Thursday, March 27, 2008

carrot cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

Last week my roommate threw a bridal shower, and these were a huge hit.
via Martha Stewart

carrot cupcakes

1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 42 mini muffin cups with mini cupcake liners; set aside.

2. Beat sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until well combined.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add three-quarters of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture; mix until well combined. Add carrots and raisins to remaining flour mixture; toss to combine. Stir into batter until well combined.

4. Fill each muffin cup with about 2 teaspoons batter. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.

maple cream cheese frosting

1 package cream cheese, room temp (8 oz)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (pure isn't necessary)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth with an electric mixer. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and sugar; continue beating until well combined and smooth.

Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cherries

super easy, good and healthy.
1 package (6.2 oz.) fast cooking long-grain and wild rice mix (I’ve used brown and it’s just as good)
1 medium unpeeled apple, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
½ c. dried cherries (I've used craisins)
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. water
2 t. sugar
2 t. cider vinegar
1/3 c. dry-roasted peanuts, toasted

Cook rice mix as directed on package – except omit butter. Let rice cool while you prepare the rest. I put spread it out in the serving dish. Let cool 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cool.
Mix apple, bell pepper, celery and cherries in large bowl.
Mix soy sauce, water, sugar and vinegar in small bowl until sugar is dissolved.
Add rice and soy sauce mixture to apple mixture.
Gently toss until coated. Add peanuts; gently toss.

From: Betty Crocker’s Diabetes Cookbook

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Macadamia Nut-Crusted Sea Bass

This one came from, but I left off the sauce they recommended because my husband didn't want it. For that matter, I didn't eat this because I'm not a fish person at all, but my husband loved it.

1 lb fresh or thawed frozen sea bass fillets (you can actually use any firm white fish, like tilapia or cod)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Season fish with salt and black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear fish fillets quickly, about 1 minute on each side, and remove from heat.

Transfer fish to an oven-safe pan lightly oiled with olive oil. Roast at 350*F for 15-20 minutes, until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, combine nuts, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon olive oil, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Process until smooth.

When fish is cooked through, cover tops with macadamia crust. Return to the oven and continue roasting until crust browns, about 5 minutes. (I actually just broiled it for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.)

Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I've been baking all of our bread at home for the last few months, and this is by far our favorite everyday bread. I found it in The Joy of Cooking and played with the proportions just a little. You can skip the second rise, but it really does make the bread lighter.

4 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm (105*F-115*F) water, divided
1 cup warm (105*F-115*F) milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 - 3 cups bread flour

Dissolve yeast completely in 1/4 cup warm water, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1 cup water, milk, butter, honey, and salt. Stir gently until honey and salt dissolve. Add liquids to yeast mixture, stirring until combined. Add all of the whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup bread flour; beat on medium-low speed until well-combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add another 1 1/2 cups bread flour and beat on low until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in enough remaining flour to make a soft, non-sticky dough. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Turn dough out, knead briefly, and return to bowl (re-oil if necessary). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, then throw down onto a lightly floured surface to break up air bubbles. Knead briefly if necessary. Divide into 2, form each half into a loaf, and placed in a greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray and let rise until dough crests nicely above the pan, about 1 hour.

Bake at 450*F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350*F and continue baking for another 25 minutes, until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Easy Pizza Dough

Found this one in a magazine, and we love it!

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm (110*F-115*F) water
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Dissolve yeast in water, about 5 minutes. Add flour, olive oil, sugar, and salt; beat until well combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 6-8 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, turn out, and roll into a 15" circle. Top as desired, leaving off cheese. Bake in a 400*F oven for 15 minutes. Add cheese and bake 5 minutes more.

Note: if you use a pizza stone, bake for only 10 minutes before adding the cheese, and then bake just 5 minutes more. Also, I find it's easiest to roll out the dough on parchment paper, and then just transfer the paper to the pizza stone.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pumpkin Roll Dessert

This is an old recipe of my wife's. She taught me to make it after we were married. If a guy can make it, then it must be easy!

For Roll:
3 eggs
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Filling:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together eggs, pumpkin, lemon juice, and sugar. Add flour baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix well and spread on greased jellyroll pan. Bake 13-15 minutes at 375 degrees. When done, loosen and flip onto wax paper. Roll in wax paper and cool.

For filling, mix cream cheese and butter, add powdered sugar and vanilla. Open chilled pumkin roll, spread filling on inside and reroll. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

I'll post a pic of this when we make it next, probably this weekend. Let me know what you think.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vegetable Lasagna with Red Sauce

I found this recipe a while ago and have made it several times, always to positive reviews. Unlike most vegetable lasagna dishes, this one uses a standard red sauce (hence the name of the recipe.) Even my meat-loving husband really likes it!

6 dried lasagna noodles
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 oz. chopped frozen broccoli, thawed & drained
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced (optional)
1 1/2 - 2 cups spaghetti sauce (I make my own using this recipe but process just until chunky)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and pepper.

Saute onion in oil over high heat for about 5 minutes; add carrots and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in bell pepper, broccoli, and garlic, if using. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, approx. 5 mins more. Mix all into ricotta mixture.

Spread small amount of sauce in bottom of a 9"x13" pan to prevent sticking. Layer noodles, vegetables, sauce, and cheese. Bake at 350*F for 45-60 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

UPDATE: Last week I made just the vegetable filling for the recipe (cut in half) and used it to stuff about 10 - 12 jumbo shells. Drizzle red sauce over it to taste, the cover and bake for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 minutes more. Fabulous.

Rhubarb Blueberry Muffins

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw frozen berries before using)
1 cup fresh or frozen chopped rhubarb (measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely
before using; allow to drain but do not press out liquid)

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and sour cream; mix well. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, stirring well. Fold in blueberries and rhubarb. Fill foil-lined muffin cups 2/3 full; bake at 400*F for 20-25 minutes.

*These are fabulous muffins, but because there contain so much fruit, they will get soggy after a while. They're best right out of the oven; if you're going to save them, leave them out uncovered.