Category Archives: RECIPES

Mushroom Mondays – Beef Stir Fry

I realize that many of my “recipe” posts are a bit subjective. I like to think of them more as guidelines and inspiration for you to maybe try something new or revisit and revamp an old favorite. I know I do some things a little strangely but don’t we all? I love learning new tips and tricks from others, and I just hope to teach you all something useful through all this nonsense.

Ingredients:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Stir Fry Steak
  • Rice or Rice Noodles
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Wine (Optional)
  • Sesame Oil (Optional)

Please don’t feel that you have to go out and buy those last two ingredients for this – straight up soy sauce is all I usually use but I had bought these to try out a homemade terriyaki sauce recipe and they do add quite a bit of depth to the sauce, I will say that.

Slice your onions and carrots into long thin pieces and start to saute them in a little olive oil. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes and very little salt. Remember that we’ll be adding soy sauce later, which has a very high salt content. Unless you want to drink a gallon of water with your dinner, cut down on the salt when seasoning your veggies.

Do the same with your bell peppers and add them to the pan.

Then slice up your mushrooms and add them in with a little butter.

Once these are all mostly done cooking, I like to add the broccoli cut into pretty small florets – they don’t need too long to cook or they can get mushy and just start to dissolve. ugh.

Here’s a little trick I like to use. I think that ground ginger is a bit intense and like to use the real thing whenever possible so I bought a big knob of it about a month back and yup, you guessed it, stuck it in the freezer. Now whenever I make an Asian style meal or something needing a little fresh ginger flavor; I take it out and saw off a little piece.

That’s probably about 1/4 inch thick. I also don’t really like pieces of ginger, so I don’t chop it up like I do garlic. Instead, I put this whole thing in and let it do a little melting to get just a hint of ginger flavor. Just make sure you fish it out at the end! Nobody wants to chomp down on this thing.

Next I add the bean sprouts and some chopped garlic. You’ve probably noticed that I like to add garlic at the end of my veggie cooking in all these recipes and here’s why – garlic can burn and turn bitter if it gets cooked too long so minimal time on the heat is better.

Sometimes I’ll make brown rice with stir fry but we both really like these rice noodles. Whichever you choose, plan out your timing and cook according to the package instructions.

Just before adding the meat, I’ll pour just a TBS or two of the rice wine over the vegetables (“sweet cooking rice seasoning”) and let it cook out for a minute. Then a few TBS of soy sauce and a couple drops of sesame oil. Really, this stuff is strong, a couple drops will be plenty.

I always get so intimidated buying beef – I need some sort of cheat sheet for what cuts are used for what kind of cooking…so if anyone has some tips I’ll take them! Sometimes I luck out though, like when I came across “stir fry steak” that was pretty inexpensive and already cut into these nice little strips. Love it when they make it so easy for me! I have learned that with cheaper meats, you need to be very careful about over-cooking or it can become very tough and chewy. So as soon as the pink is gone – you’re done!

When the noodles are done cooking, I like to add them into the stir-fry pan and stir it all around to get them nicely coated in the sauce; much like you would do when making spaghetti. If your sauce looks a little thin – just add more of each of the 3 ingredients (in the same proportions as before).

Time to serve! I like to add a few sesame seeds to the top and a couple extra drops of soy sauce. Someday I might actually invest in a wok and then I can make some REAL stir fry.

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Mushroom Tuesday…? – Stuffed Manicotti

Better late than never, am I right?

One of my least favorite meals growing up was lasagna. Somehow I was the one kid that didn’t think gooey cheesy messy towers of pasta were a good idea. What was I thinking!? I decided a couple months ago to give the old classic another shot and man do I love lasagna now! I think the problem was the ricotta cheese. Used to hate it but now I’m obsessed with the stuff! I purposely buy the largest container possible when shopping to make lasagna just so I have to find some more recipes to use it in. Watching the Food Network one day and seeing this recipe got me excited to try a stuffed pasta dish as a fun variation. Now I followed this recipe very loosely. I made the fonduta sauce mostly as described (I used Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese instead of the Romano) so I won’t add the details of that here but it was simple and really made this manicotti extra creamy and special. Definitely keeping that in the back of my mind.

