Saturday, March 17, 2012

A St. Paddy's Day Celebration!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone! Today is always a big day in our house, 
and we are celebrating with~what else? FOOD! 
So, it's Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Creme Cupcakes, 
and Chocolate Mint Cakes! Come on over!

Corned Beef and Cabbage
I cooked the entire meal in my crock pot. 
I really like the idea of the crock pot, but for some unknown reason, 
I hardly ever use it. I rubbed the seasoning 
packet all over the beef, and then placed it in the crock pot,
and covered it with water. I cooked it on high for a
total of 10 hours.
About 3 hours in to the cooking, I cut up my potatoes,
and added them to the pot.
I added the cabbage about 9 hours in to the cooking.
I cut the corned beef very thin.
It was so juicy and delicious. Such a great flavor!
My favorite way to eat corned beef?
On rye bread with mustard. Such a treat!!

St. Paddy's Day Chocolate Mint Cakes

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in a
cookbook called Entenmann's Big Book of Baking.
They called it Double Chocolate Mint Cake.
I made a few changes, and came up with this
chocolate decadence for St. Paddy's Day!
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon baking Powder
3/4 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tablespoon Milk
1/2 cup Andes Creme De Menthe Chips
(ignore the pic of the chocolate chips)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
I used this pan, and greased and floured it.
To make the batter, mix together the flour,
 cocoa,and baking powder.
Add the butter, sugar, and eggs to the same bowl, mixing well.
Stir in the milk and the mint pieces.
Pour into pan and cook for approx. 18-20 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool.
Let's make our ganache!

1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Andes Creme  De Menthe Chips
Shamrock Mix Sprinkles
Make a double boiler. Place about 2 cups of hot
water into a saucepan, and place your chocolate chips
into a different saucepan. Put the saucepan with the chips on top
of the pan with the water. Make sure the top saucepan does
not touch the water in the bottom pan. Heat the water, and as you do,
the chocolate chips will begin to melt.
As this starts to happen, add the whipping cream,
 and mix until thoroughly stirred.
Place one of the cakes on your plate. Top with a
heavy spoonful of ganache, and sprinkle with mint pieces.
Place another piece of cake on top and drizzle ganache
over the cakes.
Sprinkle top with shamrock mix.
An inside look~Yummy!

Chocolate Irish Cream Cupcakes with
 Chocolate Irish Cream Frosting
I adapted this recipe from Anne Byrn's book The Cake Doctor.
I love using the cake mix recipes from her book. Not only
are they slightly quicker to put together, but they are consistently
moister. I have made many cakes from scratch, but I have yet
 to find cakes that turn out as moist as these.
1 package Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cup Baileys Irish Creme Coffee Creamer
1/2 cup Corn Oil
3 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix on low for 1 minute, then stop, scrape the bowl,
and continue to mix, this time on medium  for 2 minutes.
Place cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan
and fill them with batter.
Cook at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
After checking to make sure if they are done,
remove cupcake pan from the oven, let them cool for 5-10
minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan,
and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Now, let's make our frosting!

Chocolate Irish Cream Buttercream Frosting
8 ounces softened Butter
3 cups confectioners Sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3-4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream Coffee Creamer
Mix all the above ingredients together until smooth.
Cover your cupcakes with the buttercream,
and add sprinkles.

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Hope you are having a
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Country Skillet Breakfast~Improv Cooking Challenge

Today is Improv Cooking Challenge day! The two ingredients for this month are potatoes and cheese!!! My first thought?~Where to start? Those two ingredients open up an avalanche of ideas!! I had both of these ingredients on hand, so I started pulling groceries from the fridge, looking at what I had, and I ended up with
a country skillet breakfast that was easy to throw together and delicious!

Country Skillet Breakfast
1 Potato
1 Piece of Bacon
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Shredded Fiesta Blend Cheese
1/2 Roma Tomato
1/4 cup Onion
Microwave your potato for approx. 4-5 minutes, 
until cooked. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Start your bacon cooking.
While the potato and bacon are doing their thing,
dice your onion and tomato.
When your potato is done, let it cool for a moment
or two, then chop it into bite size pieces.
Put the onions and potatoes in a frying pan, .....
and cook on medium high until the potatoes start to get
brown on the sides.
Once your bacon is down,
chop it into bite size or even smaller, pieces.
Fry your eggs. I love my eggs over easy, and with this dish,
over easy works great, because the egg drips down
through the potatoes and bacon.
While your eggs are cooking,
 place the potatoes and onion mix in the
cast iron skillet.
Add the tomato and bacon pieces.
Once your egg is done,
Place the egg on top of the potato, onion,
tomato, and bacon mix. Cover the egg with the cheese.
Add more if you like it really cheesy!
Heat until the cheese melts.
Top with a scoop of sour cream and a slice of avocado!
(or whatever is your favorite)
Serve immediately!

See how much fun the Improv Cooking Challenge
can be?!! I know you would love it, and we would love to have you!!
Check us out, and check out what everyone else is making below!!

Potato Pancakes~Holiday Recipe Club

This is my first post for the Holiday Recipe Club, so I am excited and very curious to see what everyone else is making. Every month we are given ingredients to use. We can use one of them, two of them, or all of them. This month the ingredients were pistachios, potatoes, and beer! I chose potatoes, and I made these great Potato Pancakes!
Hometown Potato Pancakes
1 1/2 pounds Potatoes
1 medium Onion
2 Eggs
1/3 cup Flour
Corn Oil
Peel your potatoes, and take the skin off your onion.
Put the potatoes and the onion through the 
food processor using the shred blade. You can also use
a manual grater if you would prefer.
I used a trick I learned many years ago. The most important
thing in cooking these potatoes is to make sure there 
is as little water as possible. so you must drain the 
potatoes and onion of juices. To do this,
place the potatoes and onion in a clean towel. 
Fold up the towel like above, and twist the ends in 
opposite directions,
and empty the liquid that pours out into a bowl.
I got quite a bit from these potatoes, and see all the starch
at the bottom of the bowl?  That's great! These pancakes
will fry up so much better because all of that is gone.
Add the eggs, and mix very well. I used my hands 
to make sure the eggs were fully incorporated.

Add the flour, a little at a time, mix it in, and then add more.
This way the flour won't clump, and it gets evenly
distributed. add your salt and pepper now also.
Heat (on medium) your oil in your pan.
Add approximately 1/2 cup of mix.
Let fry for about 5 minutes on each side. Smash 
potato patty as you can.
Flip to the other side to fry for 5 minutes on that side.
Drain on paper towels.

Thanks for joining me today!
For more information on the Holiday Recipe Club,
click on the link above!

Check out these other great recipes: