Monday, July 29, 2013

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

These are some good muffins! I like that they are simple and that I usually have the ingredients on hand. The original recipe called for 2 TBSPs of poppy seeds, but I think that 1 is plenty. I also changed the bake because mine got brown a little too fast.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
adapted from
2/3 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (room temp)
2 large eggs (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1 TBSP poppy seeds

1 cup powdered sugar whisked together with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Lightly spray the liners with non stick cooking spray (these muffins will stick a bit if you don't).
2. In a large bowl, rub the granulated sugar with the lemon zest until the sugar is lightly colored and scented with lemon.
3. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, melted butter and lemon juice.
 5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together. When almost thoroughly mixed, add the poppy seeds.
6. Divide batter between muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

Makes about 15 muffins

Note: The glaze does not freeze or refrigerate well so glaze just before serving.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Broccoli and Tortellini Salad

I love a main dish salad in the summer! This is a recipe you can make many different ways. I like crasins and almonds, but you can also use raisins and sun flower seeds. Blanching the broccoli makes it not quite as raw and crunchy and makes it a pretty green color. If you've never blanched veggies before you can read about how to do it here. I like a little onion flavor, but you can also make this without the onions. The dressing seems a little grainy because of the sugar, but it will dissolve after sitting in the fridge for awhile.

Broccoli and Tortellini Salad
adapted from
1 lb. frozen cheese tortellini
6 slices bacon
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsps cider vinegar
3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
1 cup crasins
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water.
2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix together mayo, sugar and vinegar to make the dressing.
4. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, tortellini, bacon, craisins, almonds, and red onion. Pour dressing over salad, and toss.
5. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

I made this pasta salad for a 4th of July BBQ. I wanted to make a pasta salad that had things in it my kids like. I thought of it kinda like a variation of a BLT, without the L. You could use any shape of pasta you like. I used salad macaroni noodles. If it has soaked up too much of the sauce and seems kinda dry when you're ready to serve it, add a little milk and stir it in.

Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
adapted from
12oz. of pasta, cooked, drained, and rinsed with cool water
1 1/2 cups cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, cubed
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup mayo
1 (1oz.) pkg ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl, mix bacon, mayo, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir in milk until smooth. Place pasta, cucumber, tomato, and cheese in bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Toss with additional milk if the salad seems a little dry.

Variation - Substitute mayo ranch sauce for 1 container Marzetti Ranch Dip.

Friday, July 5, 2013

BBQ Chicken Salad

We experienced a little of a heat wave last week, and I learned that I'm going to need more no-oven dinner ideas. We do not have an air conditioner in the house we are renting, and when it's in the 90s outside, it gets uncomfortably hot inside. I had some leftover BBQ chicken from this recipe here and instead of having hot BBQ sandwiches again, I made a salad. I just chopped up some things and let my kids build their own salads. It turned out really tasty, and was a good alternative for a hot day.

BBQ Chicken Salad
Rinsed and torn lettuce (I used red leaf and spinach)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Frozen corn, thawed
Diced tomato
Chopped cucumber
Shredded cheddar cheese
Crushed tortilla chips
Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

Combine salad ingredients. Drizzle on desired amount of dressing and toss to coat.

My leftover chicken

Some of the salad ingredients

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it with my graham cracker crust. This recipe is not too difficult and doesn't take many ingredients. I made mine at night, so that it could have plenty of time to refrigerate. When I was pouring the ganache in, I felt like it was too much, but it really isn't. The pie has a great flavor. It's not overly sweet and very creamy. You can use a store bought crust, or make your own by trying this recipe here.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
adapted from Bubby's Homemade Pies
1 Graham Cracker Crust 
Peanut Butter Mousse
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Use the paddle attachment of an electric mixer at medium, then high speed, to beat together the sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until they are light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it holds good, stiff peaks. Place a few spoonfuls of whipped cream in the peanut butter mixture and mix on medium speed to combine evenly. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold it into the mousse on the slowest setting, until all the chunks are gone. Cover and refrigerate.
2. To make ganache, in small saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Pour over chocolate chips in medium bowl (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes. Remove 1/3 cup of ganache and set aside. Pour remaining ganache in the bottom of the crust. Spread it around covering the bottom and the sides of the crust as evenly as possible. Chill the crust in the freezer until the ganache is set (about 15 min).
3. Fill the pie with the peanut butter mousse, smoothing the top with a spatula. Using a pastry bag (or even a ziplock one) pipe the remaining ganache on top of the pie.
4. Refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator loosely covered for up to 4 days.

 Ganache Layer

This is how I covered my pie.