Pineapple Upside Down (cup)Cake

FullSizeRender (14)I must confess…I have not been immune to the cupcake craze. I wish I was, or rather my waistline does. It’s just that they are so tiny and yummy.

I have experimented with lots of varieties. Today’s post highlights one of my favorites….the pineapple upside down cake. Oh. My. Gosh. I generally have a rule that fruit cannot be dessert. I mean really, can something without chocolate be dessert? Normally my answer to that question is a resounding NO. But this little cake has wormed its way into my heart….and my list of official desserts.

So, without further ado….here is what you’ll need

FOR THE CAKE:

1 Box Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake (Yes…I know this is a box cake. SHHH!)

4 eggs

3.4 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup oil

1  cup water

1 1/2 Cup butter, melted

about 1/2 cup brown sugar

Pineapple slices

FOR THE ICING:

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

1/4 cup (or so) of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

cherries to garnish if you want

In a mixer, blend the cake mix, pudding, water, oil, and eggs. Mix on slow until the ingredients are incorporated. Turn up mixer and beat for about two minutes.

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In your cupcake pan, put a spoonful of butter into each cupcake hole.

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Spoon some brown sugar on top of the butter.

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Cut up your pineapple slices and place a few on top of the butter/sugar mixture.

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Scoop your cake mix on top of the pineapples. Fill about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 18-22 minutes on 350 degrees. I know they are ready when I can touch the top and it springs back.

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Ok, so this is an important step. I didn’t do it the first time I made them and I ended up with a mess! As soon as these little babies come out of the oven, use a butter knife or a spreader to run around the edges of each cake.

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Do NOT let these cool! You have bubbly delicious sugar in the bottom and it will harden fast. I let mine sit for 2 minutes before I turn them. I use my cooling rack. I place it on top of the cakes, grab some pot holders and make sure I have a good old on both the pan and the rack. BE CAREFUL HERE!!!I

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Flip the pan and tap the top of each spot. Let gravity do it’s thing for about a minute, then lift the pan.

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Look at these yummy little things….

Let them cool while you go make some amazing pineapple buttercream icing.

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Put your softened butter and vanilla in the mixer and let it go! I beat the butter for a bout a minute to get it really good and soft. Then add about 1 cup of powdered sugar.

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Then, add the crushed pineapple and blend for about another minute or so. (Drain as much of the juice as possible from the pineapple before you add it!!!)

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Add the heavy cream and mix on medium-high for a good solid minute or two.

(Ok…let’s stop here for a second and explain. This my fellow baker is my newest addition to icing. I realize I should have figured it out by the name butter-cream, but I guess I’m a little slow. It simply took an episode of Cupcake Wars to realize THIS is the solution to overly sweet icing. It will make your icing light, fluffy and the perfect amount of sweetness.)

Now….at this point you need to taste your icing to see what needs to be added. If it is too thin, add a little powdered sugar at a time until it thickens up. If you ever make it too thick, add a half a teaspoon of cream at a time until it is a good consistency.

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I use piping tip 12 for this cupcake. This is simply a big hole. I tried using a tip that would make a prettier finish, but the pineapple kept getting stuck. If that happens, just unscrew the tip and clean it out. This tip gave me no problems!

I always refrigerate these after I ice them. It lets the icing harden just a little bit. If you want to place a cherry on top, go for it. I just can’t make myself like them. (It reminds me too much of medicine…yuck!)

ENJOY!!!!! 🙂

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Banana Boats on the grill

Dessert on the grill….is there anything better??  We used to make banana boats over the campfire when I was a kid. For our month of grilled recipes, I figured I should give them a shot on the grill. They were a HIT!

 

Here is what you need:

Foil

Bananas

mini marshmallows

milk chocolate chips

cinnamon

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Cut a 12 inch piece of foil.  Take your banana and cut it in half. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips and a little cinnamon.

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  Roll up the seams and make sure they are sealed.

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Toss them on the grill for about 6-8 minutes.

 

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ENJOY!!! 🙂

Jacked Chicken on the grill

As a part of our month of grilled recipes, I came up with this pretty amazing chicken. It is packed with flavor and wrapped my favorite food group….BACON!!

 

Here is what you need:

Chicken breast or tenderloins

Bacon

toothpicks (or spaghetti noodles)

Brown Sugar

Chili Powder

Barbeque Sauce

Pepper Jack Cheese

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Trim your chicken. Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around your chicken.  Use toothpicks on each end of the back to hold it in place.  I didn’t have any toothpicks so I used spaghetti noodles  Genius, right?

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Sprinkle a little brown sugar and chili powder on your chicken.  Pat it down so it sticks to the chicken.

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Toss your chicken on the grill.  Cook for about 8 minutes on each side.

