Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mascarpone Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze

I've been drooling over this recipe ever since I saw it in Little Ms. Foodie's Blog. I think they might be the best cupcake ever.

Photo from - isn't it just cute?

Mascarpone Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze
*Makes 20 cupcakes

8 ounces mascarpone cheese (about 1 cup), softened
2 egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 box white cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and drained (I used raspberry)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffins tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, egg whites and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until combined and creamy. Add the cake mix and water and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fill the mini cups to just below the rim and bake until puffed and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly in the tin then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in the strawberry puree and whisk until smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes with the strawberry glaze. Let the cupcakes sit for a few minutes for the glaze to firm up, then serve.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lime-y, Garlicky, Spicy Goodness

I've had this recipe in my homemade recipe book for a while and have been meaning to make it. Given my quasi-resolution to eat more healthfully, I decided it was time. Because tonight my yoga class was unexpectedly (and un-announcedly) cancelled, tonight was the night. I expected to like it. I expected my husband to think it was OK. His review was "this is fantastic!"

Spicy Garlic Lime Pasta
From Amber's Blog
Serves 3-4
Total Cook & Prep Time - 20 min

1 tbls butter
Few drizzles of olive oil
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp corn starch
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1 small onion, diced fine
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
8 oz pasta (I used shells)
1-2 cups broccoli florets
Optional - Parmesan cheese for topping

Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. During the last 5 minutes of pasta cook time add the broccoli into the boiling water. Drain. (I did this in two separate pots, as I do not like the taste the broccoli gives the pasta).

Mix together all the sauce ingredients (butter through parsley) in a medium sized pan. Heat over medium-low heat. Add onion and simmer.

Meanwhile, cook chicken until no longer pink inside (I did this on the George Foreman grill, but you could do it in a pan on the stove, too). Add too sauce and continue to simmer.

Toss cooked broccoli and pasta with the chicken and sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired and serve.

Adventures in Ham

Last night, I decided to be daring and and go to a place my epicurean experiments had never taken me - the baked ham. See, I used to love ham, but stopped eating it in my teen years after several dried-out yucky ham experiences. However, I got a craving a few days ago and decided to give it a shot. The dislike had to have something to do with the cooking methods. Sure, enough, it did. If I do say so myself, my first baked ham turned out wonderfully.

Baked Ham

1 (5 lb) bone-in picnic ham
whole cloves (probably about 25 of them)
brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place ham in a roasting pan, exposed ham-side down, and press whole cloves into the top at 1 to 2 inch intervals (I had to poke little holes in the skin with a knife first). Score the fat if you want to be decorative. Pack the top with a layer of brown sugar. Pour enough water into the bottom of the roasting pan to come to a 1 inch depth. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or a lid.

Bake for approximately 2 1/2 hours in the preheated oven (about 22 minutes per pound), or until the internal temperature of the ham has reached 160 degrees F (72 degrees C). Make sure the meat thermometer is not touching the bone. Let stand for about 15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Last week I made my first trip to Murray's steakhouse. It's generally agreed to be the best steakhouse in the twin cities metro area. I don't think the filet mignon can be beat. It's a family-owned restaurant that's been in the same downtown location since 1946. They're famous for having the 28 oz "butterknife" steak. In short, they claim their steak is so tender you can cut it with a butterknife. I didn't try it, but I'd believe it. If you're ever in Minneapolis, check it out.

Murray's Website

Photos Courtesy of and Murray's Restaurant websites.

Oceanaire Experiences

I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile now, but Wii got in the way. So, almost a month later, here goes.

My office Christmas party was at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. I don't eat seafood, but was assured by my bosses that they also had excellent steaks. They did. My filet mignon was one of the best I'd had. However, the caloric highlight of the meal was the plate of creamed corn we ordered as one of our sides. I could've easily eaten the entire plate meant to serve approximately 8 people.

When I got home, I did a quick search for a copycat recipe, and much to my surprise (and delight), I found one! Please, enjoy the recipe. And, if you're lucky enough to have an Oceanaire in your city, you need to try it out as soon as you can.

The Oceanaire's Website

Oceanaire Creamed Corn
Recipe from RecipeGoldmine
Serves 8

2 quarts heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon nutmeg
3 to 5 pounds corn, fresh or frozen
1 leek, finely diced
Fresh parsley, chopped

Simmer the cream in an uncovered stock pot until it is reduced by half. Add salt, white pepper, sugar, and nutmeg. While the cream continues to reduce, add the corn and lower the heat. Bring the mixture back to a slight simmer while stirring occasionally. Add the leek and stir constantly until the pieces break down. Continue cooking the mixture until the corn is done and the desired consistency is reached. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm back... with Ziti

I've been on blogging hiatus lately. Beating Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy for Nintendo Wii became a priority over the past couple weeks. Fortunately for me (and my cooking skills), we've successfully collected all 120 stars, beaten Bowser twice, and unlocked Luigi to make him playable.

A few days ago, I made a really great baked ziti, and I thought I'd share it with you all. It's a Robin Miller recipe. I'm torn on her. I really like her concept, but most recipes I've tried have just been so-so. This one was great, though. It got a big thumbs up from both of us. This recipe is HUGE, though, so I highly suggest making a 1/2 batch, unless you have a family of 20 or so.

Photo from

Baked Ziti with Sweet Turkey Sausage
Recipe by Robin Miller
Serves 8-12
Total Cook Time - 1 hr

1 pound ziti noodles
1 pound sweet turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with seasonings (garlic and oregano)
2 teaspoons dried thyme (I omitted both Thyme & Rosemary in favor of Italian Seasoning)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
(I also added some minced garlic)
1 (15-ounce) container regular or part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, reserve 1 cup, for topping (I also added a handful of a shredded cheese blend).
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a hot skillet over medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Add tomatoes, thyme and rosemary and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and garlic powder and mix well. Spoon 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish. Top with half of the cooked ziti. Top with half of the cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat layers (remaining ziti and remaining cheese mixture). Top with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tip Time

Seeing as I haven't really blogged much lately (excuses will be posted later), I thought I'd sign on and share two of my favorite cooking tips with you.

1. Rotisserie chickens make the best chicken salad
2. Coarsely shredded rotisserie chicken meat makes awesome taco meat.