Red Velvet Cupcakes

My oldest grandson Dylan loves my red velvet cupcakes and cakes. He says my recipe is the best. I use good chocolate in my recipe and I don’t overdo the food coloring. I find that food coloring has an aftertaste and too much can ruin the flavor of whatever you use it in. Those are my tips for a good red velvet cake, good chocolate, not too much food coloring and coffee. Coffee is a must, it brings out the chocolate flavor in these red velvet cupcakes.

My birthday boy with his favorite, my red velvet cupcakes.
Batter with just the liquid ingredients

Ingredients:

1 cup of flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, I use Ghirardelli’s

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 stick of butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 cup of real buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract*

1/2 – 1 ounce red food coloring

1/2 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar

1/4 cup of hot coffee

Batter after dry ingredients were added. You can see how the chocolate change the vivid red color to a brown-red color

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Set aside.

In your mixing bowl, mix together sugar and melted butter until incorporated. Add egg, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring, mix well. Stir in coffee and vinegar.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the liquid batter. Blend until combined. This batter is thin but it makes the best moist cupcakes in the world. Only fill liners to the half way mark. This recipe makes a bakers dozen (13). My recipe can be easily doubled to make 24 – 26 cupcakes. Bake for 15-17 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake. These are super moist and delicious. Enjoy!

Red Velvet are the perfect cupcakes for Christmas.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick of room temperature butter

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract*

1 pinch of salt

4 cups of powdered sugar

Blend butter and cream cheese together. Add vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. I used a 1M tip to decorate my cupcakes.

*I use Mexican vanilla, use good vanilla in everything you bake. It’s makes a big difference on the superior flavor. During the holiday season, sometimes you can find Mexican vanilla at Walmart and it can be ordered from Amazon.

Chicken and Biscuits

I love a comfort casserole on a cool winters night. This casserole resembles a chicken pot pie on the bottom with delicious cheesy buttermilk biscuits on top. Oh yeah. Your family will love this.

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

1 sweet onion, chopped

6 carrots sliced in 1/4” slices, my carrots were small so if you have big carrots, use 3

3 stalks of celery chopped

Salt snd pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour (all purpose or gluten free)

1 32 ounce box of chicken broth (I used low sodium)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup frozen peas

4 cups cooked chicken from a rotisserie chicken, shredded or cut into bite size pieces

3 scallions sliced, white and green parts

Preheat oven to 375degrees. Butter or spray a deep 9 x 9 pan.

Melt butter in a large pan with high sides over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 8 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Add flour and and make a roux. Cook two minutes. Add chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring to a boil and simmer on stove over low heat. Stir in peas, chicken and green onions. Pour mixture into your prepared casserole dish.

Biscuit Topping:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons very cold (or frozen) butter, I like to grate the butter on a box grater

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 Tablespoons melted butter

Parmesan cheese to top buttered biscuits

Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl. Add grated butter and mix with hands until the flour mixture looks like small crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and combine.

Drop biscuits on top of chicken mixture, covering the top of the casserole dish. Brush biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until biscuits are golden and chicken filling is bubbling. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Mimosas

The perfect way to start your Thanksgiving or holiday morning. It’s a twist on the the typical mimosa, instead of orange juice, I used apple cider. It’s delicious! This could easily be made a mocktail by using sparkling cider.

Ingredients:

1 part champagne

1 part apple cider

So easy, just put equal parts of champagne and apple cider in your glass. Cheers!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

It’s sliced, help yourself!

I made this pumpkin bread because I found this beautiful pumpkin loaf pan and thought it would taste better in a pumpkin pan. Well, my pan did not disappoint. I think this is the tastiest pumpkin bread I have tasted. Not a heavy pumpkin spice flavor and I think the pumpkin taste is lightened up by the addition of cream cheese. This recipe is made by hand, please whisk and stir, no mixer required. Be gentle on the gluten!

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

1 cup of pumpkin purée

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 room temperature eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Cream Cheese filling:

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (save the leftover 2 ounces for a bagel)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, room temperature

Sprinkle on cinnamon sugar mixture after it comes out of the pan if your design is on the bottom. If not, sprinkle it on top of your batter as it bakes. This is optional but it adds a great flavor element to the bread.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

Whisk wet ingredients together and set aside.

Whisk cream cheese, sugar and egg together. Set aside.

Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine. Do not over mix. Pour cream cheese mixture into your pumpkin batter. swirl but again, do not over mix. Yes your batter will be beautiful but it won’t look like that after you bake it. I added the cream cheese for moisture and lighten up the pumpkin. This pumpkin bread is amazingly moist and flavorful. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Enjoy!

Orange Cranberry Sauce

I love cranberry sauce and every year Publix sells their Orange Cranberry Relish. I have duplicated as closely as I could. I think I came very close. I enjoy cranberry sauce with turkey, chicken and on my sandwiches.

Ingredients:

2 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries

2 cups of orange juice

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 cinnamon stick

The zest of 2 oranges

1/8 teaspoon of salt

Rinse, drain and pick through cranberries. Look for stems, bruised or over ripe cranberries and pull those aside. Add the ingredients to a pot and stir well. In my photo you will see 2 cinnamon sticks in my pot, one is just fine.

Cook cranberries over medium heat and stir frequently. You want to simmer/boil the cranberries for at least 10 minutes until most of the berries pop, not all of them will. Remove from heat and cool in pan for 30 minutes. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. The cranberry sauce will keep for many days in the fridge. Enjoy!

