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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

Probably along with a lot of you, cupcake wars is a favorite in our household. My seven and four year old daughters ask every Saturday if Cupcake Wars is new the next day and what it is about. We generally don't watch TV on Sunday so we always record it and then watch it on Monday when my kids get home from school. It is a really fun tradition that we have started. Lately, even when playing with play-doh, their imagination usually takes the form of cupcakes.
I decided to try a new cupcake I had seen in Betty Crocker and my girls started helping out. When it was time to try the batter, it needed something. We quickly started pretending we were on the show, jumping around, yelling, "What does it need? What does it need?"
My oldest daughter quickly named this her favorite cupcake I have ever made. When she said that, I knew I had to add this to the blog, just for her!

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes
Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
1 1/4 C strawberry carbonated beverage (such as Fanta, Crush, or I used Faygo!)
Vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
about 5-6 big strawberries or to taste, chopped

Red food color
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy cream cheese frosting
candy sprinkles
Fresh strawberries, if desired (my kids ate the ones I was planning on garnishing the cupcakes with)

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for cupcakes, substituting carbonated beverage for the water and using oil and egg whites. After tasting the batter, it didn't have a huge strawberry flavor so I chopped up about 6 really big strawberries and added them to the batter. It adds a little texture and flavor.

Cool 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Stir 1 or 2 drops red food coloring into frosting. Frost cupcakes.

Add whatever garnish you would like, be it sprinkles, fresh strawberries, or the like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Football and Bagel Dip

I have always loved New Year's Day, filled with football and food. Some of the best games were of course on yesterday, the day my husband dubbed as the fake New Year's Day. Usually, we have a huge spread of food and just chow down and watch other people burn calories while we just put on the pounds. But because it was on a Monday and really wasn't a holiday(my daughter had school), we just made this one dip.
I got this recipe from a girl I used to work with, she gave me a few of her favorite recipes when I got married. It sounds really weird when you read the ingredients but I'm serious, it really is good!
My youngest daughter had a friend over and they seriously ate more than my husband and I. And we always pair it with bagels but anything that floats your boat would be great, I am sure.

Bagel Dip
Source: Tracy Harney

one 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
one jar of Kraft Old English cheese (my grocery store has it by the Parmesan cheese)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of green onions, chopped

Mix cream cheese and cheese together, either by hand or with a hand mixer, until well blended. Mix in green onions. Serve with bagels.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Isn't life just sometimes sweet and sometimes sour? Ok, ok, I know that was like the most ridiculous line but I wasn't feeling any great inspiration for a story that goes along with this yummy, yummy meal, besides the fact that it is just really good!
I tried this a long time ago and have since made it over and over again. My dad has asked several times for the recipe so here it is dad! It is seriously so good and is even better than take out!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Mel says that if you would like, you can double the recipe for the sauce, pouring half over the chicken and follow the baking directions and then pour other half in small saucepan. Cook the sauce on the stove for 8-10 minutes at a simmer until it reduces and thickens and then serve on side. I have always done this, the more sauce the better!

For the chicken, cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken.

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes so it is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve over rice.