Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Blueberry & Lemon Mini Cakes

Loaded with blueberries and bright flavor, these blueberry lemon mini cakes make a delicious treat!

These mini cakes are moist with lots of bright flavor thanks to lots of lemon zest, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a tart lemon glaze.

I love fresh blueberries with this recipe but you can use frozen ones.  Just make sure to thaw them before using, then dry off and toss with the flour.

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 2 cups blueberries 
  • 2 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream, room temperature

For the lemon glaze:

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  •  1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  1 zest of one lemon
  •  1 teaspoon salted butter

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Add the blueberries and 1 tablespoon of flour to a mixing bowl and toss together until all of the blueberries are coated with the flour. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for about 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Mix in the eggs one at a time until well combined, then mix in the vanilla. Slowly mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients on low speed. 

Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.Then add the blueberries and gently fold them into the batter until just combined.

Spray a 10-inch bundt pan well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan or cupcake pan and evenly spread it around.

Bake at 350°F for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. 

Cover loosely with foil if needed for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto the wire rack to finish cooling.

While the cake cools, make the glaze.

In a large microwavable measuring cup, the 4 cup capacity ones are the best, combine the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.

Add in the butter then microwave on high for 45 seconds.

Take out the measuring cup and whisk until smooth, making sure there are no lumps.

Let it sit for a few minutes. 

Top with the lemon glaze. 

Recipes, Small Bites

Asian Ceviche

I love ceviche! This twist on the traditional Ceviche is loaded with seafood, red onions, peppers, cilantro and Thai chili peppers; all marinated in sake and fresh lemon juice. Yup, I said sake! I created this recipe to serve at my family’s Christmas eve dinner! 

It’s such a vibrant dish that’s perfect for weekends or parties. Truly a recipe seafood lovers will instantly fall in love with! 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 bag frozen seafood mix
  • 1 pound medium-sized shrimp, cleaned
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro , chopped
  • 1 medium size red onion, chopped small
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped small
  • 1 red sweet pepper in vinegar, diced
  • 1 Thai chili pepper, diced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • ½ tablespoon Sake
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds

INSTRUCTIONS 

Boil frozen seafood mix (15 minutes), shrimp (3 minutes). Strain and place into a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled.

Chop shrimp in small pieces. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. 

Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top before serving. 

Serves 8–12

Recipes, Small Bites

Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Nachos

Crispy tater tots with layers of spicy buffalo chicken and melted cheese, topped with ranch dressing, crumbled blue cheese and green onion.  These tater tot nachos are fully loaded and perfect as a meal or as an appetizer for sharing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag (2 LBS) frozen tater tots
  • 2 boneless chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup bacon, crumbled 
  • 1 cup plus Frank’s Red Hot Wings sauce, 1 tablespoon  for garnish
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • ½ cup ranch dressing, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish 
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green onions, garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil.

Bake the bag of tater tots for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time.

In a large bowl, Stir together the shredded chicken, bacon crumbles, ranch dressing, wing sauce and blue cheese crumbles.

In a medium bowl, Mix together the two cheeses.

Place the cooked tater tots in a cast iron skillet. Spoon half the chicken mixture on top of the tots. Sprinkle half the cheese. Repeat the layers. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Garnish with the remaining dressing, wing sauce, green onions, and blue cheese. 

Serve immediately.

Recipes, Seasonal

Red Chili Roasted Turkey Thighs

These turkey thighs are garlicky, herby, spicy, and a little tangy, perfect for whether an ordinary weeknight meal or a special holiday feast, they will be a hit! You can honestly use any meat with this recipe, chicken, fish, pork or even steak- the seasoning is delicious!

Serve them with my Thai Roasted Brussel sprouts and butternut squash and of course crusty bread to soak up the mouthwatering drippings. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb Turkey thighs or choice of meat
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 stick butter 
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons roasted red chili paste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoon poultry seasoning 
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on turkey thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium limes, for garnish
  • Cranberry sauce, optional for garnish 

INSTRUCTIONS

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Mince 4 garlic cloves. Mince 1 large shallot (about 1/3 cup). Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems from 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro until you have 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons.

Place the garlic, shallots, 3/4 cup of the cilantro, stick of butter,  2 tablespoons roasted red chili paste, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

Pat 2 turkey thighs dry with paper towels. 

Season with the poultry seasoning, coating each side. 

Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add turkey thighs skin-side down, then use tongs or a spatula to press down on the thighs to create good contact with the hot pan for even browning. Cook until the skin is golden-brown and fat has begun to render, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Flip the turkey and pour the red chili butter sauce over the turkey. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven.

