Just 4 Cupcakes…

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook for a “Just 2 Chocolate Cupcake” recipe the other day.

I made them.

They were divine.

The recipe did, in fact, make just TWO cupcakes, EXACTLY.

Now I could curb my indulgence of eating an entire pan by myself…:)

Since it was late (about 10p), Aurora was already asleep, so I only had to share with J. I think he enjoyed the cupcake too!

That created a dilema for me. What would we give Aurora whenever we made these next? Also, I am not a big fan of giving kids sweets, chocolate, things that don’t really benefit them in the nutritional sense. I decided to create a 4 cupcake recipe, based on the 2 cupcake recipe, and make it something SHE would like, in the flavour department.

Also, I don’t really like cleaning up a million different cups and spoons and bowls. So I wanted something that would use just measuring spoons, a spoon and a small bowl, basically.

Here is the outcome of my inspiration!

Enjoy!

Four Strawberry-Apple Cupcakes

Ingredients
6 Tbs Flour
4 Tbs Sugar
3 Tbs Rolled Oats (whatever kind you have on hand)
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
4 Tbs Cold Water
2 Tbs Oil
1 Tbs Strawberry Jam (Got Home-made? Even Better!) or Any Flavour Jam
1 Tbs Unsweetened Apple Sauce (Use my home-made Apple-Pear sauce recipe, Divine!!)
1/4 tsp Vanilla

Equipment Needed
Small mixing bowl
Measuring spoons
Spoon (teaspoon, not a measuring teaspoon)
Small rubber spatula
Muffin Tin
Cupcake liners

1.Preheat oven to 325°F.
2.In a Small mixing bowl, combine ALL dry ingredients (Flour, Sugar, Oats, B.Powder & Soda, Salt). Stir the dry ingredients until mixed together.
3.Add ALL wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl, using a small teaspoon, stir until all dry ingredients are well moistened.
4.Line a muffin tin with 4 cupcake cups. Spoon 3 heaping teaspoon fulls into each cup. Take a rubber spatula and evenly distribute the remaining 4ish teaspoons.
5.Place the cupcakes in the oven and set your timer for 18-22 minutes. You know they are done when you can put a knife or toothpick in the center and it comes out clean, if it doesn’t, pop them in for another 1-2 minutes and check again. 🙂
6.Serve warm with butter or frosting or just eat them plain! 🙂

Spanish Inspired Ground Beef & Rice Salad

Today my friends L&S came over for a quick lunch visit!

It was so nice to have them visiting us, albeit brief, L had trapeze lessons to get to by 5p for her show in a week, so it was understood! 🙂

Since S is gluten free, I had to think of something easy to make, that was light enough for lunch and didn’t consist of sandwiches!

In came the idea for rice and beef! I like rice for a few reasons…but mostly because it is light and airy and easy to ignore on the stove.

You can’t really go wrong with rice.

I think rice is almost as good as potatoes, almost.

Here is what I came up with, using stuff I had on hand…or should I say in the pantry/fridge already. 🙂

Spanish Inspired Beef & Rice Salad

Ingredients
1-2 Tbs Cooking Oil (veg, sunflower, olive, whatever you have on hand will suffice!)
1 Medium Onion (diced)
2-3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
10 Sugar Snap Peas* (sliced thin, horizontally) * You can sub bell pepper for this, just dice them up! 🙂
1/2 jar Pasta Sauce* (any flavor) * You can Sub tomato sauce or 3-4 diced med. tomatoes and a can of tomato paste
1 lb Ground Beef (or pork, chicken, turkey, soy or TVP!! whatever ground protein you’d like will work!
Blend Seasonings (1Tbs salt, 1/2 Tbs black pepper, 1/2 tsp of each: chili powder, paprika & cumin.)
2-3 cups Cooked White Rice (make as much as you need, have extra? Make my rice pudding recipe! 🙂 )
1 bag Mixed Salad Greens
1 Jar Salsa (homemade works too, see my salsa recipe and fall in love!)
1-2 cups Shredded Mild Cheddar (as much as you’d like)
1 bag Corn Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt or Mayonaise