Ingredients:

  • Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Olive Oil
  • Sweet Italian Sausage
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Ricotta
  • Manicotti Shells
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese

Somehow I missed taking my ingredient photo so we’ll just get started.

Get a nice big pot and cook your manicotti (I think this would be perfect for stuffed shells as well) according to the package then drain and let cool off. Mine got a little stuck together since I let them sit for a while after, I would add a little olive oil to the water next time. I totally forgot that step until I tried to peel them apart 30 minutes later.

Here’s my Fonduta sauce in the works:

Soften your onions in a little olive oil for a few minutes and then begin browning the sausage. I did one chicken and one pork Italian sausage and I actually really liked the combo. I’ve never used sausage in the casing before….a little bit gross to peel it out of there and get it in the pan but I managed and it’s nice that it has so much flavor already in the meat. You need to break it up with your spoon/spatula to get it into smaller pieces.

Season with salt and pepper then add some sliced mushrooms and chopped garlic.

Once those are nicely browned, season again and then add a bit of frozen spinach (or fresh if you prefer and have some on hand). I also threw in one of my parsley muffins here.

As soon as the greens are no longer frozen, add some of your fonduta sauce and a big ol’ plop of ricotta.

After I stirred this all in, it just did not look even close to being creamy and cheesy enough for me so I added more! And some parmesan.

I probably about doubled the amount they used in the recipe but again, it mainly just gave me the idea to go off of and the sauce recipe but as you can see, I changed most everything else. Next step is to assemble! First coat the bottom of your pan with your favorite marinara sauce.

Then stuff your manicotti with that delicious filling. The instructions here say to ‘spoon’ it in but that just doesn’t work out too good for me. I always end up breaking the shells or not getting the filling all the way in the middle so I applied something I do every day working in a bakery. Take a large ziplock bag and open it to fold the top edges over your hand, spoon the filling in (let it cool off a bit first!) and seal it up.

Cut off a little bit of one corner.

Then just squeeze it right into your shells. Please ignore the giant mess on the counter…

Line them all up in your baking dish.

Cover with some more marinara sauce and then spread out the rest of the fonduta over the top.

Top it with cheese (Mozzarella and Parmesan) and drizzle a little olive oil on top.

Then bake! (350 for about 30 minutes or until it’s super hot and bubbly)

Look at the layer of cheese on top. Oh so good.

 

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Mushroom Mondays – Portobello Risotto

I discovered risotto a couple years ago while working at a local restaurant during the short time we lived in North Carolina and seriously fell in love. My food knowledge grew by leaps and bounds over the months I was there. I have since become much more ambitious and excited to try new recipes and branch out from the norm. Risotto is a little intimidating at first but it’s actually pretty easy and has come out great every time I’ve made it. The main rule is just don’t abandon your rice while it’s cooking. So let’s get started, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Arborio Rice
  • White Wine
  • Chicken Stock
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Parsley

As usual with these recipes, step one is to soften up your onions in a little butter and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I made about 6 servings so I the majority of  a large yellow onion. (And 3 portobellos.)

These portobellos were pretty big so I cut them all in half before slicing. Look at these guys – they must have been at least 5 inches wide. Huge!

Add to the onions with a bit more butter. Stir and let them cook down.

Add some chopped garlic and season again with salt, pepper, and red pepper.

Now time for the rice – Arborio rice is a specific Italian short grain and it’s really the only rice to use when making risotto. No substitutions here guys! Measure according to the package for how many servings you need (1 1/2 cups for me to make 6 servings) and add to your pan then stir and let it toast up for a few minutes.

Next, pour in a bit of white wine – enough to coat the bottom of the pan and so that you can stir it around and all the rice gets a little coated before it all cooks out. I probably used about a cup.

While you are doing all this – you’ll need to heat up your chicken stock. I usually just throw it in the microwave for a couple minutes as I’m chopping veggies but some people prefer to use the stove. As long as it’s hot when you add it in, either way is just fine. Add about a cup of chicken stock and stir pretty consistently until it is mostly absorbed.  (FYI – I used a little over 4 cups)

Continue adding in small increments and stirring until the stock is gone and the rice is very tender. I’m convinced the taste test is the only way to really tell…

Last step is to add a chunk of butter, some parmesan cheese and parsley. This is one of my frozen parsley ‘muffins’ – they are perfect for this! So much better than dried and still so convenient.