Every ten minutes, remove from the oven, baste each piece of turkey with the melted butter and turkey juices in the pan.  Cover and return to the oven.  Repeat this every ten minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, about 40 minutes. 

When the turkey is ready, uncover and let rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, cranberry sauce and serve with the lime wedges.

Healthy, Recipes

KETO Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers

There’s something about the smell of stuffed peppers that gets me every time. It’s the best of simple ingredients–fresh beef, onions, tomatoes, cheese and seasonings that come together in their own little portable, edible bowls. 

In this recipe, I slashed the calories and carbs of traditional stuffed peppers by swapping white rice for cauliflower “rice.” 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cauliflower, riced 
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint sliced mushrooms 
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage 
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1 ½ tsp. Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bell peppers, tops and cores removed
  • 1 cup. shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp. beef broth 

INSTRUCTIONS 

Preheat the oven to 400°

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add ground sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Drain fat.

Place cooked meat aside. 

In the same skillet, cook onion and mushrooms  until soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. 

Cut the cauliflower into large chunks and place in a food processor. 

Add to the skillet with other veggies and sauté for 5-8 minutes. 

Return sausage to skillet, and stir in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. 

Let simmer until liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.

Place peppers cut side-up in a 9″-x-13″ baking dish and drizzle with oil. Spoon sausage mixture into each pepper and top with cheese.

Pour the beef broth into the bottom of the dish, then cover the baking dish with foil.

Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbly, 10 minutes more.

On the Side, Recipes

Bacon Jalapeño Cheesy Cornbread

These Bacon Jalapeno Cheesy Skull muffins were perfect for our Halloween get together! Of course, you can make these in any muffin pan.

Ingredients

4 packets Martha White Cornbread Mix Buttermilk Cotton Country plus water as directed on package

1 cups haberno cheese, shredded

½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

¼ cup diced pickled jalapenos, drained

6 strips thick bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Prepare cornbread as directed on package

Stir in bacon, both cheeses and jalapenos.

Bake in the oven until lightly browned. 

#whiskawaykitchen

Recipes, Small Bites

MARGARITA GRILLED SHRIMP

These Margarita Grilled Shrimp Skewers are loaded with flavor and charred to perfection. If you like grilled shrimp, you are going to love this recipe! 

They can be served as an appetizer or turned into a meal, just serve over rice. 

It’s the perfect weeknight meal or poolside dish! This past weekend, I served them with mini taco shells, a spicy mango dipping sauce and a chili lime aioli.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. raw jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon  onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon  cumin
  • 1 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon  black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon tequila, optional
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Wedges of fresh lime, for squeezing over top of grilled shrimp

Chili Lime Aioli

  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili seasoning
  • 2 2/12 tablespoon Lime juice
  • 1 lime zest

Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce

  • 1 Small Mango ,peeled and diced, about 3/4 C
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh cilantro ,chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Canned coconut milk 

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix all ingredients in a bowl & marinate shrimp for 20-30 minutes.

Thread shrimp on skewers and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from skewers and place in a serving bowl.

Chili Lime Aioli & Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or in the blender. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

Serve shrimp on a platter with both dipping sauces.

Healthy, Recipes

Lemon Pepper Salmon

This baked lemon pepper salmon only takes 12 minutes in the oven before dinner is served! 

This baked lemon pepper salmon recipe is such a delicious and easy way to prepare salmon in the oven. It only takes 12 minutes at 400ºF to whip up this healthy dinner idea!

Salmon cooks up so fast, has a beautiful mild flavor without the fishy-ness, and is very easy to find at your local grocery store. You don’t need a whole lot of effort and time to make this salmon taste amazing.

Feel free to turn this into a one pan meal by adding some of your favorite veggies like broccoli, asparagus or even potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS

2 5-oz. salmon filets

1.5 teaspoons lemon pepper

salt, to taste

2 lemon, sliced into wheels

Lemon zest, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

First, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Next, prepare salmon, by placing a double piece of paper towel on a large plate. Place salmon filets on top of the paper towel, skin-side down and then place another piece of paper towel on top. Use your hands to press the paper towel into the salmon in order to remove as much moisture as possible.

Next, prepare a baking sheet with foil and cooking spray.

Then place the salmon filets on top skin-side down.

Sprinkle on a generous amount of lemon pepper seasoning on top of each filet. And, season with salt to taste and place lemon wheels on top.

Bake at 400ºF for 12-14 minutes or until the salmon is cooked all the way through a

On the Side, Recipes

Creamy Parmesan & Thyme Polenta

Creamy Polenta!

