Lasagna Cupcakes

I was reading through my food blogs on Flipboard one night and I found a recipe for these lasagna cupcakes. I modified it a little bit because I have made lasagna quite a few times and I know what I like in it. The original recipe is from but I changed it so much that I am going to just re-write it in my own words here. I chose to use gyoza skins instead of wonton ones because they are already round. I liked the way they came out when I used them whole but they can also be cut to size to allow you to see the layers a bit better when you take the cupcake out of the liner to serve it. The gyoza skins end up being soft like regular noodles.  If you use a whole one, the top layer skin sticks out of the sauce just a little bit and becomes crunchy, just like the edges of a lasagna baked in a 9×13 pan!  I used my family’s classic ricotta mix from our lasagna recipe I have been making since I was a kid. The sauce, I kind of made up as I was going along but it is the basic meat sauce I always make really. I love these so much and I am currently dreaming up all the different recipes I can turn in to cupcakes now!

Lasagna Cupcakes
Makes 22 cupcakes

For the Sauce:
3 8oz cans no salt added tomato sauce
1/2 a large, yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh parsley
1 lb ground turkey, browned
salt and pepper to taste

For the Filling:
1 8oz container ricotta cheese
a handful of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

44 gyoza wrappers
mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350F.

To begin, brown the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. While they cook, put the sauce into a medium saucepan. Add the onions and garlic to the sauce and use the same pan to cook the ground turkey. I seasoned the turkey itself with salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder as well but you don’t HAVE to do that. Once the turkey is done cooking, add it to the sauce as well. Let the sauce cook while you mix up the ricotta cheese and until you are ready to assemble. I left it for a good hour while I made dessert tonight. The longer it cooks on low, the better it will be.

Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, garlic powder, and salt/pepper in a bowl. Taste it. If it needs more of anything, you can add it now.

To assemble the lasagna cupcakes, line your cupcake pan with foil cupcake liners. I found these to be much easier clean up than spraying the pan itself and building them that way. Spray the liners with a little bit of cooking spray. Place one gyoza skin in the bottom of each well. Add a tablespoon or so of the meat sauce, then about a teaspoon of ricotta, then a sprinkle of mozzarella. Place another gyoza skin on top of that, then another teaspoon ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of sauce and another sprinkling of mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until they are golden on top and bubbly.

When I got to the last 4, I ran out of ricotta cheese. Instead of ricotta, I layered gyoza, meat sauce, pepperoni slice, mozzarella, gyoza, meat sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella. These were a touch smaller than the other ones but still just as tasty! Now for the pictures.

In the beginning…

First layer, complete:


Close up!

366: Picture 73


I can’t wait to make some more of these to freeze for lunches. It is such a great idea that can be applied to a bunch of different recipes! I might actually do this with shepherd’s pie for tomorrow night’s dinner. Hope you enjoy!

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in General Food, Meals!


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A nice dinner

My sister reminded me last night that I haven’t written a blog post since October so I thought I would throw one up tonight after I finished making dinner. I even have pictures! 😀

I decided that since it was a beautiful day out today, I would open all the windows in the house and clean. Once I got started, I ended up wanting to cook a nice dinner as well. The spring air makes me so happy 😀 I made cheeseburgers with animal sauce, caramelized onions, pretzel rolls, and salt and vinegar chips. I was intending to grill the burgers and potatoes but the grill ran out of propane after the potatoes were done. I ended up making those in a cast iron skillet instead.

I didn’t really change the recipes that I used for each thing so there aren’t too many comments to make.

Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Salt and Vinegar Grilled Potato “Chips”

I saw Bobby Flay make these on a commercial for his grilling show the other day. They were pretty delicious. I made them with Golden Potatoes that were pretty small but I still cut them in coins before I put them on the grill. Pre-boiling them really does make them cook so much faster!

6 golden potatoes, scrubbed
Canola oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Red Wine vinegar (Malt would have been better)
Kosher salt

Heat the grill to medium.
Place potatoes in a pot of cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook for 10 minutes once it starts boiling. Drain, let cool more than I did and slice into 1/4-inch slices.

Toss the potato pieces in a little oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Place them on the grill until they are golden brown and cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.
Take the slices off the grill and move them to a platter in an even layer and immediately drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt.

Pretzel Rolls I have made quite a few times and every time, they are amazing. This time was no exception. They don’t have a lot of ingredients and they are pretty easy. I use my mixer so my recipe varies a bit from what the original says to do. I got the recipe from Serious Eats, along with the ones for the animal style sauce AND the caramelized onions. I highly recommend Serious Eats whenever I can.

