Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

The other day, while playing around online, I came across a recipe that I knew that I had to try. It was called Mountain Dew Cupcakes. My husband is a huge fan of Mountain Dew. I made some slight adjustments (like making 1/2 the frosting), but otherwise followed the recipe as I found it.
Mountain Dew Cupcakes

1 c butter
2 c sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
4 eggs
2 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c Mountain Dew
1/4 c lemon/lime juice

Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl. Mix on low, just until incorporated.
Add the Mountain Dew and lemon/lime juice. Mix to combine.
Scoop into cupcake liners, 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 for 20 - 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely.

Mountain Dew Buttercream

1/2 c butter
3 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp Mountain Dew
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
yellow and green food coloring (or neon green if you have it)

Beat butter until creamy. Add half of the sugar and mix on low. Add the Mountain Dew, zest and lemon/lime juice. Beat until combined. Add remaining sugar until desired consistency.

I had a lot of trouble with the consistency of the frosting. It seemed too thin to me even after adding all of the sugar, more like something I would drizzle on a cake than something I could frost a cupcake with. I did some doctoring to get where I had something that would spread/set. I think that next time, I would leave out the lemon/lime juice and see how that does. If that's not enough, I might bump the butter to 3/4 c to give it more body to start with.

You can definitely pick up the Mountain Dew in the cupcakes, but I would say it has more of a citrus delivery than a true Dew delivery. I'm thinking it would be a yummy bundt cake too, with it's citrus-y freshness.

Based on my recipe builder, these cupcakes each have about 275 calories, with frosting (9 Points Plus). Guess I better make sure that I view it as an occasional treat.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Bruschetta

When I looked at the calendar last weekend, I noticed that our Saturday was rather open, so I suggested that we do a dinner with friends. We had two families able to join us. I was debating between some favorite standby recipes or trying a new one that I had found when I was on the search for a coupon. I decided to go with the new recipe for Bruschetta Chicken. I found the recipe on Hunt's website and made some adjustments.

Bruschetta Chicken
1 can tomato sauce (15 ounce)
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes (14.5 ounce)
2 tsp dried basil
2 c shredded Italian blend cheese
2# chicken breasts
1 1/4 cups croutons, crushed slightly

Drain the juice from the diced tomatoes. Pour the juice into your skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Once garlic begins to brown, add the tomato sauce to the pan.

Add the basil and 1 cup of cheese to the tomatoes. Set aside.

Pound chicken breasts and cut each piece in two. Place into sauce and top with tomato/cheese/basil mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.

Top with croutons and remaining cheese. Allow to cook for another minute to melt the cheese.

Based on the recipe software that I have, assuming 8 servings, there are about 200 calories per serving. The sauce was delicious and was excellent soaked up with the Italian bread that we were enjoying.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Arrabiata Sauce

My husband is Italian. I am not. When I was growing up, I remember having pasta. It was generally spaghetti with meat sauce or it was lasagna. I do not remember having other pasta dishes at home. As a result, I don't need to have pasta more than once a week, but my husband would be content with it being a near daily entry on the menu plan. In order to meet in the middle, I have had to learn to make a variety of pasta dishes. I simply could not have the same thing each day. Many of the dishes that I make are inspired by meals we have had at a restaurant. Today, I made Arrabiata Sauce - it was inspired by the $8.95 jar of pasta sauce that we found at the grocery yesterday when my husband suggested that we pick up a jar of some spicy pasta sauce. This one was cheaper - I probably spent less than $3 on the ingredients (the tomatoes were only $2.45).

It was easy to make and the results were pretty tasty. I used a number of recipes as my inspiration, I will share a link to Una Mamma Italiana Arrabiata Sauce, as it was her brown sugar addition that was the most unique - otherwise the recipes were all similar.

Arrabiata Sauce

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c red wine
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 small can tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 tsp dried Basil
2 cans crushed tomatoes

Melt butter in pan and add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
Add in red wine, brown sugar, tomato paste, lemon juice, Italian seasoning and basil. Stir to combine.
Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

We served it over Penne, with Parmesean cheese and some Italian Bread.

This sauce was very tasty. My husband indicated that it could be spicier, but it was just right for the kids. We talked about how it would be a good sauce to bake chicken in (or have with chicken and pasta).