Worlds Best Hot Chocolate

I love a good mug of hot chocolate. Once you try this recipe, you won’t be using packets where you add hot water. This hot chocolate is made with milk and half and half and a good chocolate candy bar.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cups half and half

2 ounces chocolate candy bar, I used Lindt Milk Chocolate (you chose your favorite)

1 Tablespoon sugar, optional

Whip cream, optional

Chocolate curls optional

In a saucepan, heat milk, heavy cream and sugar if you are using it over medium heat. Add chocolate, I broke my candy bar into pieces. Stir frequently. Once chocolate is melted and it’s heated enough to your desire (do not boil), pour into mug. Top with whip cream and chocolate curls if you wish. You will not believe the difference between homemade hot chocolate and dry package mix hot chocolate, there is no comparison. Enjoy!

Cheers!

Hawaiian Zucchini Bread

I love baking quick breads. This recipe comes together quickly with ingredients you probably have in your pantry.

Adding wet to dry
Freshly grated zucchini
Don’t skimp on the zucchini
Pineapple makes this bread
Ready for the oven

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium size zucchini, you will want 1 cup grated

1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Hot from the oven
Watch out! It vanishes before your eyes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients. Beat eggs and vanilla and add them to flour mixture. Add grated zucchini (I used a box grater but good processor will do). Incorporate pineapple, raisins and pecans. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool in pan about 15 minutes and place on a plate/tray. Slice and serve.

It’s absolutely delicious warm from the oven, just as tasty cool. Enjoy! This recipe can easily be doubled. Make this recipe and put one loaf in the freezer for later.

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Parfait

I was buying these breakfast parfaits at Publix and decided to make my own. This recipe is for a 6 ounce serving size of yogurt but I am not opposed to buying a larger container and making a large container of pumpkin spice yogurt. It’s delicious and so easy to make.

Cast of Characters

Ingredients:

1 6 ounce container of vanilla yogurt (I used fat free but feel free to use Greek, just use vanilla flavor

1 heaping Tablespoon of puréed pumpkin (canned packed pumpkin)

1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin spice (feel free to add more if you wish)

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 small apple, diced in bite size pieces

3 small ginger snaps or cinnamon graham cookies, or granola (Publix uses cinnamon cookies), crushed

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt
The cookies add a great crunch to this breakfast parfait.
I used these cookies and store brand ginger snap cookies on top of my parfaits, both are delicious.

Open yogurt and add pumpkin, pumpkin spice and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Put in your favorite bowl. Top with apples and crushed cookies or granola. The yogurt alone is delicious on its own. Adding the apples and cinnamon takes it over the top. Enjoy!

Dig in!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Hot right out of the oven.

I have been thinking about making this recipe for two years. I finally did it! It starts out with a variation of my Buffalo Chicken recipe, a thick creamy dreamy cheese sauce, macaroni and more cheese. Sinfully delicious and so comforting.

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken:

1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded or cut into bite size pieces

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese softened

1 1/2 cups Buffalo Wing sauce, I always use Sweet Baby Ray’s

3 stalks of celery, diced fine

3 scallions, cut small

Melt cream cheese and Buffalo wing sauce in a pan over medium heat. Once the cream cheese is melted, you add the chicken, celery and scallions. Set this aside while you make the cheese sauce. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Just rehear before you add the cooked pasta.

Melting cream cheese into the a Buffalo Sauce.

Instructions for macaroni:

8 oz. dry elbow macaroni, 2 cups

Boil water and don’t forget to liberally salt the water. Boil for 8 minutes. You can boil noodles while making cheese sauce.

Check out this creamy, cheesy sauce.

Ingredients for Cheese Sauce:

1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 cup

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

2 cups milk

2 cups cheese, I used mozzarella

More cheese for the top of casserole

Just wait until you dive into this yumminess.

Melt butter in a saucepan, medium to low heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir continuously until mixture is smooth and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in your milk and whisk to combine. Add 2 cups of cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan (mine was 8 x12”) with nonstick cooking spray.

Without the cheese topping.
With the cheese topping before it lands in the oven.
Bon Appetite!

Once buffalo chicken is made, you can add the cooked macaroni and cheese sauce together. Pour into casserole dish. I topped my Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese with a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Bleu cheese crumbles would also be delicious but I forgot to buy them. Bake in the oven until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Corona Cheese and Green Chile Beer Bread

Corona Cheese and Green Chile Bread hot out of the oven.

I love beer bread. It’s been many years since I made any. The easy thing about beer bread, no proofing yeast, no kneading, just stir and bake. I think of this bread as a Mexican Beer Bread. There is nothing more delicious than warm buttery bread out of the oven.

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups self rising flour

1/4 cup sugar (this does not make the bread sweet)

1 bottle (12 oz.) Corona Beer, room temperature

1 4 oz. can mild green chiles, drained well

1 1/2 cups Mexican blend grated cheese

4 Tablespoons butter, melted and divided

Make sure Green chiles are drained and squeezed dry of liquid from the can. *
When beer is added, it will become foamy. Beer activates the flour.
One can never add too much cheese! 😉
Butter makes a moist and flavorful bread.
Ready for the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your loaf pan with non-stick spray or butter it.

In a mixing bowl, add flour and sugar. Whisk together. Add green chiles and beer. Stir to combine. Once combined, stir in cheese. Add 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter. Blend well and pour into loaf pan.

Right after the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter was added I would bake a little more if you did not add cheese topping.
Cheese topping added.

Bake for 60 minutes and brush the remaining melted butter over the top and pour the leftover butter down the sides of the bread. At this point in time, you can bake until golden brown for a few minutes or top with cheese as I did and bake about 7 more minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing. If you are like me, that is pure torture. You can enjoy it warm/hot but it may crumble some if it’s hot. I know this because I could not wait. This is a delicious savory bread that’s great with salads, soups, stews, chowders and delicious on its own. Enjoy!

*I used several paper towels and squeezed it to get the excess liquid removed from the green chiles.