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 strawberry cupcakes plated

We have a dessert potluck (I know – how fun is that!) to attend this weekend so I wanted to make something that would be easy for people to pick up and eat. Cupcakes are always yummy and simple to transport.

This is a new recipe I experimented with after successfully using root beer to make cupcakes a month or so ago.

The cupcakes have a surprise dollop of strawberry jam inside while the frosting – oh, my, the frosting – it has strawberry flavoring and a liberally dose of strawberry pop.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Make the cake mix according to package directions. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full of the cake batter.

Make the cake mix according to package directions. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full of the cake batter.

Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cupcake center. If you don't have enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom.

Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cupcake center. If you don’t have enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom. Top with batter and slide into preheated oven to bake.

    While the cupcakes are baking until they are a light golden brown (about 15-18 minutes), mix up your frosting.

While the cupcakes are baking until they are a light golden brown (about 15-18 minutes), mix up your frosting.

It will be perfectly pink and pretty. (Ha, say that 10 times in a row.)

You can add some festive sprinkles to the top if you so desire.

You can add some festive sprinkles to the top if you so desire.

Take a bite and enjoy the sweet, strawberry surprise in the middle!

Take a bite and enjoy the sweet, strawberry surprise in the middle!

Strawberry Filled Cupcakes

1 box cake mix (can be white, vanilla, yellow)

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup jam

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup strawberry soda pop

2 tsp. strawberry flavoring

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake mix with eggs, oil and water until smooth.

Line the cups of a muffin pan with papers and fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.

Spoon about 1/2 tsp of jam into each cup. If you don’t get enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom.

Pour more batter over the top and bake until a light golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the frosting, mix powdered sugar with softened butter, salt, flavoring and soda pop. You can add more flavoring if you want a stronger strawberry flavor. The frosting will be a pretty shade of pink.

Accent with your favorite sprinkles or fresh strawberries. If at all possible, act pathetic and pressed for time so the big manly man of your house will help put the sprinkles on.

She Who Will Be Making These Again

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Chicken Tortelinni  plated

Knowing CC would be home and ready to eat soon, I started scrounging through the fridge last night and came up with some ingredients to throw together.  This fast, easy, yummy dinner comes together in about thirty minutes (if you hustle, which I did because a hungry man kept looming around the kitchen, wanting fed!).

At first, CC turned up his nose at it, but after one bite, he quickly ate what was on his plate and went back for seconds. I think that meant he liked it.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Cook tortellini according to package directions. While it's cooking, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. While it’s cooking, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Melt butter and then stir in Panko crumbs. You can also add seasoning if you like and a sprinkle of salt.

Melt butter and then stir in Panko crumbs. You can also add seasoning if you like and a sprinkle of salt. Set aside.

 

When tortellini is cooked, drain. Since I'm lazy, I mixed everything in the saucepan so I had one less bowl to wash.

When tortellini is cooked, drain. Since I’m lazy, I mixed everything in the saucepan so I had one less bowl to wash. Add your chicken and give it a good stir.

Then add the rest of the ingredients.

Then add the rest of the ingredients.

 

Blend thoroughly.

Stir thoroughly.

 

Spoon into a greased casserole dish, then top with  sprinkling of cheese.

Spoon into a greased casserole dish, then top with sprinkling of cheese.

 

Top with Panko crumbs.

Top with Panko crumbs.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted, then serve immediately. (Hungry men don’t like to wait while you do silly things like take photos!)

 

Cheesy Chicken Tortellini

1 package of cheese-filled tortellini

2 cups cooked chicken

1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (divided)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce

1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs

2 tbsp. butter

Seasoning

Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. While it’s cooking, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Melt butter and stir in Panko crumbs. You can also add some seasoning to the crumbs, if you wish.

Drain tortellini. Add chicken to the saucepan and stir then add 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, the Parmesan cheese, Alfredo Sauce and any seasonings along with a sprinkle of salt. Stir well then spoon into casserole pan. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese then Panko crumbs. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

If you want to get fancy, you can add a sprinkle of fresh or fried parsley on top.

She Who Will Be Making This Again

 

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birthday cake with colorful candles

Today would have been my sister’s birthday.

She lived all her life with a tumor in her brain and severe epilepsy. It was a head injury she sustained during a seizure that ended her life eight years ago.

