Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lauren's Chocolate Drizzle Pie

As I was planning our Easter dinner I knew I wanted something fun and fabulous for our dessert. When I came across this recipe in Paula Deen's "The Lady & Sons Just Desserts" there was no question what we would be savoring after our egg hunt. Plus, I loved the title of the pie...our youngest's name is Lauren-it made her feel pretty special.

This pie was phenomenal! It combined two of my absolute favorites; warm, ooey-gooey brownies and cheesecake in pie form! How could this not have been a winner! The pie was a cinch to put together and smelled heavenly as it baked. I served home-made french vanilla ice-cream a'la mode and the only sounds heard in our kitchen during dessert were Mmmmm!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Lauren's Chocolate Drizzle Pie

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 15.5 ounce Pillsbury Thick 'n Fudgy Deluxe Brownie Mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I omitted)
1/4 cup Smucker's Dove milk chocolate ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Follow manufacturer's instruction for setting pie crust in pan. I recommend a deep dish.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and 1 egg in a bowl. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and set aside. In a large bowl, mix brownie mix, 1 egg, oil and water. Beat 50 strokes. Spread half of brownie mixture into raw pie shell. Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over brownie layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cream cheese layer; top with remaining brownie mixture and sprinkle nuts on top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until center puffs and crust is brown. Warm sauce slightly in microwave. Serve warm or at room temperature over pie.

**Top with ice cream

Source: The Lady & Son's Just Desserts

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Frosted Peanut Butter Cupcakes

First of all, let me thank so many of you for all the wonderful birthday wishes! It's wonderful being a part of the foodie world and sharing our families, stories, trials, triumphs, recipes and special events together! You all made my day so very special, thank you! :)

Last week my Mom gave me my birthday present a little early. When I looked inside the bag, I was incredibly excited to see several new cookbooks. Yay!! I could hardly wait to sit and read through each one. It's a running joke in our house that I'm constantly reading's an illness, really. One of the cookbooks is a cute, little book titled simply, "Perfect Baking". My favorite part of this book is that every delicious recipe is accompanied by a full, color photograph. Don't you love it when there's photos of a recipe that look so mouth-wateringly delicious that you feel you have to bake right away? Thanks Mom for my new books!!! I LOVE THEM!

One of the first recipes I marked to try right away were these wonderful frosted peanut butter cupcakes. Just the title had me checking the pantry to verify that I had all the ingredients on hand. Mmmm! When Sarah and I were baking last week, we decided that these were a must try for the day. The original recipe did not call for chocolate chips, but, hey-what's a peanut butter cupcake without some mini chocolate chips? The addition was perfect! When we were preparing to mix the frosting, we were sure that there was a misprint-there didn't seem to be enough liquid to create a soft cream. But, boy were we wrong! The frosting mixed up beautifully and made an already delicious cupcake, D.I.V.I.N.E.

Isn't this the cutest little cupcake? Mmmm, it was just sitting there calling my name.....I couldn't resist....
I thought that one tiny bite would surely be enough to whet my craving for this irresistible combination of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness! Right?
Wrong!!! The first bite was heaven!! I quickly looked around to see where the kids were....realized they were still at school and....yes.... took a second bite. Oh. My. Word. And before I knew what I was doing......
Oops, did I eat that whole cupcake? No!!.....well.....maybe....well......yes O.K.! I ate the entire thing and loved. every. bite! :)

From the heart of my kitchen to yours may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Frosted Peanut Butter Cupcakes

4 Tbs. butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used creamy)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mini-chocolate chips

Put 15 muffin paper cases in a muffin pan.

Put the butter, sugar and peanut butter in a bowl and beat together for 1-2 minutes or until well mixed. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and baking powder and then, using a metal spoon, fold them into the mixture, alternating with the milk. (Fold in the chips) Spoon the batter into the paper cases.

Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven, 350 degrees, for 25 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.


1 cup full-fat soft cream cheese
1 Tbs. butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar

To make the frosting, put the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat together until smooth. Sift the confectioner's sugar into mixture, then beat together until well mixed.

When the cupcakes are cold, spread the frosting on top of each cupcake, swirling it with a round-bladed knife. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Source: Perfect Baking

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me and Skillet Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Yes, today is my birthday. I'm an April Fool's baby. And, trust me, I've heard all the puns and jokes about being born on this day. The best part of celebrating my birthday on April 1st is that my kids are always enjoying Spring Break on this day. This morning I awoke only to be told to go back to bed and was served a warm bagel and grapes in bed. Very thoughtful and much appreciated! I can't wait to see what the rest of the day has in store. I didn't want today to go by without sharing an amazing new dish I recently discovered on one of my favorite blogs. Enjoy!

I love pasta! I love anything pasta! As a mother, I love the diversity of pasta. I love that I can add vegetables and meats into a cheesy sauce and the kids are more apt to eat what I've prepared. As a cook, I love the simplicity a pasta dish offers. When I found this recipe on
Melanie's fantastic blog, I immediately worked it into the following week's menu.

This entire meal is prepared in one skillet and comes together fairly quickly and simply. Most of the ingredients called for in this recipe are staples in our home except for the sun dried tomatoes (which are quickly becoming a favorite of mine). The water, broth, cream and parmesan cheese create a fantastic, creamy white sauce that is flavored with the sauted onion and garlic. This dish was a huge success with my family and was wonderful heated up for lunch the next several days.

From the heart of my kitchen to yours may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Skillet Chicken Pasta With Broccoli

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces ziti (I used penne pasta and actually added 16 oz.)
4 1/4 cups water
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-5 cups broccoli florets 1
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped coarse
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (asiago was the cheese in the original recipe and can be interchanged)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of the pink color has disappeared and the chicken is lightly browned around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the pasta, 3 cups of the water, and the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is very thick and syrupy and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining 1 1/4 cups water. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the broccoli turns bright green and is almost tender, 2-3 minutes.

Uncover and return the heat to medium-high. Stir in the cream, parmesan, and reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing more grated parmesan at the table, if desired.

Source: Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe