February 19, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa

I am turning to my slow cooker more and more lately.   I used to make big Sunday dinners (sometimes I still do), but lately there is just something so relaxing on Sunday knowing that my dinner is cooking away in the slow cooker and I hardly need to do anything at all.

 I have made this slow cooker chicken enchilada quinoa many many times and it's delicious.  The quinoa gets really soft during cooking and when mixed with the crisp corn, soft beans and tender chicken, it's a fantastic combination.

This easy, protein-packed meal, is perfect for a week night or Sunday dinner.  It also tastes amazing leftover.    
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Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa
adapted from: Le Creme de La Crumb
(Printable Recipe)

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
2 (10 oz.) cans of red enchilada sauce, divided
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles), undrained
1 c. un-cooked quinoa
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 oz. cream cheese (I use light)
juice of 1/2 a lime
optional: chopped cilantro, sour cream, diced green onions, diced avocado, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes

Add black beans, corn, 1 can of enchilada sauce, Rotel, quinoa, water, cumin, garlic powder and a little salt and pepper to a slow cooker and stir together.  Place two large chicken breasts on the top.  Pour remaining 1 can of enchilada sauce on the top.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked through.  When chicken is done, shred.  

Add cream cheese and lime juice and allow to cook for about 10 more minutes.  Stir together until cream cheese is melted and completely dissolved into the mixture (I use a silicon whisk to mix it).  Serve with desired toppings.  Makes 5-6 servings.
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February 12, 2017

The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm so excited to finally be sharing one of my absolute favorite cupcake recipes with you.

When I was young, I had never heard of, or seen, a red velvet cupcake.  It wasn't until I was an adult when I first discovered red velvet cake.  Honestly, I think I first saw a red velvet cake on an episode of Paula Deen on T.V. and I had to try this interesting cake right away.

From the moment I first tasted red velvet cake, it instantly became my favorite and is still, to this day, my favorite flavor of cake.
There was a time when I was making a new red velvet cake recipe every weekend. I had to make up for lost time, right?  I tried recipe after recipe and none compared to this one.  It is a light cake with a beautiful red color and a slight chocolate flavor with a little tang from the buttermilk.  Red velvet cake is not meant to have a super strong chocolate flavor.    

I top these cupcakes with my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe.  I prefer my cream cheese frosting to have more butter than cream cheese, but if you like a super strong cream cheese flavor, you can double the cream cheese and cut the amount of butter called for in half.  

This has been my go-to red velvet cupcake recipe for years and years and I'm sure it will become your favorite too.  

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The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from: Magnolia Bakery
(Printable Recipe)

3 1/3 c. cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 c. (12 Tbl.) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbl. liquid red food coloring
3 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a small bowl, whisk the food coloring, cocoa powder and vanilla together; add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well.  Stir the salt into the buttermilk and add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the cake flour, starting and ending with flour.  In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and baking soda; add to the batter and mix well.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter and bake in preheated oven for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Repeat with remaining cupcakes.  Cool completely and top with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbl. milk, plus more if needed

In a large bowl, mix together butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  If frosting is too thick, add a little milk.  If you are planning to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, you want it thick enough to hold its shape.  This makes enough frosting to pipe a big swirl on the top of each cupcake.  I used a Wilton 1M piping tip.

*If you do not want to pipe a large swirl onto each cupcake and prefer to spread a small layer on top instead, the amount of frosting could be cut in half.  

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