Pretzel Rolls

2 3/4 – 3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup and 1 tablespoon hot water
1/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal

Place the bread flour, instant yeast, kosher salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix with the beater until it is well combined. Swap to the dough hook and stream the water in while the mixer is on low speed. Once all the water is mixed in, set the mixer on 3-4 and let it mix for a few minutes until the dough forms a ball. Put the dough ball into a greased bowl and let it double in size (30 minutes or more).

Once doubled in size, punch the dough down and separate it into 8 equal pieces (I ended up with 7 this time) and form each piece into a ball. Slash the tops with an X and let them rise for another 30 minutes.

During this time, fill a stock pot with water and let it come to a boil. Heat the oven to 375F. Once it starts to boil add the baking soda and sugar to the water. Do it slowly because the baking soda will make the water froth! Once 30 minutes are up, boil the pretzels for 30 seconds on each side. Place them on a baking sheet that has been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the rolls with Kosher salt while they are still wet from their bath. (The original recipe says to use egg whites but I didn’t want to waste an egg)

Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown and look like pretzels!

Next up, the caramelized onions! These are part of the Serious Eats spread on how to make an In-n-Out burger at home. I followed the directions for the onions and also for the animal sauce.
Serious Eats In-n-Out Burger Recipe

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

To make the onions:
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally until onions are well browned, about 15 minutes. Once onions begin to sizzle heavily and appear dry, add 1 tablespoon water to skillet and stir. Continue cooking until water evaporates and onions start sizzling again. Repeat process, adding 1 tablespoon of water with each iteration until onions are meltingly soft and dark brown, about 3 times total. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce:
Put the mayo, ketchup, relish, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and mix until it is combined.

Finally, I made a tomato mozzarella salad with basil, parsley, scallions and vinegar/oil for the dressing. It is something I make in the summer all the time so I thought it would go well with this dinner. This is the recipe I followed originally for it. Tomato Mozzarella Salad is based on a caprese salad. I use a pint of regular red grape tomatoes. Unfortunately, it is not the season for tomatoes so these were a little bit too tart.

The last photo is the best, I think! Everything all finished and ready to eat 😀

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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Meals!


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Apple Butter

So, we decided to go apple picking on Friday in Tehachapi. Needless to say, we ended up with a huge amount of apples. So far, I have made an apple crumb cake ( without its brown sugar glaze. I also made some apple butter that I plan on freezing. I might even make some more of it because it came out so delicious! Next time I will use a food processor though. Cutting all these apples took me 2.5 hours!

I followed a recipe on that I found with a TON of awesome reviews. I changed some things based upon what the reviewers were saying and I think it came out amazing.

The original recipe is here: All Day Apple Butter

Here is mine, based upon this one.

5lbs of red and green apples, peeled, cored and diced into tiny squares (It was about 4 apples per pound, I think)
2 cups of white sugar
2 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put all the apples into the insert for a slow cooker. In a smaller bowl, mix the sugar, spices and salt. Pour the spices over the apples and mix thoroughly. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn it down to low and cook for another 9-12 hours. The longer it cooks, the more concentrated it will taste. I cooked mine for a total of 14 hours. You can store it for at least 6 months in the fridge in an airtight container. It stays indefinitely in the freezer. I am storing mine in Ziploc Twist n Loc 2 cup containers. This recipe gave me 4 of these.

I hope some of you get to make this because it is super easy and super delicious. I have already had it on toast for breakfast this morning and also, on a turkey and mozzarella sandwich for lunch. 😀

Apple Butter start!

Apple Butter finish!

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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in General Food


Pulled Pork

Today I thought it would be good to make some pulled pork shoulder. If you make pork shoulder, you gotta have BBQ sauce and buns and coleslaw to go with it, so I made those too! After finding a plethora of recipes this morning, I went to the store and got my supplies.

When I got home, I started the bread rising. I used a recipe for hamburger buns that I will for sure make again. I found the recipe months ago when I was reading food blogs with Flipboard on my iPad. The buns were light and fluffy, even with whole wheat flour subbed for half the regular flour. The recipe can be found here: Hamburger Buns and I can’t say enough about how many things I have learned from this website. They have a lot of really helpful, basic recipes that I have been trying lately.

Homemade Hamburger Buns (Makes 8 buns)
1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk (2%)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved. My mixer’s dough hook couldn’t reach the water/yeast mixture so I stirred it by hand.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead at low speed (around 2 on my Kitchenaid), or by hand against the counter, for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

Cover and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough on top. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball. I ended up with 9 rolls because some of mine were a little smaller Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and let rise until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, roughly 30-40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.
Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing and using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.
Additional Notes (from the original post):
• For Whole Wheat Buns – Substitute 1/2-1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and prepare the recipe as usual. The texture of the buns will be a bit more dense, but still very delicious and burger-worthy. – I followed this suggestion and they turned out awesome.
• Doubling the Recipe – Double all of the ingredients except for the yeast. To make even more buns, it’s best to prepare separate batches as the dough becomes too cumbersome to work with easily.
• Freeze Buns for Later – Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and then store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Let them thaw in their packaging overnight on the counter. Foil-wrapped buns can also be thawed more quickly or re-warmed in a 300°F oven for about 10-15 minutes.

