Banana Cupcakes with Candied Hazelnuts

Birthday Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Hazelnuts sprinkled with Nutmeg.  Official recipe name but much too long.  It sounds complicated and intimidating.  In reality it is so easy, comes together quickly and helps you use up those spotted bananas in the corner of the fruit bowl. Plus so yummy.
Win. Win. Win. Win.
This is a recipe that has a "dress to impress" kind of look but is a basic banana quick bread that everyone knows how to make.   Don't forget to save a step and a dirty dish using my Kitchen Technique #8 with the mashed bananas.

Banana Cupcakes with Candied Hazelnuts
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½ C unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ C raw cane sugar
2 large eggs
1 C full fat, plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ tsp aluminum free baking soda
¼ tsp celtic sea salt
3 spotted bananas, mashed (KT#8)

1. Grease or line with paper liners a 12 cup muffin tray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, whip the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in one egg at a time. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla.

3. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt into the wet batter. Stir in the mashed banana thoroughly. (Kitchen Technique #8)

4. With a spoon or cookie scooper, fill the cupcakes until ⅔ full.

5.  Bake for 14-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only crumbs remaining. Let cool 5 minutes, remove from tray and finish cooling on a wire rack before frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting and topping with Candied Hazelnuts, lightly sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg over top of cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
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1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ C unsalted butter, softened
1 C organic powdered sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

1. With a mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
Note:  This is a small batch recipe intended for 12 cupcakes.  If you are frosting a cake, double the ingredients listed.

Candied Hazelnuts
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2 TB sucanat or brown sugar
½ tsp raw cane sugar
1 TB unsalted butter
1/2 C whole hazelnuts
pinch of celtic sea salt
pinch of ground nutmeg

1. Over medium heat, melt together the sugar, butter, salt and nutmeg in a small pan stirring frequently.

2. Keep stirring until it bubbles, add nuts and stir until coated.

3. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until nuts turn golden brown in color and smell toasted. Transfer to waxed paper or plate to cool. Break apart and store in a cool dry place.

Happy Birthday Grandma~!!!

Today's recipes where brought to you by, inspired or adapted from:  Mels Kitchen Cafe,  AllRecipes and Saved by the Egg Timer

Pulled Pork and Beans with Spanish Rice

Wishing everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.  In the spirit of giving Mom's a break combining with the Mexican menu of last week, my gift to all the mom's is a terrific slow cooker recipe.  Versatile and simple with many possibilities or serve as shown. 
Are you like some I know and don't care for beans?  Simply leave them out.  No beer?  Use wine or chicken broth, etc.  Save yourself some time and a trip to the store...improvise...always improvise. 

Do you all remember the skit from In Living Color with Jim Carrey?  Pork and Beans!? 
I hope yours turns out better than his! 

Pulled Pork and Beans
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2 pound pork roast
1 can beer
½-1 whole red onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp celtic sea salt
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
1- 15 oz can pinto beans, drained

1. Place all ingredients except beans into your slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

2. 1 hour before serving, shred pork with forks right in the casserole. Add the drained beans. Cook on low for remaining hour. Serve in tortillas, taco shells, over Spanish Rice, tostada shells, in a taco salad or plop on a bun with pepper jack cheese for a Mexican inspired 'samich.

Spanish Rice
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2 TB butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 C basmati rice
½ whole red or yellow onion, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
½ t ground chipotle, ancho or chili powder
1- 15 oz can tomato sauce (or a scant 2 cups)
1- 15 oz can low sodium chicken broth (or a scant 2 cups)
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ of a lime, juiced

1. In a larger skillet, heat butter and garlic, saute 1 minute over medium heat. Add rice, onion and seasoning. Cook 5 minutes or until grains turn golden.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, over high heat, stirring frequently. Once boiling, turn heat to low. Cover and let simmer 25-30 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for at least 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro, squeeze your ½ a lime over whole dish and serve.

Today's recipes where brought to you by, inspired or adapted from:  A Good Appetite

Linked up at : 33 Shades of Green and Traditional Tuesday

Green Chile Chicken Skillet and a 'How To'

I never need a special holiday like Cinco De Mayo to enjoy some (or a lot) of Mexican cuisine.  Mexican food is one of my top favorites.  This off-beat recipe packs huge flavors, quickly shooting up my list of favorite easy weeknight meals.  Serve over cooked basmati rice, in a tortilla or just plain covered in lots of salsa and guacamole.  Shhhh, don't tell anyone it is low carb or healthy because they will never suspect a thing....  Even if your not a huge fan of the cauliflower, I think you should give it a try.  You don't taste it in there at all, giving nutrition and texture to even the pickiest of palettes.

Green Chile Chicken Skillet
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2 TB unsalted butter
2 TB grapeseed oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 red onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, trimmed to florets
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (14.5 oz) can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomato
1 tsp celtic sea salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
green onions, chopped
shredded cheese

1. "Rice" your cauliflower by placing the cauliflower florets in a food processor.  With an "S" blade, pulse until the florets become the size of rice grains. Set aside. (How To: located below this recipe)

2. Heat the butter, oil and garlic on medium-high for 1 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and saute for 8 minutes or until no longer pink through the center.

3. Turn down to medium heat, add the red onion and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add the “riced” cauliflower, green chilies, tomatoes, salt, oregano and cumin. Stirring frequently, cook another 10 minutes, until juices cook down and “rice” is cooked through.

5. Serve while hot, top with green onions, cilantro, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and a squirt of fresh lime. You can also serve this over steamed basmati rice or in a taco shell if desired.

How To: "Rice" Cauliflower
Print recipe here
1 head of cauliflowers, trimmed to florets
food processor with and “S” shaped blade

1. "Rice" your cauliflower by placing the cauliflower florets in a food processor. With an "S" blade, pulse until the florets become the size of rice grains. Set aside to use in your recipe.

Today's recipes where brought to you by, inspired or adapted from:  Elena's Pantry