Mini Heart Ombre Valentine Cakes

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Ingredients

For the three pink layers:

1 box white cake mix3 egg whites1/3 cup vegetable oil1 cup of water (box calls for 1 1/4 but I only added one and added sour cream)1/2 cup sour creamRed food coloring

For the red layer:

One box red velvet cake mix3 eggs1/2 cup vegetable oil1 cup water (again, I used less water since adding sour cream1/2 cup sour cream

For the strawberry cream cheese filling:

1 cup of strawberries8 oz. cream cheese3/4 stick of butter1 cup confectioners sugar1/2 cup heavy whipping cream1/2 tsp vanillaCool Whip or icing of your choice

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350*.

For the Pink Layers:

In a mixing bowl, add the white cake mix, 3 egg whites, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup sour cream.Mix well, scraping down sides as needed, until thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly between three bowls.Use red food coloring to tint the three batters to the desired shades.I used 2 drops in bowl #1, 15 drops in bowl #2 and 24 drops in bowl #3 {I suggest adding a few drops at a time and blending because you can always add more, but you can’t take it out}.Line a 7 x 7 square baking pan with parchment paper and add the first batter.Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven.Allow to cool for a few minutes and then gently lift the cake out and set on a cooling rack to cool completely.Repeat this process with the other two batters and set all three square cakes aside.

For The Red Layer:

In a mixing bowl, add the red velvet cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sour cream.Mix well, scraping down sides as needed, until thoroughly combined.Once again, line a 7 x 7 square baking pan with parchment paper and add only 1/3 of the batter.Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven. I used the extra red velvet batter to make cupcakes for another recipe.

For The Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling (adapted from Martha Stewart):

Put cream cheese, butter, and sugar into mixing bowl and mix until creamy. Add in vanilla.Puree strawberries in a food processor and strain.Mix the puree into the cream cheese mixture.Add heavy cream and mix for 2-3 minutes.Place the bowl in the fridge to chill.Filling may be refrigerated airtight up to 3 days.

Assembling The Cakes:

Use a heart shaped cutter to cut 5-6 heart shapes (depending on the size of your cutter) from each of the four cakes.Starting with the red velvet hearts on the bottom, use Cool Whip to add a thin layer of “icing” to the top of each red heart.Place the the next darkest shade of pink hearts on top of the red heart and repeat the Cool Whip / Icing layer.Continue with the next two layers until all four colors are stacked but do not ice the top layer yet.Take a large freezer bag and fold down the top; use a spatula to place the strawberry filling in the bag, down into one of the corners, twist the bag around and seal.Snip off the corner to make a handy piping bag.Fill each heart “tower” with the strawberry filling until flush with the top. Using the leftover small heart (or round) center cut outs, slice off a thin layer to make a little “lid” to cover the filling.Ice the top with a thin layer of Cool Whip or frosting.If desired, gently place a small heart cutter on the top of the iced cakes and, by hand, fill in with a thin layer of red sprinkles.Alternately, you could use chocolate shavings or a sprinkling of edible pearls, etc.

Potato Soup

30 oz bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
32 oz container of chicken broth. Veggie broth works fine too
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
8 oz cream cheese (not fat free, it wont melt in)
1. In a large freezer bag, combine everything except cream cheese. Double up on your freezer bag and squeeze out any air to avoid freezer burn. Label it and put a date on it.
Cooking instructions: Thaw soup and place mixture in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. About 1 hour before serving, add in the cream cheese and heat until thoroughly melted.
This is great with toppings of cheese, bacon, green onions, and sour cream
*note- I buy the cream cheese and just keep it in the fridge ready to go….it will keep for a long time

Spaghetti Casserole

Million-Dollar-Spaghetti-Casserole
Ingredients
16 oz. spaghetti noodles
2 lb. jar of marinara sauce
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded cheese ( I use cheddar/colby blend)

Instructions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9X13 pan or two 8X8 pans.
2.Boil noodles according to package, drain and stir with a drizzle of olive oil so they don’t stick together.
3.In a stand mixer combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Mix well and set aside.
4.Brown ground beef and onion until no longer pink. Drain. Add in jar of marinara sauce and stir.
5.Begin by layering half of the noodles in the bottom of your greased pan.
6.Top with 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese.
7.Layer on the cream cheese mixture.
8.Top with remaining noodles.
9.Spread marinara sauce with ground beef over top.
10.Bake for 30 minutes then sprinkle with 2 cups cheese and return to oven for another 15 minutes.
11.Let cook for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
12.Enjoy!
13.*If you want to freeze this, double wrap the casserole in heavy duty foil with instructions written on

Paw Print Cookies

paw print sugar cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

yield 24

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 ounces cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2½ cups flour

Icing

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1-2 Tablespoons of milk

1 Tablespoon corn syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla

food coloring (optional)

decorations (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375

line two cookie sheets with parchment paper

In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg and vanilla.

