Jalapeno Popper Macaroni Salad

I have never been much of a macaroni salad fan. The only one I really like is one that I make with tuna in it. But otherwise, not so much. I recently came across a recipe that intrigued me because I love, love, jalapeno poppers! Mm–m-m-mm-m. Sure nuff, this mac salad tastes like a jalapeno popper. It has the jalapeno of course…..and the cream cheese….so good. I bet it would be good with some crumbled bacon! I may try that next time.

Now, the recipe does call for some sour cream. I was out of it, but I had some green onion dip on hand. So, I used that! Perfect.

This would be a great potluck dish. I hope you will make it. Enjoy.

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni Salad

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
juice of half a lemon
2 good-sized fresh jalapeno, minced
1 fresh serrano pepper, minced
1 clove fresh garlic, grated
1 – 2 green onions, sliced
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley for garnish

Cook macaroni until just done. Don’t over cook. Drain well.

Dump macaroni into a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic and green onion. Add this mixture to the drained macaroni, along with the jalapeno, serrano and shredded cheese. Mix together gently. Cover and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

Since pasta tends to soak up sauces and dressings, you may have to add a bit more mayonnaise before serving.

Optional: Sprinkle with bacon pieces.

Just the Best Wings Ever…….

Chicken wings are the best. Even though they are quite messy, they are so fun to eat. I recently posted a spicy blue cheese version and those are my favorite. But now that I’ve made these, I just don’t know….these may be my new favorite. Honestly, these are so good. The wings have a spicy Asian sauce that is just so, so, so delicious. It’s a good sauce to brush on regular roasted chicken thighs, breasts, or even a whole chicken. It’s a bit on the salty side (not good for my high blood pressure), but I just can’t resist these! The sauce is just something that I can’t describe. It’s like a spicy, sweet, sticky, salty teriyaki sauce. How’s that?

I have to ask you….have you seen those people who lick their fingers or suck their fingers when eating messy foods? Then they make that awful sucky smacky sound?  You’ll want to do that with these, but NO, please don’t! It’s kinda gross. Hahahaha, ewwwwww. Just a pet peeve of mine, but hey….if that’s your thing, have at it. 🙂 If you’re a finger licker, I’m sorry if I offend you, but please don’t send me angry comments. Hahahaha.

Anyway, back to the wings. The recipe calls for black bean sauce. You really must use this in this recipe. It’s what makes this the best sauce ever. I’m sure you have seen Chicken with black bean sauce or Black bean Chicken, on the menu at a Chinese restaurant. You can find the sauce in the Asian section of your local grocery store or at any Asian market, of course. It’s a fermented black bean sauce that is very salty and has a strong flavor. It’s wonderful, trust me. Don’t wrinkle your nose and think about leaving it out. Please trust me on this.  You’re going to love this sauce.

        

Best Asian Chicken Wings Ever

Wings (obviously) washed and patted dry

Sauce:

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce
1/4 cup black bean sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Sriracha Asian hot sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Sambal Chili paste (use ketchup if you want a less spicy sauce)
3 Tblsp melted butter

Mix all sauce ingredients together.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray lightly with a non stick cooking spray. Lay out the chicken wings. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your wings. Remove sheet from oven and dump all of the wings into a bowl and pour the sauce over the wings and give it a toss or two, to coat the wings. Place each wing back on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes or so. I turn on the broiler for a minute or two to get the sauce bubbly and caramelized. This is optional.

Remove from oven and be careful. They will be very hot. I always serve a bit of sauce on the side.

Coconut Caramel Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes…

I have been craving chocolate cake. Good chocolate cake. With good frosting. I couldn’t decide between espresso frosting, chocolate frosting, peanut butter frosting……and then all of a sudden I could just taste my coconut caramel frosting, that I haven’t made in ages. I could have sworn that I already blogged about this frosting, but I can’t find the post anywhere. So, let me just say that this frosting is just the best, creamiest, richest, yummiest stuff ever. I am not even a coconut fan. But I love this frosting so much. It’s very caramel-y….and who doesn’t like caramel? You could even add a pinch of salt, if salted caramel is your thang.  This is a great frosting for a sheet cake, cupcakes, cookie filling……or just by the spoonful. OMG. It’s very sweet and rich, so it’s not a frosting to heap on. But hey, if you wanna heap it on, then have at it!!

