Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pecan Studded Pumpkin Cupcakes

As I mentioned in my pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese filling recipe one of my coworkers suggested adding pecans to the cream cheese filling. I also added a sprinkle of brown sugar and pecans on top before baking for even more flavor. Delicious!

Healthy Brownies

One of my co-workers is a fitness and nutrition buff. I am always bringing baked goods in to work with me and as he's eating my brownies he talks about how he's going to get fat with me working there. His birthday is tomorrow so I figured I would be nice and bake a lowfat brownie. I wasn't sure how to substitute the 1 1/2 sticks of butter from my usual brownie recipe so after searching the web for a lowfat brownie recipe I decided to give these a try. Some reviews said they're very cakey and they did seem to rise more than my usual brownie recipe does. I put sprinkles on top for some birthday festiveness. I modified the recipe some and this is what I did. I can tell you they came out super moist, but I didn't taste them. I will let you know tomorrow how he likes them!

1/2 cup applesauce
2 small or medium bananas mashed
1 1/2 cup sugar substitute
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

2. Blend applesauce, banana, and sugar substitute together. Slowly add in vanilla and zucchini.

3. Stir together all dry ingredients an add into wet ingredients. Fold in chocolate chunks and spread into prepared pan. Bake for 25min until they lightly spring back when touched.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Broth

As a working mom I rely on easy to prepare meals to get nutritious food into my kids without having to hit the drive-thru every night. One of my favorite things to do is cook well seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breast in the crock pot. I buy a large pack at Walmart (usually 8-10 breast), place them all into the crock with plenty of seasoning, and fill it to the top with water. The chicken is cooked and incredibly moist which is important when you're going to be further cooking it in other recipes. I'm also left with this wonderful broth to use as a soup base or in recipes later. Doing my chicken this way allows me to make 4-5 different meals from that one pack of chicken.

Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango

My boys and I go on dinner dates to an Asian fusion restaurant that serves a delicious sticky rice with mango. Personally I LOVE the flavor combination of coconut and mango. I also happen to LOVE rice pudding so this was an easy recipe to put together. The sugar crust is like the icing on the cake. There's no more satisfying way to end a meal than breaking into the crunchy sugar crust on a brulee. Sadly I have an electric stove and no kitchen torch so my sugar didn't brown as much, but it still had that nice crunch!

1 can pure coconut milk
1 cu milk
1/3 cu jasmine rice
1 egg
1/4cu brown sugar
1 tsp coconut (or vanilla) extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cu diced mango
2tbsp granulated sugar

1. Combine coconut milk, milk, and jasmine rice in medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, turn to low/medium and cook for 20 minutes slowly stirring.

2. Whisk together egg and brown sugar. Slowly add in 1/2cu of hot rice to temper (warm eggs without scrambling) the eggs. Pour egg mixture into pot with cinnamon and mix well. Continue cooking at least 10 minutes while stirring until rice is ideal doneness. You can add additional milk to keep the mixture creamy until it reaches the texture you want.

3. Pour into buttered casserole dish and top with mango. Sprinkle sugar on top and broil or torch for a few minutes until the sugar on top is browned like a creme brulee.

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese filling

 FALL HAS ARRIVED!!! This is one of my favorite seasons because it's not too hot and it's not too cold. It's the best time of year for produce because you still have a lot of the summer seasonal veggies and fruits available, but the heartier items are available now as well. Pumpkin is one of my favorite fall squashes, but it's not a flavor everyone loves. These pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese filling are perfection. You could put the cream cheese on top as a frosting, but I personally love having it as a center. I took these to work and one of my coworkers recommended adding pecans to the filling. I think I will try those next!

8oz block lowfat cream cheese, softened
1/4cu sugar
1tsp vanilla

1. Blend all ingredients together and allow to chill overnight.

1 box spice cake mix
1 small can pure pumpkin puree

1. Preheat the oven to 350* and line cupcake pan with liners.

2. Blend all ingredients together until well combined. This will be a very dry dough and not what you're used to when you think cupcake dough.

3. Fill 1/3 of the cupcake liner with dough and create a small indention. Add a small amount of cream cheese and cover with more dough so the liner is only about 2/3 full. I used my cookie scoop for the cream cheese and put half a scoop into each cupcake.

4. Place into oven and bake about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the side comes out clean of dough. Don't overbake as these cupcakes can get dry quickly.