Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mexican Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

This is SO yummy!! Defiantly going into the rotation!

2 ancho chili peppers, stemmed and seeded {i found a big bag of them at Wal-mart}
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound fresh chorizo {i used soyrizo - couldn't taste the difference at all - neither could Shayne and it's way healthier!}
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pasted (finely chopped then mashed with salt) or grated
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
2 pinches cinnamon {i omited}
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer, such as Dos Equis {i used beef stock}
1 pound spaghetti or whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup grated queso asadero, cotija or Jack cheese, plus more to pass at table
Finely chopped scallions, cilantro or parsley, to garnish

Simmer peppers in stock for 15 minutes to reconstitute, then purée stock and softened peppers in a food processor.

Meanwhile, heat EVOO in heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and chorizo, brown 12-15 minutes then add onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and cook 8-10 more. Sprinkle in a little cinnamon then add tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring.
Add beer {stock}, stir a minute more then add the stock and pepper purée. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

While sauce simmers, bring water to boil for spaghetti. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: save a cup of starchy cooking water just before draining. {i didn't need this, my sauce was the right thickness for us}

Toss pasta with reserved water, half of the sauce and a couple of handfuls of grated cheese.
Serve in bowls with extra sauce on top, garnished with more cheese, scallions and cilantro or parsley.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

The cinnamon flavor in these muffins is very subtle. If you're a big fan of cinnamon, I'd recommend doubling the amount of cinnamon, or using even more than that.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup apple juice
1 egg
1 cup (about 1 large) apple, peeled, cored, and finely diced

Preheat oven to 400*F. Grease or line a muffin tin with baking cups.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk together the vegetable oil, apple juice, and egg. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture; fold until dry ingredients are just moistened but batter is still lumpy. Gently stir in apple chunks. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into one or two of the muffins comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These are super yummy. I never would have thought of doing pumpkin cupcakes. These aren't as pumpkin-y as pumpkin pie or pumpkin bars, so even non-pumpkin-lovers (like my sister-in-law) will love them!

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
2 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
24 pieces candy corn

Heat oven to 350*. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, pumpkin pie spice and puree. Mix well. Divide the batter among prepared muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool. Using an electric mixer, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top each with one piece candy corn. Yields 24 cupcakes. {My batch only made about 20 cupcakes.}

Recipe (with slight changes) and picture from Real Simple.