Delicious Fudgy Cupcakes by the Single Serving

So the title of this post is slightly misleading. We made three cupcakes–because there are three of us–but this recipe allows you to make just one (or two, or three, or four, etc.) rather than *having* to make a full batch. Which, let’s admit it, challenges the self control just a wee bit, right?

Tonight, My Tiny Sous Chef wanted to do something special to celebrate her dad’s first day at a new job. She asked this morning if we could make him cupcakes, and after school we decided we were going to figure out how to make just what we needed. The result was fudgy, and still somehow not too sweet, single serving perfection. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
Recipe makes one cupcake
* 1/8C flour
* 1 1/4T sugar
* 1/2T cocoa
* pinch of salt
* 1T milk
* 2T canola oil
* 1/8t vanilla
* homemade or store bought ftosting/decorations of your choosing

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick spray or line with as many cupcake liners as the number if cupcakes your making, and set aside.

Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a bowl until combined.

Then add the milk, canola oil, and vanilla and whisk carefully until fully combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin or liner(s).

Bake at 325F for 20-24 minutes.

Allow your cupcake(s) to cool completely before frosting and decorating to your own individual delight–and enjoy! There’s always a reason to celebrate something, right?!

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Meatless Monday: Pesto TBM w RRP Sandwiches

I’m traveling for work this week, so for the two days Im home I planned easy, quick meals to minimize stress and maximize family time. This post title’s in code, but the secret is out now (ouch… that one was rough): pesto tomato-basil-mozzarella with roasted red pepper sandwiches were a big winner. A five minute meal! And delish times a million! Can’t beat that! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* fresh hearty loaf of bread of choice (I did a fresh Italian loaf), cut into thick slices
* your favorite jarred or homemade pesto sauce
* fresh basil leaves
* jarred roasted red peppers
* fresh roma tomatoes, cut into thick slices
* slices of fresh mozzarella (I bought the presliced package)
* balsamic vinegar

WHAT TO DO
Lightly toast your bread slices.

Spread each slice generously with pesto. For each sandwich, top one pesto-ed half with large basil leaves in a layer, followed by roasted red pepper pieces, then fresh tomato slices, and finally fresh mozzarella slices. Drizzle the cheese with a little balsamic vinegar and then top with the other pesto-ed slice of bread. Slice in half and serve! Try it with homemade garlic fries!!

Sheet Pan Garlic Salmon with Brussels Sprouts (and Broccoli)

The “work” part of my “work-dinner-family” trifecta has been crazy busy lately. We’re heading into a large conference, which just makes it normal work crazy times 500 (at least). So to maintain a semblance of balance in busy times, my solution is to really amp up my meal planning focus on quick and easy. Fish tends to be an easy and quick meal anyway, but pair it with one-pan magic? DING! DING! I planned to pair this garlicky salmon with just Brussels sprouts, but kiddo isn’t (YET) a b. sprouts fan, so I added a head of broccoli that I knew she would eat. After a long and tiring day, a fresh and bold simple meal was just what I needed–and my family loved it too! No leftovers! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1.5lbs brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
* 1 head of broccoli, broken down into florets (optional)
* 4T olive oil, divided
* 1t salt, divided
* 1/4t fresh ground black pepper
* 4 6oz portions salmon, skin removed
* 4t minced garlic cloves
* 1T dried oregano

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 450F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Put your Brussels sprouts (and broccoli, if you’re using it) in a large bowl, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper, and mix until the veggies are well coated. Pour them onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes.

While that’s cooking, drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the salmon. Spread the minced garlic evenly over the fillets, and then season evenly with oregano and the remaining 1/2-teaspoon of salt.

After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Move the sprouts (and broccoli) to the edge, making room for the salmon. Place the salmon on the pan and bake for 12 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.

Meatless Monday: Orzo Veggie Bowls

I made this for our dinner tonight and it was delicious as a dinner. But note this would also make a great side dish or potluck contribution, served warm or cold. This is adapted from this recipe from the Kitchn. A friend shared it recently and I wanted to try it right away. When I got to it, I made some changes for convenience and because of ingredients and stuff, and I was really happy with the result. All that said, this is a very interchangeable recipe. Don’t like mushrooms? Leave them out or substitute another veg. Have some broccoli you need to use up? Throw it in! You get the gist. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* Salt
* 8-12oz orzo pasta
* Grapeseed oil
* 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
* 2 sweet onions, diced
* 4t minced garlic
* 1T ginger paste
* 4-6oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps diced
* 1T balsamic vinegar
* 2T low sodium soy sauce
* 2C chopped kale (about 3 big leaves, stalks removed)
* ~1 bag baby spinach
* Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)
* Crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for garnish)

WHAT TO DO
Heat a pot of water to a boil. Cook the orzo until 6 minutes, to barely al dente. Drain the orzo and toss with a generous drizzle of oil so the grains don’t stick together. Set aside.

Heat a very large pan over high heat. Drizzle in some of the oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When it’s very hot, add the sweet potatoes in a single layer and cook until they begin to turn brown, about 4 minutes. Stir and toss the sweet potatoes and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Move the sweet potatoes aside in the pan and then add the onions. Season with a little salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir them together with the onions. Then move the onions to the side of the pan, too.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook 4 minutes. Stir everything together in the pan until well mixed.

In a small bowl, quickly whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour it into the pan and mix everything together.

Add the orzo gradually, stirring it in with the veggies as you add it.

Add the kale and spinach and cook, mixing constantly, until they wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and season as needed.

Serve hot, with shavings of Parmesan and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.