Equipment Needed
Large Skillet & Lid
Wooden Spoon
Small mixing bowl

1.Prep all your ingredients.
2.Set your uncooked rice to boil or if you are lucky and have a rice cooker, set that baby up!
3.Heat the oil over low heat until pan is hot.
4.Toss in the onions, stir and cover. Cook until just beginning to yellow.
5.Add the garlic, stir, cover. Cook until just all ingredients just browning.
6.Toss in sugar snap peas (or bell pepper), stir, cover. Continue cooking until peas or peppers soften just slightly (about 3-4 minutes).
7.Stir your rice or just twiddle your thumbs for a quick second.
8.Add the pasta sauce (or tom sauce), stir, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickens just slightly. Add about 2 tsp of the seasoning mix, stir to blend.
9.Remove from heat and pour into a small mixing bowl, set aside.
10.Stir your rice again or scratch that place between your shoulder blades that has been bugging you.
11.Place the skillet back on the stove, don’t worry about the remnants, add the beef. Over medium low, brown the ground beef.
12.Add the sauce you just set aside, stir until well mixed with beef, cover. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or so, basically you want the moisture to absorb into the meat. The longer you cook it the tastier it gets! 🙂
13.At some point the rice should be done, so keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn. Or just wait for the ding. 🙂
14.You could shred the cheese now, if you don’t buy it in those fancy pre-shredded packages. You could also set up your bowls with salad on the bottom or you could wait. 🙂
15.Once the beef/sauce mixture has reached the consistency you like, it shouldn’t be saucy really, add a little more of your seasoning blend to taste, stir well. Remove from heat.

To create your salad:

In a salad bowl or large plate pile the items in the following order:

1.Mixed greens
2.Rice
3.Beef mixture
4.Shredded cheese
5.Salsa
6.Dollop of Sour Cream, Mayonaise or Plain Yogurt if you like 🙂

Arrange corn tortilla chips around the outside of the greens.
Lightly sprinkle your seasoning blend over the whole thing for flair.
Serve immediately with a fork!

Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables Recipe

Roasted Vegetables
Serves approximately 4-6 humans or large toddlers, depending on the size of your vegetables. Can be easily adapted to feed more or less. 🙂

Vegetables Needed
1 Medium Potato
1/2 medium Sweet Potato
1/2 head small Broccoli
1/4 head small Cauliflower
1/2 medium Onion
1 medium Carrot
1 medium Apple (I know it isn’t a veg, but it will taste good with the veg, just do it!)

Ingredients Needed
1/4 cup olive oil (or enough to coat the veg)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp herbs (I used a mixture of rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, basil, oregano)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesean

Equipment Needed
Medium/Large Mixing Bowl
13×9 Casserole pan or Large Cookie Sheet
Wooden Spoon
Foil
Small bowl

1.Preheat oven.
2.Rough chop your vegetables (you can peel them if you want, but I don’t and the peels have nutrients in them, so eat them.). You probably want to core your apple. 🙂
3.In medium/large (big enough to hold all your vegetables and room to mix/toss them) mix all ingredients with your spoon or your hands, EXCEPT breadcrumbs and parmesean.
4.Spread your vegetable mixture out onto a large cookie sheet or 13×9 casserole dish, cover tightly with foil.
5.Bake for approximately 45-1hr (if you like crisper broccoli, check at 45 minutes).
6.Mix bread crumbs and parmesean in a small bowl.
7.Remove veg from oven (don’t turn it off) and carefully remove foil (steam burns suck!), sprinkle breadcrumb/parma mixture over the veg and return to the oven until parmasean cheese is just melted and starting to golden, approximately 3-4 minutes, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!

Serve with your favorite protein! I served this with my Baked Whole Bass Recipe.

Baked Stuffed Whole Bass

So I searched all over the internet looking for a recipe for Baked WHOLE bass and couldn’t find anything that either A.) I had the ingredients B.) Liked the ingredients or C.)Didn’t require me to cut the fish into FILLETS!!

I mean what part of WHOLE fish was Google search NOT getting!! So after perusing a few recipes, I got some ideas of what I could do with fish and what I wouldn’t do with fish. Here is what I came up with, using stuff I had on hand. Cook this with my Roasted Vegetables Recipe and enjoy a whole easy dinner with a WHOLE fish!

It is delicate, delicious and divine! Mmmmmm….

I love fish.

Baked Whole Bass Stuffed

Ingredients
3 Hamburger Buns (cubed)
1,1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp mixed dried (or chopped fresh) herbs (I used rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, oregano, basil mixture)
10 Tbs Butter
1/2 medium Onion diced
1 medium carrot shredded
1 tsp Lemon juice
3/4 cup water
Whole Bass (de-scaled and gutted) 1.5lbs – 2lbs

Equipment Needed
Medium Mixing Bowl
Wooden Spoon
Small Saucepan
Cookie Sheet (large enough for the fish)
Foil

Preheat your oven, if you haven’t already for the Roasted Vegetables Recipe, to 200c/425f.

