Friday, February 16, 2007

Where does my strength lie?

Valentine's Day cupcakes

Am I the only person who doesn't like homemade baked goods? I had a wonderful time baking and then decorating these belated Valentine's Day cupcakes, but when it came time to eat them, I couldn't get through one. Maybe I'm not making them right. They don't taste bad, they just don't taste like what comes out of the box. The texture is different, too. And I'm big on textures of food. Perhaps its the 'imitation vanilla flavoring' I used, its just I don't bake much and it was cheaper (I'm on a budget you know). But maybe I should splurge on the real thing, before I give up baking all together.

You should have seen the frosting I tried to make! I thought I had enough of what I needed, but when I opened my powdered sugar box, I barely had a cup, and there were 2 dozen cupcakes. I tried to improvise, but it ended up looking like curdled milk. I was smart then, and went to the grocery store and bought a can of whipped vanilla frosting and then added my own red food coloring. The frosting was definitely the best part in my opinion.

It was fun decorating, just decorating makes me want to bake some more. Though maybe I should stick to break and bake cookies and boxes of cake mix. I'm already cooking up another project that I saw on Craftster, I just need to decided whether to give the baking thing another shot.

This cupcakes were based off of the recipe on Cupcake Bakeshop but I didn't make filling. I was going to make a mixed berry filling, but Mike looked in disgust when I asked him if I should do a dozen with filling. I like to think that this recipe needs a filling, and without the cupcakes just lack. Let me live in my dream, people!


I was not a complete disaster in the kitchen last night.Though the weekly dinner schedule said that we were to have frozen pizza (Thursday TV Night!), I just could not bear to have frozen pizza when I had some the day before for lunch. I racked my brain, trying to figure out something to make with what we had.

We had some aging mushrooms and onions galore (from last week's french onion soup extravaganza), and I immediately thought of Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas, but I didn't want to use our quesadillas. So bring on the rice. It actually turned out good, though I'm not a huge rice fan (I had originally planned using noodles). It's a bit spicy (thank you ja-la-penos, as Mike would say), but rich with flavors of mushrooms and onions. Yum.

Chicken Mushroom Quesadilla on Rice (modified from the Food Network Kitchens Cookbook)
Serves 4

-1 baked chicken breast, cut into chunks
-container of (button? I don't know my mushrooms) mushrooms, sliced
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1 jalapeƱo, finely chopped
-1 can (16oz) of whole black beans, strained and rinsed
-4 Tbs butter
-2 Tbs flour
-1/2 cup of warmed milk, more if needed
-1/2 cup of shredded Mexican Cheese, more if needed
-2 cups instant rice
-2 cups of water
-sour cream

In a frying pan, melt 2 Tbs of butter. Then add sliced mushrooms and cook down until they lose their moisture. After your mushrooms have been reduced, add your onion and jalapeƱos and cook until onions are translucent and soft. Add black beans and mash them with a fork, but don't mash too much, you want flecks of the bean skin, chunks are good. Throw chicken in and heat everything together for a few minutes, then set pan aside.

Cook your instant rice as per the package's instruction.

Perpare a bechamel base for your cheese sauce. Melt 2 Tbs of butter in a sauce pan, then add your 2 Tbs of flour and whisk together. After your rue(?) cooks for a few minutes, slowly add in your milk while continuing your whisking. Add in your shredded cheese and whisk to combine. If necessary add a bit more milk until you get a consistency you like.

Once your sauce is combined, plate immediately! Or your pot o' cheese sauce will get clumpy and gross.

Put down a base of rice and drizzle with your cheese sauce, as liberally as you please. Top with a scoop of bean mix and a bit of sour cream, then enjoy!

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