Cooking Day

Lamb Cupcakes Recipe

by Katie on April 9, 2015

As I mentioned earlier this week, I was on the dessert team for Easter dinner for my extended family.  Since my husband had to work the whole weekend, I decided to throw my energies into making several fun desserts, including these lamb cupcakes.

While they took a little time to make, they were actually really easy to put together.  Plus, since everyone loved how cute they turned out, they were definitely worth the effort.

Lamb Cupcakes

Almond White Cupcakes

2-1/4 cups flour
1-2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1-1/4 cups milk
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 large egg whites

Beat flour, sugar, shortening, milk, baking powder, salt, and almond extract for 2 minutes until batter is smooth.  Add egg whites and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour batter in cupcake pan with liners, and bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Almond Buttercream Icing

3-3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 stick butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract

Mix sugar, butter, and almond extract until combined.  Add milk until icing reaches desired consistency.  (I typically beat the icing on medium speed for 8-10 minutes to create a light, fluffy icing).

Decorating

black gumballs
black licorice
candy eyes
candy flowers
miniature marshmallows

Once cupcakes have completely cooled, frost them with the almond buttercream icing.

Place a black gumball at the front of the cupcake, leaving just enough room for a row of marshmallows under the gumball.

Cover the cupcake with miniature marshmallows, laying some on their side and some on their ends to create a “fluffy” lamb.

Using icing, affix two candy eyes to the front of the gumball.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the black licorice into small, fat rectangles for the ears and longer, skinny ropes for the tail.

Attach ears with icing.  Place tails towards the back of the cupcake in between the marshmallows.

For girl sheep, use icing to affix a candy flower next to one of the ears.

If you’re looking for more springtime recipes, be sure to check out my spring dirt cups recipe as well.

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Spring Dirt Cups Recipe

by Katie on April 7, 2015

Since I was on the dessert committee for Easter this year, I tried to make several kid-friendly springtime desserts.  One of our kids’ favorite desserts is the dirt cake that I often make at Halloween time.

Using the same basic recipe, I made a few modifications to change it from a ghostly cake to a springtime surprise.  Instead of using a 9×13 pan, I spooned the dessert in individual plastic cups.  I also traded out the ghosts and pumpkins for fun gummy worms in a variety of different colors.

I actually doubled the recipe below which made 20 individual servings….all of which were gone within five minutes of sounding the dessert bell on Easter!

Dirt Cups Recipe

1 package Jell-O instant chocolate pudding (3.9 oz. each)
2 cups milk
1 tub of thawed Cool Whip (8 oz.)
1/2 package of Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
Gummy worms

Beat pudding and milk in a large bowl with a hand mixer for 2 minutes.  Let mixture stand for five minutes.  Stir in Cool Whip and half of the cookies.

Spoon mixture evenly into 10 plastic cups.  Top with remaining cookies and refrigerate.  Before serving, add a gummy worm (or two!) on top.

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Boston Cream Pie Cake Recipe

by Katie on March 26, 2015

While I’ve cut most sources of refined sugar out of my diet, I have to admit I did splurge and try this Boston Cream Pie Cake.  My mom brought the cake over a few weeks back, and it was an instant hit with our whole family.

As an added bonus, this recipe is incredibly simple to make even though it tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen preparing it.  Of course, you can always let people think you spent hours making dessert!

The recipe calls for a 9×13 pan which works fine for this dessert.  However, if you want to dress the cake up a little bit, you could also prepare it in two 9-inch rounds instead.

In addition to the ingredients I’ve listed below, you’ll also need eggs, vegetable oil, water, and milk to make the cake mix and pudding according to package directions.  The amounts will vary based on the brand you’ve purchased.

Boston Cream Pie Cake

1 yellow cake mix
2 small boxes of vanilla pudding
1 container of chocolate icing

Prepare yellow cake mix according to package directions.  Bake in 9×13 pan.  Allow cake to cool.  Once cooled, poke holes in the cake.

Prepare vanilla pudding according to package directions.  Spread pudding over the cake and refrigerate for one hour.

Microwave the chocolate icing for 15-20 seconds or until of pouring consistency.  Pour icing over the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to be served.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Garlic Tilapia Recipe

by Katie on February 19, 2015

Tilapia is definitely one of our family’s favorite seafood dishes.  It’s a mild fish and can be prepared in variety of different ways.  This lemon garlic tilapia recipe is my personal favorite.

Lemon Garlic Tilapia

1 lb. tilapia fillets
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

Place tilapia in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.   Pour lemon juice over the fish and drizzle the melted butter on top.  Season with fresh ground pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with minced garlic and parsley flakes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until fish is white and flaky.

Served with fresh steamed broccoli and a spinach salad, this meal is as delicious as it is healthy.

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on February 18, 2015

With Lent officially beginning today, I’m on the hunt for new meatless recipes for the upcoming weeks.  While we love tilapia and salmon, it’s my goal to venture out of my comfort zone and try some new seafood dishes.

This week’s menu plan is pretty simple since I was rather unprepared for the snow and sub-zero temperatures that have landed in the Ohio valley.  I made a quick run to the store Tuesday afternoon between snowfalls to pick up the essentials for the week.  It’s my hope that I didn’t forget anything in my rush to get back home before the snow started again!

Anyhow, here’s our menu plan for this week:

Monday – marinated chicken, peas, fresh fruit

Tuesday – build-your-own omelets, fresh fruit

Wednesday – lemon garlic tilapia, snap beans, spinach salad

Thursday – Italian chicken, flatbreads, spinach salad

Friday – meatless spaghetti, garlic bread, spinach salad

Saturday – marinated pork loin, brown rice, spinach salad

Sunday – leftovers

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on February 10, 2015

After three nights of leftovers last week, we finally managed to start out this week with a mostly empty refrigerator.  This upcoming weekend will be busy for our family with both Valentine’s Day as well as our youngest son’s birthday, so I tried to choose simple meals throughout the majority of the week.