1.Put cubed bread, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp dried herb mix in medium mixing bowl.
2.In a small saucepan melt 2Tbs of the butter.
3.Add chopped onions and shredded carrots, cook over medium low until onions are translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Make sure you stir them occasionally.
4.Pour over breadcrumbs and toss lightly or mix with spoon. Make sure the mixture is well blend together.
5.In the same saucepan you just used for carrots & onions (that is now empty, but doesn’t have to be clean) put the water, 4 Tbs butter, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 tsp salt, heat on stove until butter is melted.
6.Pour over breadcrumbs and mix well with a spoon until all breadcrumbs are moist.
7.Tear off of sheet of foil big enough to wrap the fish in, like a packet (or you can just put the fish right on the cookie sheet and cover the cookie sheet with foil, I just find this is easier clean up), place fish on foil/cookie sheet and using your hands or wooden spoon place stuffing inside the fish, you can pack it in or fill loosely, up to you. Put remaining breadcrumb mixture around and on top of the fish. Melt remaining 2 Tbs butter and pour over the fish/breadcrumbs. Close/cover with foil.
8.Put the fish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 200c/425f. The fish is done when the meat flakes off easily when you scrape a fork across the top.

Be careful of the bones when eating!!
Serve immediately. 🙂

Enjoy!

**You can cook the fish and the roasted veggies in the same pan, just put the fish in a foil packet or right in the center of the veg after you’ve cooked the vegetables for 15 minutes.**

Simple Breakfast Syrup

Simple Breakfast Syrup

Ingredients Needed
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1/4 tsp Vanilla

Equipment Needed
Small Saucepan
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon.
Spoon

1.On HIGH heat, boil water.
2.Add sugar to water and stir until completely dissolved.
3.Add vanilla.
4.Continue boiling until water has reduced by 50%, check on it so that it doesn’t burn. You don’t want it thick or it will not be syrup it will be sticky and hard to eat :).
5.Remove from heat, enjoy with Buttermilk Pancake Recipe.

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients
1 Cup Flour
1 Tbs Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1 cup Buttermilk** Homemade Buttermilk Recipe http://dashainasfamilycooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/buttermilk.html
1 Tbs Oil or Melted Butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Equipment Needed
Mixing Bowl
Whisk
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Spoon
Spatula
Frying Pan

** If you’re making it from semi scratch, do it first. **

1.In a medium bowl combine all of your DRY ingredients (Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt) with a whisk.
2.Go get your buttermilk creation. Shake well.
3.Add (to the jar) the egg, oil and vanilla. Shake well.
4.Pour WET ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients.
5.Mix with a spoon until all DRY ingredients are just moist but still lumpy. Set aside for 5 minutes.
6.Make my Simple Breakfast Syrup Recipe, while you wait! 🙂 or just do some dishes.
7.Heat a pan over medium low, add a Tbs of oil to pan.
8.Once oil is heated add a 1/4 cup of your batter to the center of the pan. Or you can just make whatever size makes you happy. 🙂
9.Cook until the bubbles that will form have all popped (mostly all).
10.Flip, with a spatula, pancake over and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or so, until the bottom is golden brown.
11.Repeat for remaining batter.

Enjoy with my Simple Breakfast Syrup Recipe!

Mashed Potatoes Recipe

perfect-mashed-potatoes-l

Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
4-5 Medium Potatoes (cleaned & cubed, not peeled, the peel has nutrients, it is good for you, eat them)
1/2 Tbs Salt
1/2 Stick Butter (salted or un, your choice)
1/4 cup Milk (give or take, add it slowly, you don’t want potato soup)
2 Tbs Mayonaise (heaping)
Salt, Pepper & Paprika

Equipment Needed
Large Saucepot w/Lid
Large Mixing Bowl
Fork
Knife
Cutting board

Prep your potatoes and put them in the large saucepot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and 1″ to spare, add 1/2 Tbs salt and cover pot.
Set the water/potatoes to boil over high heat. When water begins to boil, wait 3 minutes (when it is about to bubble over) and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat (turn off the stove) and drain in sink. Dump the potatoes into the large mixing bowl.
Add butter (cut it up a little it will blend in faster), mayo and 1/2 of the milk. Mash with a fork until ingredients are well combined. If it is too stiff, add the remaining milk, until desired consistency is reached.
Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

Serve Immediately with Baked Lemon-Cheddar Chicken Recipe.