Looking for a twist on your side dish for Easter? Look no more!

This light and fluffy polenta is perfect for serving with ribs, chicken, pork, lamb, or veal, and is also great with roasted veggies.

What Is Polenta?

Polenta is a porridge type dish popular in Northern Italy. In the United States, it is usually made with coarsely ground cornmeal. Think of polenta as an Italian version of grits! But made with yellow corn instead of the white corn of grits.

How to Make Polenta

Making creamy polenta is so easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.

It all starts with caramelizing up finely minced garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil in a large saucepan.  

Once the garlic is brown in a medium-size pot in olive oil, add in the chicken broth and water, and bring it to a boil.

When the stock is boiling pour in the cornmeal while whisking constantly to ensure there are no clumps in the polenta. Turn the heat down to medium-low. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the creamy polenta is finished it should be smooth with no crunch to it.  At this point stir in some whole butter, Parmesan cheese, thyme, onion powder, and salt, and pepper.

I like to serve my polenta as the base of my dish with the meat on top with polenta absorbing the sauce from the main dish.

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

Instructions

In a large saucepan, sauté the garlic. 

Then combine broth and water, onion powder,  salt, and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal. 

Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer polenta, whisking frequently, until thickened and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, butter and thyme and season with salt and pepper. 

Garnish with thyme, and serve. If polenta thickens upon standing, stir in a little hot water.

Note: If preparing polenta in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat on stovetop or in the microwave (about 5 minutes on high), adding more liquid if necessary. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

Recipes

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Brian and I love cooking Julia Child’s recipes. Her recipes are simple and easy to follow with fresh ingredients! One of our favorites is her Chicken Cordon Bleu. We actually just made it for his mom for dinner!

This Chicken Cordon Bleu is delicious with layers of tender chicken, Gruyère cheese, prosciutto, ham, and mornay sauce! It’s a dinner you will dream about!

Seriously stop what you’re doing right now, and grab what you need to make this amazingly delicious chicken cordon bleu!. Not only will this easy chicken recipe make everyone come running for dinner, but it will also leave them wanting seconds or even thirds.

While I love all parts of chicken cordon bleu, I’ll have to say, the mornay sauce is to die for! Mornay sauce is a classic béchamel sauce (one of the five French mother sauces) enriched with cheese and Parmesan. Trust me you will want to make this sauce to spoon over just about anything. And you easily switch out the cheeses to whatever your heart desires! 

Grab a glass of Scout and Cellar Gallivant Chardonnay and let’s go have some fun in the kitchen! Like Julia says ““The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest Ham
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Mornay Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Instructions

Wash the chicken and pat dry. Place the chicken on a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Cover them with a second sheet of paper or wrap and, with a flat (not textured) mallet, lightly beat them until flattened to a uniform thinness of less than 1/4 inch. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 315F. 

Grab three bowls… Beat egg into one bowl. Spread the crumbs on a second bowl. 

Spread the flour in the third bowl.

Lay the chicken pieces on a flat work surface skinned side down. Lightly spread the inside of each thigh with a little mustard (don’t use too much or the mustard will overpower the other flavors). 

Stack one slide of prosciutto, then 2 slices of cheese and a slice of ham in the center of each. Roll the thigh, making sure that the filling is completely encased. 

Roll the chicken first in the flour, shake off the excess, and dip each thigh in the egg, allowing the excess to flow back into the bowl. 

Lay it in the crumbs. Roll it, patting the crumbs into all sides. When the piece is coated, lay it on a clean, dry plate and repeat until all the pieces are breaded. Set aside for at least half an hour to allow the breading to set.

Fill a deep Dutch oven or frying pan, with enough oil to come halfway up the sides. Over medium-high heat, bring the oil to 375°F (hot but not smoking). Add the chicken and fry until golden brown, place on a sheet pan and palace in the oven until thighs reach an internal temperature of 165F.

Mornay Sauce

In a small saucepan, heat to just a boil, while stirring, the 2 cups of milk and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, over low heat. Blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring continuously until “the butter and flour froth together for 2 minutes without coloring,” thus creating a roux. (Julka tip!)

Remove from heat. As soon as it stops bubbling, pour in your hot milk all at once. Immediately start beating with a whisk. Make sure you gather all of the roux from the sides, bottom and edges of the pan.

Return to a low heat and stir until the sauce comes to a boil. Boil and stir for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and beat in salt and pepper to taste.

Beat in the cheese until they have melted and are well blended into the sauce.

Season with nutmeg, cayenne and salt and pepper. Stir in the butter until melted and blended.

Pour over chicken and serve immediately.

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