Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recipe: Tomato and Bacon Pasta Salad

It has been so hot here for the past two weeks.  I don't think we have left the house unless we need to.  With it being so hot, I don't like to heat the kitchen up, but this pasta is well worth it.  We had it as a main dish with some bread, but it could be a great side dish.  I added parmesan cheese the first night and some feta cheese the next day.  Both were equally good.  I served this at room temperature for dinner and cold for lunch.  I preferred it cold and so did my family.

Tomato and Bacon Pasta Salad

1 box penne pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsps olive oil
12 ounces bacon, cooked
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tbsps green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, feta or the cheese of your choice
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Toss the cooked pasta with 1/2 cup milk; set aside.  Put olive oil in a pan; add tomatoes and garlic.  Toss until warmed through and remove from heat; season with salt and pepper.  Crumble the bacon into bite-sized pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish.  Add tomato mixture and bacon to pasta and toss.  Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons green onions.  Add to pasta mixture and toss until evenly combined.  Garnish with reserved bacon and green onion.  This may be served room temperature or chilled.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Recipe: Banana Walnut Cupcakes

I know that I have said it before, but I do not like bananas.  However, I LOVE banana bread, banana muffins and now banana cupcakes!  These are sooooo good!   I found this recipe while watching Down Home with the Neely's (love that show!).  I used Steen's Syrup instead of molasses because I think it has way more flavor than regular molasses.  I made 15 cupcakes with the recipe.

This is a must try!

Banana Walnut Cupcakes
(modified from Gina Neely's recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, (reserve some for garnish)

Molasses Frosting:
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Steen's Syrup (or molasses)
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.   In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the butter and the sugar. Beat with a mixer until combined. Add the sour cream and the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixtures together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and walnuts, being careful not to over mix. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 3/4 way full. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops turn golden-brown and when a toothpick, inserted in the middle of the cupcake, comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.

In a large bowl, add the butter and cream cheese. Beat together until incorporated. Add the molasses and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract, milk and powdered sugar.

Heavily frost the cupcakes and garnish with reserved chopped walnuts.

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