Stir this all in and dinner is served. Top with some more parmesan cheese if you want – and who wouldn’t? Awesome with my favorite grilled chicken here and some steamed broccoli. YUM!

I love any kind of risotto. Super creamy rice with butter and cheese…how can you go wrong!? Lemon risotto is fantastic – so bright and summery. Or butternut squash, of course perfect for fall. But I think the portobellos make this my favorite. They are so flavorful and meaty that this one dish is satisfying enough to be an entire meal. Even my meat and potatoes guy agrees!

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Mushroom Mondays – Italian Wedding Soup

I am definitely a soup person. I would be happy to have soup every single day of the year, yes even with the 90 degree days we’ve been having recently. I still love it. Italian Wedding Soup is one of our favorites and I’ve been working on this recipe for a few years trying to make it better – the first time I made it there wasn’t much flavor and it was just a bit disappointing. The biggest thing I changed and now make sure to do every time is to really season the meatballs and cook them first and then add back to the soup later. The original instructions I tried said to just plop balls of raw meat into the boiling broth at the end and let them cook up that way. But ugg how boring! It’s so much better this way even if it does take a few extra minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Chicken Stock
  • Ground Beef
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Orzo Pasta

To season the ground beef I add a whole bunch of stuff and I’m pretty sure it changes every time but usually includes salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, chopped onion, garlic powder, and some kind of hamburger/steak/grill seasoning.

Mix this all together and form into little meatballs (I like to make mine about 1/2″ big) to brown up in your soup pot. I made a big pot this time so I did my meatballs in 2 installments – this is only about half of them.

Once they’re nice and browned I take them out and set them on a plate with a paper towel to drain and relax while I get the rest of the soup ready. Another reason I like to cook the meatballs first is that all that deliciousness on the bottom of the pan adds so much flavor to the veggies. Add a little olive oil and or butter if you need to and soften your onions and carrots. Then add the mushrooms and garlic. Don’t forget to season well with salt and pepper.

Once everything is nicely browned, add your chicken stock.

Now crank the heat up because we need this to boil. You can add the meatballs back in now to heat back up and finish cooking. While we’re waiting, it’s time to get to chopping some spinach. I have kind of a funny way of doing this. I pluck off any huge stems and make a couple piles….

Then I roll each pile up and cut into thin strips.

Now I know this looks like a LOT of spinach, but it cooks way down so don’t get too nervous.

Once your water is boiling, add in a couple handfuls of the pasta and cook according to the directions (9 minutes I think).

With about 5 minutes left I throw in all that spinach and do a quick clean up of my dishes.

Once the noodles are soft, it’s ready to eat!

Top with some parmesan cheese and eat up!

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Frozen Freshness

Yes I realize all I’ve been posting about recently is food…and I really don’t care! Actually, I love it so I sure hope you do too. I absolutely adore being in the kitchen trying out new recipes and organizing my pantry. I keep telling Adam that maybe I need to quit my job so I can just stay home and cook all day. Haha, wouldn’t that be the life!?

In the past couple months, I’ve been getting better and better at using my freezer and someday I’ll do a post about how I have it all organized and more tips (it’s all about the rotating!) for less food waste. But today, we’re talking about freezing herbs! I love using fresh herbs in my cooking but they always come in such large bundles and it’s hard to use them before they get wilty and gross.

I do use a lot of dried herbs as well but fresh parsley and cilantro and basil are just too delicious so I buy them when on sale or for a special recipe and freeze the extras. Here I’ve got some parsley I bought pretty cheap for my most recent attempt at lasagna.

Take your herb bundle and get rid of the stems then chop it all up nice and fine.

Pile a tablespoon or two into some small muffin cups (I looooove these silicone ones!) and just barely cover with olive oil. When doing cilantro, I like to use a water instead. Or you even could do vegetable oil.

Then let them set up in the freezer for a couple hours or overnight.

They pop right out and then get thrown into a labeled and dated ziplock bag and stocked in the veggie section of my freezer.

These are so handy when making a soup or pasta or risotto or any other dish that calls for some parsley, all you have to do is grab one of these out of the freezer and let it melt on in. This big bundle of parsley cost me $.50 and will last at least a few months.

