April 18, 2015

Coke Shredded Pork Tacos

This shredded pork seriously has so much flavor and it's a piece of cake to make.  

I have made it a few times and we love it.  I have served it in tacos, quesadillas and on nachos.  It's tender and juicy on day one and it's just as good leftover.  It doesn't actually taste like Coke, but it does give the pork a rich sweet flavor.    

I got this idea from my friend, Ruth Ann, she makes this minus the chili powder and Worcestershire and serves it on hamburger buns as a sandwich.

I love using boneless Country Style Ribs when I am making shredded pork dishes for a few reasons.  Since I usually only cook for two people, those ribs work great because I am able to buy a package in smaller portions, plus they come in strips and it's easy to cut into chunks.  You can use whichever cut of pork you prefer.   

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Tyler Florence's Guacamole
Roasted Red Pepper and Cilantro Lime Rice
Restaurant Style Shredded Pork Enchiladas
Crunchy Shredded Pork Tacos
Coke Shredded Pork Tacos
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)
2 - 2 1/2 Lbs. boneless country style ribs (or other cut of boneless pork)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste
1 (12 oz.) can Coca-Cola
1 c. jarred salsa
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

For Serving:
corn or flour tortillas
sour cream
chopped cilantro
diced tomato
diced avocado
Feta cheese
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Cut pork into rough 3-inch chunks and place in a medium Dutch oven (or oven-safe pan with a lid).  Season with salt, pepper and chili powder.  Pour the can of cola over the top along with the salsa and Worcestershire.  Cover pot with lid and bake for 3-3 1/2 hours or until pork easily shreds apart with a fork. 

Remove pork from liquid and shred.  Add some of the liquid from the pan into the shredded pork.  If there isn't a lot of juice left in the pan, you can shred the pork right in the liquid.  Serve in warmed tortillas with desired toppings.     
  *You could also make this in the crockpot.

April 12, 2015

Butterfinger Nutella Cupcakes

It feels like forever since I have made cupcakes.

I was long overdue for a real. good.homemade.cupcake. 

I have been eating Chick-O-Sticks lately.  Have you had those?  They taste exactly like the inside of a Butterfinger. 

Somehow I wanted to incorporate that yummy flavor into a cupcake and add chocolate too.  Duh . . . use Butterfingers :)  So, I loaded both the cupcake and the frosting with crushed candy bars. 
The result??? One super tasty cupcake.
 I loved these on day two.  The flavors really developed overnight.  The cupcake is so moist with bits of crunchy peanut buttery flavored candy bar, topped with rich Nutella and creamy thick candy bar frosting.  

If you don't want to pipe a big swirl of frosting onto each cupcake, you could probably cut back and only make a half a batch of frosting.  I am all about the frosting, so the bigger swirl the better :) 

These are incredible!     
 You might also like:
Butterfinger Nutella Cupcakes
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe)  or (Printable with Picture)
1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to make cake
12 fun-size or 4 regular-size Butterfingers, crushed
1/2 c. Nutella, for topping

Butterfinger Frosting
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
5 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbl. milk, more or less
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
9 fun-size or 3 regular-size Butterfingers, crushed well, so big     
    chunks of candy bar don't get stuck in the piping tip.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions and stir in the crushed Butterfingers.  Divide batter between 24 muffin cups that have been lined with paper liners.  Bake according to package directions.  Cool completely.  When cool, spread about 1 teaspoon of Nutella over each cupcake.  It helps to stir the Nutella before spreading, so it is lighter and spreads on the cupcake better.  Pipe or spread Butterfinger Frosting over the top. 

Butterfinger Frosting:  Beat butter until creamy using an electric mixer.  Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Add the vanilla, salt and crushed Butterfingers and mix well.  Continue adding remaining powdered sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with milk as needed to reach desired creamy frosting consistency.  Pipe or spread over cooled cupcakes.   

Jenn's Notes: I used an Ateco Tip #826 to pipe on the frosting.  Make sure the Butterfingers are crushed very well for the frosting or they may get stuck in the piping tip.  

