Thursday, July 29, 2010

58. Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes
I've been watching the new TV show DC Cupcakes, and while I don't have a big sweet tooth, it gave me a huge craving. So, I dug into the SL cookbooks and found this recipe.

The sour cream makes these cupcakes, as promised, incredibly moist. Because it's made with German chocolate cake mix, the chocolate taste was very subtle, and I wished for a little more chocolate flavor. I topped these with cream cheese frosting, but I think a chocolate buttercream would have worked well, too.

I took most of these into work, and they were quickly consumed! One co-worker, over the course of the day, had SEVEN. That's right.

1 (18.25-oz.) package German chocolate cake mix

1 (16-oz.) container sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Paper baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first 5 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer just until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth, stopping to scrape bowl as needed.

Place paper baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into baking cups, filling two-thirds full.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from pans to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 1 hour).

57. Lasagna Pizza Cups

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I'm getting so excited about college football starting back up again, and that means it's time to start testing some game-day recipes. These fit the bill perfectly...the goodness of lasagna (pizza?) wrapped up in a little package. Bread, cheese, meat, and sauce...all good.

Don't even try to eat these with a knife and fork. You might think it would be too messy to eat with your hands, but everything stays together perfectly. Serve with warmed up sauce for dipping. You can see that I had these for dinner with a salad, but these will definitely make a reappearance on my tailgate menu this fall.

My only complaint was that the biscuit didn't have a lot of flavor. The next time I make these, I think I'm going to brush both sides with a little garlic butter to punch up the taste. And, I can't wait to try these with different fillings, like pepperoni or sausage.

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-oz.) jar pizza sauce
1 (7.5-oz.) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook first 3 ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain well. Return meat mixture to skillet; stir in 1 cup pizza sauce. Remove from heat.

Press biscuits on bottom and up sides of lightly greased muffin cups. Spoon about 1 rounded tablespoonful meat mixture into each biscuit cup; top with ricotta cheese (about 1 heaping teaspoonful each). Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of pizza cups to loosen from sides of pan. Remove cups from pan, using a spoon.

Place remaining pizza sauce in a small microwave-safe glass bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 30 to 45 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Serve pizza cups with warm sauce.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

56. Ham-and-Tomato Pie

From 2007 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Summer on a plate.

This pie was gorgeous, both in appearance and in taste, from the freshness of the basil and firm tomatoes to the heartiness of the ham and cheese.

It was wonderful as dinner with a salad...but even more delicious cold for lunch the next day.

The first slice I had, I worried that it was a little too salty, and I thought about halving the ham or cutting out one layer of cheese the next time I made it.

The next day, however, the flavors were just right...both light and rich, and not too salty. This was a perfect summer dish, for any meal of the day.

1 (8-oz.) package diced cooked ham
1 (9-inch) frozen unbaked pie shell
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 medium plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Sauté ham in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until ham is brown and any liquid evaporates.
Brush bottom of pie shell evenly with mustard; sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon ham mixture evenly over cheese, and top with single layer of sliced tomatoes.
Beat egg and half-and-half with a fork until blended; pour over tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with basil, pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake on lowest oven rack at 425° for 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve.

Monday, July 12, 2010

55. Garlic Herb Tilapia with Fruit Salsa

From 2007 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I'm wary of cooking fish at home, but when I do, I always opt for the grill or oven. I've stayed away from cooking it on the stovetop because I'm always worried I'll overcook the outside and leave the inside underdone.

But, I bit the bullet...and it was a big success!

The spice rub gave the fish great seasoning, and the flavor paired nicely with the salsa, which was an ideal blend of spicy and sweet, with tomatoes and onions mingling with big, juicy pieces of mango and peach.

I used thawed frozen fish, and my grocery store didn't have any tilapia, so I used mahi mahi instead.

This had a beautiful presentation and amazing taste...easy enough to put together quickly for a weeknight meal but also perfect to serve company.

1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets (about 4 fillets)
1 tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1 cup refrigerated fruit salsa
1/2 cup seeded and chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons butter

Rub tilapia fillets evenly with seasoning. Stir together salsa and cucumber in a small bowl.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add tilapia, and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until well browned and done. Serve immediately with salsa mixture.

