Perfect Chocolate Cupakes

I know this may come as kind of a shock to some of you, but chocolate cake isn’t one of my favorite things in the world. If given the choice, I always pick vanilla cake. But, after discovering Beatty’s Chocolate Cake (Blackout cake? Whatever you want to call it!) my views began to shift. I’ve been looking for a good chocolate cupcake recipe – that was easy, baked up well, held up to frosting, but was still (and most importantly) moist and delicious. This recipe definitely fits the bill!

With the addition of buttermilk, cocoa, espresso powder and hot water – it’s totally reminiscent of my favorite chocolate cake recipe. But held it’s shape and is a bit denser, which is just what I was looking for in cupcake form. For the frosting, it’s a standard buttercream in which plenty you add plenty of melted unsweetened chocolate too. That leads to a frosting that is rich and chocolatey, but not cloyingly sweet.

This recipe is for 12 cupcakes, but could easily be doubled to dole out 24. Which, I’m sure will be happening in my kitchen next time. A truly perfect chocolate cupcake, kids. Another one for the books!

Raspberry Lemon Streusel Muffins

I always love to find a new recipe to give my boys for breakfast in the morning. And, muffins always fit that bill. All of us love raspberries, but I’d yet to try them in a muffin. So when I came across this recipe, I knew all of us would enjoy them!

Muffins are always a joy to make in the kitchen, at least in mine. Quickly come together with a few simple ingredients, and they last for 3 days on the counter…available for a quick and easy breakfast or after-school snack whenever. These baked up tall and beautiful, honestly some of the prettiest muffins I’ve ever baked.

And speaking of baking things in an oven, I want to just go ahead and let the cat out of the bag – we’re baking a little something of our own!

baby

Needless to say, this is why things have been a little slow here on the site lately. For the past couple months, it’s all I can do to prepare a meal for my family – much less photograph it and blog about it. So, thanks for bearing with me guys! I’m already getting back into the swing of things, and I can’t wait to see where my pregnancy cravings and crazy ideas lead me in the kitchen this time! Excited to meet this little one in May…due the same day I was with Andrew, our first. What are the odds? Such a great time of year to have a baby!

I hope your family will enjoy these muffins as much as our did. They’re absolutely delicious!

Ham & Cheese Sliders

These sliders. They’re one of the easiest things to put together, and also one of the most delicious – two things that usually don’t go hand in hand. I first made them for Andrew’s birthday party the year before last – the Dr. Seuss party. Everyone gobbled them up, and raved about them…so I knew I was onto something very good.

We’ve been making them since. Sometimes I make homemade dinner rolls, and sometimes I pick up a package of King’s Hawaiian rolls at the store and call it a night. Then it’s just a matter of assembling the deli ham and cheese on the buns, then drizzling them in this delicious sauce…that’s hard not to site there and eat with a spoon. Bake in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and voila! I usually pair with a simple side like potato salad or sweet potato fries for an easy meal.

For lunch, dinner, or even as a munchie for game day – these sliders are always a winner that is sure to please everyone! 

Cherry Merlot Pork Tenderloin and Egg NoodlesThis time of year things get so hectic. With all our favorite Fall activities, soccer games and practices, school obligations …often I find that my meal planning falls by the wayside. So, when asked to try a recipe from the Marzetti KitchensSM website to share with you guys – I jumped at the opportunity to try something new! But, it also had to be quick and easy, to accommodate our hectic schedules these days!

So, I’m glad I hopped on over there and checked it out. Because they really do have so many great recipes! I’ve always been a huge fan of their Caesar salad dressing that’s in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. Can always find a bottle in my fridge, still working on finding a homemade recipe that lives up to it!

I happened to have a pork tenderloin that I needed to use, so this recipe immediately caught my eye. I adapted it a bit, mainly because I was feeling lazy and just wanted to sear the tenderloin in one piece. Then a quick sauce is made using Merlot, cherry preserves and dried cherries. The pork finishes cooking while the sauce reduces, and then at the end you whisk in butter to make the sauce thick and luxurious. Easy peasy, and so darned impressive! The flavor of the sauce was absolutely delicious, both sweet and savory. Served over a heaping pile of warm egg noodles and a side salad, it made for a hearty and filling meal that didn’t completely weigh you down.  A perfect seasonal dish that comes together quickly for these hectic fall months!

Everyone enjoyed it, and leftovers were killer made into a panini using some brie cheese. So if you’re like me, and in a bit of a recipe funk – head over to the Marzetti Kitchens page to check out all their delicious recipes! I know you’re bound to find something that will “Wow!” your family, just like this meal did for us!

Cherry Merlot Pork Tenderloin and Egg Noodles

What Marzetti Kitchens recipe do you want to try? Share your favorite in the comments below for a chance to win a $100 VISA Gift Card.

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Congrats to Lisa, with comment #5 – she is looking forward to trying the Caramel Banana Tiramisu recipe. Have fun with the $100 gift card, Lisa! Thanks to all who entered!