Base cupcake recipe adapted from: Plain Chicken

April 8, 2015

Easy Ham and Broccoli Quiche

Did you all have a fun Easter weekend?  Do you have any leftover ham?  Well, this is just the breakfast you need to make. 

This was the first quiche I have ever made.  My Father-In-Law made a quiche on Christmas morning last year and it was great.  The crisp buttery crust mixed with the creamy eggs and cheesy filling was fabulous.  This version is loaded with ham, broccoli and lots of cheese.  To finish it off, it's sprinkled with smoked paprika.  It not only gives the top a beautiful orange color, it adds a light smokey flavor.  If you don't have any leftover Easter ham, deli ham works great too.   You can really add any fillings you like . . . mushrooms, sausage, bell pepper and spinach are a few that crossed my mind. 

This is a cinch to throw together.  The hardest part is knowing when it's cooked all the way through AND you have to let it rest before slicing into it.  Once you remove it from the oven, it continues to cook a bit while it cools, so resist the urge to slice into it early.

I even ate this for a few days in a row, so it is great re-heated.   
Click HERE to get this delicious recipe over at THE RECIPE CRITIC's SITE!

April 6, 2015

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake PLUS United States of Cakes Cookbook Review

 United States of Cakes, by Roy Fares

In 2010, Roy Fares, won Sweden's Best Pastry Chef competition.  He lives in Sweden, but loves to visit the United States.  California seems to be his inspiration for this book.  He talks about L.A., Hollywood, Palm Springs and Beverly Hills and the delectable treats he enjoys and his favorite places to get them.

This book includes 50 of his favorite classic recipes with his own twist.  He has taken our Classic American Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Baked Goods and reduced the sugar, but these are not low-sugar recipes.  He has just reduced the sugar a little and found the "perfect balance". 
I love the style of this book.  It includes some of my favorite food pictures.  The old-fashioned, rustic, pics are so comforting and make me feel right at home.  The smell of the book even makes me think of my Grandma's old books.  The recipes range from beginner to intermediate.   

I tried his Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake.  It is a very dense cake with a deep chocolate flavor and it's not overly sweet.  I wanted a sweeter glaze, so I opted to make my own recipe instead of his.

The recipes are written using a Convection Oven.  If you are baking with a regular oven, then it is suggested to increase the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  He also suggests adjusting the recipes if you live at high altitude. 

I do live at high altitude and honestly, the only time I have made adjustments is when I am making candy.  I wasn't even sure how to adjust for baking at high altitude, so I looked it up.  One of the suggestions is to increase the oven temp. by 25 degrees and since I was already going to increase the temp. 25 degrees for a regular oven, that would have meant my cake would bake at 400 degrees and that is way too hot.  So, I took a gamble and made the recipe "as is"  and it turned out just fine.  That doesn't mean every recipe in this book will turn out fine without making adjustments, so you'll have to decide for yourself.  P.S.  if anyone has any suggestions of how to adjust a recipe at high altitude, then send them my way. 

Every recipe sounds amazing.  Some of the other desserts I can't wait to try are: Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Snickers Cheesecake, Banana Chocolate Chip Pudding, Nutella Cake Pops, Magnolia Bakery's Banana Cake and Chocolate Fudge (it has dulce de leche sauce and marshmallows in it).

This book is available for purchase now.  
Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake
adapted from: United States of Cakes
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. salted butter, room temperature
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 shot of espresso (I used 1/4 cup coffee)
2/3 c. water
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
2 eggs

Chocolate Glaze (I didn't use this glaze)
1/3 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. corn syrup or honey
3/4 c. dark chocolate, 70%

Preheat oven to 350 degrees convection function (or 375 degrees for a regular oven).  Grease and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the cocoa powder, espresso and water and whisk into a smooth mixture.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, vanilla, sour cream and eggs; mix well.

Mix in the dry ingredients and whisk together until smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert to a wire rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze:  Melt the butter, corn syrup and chocolate in a water bath.  Stir together into a smooth icing.  Let the icing cool to lukewarm temperature.  Place a baking sheet under the rack with the cooled cake and pour the glaze over the cake.  Allow icing to set.