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Mushroom Mondays – Wild Rice Pilaf

Up until about 2 years ago, it was pretty much impossible for me to cook rice. I’m still not quite sure what I was doing wrong…I knew all about the 2:1 ratio and the Rule of No Peeking but it would just never come out right. There were always way too many crunchy pieces on my plate and way too much disappointment in my heart. Then one day…success! A nice fluffy bowl of tender grains with veggies can really just hit the spot. Now we have rice all the time and I feel oh so accomplished. I have two favorite types to make: this wild rice pilaf and a couple variations of risotto. I still get a little nervous with plain old white or brown rice but practice makes perfect and I am not giving up yet!

Ingredients:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms (Button and Baby Bella)
  • Wild Rice (I personally love this blend of Texmati White, Brown, Wild, and Red – plus it cooks in 15 minutes!)
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • White Wine
  • Chicken Stock

Chop up your onions and get them to softening in a combo of olive oil and butter in a saucepan on medium to medium-high heat. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not so good at measuring and the veggie part of the rice really is all up to personal taste. This is about half of a large yellow onion in 1 TBS each of olive oil and butter. (FYI – this all made between 3 and 4 servings.) Season with salt and pepper.

Then I like to chop my carrots so they’re a similar size. First peel and julienne them (which really just means to cut into matchsticks) and then chop into little cubes and add to the pan with the onions.

Next the mushrooms! I love a mix of button and baby bellas. I have started buying one package of each when I go shopping to have a supply on hand to add to pretty much everything. The button mushrooms get nice and tender but the baby bellas hold up a bit more and are actually pretty meaty. I usually add another little chunk of butter with the mushrooms to help them brown.

Then chop up a garlic clove or two and add some more salt and pepper and I’m becoming a big fan of red pepper flakes so I like to shake a few in now as well.

Once the mushrooms and other veggies are tender and cooked down like so…

…measure out how much rice you need according to the package (I think it’s usually 1/4 or 1/3 cup of dry rice per serving) and then take a handful of the wheat spaghetti and break it up into about 1/2 inch pieces. This is my 1 cup scoop to give you an idea.

Add this to your saucepan and stir in with the veggies then let it toast in the oil/butter for a few minutes.

Then add about 1/2 to 1 cup of the wine to your rice and stir. I just love how it sizzles and the way it smells!

Just let it cook down until the liquid is mostly gone and add about 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock and stir.

Then I just let it cook down, stirring occasionally. I know you’re technically supposed to boil then reduce the heat and cover and simmer and let sit undisturbed but this works so much better for me so I go with it.

Once most of the liquid is gone I’ll take a little taste to see if it’s cooked enough. If there’s still too much crunch, simply add some more chicken stock and repeat until the texture is just right. Then you’re done! This rice can go with all kinds of chicken and fish meals. I especially love it with grilled salmon and broccoli or green beans. Sometimes I’ll bake a chicken breast in the oven then shred it and stir it right in to the rice at the end. This time we had homemade chicken tenders – yums!

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Mushroom Mondays – Simply Stuffed

I’ve decided to start a new weekly posting schedule. Mondays are now for mushroom recipes! We seriously love mushrooms in this house but I know there are people out there with some strong opposing feelings for these little fungi…so if that’s you then sorry!

Today’s recipe is for my dad’s stuffed mushrooms. SO delicious! And simple, they’re great for a fancy little appetizer or even as a snack or side-dish. We have these way more often than I’d like to admit but they’re just too good!

First we need to gather our ingredients:

  • Button Mushrooms (I usually gauge 3 or 4 per person)
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika

See? It’s got to be simple with only 5 ingredients, right?

First you need to turn on your broiler and clean your mushrooms. Cleaning mushrooms isn’t quite like other fruits and veggies; submerging these little guys in water is a big no-no. You just want to wipe off any dirt with a damp paper towel.

Then pop off the stems – you can save these and add them to soups or stock if you make your own. You paid money for all these mushrooms, don’t let them go to waste!

Next I use a small melon-baller to scoop out the inside of the mushrooms to basically make them into little bowls. (Add these innards to your reuseable pile with the stems)

Take a few slices of swiss cheese and cut them into little pieces.

Then fill up your mushroom bowls with the cheese and sprinkle some garlic powder on top.

