Butter Pecan Cupcakes|Sweets

Yumm! These cupcakes are pretty delicous.  We have had Vacation Bible School in the evenings this week at church so we haven’t been getting home until 9pm every night.  It’s quite exhausting.  It is completely worth it, but yeah, it’s tiring.  Well, last night I just really wanted something sweet.  I didn’t get to eat dinner at VBS because my husband forgot Sadie’s diaper bag (thanks Drew!) and I had to drive all the way home to get it.  Mind you, we live about 20 minutes outside of town.  By the time I got back to church it was time for VBS to start.  So that was unfortunate, but because I didn’t get dinner I was hungry when I got home and I decided to make some Butter Pecan Cupcakes.

I started by melting some butter in a pan and adding pecans and sugar.  I let that cook on a low-medium temperature to get those pecans nice and roasted.  The sugar kind started to thicken just slightly before I took it off of the heat.


Next, I mixed up my cake mix.  I used a french vanilla cake mix out of a box, but you could just as easily use your own homemade cake recipe.  Follow the instructions on the box or your recipe to mix up your cake mix.  My recipes called for three eggs, 1/2 c oil, and 1 cup of water.  I added a package of instant french vanilla pudding mix, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp butter extract.  Once all of the is mixed together stir in your pecan, sugar, and butter mixture.


Line your cupcake pan with liners sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or your could just spray your pan if you don’t have liners.  Once they are lined, pour your batter into the liners until they are about 2/3 full.

Place in the oven and bake for about 17-20 minutes @ 350 degrees.  I just followed the instructions on the back of the box for this part, so if your recipes calls for a different temperature or a longer time, follow it. When the cupcakes are a nice golden brown on top, take them out of the oven and let them cool.

While cupcakes were cooling I worked on my frosting.  I used a store bought buttercream frosting out of a can.  I spooned it into a bowl and added 1/2 tsp butter extract, 1/4 tsp. maple extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  I mixed all of that together and let it rest until the cupcakes were cooled.


Once the cupcakes were cooled, I frosted them.  I used my Wilton decorating gun, but you could use a piping bag or a spatula and just cover the top.  When they were done being frosted, I topped them with chopped pecans.  These were so good!  They are really great with a nice glass of cold milk. My husband really liked them and will definitely want me to make them again.  I hope you enjoy!


 

Butter Pecan Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cake mix:

1 box French Vanilla cake mix (or you could use your recipe instead)

1 box French Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

Ingredients for cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc.)

1/2 tsp. Imitation Butter or Butter extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups pecans

For the frosting:

1 can buttercream store bought frosting (or you could make your own)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 tsp butter extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp maple extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or to the temperature your cake mix recipe calls for.

Melt your 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat.  Add in 1 1/2 cups pecans and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Let this cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar barely starts to thicken and your pecans have a nice roasted smell. Remove from heat.

Mix your cake mix according to the back of the cake box or your recipe.  Add in your package of pudding, butter extract, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  When that is mixed well, stir in your pecan, butter, and sugar mixture.

Fill your cupcake pan with liners and spray the liners with a non-stick cooking spray.  You could also just spray your pan if you do not have liners.  Fill your liners or pan 2/3 full with your cake batter.  Place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes or according to your recipe. The tops will be a nice golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Empty icing can into a bowl.  Add your brown sugar, cinnamon, maple extract, vanilla extract, and butter extract.  Set aside.

 

 

 

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Maple Bacon Cupcakes|Sweets


Let me preface this by saying that these cupcakes were amazing!! I was searching through Pinterest the other day and I saw several different maple bacon cupcakes recipes. After looking through them, I decided that I could make my own version! 

This recipe is extremely easy. It’s semi-homemade, filled with a good maple flavoring, and is topped with a healthy portion of fried bacon. I mean let’s be real, who doesn’t love fried bacon? My husband loved these cupcakes so much that as soon as he was finished with his first cupcake he was already reaching for a second. It would be perfect for a brunch baby or bridal shower as well as just to eat. 