The first picture is the caramel coconut frosting I did awhile back, on a basic vanilla cupcake. While good, the frosting begs for a chocolate cake.

Coconut Caramel Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes

Frosting:

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1  1/2 cups shredded coconut(plus a bit extra for garnish)
1 cup toasted pecans, walnuts or almonds (chopped)
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, add the eggs, sugar and evaporated milk. Give it all a good whisking until it’s all blended together. Add the stick of butter and turn the heat on medium. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Turn heat to a low boil and keep stirring while mixture boils for 12 minutes. remove from heat and add the coconut, nuts and vanilla. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Note: I always toast a bit of a coconut to sprinkle on the frosted cupcakes.

Basic Chocolate Cake recipe

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1/2  cup sour cream
1/4  cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Line standard muffin pan with paper liners. Sift cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, sour cream, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth by hand whisk or mixer.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 15-18 minutes or until you poke a toothpick in the cake and it comes out clean. Let cool. Frost (makes 18-20 cuppies)

Copycat Disneyland Chocolate Chip Cookies….

I’m always looking for good chocolate chip cookie recipes. I have my favorite 2 recipes and they are the best, so I don’t know why I keep trying other recipes.

I came across this copycat Disneyland ccc the other day and gave it a try. I mean, who doesn’t like Disneyland….it represents everything good and happy! The thing that really caught my attention was the powdered sugar instead of the usual granulated sugar and also the sugar crystal sprinkles in the dough. You can get them pretty much anywhere, but Michael’s or Hobby Lobby has them in the cookie decorating section. They are just big crunchy clear sprinkles that you would put on cookies or cupcakes. If you can’t find them, you can use turbinado sugar. It’s the crunch of the course textured sugar that sets these cookies apart from other ccc’s.

It is a good cookie….a bit on the cakey side. If that’s the type of cookie you like, then you will love these. They don’t spread out really flat like a lot of ccc’s do. The crunch of the course sugar gives these a little bit of crunch but the cookie is soft, not crispy. I do like these, but I like others better. But I think you should try these and let me know what you think!

Copycat Disneyland Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup (2 sticks) soft butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 Tblsp water
1 tsp vanilla
2  2/3 cup AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar crystal sprinkles or turbinado sugar
1  1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars together until well mixed. Mix in the egg, water and vanilla. Mix in the  flour, salt and baking soda, just until combined. Don’t overmix.

Gently stir in the sugar crystals and the chocolate chips. Chill the dough for an hour. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350.

Drop large scoops of dough onto the baking sheet…approx. 1/4 cup scoops……6 scoops a sheet. Bake for approximately 13-18 minutes, depending on how hot your oven runs. They should be golden brown. Cool completely. They taste much better once cooled completely.

Makes 18 good sized cookies.

Semi Homemade Ginger Lemonade…..

I apologize for posting about fresh ginger again. I know I have done a few posts explaining how much I love it. But I think I may be a bit addicted to it. Hey, it could be worse, right? Besides, do you know how healthy ginger is for you???

So, there is a bottled ginger lemonade out there that I recently discovered. It was immediate love the first time I tried it. Wow, it is intense with both pucker and ginger flavor. It is so good. But unless it’s on sale, it’s a bit pricey at $3.00 a little bottle. It’s just so good! There is a lavender lemonade and lemongrass lemonade also.

Well, I decided to make my own. I didn’t want to bother with squeezing a bunch of lemons. Not this time, but I will do that another time. So, I picked up a bottle of my favorite lemonade, which I love because it’s pretty intensely puckery. (is that a word?) Here is what I did:

  This is the one that I recently discovered. Delicious.

    This is my favorite store bought lemonade


chopped ginger

Ginger Lemonade

1 bottle of lemonade, 1.8 qt size (homemade or store bought)
approximately 1/2 cup of fresh chopped ginger

Pour 1 cup of the lemonade into a saucepan. Add the chopped ginger and let it come to a low boil. Turn off the heat, cover and allow to steep for a couple of hours.

At this point, you can either drain off the liquid from the ginger bits and pour just the liquid into your lemonade, or you can add the ginger to your lemonade as well. It depends on how intensely ginger-ish, that you like it. I add all of the ginger bits to my lemonade. If you can, let it set in the fridge for a couple of days so that the lemonade and ginger really come together.

By the way, this makes a great cocktail mixer. You can also make a fantastic Arnold Palmer iced tea too! Or popsicles! Better get started!