I was craving straight up chocolate decadence last night, so I whipped up a devils food chocolate layer cake (just out of a box) with semi sweet morsels and a cream cheese frosting center… And a rather lopsided powdered sugar heart on top? 🙂 I added a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream for extra richness!!

I’m not gonna lie, it tastes GLORIOUS.

(Taken with Instagram)

Culinary Delight #8: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

These are one of my favorite cupcakes yet! Even my more health-conscious friends ate two, and Chuck had four. There’s no combo better for the beginning of summer than strawberries  and lemonade 🙂

For the cupcakes:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup lemonade powder mix (Country Time was really good)

1 cup milk

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with liners. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, lemonade powder, lemon zest, and set aside.

IN another bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating starting and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Fill the liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, then cool for 5 minutes. Ice with Strawberry Lemon Frosting.

For the Frosting:


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp strawberry puree (I used more than that – I pureed something like 5-7 strawberries)

1 tsp lemon zest

Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar until well mixed. Mix in the strawberry puree and lemon zest. Frost your cupcakes!

**I topped my cupcakes with strawberry slices, but they ended up molding over time – so I had to throw everything out 😦 It was yummy though, so next time I will just add the strawberry slice to a few, and add after that as I go along. **

Culinary Delight #7: Pan-Roasted Apple Garlic Chicken

I’m proud of this one because it’s a tasty and easy diversion from my usual unhealthy comfort foods. I’m also proud because I kinda sorta came up with it myself! It was originally going to be lemon-garlic chicken, but I thought the lemon was too strong. I had apple chicken served at my wedding, and it was just amazing, so I started substituting in this recipe to get a similar effect. FYI, this picture was taken when I used lemons, and it doesn’t do it justice.. it’s way juicier and more golden 🙂

1/4 cup olive oil

1 apple, half thinly sliced, the other half cut into chunks

1/4 cup apple juice

1 tbsp lemon juice

4 cloves minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 pound trimmed green beans

8 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly coat a casserole dish with olive oil. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, apple juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the apple slices.

Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Arrange apple chunks around the chicken and potatoes. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish. Place the beans and potatoes back in the oven for 10 more minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Place the chicken back in the dish, cool, and serve!

Culinary Delight #6: Garden Chicken Enchiladas

This is another easy one that I inherited from my mom. It’s one of my all-time favorite dinners growing up, and it tastes great re-heated, too!

Ingredients

10 oz can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream (I add a little more because I’m decadent like that)
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast (Usually about 2 large breasts – I shred mine with a fork)
10 oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 cups (8 oz) Mexican Blend Cheese (I add a little more, since we are cheese-a-holics)
8” flour tortillas
**If you are used to something a little spicier, a can of your preferred enchilada sauce is a great addition!**
Directions
 
– Combine the soup and sour cream.  Stir well.
– Combine the chicken, half of the soup mixture, broccoli, pepper, onion and 1 cup cheese in a large bowl.  Mix well.
– Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture on each tortilla
– Roll up and place seam side down in lightly greased 13×9 pan
– Spoon and spread the remaining soup mix over the tortilla wraps. Spread the enchilada sauce over them as well, if desired.
– Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
– Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes.

Culinary Delight #5: Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes

I actually made these for Valentine’s Day and thoroughly screwed them up, but somehow, they still tasted fantabulous – even if they were a huge mess.

I’m a bit sheepish that I failed*, because they are so easy to make they don’t even need a drawn-out recipe. Simply make brownie batter in one bowl (brownie mix + 2 eggs + 1/2 cup canola oil + 1/4 cup water) and strawberry cake batter in another (cake mix + 2 tablespoons canola oil + 1 1/3 cup water + 3 egg whites.) Spoon a small amount of the brownie batter into the muffin tins, and then spoon a slightly larger amount of strawberry batter on top, and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Frost with cream cheese icing once they cool, and voila! 🙂

*I failed because I didn’t have brownie mix, and figured cake mix would suffice. It didn’t! The two cakes just ran all together and made for a very weakly structured cupcake that fell apart easily. That’s what I get for substituting…

Culinary Delight #4: Bloomin’ Onion Cheese Bread

Culinary Delight #4: Bloomin’ Onion Cheese Bread

I made this a while ago, and Chuck approved to the point of requesting it again for the Superbowl. It was a little tricky, but easier the second time around. It was a huge hit all ‘round as a football party appetizer. Recipe below!

Bloomin’ Onion Cheese Bread

1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread (French bread is good too)

12-16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup finely diced green onion

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way, but the bread is very forgiving.

Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts (I used a plastic spatula to help hold the cuts apart.) Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread, and top with a little black pepper, if desired. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.