Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Cupcakes!

So today was just an "orangey-fall, stay home and cook & be cozy" kinda day.

First off, I made MORE pumpkin spice cupcakes. I know, I just made these and completely overindulged. But, c' can I stop thinking about these delicious little beauties WITH cream cheese frosting!?! Plus they make your house smell like HEAVEN! However, I did "healthify" them just a bit, if that's even a word. Here's the new version via Wingledings:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs (room temp)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, soda and spices.
In a larger bowl beat together eggs and remaining ingredients.
Add flour mixture until combined.
Fill cupcake liners and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and frost with icing of choice. I used this cream cheese frosting again, cuz it's the best!

Then I made another batch of tomato sauce and put a whole chicken into the crockpot to roast for 8 hours. Who knew you could make a "rotisserie" style chicken in the crock pot!?! It's super easy and pretty much cooks itself. Throw it in, season it and walk away for 8 hours. It will literally fall apart when done!

And as if THAT wasn't enough, I decided to roast a butternut squash.
These are FOR SURE one of my favorite fall foods. Simple, tasty and good for you. Except for possibly the butter and brown sugar I slather on the last 10 minutes of baking!

Initially, I was really wanting to make a risotto with the roasted squash, but I didn't have any Arborio rice on hand. However, I DID have barley. There's no set recipe but here's how it went:
Half the squash, remove seeds and place cut side down on lines baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Cool and scoop out the flesh ( I used an ice cream scoop). Set aside.

Saute some onion & garlic in butter. Add some diced, cooked bacon (as desired)and 1 cup barley and stir until the barley is aromatic, smelling kinda nutty. Then add approximately 2 cups of homemade chicken stock and let it absorb most of the way (15-20 minutes). Then add 2 cups of water and season. Again, allow it to cook up & absorb MOST of the liquid (another 15-20 minutes). The last 10-15 minutes add in approximately 1 cup (or as desired) of the roasted squash. If you don't want it chunky, you can puree it with some chicken stock prior to adding it to your barley or risotto mixture. Wah-la!
Serve it up with some chicken, fresh baked rolls.... so hearty and stick-to-your-ribs good!
Now I'll just have to add an extra 45 minutes to my workout in the morning to recover from my day in the kitchen. Who am I kidding, huh? :)

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