Next take a small spoon and a scoop of cream cheese and spread it over the top of each mushroom, sealing all that goodness in.

Then place the mushrooms in a baking dish and sprinkle the top with paprika.

Time to pop them in the oven! 7 – 8 minutes usually does it. You want the mushrooms to be tender and the cheese to be gooey and just barely browned on top.

Finally – let’s eat! Hello delicious.

I’ve tried a couple substitutions (havarti on the inside and goat cheese on top is pretty darn delicious) but the combo of swiss and cream cheese is still our favorite. I sure hope you try this super simple recipe and get ready for more mushroom madness next week! I have a lot of recipes to share with you guys – some are more involved than others and some are just basic recipes that you can make with or without the mushroom part. For the most part, I’ve stuck to button mushrooms and portobellos – I have yet to venture into the world of exotic mushroom varieties but this might be just the inspiration I need to be bold and try something new!

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Presto! Pesto!

I love pesto. And I mean, LOVE the stuff. Whenever Adam has to go out of town for work, I take comfort in daily doses of pesto noodles, or pesto sandwiches, or just eating it with a spoon. Yeah, not even exaggerating.

I’ve been making my own for a couple months now and I think it’s about time to share the love! Traditional pesto is strictly basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, and olive oil. Easy enough, huh? The fun part of making your own is that you can personalize it to your liking – for example I like to switch out the first two ingredients for spinach and walnuts. I do love basil but it’s a little overwhelming if that’s the only ingredient so I usually do a combo of both when I have them…otherwise straight up spinach. And my version is way cheaper to make! Basil and pine nuts are pricey!

One of our wedding presents was a nice little combo blender and food processor…which I promptly broke. They should make those things out of stronger stuff! Seriously. So we went a couple years without until my dear sweet mama gifted us a super nice one. It’s so heavy I can hardly get it out of the cabinet to use it! That thing won’t be breaking anytime soon. Thank goodness!

As I’ve been thinking of recipes to share I came to the realization that I don’t measure anything. Ever. (And baking doesn’t count.) Not very helpful to you all but I’ll do my best and with most of my ‘recipes’ (I guess I have to use that word lightly now) it doesn’t matter too much. You want yours not so garlic-y? If you find you need to use more oil? Just trust your instincts. They’re usually right…..right?

We’ll do some estimations to give you an idea:

  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2(ish) cup olive oil

Ok so step one is to grind up the parmesan. I like to buy it in the big blocks and then grind it up myself (again, way cheaper). You want to get so it looks to be uniform in size, then add in the walnuts and spinach to break them up a bit.

Once it’s had a chance to get going, throw those garlic cloves in and pulse a few more times. You really need to break up the nuts so just keep going until it forms almost a paste.

And then keep the lid on but take off the little attachment on top and as the machine is running, slowly pour in the olive oil until it’s nice and liquidy but not too juicy. You’re looking for the texture of say, applesauce?

There’s my mini ice cream scoop again. Probably the most used utensil in my kitchen…and here’s my favorite part. Freeze it! I have been finding more and more ways to utilize my freezer to extend the life of a ton of food! We honestly have a whole freezer drawer just for cheese. Probably a good 10 lbs of frozen cheese in there…I’ve got a WI guy, remember. I spent a good 4 hours deep cleaning and organizing our fridge/freezer a couple weeks ago and boy does that help! But I digress, that’s another post for another day and we need to get back on track.

Freezing pesto is also much more practical. It’s simple but does take a little effort to make – mainly a messy food processor and I like to shop at Costco a lot (again why our freezer is essential) so when I make pesto I make enough to feed a small army. Here’s my trick. Use a small scoop to portion it into little muffin tins (these silicon ones are amazing because once it’s frozen they pop right out and clean up nice and easy in the dishwasher) and find a flat place for them in the freezer to hang out for a few hours.

You do have to work kindof fast when transferring your “pesto pucks” to a ziplock as the heat from your hands can start to melt them. Look at these beauties! Don’t forget to date them…yeah I might have a rotating stockpile. This is a serious addiction, I know. I think I would probably have a panic attack if we ever ran out.