Friday, July 9, 2010

54. Shrimp Scampi

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I love shrimp, and while I cook it at home fairly often, I have only ordered scampi at restaurants, so I wanted to give it a try at home.

The photo doesn't do this dish looks bland, but it actually had tons of flavor. For a recipe with a good amount of butter, it wasn't heavy at all...very light and fresh, with the shrimp coated in garlic and the lemon giving the dish a burst of brightness.

1 pound peeled, large raw shrimp (31/35 count)
1 (12-oz.) package angel hair pasta
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt-free Italian-herb seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Prepare angel hair pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in Italian-herb seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.

Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice. Toss shrimp mixture with pasta, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

53. Root Beer Baked Beans

From 2004 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I'm not a huge baked beans fan, but I know my family loves them, so I decided to make this for our Fourth of July BBQ. I was intrigued by the substitution of root beer for the traditional brown sugar element.

And, I thought these were good (but, to me, baked beans are baked beans)...but they were a hit with my family. They had a nice smoky flavor, thanks to the bacon and barbecue sauce, and they were a cinch to put together.

3 bacon slices
1 small onion, diced
2 (16-ounce) cans pork and beans
1/2 cup root beer (not diet)
1/4 cup hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.

Sauté diced onion in hot bacon drippings in skillet over high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir together onion, crumbled bacon, beans, and remaining ingredients in a lightly greased 1-quart baking dish.

Bake beans, uncovered, at 400° for 55 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Monday, July 5, 2010

52. Sausage Roll Casserole

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

As a former competitive tennis player, I treat Breakfast at Wimbledon almost like a holiday, and I always make brunch. This year, I tried a recipe that I've had earmarked for awhile. It was easy to assemble the afternoon before and just pop in the oven when I woke up.

I'm not sure how far the Sister Schubert distribution network goes, but here in Alabama, she's a frozen bread queen, from her yeast rolls (that are a perfect vehicle for sliced pork tenderloin) to her amazingly sinful orange rolls. Her sausage rolls are her famous yeast rolls with a slice of smoked sausage inside.

So, this recipe is basically a breakfast bread pudding with Sister Schubert rolls as the bread base. The top layer of bread crunched up nicely, while the second layer of bread held the creamy egg-milk-cheese mixture, all with a nice kick of salt from the bits of sausage. It made for a hearty breakfast, perfect alongside fresh fruit.

5 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (18-oz.) package frozen sausage wrap rolls (Sister Schuberts)
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Whisk together first 5 ingredients until blended.

Break apart sausage rolls; cut each roll crosswise into thirds, cutting across sausage.

Layer half of rolls in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layers once. Pour egg mixture over rolls and cheese. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 325°. Bake casserole 50 to 55 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
1 cup milk

Sunday, July 4, 2010

51. Buttery Dijon Deviled Eggs


From 2005 Southern Living Annual Recipes

While I'm a huge fan of deviled eggs, I've never actually made them myself...which is a Southern food crime.

So, when my friend Jenny said she wanted to learn how to poach eggs and make Giada's Eggs Florentine, we decided to make it an "egg night" and knock out two dishes.

These were rich and creamy, with the butter and Dijon, but I thought this dish needed more texture/crunch. I think I prefer the standard mayo-mustard-dill pickle relish recipe...but I'm glad I finally knocked this classic off my "to-make" list!

(By the way, the Eggs Florentine were DIVINE!)

1 dozen large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Salt to taste
Ground white pepper to taste
Paprika (optional)

Cut eggs in half lengthwise; carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks; stir in butter and next 4 ingredients. Stir in salt and white pepper to taste. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture evenly into egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Poll Results

The winner of the June "What Should I Cook Poll?" was Shrimp and Pasta Salad, so it's going on the agenda. Thanks for voting!

The five new recipes in this month's poll received the SL food staff's highest rating in 2008, so let me know what you'd like to see me cook.

Well, it's halfway through the year...and I'm halfway through the challenge!

This should be a busy cooking weekend, with Breakfast at Wimbledon and the Fourth of July, so look for a bunch of  new recipes!