Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recipes Lately

Back when I lived in Virginia with my parents after college, I went on a huge baking streak. Up to that point, I had always baked the cake, brownies, and cupcakes from the box. One day on my lunch break at work I found some food website (don’t remember the name) that was actually quite similar to Pinterest except it was all for food. I could search for mint cupcakes and pictures linking to recipes for mint cupcakes would show up. (Or any type of food!) Gotta love it. So, I picked out recipes I wanted to try and with the help of my mom’s amazing Kitchen Aid, started baking up a storm.

Once I moved to Utah and had my very own gas stove, I continued to bake from scratch. I made some authentic Polish pastries, my “secret ingredient” chocolate chip cookies, and attempted my Candy Cane Cake. I was disappointed that, because of the elevation in Utah, my recipes didn’t always come out as perfectly as back in Virginia. Ah, well!

So, lately I wanted to find some recipes that wouldn’t break the bank. (Let’s be honest – some ingredients can be more expensive than others.) Today I’ll be sharing my latest recipes and what I thought of the final product. My 4th of July cupcakes from this post will be featured last :)

Vegetarian Enchiladas

This recipe is also referred to as “Cheater’s Enchiladas” because it’s in more of a casserole/lasagna format. What the recipe calls for:

  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 (20 ounce) can green enchilada sauce
  • 18 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 (2 ounce) can chopped black olives

Since this recipe calls for A LOT of sour cream, cheese, and tortillas, I decided to not use them all.

I used light sour cream and the container I got was a little bit less than 16 oz. I used probably about 1/4 of the cheese the recipe calls for. I also used 9 tortillas instead of 18. 18 just was not necessary if you ask me.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and 3/4 of the cheese.
  3. Into a 9x13 inch pan, pour a small amount of enchilada sauce to coat bottom of pan. Layer 6 tortillas on bottom of pan. Layer half of the cheese-sour cream mixture and 1/3 of the olives over the tortillas. Repeat this layer once more. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the final layer of tortillas.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


The second time I made this recipe, I put some of the olives on top as well and less cheese on top and it was just as yummy! Also, I thought this recipe was even better the next day as leftovers because the sauce is a little less runny after being in the fridge! Again, this isn’t the healthiest of meals, but it’s easy to make, delicious, and gives you plenty of leftovers!

So, I don’t think I ever told you all about my disaster green smoothie recipe. Some other day. Let’s just say I had some leftover mustard greens and had NO idea what to do with them so I looked up recipes using these leafy, super healthy greens.

Penne with Green Olives and Feta

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large bunch greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe; about 1 pound), thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed)
  • 12 ounces penne
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata green olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

    I didn’t have lemons so I scratched that ingredient and since Kalamata olives are a bitttt too pricey for my liking, I went with pitted green olives and chopped them up.

    Mix parsley, lemon peel and garlic in small bowl; set aside.

    Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add greens and cook just until tender, 1 to 6 minutes, depending on type of greens. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer greens to colander to drain. Return water to boil. Add pasta and cook just until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot; add greens and 3 tablespoons oil and toss. Stir in olives, feta, and enough reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with parsley mixture and serve.


    The recipe tasted super healthy and wasn’t very heavy. If you like pasta dishes, this is definitely one to try and might even be tasty served cold for leftovers? I’m not the biggest pasta fan but still enjoyed this dish!

    Now you’re probably wondering about those 4th of July Cupcakes. If you lived close by, I’d say we should meet up and I’ll bring you some because there are a TON still here!

    4th of July Cupcakes

    If you have a white cake recipe, go ahead and use that. Here’s the recipe I used via AllRecipes

    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 cup milk
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. (This is the point where you’ll want to divide the batter into three. I used Wilson Icing Colors to dye the batter red and blue respectively and left one bowl as is.) Pour or spoon batter (a little blue, a little red, a little white) into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

    Here’s the buttercream frosting recipe I used:

    • 2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
    • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used salted because it’s what I had)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons milk or light cream

    In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed.

    I doubled the batter and frosting recipes because the more cupcakes, the merrier. Right?

    Now, maybe it’s just me or perhaps the food coloring, but the first batch I put in the oven overflowed. I only filled the cupcake liners up 2/3 of the way, too!

    Big Cupcakes

    Yeah, I don’t know. Luckily, the big cupcakes have been my favorite. Probably because they have an eensy bit more deliciousness to them, duh. But then I challenged myself to make perfect cupcakes and filled the cupcake liners umm halfway and they came out just right. Go figure.


    Red White Blue

    I think this is one of the first times that my frosting has turned out looking decent after using a spatula. The trick? Take a generous amount of frosting, place it in the middle of the cupcake and smooth the frosting out toward the sides while rotating the cupcake. Sounds more complicated than it is. I promise. So, there you have it. My latest baking/cooking recipes!

    If you try any of these, you’ll have to let me know what you think :) I love easy, budget-friendly recipes so if you have any, send them my way!


    Katie said...

    YUM! The vegetarian enchilada recipe looks interesting..I may have to try that one :) and I will DEF have to try those super cute cupcakes..thanks for sharing.

    ..and for making me hungry :)

    Ashlyn said...

    everything looks so yummy :] -- i must admit i never went through a baking streak. but ever since i started blogging i have wanted to start cooking more!

    btw. the enchiladas look tasty!

    Kate said...

    Yum, yum, yum. It's almost lunchtime here and this post is not helping me stay focused!

    I've found that piping the frosting onto cupcakes is way easier than trying to make them look nice with the spatula. I think it's faster too, but maybe that's just me. You can cut a corner off a ziploc baggie and it will work just like a piping bag (if you're trying to be cost sensitive).

    Liz said...

    Adorable and delicious! These all look amazing! Summertime is the best time to try new recipes. Thanks for the ideas and thanks for stopping by A Happy Haven! xo

    Natalie said...

    Yumm, that penne looks too good! Bookmarking these, can't wait to try them! New to your blog, it's so cute!

    Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

    OK seriously, you're killing me! I am so hungry and all of these recipes sound SO good! I love the first one because I'm (sort of) a vegetarian. It sounds so easy to make, too!

    Bon Bon said...

    Oh yum! My goodness. I'm starving now. I don't know what I'd do without my KitchenAid mixer either! xoxo

    Laura said...

    i'm so glad that you put the recipe up for the cupcakes! i wanted it so bad!

    Hollie Ann said...


    Megan and Justin said...

    ALL of this look seriously amazing! i'm hungry now haha