Easy Chocolate Glaze (this is what I used)
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
2 Tbl. unsalted butter
2 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbl. milk

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the cocoa until a paste forms.  Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients.  Stir until smooth and creamy and pour over cooled cake.     

I received this book from the Publisher for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed herein are my own. 

April 1, 2015

Meatball Ragu

 When your meatballs fall apart while cooking, turn them into meatball ragu.  As it turns out, this mixture makes a wonderful meat sauce. 

The ingredient list is long, but the instructions are super simple.  The base sauce is one of my favorite homemade recipes.  It comes from this Bobby Deen's Baked Spaghetti Recipe and the Meatball recipes comes from The Pioneer Woman.  I was excited to try making meatballs, but mine wouldn't stay together during cooking.  Some did, but most broke in half when I tried to flip them.  I added all the chunks to my sauce.  Rather than having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, we had meatball ragu over spaghetti noodles.  It was delicious.  Serve with Olive Cheese Bread.

Meatball Ragu
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

Meatball Meat Mixture:
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/4 c. + 2 Tbl. panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. ricotta cheese
2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
splash of milk

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
splash of white wine vinegar, opt.
3/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 tsp. sugar or brown sugar
1 bay leaf

For Serving: 
16 oz. spaghetti noodles, cooked
grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all of the meat mixture ingredients in a large bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the sauce ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.  Remove the bay leaf.  When sauce is almost finished, heat 2 Tbl. olive oil or vegetable oil in a large pot; cook meat until browned and cooked through, breaking it into chunks as it cooks.  Add the sauce to the pot with the meat and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan.  Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and garnish with Parmesan cheese.  

*If you would like to attempt meatballs: After you combine all of the meat ingredients, form into small meatballs and place on a cookie sheet; refrigerate for at least one hour.  Heat a few Tablespoons oil in a large pot and cook meatballs in batches, until browned and cooked through, adding additional oil as needed.  When all the meatballs are cooked, add back to cooking pot and cover with sauce.  Makes 38-40 meatballs.   

March 28, 2015

Carrot Cookies with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 Have you ever watched the show Impractical Jokers???  It's a hidden camera prankster show and I am pretty sure I have been trying to get this blog post finished for the past hour . . . I can't stop watching my T.V. and I am laughing my head off.  At least I'm getting an ab workout while I sit here, right ;)

Okay, time to focus.

Easter is next weekend.  I'm sure a lot of you will have some kind of carrot dessert on the menu.  I made something a little different this year, a unique carrot cookie.

They are made with baby food carrots.  Most of the baby food carrots I looked at have carrots and water in the ingredients, but one brand was carrots only.  Look for this Beech Nut Just Carrots and if you can't find it, you could always cook fresh carrots and mash them.
These cookies are sooooo soft and melt in your mouth.  They don't really taste like carrots, but instead they taste almost like an orange creamsicle cookie.  They are a beautiful orange color and are topped with a creamy orange-flavored frosting.  On day one they are good, but on day two they really soften up.  Next time, I want to try more of a classic version by adding cinnamon and using regular cream cheese frosting.

You might also like:
Carrot and Zucchini Bars
Shortcut Orange Butterflake Rolls
Orange Cream Fruit Dip
Carrot Cookies with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
*1 c. Beech-Nut baby food carrots (about 2 1/2 4.25 oz. jars)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt 

*I used Beech-Nut Just Carrots.  This brand does not add water to the carrots.  If you can't find this brand, then try cooking fresh carrots and mashing them.

Orange Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
grated zest of 1 orange 
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-3 Tbl. fresh orange juice

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the egg and then the carrots, vanilla and almond extract.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  When chilling time is over, drop spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, about 3/4 - 1 Tablespoon dough per cookie.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack and cook completely.  Top with frosting.     

Orange Cream Cheese Icing:  Cream together butter, cream cheese, orange zest, vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Add remaining powdered sugar, adding orange juice as you go to reach desired creamy frosting consistency.