joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

peanut butter pancakes for one.

You don’t need me to tell you that peanut butter and pancakes are one delicious combination. You probably also don’t need me to tell you that after sleeping for 10 hours all you need is pancakes. You really don’t need me to tell you that when the only thing you have to do is pack up your apartment the last thing you want to do is pack. I think we’ve all been there.

These pancakes were inspired by Joy the Baker and her Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes. I still don’t know how I feel about the bacon part. But peanut butter is my jam. I also threw some chocolate chips on the warm pancakes and let them melt. Perfect.

Pancakes are sometimes made for sharing. But these aren’t. These are all for you. All of ’em. You have permission not to share. Unless you really want to and you really love the person you’re sharing with. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes.

Sleep in. Make some pancakes. Smother them in maple syrup. Then start your day and enjoy the sunshine.

Peanut Butter Pancakes
makes 4 small pancakes

1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 and 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1 spoonful of peanut butter

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate slightly larger bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg, oil, and peanut butter together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until most of the lumps are gone. Let sit for a few minutes.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Grease griddle with butter or nonstick spray. Using a 1/4 cups measuring cup, pour batter onto the hot griddle. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side and then flip onto the second side. Cook until the pancake releases from the griddle and is golden brown. Repeat for all the pancakes.
Serve warm topped with chocolate chips (optional) and maple syrup (also optional).

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peanut butter cupcakes

Woah guys! This is my 50th blog post!! That is crazy to me. A lot of things have happened in the last 50 posts. I (in no particular order) started my senior year of college, made some new friends, turned 22, got discouraged, was encouraged, watched a lot of movies, got a boyfriend, did a lot of homework,signed a lease on an apartment, and had a senior recital. I mean, that’s only a few things of the hundreds of things that have happened. I’m really thankful for everything that’s happened this year because it’s been a really great learning experience.

In honor of this 50th post I’m going back to the beginning; peanut butter and chocolate. The first recipe I shared with you guys so many months ago was Batter Up Brownies. Peanut butter brownies with chocolate chips. Still one of my favorite recipes in the world. But really anything with peanut butter and chocolate is good. Therefore: cupcakes!

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I have more cupcake liners than any one person should have. But that’s okay. I’m always ready to make cupcakes. These cupcakes have been in the making for a long time. Plus, I haven’t really baked a lot recently and I think it’s affecting my homework. I don’t know for sure if there’s a correlation there, but I’m just gonna go with it.

These cupcakes are really delicious. The inside is really moist but the cake is really dense. That pairs really well with the chocolate buttercream frosting. I could have done with a little stronger peanut butter flavor, but it was still pretty freaking good. And I won’t judge you if you throw some chocolate chips into some of the batter. In fact, I would encourage it. It obviously can’t hurt them!

Make some cupcakes, share cupcakes with someone you really like, watch some Doctor Who, enjoy the weather (no matter what it may be).

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
makes 18 cupcakes
adapted slightly from Taste of Home

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 and 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one cupcake pan plus half of another pan with paper liners and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugar until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk together. Add half of the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Beat well. Add half of the milk to the butter mixture and beat. Add the rest of the dry mixture and beat until combined. Add the rest of the milk and beat until the batter is smooth. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
Frost with desired frosting and eat.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
frosts 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat butter until smooth. In a separate bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add to the butter and mix on low until combined. Add vanilla and milk and beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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creamy pasta chicken bake.

I’m still trying to figure out good ways to make meals for one or two people. Sometimes that ends with me getting a pizza from somewhere and just keeping it in the fridge for two or three meals. This is not good. Sometimes I forget about eating until late in the evening and by that time it’s too late to thaw chicken or something so I just eat cereal. That’s normal, right?

This meal came out of my brain last night after 5 hours of pep band because I wanted pasta but didn’t have any spaghetti sauce or anything like that. But I had a package of Italian blend cheese and that makes everything okay! I’ve also had boneless chicken tenders in my freezer for awhile (which, by the way, are the perfect size for a meal for one or two people) so I had protein. (This is really how my brain works, I don’t get it…)

I’m not much of a cook; I’m more of a baker (and usually when I make something it involves pasta), but I decided to attempt making cream sauce for the first time. What do you know, it was way super easy and pretty delicious. SO. All you have to do is make each thing and then throw it all together and bake it until everything is all melty and delicious. (I love the word melty.) I baked mine in a 8 by 4 1/2 casserole dish and it worked out really well. But this is one of those things that you can adjust all the quantities and make for a few people or a bunch of people. How good is that?