Baked Lemon-Cheddar Chicken Breast Recipe

Baked Lemon-Cheddar Chicken
Serves 4-6.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
4 slices Mild Cheddar
4 slices White American Cheese
1/2 cup Milk
1 Egg
3/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Tbs Dried Herbs Mixture (Rosemary, Thyme, Majoram, Basil, Oregano, Savory.)
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 cup Grated Cheese (Parmesean or Romano or a mixture of both)
6 Tbs Butter
1 Whole Lemon (quartered)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Paprika
Olive oil to grease pan.

Equipment Needed
Casserole Dish
Knife
Cutting board
2 Small bowls
Measuring cups & spoons
Whisk

1.Preheat oven 350f/175c
2.Lightly grease a casserole pan (big enough to place all your chicken after they’ve been cut)
3.Butterfly cut your chicken breasts, set aside.
4.Pour Milk and egg into a small bowl and whisk together.
5.Combine Breadcrumbs, Herbs, Parma and pepper in a shallow bowl.
6.Dip each chicken breast into milk mixture, then dredge through breadcrumb mixture, patting firmly to coat each chicken breast completely.
7.Place chicken breast side by side in a single layer in your casserole pan. Place a slice of each cheese on top of each chicken breast (so two pieces of cheese per chicken).
8.Place the butter on top of the chicken, where the cheese isn’t touching. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over each chicken breast. Sprinkle salt and paprika over each chicken breast. Place in oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. (not pink 🙂 )

Serve immediately with Mashed Potato Recipe and a side of your favourite steamed vegetables.

Simple and Quick Mac & Cheese with Veggies

Hi! I’m Goldie – Dashaina’s younger sister. I also call this recipe Goldie Style Mac and Cheese.

mac-cheese1

I don’t know about you, but I cook for myself. Cooking for one person is not that inspiring. As someone who sees cooking as an art and needs to be inspired to create that art, times can get hard.
There are days when I just do not want to cook and end up eating peanut butter and honey out of a jar for dinner (ahem, yesterday).

But when I get just the tiniest bit of inspiration (i.e., not enough to make a real meal, but enough to get in front of the stove), I know I have to make something quick before it subsides. I suppose my inspiration for cooking is rather fickle. So I came up with this recipe, which is mac and cheese but so much more. It takes about 8 minutes to make if you take some short cuts. For those of you who do not enjoy cooking and/or like mac and cheese, this is the recipe for you!


Prep time: Under 2 minutes
Cook time: About 8 minutes
Serves about 2

Ingredients (approximate):
1/2 cup Macaroni/elbow noodles
1/4 cup Mushrooms, pre-sliced for the lazy ones (myself included)
1/4 cup Spinach, pre-washed
Shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Milk
Less than 1/4 tablespoon Butter for mushrooms
Less than 1/4 tablespoon Butter for final mixture
1-2 teaspoons Italian herb mix
Pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Salt, to taste

Equipment Needed:
Pot
Pan/Wok
Spatula/spoon
Butter knife
Do not need measuring cups as the recipe does not need to be exact 🙂

Directions
1. While boiling water, brown the butter for mushrooms in another pan. Add to the butter the following: 1/2-1 teaspoons Italian herb mix, pepper and salt.
2. Add mushrooms to browned butter, cook until brown. Add macaroni to boiling water. Let noodles simmer at a medium high boil for around 6 minutes.
3. Add spinach to boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute.
4. Strain spinach/macaroni mixture, mix in mushrooms and butter. Mix in cheese, 1/2-1 teaspoon of Italian herb mix, pepper, garlic powder and salt. Add milk if needed.

Serve immediately as a side or main dish. You can also make it in bulk and refrigerate it for a week to maybe 10 days.

I made enough for a week (at least) so that I don’t have to worry about being inspired to cook 🙂

mac-cheese2

Smashed Potato Pancakes

smahed-potato-pancakes

Makes 10-12 3″pancakes. Prep Time: 2 Minutes Cook Time: 8-10 Minutes

Ingredients
2c cold Mashed Potatoes
1 Egg
1 Tbs Bread Crumbs
Pinch of Garlic (Opt’l)
Pinch of Salt(Opt’l)
Pinch of Pepper (opt’l)
2-3 Tbs of Oil (depends on how many potato pancakes you make)

Equipment Needed
Frying Pan
Medium Mixing Bowl
Fork
Spatula

1.Combine all ingredients, except OIL, in a mixing bowl.
2.Heat 1 Tbs of oil over medium heat.
3.Drop forkful of potato mix onto heated pan, flatten (about 1/2″-1″ thick).
4.Cook on each side for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm with Apple-Pear Sauce, shredded cheese, sourcream or plain yogurt.