.  Bake for about 35 minutes or until the loaves are a nice golden brown. 

9.  Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to finish cooling on cooling racks. 

I have made these in muffin form as well and they were just as delicious, but a little easier to divvy up at work.  Instead of putting your batter into 4 mini loaf pans, put it into lined muffin tins and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar topping on top of each muffin.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.  



Valentine Day Cupcakes


I tried to make these cupcakes for Valentine's Day, but the hearts that I made were too big, so when I cut into the cupcakes, there was just a big red blob.  I was pretty disappointed, but still had a ton of french vanilla cake batter and about a million little cake hearts, so I had to figure something out.  This is what I came up with.  They're adorable, right?  Right.  And, they're pretty easy to make!

The cupcakes are french vanilla and I added maraschino cherry frosting in honor of Valentine's Day.  The hearts are just tiny little heart cakes, made out of the same batter as the cupcakes.  

You could easily adapt this for any holiday or occasion  so long as you have a cookie cutter that suits what you're making them for.   

First, make the hearts and cupcakes. 

What you need for the cake:
1 French Vanilla Box Cake Mix
1 Box of Powdered Vanilla Pudding
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Oil 
4 Eggs

What you do make the cupcakes and hearts:
1.  Mix all the ingredients together for the cake.  Separate about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl. 

2.  Using food coloring, tint the smaller portion of the batter to the color you desire. 

3.  Pour the tinted food coloring onto a sheet cake pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cake is done. 

4.  Set the sheet cake aside to cool.  Meanwhile, using the remaining batter, make cupcakes, baking according to the directions on the cake mix box. 

5.  Once the sheet cake has cooled, using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as you can from the sheet cake.  Remove the hearts from the pan and discard the scrap sheet cake. (I "discarded" the scrap sheet cake by eating it.  Don't judge.)

Second, make the icing. 

I slightly adapted my icing recipe from Glorious Treats.  

What you need for the icing:
2 Sticks of Butter at room temperature
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
6 Tbsp Maraschino Cherry Juice
1/2 Cup finely chopped Maraschino Cherries
A pinch of salt

What you do to make the icing:
1.  Beat the butter until smooth. 

2.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Repeat with a second cup of powdered sugar. 

3.  Add 1 Tbsp of maraschino cherry juice.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Repeat until you have added all 6 Tbsps of maraschino cherry juice. 

4.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Repeat with a second cup of powdered sugar. 

5.  Add the chopped cherries and a pinch of salt.  Beat to fully incorporate. 

6. You may add food coloring to tint your frosting if you would like.  I added a little bit of red to make my frosting a bit more pink that it was naturally.

Third, assemble the cupcakes. 

To assemble the cupcakes, pipe a bit of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Then, insert a toothpick into the bottom (pointed) end of one heart.  Feed the toothpick into the heart until it is about half-way in.  Push the exposed part of the toothpick into the top of the cupcake.  Your heart should now be "sitting" on top of each cupcake (no toothpick should be exposed).  Repeat until all cupcakes are assembled. 



Honey Corn Bread


This is the first time I made homemade corn bread.  I wanted to make it to go along with the Gumbo I was making.  I knew the gumbo was going to be spicy, so I thought the sweetness of a honey corn bread would nicely offset the spice of the gumbo.  When it's finished, the corn bread has just the slightest hint of honey.  The original recipe  says that it is similar to corn bread served at Tippin's restaurants.  I've never had Tippin's corn bread, so I don't know.  

I ended up eating this with the Gumbo, but I also added some peanut butter and honey and had it for a dessert a time or two.  And, I substituted this corn bread for pancakes or toast for at least one Sunday breakfast.  This recipe ended up being a lot more versatile than I would have initially imagined.  

Source: Dine & Dish

What you need:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups AP Flour
2 cups Cornmeal (I used yellow)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Kosher Salt
4 Large Eggs
2 cups Milk
3/4 cup Honey  

What you do:
1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. 
2.  Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, 1/2 cup of honey, and 1/2 cup of butter. 
4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. 
5.  Poor into prepared baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven when the cornbread turns a nice golden brown. 
6.  While the bread is baking, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of butter with the remaining 1/4 cup of honey.
7.  Immediately after you remove the corn bread from the oven, brush the honey/butter mixture over the top of the bread.  Allow the bread to cool completely before cutting. 



Crock-Pot Gumbo


I had homemade gumbo once a few years back and fell in love with it.  I've bought store-made gumbo since then and it just hasn't quite stood up.  So, I decided to give making gumbo a shot myself.  I'm not sure why, but I was very intimidated by the idea, thinking it was surely going to be quite complicated.  Turns out, it wasn't.  And, for bonus points, I made mine in my crock-pot so it's totally a set it and forget it gumbo which makes it doubly easy. 

I will warn you, though, that this recipe is quite spicy.  If you are shy about spicy food, I suggest you cut down the cayenne pepper a bit.  If it's too dull for you in the end, toss in a bit more cayenne pepper to spice it up.  I served my gumbo with homemade honey corn bread, which was a bit sweet and complimented the spicy gumbo very well.  Yum!

Adapted from: Cats and Casseroles

What you need:
1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
14 oz Andouille Sausage
28 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
1 Large Onion
1 Large Green Bell Pepper
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2-3 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Tsp Dried Oregano
2 Tsp Dried Parsley
2+ Tsp Cajun Seasoning
2+ Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Chicken Bullion Cubes
A Touch of Kosher Salt
1 Cup Cooked White Rice

What you do:
1.  Chop the onion, bell pepper and celery into large chunks.  Place in crock-pot.

2.  Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of chicken broth, oregano, parsley, 2 tsp Cajun seasoning, 2 tsp cumin, cayenne pepper, and chicken bullion cubes to the crock pot. 

3.  Season both sides of your chicken as you would like.  I used a bit of kosher salt, Cajun seasoning, and cumin.  Wrap the chicken in foil.  Place the foil-wrapped chicken on top of everything that is in the crock-pot. 

4.  Put the lid on your crock-pot and cook for 3-4 hours on low heat or 7-8 hours on high heat.  Cooking time will vary depending on your crock-pot. 

5.  After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the foil-wrapped chicken from the crock-pot.  USE TONGS!  It's hot in there, folks. 

6.  Set the chicken to the side to cool for a couple of minutes.  Meanwhile, add an additional 1-2 cups of chicken broth to the crock-pot if you would like for your gumbo to have more liquid. 

7.  Thinly slice the sausage and add it to the crock-pot. 

8.  Unwrap the chicken and shred it using a fork and knife.  Add it to the crock-pot. 

9.  Let the contents of the crock-pot continue to cook while you make the white rice according to the instructions on the package.  

10.  Serve the gumbo by putting some gumbo in a bowl and then adding a bit of rice to each serving. 


**Tip**  If you add the white rice to the gumbo, the rice will absorb a lot of the liquid if you store leftovers.  That's why I tell you to make it separately and add a bit as you serve it.  Be sure to store the rice separately as well and your gumbo will remain moist. 

**Tip** Cooking the chicken in foil on top of the rest of the gumbo prevents the meat from deteriorating and become tough or dry.  A lot of people dislike meat cooked in a crock-pot for those reasons.  Trust me on this one -- cook the chicken in foil and you'll have super tender and delicious chicken for your gumbo.