Sunday, April 17, 2016

EASIEST CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES EVER !!!

These cupcakes are SUPER moist, SUPER chocolate-y and SUPER easy to make. They also stay moist and soft for two or three days (at least).

Perfect for a potluck, bake sale, lunch box or "just because". They are easy enough for kids to make too !!!

 
 

CUPCAKES

1 cup butter cut in cubes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (see note below)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Note: If you do not have buttermilk, just put 2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice in a half-cup measuring cup then fill it up with milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.........works just as well as buttermilk!!

Preheat oven to 350° and put 24 cupcake papers in cupcake pans.

Bring butter, water and cocoa powder to a boil, then take off heat and set aside to cool a few minutes.

Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and warm cocoa mixture and beat just until well blended.

Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes. My electric oven takes exactly 18 minutes. Do not over-bake!! Cool before frosting.

 


FROSTING

6 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the milk, cocoa powder and butter to a boil, then remove from heat then add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat till smooth.

Sometimes I have to add a tablespoon or so of extra milk to the frosting (if it seems too thick).

If frosting seems a little too SOFT, just let it cool for about 10 minutes or so and it will thicken up nicely.

 
 
ENJOY !!!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

MEATBALL SUBS

Whether you make this on the cook top, or in a crockpot (see directions below), this meatball sandwich is heavenly!! It is rich, satisfying and total comfort food....so, live a little and ignore the calories this weekend!!

The aroma of these meatballs, simmering in the sauce, will pull(even the pickiest eaters) from all corners of your house.

For the full size sandwiches, use hoagie rolls, or for a crowd, small dinner rolls make great meatball sliders!!


Make sure you click on this photo
to see all the yumminess in this sandwich!!


This recipe will feed a crowd, so if you are just feeding the family, cut the meatballs in half. Better yet, make the whole recipe and mix the leftovers with pasta and Parmesan tomorrow night!! I love "day two" recipes.

MEATBALLS
2 pounds of lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs (toasted under broiler)
4 tablespoons fresh parsley (minced)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Saute chopped onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, until the onions have mellowed and become a little sweet. Mix them in with all of the other meatball ingredients. Form into 2” meatballs and place on a cookie sheet (that has a rim) and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and drain. Set aside.

SAUCE

Even if you cut the meatball ingredients in half...do not cut the sauce in half. You can make this sauce on the range or in the crockpot.

In large deep pan, saute  1/2  cup chopped onions and 1 clove garlic in one tablespoon olive oil, until the onions are translucent, and then add:

(1) 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
(1) 12 ounce can of tomato paste
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
2 teaspoon of dry basil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2  teaspoon of black pepper
1/2  teaspoon of fennel seed
1/4  teaspoon of dry red pepper flakes

Bring to a boil and stir to thoroughly mix everything. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the pre-cooked meatballs to the sauce. Simmer for 2 hours (or see crock pot directions below).

TO SERVE: split your bread roll and put just a skim of butter on the cut side and toast it (for just a minute or so) under the broiler. Remove and load with meatballs and mozzarella cheese and put back under the broiler to melt the cheese. Enjoy!!


CROCKPOT DIRECTIONS

The recipe ingredients are the same, except use 4 cups of HOT water and crockpot on HIGH for 5 hours.

CROCKPOT TIP
Lay a dish towel over the crockpot lid (to insulate it a little, so it will come to a simmer quicker). Once it comes to a simmer, remove the towel and crack the lid open just a little bit so that the sauce will reduce a little.

NOTE: The secret to this recipe is the length of cooking time - NO SHORTCUTS ON THE COOKING TIME......that's the secret. 

The meatballs taste AND texture will be SO MUCH BETTER if you cook for the full amount of time, that's why the crock pot is the perfect method to make these sandwiches.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"HARD BOILED" EGGS FROM THE OVEN

There is nothing tricky about boiling eggs for Easter, but there are ALWAYS those eggs that crack as they boil, or the phone rings and you forget the eggs on the stove (and they overcook and  get those green "rings" around the yolks, etc.)  Not a big deal, but it can be a hassle when you are preparing for a crowd.

This oven method, of cooking eggs in the shell, is not only fool proof, but the eggs come out absolutely perfect and you can make a ba-jillion at once!!

 
Preheat your oven to 350 and place large size eggs in a mini-muffin pan (large end down). If you don't have a mini-muffin pan, you can use a regular cupcake pan  (they they will just roll around a little more).

How long you bake the eggs depends on the size of eggs you use and how hot your oven runs. I used large grade A eggs and cooked them for 25 minutes.  If you are concerned about it, just run a "test egg" to gauge how long to cook them.

When the eggs are done, use tongs to put the eggs into a bowl of ICE water (for 10 minutes) to stop further cooking.

NOTE: After the eggs are cooked, you MIGHT find SOME eggs that have brown speckles on them, but don't freak out; these little specks will dissolve when you put the eggs into the ice water. The next photo is before and after the ice water bath.

Not only is this a great way to cook Easter eggs in bulk, but the eggs are delicious!! The yolks are bright yellow and the whites are very tender (not rubbery like boiled eggs can produce).

Where has this cooking method been all my life!?!?