I started with a box of French vanilla cake mix. I added the eggs and oil that were needed as well as a box of instant French vanilla pudding mix. Once all of that was mixed together I added 1 tsp of maple extract. 

Line your cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers and spray the inside of the wrappers with non stick cooking spray. Fill the wrappers with your cake batter and bake according to the box of cake mix that you used. I baked mine @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

When they are done baking they will be a nice golden brown on top. Take them out and let them cool before icing. 

While the cupcakes are cooling, fry up your bacon and drain it on a paper towel. 
To make the icing I just used store bought vanilla ice icing and added 1 1/2 tsp of maple extract and 2 tsp of bacon grease. 

Once your icing is mixed and and your cupcakes are cooled, frost your cupcakes! I used my Wilton icing gun but you can just as easily use a piping bag or just use a knife and cover the top. Honestly, these are so good it doesn’t matter how you ice them!!


Next, take your bacon and crumble it on top of your cupcakes and enjoy!! 


Maple Bacon Cupcakes 

Box of French vanilla cake mix 

Ingredients for cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc.)

Can of vanilla icing

2 1/2 tsp maple extract

6 slices bacon

2 tsp bacon grease

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or whatever temp your cake mix directs. Mix together your cake mix following the instructions on the cake mix box. Add 1 tsp maple extract. Fill cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray liners with a non stick cooking spray. Fill liners with cake batter about 2/3 full and bake according to box directions. 

While your cupcakes are baking, fry up your bacon and drain on a paper towel. 

Once cupcakes are golden brown, remove from oven and let cool. 

While cupcakes are cooking mix up your frosting. Empty your icing can in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp maple extract and 2 tsp bacon grease. Mix until well combined. 

Once cupcakes are cool ice the top off them with a spatula, knife, piping bag, or piping gun. Crumble your bacon top and enjoy!!

Chili Verde Chicken Stuffed Shells|Dinner

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I love Mexican food.  It runs through my veins.  Well, I guess it is more like Tex-Mex, but whatever it is, I could eat it at every meal.  I also love me a good pasta dish.  Anything with carbs was sent from heaven to my make my life just a bit brighter.  One night I was wanting Mexican food, but also craving my carbs so I thought why not combine them?  I have made Mexican Stuffed Shells before, but I really wanted something with a white kind of alfredoish sauce so Chili Verde Chicken Stuffed Shells were born.

I started by boiling my jumbo shells in water.  While those were cooking I boiled 4 chicken breasts in water.  When they were finished cooking, I shredded them up really good and added it to a skillet.  To the skillet I added about a 1/4 c of our favorite salsa (which is the Joe T. Garcia brand found at Walmart), 1 block of cream cheese cubed, and 1 can of green chilies.  It is very hearty and the green chilies add such a great flavor.  Once the shells were cooked, I strained them and sprayed them with cold water to cool off.  To a 13X9 baking dish I spread the remaining 1/4c of salsa just so the shells wouldn’t stick.  You could probably also just butter it or spray it with cooking spray.  I then stuffed the shells with the filling mixture until all shells were stuffed.  I placed them in the 13X9 baking dish and got to work on my blanco sauce.

For the Blanco sauce I started by melting half a stick of butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Once that was melted a can of green chilies and stirred for about one minute or until it stared to thicken a little.  Once the sauce was starting to simmer and thicken, I added about 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream.  I reduced the heat to medium and stirred it occasionally until it started boiling.  While that was cooking I shredded up about 1 c of pepper jack cheese and cut up about 8 slices of White American Cheese.  When the sauce mixture started boiling, I added my pepper jack and White American Cheese.  Let that cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the cheese is melted which is about 7-10 minutes.  Once the sauce was done, I smothered the stuffed shells with it.  I then covered the top with mozzarella cheese and placed it in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  Really it was just until the cheese had started to melt and barely turn brown on top.

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I am really horrible at taking pictures of my recipes and creations.  I normally don’t think about it until I am finished and by then it is absolutely too late, but the recipe is delicious.  My husband loved it.  Heck even my two year old loved it!  The pepper jack cheese adds a good spice to it.  I didn’t add a ton of pepper jack because I really didn’t want it to be too spicy for Reagan, but if you like spice then I would say definitely add more pepper jack.  You most definitely will NOT be disappointed in this dish if you make it.  So good!!!