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When your chicken is fully cooked, squirt a little barbecue sauce on top and place a piece of cheese on top.  Let cook for about a minute until the cheese melts.

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ENJOY!! These go GREAT with grilled Cheesy Bacon Potatoes.

Grilled Cheesy Bacon Potatoes

Its summer time and let’s face it…… cooking in the house can really heat up the kitchen. So here at Two Frugal Gals, we are dedicating this month to cooking outside. That’s right, all the recipes featured this month are ones that you can cook on the grill. YUM!

 

We are starting the month off with some cheesy bacon potatoes. Here is what you need:

Canned potatoes

Grated cheese

Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Garlic, pressed

 

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OK….so this is the first time I have ever bought canned potatoes. I forgot you could even buy them this way until my mom mentioned them recently. These were surprisingly delicious!

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We have 8 people in our house so I used 3 cans. Slice up the potatoes.

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Use a 12 inch piece of foil. Place some potatoes in the center of the foil. Sprinkle some cheese and crumbled bacon on top. Then press one clove of clove on top.

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Fold up the sides of your foil and roll them down to seal all the seams.

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Toss them on the grill or about 8-10 minutes.

These are soooo amazing!  Enjoy! 🙂

 

Cream Gravy

Knowing how to whip up cream gravy is a southern necessity. To be honest, I have always struggled to get it just right….. Until recently when I asked my mom for a lesson. No more lumpy gravy here!

Here is what you’ll need:

Grease
Milk
Flour
Salt
Pepper

You know that any recipe that starts out with grease has to be good….right? ( Just don’t tell your doctor. 🙂 )

I hate to admit this, but I have started keeping a small Tupperware container in the refrigerator with bacon grease in it. I always have some on hand if I need to make some gravy. If I am making chicken fried steak, I just use the grease I fried the meat in. It doesn’t really matter what grease you use.

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Mix a couple of cups of flour and 2 cups of milk together in a bowl. Make sure to whisk it so that there are NO LUMPS!

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In a large pan, heat up about 1/4 cup oil on medium heat. Pour your milk/flour mixture into the pan.

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STIR, STIR, STIR!  Whatever you do, don’t stop stirring! It will be lumpy and kind of dry…. that is good!

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Add a little milk at a time.

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Add  salt and pepper.

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Lumps…the enemy of gravy! I take my spoon and squish them into the gravy until it is smooth. If your gravy is too thick, add a little milk. If it’s too thin keep cooking it. It will thicken up a little as it cools.

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Pour over some homemade biscuits or chicken fried steak….YUUMMMMMM!

Chicken Fried Chicken (or steak)

When I was a kid, if my mom asked my dad what he wanted for dinner he always gave her the same answer: Chicken Fried Steak.

My mom’s CFS recipe was amazing! I have tried different ways to get a perfect crunch and I always go back to her secret ingredient…..Club crackers! Seriously, if I am going to consume the calories of fried meat I better makes sure it is the best. Here is what you need:

1-2 sleeves of Club crackers

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Chicken breast or round steak

oil

 

Heat about a cup of oil on medium-low in a deep pan on the stove.

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Dump your crackers in the blender and pulse until they are a fine powder.

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Mix together your crackers, flour and baking powder. (The baking powder is what makes the crust get fluffy!)

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Whisk together your eggs and milk.

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Dip your meat into the liquid mixture.

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Roll the meat into the dry ingredients.

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Do a double coat! DIp it back into the egg mix.

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Coat one more time in the cracker/flour mix.

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Drop your meat into your pan of oil. Cook it on medium-low heat. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat– The outside will cook too fast and leave your meat raw in the middle.

Enjoy!

These are perfect with some loaded mashed potatoes!

Washing Soda

Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart with the intention of picking up a box of washing soda to make some detergent. I went to my usual spot and mindlessly grabbed this box. OOPS…..

20140224-195810.jpgWhen I got home I realized I had grabbed the wrong box. I ended up with a massive box of good old baking soda. Seriously? I was determined not to be discouraged. I remembered  reading a post a while back about how you can cook baking soda to make washing soda. So that’s what I did. It was awesome!!

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I measured 2 cups of baking soda and spread it thin over a baking sheet. You don’t want to pile it on, keep it as a thin layer. The key to converting the baking soda is to evaporate the water. There is a lot of chemistry involved but that is the bottom line!  The thicker you pile on your soda, the longer it will have to cook to get rid of the water.

Set your oven to 450 degrees. Cook the soda for about an hour, turning with a spatula every 10 minutes.

20140224-195818.jpgYou will notice a difference in the texture when it is ready. It will be dull and have a very fine texture.  You can store it or use it right away to make all kinds of detergents. (Like this one, and this one and this one!!!)

 

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