While the buns were rising, I cut up the onions and got the tomatoes ready for the pulled pork shoulder recipe I was following. The recipe can be found here: Pulled Pork Shoulder I decided to use a basic recipe to start out with and when I got the hang of making it, I would try something new. I changed two things when I made it today. First, I didn’t use carrots because I thought it would be a waste. We probably wouldn’t eat them after they had cooked for 3 hours so they would have just gotten thrown away. Secondly, I added chili powder to the dry rub. I did 1tsp of cumin and 1tsp of chili powder instead of 2tsps of cumin. Cumin is one of those spices that is very strong and I don’t like a lot of it in anything I eat.

Shredded Pork Shoulder
Adapted from
3.5 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 12-ounce beer (I used Blue Moon Honey Wheat Ale because it looked tasty)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Trim the pork shoulder of any thick layers of fat. Mine had barely any fat on it so I just left it all. Combine the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork all over with the spice mixture. Make sure you get it in all the little nooks and crannies. Let the pork to sit out for 30 minutes. (This was just enough time for me to bake off the hamburger buns)

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the pork from the pot. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and beer. Bring it to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to bring up any browned bits.

Return the pork to the pot. Cover and put in the oven for 3 hours or so, checking once or twice, until the meat is extremely tender and pulls away from the bone easily or reaches around 200F. My bone ended up being a tiny shard of a bone so it came out pretty easily. I made sure to check the temperature of the meat before I took it out, just to be sure. Shred the pork in the pot, using tongs to separate the meat from the fat. This worked pretty well for me but toward the end, it was easier to take the meat out and put it on a cutting board to get the fat off and shred it. If you do it this way, just add it back to the pot when you are done shredding it. I threw away the bone but you could just as easily use it for some kind of soup or something if you are so inclined.

While the pork shoulder was bubbling away in the oven, I started on the barbecue sauce. This recipe came from Bobby Flay and I used only the sauce recipe on this page: BBQ Sauce I have to say that I was disappointed in the sauce at first. While it cooks, it is really thin and chunky. I didn’t want it to be that way. The flavor was really good but I did change a couple of things in this one as well. First, I had a bunch of stewed tomatoes so I used those instead of diced tomatoes. Second, I decided to blend the mix to make it semi-smooth. I had used the food processor to do the onions for this recipe anyway so I thought it would be a good idea to throw it in there to get it the consistency I wanted. I also put the very first jalapeno from my garden this year into this recipe! 😀

First Jalapeno!

BBQ Sauce:
Adapted from Bobby Flay

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until soft. I burned mine so I had to swap out pans! Be careful with this step! 😀 Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and juices, vinegar, honey, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, and cook until the sugar has completely melted and the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. The sauce never really reduced down and it filled my house with vinegar gases! I cooked it for a good 2 hours and it reduced, it just never got thick. If you are looking for a thick BBQ sauce, just pulse it a few times in the food processor and put it back in the pot to keep it warm. Season with salt, to taste.

Finally, while everything else was simmering away and the buns were cooling, I made the coleslaw. I wanted a pretty basic traditional recipe for this and it turns out, Bobby Flay has one! Coleslaw
I adapted this recipe by changing up the amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream. I don’t like to use that much mayo in anything I am making so I cut that and added a little more sour cream to the mix. I think it came out pretty awesome! It worked perfectly with the pork and the BBQ sauce.

2 bags shredded coleslaw mix (without dressing)
1/2 cup best-quality mayonnaise
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired. I don’t like it to be too sweet so I didn’t add any more sugar. It did need a touch more salt and pepper though.

So here it is finally completed. I couldn’t wait to eat at this point, after smelling it all afternoon so the first shot is a little blurry. I loved this and I would absolutely make it again. Next time, I would mix the pork with the BBQ sauce AND the juices/onions it cooked in, I think. 😀 Even though there are subtle changes I would make or add to each recipe, they are still delicious the way they are!

Carter’s plate:
365: Picture 219

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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in General Food, Meals!



I have been wanting to make pop-tarts for a really long time and today in the IRC, people were talking about making them. They inspired me to get off my butt and try it. I found quite a few recipes but I decided on the one at Her recipes are generally awesome so I had lots of faith in this one as well.

