Food Network and White Lasagna

15 Jul

The other night I made a really simple, totally delicious white lasagna with chicken and ham. Unfortunately it came out kind of runny, so the next time I make it I’ll probably be using a jar of alfredo sauce instead of making my own variation. Here it is!

1 box lasagna noodles (thought this would be delightful as a baked penne or rigatoni)
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 rotisserie chicken (or you can make your own if you want to be all fancy)
1 package thin sliced deli ham
1 1/2 bags mozerella cheese, shredded

Slice up your ham into little pieces (I used about half a package) and shred about half of your chicken, unless you want more. The measurements of the meat are really up to you. Layer your lasagna noodles (cooked!) in a pan, sprinkle in a healthy helping of cheese and a good amount of alfredo, topped with some chicken and ham. Repeat the layering process, ending with CHEESE on top. Pop in the oven at 400 covered with aluminum foil for about 30 minutes, then bake uncovered for about ten minutes.

Let cool for about ten minutes, enjoy!


Perfect Picnic Presents–Peachy Keen Cupcakes

15 Jul

Little known fact about me: I spent the first six years of my life in a little town in Florida, which of course sparked my profound love of summertime! We had citrus trees in the backyard and a pool that got much use. It was wonderful. Then we moved and I was introduced to Monsieur Winter, my least favorite, dreaded, despicable, horrible season. Not to dwell on that, though. So, this little summery delight was, in fact, inspired by my love of summer and the fruits that summer brings–Peaches! This is a marvelously simple recipe for a peach preserve cake topped with a lightly peachy buttercream frosting.

WHITE cake mix, not vanilla because the peach flavor will not be noticeable
About 1/2 cup peach preserves

Peach Buttercream Frosting
3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 peaches, pureed

For the cake, you’ll want to prepare it according to the box. (Nifty tip: if you run out of oil, like I did this morning, you can always just melt shortening! But, be careful, it bubbles up very rapidly.) Once you’ve whisked it all together and such, pour your peach preserves into a small saucepan with just a splash of water and bring it to a low boil. AS SOON as it begins to bubble, bring the heat to a low temperature and stir occasionally until you have a sort of thick syrup with peachy chunks floating around. Strain the syrup into the batter and whisk it in. Now, what I did was sort of mash up the peach chunks into a really thick kind of paste and then whisked that in as well, but that part is up to you. It gave the cake a little bit of texture and a stronger peachy flavor.

Pop them in the oven at 350 for 15-17 minutes. Since you’ve added in the extra moisture of the preserves it will take a little bit longer then what it tells you on the box. Mine came out perfectly at around 18 or 19 minutes, so just keep an eye on them and pull them out when they just start to get golden-brown on the tops.

Now you’ll want to prepare your buttercream. Cream the butter and the shortening with about half of the sugar, the vanilla and the almond extract. When it starts to get nice and creamy, just add in the rest of your ingredients, including the peach puree. Once it’s all nicely blended and powdered sugar isn’t flying everywhere, go ahead and beat it on a higher speed until it’s fluffy and delicious. I, of course, like to taste test my frosting, so go ahead and sample it. If you want a peachier flavor, go ahead and add in some more puree, or for a little kick, perhaps a splash of peach schnapps?

As soon as the cupcakes cool pile on this scrumptious frosting and pack a picnic!

Wake Up in the Morning Feeling Like…A Hot Mess

15 Jul

11:05 AM — Breakfast?
After rolling out of bed and spending an incredibly twenty minutes looking out the window at a baby bunny in the backyard, I finally managed to meander into the kitchen. On the counter? About a thousand home-grown tomatoes. In the refrigerator? Ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles and one carton of yogurt. In the pantry? A dozen boxes of cake mix and a box of stale Count Chocula. So I did some more refrigerator exploring and came up with…a slice of leftover BBQ pizza.

Breakfast of champions! Which reminds me of the best leftovers/dorm room food recipe that really isn’t a recipe at all. It goes a little something like this.