One Pan Skillet Chicken Fajitas|Dinner

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Last night I made a very delicious dinner.  I had a doctors appointment after work, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen.  I love cooking, but after a long day of work I wanted something fast.  Some of you may ask, “Well, Briana, why didn’t you just bring something home”?  Well, my lovelies, the answer to that question would be because I live in the middle of freaking nowhere.  So alas, I must cook.

Now, I love a good crock pot meal or casserole, but every once in awhile I like to do a skillet meal.  This recipe is great because it only requires one skillet! If you are like me then I know you loathe doing dishes so this meal is already piquing your interest.  It also requires  only a few ingredients!  It is fast and easy and it packs a big flavor.

Those of you who know me know that I am a sucker for some good Mexican food.  Authentic, tex-mex, you name it I love it.  This recipe falls more on the tex-mex side, but it is oh so very delicious.  I didn’t even think about posting it until after it was simmering on the stove top so please forgive the fact that there aren’t any pictures.  I do so solemnly promise to post pictures in the future of each step I take.

So, for the ingredients you want chicken breasts (I just use the Walmart or HEB frozen chicken breasts).  I defrosted them in the microwave on a defrost setting and then trimmed any of the fat off of them.  Now I made this meal for Drew, Reagan, and myself so we had enough leftovers for lunch, but if you are making it for a larger crowd I would increase your amount of chicken.   I used 3 large chicken breasts.  You also want olive oil, bell peppers (Now you can get creative here.  I used one red and one green pepper.  You could also use a yellow or orange pepper.)  You can also use an onion if you so desire.  My husband doesn’t like onion so it makes cooking very difficult, but he literally won’t eat it if he can taste an onion.  Yes…it’s annoying.  Moving on.  You also need taco seasoning of your preference, your favorite salsa, corn or flour tortillas, and whatever fixin’s you like on your fajitas (guacamole, sour cream, cheese, refried beans, etc.).

While you are cutting of the fat of the chicken heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Once it is heated, throw in your chicken.  I like to let my chicken cook down a bit.  Any of the excess fat that I wasn’t able to cut off kind of cooks off.  Once you have your chicken cooking good (by good I mean you want some of the oil to be cooking down and the chicken to start to saute instead of just boil in the oil and excess water), add in your bell peppers (and onions).  While those cook in with your chicken, measure out your salsa so it is easy to add.

Once the chicken is cooked through and the bell peppers are soft, add your packet of taco seasoning (about 2 tablespoons), your salsa (about 1/2 – 1 cup), and 1/2c water.  Mix everything together and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  You want most of the water to have evaporated and you want the salsa and taco seasoning to have thickened a little.  The meat is that easy!

Take your corn or flour tortilla add your beans, chicken, peppers, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.  Serve it with some rice, beans, or chips and salsa and enjoy!  You could also just eat the meat like Reagan does.  She loved it!  I will tell you, it is a little on the spicier side depending on the brand of taco seasoning that you use so use caution when serving to little ones.  Excuse how terrible the picture is.  I am still working on my photography skills!  I promise it is very delicious.

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One Pan Skillet Chicken Fajitas

3-4 Chicken breasts

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

2-3 Bell Peppers (your color preference)

Onion

A packet of taco seasoning

1/2-1 cup of your favorite salsa

1/2 cup water

 

Heat your olive oil in a skillet.  While it is heating, cut off the fat from your chicken breasts and discard it.  Once the oil is heated, add your chicken.  When the chicken is starting to cook through and some of the oil has cooked down, add your bell peppers and onion.  When your chicken is cooked through and the bell peppers are soft, add your taco seasoning, salsa, and water.  Mix everything up and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  You want most of the water to have evaporated and the sauce will have thicken a little.  Serve in a corn or flour tortilla with sour cream, cheese, beans, and guacamole.  Enjoy!  It is also delicious with some rice or chips and salsa on the side.