Although she was mentally disabled, my sister still found enjoyment in life.

She could sit and stitch little animals and cartoon characters for hours. Her exact likenesses of Snoopy always amazed me, especially when I hated embroidery work and was terrible at it.

She loved dogs of all shapes and sizes and most often had one. In her younger years, she belonged to a 4-H group that taught her how to train her dogs and she used that knowledge on all the dogs she owned during her lifetime.

I’d say she took pleasure in tormenting me, the baby sister who arrived fourteen years after she’d claimed that title. Until the day I finally realized my sister would never have a normal life by society’s standards and the reasons behind it, we often fought like, well, sisters.

She learned to play the guitar, admittedly not great, but she did better than I could in forcing her fingers into the positions required to make the chords on the strings. She’d sit in her room and strum away, practicing the songs her guitar instructor taught her to play.

My sister was a dreamer, always thinking about what ifs. She’d thumb through catalogs and magazines, rattling off ideas of what if we went there, or what if we got this or that item.

One of her biggest dreams was to travel to Graceland and see the home where Elvis Presley lived. My parents made that dream happen for her when I was eleven. They pulled me out of school for two weeks and we went on a cross country road trip. To be honest, being stuck in the backseat of the car with my sister for days on end was no picnic, but it was pretty cool to see the excitement on her face as we rolled into Memphis.

As you may have guessed, she was a huge fan of Elvis Presley. Her room was covered in Elvis posters, she had every record he ever recorded, she owned several Elvis dolls and could sing the lyrics from every single one of his songs. Every single one.

So in tribute to my sister, to celebrate her birthday, here is a little YouTube video of Elvis.

She Who Wishes She Could Say Happy Birthday One Last Time

 

 

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Rootbeer Cupcakes finished

The other day I discovered a bottle of root beer in the fridge and debated drinking it or doing something fun with it.

I’m glad I went with something fun. These cupcakes (particularly the frosting) are super yummy and just scream “summertime!”

Staring with a cake mix, they are easy to make and the frosting can be whipped together in a jiffy!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Mix everything together, saving the addition of the root beer for last. I loved the way it bubbled up in the bowl.

Mix everything together, saving the addition of the root beer for last. I loved the way it bubbled up in the bowl.

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until the tops bounce back when touched (about 15 minutes or so).

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until the tops bounce back when touched (about 15 minutes or so).

Remove from pan and cool completely.

Remove from pan and cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting. You'll need some vanilla (and you can use canned frosting for this or make your own. If you make your own, use  1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend together and set aside.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting. You’ll need some vanilla (and you can use canned frosting for this or make your own. If you make your own, use 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend together and set aside.

Here are the ingredients for the root beer frosting.

Here are the ingredients for the root beer frosting.

The root beer concentrate gives it the chocolatey color.

The root beer concentrate gives it the chocolatey color.

If you like root beer, the smell of the frosting will make your mouth water in anxious anticipation.

If you like root beer, the smell of the frosting will make your mouth water in anxious anticipation.

 

To get a root beer float affect on the cupcake, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting.

To get a root beer float affect on the cupcake, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting.

 

I just swirled it on. Swirling was very tasty.

I just swirled it on. Swirling was very tasty.

Root Beer Cupcakes

1 white or vanilla cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 1/4 cups root beer

2 tbsp. root beer concentrate

Vanilla Frosting (optional)

Root Beer Frosting

Root Beer Frosting

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter (softened)

1 tbsp. root beer concentrate

1/4 cup root beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix cake mix, eggs, root beer concentrate and root beer until smooth. Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake until tops bounce back when touched (about 15-18 minutes).

Remove from oven and cool completely.

Mix together the root beer frosting ingredients.

For a simple vanilla frosting, mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

If you want to give the cupcakes more of a root beer float flavor, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting together. You can also just use the root beer. If you do that, double the frosting ingredients so you’ll have enough.

Try to keep from snitching as you frost the cupcakes because the root beer frosting is amazingly delicious. Even Captain Cavedweller raved about how good it was – and that is saying something.

For an added pop of color and fun, insert a paper straw before serving.

Note – you can find root beer concentrate in the flavoring section of most grocery stores (look near the vanilla extract).

She Who Will Make These Again

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