Friday, July 17, 2009

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Yep I said cookie dough cupcakes. I saw this recipe and HAD to make it. I read all the reviews and there seems to be 2 complaints: they are dry and the cookie dough cooks instead of being raw dough. Well I fixed the dry problem and think I eventually fixed the raw issue, but I will have to make them again. See the last 2 pictures? The one at the bottom is putting the dough top and center, the one with the hole in it was from me pushing the raw dough into the batter which worked much better. Next time I might try putting the dough in first then the batter.

I didn't use the actual original recipe, just the concept. So here is my version:

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Cookie Dough:
Make one recipe Nom Cookies but do not bake them. Instead take a small cookie scoop and fill it just barely full and place on a pan. Repeat 23 more times. Freeze at least 2 hours (I froze them overnight).
-1 box Devil's Food cake mix (or whatever flavor you like)
-1 small box chocolate pudding and pie filling (I think it is around 3 oz)
-4 eggs
-1 cup water
-1/3 cup veggie oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups. It is probably best to do this in 2 batches of 12 so that the oven will bake properly. Fill each cup 2/3 full of batter. Press a frozen dough ball into the middle of the batter and push all the way down. Or try 1/3 batter, add the dough, 1/3 batter... see if that works better. Bake in the oven for 16 minutes. If you bake it too long, the dough will cook ruining the point of this recipe. Cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely. After fully cooling, frost.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in whipped cream. You may want to refrigerate this for a little while to try and firm it up a bit. Put a big blog in a Ziploc sandwich bag, cut off a small corner and use it like a piping bag to get the frosting on there.
I really like these cupcakes refrigerated. Plus with the halfway raw dough and the cream cheese frosting, you should probably serve these immediately or refrigerate them anyway.

Chicken Penne Al Fresco

I got this easy recipe from Molly. I just copy/pasted it so I will leave her notes in. Yes I am feeling lazy right now. My only change was that I used canned basil/oregano/olive oil seasoned tomatoes.

Chicken Penne Al Fresco
Serves: 2-4 depending on which way you follow the recipe

* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, sliced (2 cloves)
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes (1 medium tomato, chopped)
* 3 cups penne pasta (1 cup)
* 3 3/4 cups chicken broth (1 can, about 1 3/4c)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves, (1/2 tsp dried +5 small fresh leaves)
* 2 cups diced cooked chicken (1 x-large breast cooked in olive oil)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I probably used even more than that)

1. Coat a microwave-safe casserole dish with olive oil; stir in the garlic and tomatoes. Cover and microwave on High until tomatoes begin to burst, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Remove garlic and tomato mixture from the microwave and crush the remaining tomatoes with a fork. Stir in pasta, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.

2. Cover and return to microwave. Cook on High until pasta is tender, 16 to 18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove pasta from the microwave, then stir in the basil, chicken, and Parmesan cheese.

*1st cook time only took about 3 minutes for me. Second cook time took about 13.

Grilled Pizza

I had been thinking about trying to grill pizza for awhile and then it showed up on Lindsay's blog so I decided to try out her recipe. It was kind of successful We had the grill on as low as it could possibly go and cooked for wayyyyy less time and the crusts still got burned... especially the buffalo one because it was closest to the tank. I don't know why our grill is super mega inferno hot.

Grilled Pizza
Serves: 2-3

* 1 tube pre-made pizza crust (we used Pillsbury)
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 cup pizza sauce
* Meat and veggie toppings of your choice (We had thin sliced lunchmeat pepperoni, fresh basil, green and red peppers, mushrooms, and onions)

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for low heat and spray grate with cooking spray

2. Roll out prepared pizza dough to a size that will fit your grill (we used 1 tube of dough, cut in half, for 2 individual pizzas).

3. Place on grill for 5 minutes, or to desired doneness, and flip over. Now add the sauce, cheese, and other toppings. (OURS TOOK LIKE 3 MINUTES)

4. Cover the grill and allow to cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. (WE FLIPPED THEM OVER AND TOPPED THEM, TURNED THE GRILL COMPLETELY OFF AND CLOSED THE COVER, THEY STILL ONLY TOOK 5 MINUTES TOPS)

-Notes: I had heard that if you don't cook up the toppings before grilling, they won't cook enough. So I sauteed the veggies beforehand.

I made a Buffalo chicken version that was topped with:
-Mix 1 small can chicken (drained) with 1/2 cup ranch and 1/2 cup buffalo sauce, spread on crust
-Top with cheddar or colby jack cheese

Grilled Whole Chicken

This is only kind of a recipe. I wasn't overly thrilled with the marinade so I am not going to bother including it. Just find a marinade that you want to try and use that... this is more about how to cook the chicken.

Grilled Whole Chicken
Serves: 3-4

1. Kind of butterfly a whole chicken (3.5-4 pounds is good). Place a rinsed (and guts removed) chicken on a cutting board, backside up. Take some good strong kitchen scissors and cut down one side of the backbone. Now for the gross part... grab the chicken and yank it open so you kind of crack the breastbone area so that the chicken will kind of lay flat. If this is confusing... go to and look up 'butterfly a chicken'.

2. In a large roasting pan, place the chicken guts side up. Take a couple cups of marinade and pour it allllll over. Let it soak in for a few hours (in the refrigerator of course).

3. Preheat the grill to low. Place the whole chicken on the grill guts side down. No need to ever flip the chicken. You will want to take some of the leftover marinade and brush it on a few times while cooking. It should cook for about an hour, maybe an hour and half depending on the size of the chicken. If you do not have a digital meat thermometer, buy one. The chicken is done when it is at least 160 degrees in the thick part of the meat around the "armpit" area.

Basic White Sauce

For the millionth time... no clue what to make for dinner... use what is around. I found a recipe for a basic white sauce on allrecipes and modified it. It was ok, not a ton of flavor, but it was a good base.

Basic White Sauce
Serves: 1 pasta dish for 2

2 tablespoons stick margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 boullion cubes, smashed to bits
1 cup boiling water
1 cup milk
2 cloves minced garlic
1 handful of mozzarella cheese
pepper to taste

In a saucepan, melt margarine. Stir in flour and bouillon until blended. Add garlic. Gradually add water and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Throw in the mozzarella and stir. Season with pepper.

-While I was making a half box of linguine, I tossed in about a dozen frozen shrimp into the boiling water for the last 2-3 minutes of cook time and drained the pasta and shrimp. Then I added a box of my favorite veggies to the white sauce (after microwaving the package) then topped the pasta with the sauce. Serve with garlic cheese bread.

~*Mod 4 Photographic*~

One of my favorite photographers has had two really awesome posts lately....

Murray was nominated for a super sweet contest, so vote for #3!!!

Also, they posted about Simplicity! How sweet is that? We are honored.