Now just because this is making me hungry, here’s a quick look at two of my favorite pesto recipes. First and my most favorite is Chicken Pesto Noodles with Goat Cheese. Even sounds a little fancy, huh? I cook a chicken breast in the oven and then shred it (you could easily use a rotisserie) and cook up some carrots and broccoli or cauliflower until they’re tender while boiling some noodles then combine everything in one big pan and add a couple little pesto nuggets and a bit of the pasta water until they melt then plate it up and add some goat cheese right on top. Oh so delicious!

Yes, this goat cheese came straight from the freezer onto my plate which is so perfect because it melts nice and slow on the hot noodles and you get a little taste with every bite instead of just a mush stuck to one noodle which can happen if it’s so warm and soft.

Another fave is a lot of the same ingredients but on a sandwich. A nice thin piece of chicken, pesto all over one side of the bun, goat cheese on the other, a big slice of tomato and some avocado. Oh and a pickle. Heavenly.

It’s also pretty amazing with some hot foccoccia bread straight out of the oven. All salty and soft and covered in rosemary. Just dunk it right in. Seriously, my mouth is watering right now. YUM! I think I know what’s for dinner tomorrow night!

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Ombre Cake

We celebrated my roommate’s birthday this past weekend and I got to try out a recipe I’ve been lusting after lately – an ombre cake! Basically, just a layered cake with each in a different shade of your chosen color.

Started by separating my cake batter into 6 bowls.

Colored each bowl with increments of food coloring – started with one drop and the last one got about 8.

Once baked, the edges were browned and rounded, so I cut the tops off not only to level them out but to ensure I stacked the colors in the right order!

Stacking and icing between each layer – I’m embarrassed to say how much frosting was actually used in the making of this cake (3 and a half tubs of store bought!)- but I don’t even think it was enough!

Icing the outside (you can see a peak of the kitchen wallpaper here – as stated in my previous post, every room has some new exciting pattern – be on the lookout for an updated wallpaper post later this week!)

Cut open! It was hard to get a clean photo, the frosting always seemed to smudge on the inside but it was so fun to make and look at that I really didn’t mind. Thinking about making one for St. Patrick’s day – that is, if we can ever get this one eaten!

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All About Cake

As ironic as it might sound, I’m not the biggest fan of cake. Yes, I work with the stuff all day but there are too many delicious treats that rank a bit higher on my list and are therefore eaten first. That being said, cake pops are adorable and quite good and super fun to make!

Here’s what you need for this treat – keep in mind some of this is optional depending on how you want to decorate and finish your pops: cake and icing (now I’m a bit lazy so I just use box cake mix and icing but please feel free to be ambitious and make your own), white chocolate for dipping, food coloring, sprinkles, lollipop sticks (I got 30 for a couple bucks at Michaels), and a way to package/store/display them.

Our first step here is to follow some directions and bake your cake. When it’s out and cooled off, take a fork (or your hands – it’s gonna get messy eventually, might as well dive in!) and scrape at it to basically turn in into a big pan of crumbs. Pour your demolished cake into a big bowl and add a couple spoonfuls of icing.

Stir this up and add more icing if needed until the consistency is so when you squeeze a bit between your fingers, it stays. Next you just make whatever shapes you want! Of course, balls of cake are the easiest but come on – it was Valentine’s Day so you know I had so make some hearts! I like to use a small ice cream scoop so they’re all the same size. (this is also a trick I use when baking cookies)

Shape all your little pops and place on a baking sheet with parchment so they don’t stick, then slide in your lollipop sticks and throw it all in the freezer for a couple hours. Next melt your white chocolate (or milk or dark if you prefer) either in a double boiler or the microwave on 30 second intervals. All you have to do now is dip your pops!

If you want to decorate with sprinkles, you’ll need to do it before the chocolate hardens and dries. Now there’s the challenge of where to put them to dry. I’ve found that a big cake pan filled with rice and a cooling rack holds them pretty well! Just slide them between the slots and the rice keeps them from falling over. After they’re all dipped and dry, I mix the remaining chocolate with some food coloring and pour it into a little piping bag to decorate the un-sprinkled ones.

All that’s left is to package them up (I also got these little bags at Michaels) and send them out to be eaten!

I think these would be adorable for a baby shower, you could dye the cake inside green for St. Patty’s, and of course, very cute for kids’ birthdays. I know there are a lot of steps and it may seem a bit daunting but they’re so fun when finished and people sure are impressed by these!

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