I followed the directions pretty much exactly. I agree with adding some whole wheat flour to the crust next time. It would make them hearty and a little more healthy as well. I didn’t chill the dough between mixing and rolling them out but the dough was perfect. I also decided to egg wash the tops of them and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of each tart.

I HIGHLY recommend baking up the leftover crust edges with cinnamon and sugar (I used vanilla sugar). They are so delicious that I can barely stop eating them!


365: Picture 216

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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in General Food, The Bakery!



I was making bagels from Serious Eats and I noticed that the grams and ounces were off. When I measured the ounces, and switched my scale to grams, it was not the same as the recipe. Since I have friends in Australia, I figured I would remeasure everything and put up the correct gram measurements.

Adapted from Serious Eats:
19.25oz [548g] bread flour (3 1/2 cups)
1/4oz [10g] instant dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons; or 1 envelope active dry)
1/2oz [17g] sugar (2 tablespoons)
1/2oz [7g] salt (1 teaspoon)
12 ounces hot water (1 1/2 cups, 120°–130°F)
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (I don’t use the malt syrup because I cannot find it here)

Add the bread flour, yeast, sugar, and salt to a mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on to mix it up a little, then add the water slowly. Let it mix until it just comes together then mix it for 5 minutes on medium speed. I don’t have a food processor so I figured out a way to make the mixer work for it.

Transfer the dough ball to an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest for an hour or so (longer doesn’t hurt it), until it doubles in size. Once that happens, fill the pot with water and then add the syrup to it. Set it on the stove to heat up and by the time you have the bagels shaped, it should be boiling.

Work the dough on a floured surface. I usually form it into a log and cut it into 10 equal(as equal as I can get them) pieces. Then I roll each piece out into a rope and wrap it around my hand to form a circle. Then roll it on the cutting board until it comes together. The diagram in the original recipe is a really great way to learn how to do this.

When all the bagels are shaped, start cooking them in the boiling water for one minute each, turning them halfway through. I usually take them out and put them onto a kitchen towel. While they are still wet, I put on whatever toppings I want (minced dried garlic or onion, sesame seeds, salt) and put them on the pan to bake. I bake them at 400F for 15-20 minutes and I do not flip them over to get them brown on the bottom. They always end up completely browned nicely.

They are delicious bagels and I love that serious eats shared it with us!

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in The Bakery!


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Red Velvet Cupcakes

The photos at the end of this post could be construed as NWS for many people. Do not look if you don’t like seeing penises or if you are at work.

Yesterday was Gunnar’s (my brother in law) birthday. He requested red velvet for his birthday cake flavor. I had never made it so I spent the morning looking around for a good recipe. I lean toward cupcakes instead of cake because they are self-serving sized. I found a few that looked good but ended up settling on Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting because I have made a bunch of different cupcakes from her site and they have all come out pretty awesome.

The only change I made to the recipe was to add an extra 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the mix. I added more chocolate because in her notes, the author mentions that the cupcakes were not chocolatey enough for her. I figured, if they weren’t chocolatey enough for her, chances are I would want it to be more chocolatey as well. The cocoa powder seemed to make it a little too dry though. They tasted pretty perfect but maybe if we do liquid chocolate or add a little more butter to the mix, it will make them more moist. I will definitely make them again! 😀 The frosting, as usual, was amazing. I used the baking soda and baking powder version for mine instead of cream of tartar.

Chockylit wrote an extensive post on the difference between the two at the link above. I highly recommend reading it! I will post the recipe here for ease of use though.

Recipe courtesy The Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 36 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3-3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cups cocoa (I used 1/2 cup total in mine)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder or 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
3/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoons vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 ounce red food coloring paste
2-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder (or cream of tarter), and salt into medium bowl.
Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring in small bowl to blend.
Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well fluffy, 3 minutes.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition, about 30 seconds.
Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
Scoop into cupcake tins and bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool in pans 10 minutes then remove and finish cooling completely on racks.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours. (I ended up letting mine sit
for at least 2 hours to get it soft enough)
Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment (I sifted the 4 cups of sugar into a bowl. I only needed that
much for the frosting.)
Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy.
Add 4 cups of the sugar and beat until combined.
Add vanillas and beat until combined.
Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

While the cupcakes were cooling, I went to work on the decorations for the cupcakes. I had gotten some marzipan for stars on my 4th of July cupcakes and had some leftover. I took a bit of that and shaped 36 small penises out of it. They looked adorable but I thought some needed to be different colors. Originally, I was going to make them a peachy flesh tone but the food coloring mixed with a little vodka I used for paint made them look like they were coming from the Jersey Shore! I colored 9 that color, 9 a darker color, and left the rest almond paste colored. They were a HUGE hit. Everyone thought they were hilarious. 😀

Cupcake batter:

Baked cupcakes:


Completed cupcakes!

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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in The Bakery!


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