Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange Scented Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Orange Buttercream Icing

These cupcakes turned out deliciously. The first time I made them, I simply smoothed the icing over the tops of the cooled cupcakes. This time though, I decided to try and make them a little prettier. :) I bought the Wilton Cupcake Decorating set, and used piping to make them at least a little prettier. It will definitely take some more pratice though. Anyway, these cupcakes have been tested twice and loved both times. Enjoy! :)

Orange-Scented Cupcakes
-Sing For Your Supper Blog
*Makes 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or any orange liqueur you like (I just used OJ)
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the milk, orange juice, liqueur and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and butter in the bowl of a mixer and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake liner 1/2 full with the batter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting them.

Vanilla-Orange Buttercream

1 stick butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
splash Grand Marnier (again, I used OJ)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the sugar and then the orange juice, Grand Marnier and vanilla. On medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading or piping consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. Refrigerate until needed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Up for a Challenge

Hi friends and family :) Sorry it's been awhile since I've blogged. I am in the midst of my 10 week Child Welfare training, and let's just say it takes up a very good portion of my day. On top of that, this month is absolutely crazy for Tyler and I. We are really looking forward to all the events we have in store, but are starting to feel a bit run down. SO...what does any OCD/control freak/Type A personality do in a time of crazyness?...Add more crazy to the mess!

No, but really. I need to do something to relax myself, and for me, that is cooking. So, I have decided to set myself up for a series of cooking challenges. Based on a list of of challenges from an actual food blogging project, I am going to create some for myself. If you have any suggestions, let me know! In the meantime, I will work on starting a list.


P.S. THANK YOU to my friend, Miss Courtney Nickerson, for my amazing apron and oven mits which I cannot wait to cook with!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Easy, Cheesy, Enchiladas

To use up some chicken breasts that expire today, I decided to try out a recipe I've been eyeing up. Tyler and I love Mexican food. Pretty much all kinds. BUT, both of our favorite dish of all? Enchiladas, of course! This recipe is actually quite simple, but for some reason, I decided to make it more complicated than was necessary. Yes, I'm still learning, and we all make mistakes, right?!

I totally forgot to cook the chicken. *blushes* I made the sauce, pre-heated the oven, treated the baking dishes, and then...I remembered. I had no cooked chicken! At this point in the process, I realized that this recipe could be altered to make it much, much simpler. It calls for 4 shredded, cooked, chicken breasts, so my advice would be to save time, either use leftover chicken or turkey, or pick up a Rotisserie chicken at your grocery store. Anyway, mistake aside, this meal turned out wonderfully. I made 12 enchiladas, and stuffed them pretty full of cheese and chicken. Tyler and I were both able to eat 2 each, leaving us 8 (yes, I can sometimes do math)for leftovers.

One extra side note, I did an experiment. The recipe calls for this dish to be cooked in one 9 x 13 dish, but I'm not sure how that works as it only fits about 6 or 7 enchiladas. Hence, I divided the 12 into 6 per dish. In one of the cooking dishes, I used a thicker layer of cheese and sauce, and in the other, a lighter topping of both. The thinner covered dish came out with a perfect crunch to the outside of the enchilada, and a soft, moist interior. The other dish turned out some great enchiladas, as well, but they were much softer all the way through. Any way you cook them, enjoy!

Salsa Verde Sour Cream Enchiladas - seen on The Novice Chef, originally from the Homesick Texan, discovered on Sing For Your Supper Blog, modified by me!

4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 Jalapeno, seeded, minced
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream (I used reduced-fat and it was really rich)
16 oz jar Medium Picante Salsa
1 & 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
12 flour tortillas, small fajita size
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack
1/2 medium onion, diced
Preheat the oven to 350. Melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute onions and Jalapenos until soft and then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and let cook 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth until smooth and let cook until bubbly. Stir in the sour cream, salsa, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.
Spray/grease two 9×13 baking dishes. Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of each pan. Add chicken and cheese to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with leftover cheese, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.
Yields: 12-15 enchiladas