Gosh. Melted cheese is one of my most favorite things ever. Seriously. Right up at the top of the list with yarn, my cat, and cookies.

Make some pasta. Watch too much Psych. Eat too many Girl Scout Cookies. Save the world.

Creamy Pasta Chicken Bake
serves 1-2 (adjust as needed)

for the cream sauce:

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano leaves), to taste

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When completely melted, whisk in the flour until smooth. Stir in the milk and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in desired spices. I used about a half teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a pinch of black pepper, and a pinch of crushed oregano leaves. Use what you want and what you like.

for the chicken:

2-3 bonesless chicken tenders

salt, pepper, garlic powder

Slice chicken into strips. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and toss to coat. Saute over medium heat until opaque and cooked through.

for the pasta:

about 1 cup of your favorite pasta (I used penne rigatoni)

Cook according to the package directions.

for the pasta bake:

cooked chicken

cooked pasta

cream sauce

1 cup of Italian cheeses (mozzarella by itself will also work)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the pasta and cream sauce. Add chicken and stir until coated. Pour half the mixture into a casserole dish (either an 8×8 or 8×4 1/2). Sprinkle on half the cheese. Pour the remaining pasta mixture over that and cover with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and golden brown.

Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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cinnamon roll muffins.

After a day of eating and watching football it’s nice to just relax. Or if you’re crazy and went Black Friday shopping it’s nice to eat something delicious in the morning before you sleep all day. I don’t understand those people. Props to you for staying up all night though. Can’t even try it. The bros and I usually go out after all the crazy people are done and are asleep.

Anyway, back on track. My mom had to work a 3-11pm shift last night at the hospital she works at. Only my dad had to get up early this morning so everyone got to sleep in, which was especially good for Mom. I got up before she did and decided to make something for her because she always makes stuff for us when we’re home. There’s nothing better than cinnamon rolls in the morning, but there was no time. Muffins also sounded delicious, but my go-to are blueberry and we don’t have any. So why not combine the two and make cinnamon roll muffins? Praise God for whoever thought of that.

The recipe looks really complicated but it really isn’t. They’re really easy to through together, which is perfect for early morning baking. These are yeasty and dense, the perfect cinnamon roll, but not super messy. And who doesn’t love the smell of cinnamon rolls in the morning? That’s what I thought.

Enjoy your morning. Make some muffins. Go yarn shopping. Keep being thankful.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

recipe slightly adapted from Sunny Side Up

makes 12 muffins

for the roll:

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons instant yeast

2/3 cup warm milk (I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds)

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

for the topping:

2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

2/3 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

for the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

3-4 Tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin and set aside. Keep the milk in a measuring cup and add the yeast to the warm milk to dissolve it. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the milk, oil, vanilla, and egg to the flour mixture and stir well to combine. Divide among the 12 cups in the muffin tin and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting combine the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl and mix with a fork until crumbly. Divide this among the 12 rolls and either press into the surface or swirl with a fork.
Place the muffin tin in a cold oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Bake for 17-20 minutes until the rolls have risen and the cinnamon sugar mixture is melty. Insert a toothpick into the muffins and it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
While the muffins are cooling make the glaze. Place powdered sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk while adding the milk. Add the almond extract at the very end. You can adjust the milk to sugar ratio based on your desired consistency. Move the slightly cooled muffins to a plate and drizzle the glaze on top.
Serve immediately.

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oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

An update:
I’m doing better. I read a whole book yesterday. I’m rediscovering my love for knitting. I’m starting to like playing and practicing oboe again. I looked at grad schools again. I’m making progress.

I also made cookies. It helped…a lot. My roommates and I are still eating them. Normal.

It seems like cookies are either amazingly delicious or not. At least that’s how it goes for me. Let’s talk about the basics of cookies. Sometimes you just need to take it back there.

Butter: Softened. Not melting or rock hard. This can be a relative term because sometimes you never know. I usually let my butter sit out for about 45 minutes to an hour. It should sink in a little bit when you push on it, but not melty. That’s no good. You can put butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften it, but I usually only use this as a last resort.
Unsalted. You never know the amount of salt that companies use in salted butter. This can effect the way your cookies taste. It’s better for you to control the salt in your cookies.