Add flour one cup at a time.

Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in saran wrap. Put in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Lightly dust surface with flour before rolling dough. Roll to about ⅛” thickness.

Cut with flour dusted cookie cutters and place on baking sheet ½ inch apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bottom edge is light brown.

Remove from oven and let set for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating.

For Icing:

In a small bowl mix the powdered sugar with milk (start with 1 tablespoons, to determine spreading consistancy).

Using a mini whisk beat in corn syrup and vanilla.

Divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring or leave plain.

Decorate cookies and let sit on the racks until frosting hardens.

Notes The amount of cookies yielded will vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Paw Prints were about 4″. – See more at: http://www.thefoodieaffair.com/2013/09/27/paw-prints-cut-out-cookies/#sthash.URKaeUre.dpuf

Banana Monkey Muffins

banana monkey bread muffins

– makes 12 muffins
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chilled shortening
1/2 cup buttermilk ( I used 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar and allowed it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes)
2 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz.) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
5 teaspoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F.
Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin by greasing it with butter.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking powder.
Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add banana and pour in milk.
Mix together with a fork just until dough holds together.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead gently about 8 times, adding a minimal amount of flour if dough is still sticky.
Take dough by rounded teaspoonful and roll into balls.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
Begin assembly of muffins by taking dough balls one at a time, dipping them in the melted butter and rolling them in the cinnamon sugar.Place in muffin cups.Repeat with remaining dough.
I’d made about 74 balls total, so there were 6 balls per cup with two cups only containing 5, and I’d put the larger balls in those.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While muffins are in the oven, prepare the frosting.
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and water.
Mix at medium speed until smooth.
Transfer muffin tin to wire rack, setting aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Remove muffins from pan with a knife or small metal spatula and place on another wire rack.
Drizzle frosting over muffins while still warm, using the tines of a fork.
Serve warm.
*Actually, they are best served warm and can be reheated in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

Cream Cheese Cookie Cut-outs

cutout cream cheese cookies (570x571)

Servings: 5 dozen

Ingredients

  • FOR COOKIE DOUGH:
  • 5-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • FOR FROSTING (makes 1 cup of frosting):
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons canned evaporated milk
  • food coloring (optional)

Directions

MAKE COOKIE DOUGH:
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, & salt; set aside. In second large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the sour cream and butter at low speed; add sugar, eggs, and vanilla & mix until combined. (It’s okay if it’s a little lumpy as long as no butter chunks are visible.) Gradually add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, mixing until well combined. Dough will be sticky. (If cookie dough is too thick for your mixture to handle, you can stir it by hand with a wooden spoon.) Divide dough onto two pieces of plastic wrap; flatten dough, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until chilled, 1-2 hours. (Make ahead tip: Dough may be made to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

ROLL, CUT, & BAKE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Generously flour your counter or work surface to prevent dough from sticking. Rub flour on the rolling pin. Put one of the chilled pieces of dough on top of the floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. Starting at the center, roll the dough out to one edge; return to the center and roll to the opposite edge. Continue rolling until dough is an even 1/4″ thick all over, sprinkling with additional flour, if needed, to avoid sticking. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out dough shapes. Transfer dough shapes to baking sheets. Continue rolling dough, cutting shapes, and adding to baking sheets until they are filled. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 8-10 minutes, rotating and switching pans half way through cooking time. Bake them just until they are baked all the way through but haven’t started browning on the bottom. If a soft textured cookie is desired, it’s very important not to over bake them. Transfer hot cookies to a baking rack to cool completely. (Make-ahead tip: Cooled, unfrosted cookies may be stacked in a sealed container and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks.)

MAKE FROSTING:
Combine powdered sugar, softened butter, vanilla, and half of the evaporated milk in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine ingredients on a low speed until its’ a thick paste consistency and all of the lumps are gone. Gradually add remaining milk and continue mixing on medium speed until frosting is a smooth, silky, spreadable consistency. If it’s still too thick, add more milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time until it’s desired consistency. Mix in food coloring, if desired.

FROST & STORE COOKIES:
Frost each cookie and decorate with sprinkles while frosting is still wet. Leave out to dry for several hours until dry to touch before storing in an airtight container. If stacking frosted cookies, put waxed or parchment paper between layers.

Oreo Cream Cheese cookies

oreo cream cheese cookies

(Makes about 3-4 dozen)

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup mini dark chocolate chips

2 cups Oreo crumbles

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Parchment keeps the cookies from spreading too much, as they tend to do on a greased pan

In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and cream cheese until thoroughly combined.

Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.

Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Pour Oreo crumbles into a bowl. Scoop dough out and roll into roughly 1.5″ balls, then roll in cookie crumbles, coating thoroughly. Be sure to cover the dough balls really well in crumbs, as this is what holds the cookie together while baking. Space cookies about 1-2″ apart on sheet. Bake on center rack about 14-15 minutes and allow cooling on sheet several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.