Here’s what I have planned for this week:

Monday – cilantro lime tilapia, brown rice, steamed broccoli

Tuesday – build-your-own tacos, raw veggies and hummus, fresh fruit

Wednesday – sesame ginger chicken, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday – turkey noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit

Friday – glazed pork loin, green beans, brown rice

Saturdayheart-shaped pizzas, spinach salad, Valentine’s Day cookies

Sunday – dinner out for our youngest son’s birthday

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on February 3, 2015

Like many households this weekend, ours was full of people rooting for either the Seahawks or the Patriots during Superbowl Sunday.  We had an extra half dozen teenage boys at our house, so I planned accordingly by making sure I had plenty of food for snacks and dinner (because honestly, one teenage boy can put away a fair amount of food, but by the time the game started, I had 8 teenage boys and one pre-teen boy all crowded around watching the game…..we’re talking about the potential for serious food consumption here!).

However, they filled up on snacks before dinner and brownies afterwards, leaving me with far more Skyline remaining than I had anticipated.  So, I’m planning for several nights of leftovers simply to clean out our refrigerator:

Monday – leftovers

Tuesday – leftovers

Wednesday – marinated chicken, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday – fish tacos, brown rice, veggies and hummus

Friday – chicken and mushrooms, steamed broccoli, fresh fruit

Saturday – omelet bar, pancakes, fresh fruit

Sunday – new pork recipe (yet to be determined!), spinach salad, spiced apples

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 27, 2015

I switched around the theme days for our menu plan this week since we had a refrigerator full of leftovers by the end of the weekend.  We hosted a Family Game Day on Saturday in honor of my Dad’s birthday (he would have been 80 on January 8th).

We chose a Mexican theme for the meal, and had a phenomenal taco bar with the option of seasoned pork, chicken, or beef.  Since there were 25 of us at game day and we all made something for the event, there were plenty of leftovers.  (As a side note, although it looks like a big crowd, there are actually 20 people missing…and that’s just my brothers and sisters and their families!).

So, we’re eating our way through tacos of every variety this week, along with a few other meals:

Monday – leftovers

Tuesday – build your own tacos, veggies and hummus

Wednesday – spaghetti, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday – white bean chicken chili, spinach salad

Friday – ginger chicken, flatbreads, fresh fruit

Saturday – omelets, pancakes, fresh fruit

Sunday – chili cook-off for the Super Bowl

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 20, 2015

I’ve really enjoyed trying out a variety of new recipes the past few weeks.  As a result, we’ve come up with several clear favorites that will be making a regular appearance in our menu rotation.

Favorite number one…omelets!  While I make scrambled eggs on a routine basis, I’ve never had much luck with omelets.  They always seem to end up as eggs and toppings scrambled together.

After a bit of trial and error, I settled on a skillet and a spatula that were most suited for the job.  By the end of the evening, I finally got the hang of making omelets to order for everyone.  I was kind of loving my new favorite – ham, cheese, tomato, and red onion – yum!

As I mentioned last week, I also made this flatbread recipe which was a huge hit.  In fact, I’ve made it twice more since then!  It’s such an easy recipe, and it’s a great addition to grilled chicken and sauteed vegetables.

I tried a new ginger chicken recipe this week as well.  While I had found an online recipe that I had planned to use, I had a comedy of errors involving fresh ginger that had gone bad as well as several missing ingredients.  So, I concocted my own recipe which turned out quite well.

As for this week, here’s our family’s menu plan:

Monday – spaghetti, spinach salad, oranges

Tuesday – ginger sesame chicken tacos, raw veggies and hummus

Wednesdayturkey chili, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday – grilled chicken and veggies on flatbreads, fresh fruit

Friday – grilled sirloin burgers, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Saturday – Mexican potluck for family game day

Sunday – leftovers

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 13, 2015

So I know it’s only been one week since I’ve been working with our new menu plan system, but I really love how simple it is.  By having definite categories for each day of the week, it eliminates the need for excessive planning and decision making…thought processes which are pretty nonexistent by the time evening rolls around!

There are two repeats in this week’s menu plan.  Since the large carton of ricotta cheese was on sale at Meijer last week, I bought that instead of a smaller 15-ounce package.  As a result, I went ahead and planned calzones for this week as well (the kids are already hoping the larger size is on sale again soon!).

The second repeat is solely Peyton Manning’s fault.  Did any of you happen to catch that Nationwide commercial on Sunday?  The one with the line, “chicken parmesan so good”?  After the kids sang that line for an hour straight, they unanimously decided that it was a much better choice than ginger chicken for dinner.  So, ginger chicken got bumped to this week instead!

Here’s our menu plan for this week:

Mondaysausage and cheese calzones, spinach salad, oranges

Tuesdaychicken enchilada casserole, veggies and hummus

Wednesday – marinated chicken, steamed broccoli, spinach salad

Thursday – leftovers

Friday – omelet bar, pancakes, fresh fruit

Saturday – grilled sandwiches, spiced apples, build-your-own salads

Sunday – ginger chicken, brown rice, seasoned green beans

As a side note, I tried out the flatbread recipe from Mel’s Kitchen last week, and it was an instant hit with our family.  The flatbreads are super easy to make and are delicious.  I’m sure they’ll be making a regular appearance on our weekly menu listing!

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