Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Well, the previous recipe (Updated Fettuccine Carbonara) was a "healthier" recipe so this one is meant to offset all that healthy crap. What good is dessert if it can't be a little wicked now and then?

Now then, I made these cupcakes on a night with dinner guests coming over. I also made salad but that's boring. Normally, I don't like to make recipes for the first time when other people will be tasting them (drop-and-go visits don't count), but I figured I'd give it a shot this time. I also had to make these in a hurry because the other chef needed the kitchen to make his main-course lasagna. You didn't really think I fed my guests nothing but salad and cupcakes, did you?

Again, another Kraft recipe so hard to screw it up too badly. I had some trouble finding the required lemon pudding mix so I used lemon pie filling. Same difference, if you ask me. I already had cream cheese on hand (with only a wee bit used) so I just used that up. After a bad lemon juice experiment a while ago, I've taken to using a fresh lemon instead of buying a bottle of the juice, using a smidge, then letting it sit in the fridge for ages until foisting it on my parents when it came time for me to move. For the record, lemon juice is not supposed to foam when poured. Maybe an initial wee bit, but it shouldn't stay foamy. Sorry, Dad.

I liked the idea of adding a bit of lemon zest to the icing before smearing on cupcakes, but unfortunately, by the time I read that, I'd already chucked the remainder of my lemon. Alas. I didn't go so far as to garnish my cupcakes with a fancy bit of lemon peel either. Instead, the dinner guests got to garnish their own cupcakes with my large collection of different kinds of sprinkles! Much more fun if you ask me.

So how were the cupcakes, you ask? Well, everyone said they were really good. Not fancy like some of the ones you can get in the pricey shops that are springing up everywhere, but homemade (does using cake mix count as cheating if I did all the work?) and fun to accessorize. I might make them more lemon-y somehow next time, and one person said they didn't love the vanilla cake mix, but overall, they were well received. The cupcakes were competing with yummy homemade cookies at the same meal, so now this house has an awful lot of cupcakes. Oh, and you might want to half the icing segment. It makes a lot. Better yet, come on over and I'll give you free cupcakes and my leftover icing!

Updated Fettuccine Carbonara

Agh, cooking........ I'm so out of the pattern of late. I'm trying to get back in the kitchen more regularly so bear with me while I figure out my life.

Anyway, this recipe wasn't too complex. It IS a Kraft recipe. I was intrigued by the idea of them having "improved" on classic fettuccine carbonara to make it healthier. I do love my pasta, and healthier versions are better in the long run. If this isn't true, feel free to keep that tidbit to yourself.

Let's see: there was a pasta sale at the grocery store so you might see more pasta recipes in the near future. I didn't get the whole wheat kind this time. Lucky for me, it wasn't required to be such. I opted for store brand on the cream cheese and dressing, but if you don't tell Kraft, neither will I. Didn't have skim milk - this is the house of 1%. No fresh herbs live here. I can remember to water plants on occasion, but don't use herbs often enough so I used dried parsley for this recipe. The parmesan definitely wasn't of the light variety. I'm not usually the cheese purchaser in this house...

I could have done a better job with the sauce in terms of blending/whisking it into submission. My cream cheese kept trying to hide in the middle of the whisk and, retrospectively, I should have used a smaller saucepan. Next time. The sauce looked too thin to me prior to adding it to the noodle/pea combination, but it seemed to work out in the end. In the future, I will also cut the ham into pieces instead of strips to better fit with the peas. The strips of ham were a bit awkward.

Serving note: the peas have a tendency to fall to the bottom of the pot. And they like to jump off the counter onto the floor, just in time for you to accidently step on them in your bare feet.

Overall, this was a good meal. I found it filling for dinner last night and lunch today. Plus, it earned me a "thank you" for making dinner last night. :) What's not to like?