Sugar: Brown or white/granulated? Brown sugar gives cookies a lot of flavor. It also keeps the cookie a lot more moist because of the molasses in the sugar. White sugar is also great it cookies but creates a lot flatter, more crisp cookie. I like to do half brown-half white sugar, but even doing more of the brown sugar is totally okay in my book.

Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract. Use it. Love it. I grew up using Mexican vanilla because that’s what my mom always got, but it’s totally preference. Be you. Some recipes say to add vanilla near the end of the mixing process but at that point it’s harder to mix in to everything. Solution? Add the vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar. This allows it to permeate that part of the dough and you get lots of vanilla flavor. Amazing.

After you get the basics down all you do is dump and mix. Well…that’s basically it.

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Make some cookies. Eat too much candy corn. Read The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury. Remember to smile.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted slightly from Betty Crocker

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix until well combined. Stir in all the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or on the cooling rack for easy access.

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Lasagna Rolls

This summer, I decided to stay at school in Illinois instead of going home to Iowa where I hail from. I am totally okay with this because I have a sweet job here and love having this independence (sorry, Mom!). This comes with one large drawback: no home cooked food. This recipe is here to remedy that!

I love lasagna. Heck, I love Italian food in general. There is definitely something delicious about pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. I don’t know what it is, but combine all those things together and you get some pretty nice dinner. This is also a really good meal to have friends and neighbors over and make good memories with old friends and make new friends. People seem to be more in the mood to chat over garlic bread and lasagna.

I found the idea for this recipe on Pinterest but decided to change it up and make it a little different. If you haven’t checked out Pinterest, it is probably one of the best ideas ever. I mostly like to browse on it while watching Netflix and eating handfuls of white chocolate chips. Yeah, that’s real life.

The original recipe called for chicken in the rolls, but I have decided that chicken and lasagna go better when there is Alfredo sauce involved. So I decided to use ground beef instead. You can also use no meat for your vegetarian friends, which also happened tonight. Half and half. I’m a fan. We start with sauteing garlic and beef. Pretty simple. But wait until the cheese happens.

Check out that cheesy goodness, friends.

Three kinds of cheese: Ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. So good. (If you’re adding meat, this is where it goes) This mixture gets spread on cooked lasagna noodles and rolled up. Super fun. This should happen while you listen to sweet music, say Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. It’s pretty chill.

As much as you can fit. So worth it.

Let’s be real, these are pretty adorable.

These get placed into a baking dish to sit in some sauce and soak up some of those flavors. This means that you have to pick a really good sauce. Not necessarily expensive or fancy, just choose a sauce that you like and that you are comfortable with and it’ll all work out. What else could we put on top of these? More cheese? Yes. I like the way you think.

This gets more delicious as we go.

This will get baked for a little bit to warm them up and melt all that cheese. This is a really good time to break out the garlic bread and heat that up too. This recipe makes 12 rolls, and you could put all of those in one 9×13 casserole dish to bake, or if your kitchen isn’t quite as well stocked with casserole dishes as you would hope, 2 8×8 dishes also work well.

Ready to be devoured.

This is also an easy recipe to half or multiply, so don’t be afraid to do so for fewer or more people.

Lasagna Rolls

(adapted from ivillage.com)

Makes 12 rolls

1 lb ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup Ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained, cooled slightly so you can handle them

2 cups favorite spaghetti sauce

In a medium sized skillet saute garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for 1 minute or so. Add in ground beef and and cook until brown.  Add oregano when beef is almost all the way cooked. Drain the meet and set aside to cool. In a medium sized bowl combine milk, cheeses, and pepper. Add the cooled meat to the cheese mixture and mix together. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce in to the bottom of the pan (divide among pans if using two). Take one noodle and spread the cheese mixture along the length of the noodle, leaving a half inch on each end to make rolling easier. Roll up the noodle and put seam side down in the sauce in the pan. Repeat that for all the other noodles. Pour the remaining sauce over the tops of the rolls and top with extra mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with garlic bread.

If you have leftovers, keep them well wrapped in the fridge for up to 7 days. But you should eat them before that. Don’t let that cheese go to waste.

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