Step 1: Look around in your fridge and pantry and freezer and such. Be sure to return from your adventure with some tortillas, some spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese.
Step 2: Put tortillas in the oven on BROIL for about a minute and a half to two minutes.
Step 3: Take them out, flip them over.
Step 4: Pile on your favorite or just convenient pizza ingredients. (I’m partial to leftover chicken, mozerella cheese, a little basil, some corn and a little bacon. Maybe some BBQ sauce.)
Step 5: Pop back in the oven until cheese is melty and delicious.
Step 6: EAAAAT!

Pay Attention to Me, Dammit! (The Chocolate Lover’s New Idol)

15 Jul

So this is a story all about how my life got turned upside down. I promise, I’m not going to rap. Just rant a little bit and then post a delicious experimental recipe. But, seriously, my life is so upside down. I just graduated from, like, the smallest high school on this planet.


I keep using this “I” word. And perhaps you, nonexistant reader, are wondering just who this “I” fellow is. Well, I’ll tell you. I’m eighteen. I like to cook, duh. I am smart, I won’t even attempt to deny that. And I like to consider myself decently pretty. I mean, I’m no Gisele Bundchen or Cintia Dicker, but I’m not a total hag, either! I have really pretty blonde hair and huge golden eyes. And sure, right now I am suffering from a truly unsightly red-purple sunburn that would make Uncle Vernon’s face look like a Cullen. But I have not always resembled a plum! Certainly not for the past four years have I looked like a plum, so please explain to me why, WHY, have I been single for these four miserable, horrible years?! I should be dating. A LOT. And having a lot of sex, or at least that’s what my hot, taken friends tell me.

So, to drown my four-year sorrows, I am going to make the ultimate cupcake, the cupcake that puts the term “Death By Chocolate” want to sob with self-loathing. I dare to go where no chocolate lover has gone before. This just may be the best breakup food in the history of breakup food.

Here is what you will need, broken hearts.

Chocolate (or dark chocolate) cake mix
1 cup chocolate chips
1 bag Hershey’s Kisses (optional, but recommended for those in serious need of chocolate)

2 1/2 – 3 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup Nutella, or similar choco-hazelnut spread
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
A splash of Hershey’s chocolate syrup

Okay, you will want to prepare your cake mix according to the box instructions, then mix in your chocolate chips. I like to fill my cupcake cup about 1/3 full and plop a Hershey’s kiss into the middle so it has a nice, gooey chocolate center, then fill the rest of the cup with batter. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, and one inserted into the very center of the cake comes out just a little bit gooey from your optional Kiss.

Now, the fun part. Most people go to all of this trouble of creaming the butter and blah blah blah, but I like to just throw in the butter and about half of the sugar and half of my Nutella with the almond and vanilla, beat it on low-medium speed until it’s starting to get creamy, and then add the rest in. Beat, of course, until nice and fluffy. To thicken the frosting just add in more confectioner’s sugar.

Pipe or spread generously onto cooled chocolate heaven cupcakes and consume until you are no longer sad, angry or pathetic.

Bon appetit, mes cheres!

G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S –a bubbling girls night in treat

14 Jul

So, my girlfriends and I adore champagne and, of course, we’re not old enough to drink it. So here’s an idea I just thought of. How about a milk chocolate-raspberry cupcake with a champagne buttercream. I think it would go really really nicely with a night of chick flicks and party games, no?

Spot of Tea? –a rich teatime treat

14 Jul

So, I’ve been bouncing around this idea in my head. I’ve recently taken a liking to tea and coffee (with about a pound and a half of sugar) and I need a good snack to go with it. I’m thinking…

a really delicious rich butter cake with either a tart lemon glaze or a lemon buttercream.

As usual, thoughts, comments, questions etc are more than welcome!

Afternoon Delight–the sexiest chocolate strawberry cake in the world

14 Jul

Moist fresh strawberry three layer cake, strawberry preserves between the layers, topped with a thick chocolate ganache. Easily modified into a scrumptious cupcake!